Hacking mostly works like any other encounter - with players making action rolls to achieve their outcomes. This section is mostly a guide for setting Position and Effect during a hacking scene, because hacking can be harder to nail down than something straightforward like combat or socialisation.

Obviously before you can hack something you need to figure out how you can connect to it first - if in doubt, “physical proximity” is usually a safe bet. In many cases, getting to the right vantage to hack something is a significant part of the mission or adventure in its own right. Hacking can take hours when you do it the old-fashioned way, but a hacker who is “fully immersed” in cyberspace can reduce this time to minutes. Doing so carries certain risks of its own, however.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when setting the Position of a hacking action:

Here are some questions you should ask yourself when setting the Effect of a hacking action:

Consequences that result from a hacking action can come in many forms:

As usual, the exact severity of these consequences depends on what Position the action was performed from. From a Controlled Position, consequences might just be “the administrators are suspicious and keeping a closer eye on things now”. From a Desperate Position, the same consequences might be “they know they’re being hacked and have identified your location - armed guards are en route”.

Players will usually drive the narrative in a hacking scene, but not always. Heavily secured networks may seize the initiative from the PCs and force them to react, or even inflict consequences on them directly. For example, a network with a wary operator or security AI may start sniffing around after the hacker, looking for evidence of an attack. They will quickly pick up your trail unless you spend Stress to resist the consequence.