GM Matrix Guide

While there are a lot of rules for being a decker including creating decks and writing programs, the actual act of decking is pretty simple. There are a lot of different operations a decker may choose to do on their turn, but at the core, the mechanics for decking operate similarly to someone sneaking around. The decker rolls to perform the operation of their choice and in response to that action the system counters with a check to see if they detect the decker.

The Matrix is a collection of computer systems but is laid out in a very organized manner. Everything is connected, but to get from one place to another you have to travel from your Jackpoint, the physical connection to the Matrix, to the system that you want. If it is local to where you are, that is simple, but if it is not, you may have to travel through other grids to get there.

Jackpoint: The source of the connection that the decker is coming from. Depending on how they choose to connect, this could be a wired line or a wireless connection of some sort, as seen in this list. Each of these type of connections will have some modifiers to follow.

  • Access Modifier: This is added/subtracted from the Access TN for any rolls made on the host/grid that they are attempting to get onto.
  • Trace Modifier: This is the modifier that is added or subtracted when determining how long a trace takes (p 106 Matrix).
  • I/O Speed: The lower of the two between the jackpoint used and the cyberterminal the decker is using determines how fast it can transmit data.
  • Base Bandwidth: As we are not using Icon Bandwidth rules, this is not to be worried about unless you want to add that as a rule in your own runs. It calculates a modifier of how easy it is to trace a decker based on the stats of their deck and the programs they are running. Rules to calculate it are on page 107 of Matrix.

Regional Telecommunications Grids (RTG): Like modern day power or phone grids, these can cover large areas of the various countries. For example, California has a North and South grid while the CAS has Central, Gulf, Seaboard and Texas.

Local Telecommunications Grid (LTG): These are analogous to the area codes of current communications, and the coverage area depends on the density of connections.

Private Local Telecommunications Grid (PLTG): Comparable to private intranets today that are used by groups to consolidate various businesses or schools or other similar groups. These are closed to the general public and in some cases not directly connected to the normal matrix. They can spread through the world to link the relevant groups together, such as a corporate PLTG that may link all the scientists of a particular research project together, or a PLTG for a government to allow all the officials to communicate.

So, if a Decker logs into a Jackpoint in Boston using a computer in their Apartment and wanted to get to a host in Los Angeles, they would appear on the Apartment's Host, and would then need to connect from there to the Boston LTG to the UCAS North-East RTG. then to the Cal-Free South RTG then to the Los Angeles LTG and then to the host they wanted to access.

To understand the breakdown in North America, the list at RTGs when paired with the following map will help it make more sense:

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