How the wireless Matrix works, from an in-game perspective
By default, Sprawlrunners presents a classic ’80s cyberpunk take on cyberspace: wired decks and VR hacking. Since 4e, Shadowrun has moved away from this, blending in modern technologies like cellphones and wifi. People have different opinions about how good an idea this is, but I quite like it, so below are some houserules aimed at putting wireless devices and hacking into Sprawlrunners - while hopefully keeping it Fast! Furious! And Fun!
NB I will use Shadowrun-speak in this section ie “decker” not “operator”, “host” not “system."
If you’re reading these rules for the first time, you might like to start with this overview, which sets out the key concepts and how they fit together. The rest of the section is split into two parts; one dedicated to the rules mechanics, and one dedicated to the in-world explanation of the Matrix and how it functions.
What the Matrix is made of: the backbone and the local mesh; hosts and other icons
How things look in the Matrix
How augmented reality works and feels
Bending the Matrix to your will
Smaller bits and pieces, plot devices, etc
Game rules for how the Matrix works
All kinds of things deckers can do
What to hack and how to hack it
Disregard stealth; brick devices instead
How the decker can help in combat
How the authorities catch deckers
Extra bits and pieces
Game scenarios these rules attempt to capture
A quick list of the simplifying assumptions I have made