Conduits: Technomancer Foci

Recent raids by Knight Errant on rogue technomancer groups have revealed a small number of devices that seemed to serve no purpose, but the technos were very cagey about.  Analysis by licensed and loyalty-assure corporate technomancers have revealed these devices, termed conduits, are capable of helping a technomancer that has paired with the device enhance their abilities in the Matrix.

Conduits can be built into mundane electronics, giving the device dual-purpose (referred to as a dual-boots) but they are most commonly devices called tokens - stand-alone bits of plastic, wire, circuitry as well as rare components on custom-printed circuit boards inside of 3D print-on-demand cases.

The conduit itself is powered via wireless induction but for all intents and purposes it appears to normal people and electronics as throwback without a universal data port – a cheap toy or a useless modification.  However they are not connected to the Matrix as most people know it – they bypass the Matrix as we know it entirely, and connect directly through the currents of the Resonance.

All conduits appear upon the living persona to other resonance beings, slightly augmenting it as a gem in center mass of the icon, regardless the conduits real-life appearance.

Pairing & Using Conduits

Before a technomancer can use a conduit they must establish a connection within the Resonance to the conduit through a process called pairing. A technomancer can pair with a conduit by keeping it on their physical self (worn, in a hand, in a pocket, etc.) while they spend its level in hours connected to the Matrix via hot-sim meditating on the device. At the end of this process, the technomancer expends karma according to the Conduits Table (below).  When this is done, only the technomancer who has paired with the device can use it until another technomancer pairs with it.  Conduits can only be paired to one technomancer at a time, and bonding a conduit breaks the pairing with the conduit’s previous owner.

Conduits must be on the person of the technomancer in order to be used, and can be activated as a Simple Matrix action. Technomancers may pair with a number of conduits equal to their Resonance rating, and may not exceed more than their Resonance rating x5 in total levels of conduits.  Regardless of the number of conduits, only one conduit may add to its dice pool for a test.

Tokens vs. Dual Boots

As stated earlier, Tokens are generally stand-alone hardware, while dual boots are often built into mundane electronics.  It should be noted, however, that once a dual boot conduit is activated, the mundane purpose of the device cannot be utilized until someone takes a simple action to reset the device.  

Tracing a Technomancer via Their Conduit

A technomancer in physical contact with a conduit that has been paired to another technomancer can use the conduit to run a Trace Icon action against the technomancer as if they already had two marks on that technomancer.  However, they still do not have the technomancer spotted – they can simply follow the resonance trails to find where their signal originates.

Conduit Addiction (new flaw & addiction type)

Conduit addiction is a variant of the regular Addiction (SR5, page 77).  Technomancers who rely too much on the power granted by Conduits eventually form a mental and spiritual dependence on them, even to the point where they cannot manipulate or interface with the resonance without them.  This is only a problem when a technomancer has active more levels in conduits than their Resonance rating.

Note that if a character has a conduit addiction, this assumes that the character has already paired to at least one conduit.  Players should keep this in mind, as the game master may require the player to spend nuyen and karma on buying and pairing with conduits.  Buying and pairing conduits isn’t necessarily required, however; it’s theoretically possible that a starting character could be addicted to conduits she once had in the past, but is no longer presently paired with, for whatever reason (players will likely need a good reason if they’re going to convince the game master). Of course, if this is the case, then the character begins play under the effects of withdrawal.

Conduit Addiction Ratings

As noted before a Technomancer can safely have a total level of active conduits active up to their Resonance rating.  When they exceed this amount, they must make an addiction test.  Since this is primarily a psychological addiction, the test is made with Logic + Willpower.

Conduit addiction is a fluid thing, and not prone to hard numbers like on SR5 page 414.  Conduit addictions have an addiction rating equal to the number of conduits you have paired (not active, just paired) and a threshold equal to the total Levels of conduit you had active at the time you went over your resonance rating.

Mild (4 Karma): At this level of addiction, few technomancers recognize they have a problem. Mild conduit addicts keep their conduits active more often and use them regardless of whether they need the extra power or not. Some technomancers begin to experience a euphoric psychosomatic “crackle” as they tap into conduits. The addict suffers a –2 dice pool modifier to conduit Addiction Tests, Fading Tests, and to resist using conduits.

Moderate (9 Karma): The addiction at this level is marked— the technomancer refuses to take off or turn off conduits under any circumstances, and many become obsessed with gaining more conduits to supplement their abilities. Technomancers at this level of addiction may become inebriated with power after resonance-based activities, and while recovering from Fading often exhibit mood swings and slurred speech. The addict suffers a –4 dice pool modifier to conduit Addiction Tests, Fading Tests, and to resist using conduits.

Severe (20 Karma): Technomancers at this level of addiction are out of control, constantly using their resonance-based abilities to tap into the conduits. Many addicts begin to neglect their physical bodies in a blasphemous parody of ascetic principles. The inebriation experienced in earlier addiction gives way to momentary relief from the aching loss of not using conduits. Some addicts turn to drugs or BTLs to compensate for when they are too Faded to use the Resonance. The addict suffers a –6 dice pool modifier to conduit Addiction Tests, Fading Tests, and to resist using conduits.

Burnout (25 Karma): This is the same as a Severe addiction, except the addict has been in this state for some time and is experiencing the tell-tale signs of habitual use on his aura. Using conduits at this level of addiction is physically painful for the addict, but even this comes as welcome relief from the hell the character’s body has become. Reduce the character’s maximum Resonance attribute by 1. If the character does not kick the habit soon, he will continue to lose Resonance at a rate determined by the gamemaster until he burns out.

New Skills

Connecting (Resonance)

Connecting is the process of crafting Conduits.  The skill may also be used forensically, in order to determine the qualities about an existing conduit’s creation, purpose, and owner.  See Using Connecting, below.

Default: No

Skill Group: None

Specializations: By Conduit Type

Disconnecting (Resonance)

Disconnecting governs a character’s ability to remove the Resonance abilities of a Conduit.

Default: No

Skill Group: None

Specializations: By Conduit Type

Using Connecting

Connecting is the process of creating small, electronic devices called conduits that are by designed more in-tune with the Resonance allowing a Technomancer to pair with them and enhance their own abilities.  

All Conduits follow the same basic process: first a conduit schematic is needed.  Then an electronic device is crafted according the schematic.  Finally, the device is paired with its new user.

Step 1: Choose the Conduit Schematic

Conduit schematics include raw electronics designs or modifications to mundane electronics as well as meditations and “mental” code that must be threaded by a technomancer in order to create the Conduits.   These schematics are too complex even for Technomancers to learn on their own, but can be learned and kept in a special schematic file readable only by resonance beings.  You can only acquire conduit schematics from technomancers, free sprites, and AIs.

If you’d rather create your own conduit schematic, you can attempt to design one from scratch. Creating a conduit schematic is a Hardware + Resonance [Mental] (Level x Level, 1 day) Extended test.  Once complete, the conduit schematic may be used by any technomancer of your stream to make that specific conduit. A technomancer can translate a conduit schematic from another stream with a Hardware + Resonance [Mental] (Level, 1 day) Extended Test.

Step 2: Prepare the Device

Before you can create an Conduits, you need to build or modify some electronic item to accommodate the flow of the resonance.  Most conduit schematics are actually fairly device agnostic, and often can be built up using off-the-shelf hardware or even making custom tokens with a few blinking LEDs and a wireless connection.

What makes these devices special is the introduction of experimental and expensive components.  These components, legal and able to be found via the Matrix, are experimental and cost 20 NuYen per point of karma to pair with the conduit if modifying an existing device, or 50 NuYen per point of karma if building a stand-alone device.   After that the components are acquired, a Hardware + Logic [Mental] (Level, 1 Day) test must be performed to integrate the components.  

While some technomancers choose to integrate their Conduits in some sort of electronic device that they’ll carry, many more prefer to create simple devices with fab-on-demand cases and printed circuit boards.  These devices, called tokens, often little more than the components, an antenna, and a few LEDs are worn as jewelry or kept in pockets.

Step 3: Connect the Device to the Resonance

Finally, you’ll need to spend a number of days equal to the Level in the focus formula. You will use this time manipulating the flow of the Resonance through the device, the vast majority of that time spent in hot-sim. You can attend to your personal needs in this time, as well as do other matrix-related business, but the device’s connection must remain geographically stable (ie – cannot hand off to another device) in order for the flow of Resonance to establish itself and, with you as its initial conduit, that means you cannot be more than 20 meters from the device.

At the end of the crafting time, you attempt to bring the device to emergence on its own.  Make a Connecting + Resonance [Schematic Level] vs. the Schematic Level.  This counts as the final run of your work over the days, so you cannot use Edge for the test.  Your net hits for the test, if you succeed, become the conduit’s actual Level.  If you glitch, you cannot resist Fading on the next step.  If you critically glitch, the Resonance spins out of your control and rips away 1 Essence from you, similarly lowering your Resonance score.

Step 4: Resist Fading

The Fading Value is the Level specified by the conduit schematic, plus 2 for each hit (not net hit) rolled against you in the Connecting test; the Fading is Physical if the actual Level of the conduit somehow ends up greater than your Resonance rating.  If you’re still conscious after the resisting the Fading, you can spend an amount of karma equal to the actual Level of the conduit to seal and finalize the Conduits. If you fall unconscious or don’t want to keep the result, skip the karma expenditure and start over (probably after you’ve healed).

Conduit Analysis

The Connecting skill also allows you to analyze a conduit in a way that helps you understand both it and its creator.  Make an opposed test of Connecting + Resonance [Mental] vs. twice the Level of the conduit.  If you get 1 hit you will know the type of conduit, if you get two hits you will get the level, and three hits will allow you to identify the Resonance signature of the creator.

Disconnecting Conduits

The Disconnection skill can be used by a technomancer to temporarily or permanently disconnect a conduit from the resonance.

To deactivate an active conduit, make an opposed Disconnecting + Resonance [Mental] vs. target’s Level + owner’s Resonance Test.  You can do this both in AR or VR, but you must have spotted the owner of the conduit.  If you get more successes on the test, the conduit deactivates.

With the Disconnecting skill, a conduit can be disconnected from the Resonance, and its components re-used for new conduits.  To do this the technomancer must have physical contact with the conduit, then must make an Opposed Disconnecting + Resonance [Mental] vs. target’s Level (+ owner’s Resonance if synced and the conduit isn’t yours) Test.

If you succeed in this test, the conduit ceases to be.  Some of the components inside the device burn out rendering the device unusable but some components can be recovered.  Make a Hardware + Logic [Mental] Test – every success allows you to recover one component that can be re-used on a new conduit, up to a maximum of one-third of the components used in creating the conduit (see step 2 of creating the conduit). This process takes a number of hours equal to the target’s Level.

Drain value for the Disconnecting test is 2S per hit (not net hit) rolled against the technomancer.  If the target’s Level exceeds the technomancer’s resonance rating, the Fading is Physical.  If the target’s Level exceeds twice their Resonance rating, then that item is more than they can handle and they may not attempt the Disconnect.

Conduits Types

Conduits Table        

Item

Pairing Cost in Karma

Avail

Cost

Connecting Conduit

Level x 3

(Level x 3)F

Level x 5000 NuYen

Coprocessor Conduit

Level x 6

(Level x 4)F

Level x 18,000 NuYen

Buffer Conduit

Level x 2

(Level x 3)F

Level x 5,000 NuYen

Signal Boost Conduit

Level x 2

(Level x 3)F

Level x 3,000 NuYen

Complex Form Conduit

Level x 2

(Level x 3)F

Level x 4,000 NuYen

Sprite Conduit

Level x 2

(Level x 3)F

Level x 4,000 NuYen

Conduits Types

Connecting Conduits

Connecting Conduits: Adds its Level in dice to any Connecting skill tests.

Disconnecting Conduits: Adds its level in dice to any Disconnecting skill tests.

Special Conduits:

Coprocessor: Coprocessor Conduits are incredibly powerful Conduits that temporarily increase your effective Resonance rating.  That means they add to your Tasking, Compiling, Connecting, and Disconnecting dice pools, along with any other test where Resonance is involved.  

Buffer: Buffer Conduits add their level to tests to resist both Matrix and Biofeedback damage, excluding Fading.

Signal Boost:  Signal boost conduits add their level to the technomancer’s Resonance rating when overcome jamming, and reduce penalties due to noise and static.

Complex Form Conduits

Pre-Compiler: A pre-compiler conduit helps in threading complex forms, but only for its specified complex form.

De-Compiler: A De-compiler conduit helps in killing complex forms, but only for its specified complex form.

Offload: An offload conduit will sustain up to its level in complex forms, but only for its specified complex form.

Sprite Conduits

Sprite Conduits upgrade a Technomancer’s Compiling skills.  Each sprite conduit must be configured for a specific type of sprite.

Compiling: A Compiling conduit adds its Level to Compiling attempts as long as the targeted Sprite is in the same category as the conduit.

Decompiling: The decompiling conduit adds its Level to the limit of a technomancer’s Decompiling Test as long as the target sprite is in the same category as the conduit.

Registering: A registering conduit helps a technomancer deepen their bond with a sprite. The conduit adds its Level in dice to a technomancer’s Registering test as long as the sprite is in the same category as the conduit.