Security – Sensors and Scanners
- Good lighting, both indoor and outdoor, can be a further deterrent to intrusion, as it raises the chances for security to spot unauthorised personnel. Lights are usually controlled via wireless to activate at pre-determined times (like outdoor lights, which are only needed at night) or events (like when a sensor detects movement in its area). Indoor lighting can either be manually controlled with a regualr on/off switch, or programmed to respond to motion or daily activity (such as the start of the business day). Most switches can be subverted with a Extended Test. Most lighting is incandescent, flourescent, LED, or white halogen quartz, though occasionally gas-discharge may be used for high-wattage exterior lighting (taking 5 minutes to warm up).
- Alarms, a form of passive security, are one of the most basic elements of a security system. Alarms serve to alert guards, security hackers/riggers, or remote monitoring services that something is amiss and must be dealth with. Alarms may be silent, alerting only the security or police in order to catch intruders unaware, or they may go off flashing lights and loud warning klaxons that resound throughout the building. Individual components of a security system may be alarmed, like a fire door that triggers a warning bell when opened. Many alarms, particularly on doors and windows, are based on electronic circuits,. While closed, the circuit is complete and no alarm will sound. If the door or window is opened, however, the circuit is broken, triggering the alarm. Windows may have alarm circuits wired into the glass, so if the glass is broken an alarm goes off. To bypass such alarms, the circuit’s electrical contacts must be fooled while the door/window is open. This requires a Extended Test, though depending on the design it may be more difficult.
- A wire is one of the most basic types of security scanners. Breaking the beam or wire is often tied to some sort of alarm system to notify security personnel, but can also trigger other kinds of automated security systems. In some rare cases, the wire may have a more lethal purpose and is intended to harm the target. Stringing monowire across a potential intrusion point is a common choice for this purpose. If a character fails a Perception test they will run into the wire and trigger its effect. This could be activating the alarm system, or taking damage. For wires intended to harm, use the damage listed in the Fencing section of Barriers.
- Trip beams are used as perimeter alarms or across entrances. Trip beams consist of laser emitters (visible or infrared), mirrors, and laser detectors. If the beam of lights is interrupted (by someone or something passing through it), the alarm goes off. These systems can be very complex and sometimes labyrinthine, requiring anywhere from several to twenty or more mirrors and reflectors in order to aim the light beam where desired. Noticing a trp beam requires a Test for visible beams, or a threshold of 3 for infrared beams. Laser beams are more noticable in smoke or if an aerosol spray is used, reducing the threshold to 1. Squeezing past a trip beam maze requires an Test against a gamemaster determined threshold. Trip beams may also be fooled by simultaneously lining up proxy laser emitters of the proper wattage into each detector on the system, requiring a similar Test. A calibrated system of mirrors may also be used to re-arange the trip pattern so that someone can pass through.
- Pressure pads complement any indoor security in area that are restricted or off-limits to unauthorised personnel (particularly at night, when no one should be about.) These are weight-triggered sensors that will react to any amount of weight, or when there is too much weight beyond a pre-programmed amount (where the maximum allowable weight is five or ten pounds heavier than the heaviest authorised individual.
- A pressure mesh works simularly, but is largely for outdoor use and installed in the ground, and is less sensitive that pads. Noticing pressure mesh or pards is very difficult, requiring a Perception Test threshold of 3 for pads and 4 for mesh. If a character steps on a pad, however, it is more apparent (reduce the threshold by 2) – but by then it is usually too late. After a character steps onto a mesh or pad, however, a second Perception Test should be rolled: Threshold 1 for pads and Threshold 3 for mesh. If successful, the character can attempt to remove the pressure before it exceeds the device’s weight allowance. This is very difficult, requiring a Test, with the character’s Body serving as a negative dice pool modifier.
- Motion sensors pick up on movement. They transmit an ultrasonic field, and react to changes in that field when anything enters it. Intruders may detect the ultrasonic field by using an ultrasound sensor set to passive mode within 5 meters. Defeating a motion sensor requires that characters move very slowly through the field, one half-meter oer Combat Turn, and succeeding in an Test. Twitchy, wired-up characters will find this very uncomfortable; apply a negative dice pool modifier equal to their extra Initiative Dice (that is, any dice beyond the first one).
- Capacitance wire, or proximity wire, detects the electrical charge of a metahuman body (or animal) within 2 meters. It is often used around a building’s perimeter fencing, on secure entranceways, or on special objects, and either triggers a regular alarm or switches on security cameras and other measures. For redundancy, it might be used in conjuction with motion sensors.
- Sound detectors and vibration detectors utilize sensitive microphones to pick up sounds/vibrations. They can be programmed with pattern recognition algorithms to ignore some sounds/vibrations, but will easily pick up everything else not fitting within those parameters. Characters attempting to sneak by a known sound detector must succeed at an Test (Silence or Stealth spells can also be used). Some sound detectors may be programmed to trigger an alert only when certain sounds are detected, such as gunshots (perhaps even triangulating the sound’s origin with multiple detectors).
- Security cameras fill a broad spectrum, from the standard visual type to low-light, infrared, and ultraviolet cameras or sensors. Cameras help security personnel maintain a secondary eye on every significant area of traffic when guards are patrolling, and maintain watch when personnel are not in physical or astral proximity. Infrared, also known as thermographic, picks up on body heat signatures (but may be fooled with an Improved Invisibility spell). One security trick is to use surfaces that are refletive on the infrared spectrum on corner areas, so that thermographic cameras can detect intruders from around corners where the cameras themselves cannot be easily seen. Low-light sensors amplify the ambient light in order to produce an image in darkened spots (making the camera harder to spot), but may be overpowered with bright light. Shadowrunners may take advantage of this with flash bang grenades. How well any of these cameras or sensors may be spotted will depend partially on how wel they are hidden. Typically cameras on fixed or pivoting mounts can be easily seen if the characters are looking for them. Smaller micro-cameras have a threshold of 3 to be spotted with a Perception Test. If the camera is hidden, modify the Threshold to spot it applying any appropriate modifiers.
- Olfactory scanners, also known as chemical detection systems or chemsniffers, analyze molecules in the air for nitrogen-rich particles like those given off by explosives or firearm ammunition. To detect explosives or ammunition, roll a dice pool equal to the chemsniffer’s rating against a threshold 2 (3 is the explosives/ammo are hemetically sealed). Apply modifiers as noted on the table below.
- Situation – Modifier
- Every 10 rounds of ammunition +1
- Every grenade +1
- Every 30 grams of (non-plastique) explosive +1
- Every 100 grams of plastique +1
- Item contained in plastic -1
- Olfactory scanners can also be used as pheromone scanners to detect the pheromones that metahuman bodies release into the air. These are uncommon, but can be useful for detecting individuals who have otherwise effectively concealed themselves via technological or magical means from regular security devices. Pheromone scanners are sophisticated enough to tell the difference between a metahuman and an animal and can also pinpoint gender, but are otherwise not advanced enough to single out an individual. In order to pick up a scent, the scanner rolls its Device Rating against a threshold of 3 (2 for characters with tailored pheromone bioware).
- Magnetic anomaly detectors (MADs) detect metallic substabces for the purpose of finding concealed weaponry. Naturally, MADs do not work against non-metallic substances like wood, stone, or plastic. To determine if the detector finds a weapon, make a test using the device’s rating as the dice pool; a single hit detects any ferrous-metal weapons or objects (guns, knives, etc).
- Millimeter wave detecton systems, also known as cyberware scanners, process video taken in the millimeter wave spectrum to identify the energy signature of cyberware and concealed items (specifically weapons) on a person. These devices can “see through” think layers of clothing and other concealment to identify items from a distance of fifteen meters away. To determine if the device scans cyberware or a prohibited item, roll the Device Rating and compare the hits scored to the thresholds given on the Cyberware Scanner table below. Millimeter wave scans can detect any non-biological item by its shape and composition, assuming the item is listed in the device’s database. If the threshold is reached, the scanner detects the item/implant and notes its general locations and type: additional hits provide more detail (function, model, grade, etc).
- ITEM – THRESHOLD
- Standard cyberware, weapons – 1
- Alphaware, other items – 2
- Betaware – 3
- Deltaware – 5+
- SITUATION – THRESHOLD
- 2 or more implants/items +1 dice
- 4 or more implants/items +2 dice
- 6+ implants/items +3 dice
Storyline: Seattle Elections 2069
Gen 3 – 2050
This site is constantly under revision, no blog posts are final as this is a work in progress place for me to develop my game settings and rules. Some posts might be placeholders for future content, so feel free to check back later for updated information.