I'm playing a Technomancer in a SR4 game and since every other players is bored when I spend more than 5 minutes hacking (which I understand but someone has to gather intel), I decided to give a try to fight stuff. But my kung fu is pretty lame, so I bought the echo Biowire (Unwired p.145):

By acquiring the Biowire echo, the technomancer receives the ability to modulate the neuroelectrical and neuromuscular network of his body such that it can work similarly to a skillwire cyberware system (p. 335, SR4). In game terms, it operates with a rating equal to the submersion grade of the technomancer. In all other regards, it follows the basic rules for skillwire systems. However, since technomancers are unable to process active skillsoft programs, they have to convert them into complex form–like programs to interpret and process them in their “language” by emulation.

Emulation (Unwired p.149):

Technomancers with the Biowire echo can use threading to convert skillsofts (in storage accessible to the technomancer) into complex forms that their neuromuscular system can process. To set up the emulator, the technomancer makes a Threading (skillsoft rating) Test. If the program contains other program ratings, raise the threshold by the number of program options or rating points. If he succeeds, he has converted the program into a complex form. He can now either sustain the program as a normal threaded complex form of the same rating or memorize the skillsoft as a complex form by paying an amount of Karma equal to the rating (+1 for any program option or program option rating).

Another Technomancers' interesting ability is Threading (SR4A P.240)):

Technomancers have the ability to improvise Complex Forms that they do not know on the fly, or increase the rating of a complex form they do know.

Hence the question: if I memorize a SkillSoft as a complex form, can I improve it with threading ? What is its maximum rating ?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Interesting question; it hasn't come up in my game but off-hand I'd say it's permissible to improve a complex form like that with threading. As far as the maximum rating, I believe that SkillSofts have a hard cap, and CF ones would still function with that limit. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 17:20

1 Answer 1


No: You Cannot Thread a Biowire Echo

At the end of the passage you listed for Emulation from pg.149 of Unwired. It is literally the sentence after what you quoted ends. Quote below, emphasis mine

Memorized Complex Forms emulating skillsofts are limited to the rating of the original skillsoft and cannot be improved either by threading or Karma-expenditure.

But let's play Matrix's Advocate

If your GM ignores this, then consider the SkillSoft rules below (SR4-A, pg342)

Activesofts replicate skills that require physical activity, including all Combat, Physical, Social, Technical, and Vehicle skills (but not Magic or Resonance skills). Recording and programming physical skills is more difficult, so Activesofts are limited in rating. Activesofts must be accessed with a skillwire system (p. 342); the rating of the activesoft is limited by the skillwire system’s rating.

Skillwires are a system of neuromuscular controllers placed alongside the body’s natural nervous system to override muscular movement. Skillwire systems allow the use of activesofts (p. 331) with a rating up to the skillwire rating. A skillwire system can handle a number of skillsofts with a total rating equal to its own rating x 2. Changing the current selection of skillsofts takes one Simple Action.

Threading: ...No threaded complex form can have a rating greater than twice the technomancer’s Resonance.

So if you are allowed to thread it, the maximum rating would be the lowest value between your Submersion grade or your Resonance x2

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Well damn, I was answering the exact opposite, but it seems you're right. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 19:12
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ For some reason I don't have that sentence in my book...maybe an errata? \$\endgroup\$
    – user4000
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think I have a second printing for what it's worth, but it's in the Emulation paragraph in the main text of my copy. \$\endgroup\$
    – CatLord
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 19:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have a french version, which is obviously printed several months later and usually get the original erratas, and this sentence isn't in it, neither it is in the digital copy I use to reference it here. It is, though, present in this errata, you may want to add it to your answer. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trajan
    Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 19:40
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ There was a second printing of most SR4 supplement after the 20th anniversary edition, with most erratas implemented \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 26, 2014 at 19:47

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