I have a 5th edition Decker with a Hermes Chariot and there seems to be a lot of confusion in my group regarding the necessity of commlinks for characters that already possess a deck (like mine).

My question specifically: if a character has already has a deck, does he or she absolutely need a commlink for communications? What sorts of things does having one but not the other prevent the character from doing? The deck creates the PAN for use with all wireless devices as is, like a commlink, right? True, it may be useful to not put all your eggs in one basket in the event of your deck being bricked but that's the only thing I can think of.

My understanding of the rules from the core book is that if you have a deck, you don't necessarily need a 'link any more (many of the texts in the book refer to commlinks or cyberdecks), but I can't specifically point to a page that says this. If anything, this area of the rules seems vague at best: I can't find an exact excerpt from the core that actually hits this on the head. I would guess that basic communications and slaving devices can all be done using the 'deck, but just double checking with others.



1 Answer 1


So where do you store all of the things you want to keep? Pictures from your Aunt Edna’s wedding, credit information, your SIN, every book and movie you’ve bought, all the programs you might want to run — all of it fits on your commlink (or cyberdeck if you prefer).

and, more importantly:

A cyberdeck — usually just called a deck — is like a commlink with some extra features. It is a bit bigger than a commlink, about the size of a small tablet or a spiral-bound notebook, or a pair of playing card decks. (...) A deck can perform all of the functions of a commlink, but its primary purpose is hacking in the Matrix.

Are these the robots... err, I mean paragraphs you're looking for? (Emphasis mine.)

Find both quotations on p.223., SR5 core.

I think they pretty clearly indicate that you don't need a commlink if you have a cyberdeck. (Of course, the paranoid decker will probably have a commlink as well. Or two. Just for security's sake. But that's another story.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Awesome, thank you so much for your help. This completely answers my question: they must have been the excerpts I read but didn't remember. :) Thanks again! \$\endgroup\$
    – Interrupt
    May 2, 2014 at 19:44

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