The title covers the core question, but there's a lot of clarification necessary:

  • I assume AIs do not get the benefit of Hot Sim, because (1) no +1 benefit to Initiative, (2) no +2 to Matrix tests is explicitly mentioned, while (3) a +3 to Matrix perception is explicitly mentioned. Could a decking AI benefit from either the protections of Cold Sim or the benefits of Hot Sim?
  • I assume that the Inherent programs would not be transferable between the AI and its 'deck, correct? All purchased programs should work whether using the 'deck or hacking as itself, though, right?
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I'd say this is probably the GM's discretion. One thing to note about the traditional decking method is fleshy human->deck, where as AI already exist, at least to a certain extent, in the Matrix. I don't have any written stuff to answer this question from an authoritative source, but I'd typically be cautious about this and likely wouldn't allow it. Long story short, cyberdecks are human-machine interfaces, while AI are already directly in the matrix. Also, purchased programs may or may not work with an AI; they're not exactly off-the-shelf. \$\endgroup\$ Aug 22, 2014 at 15:20

1 Answer 1


After reading your question, if checked the 2 core books in which I suspected the subject might be covered: Unwired (for NPCs AI) and Runner's Companion (for PCs AI).

First of all, I'm guessing you mean commlink (since the tag suggests Shadowrun4, and cyberdeck makes their comeback in Shadowrun5).

Considering the nature of AIs (since they use no body), I'd go against them using gear. There is a ruling in Runner Companion concerning the purchase of programs (Codebase RC89).

Also, with the "Body Electric" section (RC 88- 89), they only have a Matrix Damage Track (so they wouldn't benefit from Cold Sim vs Hot Sim). The damage they can receive is like those of agents.

Considering the nature of the AIs, I'd use the same rules as Agents, ICs and Sprites: "Agents, IC, and sprites have an Initiative equal to Pilot + Response. Because they act at digital speeds, they receive two extra Initiative Passes (three total)." (SR4A p.236)


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