Does attaching a slave to a target give a bonus to hacking? If so, and the target is also a slave, does it allow to use the defense values of the target and not the masters' values?

During our latest run, we encountered an immobilized Steel Lynx, which, long story short, started to automatically shoot at us (not rigged, not slaved).

Our rigger had a FlySpy nearby, which was not detected by the Lynx. He had the idea to connect the FlySpy to the Lynx to make it easier for the decker to deactivate the Lynx.

Our GM was uncertain if the rules allowed it, and decided to give a bonus for creative problem solving.

(The problem solved itself by legit rapid unplanned disassembly due to faulty explosive ammunition)

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I don't think a combat drone like the Steel Lynx would leave it's universal data connector unprotected. I'd assume it has at least some kind of cover protecting the connector and would notice, if it was removed. Also a FlySpy doesn't have a cable (It's insect sized c'mon) and therefore can't establish a direct connection. Also: A drone can't be a master, and AFAIK you need the owner's permission to slave something to his PAN (Unless you do it illegaly). BTW: You know there is a German shadowrun 5 forum: foren.pegasus.de/foren/forum/283-shadowrun-5 \$\endgroup\$
    – fabian
    May 19, 2015 at 13:19
  • \$\begingroup\$ @fabian In aftersight our plan had multiple faults, like insectsized, bolted cover ect, that is true. That is why the question is more general. We are all beginners, and for example first realised how big a Lynx actually is this run. Thanks for the forum hint, I'll give it a try. \$\endgroup\$
    – JFBM
    May 19, 2015 at 13:24

3 Answers 3


In the instance that you have a drone of yours connect directly to another drone, (ignoring how likely or not the situation may be,) only really provides a "bonus" in the sense that you might not have a penalty. By having a direct connection, it might allow you to bypass some of the Noise rating between you and the drone in question. Primarily, this would only deal with spam and static zones. It could also save you a couple of passes trying to find the Lynx on the network since you don't have to find it on a logical topography.

Nonetheless, an autofiring "stupid" drone might not even have a protocol to protect itself if its only standing orders are essentially spray-and-pray. As a matter of fact, if it's a "dog-brain", the mere attempt to hack into it could cause it to stall out for a moment (pg. 265) if it's not prepared for that as an option. Otherwise it's just standard hacking.


First, one would have to figure out if you can connect yourself through to the hostile drone. Let's take the example you list before you:

Steel Lynx has orders to shoot at anything in the vicinity. The SL is not on a network and is only working off of it's dog brain and it's IFF sensors. Since I doubt that it has an agent or sprite running inside, let's just say it's just a device.

Your first stop is to detect if it's wirelessly capable or not. If it's networked, it might just be controlled or commanded remotely as a lone device. If it's not wireless, then it's operating on a set of instructions given to it before you got there. In case A, you can start hacking the thing no problem. In case B, you have the problem of needing to get close enough to it to plug in a physical cable. So, in case A, just start hacking. You would have to worry about Noise and such, but it's a normal hack into a device you can see on the wireless. At that point, you getting the FlySpy closer to the Lynx isn't going to help your hacking, unless your commlink has SUPER small range or the Noise is so great, you can't cut through it. But, if you can't, I don't know how well your FlySpy will be able to, unless you also had an RCC and were a decker-rigger.

Now, let's assume case B. Here, you have no way to get the cable there yourself. However, if your FlySpy had it's own USB (I'm just gonna call it that, because that's basically what it is) cable and it could use it to find a port on the Lynx successfully, then I would allow a hack to happen through the FlySpy. The decker would have to get permission to put marks onto the rigger's PAN or on the FlySpy itself so the decker could jump to the FlySpy's node and hack that way. However, still understand that the FlySpy is not an authorized device for the Lynx. It doesn't get marks into the system at all. You still need to hack the Lynx. Though, I would consider that your hack is now a direct connect for the purposes of getting around the OS. Since OS only logs illegal activity while you're wirelessly hacking or hacking into a corporation, you get around all of that by being directly plugged into it. Some could argue that the source of the hack is still happening wirelessly, but I contend that the wireless wouldn't have a way of knowing this unless it could deeply read into what's going on, which it wouldn't be set up to do.

This is a case where you have to use as much logical thought about the context of what you're doing to solve the problem. That's basically what I've done above. Of course, people can contend with me about things, but if I'm the story teller and there's no easy definition for this, I go with my logical thinking of this problem, which is how we come to my answer. Shadowrun sometimes has that happen...you just have to roll with what you have as a Player/GM.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Even direct connection attack/sleaze actions should bump your OS. The Matrix rules unfortunately are not logical and full of holes. For example they do not cover how the master-slave relationship is actually formed. \$\endgroup\$
    – Korusef
    May 21, 2015 at 22:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ True...which is why I point out that this situation, like many others, has to be a logical problem the story teller has to think through. You're right that the OS score might still go up. But if neither device was connected to the matrix at the time (you shut down your matrix connection and simply reach out through the drone, which is physically connected to the other drone, which both are off the grid as well) you can make the argument. It was just a thought. \$\endgroup\$ May 22, 2015 at 16:20

Unfortunately, with the current rules, this is not a thing that is possible. There is no instance of having anything but the actual hacking device being closer to the target that offers a bonus in this context, and as a GM I would say that trying to do so would be an instant failure.

If the Decker was close enough, they should have been able to hack it easily enough, providing skill.


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