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DRYH + Tron = Don't Crash Your Proc

CLAVDIVS

Postmodern Futurist
Validated User
Or maybe "Don't Dump Your Core". I can't decide which I like better.

Spinning this off from my Tron system suggestion thread, since my brainstorming in this direction is starting to get more developed. It was just a passing idea at first, not really worth a new thread, but it feels like it's growing to me. And I hope to draw the attention of experienced DRYH hackers as well as the Tron fans already following the previous thread.

Anyhoo, here's the posts I've made in the previous thread on the topic:

Spoiler: Show
Necroing my thread because, at long last, I've finally gotten around to watching Tron: Legacy. I would say that I liked it; Citizen Kane it ain't, but the eye candy lived up to expectations (dear lord did it), writing and acting were way beyond the original (which is admittedly a low bar), and I even felt like there was some actual world-building going on.

Anyway. The oppressive dystopian tone combined with the technological theme, plus the somewhat Blade Runner-esque feel of the Grid, put me in mind of cyberpunk (not to mention that the whole cyberspace/matrix thing is very Tron-inspired). Remembering a nifty cyberpunk hack I saw once for Don't Rest Your Head, I started wondering what a Tron hack of DRYH would look like...

Possible titles: Don't Crash Your Proc, Don't Dump Your Core.

Discipline becomes Kernel: The core functionality of your program that makes you who you are.

Exhaustion becomes Load: a measure of the system resources taken up by your execution. Your Load talent is your Primary Function: the purpose for which you were created. A program with zero Load is said to be idling; using only enough memory and CPU time to stay active and aware but not do much; while actually performing their function, it's considered normal for programs to carry at least one point of Load. If Load reaches six, you crash: Your process (or proc) halts execution, and your core memory is dumped into your identity disc. After a few cycles, you can be relaunched with zero Load, but you'll have no memory of anything that happened to you since the last time you saved off until you can reconnect to your disc, which can be a problem if the circumstances of your crash led to you being separated from it.

Madness becomes Malware; your Malware talent is something that breaks the rules of the Grid or does something most programs would see as just 'wrong'. But using malicious code means exposing yourself to it; overuse of Malware can lead to an infected kernel, which is extremely difficult to repair. On the other hand, it might just be the only way you have to strike back against the System keeping you down. Malware is like a molotov cocktail or IED: the weapon of a revolutionary... or a terrorist.

Things I'm not sure about: I can't think of a good way to describe or rename the fight or flight responses in Tron terms. I feel like pain dice and coins of despair and hope should be renamed, but I don't know what (I like the idea of calling coins bits, though). And the specifics of crashing and dumping core memory I'm not fully settled on, mainly because I'm fuzzy on what purpose the identity disc should serve: Should a crashed program need to recover their disc once they reappear, or do they reappear from the disc, or what? EDIT: Not sure how to rewrite the questions, either.

I also had some worldbuilding thoughts, but I'm wondering if that should be a separate thread, since this one's about system. Briefly (because I'm getting sleepy), Legacy seemed to imply to me that the "inner life" of programs on the Grid is not actually universal to all computers. Rather, the original Grid on Encom's network was a sort of accidental singularity; maybe the MCP was first, and the phenomenon spread to the rest of the system. The living programs of the Grid are a kind of strong AI, even if they're outgrowths of conventional programs. In contrast, there are the various nonsentient programs that comprise the streets, buildings, vehicles, etc; they're closer to software as we understand it, an program that performs the task it was designed for and no more. In common parlance, though, 'program' refers to the thinking, feeling citizens of the grid, while other software is referred to as 'utilities' or 'apps'.

EDIT: Here's a rough attempt at a character:

MY NAME IS... Ram.
AND I AM... an actuarial program.
WHAT'S BEEN KEEPING ME OVERCLOCKED? Finances aren't adding up. I mention it to my supervisor and he blows it off, saying it's just rounding. We're supposed to be just milking enough money from Kevin Flynn's investments to cover operating costs from Outside, keep the grid running. But there's more going on.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO YOU? System Security just came for me at home. Told my neighbor they just wanted to ask some questions... but why not ask me at work? Clu's up to something; he needs Outside money for something, and they're afraid I know what. So I ran.
WHAT'S ON THE SURFACE? A scrawny little accountant who pushes numbers for a living.
WHAT LIES BENEATH? A relentless hatred towards those who turned my life's work towards evil.
WHAT'S YOUR PATH? Uncover how Clu's stealing that money and what it's for, or derez trying.
RESPONSES: 1 fight, 2 flight.
PRIMARY FUNCTION: Find patterns in numbers and learn their meaning.
MALWARE FUNCTION: Massage the numbers to hide my own actions.
That's gotta be the oddest suggestion I've seen yet... ;) No idea where I'd even get a copy of Torg, though. Out of curiosity, why that system over any of the others suggested upthread? What, in your opinion, did it do right, or makes it suited to this task?

Further thoughts on a DRYH version of Tron: Tempted to use d8's instead of d6's (number of bits in a byte, and all that). Successes would be rolls of 4 or less, rather than 3. Everything else would work the same (except I'd also be tempted to work powers of 2 into everything else, too...).
Further thinkings regarding a campaign:

My initial thought, as shown in my (heh) reboot of the character Ram, is an underground resistance to Clu's rule. This would also tie in nicely with Tron Uprising, I've since realized. But a more mature game using a system like DRYH would be much darker in tone, even though (from what little I've seen of it) Uprising is already kind dark for a kids' show. I'm seeing in my head a Grid version of the G8 protests, programs in hoodies and masks with blue and white lights hurling flaming DoS cocktails at government firewalls, orange-lit "security" forces kettling innocent journalists and bystanders along with the actual demonstrators. Revolutionaries meeting in dark alleys, exchanging public-key passphrases to authenticate to each other before exchanging their latest intel. Jackbooted thugs performing warrantless raids on filesharing clubs. Spambots covering buildings with seditious graffiti ("Flynn lives"). Computer viruses standing in for bioterror.

The only problem is, well, the same one that faces anyone running LotR anytime before the end of the series: Unless you're willing to breat canon, important near-future events are already fixed. Which leads me to consider another possibility: The chaos following the end of Legacy. The struggle for the power vacuum will be nasty, but in all likelihood, most day-to-day operations will continue. Whoever seizes power won't want to alienate the populace, after all; rule one of a coup is to maintain continuity of government at lower levels. But whoever that is, the common program on the street will want to believe that they're better than Clu, or at least about the same... But in reality, they could be be much, much worse.
So I went and banged out a character sheet for the DRYH hack. Lemme know what you think.

EDIT: I played around with some fonts and made a second version. I used Venetia Monitor to make it look like a computer monitor in terminal mode with the visible raster lines; the first one used Lucida Console, which is my go-to fixed-width font in Windows.

Decided to go with Identity as the new name for Discipline, inspired by the significance of identity discs. Fun fact I found while googling: "Identity disc" is actually an official term used for dog tags by some militaries. Seems to date to the 19th century. Guess that's where they got the name for the movie... Kinda implies some dark things about their purpose, donnit?

Looking a bit more at Tron: Uprising, I can definitely see fodder for a campaign there.
Ideas I've been tossing around since then:

On the topic of Malware, it seems to me that one possible consequence of using it should be a virus alert. Grid Security notices that something's happening at that location, but with little detail, akin to a burglar alarm being tripped. Another outcome could possibly be some kind of collateral damage, corrupted software causing unintended consequences, even dangerous ones. If you rolled well enough, you still succeeded, but at a cost... And maybe it wasn't you who paid it. Maybe these two outcomes, Alert and Glitch, could replace the fight or flight reactions.

I still like the idea of calling coins 'bits', but I don't know if I should come up with new names for Despair and Hope, or what they'd be if I did. Since I've renamed all the other dice, I feel like Pain should have a new name, too, but again, what?

Still very tempted by the idea of changing around the dice, but that might be going to far. Still, it's fun to think about. D8's instead of d6's, Identity starting at 4 and Load capping at 8, that kind of thing. Instead, or in addition, I also thought of using Ubiquity dice for the binary 0/1 thing, but I'd have to change how dominance is determined. Low rolls are successes and highest single die determines dominance, thus the 'winning' die is unlikely to be a success, but larger pools of a given type still make dominance more likely. Maybe ones are successes, and the pool with the greatest number of zeroes dominates? Need to figure out tiebreaking rules, too. Again, not committed to this idea, but it has its charm.

Lastly, I'm continuing to dink around with the character sheet. I've got one that I like better, but a) A tried joining the T and the R in 'Tron' like in the logo, but it doesn't look right exported to PDF (I'll probably just have to use an image instead of the font); and b), for some damn reason the second row of Load boxes is ever-so-slightly misaligned after exporting, even though it isn't while looking at it in LibreOffice. Pleh. I'll upload a newer version once I'm happy with it.
 

crimethink

Retired User
I haven't seen Tron since the original but this is really cool! Are they still accepting submissions for "Don't Hack This Game"? If they are you should definitely put in a pitch.

Since, as you say, Fight/Flight would be tied to Malware I'd name them for typical malware actions. So maybe concealment and corruption? There might be a better word for concealment (maybe there's a technical term for hiding viruses?)

Glitch works better as the name for despair, I think. Weird things that start to go wrong and throw the PC's plans into chaos. Not sure what the hope equivalent would be. Hope can be used to reduce Load so maybe there's something there? Extra Resources? Hmm.

Could you work the "Alert" idea into pain? So as the scenario progresses and the character actions raise the alert-level the number of "alert" dice goes up?

I wouldn't mess around with the dice too much. Switching to D8's is a cool idea - I don't think it would change the game in any mechanical way but the match up with bits is cute. Switching to binary dice just seems like too much hassle having to re-work dominance.
 
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CLAVDIVS

Postmodern Futurist
Validated User
I haven't seen Tron since the original but this is really cool! Are they still accepting submissions for "Don't Hack This Game"? If they are you should definitely put in a pitch.
I looked that up, but it's long since closed. It's a commercial product, though, so they couldn't really use this.

Since, as you say, Fight/Flight would be tied to Malware I'd name them for typical malware actions. So maybe concealment and corruption? There might be a better word for concealment (maybe there's a technical term for hiding viruses?)
What you do with the malware is defined by your talent and your narration when draw on those dice. Alert and Glitch, like Fight or Flight, are the consequences you suffer when it backfires.

Glitch works better as the name for despair, I think. Weird things that start to go wrong and throw the PC's plans into chaos. Not sure what the hope equivalent would be. Hope can be used to reduce Load so maybe there's something there? Extra Resources? Hmm.
I dunno. 'Glitch' just doesn't feel right for despair; it doesn't sound harsh enough. And I'm not certain these need to be technical terms, actually, I just feel like they should be thematically appropriate. Forget computers for a second; I'm already calling them bits. What we're talking about here is an underground movement in a police state. What names for hope and despair would work for this?

Could you work the "Alert" idea into pain? So as the scenario progresses and the character actions raise the alert-level the number of "alert" dice goes up?
Pain dice are just a general difficulty rating/opposing force measurement. The enemy at any given time might not necessarily be the State, it could be criminals, other rebels, or any number of inhabitants of the Grid who wouldn't want to (heh) clue in the authorities to what's going down. Makes much more sense as a malware consequence to me.

I wouldn't mess around with the dice too much. Switching to D8's is a cool idea - I don't think it would change the game in any mechanical way but the match up with bits is cute. Switching to binary dice just seems like too much hassle having to re-work dominance.
I've thought about it and you're almost certainly right. I don't have numbers, but by counting failed dice to determine dominance it's probably nigh-impossible for a small pool to dominate, and that should always be a risk even with one die. I am still very tempted to at least switch to d8's, but one of the reasons DRYH uses d6's is that they're easier to find in large numbers and different colors. Eh... an amusing idea but ultimately it sounds like a pain in the ass.

I have some more worldbuilding thoughts but I'm having trouble stringing them together coherently. I'll be back to post them later. In the meantime, here's a new version of the character sheet. (I put a subtle little detail in the bottom corner that I really like, but I might've made it too subtle; it seems to be invisible when viewed in Google Docs. You'll have to download the PDF to see it.)
 

Isenhertz

"For Arthur and Camelot!"
This is off the hip and goes counter to what you have already established, but might it not work better if, instead of "Load as Madness", you instead make it "Load as Pain"? The more "stressful" a task you attempt, the more Load you are going to face -- runtime increases, and the likelihood of bad things goes up as your 'load footprint' goes up in the system. (And when the pool dominates, you're Overloaded, and lose Bits of your process to the MCP...)

For Madness, instead of Load, how about Hack? You can do stuff outside your programm parameters, but only if you are willing to Hack yourself... and if Hacked dice dominate, that segues nicely into Alert or Glitch states, and will result in a Crash if you run out of boxes.

Edit: For Despair and Hope (and again counter to your sugesstion of moving away from computer terms), how about simply + and -? Or 0 and 1, but that may be too neutral.
 
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CLAVDIVS

Postmodern Futurist
Validated User
Actually, Load is Exhaustion. The theme of the trait and its risk/reward system reminded me a lot of the concept of overclocking: the more you push it, the more performance you get from it... but the more you risk burning out completely.

And I'm already doing pretty much what you mention with Madness, I'm just calling it Malware.

Glad to see another poster respond, though, I was starting to worry I was just talking to myself here.

EDIT: As for pain, as I mention above, it's just too general. Anything standing in the PCs' way or opposing them is represented by Pain dice. Tying it too closely to one concept seems too limiting.
 
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lucasthegray

New member
Have you considered System to replace Pain? System is the thing they are opposing, and it is what everything is made of in the Troniverse at some level.
 

CLAVDIVS

Postmodern Futurist
Validated User
Have you considered System to replace Pain? System is the thing they are opposing, and it is what everything is made of in the Troniverse at some level.
Hmm... Tempting. Best alternative I've heard yet.

If I can manage to unplug myself from Skyrim long enough I'll be back with that worldbuilding stuff I've been thinking of.
 

CLAVDIVS

Postmodern Futurist
Validated User
Alright, here's some assorted setting thoughts. Some of this is backed by movie canon, some is just my own extrapolation.

The Grid is unique. No other computer has this "inner life" seen in the movies. The first was an accident, caused by the MCP's emergent AI and near-singularity (he started as a "chess program", but chess is a traditional challenge for AI programming). The virtual environment sprung up from the MCP appropriating the 3D engine created for Space Paranoids, and the various programs developing their own independent thoughts and desires grew out of the MCP becoming in effect the operating system of Encom's servers. The second Grid was a deliberate creation by Flynn, even more sophisticated in part due to being purpose-built rather than an accident.

Programs differ significantly from users. While they have their own minds and a measure of self-determination, they're not just digital people. Our needs are their diversions: They don't need to eat, drink, or sleep, but they do so recreationally (maybe not sleep so much). They're "born" as functional adults (you never see children in the movies) who are at most inexperienced, and are aware of their purpose from that moment. They're have their own interests and desires, but most are happy fulfilling their function and occasionally having a good time with friends; they can even form intimate relationships. Like angels in In Nomine, a program can be happy doing the same thing for (from their perspective) decades or centuries at a time. This is one of the things that makes recruiting for a revolution so difficult: It's not just the same things that keep humans complacent in a police state, but also a reluctance to turn away from their original purpose. But if a program feels that the staus quo is inimicable to their purpose, and especially if the revolution has need for their primary function, many programs will join with far less emotional conflict than humans. If they see it as an even greater opportunity to fulfill their purpose, joining up is often a simple cost-benefit analysis.

"Death" is not necessarily permanent... But at the hands of system security, it often is. Accidental injuries to a program's avatar can occur on the Grid; not all damage is done by a purpose-written software weapon. It's just a consequence of the fact that it's an environment with simulated physics. But I can't buy that Flynn would allow programs to permanently die from accidents when there's simply no reason it would have to happen. Deresolution is a traumatic and frightening experience: execution of the program is completely halted, and has to be relaunched. But re-resolution is usually an option. However, the process of doing so is controlled by the System, so if Clu wants you dead... You stay dead. Programs killed by guards or in the games are often not only derezzed, but their data deleted. Death in the Game Grid is usually instantly permanent, but out in "the wild", permanent deletion often takes time to process. If the program's identity disc can be recovered, and access to a resolution facility (equivalent to a hospital) can be obtained, there might be a chance. Deresolution not at the hands of guards can often be reversed fairly easily, but the System sometimes keeps a close eye on rez facilities for criminals and dissidents, so an off-the-books rerez is often necessary. It's important to remember that Clu does not have complete control over the system. He has considerable privileges, but certain low-level functions just aren't available to him. He can't simply grep for a particular program and kill its process, or delete files currently in use. He, like all other programs, was written to work within the contraints of the simulated environment of the Grid.
 

Isenhertz

"For Arthur and Camelot!"
I keep coming back to this idea, because I love TRON and DYRH, and so I want to run this port at some point.

Particularly, I've been thinking about an alternative to Fight or Flight that keeps the alliteration lost in CLAVDIVS' idea (Alert or Glitch). I quite like Alert and, having recently suffered a BSoD, I was reminded of the old DOS days where the error prompt read "[C]ontinue [R]etry [A]bort?". So there's the other A-word, giving us the Responses Alert or Abort. Does the Program stay on the problem, escalating responses and appropriating system resources to overcome the obstacle, or does it Abort the attempt and seeks a different way?

Thus Glitch is available for use in a different context -- I am particularly fond of using it for Madness instead of Malware, which to me implies an external factor. A Glitch in your programming though... that's something internal. Too bad Glitched programs are not part of the Grid as envisioned by MCP and/or CLU.

For the Questions, I like "What are your Milestones" for "What is your Path". Maybe "What's on the UI?" for Surface (or maybe something referencing your Avatar? Hmm...) and "What's in the Code?" for Beneath.

I like System-as-Pain, and Bits-as-Coins. I still haven't found a better replacement for Hope and Despair than + and - though.
 

Rich H

Owl Be Back!
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I'm going to keep my eye on this as I've always wanted to run a short Tron campaign and have the DRYH rules...

Or maybe "Don't Dump Your Core". I can't decide which I like better.
Also, how about "Don't Mess With Your Zen"?
 
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