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[V5] What are YOUR thoughts on ShreckNet?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
    Vampires represent a threat to the government of every world...
    Yeah it's going to take a lot more than "the Catholic church said so" to convince me greedy, secretive, parasitic sociopaths really pose a sufficient threat to world governments to exterminate them, as opposed to, y'know, elect them.
    Last edited by Theodrim; 10-06-2019, 03:39 PM.

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    • #32
      Originally posted by Theodrim View Post
      Yeah it's going to take a lot more than "the Catholic church said so" to convince me greedy, secretive, parasitic sociopaths really pose a sufficient threat to world governments to exterminate them, as opposed to, y'know, elect them.
      Most politicians would murder their opposition if they legally could and you're asking them to tolerate people actually better at politics than them with no rights?

      You also seem a little focused on the Catholic Church bit.

      The Second Inquisition doesn't work with the Society of Leopold because the latter is some spiritual guru for them, they work with the Society of Leopold because they are objectively 100% right about vampires being evil parasites out to control the world and every test they perform more or less confirms what they know. They are extremely good at hunting vampires and are an entirely disposable/deniable tool to use against them.

      Mind you, there's also the minor detail that magic is real and so are faith-based miracles.

      *Dominate 5* "Kill all the guards."

      *Inquisitor raises cross*

      "HISSSSSSSS!"

      That's going to fuck with some people's assumptions about reality. You know and the fact that vampires refuse scientific classification.

      "I refuse to work with these charlatans! We need data, not superstition!"

      *Society of Leopold theurgist summons angel*

      Like that scene in Big Trouble in Little China

      "Why should I believe you?"

      Last edited by CTPhipps; 10-06-2019, 03:54 PM.


      Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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      • #33
        Realistically speaking it was just WW doing away with all the previous aspects of the game it found unpalatable for the new edition. Let's face it V5 wanted to return to V:tM's roots and did so in an extremely inelegant and brusque way. This is a game of personal horror but Path of Enlightenment simply destroy that approach? Get rid of Paths. The game should be about the fight against your inner monster but it ended up being just Vamps with superpopwers fighting the Apocalypse (without even being Garou!) ? Get rid of Elders via the Beckoning. Humans are not a realistic threat for Vamps? Let the Second Inquisition begin! Vampire organizations are too pervasive and seemingly all powerfull? Weaken the Camarilla and mix things up with their clans at the same time strenghtening the Anarchs. The Sabbat is (usually) unpalatable and ultimately a tinily veiled excuse for murderhobo style games? The Gehenna Crusade is here!
        All these changes were introduced without a well developed process imo. The game designers wanted them to happen and they happened, period. That doesn't mean they cannot be salvaged and turned into interesting plot points down the road though.

        All of that said, the fall of ShreckNet is easy to rationalize. As many people pointed out Nosferatus being the best hackers of the world is what Nosferatus, the clan that's all about information gathering and manipulation, tell about themselves, it's not an hard indisputable fact. Besides technologies evolve faster than ever. Humans have an hard time catching up, vampires, being static creatures, have it even harder and that includes all those Nosferatu neonates embraced during the 90s, who find themselves desperately outmatched by the current competition and struggle to understand the new code or way of programming.

        Do you want a more exciting and conspiratorial explanation? Let's get back to the Week of Nightmares. Ultimately who killed that pesky Ravnos Antedeluvian? That's right, it was the Technocracy, which is by far the most powerful Supernatural Organization in the WoD. It's easy to see how an event like that would have made technocrats everywhere extremely worried. The problem is not just the catastrophically powerful vampire they had to destroy with their worst case scenario equipment. The more pressing matter for technocrats is that a few of such creatures may easily shatter the consensus and with it their hold on reality. For the Technocracy that's LOSING and they haven't worked for centuries for their grand plan being foiled by vampires. So what does the Technocracy do? It prioritizes getting rid of vampires (hematovores, to them, just another kind or reality deviant). They start digging and almost immediately stumble on ShreckNet, as when it comes to technology the Nosferatu's are outmatched on every conceivable front in respect to the Technocracy. The technocrats gather information and leak it to their agents in the Government. Now they are looking, they discover proof of vampiric infiltration and take countermeasures. A few vampiric agents disappear and the Technocracy also discovers there were those who tried for years to tackle them and were discredited in the process. They suddenly get the resources they needed and the Second Inquisition is slowly built. The Lightkeepers use their remaing contacts within the Church (they had them since they were "the Cabal of Pure Thought")and the Society of Leopold is borught in, devoting resources and knowledge. When intelligence gathering is done, ShreckNet comes down and vampire hunting starts, with agents armed with state of the art weaponry (some of which is so advanced it should not exist...). That explains how even powerful elders are brought down and how the Prime Chantry in Vienna is destroyed (imagine the glee of the technocrats discovering what seemed like an Order of Hermes stronghold!). It was a drone strike after all... but the drone was armed with those same spirit nukes used against Ravnos!

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        • #34
          A friend of mine said, "90% of fan problems with the Second Inquisition would go away if they just made it a cover for the Technocracy hunting vampires. The problem is they don't want to do a crossover."


          Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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          • #35
            I'm not suggesting the Technocracy is controlling the Second Inquisition as its puppet. My idea is more nuanced than that, I'm suggesting the Union helped the SI get started, by finding those who were already fighting vampires and making them come together while arming them with intelligence and resources, empowering them and making them able to identify and take down vampires. Ultimately the technocrats are keeping tabs on the SI but they are not running it. If the SI stumbles and gets it they take note and intervene, and that's why the SI is so damn hard even for the Camarilla to deal with.

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            • #36
              Originally posted by Haquim View Post
              I'm not suggesting the Technocracy is controlling the Second Inquisition as its puppet. My idea is more nuanced than that, I'm suggesting the Union helped the SI get started, by finding those who were already fighting vampires and making them come together while arming them with intelligence and resources, empowering them and making them able to identify and take down vampires. Ultimately the technocrats are keeping tabs on the SI but they are not running it. If the SI stumbles and gets it they take note and intervene, and that's why the SI is so damn hard even for the Camarilla to deal with.
              I'm just saying it wouldn't be a bad idea if they were.


              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                A friend of mine said, "90% of fan problems with the Second Inquisition would go away if they just made it a cover for the Technocracy hunting vampires. The problem is they don't want to do a crossover."
                It might resolve some issues and questions, but only by replacing them with an entirely new set of questions and issues.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by GilbyTheFat View Post
                  ...me wondering how everyone sees it.
                  To me it seems like one of the most plausible, even natural, plot developments in the entire WoD. Of course the Nos would start to develop a "secure" and "hidden" network of internet hubs and servers, to suit the needs of Camarilla vampires. It makes perfect sense in terms of human psychology and social dynamics - which is where vampire thinking and behavior starts. And of course the NSA, with its billions in funding, would not only find ShreckNet, but crack it in the years following 9/11.

                  I say this with no irony or sarcasm, it makes total sense and I can utterly believe it.

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                  • #39
                    Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                    A friend of mine said, "90% of fan problems with the Second Inquisition would go away if they just made it a cover for the Technocracy hunting vampires. The problem is they don't want to do a crossover."
                    And for good reason. The game's name is Vampire: The Masquerade. That means the two central players should be vampires and the humans they hide from. The humans don't need some cabal of techno-sorcerers to become dangerous, not with modern tech around.
                    Last edited by Cifer; 10-06-2019, 05:07 PM.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Grumpy RPG Reviews View Post
                      I say this with no irony or sarcasm, it makes total sense and I can utterly believe it.
                      Which is perfectly valid. I didn't pick up any sarcasm or irony myself.

                      I don't actually think the Second Inquisition is a terrible idea; being a fan of espionage and black ops fiction, I quite like the idea of the intelligence community finally cluing in about vamps and deciding they're threats to national security (which, frankly, many of them would look the part). Just some of the other details like the NSA breach and all these rival intelligence agencies cooperating because the Vatican said "vamps are evil, mmmkay" feel like superfluous padding. It would make just as much sense for the war on terror and the rise of surveillance states to eventually lead to intelligence communities realising what lurks in the shadows and fighting back of their own accord.

                      And all the while, the Kindred could simply be mistakenly believing that the Vatican and all these rival intelligence communities are in cahoots. How are they to know any different?

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by Nyrufa View Post
                        Now I don't know anything about the Dark Web, but I believe it's not something that anybody in the world can just go to.
                        Just to get to this specific point:

                        You don't need special software to access the Dark Web.

                        What make the Dark Web "special" is that it isn't indexed to the rest of the Internet. There's no way to find a page on the Dark Web without someone telling you about it/you spying on the right person. Once you have the address of a Dark Web site, you can just type that into the URL bar of any browser (this is not, by any means, a smart idea though). As well, accessing one site in the Dark Web doesn't grant you access to the rest of the Dark Web, only whatever pages are indexed by that site.

                        So there's no way to "stumble" your way into the Dark Web. If you're going to find a Dark Web site, you need to be told about it, or suspect it already exists and then try to get the information to access it.

                        This is one of the reasons why organizations like the NSA want to surveille the crap out of everyone. They're looking for signs that people are using more secure communications based on things like emails, phone calls, texts, etc. so they can take more active efforts to find out what you're up to. If they're tracking you because they think you're a terrorist, and your easily accessed communications have lots of signs that you're using something like Dark Web to hide your activities, they're going to try to hack your computer to get the Dark Web site's URL; at which point it's as easy to break into as any other website (that is completely dependent on the people running it.

                        What you need special software for are VPNs. Unlike the Dark Web, VPNs usually go through the publicly indexed Internet. So it's not that hard to tell a VPN exists. VPNs rely on heavy and rotating encryption, and proxy servers (all that is why they need specialized software) for security. The goal of a VPN is that it takes so long to crack the encryption, the proxy server that was in use is gone, and all the connections to where the information is actually stored severed, and rebuilt in a new place before anyone could break in.

                        Of course, you can stack these two (a lot of film versions of the Dark Web do this without saying so, either out of ignorance or just not wanting to get into all of these details), though how much benefit that has is questionable (esp. compared to the giant target you're painting on yourself should anybody find out about it, because you're screaming, "I'm hiding something really important that's shared with a group of people no less!").

                        -------------------

                        Part of the whole problem with this, is that Information Security is a fairly rapidly changing field of a constant arms race. What was plausible in the 90s when Shreck.net was introduced, what was plausible in the early 00's (when Mitnik got in, though not canon), and what's plausible now are wildly different.

                        So, ultimately, how believable any given scenario for Schreck.net getting breached depends a lot on how much you think the Nosferatu where staying up to date on the InfoSec arms race, and how well they were policing their own; esp. in light of the books not being written by experts and generally are outdated inherently by the fast moving nature of technology.

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                        • #42
                          The Nosferatu thought they were hot shit, and could create a super-secret site that no one could breach.

                          The problem was they didn't take into account that they would have to prevent ever single intrusion, ever. Always. Forever. Because, just one breach would reveal it all to whoever got in.

                          This is, in a world where technology changes so quickly even major companies often are caught with the firewalls down. It's also a world in which rather few Nosferatu reside in timezones between Bangalore and British Columbia.

                          Well, they managed to go a decade or so without a major intrusion. That's more than Target and Citibank can say. They had a good run.

                          Scenario One:

                          Sooner or later one person, in one hacker farm, working for one intelligence agency was going to get through. It could have been the first night Schrecknet went live, or it could have been a hundred years from now. As it turns out, it was 2004. Once they had access, they just copied everything they saw, probably without personally looking at it.

                          I'm guessing it took a few months (at least) before the algorithms sorting through the data flagged it for reading by a human. After all, "al-Queda", "kiddie porn", and "I married a Mexican narcolord and I want to go state's evidence" are all phrases of interest. "The Ventrue prince is an asshole" is not. It probably only got flagged once collateral crimes, like money laundering or kidnapping were mentioned.

                          Scenario Two:

                          The Nosferatu have been actively recruiting hackers for a decade or two. How many did it take to get one who truly, deeply believes that all information wants to be free and who just opens the gates?

                          Scenario Three:

                          The Nosferatu have been actively recruiting hackers for a decade or two. The best of the best. By definition, this is eventually going to mean somebody who worked for an intelligence agency at the time of their embrace. Maybe they didn't enjoy being turned into a hideous monster. Can't think why. They contacted their old co-workers out of sheer spite.

                          Scenario Four:

                          Another clan or faction sold the Nosferatu out. It is entirely believable that a Nosferatu antitribu with Schrecknet access got a little too deep into the vinculum and just called up the NSA with some pass codes.

                          Scenario Five:

                          The Red Question got into Schrecknet through social engineering and turned it over to human intel agencies. Why? They figured if vampires were exposed more humans would support the Anarch governance structure than would support either the Camarilla's feudal fantasies or the Sabbat's horror show.

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                          • #43
                            Originally posted by Heavy Arms View Post

                            So, ultimately, how believable any given scenario for Schreck.net getting breached depends a lot on how much you think the Nosferatu where staying up to date on the InfoSec arms race, and how well they were policing their own; esp. in light of the books not being written by experts and generally are outdated inherently by the fast moving nature of technology.

                            All very educational, thank you!

                            But as for this part, I think the Nosferatu's approach to InfoSec would be treated with the same gravity as the Tremere's approach to Thaumaturgy.

                            Much like the Warlocks, nobody actually wants the Sewer Rats anywhere near them. And yet, they continue to tolerate their presence because they provide a useful (some might even say vital) service to the rest of kindred society. Information Warfare is the one redeemable quality the Nosferatu had, in the eyes of their fellow monsters. So they would be utter fools to not do everything in their power to stay ahead of the curve.

                            Combine this with their constant paranoia of the Niktuku barging in and massacring their Warrens...

                            Cifer "Oh no, we've been hacked by the government. If only we knew how to counter hack them and cover up the Masquerade breach, like we've been doing for decades..." - Joe Everynoss.

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                            • #44
                              Originally posted by Cifer View Post
                              And for good reason. The game's name is Vampire: The Masquerade. That means the two central players should be vampires and the humans they hide from. The humans don't need some cabal of techno-sorcerers to become dangerous, not with modern tech around.
                              Eh, I don't see any reason why mages and vampires can't be at war the same way vampires and Lupines are.


                              Author of Cthulhu Armageddon, I was a Teenage Weredeer, Straight Outta Fangton, Lucifer's Star, and the Supervillainy Saga.

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by CTPhipps View Post
                                Eh, I don't see any reason why mages and vampires can't be at war the same way vampires and Lupines are.
                                I'd say the lupines and the Sabbat already fill the "foaming-at-the-mouth campaign of indiscriminate genocide against all Kindred" quota. Let's leave the Technocracy out of it, shall we?

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