“What is human? Is it the biology of homo sapiens? Or is it a state of mental, social, and spiritual existence? Perhaps you are less human than the AI you enslave.”
–Rielle “Kit” Peddler
Who will write the future?
In our last look at Creation and Control, we explored what Haas-Bioroid’s new generation of bioroids might add to the cyberstruggles of Android: Netrunner. With enhancements to its bioroid ice and the development of such upgrades as Tyr’s Hand (Creation and Control, 22), Haas-Bioroid looks to emerge from Creation and Control stronger and more efficient than ever.
Still, they’re not the only faction getting a major boost out of the game’s first deluxe expansion. It also provides plenty of programs, hardware, and other resources to those enigmatic and inscrutable runners known as Shapers. Other Runner factions can make use of the twelve neutral Runner cards (three copies each of four different cards) from Creation and Control, and they can certainly set aside influence to use their favorite new Shaper cards. Still, there’s no denying that the Shapers get the Runners’ best deal out of Creation and Control, and the expansion is bound to send them back to their workshops, set them to work on their rigs, and spur them to theorize about imaginative new approaches to corporate servers.
Creation and Control offers Shapers access to five different events, four new pieces of hardware, and three new resources. Moreover, as the Shapers are the runners most inclined to solve their problems by inventing new software, Creation and Control includes nine new Shaper programs. Finally, it introduces a trio of new Shaper identities, which give players a much greater range of options to explore the faction in the fashion that suits them best.
Today, then, we meet these individuals. Genius, innovative, and eccentric, they’re all capable of harassing any corporation against which they choose to run. The only thing we don’t know is why they started running in the first place.
Rielle “Kit” Peddler
AI activist Rielle “Kit” Peddler seeks to transcend her humanity and guide self-aware artificial intelligences to a new “all-consciousness.” More often than not, she recognizes the ice she encounters on her runs as kindred spirits, playing two sides of the same game. The game is a riddle, and she can solve it. See it as a snapshot of time and space. Remove the origin, remove the trajectory, and all that remains is an opportunity.
As a cyborg, Rielle “Kit” Peddler (Creation and Control, 28) has pushed herself beyond the physical boundaries of basic humanity, and she seeks to make a similar spiritual leap.
As a Runner identity, Kit changes the nature of your encounters with corporate servers. Typically, the Runner must prepare for ice of all three basic varieties – barriers, code gates, and sentries. These differentiations exist because of the different ways that ice are programmed to respond to the threat of invasion. Barriers work to simply stop entry. To bypass them, runners generally need to “jump” higher or smash holes through the codes. Sentries work to chase runners and strike them down, causing harm in the virtual world, or applying tags that allow corporations to respond to runners in the meat world. Runners typically seek to evade sentries, outrunning them, sneaking past them, or luring them away from their posts. Code gates, on the other hand, are like riddles. They change the nature of the server and the run. To bypass them, runners need to solve the riddles. With Kit, however, every server begins with a riddle.
Because she adds the code gate type to the first piece of ice she encounters each turn, Kit finds extra value in any icebreaker capable of breaking code gates. This also means that she excels in the early game, when the Corp is going to be hard-pressed to install or rez more than one layer of ice on any server. Drop a Yog.0 (Core Set, 14), and go! Better yet, Kit can install that Yog.0 on a Dinosaurus (Cyber Exodus, 48), and she’s ready for action. For ten , she can build a simple rig capable of breaking any subroutine on the first piece of ice she faces each turn with a strength of five or less.
Naturally, the Corp will respond by installing and rezzing additional layers of ice. That’s fine. That’s where Kit benefits from the rest of her skills and tools. Cards like Tinkering (Core Set, 37) and Inside Job (Core Set, 21) allow Kit to work her way through loaded servers, and if she gives her Yog.0 The Personal Touch (Core Set, 40), she can keep up with the stronger ice that the Corp is likely to play later in the game.
Eventually, though, if the Corp is able to safeguard its agendas long enough, it will create complex servers that Kit can’t riddle past with just her Yog.0. That’s when she might want to switch gears for a moment and restructure the Corp’s whole game plan. Escher (Creation and Control, 31) might not allow Kit to access any cards or destroy (or even de-rez) any ice, but it can reposition Corporate security measures in such a way that they’ll offer little or no security against her runs in future turns.
The Professor once worked at Levy University, teaching advanced AI and robotics in a laboratory funded by Haas-Bioroid. However, when he discovered files that showed how the corporation intended to make use of the research he and his students were conducting, The Professor sabotaged his work, rendering the data inoperable. In retaliation, Haas-Bioroid flexed its muscles, forcing The Professor off the project, reassigning the funding to one of his rivals, and pressuring the university into loading him with five morning and night courses full of bleary-eyed undergraduates.
As a runner, The Professor (Creation and Control, 29) is all about his extensive expertise and wide range of knowledge. Though The Professor offers only one influence (after being blacklisted by Haas-Bioroid), this limited influence is extremely deceptive. The Professor knows that there is an optimal method of overcoming any obstacle. This is important because his new probationary status at the university means that his time in the AR labs is closely monitored, and he can ill afford to leave any trace of his illicit endeavors. Instead, he must make sure that he stages his moves perfectly, and The Professor intends to find just the right program for just the right moment.
The Professor’s limited influence is deceptive because he ignores the influence cost for the first copy of any program in his deck. While his paltry one influence makes it impossible to run many of the game’s most powerful events and resources, including Emergency Shutdown (Cyber Exodus, 43) and Ice Carver (Core Set, 15), he can include at least one copy of any program in the game. He can choose whichever icebreakers you want; he’ll apply his knowledge of program efficiencies to construct the optimal rig. Some programs are better in the early game. Some programs are better in the late game. It doesn’t matter; The Professor can use them all, adding them to his rig when they’re most effective.
Accordingly, a deck featuring The Professor is likely to include a lot of programs, easily thirty or more, and many of those will appear just once in the deck. Of course, this creates a number of challenges to your card draw. Test Run (Cyber Exodus, 47) can help. So, too, can Self-Modifying Code (Creation and Control, 46). One of The Professor’s favorite pieces of code, this program can overwrite itself with any program from your stack. At first, the two it requires may appear steep, but they offset the unknown number of you’d spend digging through cards. Furthermore, an early Sahasrara (Creation and Control, 47) can nicely offset those two , and it becomes increasingly useful the more programs you play, a point of efficiency that’s quite likely to matter a great deal to The Professor.
Exile is the guy you see hanging out in the corner of the DIY community. Everyone recognizes him, but no one knows his name. He keeps to himself. Some speculate that he’s a former ristie, cast out of the life of luxury for unknown reasons, but those who see him more often are certain that he’s just some self-taught prodigy who grew up on the mean streets of New Angeles and has figured out how to build whole rigs from the spare parts he’s found while sifting through thrift shops and dumpster diving.
A streethawk, Exile (Creation and Control, 30) is the master of the heap. Whenever he installs a program from his heap, he draws a card. This is a talent he has cultivated of necessity. While other runners may reach to their contacts for support, Exile has had to learn how to do things for himself.
In the game, Exile offers many of the same advantages as Chaos Theory (Cyber Exodus, 46), but with a distinctly different feel. Both identities allow players to quickly build their “ideal” rigs. Chaos Theory offers a slimmer deck, meaning that she can cut away some of the chaff. On the other hand, Exile works wonderfully with early card draw, such as that provided by Wyldside (Core Set, 16), Diesel (Core Set, 34), and Quality Time (Humanity’s Shadow, 87). You’ll draw too many cards to hold in your hand, but it won’t matter. They’ll go to your heap, you’ll install them with Test Run or Scavenge (Creation and Control, 34) or a Clone Chip (Creation and Control, 38), and you’ll draw a card.
As an added benefit, Exile rewards your focus on redundancy. If the Corp trashes your programs, you may need a way to play them from your heap, and Exile’s the only Runner identity who rewards you for doing so. This is particularly handy if you’re willing to make a lot of early, exploratory runs without getting your rig into place first. You may suffer net damage, meat damage, or even brain damage. So long as you build sufficient draw and recursion into your deck, along with some cards that may increase your hand size – like Borrowed Satellite (Creation and Control, 50) – Exile can bounce back with the best of them.
A New Breed of Shaper
Creation and Control is on its way, and players will soon gain the opportunity to build decks around these three Shaper identities. Make sure you don’t miss out on the action. Head to your local retailer today to pre-order your copy of Creation and Control!