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Tracing the Runner

Sometimes a card will allow us to perform a trace on the Runner. If a card calls for a trace, it is indicated by the term "tracen," where n is the trace limit. If the trace succeeds, the card does something to the Runner, generally something with deterrent effect. When attempting a trace, we compare our trace value to the link value of the Runner. If our trace value equals or exceeds the Runner's link value, our trace is successful. Trace value is determined as follows:

Trace Value: Our trace value starts at 0 for each trace attempt. We can increase our trace value for that attempt by paying bits, 1 for each point of increase in our trace value. Note we pay these bits regardless of whether our trace attempt is successful or not. The most we can spend is the trace limit--that is, n in tracen.

Sometimes a Corporate card will allow the Corporation to perform a trace on you. If the trace succeeds, the card could do something hideous to you, or might just blow up your apartment's electrical system. To evade a trace, you need a card installed that gives you links, which are connection points along your line into the Corp (a lot of links gives you a maze-like trail that's tough to follow). Your link value is the sum of two parts: a base link, and any modifiers to your link. If you can't manage to get your link value above 0, the Corp's trace succeeds automatically, unless its trace somehow ends up less than 0. You calculate your link value as follows:

Link Value: You start each trace attempt with a base link of 0, and no modifiers to your link. For a given trace attempt, you can choose to use one installed base link card. That card will set a new base link value. You can use that card, if applicable, and/or any number of cards that aren't base link cards, to modify your link value further. There is no limit to how much you can spend on modifying your link value, other than what you can afford. Any bits you spend setting your base link or modifying your link value are lost, regardless of whether or not you succeed in evading the Corp's trace attempt.

TRACE ATTEMPT
PROTOCOL - OVERVIEW

1) We and the Runner secretly note how many bits we are spending to establish our trace and link value, respectively.

2) The Runner states which base link card in play, and which cards that aren't base link cards, he or she is using to establish link value.

3) We and the Runner simultaneously reveal how many bits we are spending. We compare our trace value to the Runner's link value. If our trace value equals or exceeds the Runner's link value, the trace is successful.

Let us say that while running one of our data forts, the Runner has the base link card Baedeker's Net Map in play and encounters our ice Homewrecker.

Baedaker's Net Map
Program - Base Link - 1 MU
0: 1 link
1:+1 link
HomewreckerTM
Ice - Sentry - Black Ice - AP - Firestarter
Subroutine: Trace5 - If trace is successful, end run, trash a piece of hardware, and do 2 meat damage. This damage cannot be prevented.

The Runner has no icebreaker that can break Homewrecker, so we attempt a trace. The most we can spend on the trace is 5, because that is our trace limit. We and the Runner simultaneously reveal how much each of us spends during the trace attempt. Let's say we have 4 in our bit pool and decide to spend it all; our trace value is then 4. The Runner, say, spends 3, which increases his or her original link value of 1 by 3, so the Runner has a link value of 4. We both spend these bits secretly and then reveal them. Since our trace value is as large as the Runner's link value, the trace succeeds, and we end the Runner's run, trash a piece of his or her hardware (of our choice), and do 2 meat damage to him or her, which cannot be prevented.

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