P H A / L L A
Personalized Holographic Avatar / Laplacian Lattice Architecture
A Blarnfidel Production
with thanks to Edcrab and lonelyahava for writing, content, feedback, and more.
“You’re a fed,” Duentes breathed. “You don’t work for one of the corps. All that crap about buying products and brand loyalty… you’re a G-man. You always have been!”
Mr. Sign shrugged. He dropped the cigarette and crushed it under his expensive Italian heel. “I wouldn’t say I was a departmental employee but… yes, you cracked it, how very well done. I work for the government.”
“You tried to kill me!”
“God, no. No. We just tried to put you off the trail. You’re hard-working, loyal, and intelligent. Well, in matters beyond computing at least. If you’d been born twenty years later, you’d have been a world-class detective.”
“Yeah? Well this is my world.” Duentes waggled his sidearm meaningfully. He’d set it to stun, but non-lethal or not… electrified barbs still hurt like hell.
Sign rolled his eyes. “Isn’t it just.”
“That’s what I’ve been asking from the beginning. Why are you doing this?”
“Let me paint you a picture.” Sign clasped his hands together and smiled. “Imagine if you made a public transport network, set to revolutionise the city. Imagine if a tiny minority had discovered a way to fill up every transport car with their own slovenly fat asses and cheap merchandise while hard-working citizens were turned away at stations because there was no more room. Clogging up our nice clean systems with their shit because they think they have more of a right to it than the average citizen…”
“…or the big businesses that line the government’s pockets?”
Sign laughed. It was a surprisingly deep laugh, harsh and gurgling, at complete odds with his calm, collected speaking manner. “Corporate conspiracy? Again? No, frankly most of the conglomerates are our bitches. We can pass an anti-monopoly law and rip out their hearts. They have to toe the line. They work to keep us happy, and not the other way around.”
“So, stupid metaphors aside, you’re killing people for network security.”
“Oh, think a bit more broadly
for once, Agent. Network security, national security. It’s our infrastructure. The launch was going to change everything for the better. These… goddamned script kiddies run around causing chaos, for money, for fun, just out of sheer evil-minded stubbornness. If we unify the grid, it’ll be an economic golden age. And we can concentrate on stopping foreign cyber attacks instead of rounding up the whining, pathetic little shits fucking us around on our own soil. We’re enforcing the network in order to get back control of the real world.”
“That’s a lot of vitriol. They’re not real hackers, huh? But you are?”
“Please. Fifteen years ago I was scratching at my acne and queuing up to play in the latest Infinite Knives
booth, just like everyone else. But I was never one of them. I never got fun out of screwing up other peoples’ systems. I liked to fix things, modify them. And then see how things turned out.”
Sign lit up another cigarette.
“It has nothing to do with your ‘talent’. It has everything to do with your cause.”
“And the Cyberpimp’s cause wasn’t pure enough. That’s why your people are attacking his people.”
“What?” Mr. Sign looked genuinely aghast. “No, he pays his taxes and his bills. We don’t give a fuck about him. I suspect it was one of the sects who was giving him trouble. They’re giving us all trouble.”
That wasn’t in the script, but Duentes had an excellent poker face.
Sign took a long drag and exhaled a strangely voluminous cloud of smoke. “So what next, Agent? You’re going to take me in? Make everything nice and public?”
“Something like that, yes.”
“Not going to happen.” Sign reached into his jacket.
Duentes pulled the trigger. The gun crumbled in his hand.
The realisation hit him like a freight train to the face.
“Christ, I’m still jacked in...
Sign brought his hand back out… it was holding some sort of symb—
)): and you won’t be able to get out of here unless we let you.
)): So stop pulling triggers and start paying attention.
The world is a dystopian future of our own. Unchecked population and industrial growth have reduced the quality and quantity of habitation and resources. Corporations have catapulted themselves in power to the point that they have extraterritorial rights, contesting national governments on almost equal footing. You spend as little time as possible in this world, instead escaping to the augmented reality system PHA/LLA, aka The Grid.
The grid is an alright place to be, at least for a user like yourself. Your ability gives you power there and the means to exercise it, for legitimate or otherwise purpose. Hackers like you have plenty to see and do, opportunities always there to whip up a stellar avatar for some kid with credits to burn or records with hot paydata to spoof into.
Well, it's not just ability. It also takes some real serious wetware implanted in that head of yours, but it paid for itself in under a year and the memories now lost you're pretty sure are better off that way. Enabling hackers to interface with the system on the level necessary to do what they do better than any other user, it also comes with some risks...
The village represents the hackers of the PHA/LLA grid, those who exercise their ability for fun, profit, or just to make a statement. Directly in opposition to them are the government operatives, sworn to protect the integrity of the grid from those who might cause mischief. The game ends when either all government assets are eliminated, ensuring the freedom of the network for all, or when the government forces equal or outnumber the other players, securing the network from chaotic elements. There may also be others with their own objectives and purposes for being on the PHA/LLA grid.
Besides the standard voting gameplay that will be taking place in this thread, players will have personal pages upon which they will be navigating the PHA/LLA system, collectively known as the grid
. Each game day, or cycle
, players will navigate the grid by moving between nodes
clustered into groups of systems
. Each players’ synchronization to the grid, or sync
for short, can be used to hack into records, interesting targets from which information, money, or programs, collectively known as paydata
, can be extracted. If a player’s sync falls to zero, they’ll be dumped
from the grid for the remainder of the cycle. Besides the locating and hacking into records, players will also be able to purchase and activate macros
, executables that provide special abilities while on the grid. Players are limited by the number of tasks that they can run at a single time and the total number that can be run in a single cycle. Particularly powerful macros will take multiple task or memory slots to run. Wetware
may be purchased to enhance ones’ abilities on the grid, but upgrades do not come cheap.
Each game day, all players get a vote on who to eliminate from the game, indicating that player’s name in bold red, posting "!vote for <player name>
" or similar phrase. You may retract a vote by posting "!retract vote for <player name>
" or similar phrase in bold lime
or change your vote by making another one in bold red
. Votes made against a player in the same system as you are worth 1.5 times a standard vote. (Data trunks do not count as parts of a system, and have no effect on vote strength.) The player with the most votes is eliminated from the game, fractional votes after summing being rounded up. Should there be a tie in the vote, then each player involved in the tie has a random chance of being eliminated, with the condition that at least one person is eliminated.
Voting will close each cycle at 7PM PDT / 9PM CDT / 10PM EDT / 2AM UTC; any actions before the hour (x:59) will count, any actions on the hour and later (x:00) will not.
Sign up with the phrase "I !sign up
" or similar phrase in bold lime
or other bright, easily visible color to ensure that your intent to play is acknowledged.
It is expected that players vote and take their actions each day to be considered sufficiently active. A warning will be sent on the first day that this requirement is not met, and a replacement will be made on the second consecutive day of inactivity or third day of inactivity overall. If there are no replacements available, then the player will be eliminated from the game.
Any questions about the general game rules may be made by highlighting the question in bold orange text
. Answers will be posted in the thread and collected in the below section. Player-specific inquiries that are not addressed in the general rules may be asked via PM to the host. Please note that there may be mechanics or details which will not be answered and kept hidden until the end of the game.
Standard Phalla rules apply: no sharing of host-provided PMs via screenshots and direct quotation. However, information may be shared indirectly, such as through rephrasing. No anonymous contact is allowed. All messages must be traceable to a player in the game.
Players’ personal pages are to be treated in the same manner as role PMs in a standard game. That means no sharing of account URLs and passwords, even between trusted players.
In the spirit of this game being about hacking, any exploits or bugs found should be reported to Infidel for an in-game reward.
Please don't spoil the spirit of a game and fair play, however.
If any players create "proboards" for private communication, please send a link for it to the host.
Questions and Answers
Q: What the hell is going on? I feel like something is missing.
A: We will be updating the OP with more details as the signups progress. Further details will be posted at the start of Day 0; there will hopefully be ample time to digest them before the game starts proper.
Q: Who should I PM for game stuffs?
A: Any mechanical orders, questions, proboards, etc. should be sent to SYSOP
. If there is a question or issue with the pages, contact Infidel
directly. If you wish to pick on MrBlarney
, feel free to flood his inbox.
Q: Are node effects preset, or variable? Are there random effects? If two players enter the same node at the same time, will they experience the same effect? What about on different days?
A: Effects would be variable, and while some things may be generated they will function in a non-random fashion. All movement is simultaneous and effects will not function on a first-come first-served basis anyways. If you are in a node with an effect then you will be affected by it unless you have means to avoid it.
Q: If you use all your Sync you are booted from the Grid. If this happens is your vote till counted? If it is still counted, is "off the Grid" considered it's own system?
A: The game thread is considered to basically be a hacker board on some unknown node, where everyone has access and hides behind their aliases. Even if you're not able to sync to the Grid, you can get on a dumb terminal to read and post and vote. Being offline does not count as a system.
Q: Does being kicked off the Grid due to loss of Sync mean you can't be targeted by macros? (since you're no longer on a targetable system/node)
A: You cannot be targeted by macros off the grid.
Q: If we get booted off The Grid due to low sync do we lose any of the macros/paydata we've collected? Also, how fast does sync regenerate?
A:You do not lose anything if you are dumped. During maintenance cycle, everyone is refreshed a % of sync equal to 20 - (current sync / 5). This applies to those dumped, bringing them back in at 20% and a random hub node.
Q: What happens to someone's credits, macros, and other stuff if they are eliminated?
A: They are lost to the grid. They might show up down the road to an industrious enough hacker picking up the fragments.