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NerdyVampire

The Classified Server - new high-value antag target

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The Premise

We are the premier research facility for the entire NT corporation, yet our best research room is 2x3 meters accessible by cutting an ID wire? Antags are having a hard time justifying targeting us as a research station at all, since their best bet at playing this out is stealing our research by jamming data disks into the console in R&D and just copying whatever the smarties have managed to do so far.

That doesn't really make sense to me, so I suggest we implement an actual vault-like server room with some actual valueable research hidden inside.

The Mapping

I suggest we either plop down a turret-protected server room on the research sublevels accessible through the maintenance tunnels or near the AI core under command.  It can take inspiration from the vault, but should feature some high-tech decor items (or actual items) to convince the visitor that it is an actual high-value target. The most important object in this room is of course the server console, from which the RD is meant to administrate the contents, and from which the antags can download classified high-value data.

The Research

I imagine that we create a list of ~15 different incriminating research topics and randomly insert 3-4 of those into the server at round start. This could include things such as 'Xenobotanical Bioweapon T22', 'Classified: Anomaly Gamma-Z', 'Toxin research compound solution S22', 'The omni-weapon', 'Skrellian telepathic mapping data', etc. Whatever it makes sense for NT to have (and want to obscure having).

When an antag accesses the console with a research data disk, they can download the data to the disk as normal, but the disk should turn red to indicate its high value (and make it identifiable) and the console should enter an X minutes lockdown period, which challenges the antag to come back again for more.

Closing

All in all I believe this would help alter the game-loop, give antags a better reason for targeting this station whether they are ninjas or traitors, and generally just reinforce our perceived role in the Nanotransen company.

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We're not the premier research station but the like, secondary premier research station 👀 Upsilon is the #1, we're the #2.

But that's besides the point, it still makes absolute sense that we'd be guarding secrets, and we could use stuff for contractors to try to steal too, so yup, just +1. 

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This idea sounds very nice, I support anything that can facilitate more drama, intrigue, and subterfuge. It sounds like a good mixture of fluff and mechanics to further roleplay and motivate antagonists. The Aurora is an important high-security research station and anything that helps tie that fact into gameplay and roleplay is a good thing. It's also a nice reminder that Nanotrasen is shady as hell and that we're all working for an amoral megacorporation that does whatever it wants when no one's looking. Whatever is in that vault should be very serious, very classified, and possibly very illegal data that has implications beyond the Aurora itself and would be considered worth killing for, both to steal and to protect.

Would the Captain, AI, and/or Research Director be knowledgeable of what's contained within this data vault, so that they understand how vitally important it is to keep this vault and its contents safe and secure at any cost? Or would its contents be kept secret even from them?

Would it contain anything other than data? Prototype technology, or mysterious samples, or other physical objects (not necessarily useful ones!) to loot in addition to the data? Having more stuff to steal is fun, but it'd be bad if it overshadowed the top-secret server itself, that should be the primary focus.

And there should definitely be a tool for admins/mods to edit the contents of the server so that they can easily work it into their events and narratives on the fly.

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17 minutes ago, TrainTN said:

Would the Captain, AI, and/or Research Director be knowledgeable of what's contained within this data vault, so that they understand how vitally important it is to keep this vault and its contents safe and secure at any cost? Or would its contents be kept secret even from them?

The AI would likely be able to read the contents of the server, as a measure to ensure integrity. Whether the RD and Captain would have this knowledge is a lore-question I feel. On one hand they are both high-classed and highly-trusted command members, but specifically the RD is not loyalty implanted or such, which is controversial given how deep an insight they are supposed to have into NT goals and priorities. I would leave the question up for debate.

18 minutes ago, TrainTN said:

Would it contain anything other than data? Prototype technology, or mysterious samples, or other physical objects (not necessarily useful ones!) to loot in addition to the data? Having more stuff to steal is fun, but it'd be bad if it overshadowed the top-secret server itself, that should be the primary focus.

Personally I would be thrilled if whoever implements this would add something unique as well, unusable objects are a good idea, as long as they look cool and have some pseudo scientific name! Bluespace Vortex Buffer, Prototype S-44, Anomaly Core sample collection, etc. etc.

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as a professional id cutterer, i agree, some places are super protected by turrets, like vault and the coms wich i dont understand why is one of the most protected place, same with AI, wich limits AI messing with unless one really knows how to get that far, meanwhile on most stations like donut, one has to get past command and a very trafic heavy center point to get to ai and command, that also has some protection around it, same with ai without going overboard, and the turrets can be defeated.

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I +1 this with some other ideas.

The secrets console should be in a bolted room, but no turrets or anything. However, the console should be protected with a bioscanner (fingerprint/retina scan, etc) coded to the RD/Captain. Failing that, a backup password on a crack-card in the safe (you know, those plastic cards you have to break in half to get to the password inside), but breaking it would immediately PDA the RD/Captain/Central (only silent alarm, no public announcement, that would defeat the purpose of a secret server). The console should not be emag-able or wire-hackable, and trying so would send the console into timed/permanent lockdown and send the silent alarm.

This would be excellent target for ling rounds. Or maybe you can try and lift a full print from RD/Cap with a fingerprint kit, or lift...you know...the actual finger/eye. Getting to the backup password shouldn't be that hard (the safe is emag-able), but cracking the card (based on the response of the RD/Captain) would put you on a pretty strict timer to download the data and GTFO before sec arrives. Also, being very secret, there shouldn't be any cameras in the console room, and the AI shouldn't normally know what's behind the magic door, only that it's very important and should be protected against intruders at any cost!

Edited by Playbahnosh
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16 hours ago, Playbahnosh said:

The secrets console should be in a bolted room, but no turrets or anything. However, the console should be protected with a bioscanner (fingerprint/retina scan, etc) coded to the RD/Captain. Failing that, a backup password on a crack-card in the safe (you know, those plastic cards you have to break in half to get to the password inside), but breaking it would immediately PDA the RD/Captain/Central (only silent alarm, no public announcement, that would defeat the purpose of a secret server). The console should not be emag-able or wire-hackable, and trying so would send the console into timed/permanent lockdown and send the silent alarm.

I love that bioscanner idea, it brings a new challenge and really fits the theme of the protected server. I do think the silent alarm thing needs to be a bit.. louder given the security breach. A PDA message is easily lost, but I see what you mean about an announcement not being made. I do believe your choices for the access is good, there is no reason anyone should enter that place without a captain or RD, and it underlines its value for antags.

16 hours ago, Playbahnosh said:

Also, being very secret, there shouldn't be any cameras in the console room, and the AI shouldn't normally know what's behind the magic door, only that it's very important and should be protected against intruders at any cost!

I disagree with keeping the AI out of the loop, what would the reason be? It is already trusted more than most of the crewmembers, has a direct emergency line to central command for when the command is incapable or unauthorized to deal with stuff (like the auth disk) and should be available to answer any of the captains questions. It'd be weird for me to just have a blind spot in the single most important location aside from the nuke.


What I do agree with is that the AI should not be able to interact with the console or read the contents of the server, aside from perhaps the headlines to service the captain. The camera issue should be solved by placing the camera on the same network as telecomms control, which is as far as I know inaccessible to anyone but the AI. In times without the proper command members, the AI should still be able to notice if things are going wrong and take appropriate action (contact CC, inform HoS vaguely, etc.)

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My thinking is, that this is a server full of NT's most secret and very dangerous/illegal research data, and it's only known to the RD and the Captain. Nobody else on the crew knows about it (and very few people in NT at all). On paper, Aurora is just a backwater phoron research station with barely any strategic value. The mere knowledge of a top secret repository's existence would throw hordes of rival corporate spies, pirate raiders and god knows what else at the station. And this is even without RnD doing anything that round, since the server is there at round start, filled with all sorts of valuable/incriminating stuff. This is a prime target for basically any antag role and makes sense lore-wise as well. Nuke Ops could be tweaked to create a different mode: a rival corporate hit squad that has been tipped off about the repository, but even if they manage to breach the station, they'll have to find it first, and then access it, and that's the hard part. Revs will finally have a main goal, and that's to find the incriminating evidence about NT's shady sh*t that's, again, on the server. This could be a new goal for ling and tater as well, maybe the server has revealing information about lings or the Syndicate and they don't need to access it, but destroy the data, hopefully without anyone noticing.

As for the server room itself, having a huge, obvious vault with turrets and glaring warning signs plastered all over is like a beacon for shady elements, that something very valuable is in there worth stealing. But put it in a room that looks like nothing from the outside, and people just walk by without giving it a second thought, might as well be a broom closet or something. That's the beauty of hiding in plain sight. Putting it in a mildly frequented area could up the difficulty of breaking in unnoticed. Unlike the AI core or the vault, someone dressed as an engineer hacking at an unmarked door with a blowtorch wouldn't really raise any suspicion, but it would alert the f*ck out of the RD/Captain if they get wind of it. It would also be a very interesting RP challenge how the RD/Cap would handle trying to defend something nobody else even knows exists.

As for the AI involvement, I would limit it for the same security reasons, and as another difficulty to overcome, but this could be optional I think. The reason is, the AI doesn't have to know what's in the room or why it's ludicrously important to defend and keep it a secret, it just has to protect it. What you don't know you can't spill, so even hacking/forcing the AI wouldn't yield any information about the server or it's contents (even if given a direct order by someone in command), because the AI simply doesn't know, but when pushed/circumvented it could tell it's location and that it's very important to protect (hint hint). 

Edited by Playbahnosh
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26 minutes ago, Flpfs said:

Since the server room would be a secure room and stuff, where would it go?

I imagined the research sublevel or near the AI core, under command. The command section is the logical choice, but I consider that research sublevel may be good for now having it all in the same place.

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25 minutes ago, Playbahnosh said:

having a huge, obvious vault with turrets and glaring warning signs plastered all over is like a beacon for shady elements

Yes, but NT needs to be confident that it's properly defended, so the first antag with meson glasses wont find it and take 4 minutes to deconstruct the reinforced wall. I think we need a bit more security to validate its existence. I can see what you are going for with the secret location thing though, protected by the bioscanner. If it is just regularly hidden in a relatively easily accessible location, then every round someone will happen to walk into it and loudly wonder over comms what it is, don't you think?

I did consider another and pretty cool solution, it becomes a part of the map spawn at an undisclosed location accessible through the command teleporter via beacon. It is never in the exact same place, it can be protected by a triple layer of reinforced wall and still have the things we want it to have.

32 minutes ago, Playbahnosh said:

the AI doesn't have to know what's in the room or why it's ludicrously important to defend and keep it a secret, it just has to protect it.

I'd consider that a detriment to be honest, it cuts more possibilities out than it adds in for roleplay with the AI, as far as I can tell. The AI already knows all relevant secrets on station for the sole purpose of being able to react rationally on behalf of NT. You should remember that it isn't normal or expected for an Intelligence to be hacked at all. But I agree with you that the AI shouldn't have any way to actually help them getting in, except perhaps as with the vault where it can unbolt 1 door, but not actually disable the turrets into it.

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35 minutes ago, NerdyVampire said:

Yes, but NT needs to be confident that it's properly defended, so the first antag with meson glasses wont find it and take 4 minutes to deconstruct the reinforced wall. I think we need a bit more security to validate its existence. I can see what you are going for with the secret location thing though, protected by the bioscanner. If it is just regularly hidden in a relatively easily accessible location, then every round someone will happen to walk into it and loudly wonder over comms what it is, don't you think?

First of all, mesons are no longer a thing (I want my ore visor back you hacks!!!), but if you could see through walls, all the antag would see is a plain room with a terminal in it. It's like the most uninteresting thing ever since almost every room on the station has a terminal in it. And the door will be obviously bolted, maybe with engineering tape on top for good measure, no one's gonna just "randomly waltz in". There are lots of locked and taped doors on the station and no one even spares them a glance, because it must be taped and locked for a reason, maybe it's vented or full of junk, who knows. No one's first thought gonna be "oooh, I bet there is a super secret research server inside". You see, I wouldn't even dream of trying something like this on anything other than a HRP server, where you can at least largely expect people to play by the rules of not knowing stuff IC-ly they are not supposed to. But here, I think this could be really fun.

Also, the bioscanner is only to access the console, not on the door. It would be pretty stupid to have an obvious bioscanner lock next to a "completely uninteresting" room, right? It would also make it way too easy to find the room, since it would be the one with the obvious bioscanner.

I like the idea of the server room being in random locations each round, but being only accessible through the teleporter is a huge overkill. That would disqualify a lot of antags roles and put not-so-experienced players in a possibly impossible situation. However, giving it some thought, I think the construction level could be excellent for this purpose. There could be like 4-5 places the server room could spawn randomly each round, and even realistically it's an excellent place to hide something like this in plain sight, in the middle of piles of condemned, half-vented corridors and rubble.

35 minutes ago, NerdyVampire said:

But I agree with you that the AI shouldn't have any way to actually help them getting in, except perhaps as with the vault where it can unbolt 1 door, but not actually disable the turrets into it.

Quite the contrary, that's the entire reason I want the AI to not know what's inside. Given a direct order, the AI must obey command staff, be the real deal or hacked privileges or lings or tater captain or...you know. I actually want the AI to be able to unbolt and open the door, but since it has no connection to  - or even knowledge about - any research server inside, it won't be able to help unlock it. In certain circumstances someone might even enlist the AI's help in figuring out how to access said data, which would be pretty interesting IMHO. 

Edited by Playbahnosh
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Alright so having read your reply and thinking it over for some time I retract my suggestion to make it random. Cool as it might be, it doesn't make sense from a practical PoV. We should consider that both the Captain and RD are to work with and protect this, if it changes each round we'd have to also spawn a treasure map in the offices, which defeats the purpose.

I still do not agree with the AI thing, you are saying that NT expects the AI to be hacked, and that's kinda on a meta level. I mean, the AI is expected to keep the SAT hidden from even command staff, and if you feel it is against laws to not teæl command when asked, I'd argue its perfectly reasonable to keep the secrets as part of the 'asset protection' law, and simply not answer whoever asks the question. Thats what I do whenever the SAT becomes a problem and no captain is online.. also I send an emergency message.

For those antags that goes the path of subverting the AI, I still believe it will be most enjoyable for all parts of the AI can actually reveal something about the currently held data and the interior of the server room.

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