Developer Damon Stone Introduces the First Corporate Runner
"Mommy works on the 72nd floor right up there," Sunny said, pointing up at the looming miniarc above them. The Globalsec tower was smack-dab in the Laguna Velasco district, not far from the NAPD. "Mommy works on the Network to keep people safe."
In the upcoming Data and Destiny expansion for Android: Netrunner, three new Runners accompany the host of new identities, agendas, assets, ice, and other cards that arrive to bolster NBN and its many divisions. However, unlike the Runner identities introduced in the game's previous deluxe expansions, the Runners from Data and Destiny stand apart from the game's three Runner factions.
These new Runners introduce their own "wild card" mini-factions, and the expansion jacks each of them into the game's cyberstruggles with nearly all the cards they'll ever receive—enough both to compete and to see their struggles given forms to match their personalities, styles, and motivations.
In our last preview, developer Dan Clark, co-creator of the Android universe, introduced the mysterious Runner known only as "Apex." Today, developer Damon Stone introduces the second Runner from Data and Destiny, Sunny Lebeau (Data and Destiny, 45). A security specialist and the mother of two, Sunny Lebeau is nowhere near as nebulous as Apex, but she's far more layered and nuanced a character.
What Do You Do at Work, Mommy?
"Mommy kicks ass and takes names, sweetie."
The idea behind Sunny was one of the more interesting concepts that we had been kicking around since the earliest days of the game, "What would a corporate runner look like?"
We know that corporations and governments today hire both hackers and crackers. These talented specialists then exercise their skills for the benefit of their employers with far more resources at their disposal than the average rogue operator. Of course, when you take a futuristic world in which cybercrime is a major concern that touches upon every aspect of daily life, there's every reason to believe these sorts of specialists would be even more in demand.
The question is: Can these corporate-sponsored specialists be Runners?
In Android: Netrunner, the principle that differentiates a Runner from a sysop is generally the same one that differentiates the Marine Corps from the United States National Guard—the former is primarily offensive in nature, and the later is primarily defensive. Sunny is a Runner. She does not sit behind a console in a server room waiting to thwart network intrusions as they arise; she invades the networks of the targets her corporation has designated. Then, depending on the type of job, she steals, destroys, or charts her path to the valuable data she accesses.
In Sunny's world, there are bills that must be paid and family members in need of food and clothing. Running provides Sunny and her loved ones a measure of financial security, and and while it might seem that running for a paycheck would be Sunny's primary motivation, the truth is, as always, more complicated. Sunny is a mother of two wonderful children, Frankie and Alexa, and her partner Pat is away on a long haul assignment… to Mars. Sunny is not motivated by the joy of running, it isn’t about the big score, and it isn’t about tearing down the system. What motivates Sunny Lebeau is duty—duty to her children, duty to her partner, and duty to her employer.
Sunny runs so that she and Pat can raise Frankie and Alexa in a safe and secure arcology, with a sense of financial security, and with some of the best education and health benefits that Globalsec can provide. She runs so that Pat won't have to take any more long hauls. These are enough reasons for Sunny to run fast, run far, and run hard… and to crack into targeted systems, she uses some of the best equipment and programs commercially available, along with the full backing and legal support of one of the world's best known security corporations.
At the end of the day, there's also a paycheck… a rather sizable paycheck. The fact that Sunny loves her job? That is just one more perk.
–Damon Stone, LCG® Developer
Playing as Sunny
At first glance, Sunny Lebeau doesn't appear like an imposing hacker. She's a fairly well-groomed woman of average height and build with only a touch of pink on her nails and streaks in her bangs. Likewise, she doesn't come with any of the flashy Runner abilities fans may have expected; she just starts play with two base link.
However, it's this link and what it represents that begin to define Sunny's presence in the game.
Two base link is enough to generate cash with Underworld Contacts (A Study in Static, 69) from the world "go," and it's enough for Sunny to gain free peeks at R&D with her Globalsec Security Clearance (Data and Destiny, 51). Beyond that, two base link is enough to power up all of the game's cloud icebreakers for a grand total of zero Memory Units. That means she derives immediate benefits from breakers like ZU.13 Key Master (What Lies Ahead, 7) and Shiv (The Underway, 66), and it means she has spare MUs for MU-greedy programs like Magnum Opus (Core Set, 44) and Keyhole (True Colors, 61).
As you might then expect, Sunny gains her own cloud-based suite of breakers in Data and Destiny. They're like other cloud breakers in that they cost zero MUs while your link is two or higher. They're different from the other cloud breakers in that they're bigger, badder, and make more boom.
The GS Striker M1 (Data and Destiny, 48), GS Shrike M2 (Data and Destiny, 49), and GS Sherman M3 (Data and Destiny, 50) aren't just some of the most efficient cloud breakers that you'll ever see, they're some of the most efficient commercially available breakers… period. Though they all start at a meager base strength of one, they rise in strength at a ratio of three strength to two credits. Still, it's their interaction with ice subroutines that really shines; each of these breakers can smash through any number of ice subroutines for just two credits.
In other words, if you're playing with The Personal Touch (Core Set, 40) or using your spare MUs to install a trio of Datasuckers (Core Set, 8), you'll be able to match the strength of the ice you face easily enough, and you'll be able to race through ice as terrifying as Komainu (Honor and Profit, 17) and Tsurugi (True Colors, 74) for just a couple of credits. Or if you're worried about the strength of the ice you might face on a key run, you can make use of one of Globalsec's top-quality Security Chips (Data and Destiny, 46) and boost the strength of all your cloud breakers by four.
Of course, if you're playing as Sunny, you might not even need breakers. Sunny's signature console, the Security Nexus (Data and Destiny, 47) allows her to break ice in her own fashion. Effectively, she dares the Corp to tag her. The Corp gets the chance to initiate a free trace attempt with a base strength of five, and if it succeeds, it tags Sunny. But if the Corp fails, Sunny breaks the ice and laughs all the way back to the office where her Rabbit Holes (Core Set, 39), Borrowed Satellites (Creation and Control, 50), and Access to Globalsec (Core Set, 52) not only help her break ice but grant her relative immunity from any Punitive Counterstrike (True Colors, 79).
Time to Get to Work
Another day in the office, another run. The life of Sunny Lebeau may be repetitive, but it's rarely dull. Are you up to the challenges facing a Globalsec security specialist? Utilize Sunny and her resources to take your own shots at Corp security when Data and Destiny arrives at retailers. Until then, keep your eyes open for more Android: Netrunner news, including a look at the bioroid Runner, Adam, by developer Lukas Litzsinger!