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naleax

General Purpose Scanner/Hand Scanner

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Hello everyone,

 

I'm playing a droid character that has a general purpose scanner built in. My GM is giving me 1 boost die to my perception checks because of that. 

 

In the description of the General purpose scanner it gives several uses for the scanner. I'm curious though, how do some of you use the scanner in your own games. If someone is using it do you allow them to detect whatever they happen to be looking for i.e. lifeforms, power sources etc?

 

Naleax

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It depends heavily on the situation in question.

 

I generally don't have it boost perception that's what vision assisting devices like macro/elecro binos are for. What I have the sensor pack for is detecting things that typically can't be seen with a simple perception check. Radiation, motion, EM emissions, and no on.

 

The upside is you can detect the otherwise undetectable, like radiation.

 

The downside is looking for detailed things, like "lifeforms," gets you into the same "best guess" territory as you would with a vehicle mounted sensor. A lifeform scan would just be an extrapolation of scans for Movement, Heat, Sound, and so on. So the scanner will say that is sees what MIGHT be a life form based upon all the things it's able to detect totaled out and compared to a typical life form template to see if it matches...

 

Likewise anti-sensor options, from cloaks and maskers, to the reflec plating on storm commando armor, actually provides bonuses against sensor useage.

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One of my players, who will find and use exploits and loop holes in any game, was using the general purpose scanner as a bit of a cheat and reading waaaaaaaaay too much into the annoyingly open ended description for the thing. The player was using it as away to negate the fact that he had poor perception and vigilance rolls. It was constantly being used in the most aggravating ways, such as keeping a look out for someone sneaking up on another PC, to see into buildings and behind walls, to gain far too much of an insight into what was going on around them. Every single time I called for perception style checks, out came the **** scanner.

In the end I put them in so many situations where the scanner was useless that they gave up using the **** thing. Obviously I allowed it to work enough times to get their credits worth out of it, but the exploiting had to end.

Deactivated droids that wake up when a security thing is triggered aren't detected due to having no power in them. Tracking someone in the multitude of people on Coruscant. Or even trying to find a person in the jungles of Jagomir for Onslaught at Arda I (he just saw a mass of lifeform blips for both those last options).

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I would say that the scanner is only able to penetrate so much before it fails.  Dense forests, Thick concrete walls, etc. may impede the effectiveness of the device.  In military situations it could be logical for opponents to have a passive means for detecting the presence of an active scanner, much like active sonar.  So a player may use the scanner all of the time, but he is also giving away his own position.

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The slicer in my group carries a general purpose scanner and uses it mostly to look for life forms ahead and that sort of thing. The thing you have to remember is to pile on setback dice for difficult conditions and also increase the difficulty based on special circumstances. Scanning for life forms in a jungle is going to show A LOT of life, so filtering out the unimportant ones is the real trick.

 

Personally I think the GPS is a very useful tool and also benefits me as a GM, especially when the players remember to use it for something other than scanning for life forms. Creative uses lets me give them information about a situation that they otherwise wouldn't get, such as using it to find communications frequencies so they can listen in on those (with a separate Computers check) and learn useful things.

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Note that there are many different types of scanners (see <http://swrpg.viluppo.net/equipment/gear/category/12/>), and some of them are specifically designed to scan for lifeforms, etc….

So, a general-purpose scanner might give you one boost die over a limited range, for a variety of different things, but probably wouldn’t give you a great deal of detail (you’d need a different type of scanner for that), wouldn’t have great range (maybe only out to Medium or Long), and wouldn’t give you a huge amount of bonuses. Oh, and a general-purpose scanner isn’t exactly small — see <http://swrpg.viluppo.net/equipment/gear/18/>.

A hand scanner would have considerably reduced range compared to a general-purpose scanner, as well as reduced functionality.

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