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InSilence

Planning an infiltration arc. Stealth or Piloting?

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Ok, so I'm planning an arc in my campaign where the players are trying to rescue allies that got captured by the Empire. Half the party is meeting with the administrator of the space station in orbit of the prison. The station is split into two sections, one for the IOCI/ISB and the other for the Imperial Military. They're using the approach to the civilian sections as cover to launch a delivery vehicle (think this thing, 'cept IN SPAAAACE!!!!1!1!: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SEAL_Delivery_Vehicle) and sneak the other half of the party over to the navy section.

 

I'm having some trouble as to whether sneaking across the hull of the station would be a Stealth or Piloting check. 

 

-On one hand...it's a space vehicle. Piloting is involved

 

-On the other hand, the piloting aspect isn't the most important part. No real need for fancy flying. The sneaking part is the main issue. 

 

Right now, I'm thinking of making it an assisted Stealth check. The pilot will make the check (He has a 6 in Agility), the spy will donate his 3 in stealth, and the Jedi will donate a Boost (helping spot sensors and what not). 

 

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You could use Skulduggery.  Patience, cleverness, and a fair bit of improvisation seem more important here than a hot hand on the stick or good fieldcraft.  You could add Boost dice to reflect how those abilities might help, but with a slow and ungainly vehicle and little way to avoid detection if they do enter someone's field of view I don't think either of those should be the basis for the check.

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I'd say it's more Computers or Astrogation in combination with Piloting than Stealth.  Keep in mind that modern sensors can see things across multiple spectra and hiding from active scanners (the kind which Space Stations and other places with navigational networks would have) isn't really about being sneaky.  It's more about figuring out where the blind spots are, what version of the system it has, and any weak points in the sensor network.  Combine that with intimate knowledge of stellar phenomena in the area and an argument can be made for finding an open avenue to the station.  Then the pilot would have to -follow- that path...

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It depends on, whether they try to hide in plain sight or out of sight. If these vessels are used regularly for shipments between the two halves, it could be Cool. If they're not and you have to dodge being detected entirely, rather Stealth for staying from view or Computers for scrambling sensors. 

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I think when reading the Stealth skill in the book they leave it pretty open ended intentionally, it's the art of not being noticed, and they don't pin it down with a lot of specifics.

 

I'd just call for a Stealth check and for some good descriptions of people assisting I'd just allow a couple three assist maneuvers to the dice pool.  The Force user clouds the minds of the people reading displays, the Computer guy causes subtle jamming, the pilot 'flies casual' among a group of similar vessels, etc.  Just add those Boost dice into the Stealth check.

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The problem with allowing other skills to constantly be used for what is a pretty clear primary purpose of one skill is that you begin to dilute the point to what is the primary skill imo or even eliminate its applicability.  So if I use Pilot for this, Can I use Streetwise for losing myself in the city?  Can I use Planetary Pilot for the same thing dirt-side?  If not why?  Can I use Survival in place of Stealth in the wilds?  Why not, I was allowed to use Astrogation in place of Stealth in outer space?

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Thanks for the advice guys. I think I've figured out what I'm going to do. I also forgot to mention the Spy has slicer spec as his main talent tree (He also has recruit, but that's less relevant).

 

Lemme just clarify, the stealth delivery vehicle is an experimental unit. It has some ability to trick sensors into believing its a cloud of debris. It works best along the hull of a vessel where only parts of the vessel's sensor arrays can sense it (I have no idea if that's actually how it works, but fudge it). It also comes equipped with a number of tools to assist in breaching a ship's hull and can act like a space-truck for the infiltrators so they can wear lighter space-suits.

 

The core of the encounter will be two Hard Stealth checks. One to move across the IOCI section, the other to attach and infiltrate the hull of the Navy section. Destiny Points allowing, I'll try and upgrade the difficulty on both checks. Failing either one (Highly unlikely, but these players often roll comically overwhelming amounts of advantage and maybe 1 or 2 successes) will result in scout droids deploying to investigate. If they circumvent or deal with the droids, it'll still put the station on alert and add setback to checks for infiltrating the station. Getting ID'd and detected by the droids results in upgrades or increases depending on how the encounters play out.

 

Threat produces debris clouds that can cause strain or wounds/hull trauma. 

 

Despair results in a flyby by some form of space craft that will ruin the players' day (Base Despair = TIEs, Despair + Three or more threat = A VT-49 on patrol). The players then get a chance to use their skills to manage the situation.

 

As for the principles of skill selection, I basically ask myself "What's the big thing here that, if it goes wrong, takes everything with it?" or "Ok, so he succeeded at this, but does that get the job done?" Then I ask myself, "Ok, what, in general terms, seems like the most relevant skill?"

 

In this case, the big deal is: Don't get caught.

 

While I can see the point in Cool; but here's the thing: You succeed. You're flying casually. But you still don't know exactly where you need to fly to keep from popping up on the sensors as a commando team on a space scooter.

 

Same with Astrogation: Ok, you avoid those debris clouds, or spot a nebula that can provide cover from sensors. But you still need to hug close to the hull of the station and avoid view ports and stuff like that. 

 

I actually took a look at the adventure in the back of EoTE where you can use piloting to avoid a sentry droid. It's predicated on knowing the droid's patrol route. While in Onslaught at Arda, you need to use Stealth to avoid a probe droid if you're unable to spot its location.

 

The way I'm looking at it, the Stealth skill comes into play when you don't know specifically what the enemy is using to try and detect, but you do know the techniques for countering those methods and what the trade-offs for employing such evasions entails. 

 

In that case, the closest alternative to Stealth would be the scenario Braendig suggested and if the players suggest trying that, I'll most likely let the slicer roll a Hard Computers. On success, the pilot can make one Hard Piloting (Three or more success = Average difficulty) check with two Setback (owing to the need to stick close to the station's hull) in place of both Stealth checks. Threat adds additional Setback, advantage adds Boost. Failure means spent time and requires the group to rely on general Stealth skills. Failure and threat results in an additional Setback (1 or 2 threat) or an upgrade (three or more) to both Stealth checks as the slicer misreads the data. God help them if the slicer gets a Despair which upgrades the difficulty of the Stealth and/or Piloting checks as the sensor arrays detect the slicer's attempts to scan the sensor frequencies (or whatever technobabble makes sense) and puts the station on alert, while also upgrading the difficulty of checks to infiltrate the interior of the station. 

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Yeah. And my slicer just texted me telling me he can't make it for the session.

 

FML

 

Oh well...there was this cruiser that they thought they escaped. I think I'll use that the basis of the next session.

Edited by InSilence

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