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Gigerstreak

Slicing Issue

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In the new Technician guide I was very happy to get the expanded slicing rules. However, one thing really bugs me. 

 

If an intruder gets into a system that has even one security program (and an active slicer defending that system), they are done.  Here is why.

 

Intruder takes an action to disable the security program (usually <D><D><D> or similar). Then they are done.

 

Defender takes an action to activate a security program (<D><D>).

 

Rinse and repeat.  

 

Unless something really exceptional happens, it is down to an easy check every round and that is if there is just ONE security program on that system. It seems... useless?  

 

Does anyone else understand it a different way or is it really as broken as it seems?

Edited by Gigerstreak

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Have more than one Slicer attacking a system and all with the Skilled Slicer Talent.  The ought to be able to get on top of security programs and do what they need to working together.  Just like a whole group shoots at a Rancor to bring it down.  I think they're trying to expand the concept of a whole party doing computer related stuff together, and not just 'Doug the Slicer' doing all the Computer checks for the party.

Edited by 2P51

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Skilled Slicer is all the answer you really need.

But other solutions could be:

Have Minions backing up you PC

Secondary PC's dealing with defence systems while the primary PC does the important stuff (think co-pilots but for slicing)

A Droid companion for your PC.

Create use of Triumph or Destiny Points.

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Could also say that the player can spend 3 Advantage or a Triumph to mask that a security program has been disabled.  But I like the idea of multiple Hackers working at the same time like 2P51 and Richard suggest, whether with minions, droids, or other PCs.

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Could also say that the player can spend 3 Advantage or a Triumph to mask that a security program has been disabled.

 

I wouldn't even require that. If the player says his PC is actively trying to mask the fact that the security program is being disabled (i.e. the video loop technique), then I'll add Setback die on top of the standard Hard difficulty and let him actually use his Setback removal talents.

 

But honestly, an "active defending slicer" situation pretty much calls for an opposed roll. That would be a better representation of what would be going on in such a scene, and a good way to introduce a tech-focused Rival or Nemesis. Not all villains have blasters and lightsabers.

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Thought I would share one of my best RPG experience ever, it relates to slicing:

My Criminal Obligation had been rolled for Cypher my Droid Slicer. Cutting to the exciting bit, it resulted in me being driven in a Speeder Truck by the party's Scout through a roller door on a warehouse that my Nemesis ISB agent was in. The rest of the party where taking care of the droid guards. I was having a Slicing fight with the ISB guy in the form of Competitive Slicing checks. Even though he got away it was the most fun I have had, and the GM did it all on the fly :) but the important part was everyone else was doing things to allow me the time to hack, and the checks where dynamic, with my talents playing a big part.

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Make it an opposed check, makes more sense - at least if the defender knows the intruder is in the system. If not, let the success, advantages and triumphs (and applicable talents) add setback dice, increases and/or upgrades to the defender's check to notice the deactivation of the security program.

 

Although for arguments sake you could say that if there's a defender, security programs may by default be offline and something the defender needs to activate in case of intrusion.

 

Also: team work is a great idea!

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From what i understand, the defender doesn't know what you have done without first using a Trace User command.

So how he would know that your character has shut down the program? He doesn't, anyone could have done it.

You would need to leave your signature behind so you can be linked to that action.

 

So yes, they would battle their dice pools every round, until someone has enough advantages or triumphs to beat the other.

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I appreciate the replies. Teamwork is a good idea, though kind of odd if you think like what a movie would show. In real life Anon would use lots of people working together to do stuff.

Still, I don't think any of this addresses the very real and boring slicing rules where every defending turn is just "activate security program". If it was an opposed check, that would be great. But RAW it is just an average check. It is a ping pong. As a GM I would limit the use of it in order to keep things fun, but honestly what defending slicer wouldn't just lock the system down every turn?

Edited by Gigerstreak

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Still, I don't think any of this addresses the very real and boring slicing rules where every defending turn is just "activate security program". If it was an opposed check, that would be great. But RAW it is just an average check. It is a ping pong. As a GM I would limit the use of it in order to keep things fun, but honestly what defending slicer wouldn't just lock the system down every turn?

The defending slicer who actually wants to find out who this intruder is so that they can alert the authorities/send security to track them down. I mean, look at it from the defender's point of view: Sure, you could just keep reactivating the security program and waiting for the intruder to make a mistake before attempting a trace, but that runs the risk that the intruder will just decide that this is currently too difficult and disconnect to try again at a different time. And now you don't know who was trying to get in and for all you know they might try again when your shift is up and Jim the Dunderhead takes over.

 

So instead you Trace User, because you only need one successful check to find out where they are and force them to move or be captured, or you start compiling their signature so that you can find out where else they've been slicing in (and possibly spook them into disconnecting in the process if you get too close). And once you have their signature, you can kick them out and make it stick.

Edited by Kaigen

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I appreciate the replies. Teamwork is a good idea, though kind of odd if you think like what a movie would show. 

 

Funny enough, the movie Hackers showed exactly this thing.  They basically swarmed the bad guy slicer who was defending the computer systerm (with a few minion helpers.  Penn Jellete!  :D ).  So there is "movie" precedent for this kind of thing.  

 

Still, I don't think any of this addresses the very real and boring slicing rules where every defending turn is just "activate security program". If it was an opposed check, that would be great. But RAW it is just an average check. It is a ping pong. As a GM I would limit the use of it in order to keep things fun, but honestly what defending slicer wouldn't just lock the system down every turn?

 

Oddly enough, Hackers again has an explanation for this.

 

   1. Shutting down the system is just not an option.  It's likely the heart of whatever facility your players are attacking.  Shutting it down shuts down everything.  The automated systems, life support (if it's some medical facility), defenses/security systems, communications, etc.  Shutting it down basically turns the very active and vibrant facility, into a giant, dead durasteel block.    If it's a corporation, shutting down the system would likely send investors scrabbling to sell.  Just look at our current world market. Whenever there is a hint of something negative happening, people start dropping stock like crazy.  To hear that "Yesterday, the entire corporate headquarters for Galactic Adventures Incorporated went down for 5 hours, and all commerce and trade of that company on the global level was halted" would basically kill their business.   So no, shutting it down is just not a good option.  Too much relies on the system staying up and running.

 

2.  Shutting it down wouldn't solve the problem, it would just delay it.   You need to find these pesky slicers and arrest them!  So you need that live connection to back-trace, so you can send the Imperial forces in to arrest them.  

 

3.  The defending slicer is the GOD OF THE SLICING WORLD!!  "You think I'm going to let YOU get the better of me?!  Huh?!  HAHAHAHA  Come on!  Come at me bro!"

 

Yes these clips are cheezy, but they do mostly convey what would be the cinematic reason for not shutting down the system, or having a massive system assault.   Of course, with how Star Wars computers work, it would mean actually getting all those people directly connected, but hey that could be a fun event in itself.  Besides, Star Wars has it's share of over the top villains.   This would just be a Slicer version of the Emperor :D

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wXBe2jTdx4

 

and then

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QZ-ixsxo3Q

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tenor.gif

Okay, question for you guys, as this is the first time I'm getting into a slicing encounter - how many security programs is it reasonable for a computer system to have in place? The Special Mods says that piling the security programs is a taxing proposition for the system - and that's reasonable. Unless you are running an top secret imperial research facility (putting aside systems where you have to retrieve data by playing a claw game like the Scarif data vault) and have system cycles to burn, you cant spend all your resources on firewalls.

Lets say we're talking about a powerful (but still only powerful on a planetary, not a galaxy wide scale) corporation, and the players are hitting it from a secondary access point (instead of sneaking onto the Microsoft campus and hitting the server room, they have access to Bill Gates' house). Does two security programs seems reasonable?

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11 hours ago, Desslok said:

Lets say we're talking about a powerful (but still only powerful on a planetary, not a galaxy wide scale) corporation, and the players are hitting it from a secondary access point (instead of sneaking onto the Microsoft campus and hitting the server room, they have access to Bill Gates' house). Does two security programs seems reasonable?

Let's say I might have a passing interest in this, but we could debate all day.  Is your slicer elite?  What are they trying to get to?  The Right Answer™ in my mind is "what makes this an interesting challenge?" and not following any sort of logic based on real-world scenarios.  I have personally put half a dozen security agents on all nodes in small environment and watched them duke it out, so I agree there are diminishing returns but that in and of itself could be an interesting aspect of the slicing encounter.  On the flip side, I've seen executives force the removal of security tools from their company-issued machines because "they make it too hard to do work" with the implied "and you clowns don't do real work."  So honestly, it could fall wherever you need it for the encounter to be engaging.  My apologies for the non-answer, but I don't know the details about your slicer. 

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On 4/12/2016 at 4:15 AM, Richardbuxton said:

Thought I would share one of my best RPG experience ever, it relates to slicing:

My Criminal Obligation had been rolled for Cypher my Droid Slicer. Cutting to the exciting bit, it resulted in me being driven in a Speeder Truck by the party's Scout through a roller door on a warehouse that my Nemesis ISB agent was in. The rest of the party where taking care of the droid guards. I was having a Slicing fight with the ISB guy in the form of Competitive Slicing checks. Even though he got away it was the most fun I have had, and the GM did it all on the fly :) but the important part was everyone else was doing things to allow me the time to hack, and the checks where dynamic, with my talents playing a big part.

Could you give me a more detailed breakdown of how this scenereo went?

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On 11/2/2018 at 10:59 PM, themensch said:

My apologies for the non-answer, but I don't know the details about your slicer. 

That's okay, because as it turns out I don't know my slicer all that well. The person I thought bought into the slicer tree, the one I was getting set to do massive epic battle with - she doesn't have the tree. At all. She's got a good computer skill, but none of the talents that makes slicing encounters fun.

So all that quickly fell by the wayside. :)

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6 hours ago, Desslok said:

That's okay, because as it turns out I don't know my slicer all that well. The person I thought bought into the slicer tree, the one I was getting set to do massive epic battle with - she doesn't have the tree. At all. She's got a good computer skill, but none of the talents that makes slicing encounters fun.

So all that quickly fell by the wayside. :)

I hope you didn't prep like I prep, then!  "I must know all the things there are to know about this."

 

 

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38 minutes ago, Desslok said:

I can neither confirm nor deny that I spent several hours reading that section of the book. Nothing to see here citizen. Go about your business.

Oh, so you didn't go out and find a bunch of movies and books and manuals and....well, okay, I guess you don't have a problem!

 

 

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