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tcabril

Computer (or Cogitator) Hacking

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I just finished Scourge the Heretic (by Sandy Mitchell) (Great Book by the way...) and I noticed that the tech priest character (who's name escapes me at this moment) is using the computers and computer interfaces to hack data and create false news reports and all sorts of "cyber punk" stuff and when I look through the skills the closest I can find is that the "Tech Use" skill is the only skill that comes close to being able to do this.

Am I missing something?

I do notice that in many of the Black Library novels (such as the Gaunt's Ghosts, Caiphas Cain and the other Mitchell book "Innocence Proves Nothing" the characters make a better use of technology that the PCs in Dark Heresy seem to be able to.  I understand that storywise it may need to be done to move the plot along but I am trying to figure out why my characters in Dark Heresy can't do all that stuff!

Any and all thought appreciated.

Todd

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tcabril said:

I just finished Scourge the Heretic (by Sandy Mitchell) (Great Book by the way...) and I noticed that the tech priest character (who's name escapes me at this moment) is using the computers and computer interfaces to hack data and create false news reports and all sorts of "cyber punk" stuff and when I look through the skills the closest I can find is that the "Tech Use" skill is the only skill that comes close to being able to do this.

Am I missing something?

I do notice that in many of the Black Library novels (such as the Gaunt's Ghosts, Caiphas Cain and the other Mitchell book "Innocence Proves Nothing" the characters make a better use of technology that the PCs in Dark Heresy seem to be able to.  I understand that storywise it may need to be done to move the plot along but I am trying to figure out why my characters in Dark Heresy can't do all that stuff!

Any and all thought appreciated.

Todd

I see three possible answers.

1. Lack of creativity by the player(s).

2. GM not allowing players to be creative.

3. Being somewhere where this type of activity isn't applicable. 

 

I like to combine skills and allow for other skills to substitute for the overly broad "Tech Use" skill. I might have someone trained in Tech Use use one or two other skills in combination to preform various "hacking" actions instead of the generic Tech Use. I really like combining lore and other lesser used skills to allow for greater achievements than what would be available through Tech Use alone.

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It depends on what the character is trying to accomplish. Gaining access to a datavault? Decrypting a captured dataslate? I would require tech-use as an absolute minimum but a lack of skills such as security or scholastic lore (cryptology) would hurt their chances. They may also need some sort of interface (not a problem for tech-priests) or appropriate tool (e.g, portable cogitator).

The actual roll would be one of those skills, decided by situation and modified by presence of the other skills.

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tcabril said:

I just finished Scourge the Heretic (by Sandy Mitchell) (Great Book by the way...) and I noticed that the tech priest character (who's name escapes me at this moment) is using the computers and computer interfaces to hack data and create false news reports and all sorts of "cyber punk" stuff and when I look through the skills the closest I can find is that the "Tech Use" skill is the only skill that comes close to being able to do this.

Am I missing something?

I do notice that in many of the Black Library novels (such as the Gaunt's Ghosts, Caiphas Cain and the other Mitchell book "Innocence Proves Nothing" the characters make a better use of technology that the PCs in Dark Heresy seem to be able to.  I understand that storywise it may need to be done to move the plot along but I am trying to figure out why my characters in Dark Heresy can't do all that stuff!

Any and all thought appreciated.

Todd

 

A reason why your characters can't or don't do that stuff at all may lay in the fact that they simply don't know they can do such things.

While it's true, as ItsUncertainWho postulated, that the lack of creativity on the players may be to blame, that lack may easily be caused by them operating on the mistaken belief, perhaps not having read Scourge or Innocence happy.gif, that they simply cannot produce such feats in this setting. You can, of course, try to stimulate their creativeness by inserting an easy, "solve or s**tstorm happens" hacking situation and allowing the Tech-Use...er(s) to test his (their) Intelligence (literally) to divine what must be done. They should, probably, quickly pick up on what they can and can't with hacking stuff.

 

As for Tech-Use being the only skill that can do hacking, it's not.

Well, technically, it is, but it really isn't.

As I use it in my campaigns, Tech-Use is simply the practical knowhow - how to activate, use, fix and, occasionally, make things. For instance, I'd only require a Tech-Use test for someone wanting to get a cogitator to do something it's supposed to. However, to make a cogitator do something it's not meant to I'd probably require a Logics test, to figure out how exactly to do it, followed by a Tech Use test to actually implement it. Or an exceedingly difficult Tech Use test, since practical knowledge may be enough to get you where you are wanting to go.
 

For example, at one point during the current campaign, while investigating a mysterious murdering stowaway aboard a ship, the players wanted to know where a specific IDEnt card is used when it is next used. I told them that, since the ship systems did not feature that function, it is not possible unless the constantly check the datalogs them selves. So the Tech Priest asked if he could create a subroutine that would do it for them. Since it's not that difficult of a task for a Tech Priest, I gave him a Routine Logics test to divise the subroutine, Easy Tech-Use test to write the subroutine and a Challenging Tech-Use test to actually implement the routine and soothe it over with the cogitator's machine spirit.

Each of the tests was had a set duration with every degree of success making it take about 10% less. Also, the tests were taken in secret since, a failed test was retriable unless it was failed by 2 or more degrees, which would translate into the Tech Preist thinking he made a good job while, in actuality, doing nothing gran_risa.gif.

Now, if the Tech Preist was in a rush, I would have upped the difficulties. Also, he was only skilled with Logics and Tech-Use, and since he was not pressed for time, were he more skilled with either of them, I would have offered him to waive a test all together for a prolonged duration (where appliable, to avoid unecessary rolling, I tend to use a house rule saying that if you can retry and you have more than 80% [or 90%, depending on what degrees of faliure translate into] chance of success and can take your time it's an automatic success). Lastly, if he, for instance, didn't have the Logics skill to begin with, I would have made the devising and writing the subroutine a single harder Tech Use test.

Oddly enough, the Tech Preist managed to pull it all off on his first try, and in record time gran_risa.gif


Now, I it may seem I'm kinda meticulous but my players love details. Also, this is a situation I actually expected and planned for in advance so it wasn't off the top of my head gran_risa.gif

In any case, as I previously stated, I tend to use several skill tests, those generally being Tech-Use, Logics, Security and/or Common Lore (Tech) (plus any number of other skills, ranging from Cyphers to Scolastic Lore, related to the problem in hand), when ever it comes to hacking, reprograming, rewiring and similar complex actions.

 

Anyhow, hope ay of this helps.

 

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Beliaal said:

A reason why your characters can't or don't do that stuff at all may lay in the fact that they simply don't know they can do such things.

I have never had players assume they can't do something. I usually have to reign them in when it comes to their actions.

I also just realized I didn't include any smileys in my previous post. The first line about players was meant as a tongue-in-cheek comment. I have never had players with a lack of creativity. More often than not they have too much creativity and end up with solutions that surprise me. 

Beliaal wrote a good example of what I was talking about with the combined skill tests. By allowing for lore and other second choice skills to have an impact on what is going on you can help motivate players to diversify more. I find this leads to a better game since people aren't so focused on the combat skills and talents.  

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ItsUncertainWho said:

Beliaal said:

 

A reason why your characters can't or don't do that stuff at all may lay in the fact that they simply don't know they can do such things.

 

 

I have never had players assume they can't do something. I usually have to reign them in when it comes to their actions.

I also just realized I didn't include any smileys in my previous post. The first line about players was meant as a tongue-in-cheek comment. I have never had players with a lack of creativity. More often than not they have too much creativity and end up with solutions that surprise me. 

 

Off Topic

Really? gran_risa.gif
****, some people have all the luck.

 

I thought you were perfectly serious,since my gaming group is somewhat challanged in the practical creativity department. Even in combat.

I could blame it on the fact that they were brought up on fantasy RPG games (mostly D&D), DH being their first venture into 40 k, or for that matter, SF waters. However, I prefere to blame it on their old GM who has a bluntly direct hack'n'slash approach to game mastering. I honestly think that during all of their years of playing, none of them ever thought to pick up a single spell not related to combat directly.bostezo.gif

Funily enough, by their own admission, they enjoy the actual roleplaying and immersive details, so while it took some time for them to get used to my 3 sessions - 1 fight style rather than the 1 session - 30 fights style the were accustomed to ,they have mostly grown out of the "enter tavern, draw sword, roll initiative" hack'n'slash stupor. But it was a slow an arduous task teaching them that It's not possible under these conditions should translate into Can I change the conditions somehow? rather than into It's not possible, period.

But, enough of my frustrations gran_risa.gif

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I have received 10+ page spreadsheets detailing every aspect, and I mean EVERY aspect, and operating expense of a background company a group owned as a cover. Just in case I needed to know when Larry the janitor was due for a raise or when the receptionist was taking maternity leave. I think the player even inventoried the amount of toilet paper they used monthly. 

But it was a slow an arduous task teaching them that It's not possible under these conditions should translate into Can I change the conditions somehow? rather than into It's not possible, period.

Some players do like being on rails. Most of mine, after they get used to it, like being given a vague directive and just going. They come up with something, I adapt and run with it. It can be quite a radical change for some players. 

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Thank you all for your input and I did not take any offense! cool.gif I am sorry that I did not get back sooner.

I like the way you all think in this area - one huge area of contention in our gaming group is how "smart" are those in the Warhammer 40K Universe.  I feel as though mankind is very intelligent but that intelligence is stiffled by the Church.  Others think that everyone is an idiot who just uses stuff but has no idea how it works.

I loved the Scourge the Heretic book and its follow up - as they show that there are those who have intimate knowlege of things but others may be clueless (Vex certainly has a great deal of intelligence while Kiera is not very worldly but is bright in the ways of killing and death...)

Other books (such as the Gaunt's Ghosts books) clearly have people hacking into stuff and doing other techy stuff of an advanced nature so I think that there is some clarity issues.

I think what  throws people off is the idea of the Omnisiah and Machine Spirts - blessing weapons before going into battle and such and how using a computer is sometimes described as Prayer or other such stuff.

Thanks again for your help!

Todd

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Now I've an idea for a backup ascension character. A notorious datathief who plunders cogitator banks much to the ire of the mechanicus and his targets.

Mechanically, he'd be a hiveworld Scum with Reclaimator or Saboteur alternate ranks going into Desperado...or Sage! The latter being a very different take on the near-autistic savant archetype.

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After rereading the tech-use and logics skills in the DH mainbook id say that to "hack" would definitely require both ( tech use to operate the thing in general and the logics clearly states its used to incant the methematical rituals onto the machines memory for operation IE PROGRAMMING...ergo..Hacking )

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