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Spieler1042266

intergalactic communications

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How do you handle intergalactic communications? The HoloNet is very restricted and controled by the Empire.

 

I want my PCs to be contacted by their employers but this seems pretty hard.

There seems to be an alternative called the Baobab Holonet but there is not very much information about it.

 

Also are there portabable HoloComms?

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There are hyperspace communication devices.  Hyperwave I think it's called.  It's probably easy enough to intercept unencrypted messages sent this way....but if both sides hade some encryption software the message could at least be relatively safe.

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It seems very difficult to find any solid information on how long-range communications happen.  The Wookipedia entry on Hyperwave Transmitter may be what you're looking for, though the information there is sparse in terms of capabilities.  As with many things EotE, the limitations of any communications device should probably depend mostly on the narrative you need at that moment (i.e. if you need an employer to be able to contact your players, you can hand-wave it as "The employer contacts you by hyperwave, riding over the old relay satellite framework.  You didn't even realize that that system was still functional in this part of the galaxy.")

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It seems very difficult to find any solid information on how long-range communications happen.  The Wookipedia entry on Hyperwave Transmitter may be what you're looking for, though the information there is sparse in terms of capabilities.  As with many things EotE, the limitations of any communications device should probably depend mostly on the narrative you need at that moment (i.e. if you need an employer to be able to contact your players, you can hand-wave it as "The employer contacts you by hyperwave, riding over the old relay satellite framework.  You didn't even realize that that system was still functional in this part of the galaxy.")

 

I always like couriers.  It gives the players someone to interact with, and reasons to be hired.

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I don't treat it as much different than what we have today.  Most of the internet traffic between Europe and the US goes through New York and London, so there are controllable bottlenecks, but there are always other routes.  The routers on a galaxy spanning "internet" would be necessarily expensive, what with having to transfer information FTL, so that's a harder bottleneck.  But all the hacking and spoofing and bribing would still be available.

 

In the Clone Wars episode Lethal Trackdown, one of the bounty hunters makes a call from Florum (outer rim) to Coruscant, and it doesn't seem complicated.  So for the most part I treat it as all pretty open.  Sure the Empire can try to clamp down, but they couldn't possibly monitor it all.  Maybe specific planets would get cut off entirely, but it would have to be a concerted effort.  And remember, a lot of that old source material people are referencing was written before there even was an internet.

 

So I wouldn't make it a problem unless it's useful as a plot device.  Eg:  you're stuck on planet so-and-so, and the local rebels decide to get loud, so there an information blackout and ramped up Imperial presence.  Then getting a message out or in is part of the adventure.

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I'm pretty sure the nav beacons serve as the 'phone lines' for the hyperwave communications.

 

Could be some nice adventure plots there.  Tapping beacons for info, reproggraming beacons to lead people off course, stealing beacons, fixing beacons.

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There's plenty of ways brought up in the novels, so they are easy to pull from when you think about it.

 

The Holonet: Yes, it's restricted, but Han and a few smugglers have their own way to get onto the system illegally without being tracked. Also, if memory serves correctly, you have the actual hologram communication of the holonet and the standard voice-only communication.

 

Couriers: This one was already brought up, so I'll move along.

 

Comms: Comms are more close range, but they seem to work on the same principle as their bigger counterparts. There is also a type that is a bit lagged, or messages can be "sent" like our voicemail system.

I think kmanweiss is correct about the nav beacons; if not, there is something similar regarding relays that work in the same function.

 

Written Messages: I remember in the Galaxy of Fear novels there was talk of slicers communicating on boards, so the concept of forum posts and electronic mail is also not unheard of.

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I'd suggest that long distance phone calls are not all that difficult for PCs, using the means above. But anyone who isn't a rebel/criminal/aristo or has similar connections will find it nearly impossible.

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Depending where your game takes place, it wouldn't be too hard to drop in some illegal, underground method of communicating through the holonet. I'm sure the Hutts have figured out some way to use the Holonet without Imperial oversight (to some extent at least). You could even work it into the story, if you wanted: perhaps the players have to use specific relay sites to retrieve or send messages.

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In Star Wars, hyperspace communication is handled by way of the HoloNet, which routes signals across a network of hyperwave transcievers embedded in hyperspace, and satellites in orbit around planets.  After it's inception, the Empire seizes and nationalizes the entire HoloNet, reserving it for official and approved traffic only, even shutting down sections of the network to intentionally hinder unapproved communication.  In practice, the network is essentially reserved for use by the Imperial military, especially the Navy.

 

Since the Empire has legal *and* physical control over the HoloNet, it is *very* uncommon for it to be used for 'extralegal' activities.  Instead, couriers move information from place to place and meetings happen in person, or across encrypted communication links.  Obviously, it is *possible* to use the HoloNet for communication, and because of the sheer volume of transmissions, it is unlikely that *your* call will be monitored, but the use of massive banks of droid brains to do the basic filtering means that it just might be.

 

Many worlds, especially those on the Outer Rim, have never been connected to the HoloNet.  As a result, news travels in fits and spurts, often as news and informational packets uploaded by the Bureau of Ships & Services (BoSS), which are automatically relayed to to BoSS stations upon arrival.  This process is purely voluntary, and anonymous, because BoSS realizes that it is more important to *get* that information out and about than to force it, or even to know who got it there.

 

While the Empire has control over the *official* HoloNet, it is very likely that several smaller shadow networks exist, built out by the more successful criminal enterprises, such as the various Hutt cartels, and Black Sun.  Additionally, it is possible that a number of strategically positioned Hyperwave transmitters have been compromised, allowing those enterprises to secretly route data and calls through the network, with the signals entering and exiting the network at the compromised transmitters, leaving no trace of the sender or recipient in the system.

 

The typical person on the Outer Rim will receive news holos (of varying age) from approved Imperial news services, as well as more 'word of mouth' news through the movement and meeting of spacers from all over the known galaxy.  The odds of such an individual being able to afford the fees to send their own messages over the HoloNet are slim.

Edited by Voice

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In Star Wars, hyperspace communication is handled by way of the HoloNet, which routes signals across a network of hyperwave transcievers embedded in hyperspace, and satellites in orbit around planets.  After it's inception, the Empire seizes and nationalizes the entire HoloNet, reserving it for official and approved traffic only, even shutting down sections of the network to intentionally hinder unapproved communication.  In practice, the network is essentially reserved for use by the Imperial military, especially the Navy. <snip/>

 

You're speaking with a lot of authority here, so I'm wondering what your source is.  If it's some pre-internet WEG product, I'd be inclined to ignore it.

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Since the Empire has legal *and* physical control over the HoloNet, it is *very* uncommon for it to be used for 'extralegal' activities.

In theory, sure, but the Empire is sufficiently corrupt and incompetent that getting access to it isn't hard if you have the connections.

It is the general populace, not criminals like the Black Sun who suffer under the Empire.

The Mafia setting up drug deals happens. People just can't talk to their relatives on distant planets.

Edited by ErikB

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This is answered in depth in the Star Wars Second Edition Revised and Expanded (WEG, 1996) on page 192. For those that lack that awesome tome, here's the basics:

 

The HoloNet: Real-time holographic communication. It's the government controlled internet of the SW universe, and is very expensive for private use (personal or corporate). It is also monitored by the Empire.

 

Hypertransceivers: Satellite networks that boost signals through hyperspace.Real-time commuication lmited to audio/visual transmissions. Cheaper and easier to access than the HoloNet, they are still very expensive for private use (corporations use them frequently, personal use is still rare except among the very wealthy).

 

Subspace Transceivers: Allow FTL audio/visual/hologram communications found in most starships. Limited in range from just a few light years for one in a shuttle or fighter to 100 light years for larger examples found in capital ships. Signals can be relayed from ship to ship to extend overall range at the cost of security and time (unless the vessels involved have previously prepared to relay the signal).

 

Comms, Intercoms, Comlinks: Speed-of-light communications. Nothing too special here.

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This is answered in depth in the Star Wars Second Edition Revised and Expanded (WEG, 1996) on page 192.

 

Okay, but why would that be gospel now?  Personal and private use seems to be not very expensive when seen in actual canon sources.  In any case, Star Wars universe is a work in progress incorporating new storytelling technology, and real world changes.  Not sure if anybody else has noticed this, but before the iPhone, in the prequels and TCW, doing anything involving a machine or communicator involved pressing exactly one button.  Before the iPad, data pads were huge clunky things with tiny screens.  After both, as the seasons of Clone Wars progressed, they added gestures to how the characters interacted with machines and comm devices, and slimmed the gadgets down.  We're doing things now that Lucas never dreamed would exist, and luckily not much of the earlier stories rely on these things, but I'll take more modern canon sources over WEG any day.

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Okay, but why would that be gospel now?  Personal and private use seems to be not very expensive when seen in actual canon sources.

What canon sources?

In the OT, I think we only see Vader talking to the Emperor long distance.

 

Yknow. This bit:-

 

Edited by ErikB

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This is answered in depth in the Star Wars Second Edition Revised and Expanded (WEG, 1996) on page 192.

 

Okay, but why would that be gospel now?  Personal and private use seems to be not very expensive when seen in actual canon sources.  In any case, Star Wars universe is a work in progress incorporating new storytelling technology, and real world changes.  Not sure if anybody else has noticed this, but before the iPhone, in the prequels and TCW, doing anything involving a machine or communicator involved pressing exactly one button.  Before the iPad, data pads were huge clunky things with tiny screens.  After both, as the seasons of Clone Wars progressed, they added gestures to how the characters interacted with machines and comm devices, and slimmed the gadgets down.  We're doing things now that Lucas never dreamed would exist, and luckily not much of the earlier stories rely on these things, but I'll take more modern canon sources over WEG any day.

 

WEG products are still among the best sources for such information. Changing the cosmetics of datapads and such doesn't change the fundamentals of space fantasy FTL communications. In the canon sources, just about everyone using FTL comunications was loaded with credits either personally or through an attached organization (military, corporate, government, crime syndicate, Jedi Order, etc). You never saw Shmi Skywalker phone her boy from Tatooine.

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I like the notion that under the Republic the Holonet was heavily subsidised by the central government. Indeed, the fact that said organisation wasted credits on such frivolous luxuries as universal healthcare and enabling beings to communicate with each other was one of the reasons the people who would become hardline supporters of the New Order wanted to get rid of it.

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I already referenced one above, TCW Lethal Trackdown.

 

The prequels and the Clone Wars are from before the Empire started to restrict access to the Holonet though.

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Yes, my point was about the expense and ubiquity. Certainly during Imperial times it would have been more difficult, but not to the extent the old WEG sourcebooks portrayed. It would have been the backbone of commerce, just as it is in the real world, but something the WEG writers would never have foreseen.

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