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hencook

"Slice Enemy's Systems"

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P237 EotE Core:

"The crewmember uses powerful shipboard computers to attempt to disrupt the systems of an enemy vehicle."

If successful, he either lowers a ship's shields, its weapons, or inflicts system strain.

 

Help me out here, but I can't figure out how this thematically works. If you took control of a ship, wouldn't you want to open the ship airlock and space the enemy pilot? I can think of much better things to do rather than lowering the enemy shields. Make him jump to hyperspace... skip the navcomputer stuff, just jump.

 

I think the only one that makes sense is inflicting system strain, because it represents that perhaps the slicer is overloading the enemy ship with commands. He's not actually successful with taking control of the ship, but let's just say that the Empire's Anti-virus is really cheap and poorly designed, taking way too much CPU power from the ship's systems. If the slicer actually fully slices a ship, I think he'd be allowed to interface with all of the enemy devices, like the airlock for instance, but then again, some of these systems could be isolated from the ship's network. I'm not entirely sure which should be isolated and which shouldn't though...

 

How would you run it?

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I think I'd allow the slicer to open the airlocks, but I'd present additional difficulties in the roll to account for software safeguards to prevent just such a thing.  Or, maybe there have been so many attempts of this nature that there's actual isolation of ships' systems as you mention.  You present interesting food for thought.

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Slicers are excellent in ship battles because they can inflict minor problems for other vessels. It's up to you as the GM as to what you'll allow. Everything makes sense the addition of setback dice, or upgraded dice pools make also be used to implement something. If the slicer wants to open airlocks, maybe add setback dice with success with despairs add additional time (rounds) to the work to do so. Perhaps you can judge the difficulty by ship type, as I'm sure trying to jack the power system of a Star Destroyer is going to be an Impossible task, while that of a thuggish fighter maybe be a Formidable task, or a hard task with setback dice. Just some suggestions...

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The thing I notice is the book says "disrupt the systems of an enemy vehicle" not "take total control of the enemy vehicle."

 

It's a way for a character with a high computers skill to contribute directly. So thematically he's doing all kinds of things, throwing out jamming, overloading the systems by ordering the auto-maintenance scripts to run mid-battle, exploiting safety lockouts and emergency routines, resetting the weapons field of fire safety controls, lowering the landing gear, and just generally throwing everything he's got at the enemy computer system and seeing what sticks.

 

Also notice this isn't solely for space combat, it works on any vehicle. So that roll vs the unarmed landspeeder can still work, the slicer accesses the entertainment system sets it to Gamorrean opera and cranks it up to 11, causing all kinds of difficulty for the occupants.

Edited by Ghostofman

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You're overthinking this.

It's just there to give non-pilot/gunner PCs something to contribute in space combat.

Edited by Dbuntu
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The short answer is yes, if they don't see it coming, however, in combat hull breach is one of the primary concerns automatic damage control would have.  In addition most people probably wear their seat belts.  You are overthinking it though.  A slicer is trying to do that and more, they are trying to bog the system down with so much junk that has to be countered it impairs the performance of the target ship, that's amorphously represented simply as strain overall.

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I'm thinking that wireless slicing is more limited in Star Wars than in real life, the tech is different, less advanced and slower in some areas, while far ahead of ours, and potentially impossible/magical in other areas. I wouldn't let a slicer take complete control of another starship, unless it was slaved to some remote device - as I think is presented in SoF. Although overloading sensors, shields and disrupting anti-grav, parts of life support and stuff like that for a limited time, sure. It's meant to contribute to and be more or less balanced with the more conventional parts of Star Wars starship combat, not a better or superior alternative to gunnery and other options.

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In our game, and I am sure others as well, whatever the PC's can do the NPCs can do too.  With that said, buckle up and hope you don't have to move to another station in the ship.

 

Our Slicer, while he was alive, enjoyed the things he could do to help out in space combat. He asked what would it take to take over a ship completely. Our GM thought about it and said that he would not be able to unless he was aboard the ship itself, and that their would be a myriad of other things to contend with as well. 

Hygric, Joker Two and Jegergryte like this

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This is one of those areas (along with frequent stimpack use) that really feels "not Star Wars" to my group. We don't usually go for remote hacking. OTOH, if the slicer is aboard the enemy vessel and has access to a terminal, then slicing the system seems perfectly reasonable.

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This is one of those areas (along with frequent stimpack use) that really feels "not Star Wars" to my group. We don't usually go for remote hacking. OTOH, if the slicer is aboard the enemy vessel and has access to a terminal, then slicing the system seems perfectly reasonable.

 

If you limit the applications when it's used remotely, along the lines of adding Setback to Gunnery or opposed Piloting checks, it will feel much more like electronic warfare.  Also, I tend to run NPCs with common sense, so airlocks will have manual backup seals, and most of a ship's systems would only be accessible from a difference if it's entire command net was compromised.

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As it was put in a discussion I had with someone, remote access to a ship won't give you the vital things of the system, such as life support and airlocks, as they are equipped with too many failsafes, many of them physical.

 

Now, tricking the system to say there's a problem with one of these systems and causing the crew aboard to panic. . .well, that's another situation entirely :-D

 

 

Mechanically, "Slice Enemy Systems" is there to allow a tech savvy, non-mechanic, non-combatant character something to do during a fight. Most of the options available really consist of the limits that can be done to a ship without dealing with non-programming safeguards.

 

Thematically, there have been many times where a slicer gets access to a ship, but since so much isn't available via wireless, they have to be on board or put something on board to give them access to the more. . .shall we say "important" systems.

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Slicing as it is is pretty effective. I wouldn't go overboard with it.

Someone else had a better way of describing it. Slicing is inflicting something confusing on the enemy, like flashing RF or light at the enemy and it confuses or blinds him. It's also a slicing roll to try and confuse a missile, and the description is quite unlike computer use, ie launching chaff

Remember that the enemy can recover strain quite easily. Even if you shut down (with strain) an enemy fighter, they can attempt to recover that strain quite easily.

Personally, given the way it's described, I'd rather see a hard point allocated for slicing.

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Slicing as it is is pretty effective. I wouldn't go overboard with it.

Someone else had a better way of describing it. Slicing is inflicting something confusing on the enemy, like flashing RF or light at the enemy and it confuses or blinds him. It's also a slicing roll to try and confuse a missile, and the description is quite unlike computer use, ie launching chaff

Remember that the enemy can recover strain quite easily. Even if you shut down (with strain) an enemy fighter, they can attempt to recover that strain quite easily.

Personally, given the way it's described, I'd rather see a hard point allocated for slicing.

Makes sense, a dedicated EW/ECM system.

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As it was put in a discussion I had with someone, remote access to a ship won't give you the vital things of the system, such as life support and airlocks, as they are equipped with too many failsafes, many of them physical.

 

Now, tricking the system to say there's a problem with one of these systems and causing the crew aboard to panic. . .well, that's another situation entirely :-D

 

This.  Want to *really* muck with the crew of that enemy transport?  Convince the computer that there's a hull breach.  Watch as *all* of the ship's air-tight bulkheads slam shut and atmospheric shields come to life.  Now watch as the ship's poor engineer has to *cut* through those bulkheads to get anywhere important, because the ship sure as heck isn't going to just *let* him open them while it's convinced there's a vacuum somewhere on the other side.

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In case anyone is confused here, modern pilot jocks (today, now) are also expert slicers by EOTE standards.

Here's a flare launch in action;

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This.  Want to *really* muck with the crew of that enemy transport?  Convince the computer that there's a hull breach.  Watch as *all* of the ship's air-tight bulkheads slam shut and atmospheric shields come to life.  Now watch as the ship's poor engineer has to *cut* through those bulkheads to get anywhere important, because the ship sure as heck isn't going to just *let* him open them while it's convinced there's a vacuum somewhere on the other side.

It's far simpler than that. Just announce that the entire crew is Gand, and watch them turn blue-ish green. If they survive the ship will smell like cat p*ss for a year.

As an engineer, I can assure you that none of this would ever happen. There is a limit to what you would allow to be under central/hackable control. I used to work at GE and they had a computer that told people what courses to take and when. One day it broke and ordered me to take 208 courses. As much as I enjoyed the Repelling Safety Course I had a hard time understanding why GE needed its programmers to take it.

If it's dangerous it will need someone to directly control it.

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.As much as I enjoyed the Repelling Safety Course I had a hard time understanding why GE needed its programmers to take it.

 

When I was working with a lot of RF stuff in telco they sent me on a field course to climb up a **** 120m tower, mostly as a way of understanding what the field techs contend with and give me a hands on appreciation of the health and safety. Which would have been fun if I was young and fit, but I'm neither of those after being in an office for about a decade... It's more fun dealing with fibre, that stuff's just down in a hole :)

 

Back on topic

They probably should have named it Electronic Warfare and saved everyone a lot of confusion as its not really wardriving to go find some free wifi and as clever as some people may not be, the ships aren't exactly going to be made with a couple of free remote access ports for people to stick their noses into.

That's just pants on head retarded.

What they probably do have though, is a whole heap of 'smart' computers running sensors, comms, shielding and targeting software to assist the pilots and shipboard operators, kind of a droid brain without any smart comments or irritating personality.

 

Overwhelming those with false readings, electronic static and other anomalies would force the ships systems to do things like boost shields, have to change/boost its sensor output to cut through clutter and force the operator of the enemy vehicle to devote time changing your sensor frequencies and tell the ship no, we're not flying through a heavily radioactive part of space or small rocks to stop dumping power into ray/particle shielding etc etc.

 

Essentially, its all those little aids that make a ship able to fly without putting additional 'strain' on the pilot/operator and instead, leverage off the power and AI capabilities of the current technology.

Hacking aka Star Wars Slicing isn't always a romantic data theft of important secrets and making doors go up, doors go down- sometimes its maybe just as annoying as a DDOS mixed in with a Clippy saying 'you appear to be trying to fly, would you like help with that?

Edited by MKX
hencook likes this

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Good for about one or two tricks

 

 

the more subtle the better.  Making the lasers misaligned with the cross-hairs is a good one.

 

But i think it would be very difficult (4 or 5 purple with a couple black) to override the safety systems to allow opening the airlock.  not to mention most fighter pilots in star wars are wearing flight suits in case of decompression

 

 

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By the way, have this thing (remotely slicing a starship) ever appeared in the cannon at any time? In movies, comics or similar?

 

Cheers,

Yepes

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I only remember a few lines about trying to crack military encryption on Empire comm channels when Thrawn visited Coruscant. The Republics encryption team was very busy trying to crack it to be able to listen in on what they were talking with each other during combat.

They failed btw.

Militaries do not want others to listen in.

Mara Jade once manipulated the central computer of the Chimera when she and Luke rescued Karrde. But for that she had to be on the Chimera.

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Yet another example of EU that I choose to ignore. I don't want to see the Rebel version of Echo Mirage used to hack and destroy the Death Stars. If PCs had their way, they'd try it (and probably succeed).

 

 

Some of the EU, I agree, just needs to be ignored... It can create some serious problems with trying to keep the RP 'in perspective'.

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Let's remember that only systems that will benefit or need to be wireless are. Most probably, life support, air lock, etc. are not. In the Heir of the Empire trilogy there is a good explanation on why centralized systems have been banned from ship design (a few sick / mad people sent a whole fleet in hyperspace, and nobody ever saw them again).

Ship in Star wars are very decentralized which explain the big crew requirement and the massive use of droids. So electronic warfare probably exist (Han Solo jam a Tie fighter communication in episode 4), but is probably not all powerful. If you want to play all powerful hacker go for Shadowrun or Cyberpunk. 

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I'd have to agree there is little reason to centralize systems that don't need to be, ie no need to put a door's door knob in the cockpit, it's ok to leave it on the door.  

 

However, I also think the whole concept of EW/ECM is a good thing to add to what a slicer can do in ship combat.  No need for specifics on particular systems hacked, but things like system strain and adding setback dice to targeting are fine.  I also think adding an EW pod to a HP is a good idea for buffing a slicer's chance of doing just that. 

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