Use Computer - Access Information

Hello,

I just noticed that the times associated to learn pieces of information using Use Computer are too high. I mean, 8 hours to locate secret information on a computer or network? Compared to d20 modern, it takes just 10 mins in the worst case scenario. I am planning on reducing this times and use the d20 modern ones - general 1 round, specific 2 rounds, private 1 minute, secret 10 minutes. This is for information stored on a computer or small network - if the player has to look for it in a planetarian network, then he/she will have to use the time provided in the corebook. Opinions?

daedel.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

So you're saying that with 10 minutes of work someone should be able to find and download the Death Star plans?  That's the level of security you should be dealing with for finding secret information and I don't think requiring a day to locate it is too much.

You think SAGA's times are too long but I'll go the other way as say d20 modern's times are way to short.  I would assume that finding the information also includes some level of comprehension which just doesn't come that quickly.

Now if the information you seek is actually on the computer you are using I may cut the times in half.  If you have the Gimmick talent I'd also cut the time in half (or maybe even down to a third) as that talent appears to let you get a lot more done on a computer but doesn't really appear to have many game uses. 
Thanks for the reply Steven,

I take your example to explain myself. Let's suppose someone wants to find and download the Death Star plans, and doesn't know where they are. Assuming he's got access to the Holonet whatever the way, of course it will take not one, probably more time to research and finally find out where specifically this data is stored - locate exactly what computer in the Imperial Intelligence network is protecting this information. But let's suppose the slicer is part of the team that infiltrates the facility where this computer is located and got an access to it (for example and if memory doesn't deceive me, what happened in Dark Forces videogame - the first mission). In this case, I find that taking 8 hours to find this information and download into your datapad is ridiculously long - ofc you'll have to beat the computer/network security, which should be extremely tight. But once the attitude of the computer is changed to helpful, I feel that 8 hours is way a long time just for locating and copying the file IMHO.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

Thanks for the reply Steven,

I take your example to explain myself. Let's suppose someone wants to find and download the Death Star plans, and doesn't know where they are. Assuming he's got access to the Holonet whatever the way, of course it will take not one, probably more time to research and finally find out where specifically this data is stored - locate exactly what computer in the Imperial Intelligence network is protecting this information. But let's suppose the slicer is part of the team that infiltrates the facility where this computer is located and got an access to it (for example and if memory doesn't deceive me, what happened in Dark Forces videogame - the first mission). In this case, I find that taking 8 hours to find this information and download into your datapad is ridiculously long - ofc you'll have to beat the computer/network security, which should be extremely tight. But once the attitude of the computer is changed to helpful, I feel that 8 hours is way a long time just for locating and copying the file IMHO.

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

The Death Star plans may not be the best example of "secret" information but I can see where you're coming from.

My thought there is that it may still take eight hour to extract the information but I could see where you find something "interesting" to grab quickly and later see if you can fully access it.  To put it another way you "think" you find something and pick it up but when you finally have the time to really study the information you could find you picked up a fake. 
The Death Star plans may not be the best example of "secret" information but I can see where you're coming from.

My thought there is that it may still take eight hour to extract the information but I could see where you find something "interesting" to grab quickly and later see if you can fully access it.  To put it another way you "think" you find something and pick it up but when you finally have the time to really study the information you could find you picked up a fake. 



Yep, that's the idea I have in mind. Thanks for the comments!

daedel-

IMAGE(http://www.nodiatis.com/pub/19.jpg)

how long does it take for people to hack into programs for real?  a long time.  just breaking codes to make sense of what you are looking at with secret info can take months if not years.  and in game time, who cares if it takes 8 hours?  8 hours is a few seconds for us, but not for our poor characters.

A tangent to accessing information with Use Computer is that it is closely related to Gather Information. With Use Computer's other uses I REALLY wouldn't want to strengthen its ability to access information because I feel that if you do you've basically eliminated a reason to take and use the Gather Information skill.

If we go back to my finding the Death Star plans it would seem to be secret information that requires 8 hours of work and a friendly computer along with a DC 30 check (which the computer can help with) by RAW.  Getting that same information with Gather Information will also require a DC 30 check or higher and it mentions spending 50,000 credits; this takes 1d6 hours of time but also can be detected in you fail the check by 5 points or more.


A tangent to accessing information with Use Computer is that it is closely related to Gather Information. With Use Computer's other uses I REALLY wouldn't want to strengthen its ability to access information because I feel that if you do you've basically eliminated a reason to take and use the Gather Information skill.



Given the nature of gathering information, and the number of applications already folded into the Use Computers skill, one way of resolving this would be to fold Gather Information into the Persuasion skill.
A tangent to accessing information with Use Computer is that it is closely related to Gather Information. With Use Computer's other uses I REALLY wouldn't want to strengthen its ability to access information because I feel that if you do you've basically eliminated a reason to take and use the Gather Information skill.

Given the nature of gathering information, and the number of applications already folded into the Use Computers skill, one way of resolving this would be to fold Gather Information into the Persuasion skill.

Gaining information is another one of those tricky areas to handle in any RPG.  Personally, I think some kind of skill challenge which can use many different skills is possibly the most appropriate way to gain information while working within the game's mechanics.


A tangent to accessing information with Use Computer is that it is closely related to Gather Information. With Use Computer's other uses I REALLY wouldn't want to strengthen its ability to access information because I feel that if you do you've basically eliminated a reason to take and use the Gather Information skill.

Given the nature of gathering information, and the number of applications already folded into the Use Computers skill, one way of resolving this would be to fold Gather Information into the Persuasion skill.

Gaining information is another one of those tricky areas to handle in any RPG.  Personally, I think some kind of skill challenge which can use many different skills is possibly the most appropriate way to gain information while working within the game's mechanics.




True enough, which is even more reason not to make it a separate skill in its own right. Unfortunately, it's one of the handful of skills that got the short end of the stick when SWSE consolidated previous editions' skills.
^+1 

I'm not a fan of the skill b/c its uses are so limited compared to others.  I'd prefer to fold the social version of it (buying people drinks, going to an ... err ... diner with apparently a former intelligence operative for a cook) into Persuasion and the hacking version into Use Computer (requiring access to a Holonet, perhaps to a secured system).
Gaining information is another one of those tricky areas to handle in any RPG.  Personally, I think some kind of skill challenge which can use many different skills is possibly the most appropriate way to gain information while working within the game's mechanics.

True enough, which is even more reason not to make it a separate skill in its own right. Unfortunately, it's one of the handful of skills that got the short end of the stick when SWSE consolidated previous editions' skills.

Sure as a GM I may make this a skill challenge sometimes, but it is important not to steal the thunder from the bountyhunter, spy or scoundrel who may be a specialist on this.
Don't forget that skill challenges was not a part of SAGA at first, so no wonder it was included. I think it may be included as a separate skill so that Persuation is not too powerfull.

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Probably you are looking at different levels of security for the same information depending on where you are trying to get it from. If your slicer is going after the death star plans from the general holonet, that is going to be REALLY hard and probably take much longer than 8 hours, as the plans themselves likely can't be found directly and must be pieced together from other available information. Now if you break into an Imperial Intelligence facility and manage to hook directly into one of their secure terminals - especially with stolen or spoofed credentials, then the information might be a lower level than secret so would take much shorter to get.

Think of it this way, many corporations keep their internal plans protected from internet access, but from their internal intranets, it's wide open for anyone in the company to look at.
Gather information and the credits used to bribe (possibly high ranking officials) is what's used to find the computer that has all the pertinent information.  Gather Information is also used to find out who can get you high security credentials so you can gain access to said computer.  Persuasion is fine but you still need to KNOW who to lie to/bribe etc...

You used persuasion to get the proper security passes,
You used Gather info to find the right data console and know where to locate it(since, maybe, your security clearance is only good for that console)
You use Use Computer to extract the information.

I'd also say that you could reduce times depending on how well you make rolls prior to extraction.  You still might have to spend 8 hours pretending to be an IT technician working on the system in order to get what you came for.  If you have the right security clearance (from your persuasion rolls) then it'll take less time because the computer will be Helpful instead of Hostile.

Sounds like a fun advenuture.   

Gather information is a very useful skill.
As others have probably said, I'd say that the 8 hours was to break stuff like encryption and security codes that might render what you downloaded in a few seconds completely useless electronic gibberish if its not accessed correctly.  Actually downloading stuff, I wouldn't think would require more than a few rounds.  But I see a distinct difference between downloading something and actually accessing it.

"Be careful to choose your enemies well.  Friends don't much matter.  But the choice of enemies is very important."  

- Oscar Wilde

Consider my Slicer build:

Feats: Quick Skill, Gearhead
Talents: Gimmick


Hardly takes any time at all to hack and slash someone's bank account. Coupled with Skill Focus and Flash of Brilliance (Im playing an Arkanian).  I'm the most dangerous person in the group. Not the jedi. And I hardly leave the ship. ;)      
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