Question - Insight help about - Operative Trick Attack with Hacker Specialization


Rules Questions


I would love some insight or comments about the Operative skill Trick Attack with Hacker Specialization. pg 94 main rule book.

"You can attempt a Computers check with a +4 bonus to make a trick attack by creating a computerized distraction. ( you cannot use this option if stripped of all computerized gear in an area with no computers)"

I myself and a player are drawing a blank on what a "computerized distraction" would be. Does anyone have some examples or ideas of good computerized distractions that can be used or created? We are having idea trouble, and drawing a blank about this.

Also-
We have similar question about - Detective Specialization too. "... to make a trick attack by reading your foe"

Does anyone have suggestions about what reading your foe options would be? We are trying to have a effect or option that we can describe, much like what a computerized distraction would be. We have good ideas for much of the other trick attack specializations. But in regards to Detective and Hacker we are drawing blanks.

Thank you everyone! We appreciate any comments.


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Detective is easy, it's the early fight scene in the recent Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr.

A computerized distraction would be forcing them to throw out loud noises, bright flashes, or disturbing displays or holograms.

Scarab Sages

Any kind of mechanical or computerized glitch. Maybe you trigger an alarm to distract you target. Maybe you cause an ad to pop up on his HUD. Maybe you cause his comlink to play "Never Gonna Give You Up".

Just any line of distracting cyberattack that would annoy someone enough to make them vulnerable to an attack while they're distracted.


Thank you very much for your responses! It helps a lot!


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Make their cellphone ring, set off an alarm, make a billboard shout their name, load weird vesk memes onto their cybereye, make the ammo readout on their gun say 80085, make a hologram appear in their peripheral vision, play dubstep through their earpiece, call their mom from their phone, make their prosthetics tickle, shine a spotlight in their face, delete their Shirren Smash Saga high score, give their phone number to Eoxian spammers ("Sell your body for credits! Our operators don't need to sleep, so call now!"), if they're an android you could make them drop their guard.


For Detective, just imagine Ace Ventura as a skilled assassin.

For Hacker, imagine you're gearing up for a fight when the car behind you starts belting out its alarm.


followup question. After the trick attack, the operative does the 1d4 dmg, and the target is flatfooted. How long does that flat footed last? For clarity, is it for the operatives attack? Or is it until the operatives next turn?

Scarab Sages

Lazzari wrote:
followup question. After the trick attack, the operative does the 1d4 dmg, and the target is flatfooted. How long does that flat footed last? For clarity, is it for the operatives attack? Or is it until the operatives next turn?

Only for the single attack roll, unless they have debilitating trick.

Dark Archive

I actually had the same original question asking about clarification for the operative hack trick, but my main question is when can it be done? What does it mean "you cannot use this option if stripped of all computerized gear in an area with no computers". Also does it require the hacker to be at one of the computers the be able to do his trick?


It means that as long as you have a computer on you or your target has a computer on you, or there is a computer in the place you are fighting, you can trick attack.


Hi, I have a follow-up question:

Doesn't the hacker trick attack flavour suggest, in practice, that the operative is performing a hack at a distance? As in, making a nearby display flash and using it as a distraction, for example.

Doesn't that create a problem with how hacking works? I thought that ONLY a 5th level Mechanic can perform a hack at a distance... I am asking because this question comes up with every new level player with 1 rank in Computers: "Can I hack the surveillance camera from across the room"?

I usually say, there's no wifi... but then how can they use the computers skill to justify trick attacking somebody across the room...

... What would be the answer?
Thank you


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LotsOfLore wrote:

Hi, I have a follow-up question:

Doesn't the hacker trick attack flavour suggest, in practice, that the operative is performing a hack at a distance? As in, making a nearby display flash and using it as a distraction, for example.

Doesn't that create a problem with how hacking works? I thought that ONLY a 5th level Mechanic can perform a hack at a distance... I am asking because this question comes up with every new level player with 1 rank in Computers: "Can I hack the surveillance camera from across the room"?

I usually say, there's no wifi... but then how can they use the computers skill to justify trick attacking somebody across the room...

... What would be the answer?
Thank you

The amplified glitch feat presents that same issue. Though it serves a similar purpose. So it could be said that hacking in this way is doing little more than causing displays and indicators to misbehave, but doesn't do enough to be a meaningful hack. The way I see it, the idea that you're hacking to cause a distraction is just flavor. The mechanical rules behind it is all that really matters, and the operative could just as easily say he's hacking his HUD/scope/whatever to highlight a spot on the enemy where you could attack that would catch him off guard. Or, if you lack tech equipment but your enemy has something, maybe causing a short in the armor's subroutines creating a temporary opening.

Basically, it's whatever you want it to be, and as long as the mechanical specifications are met, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you get a player who tries to weasel that ability into getting to hack in ways they shouldn't be able to, tell them it's a trick attack combat subroutine in their hacking kit that let's them create immediate tactical combat advantages, but that to write and insert hostile code via Bluetooth signal it can't be long lasting.

Or, a simpler answer, "because I said so."


Pogiforce wrote:
LotsOfLore wrote:

Hi, I have a follow-up question:

Doesn't the hacker trick attack flavour suggest, in practice, that the operative is performing a hack at a distance? As in, making a nearby display flash and using it as a distraction, for example.

Doesn't that create a problem with how hacking works? I thought that ONLY a 5th level Mechanic can perform a hack at a distance... I am asking because this question comes up with every new level player with 1 rank in Computers: "Can I hack the surveillance camera from across the room"?

I usually say, there's no wifi... but then how can they use the computers skill to justify trick attacking somebody across the room...

... What would be the answer?
Thank you

The distracting hack feat presents that same issue. Though it serves a similar purpose. So it could be said that hacking in this way is doing little more than causing displays and indicators to misbehave, but doesn't do enough to be a meaningful hack. The way I see it, the idea that you're hacking to cause a distraction is just flavor. The mechanical rules behind it is all that really matters, and the operative could just as easily say he's hacking his HUD/scope/whatever to highlight a spot on the enemy where you could attack that would catch him off guard. Or, if you lack tech equipment but your enemy has something, maybe causing a short in the armor's subroutines creating a temporary opening.

Basically, it's whatever you want it to be, and as long as the mechanical specifications are met, I wouldn't worry too much about it. If you get a player who tries to weasel that ability into getting to hack in ways they shouldn't be able to, tell them it's a trick attack combat subroutine in their hacking kit that let's them create immediate tactical combat advantages, but that to write and insert hostile code via Bluetooth signal it can't be long lasting.

Or, a simpler answer, "because I said so."

Got it, thank you. I like the example about highlighting a spot on the enemy to cath them off-guard, that's very clever.

And if all else fails there's the ever green "bcs I said so", indeed xD


You're welcome! I play a hacker specialization operative in Society play, so I have a lot of experience in coming up with creative explanations of how a computers check would create an opening.

Though I did mispeak when I said distracting hack as an example. That is a mechanic trick. I was actually speaking about the feat Amplified Glitch and I've corrected my previous post.


Pogiforce wrote:


Though I did mispeak when I said distracting hack as an example. That is a mechanic trick. I was actually speaking about the feat Amplified Glitch and I've corrected my previous post.

That's right, that's the one


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Specific always trumps general. Its no different than how the Mechanic class ability Override lets you daze androids. Is this ability derived from your technical skills? Yes. Does it mean you can do Computers checks to hack androids and take them over? No.

Anyway, I have a mechanic with Amplified Glitch, and her most common usage of it, is to make the *fellow party member's* suit loudly blare an intimidating theme song. Nothing in the rules say the relevant computers have to belong to someone else, after all.

( And when she failed the relevant check against an enemy party? I ruled that they stopped, briefly, unimpressed, and then switched on their *own* combat soundtrack. :) )

Sovereign Court

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I would go with: you need some kind of electronics in the vicinity to use this trick attack. Carried by you, your enemy, a bystander, or scenery.

I know the CRB starts out by suggesting that you RP whatever you're doing to trick your enemy every time you try a trick attack. If you're doing five encounters in an evening of AP play each lasting about four rounds, that's a lot of RP spent just on an attack roll. Time not spent on more interesting things, like paying attention to the plot or conversing with NPCs or having character development.

That sounds a bit sour maybe. But my take is that trick attack is something that's mostly supposed to be something that just works (if you make the check), not a big attention sink or something that you have to worry about if it's even viable every combat. 99% of the time you can just try it. Only if you get frisked and have to fight someone in a secure room does it get uncertain.


Bad guy "Whoa hold up gotta take this call. Mom? really you call at the worst tim. GERK"

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