is disengaging locks engineering or computers or is it both?


General Discussion


I am thinking it could be both you could unlock a door through its programing but you could also get into the guts and disable the locks with engineering. Right?


Depends, is the lock mechanical? Or is it electric? There could be two ways to disable it, also one could be easier or harder depending on the situation. One might be impossible without extra tools, one might be easy.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber

Pinkycatcher has got the right idea. An example from a recent SFS scenario:

Spoilers for SFS#1-05 The First Mandate:
There's a door in this scenario locked with an electronic keypad and backed up with a trap. The scenario provides separate DCs for the lock for both Engineering (disable it mechanically), and Computers (hack into it). In this case the hacking task has the harder DC, but I don't think that's guaranteed to be true. I think more scenarios will do this going forwards, and the DCs for the checks will be different depending on the technology involved.

Sovereign Court

If I have time to plan the adventure, i will probably have computerized locks have separate DCs for both skills. If making things up on the fly, I’m just going to use one or the other.

A purely mechanical lock, like a good old fashioned padlock, would be the domain of the Engineering Skill. An electronic like, like the magnetic card reader locks used in hotels nowadays, would be the domain of the Computer Skill...

This last bit is something of a “because it’s a game” abstraction. Poorly made electronic locks, in the real world, can be defeated by someone who knows how to disable just their electronics or just their mechanics. Whereas higher end ones will “fail secure” if only one of the two systems is disabled. But no one really wants to be hassled by that sort of minutiae in an action-adventure game. Much easier and much more satisfying to divide all locks into one basket or the other, let both the Mechanicial Genius and the L33t HaX0r hero have their moment to shine, and get on with the adventuring.

If you do feel like being a bit of an Old School Evil Bastard Game Master, simply put two locks on every door. One mechanical and one computerized.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

My rule of thumb for telling whether a lock is Engineering or Computers: "Is it networked to anything else?" If it has a digital connection to some other electronic system, its probably hackable with Computers. OTOH, if it only has local mechanical and electrical connections, you need Engineering. This is true even if the electronic lock obviously has a computer chip in it; while you might technically 'hack' it in the broader sense, the primary challenge is figuring out how to properly break open and interface with the device, which is Engineering.

Admittedly, in the Starfinder setting, I imagine that most electronic locks *are* networked, and thus susceptible to both physical bypass and digital subversion. Of course, hacking the security system is likely harder than simply cracking the lock would otherwise be, and if you do want to crack the lock manually, you'll also have to diddle the electronics so that the security system doesn't *notice* the lock has been opened. . .

Community / Forums / Starfinder / Starfinder General Discussion / is disengaging locks engineering or computers or is it both? All Messageboards

Want to post a reply? Sign in.