So the Mechanic's "Wireless Hack (Ex)" ability can't actually hack?


Rules Questions


5 people marked this as FAQ candidate.

I see a similar question was asked a couple of times about 7-8 months ago but I still don't see an answer to this. Am I missing it?

Wireless Hack wrote:
your exocortex can access another computer system within 20 feet, allowing it to attempt a Computers check against that computer each round, using your skill bonus. This counts as a standard action for the purpose of the Computers skill.
Hack System wrote:
Hacking a computer system typically takes one full action per tier of the computer system. You can cut this time in half (to a minimum of one full action) for every 5 by which you increase the DC of the Computers check.

So it doesn't look like it can actually hack anything.

The following are the only mentions I see about a standard action when using a computer and this would only apply after access has been obtained.

Computers skill wrote:

Computers are set up to give one or more authorized users “root access,” allowing them to access any information or function of the computer as a standard action, with no need for a Computers check. Firewalls can block off specific sections of a computer and grant different users root access to those sections.

The base DC for many of the tasks of the Computers skill is equal to 13 + (4 × the computer's tier). These DCs may be adjusted by the GM to reflect other circumstances.
Disable or Manipulate Module wrote:
Activating or disabling a countermeasure or module generally takes a standard action.

So it would seem that the "Hack" part of Wireless Hack is misleading since if it only has an effective standard action then it can only access functions of the computer and activate or disable countermeasures or modules. None of which can be performed until after the system has been hacked. So once the mechanic has hacked the system, then the AI can access/use the system as directed by the Mechanic. I suppose that could have situational uses, possibly allowing access to two computer functions in one round. I haven't yet encountered a situation in which this would be useful though my group has only just reached level 9 in our first campaign.

So a more accurate name for this ability would be more like "Wireless Computer Use"?

Exo-Guardians

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You answered it in your own post
The Hack action “Typically” is full round. The Wireless Hack modifies that. Thus it’s a Hack. You also still have to make the check so it’s not like you’re just using a system you have access to.

The Exchange

MER-c wrote:

You answered it in your own post

The Hack action “Typically” is full round. The Wireless Hack modifies that. Thus it’s a Hack. You also still have to make the check so it’s not like you’re just using a system you have access to.

I think you missed the rules issue here (I’ve run into it too).

  • There is no rule for adding standard actions together to make a full action (such as “you can start a full action by using your standard action in one round and finish it by spending your standard action in the next round.)
  • The exocortex can only take standard actions to hack.
  • Hacking computers takes “one full action per tier.”

So while exocortexes can only take standards, the Computers skill demands full actions. Making the exocortex useless. I’ve been house-ruling it that the exocortex counts as a full-action every 2 rounds, so what is normally a 3-round hack would take 2 rounds if you are working together, or 6 rounds for the exocortex alone. But there’s no rule support for that.


Wireless Hack (Ex) 5th Level

Instead of combat tracking, your exocortex can access another computer system within 20 feet, allowing it to attempt a Computers check against that computer each round, using your skill bonus. This counts as a standard action for the purpose of the Computers skill. You must remain within 20 feet of the computer system for the entire time your exocortex is interacting with the computer. If the task requires multiple actions (or even rounds) to accomplish, you can spend your actions to work in concert with your exocortex, counting both your action and the exocortex’s effective standard action toward the total time required. If you don’t have the remote hack class feature, you must be adjacent to the computer to attempt your checks.

So, I don't have my book with me, but here's the entire wireless hack ability from the SRD. Read the bold part, and then check to see if this is actually the full text in the book. If it is, then the fault is a reading comprehension failure.

The Exchange

That is the exact text and I think you’re still missing the point of the question.

How do you convert the exocortex’s 1 standard action per round into equivalent full action time units?

If the time required to hack a Tier four computer is 4 full actions, how long does it take the exocortex to hack it alone? How about if the mechanic is working in concert with the exocortex?


Well, apparently Starfinder doesn't have the wording from Pathfinder about doing a full round action in segments.

So, I would say either:
Exocortex alone: 1 standard action per round, 8 rounds total
Mechanic with the exocortex: 4 rounds. (Cortex and Mechanic both donate a standard action.)

Or:
Exocortex alone: 1 standard action per round, 8 rounds total.
Mechanic w/exocortex: Run it like a drone, mechanic donates (standard or move, I forget which) and swift actions to allow exocortex a full action.

Also, this:
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2uje4?Action-economy-of-the-Exocortex

Apologies for not making that a link, I forget the coding for that right now. At any rate, this was FAQ requested before without an answer.


Pantshaandshake has it, read the bold text you add your move and swift actions to its standard to hack as a full action, still allowing you to hack from a distance and use your standard action


Seems like starfinder really needs the golden rule of magic for class features.

Magic The Gathering wrote:
The first golden rule of "Magic The Gathering" states that whenever a card contradicts the basic rules, the card takes precedence.

Acquisitives

Robert Gooding wrote:
Pantshaandshake has it, read the bold text you add your move and swift actions to its standard to hack as a full action, still allowing you to hack from a distance and use your standard action

This may be how you would rule it. (How I would likely rule it myself.) However, as Pantshaandshake pointed out. Starfinder does not have the "combining action types together" to make a full-action stated as a general rule. Instead, it allows for that when specifically called out as part of a specific class feature.

As such, as written, the cortex can only do a standard action itself... Unless you spend full-actions yourself, you can't hack the system. It DOES, however, allow the cortex to do actions once the system is hacked into. At which point you could combine your own standard actions to do the other Computers checks faster.


"Handsome" Twik wrote:
Robert Gooding wrote:
Pantshaandshake has it, read the bold text you add your move and swift actions to its standard to hack as a full action, still allowing you to hack from a distance and use your standard action

This may be how you would rule it. (How I would likely rule it myself.) However, as Pantshaandshake pointed out. Starfinder does not have the "combining action types together" to make a full-action stated as a general rule. Instead, it allows for that when specifically called out as part of a specific class feature.

As such, as written, the cortex can only do a standard action itself... Unless you spend full-actions yourself, you can't hack the system. It DOES, however, allow the cortex to do actions once the system is hacked into. At which point you could combine your own standard actions to do the other Computers checks faster.

But based off what it says:

Wireless Hack wrote:

Wireless Hack (Ex) 5th Level

Instead of combat tracking, your exocortex can access another computer system within 20 feet, allowing it to attempt a Computers check against that computer each round, using your skill bonus. This counts as a standard action for the purpose of the Computers skill. You must remain within 20 feet of the computer system for the entire time your exocortex is interacting with the computer. If the task requires multiple actions (or even rounds) to accomplish, you can spend your actions to work in concert with your exocortex, counting both your action and the exocortex’s effective standard action toward the total time required. If you don’t have the remote hack class feature, you must be adjacent to the computer to attempt your checks.

It says you can spend your actions to work in concert with your exocortex. Meaning you can spend a Move and a Swift, and use the "Exocortex's effective standard action" toward the total time required.

And since the rule on how actions can work, you can trade your standard for a move or a swift. Or you can trade your move for a swift. So in the end, you have multiple combination of actions on how you can wirelessly hack using an exocortex.

My only "question" would be can you break down the duration of the full round per tier? For example:
Tier 3 Computer requires 3 Full Round Actions. Full Round Action is defined as "Standard+Move+Swift" Actions, so 3 Full Round Actions would be equal to: "Standard+Standard+Standard+Move+Move+Move+Swift+Swift+Swift" Actions

The exocortex can have one standard per round (which can be traded as a move or a swift, per rules on actions) to attempt a hack. If we gave it nine rounds, could it attempt to hack a Tier 3 computer? I currently don't think so, but I am curious if I could be pleasantly surprised.


2 people marked this as FAQ candidate.
Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

So if the point is that the mechanic effectively gets an additional standard action while still getting a full-round of hacking in, how do we square that with the language of the Coordinated Assault class feature?

Coordinated Assault (EX) 11th Level wrote:
If you have an exocortex instead, whenever you and your exocortex are both attempting to hack a system, you each receive a +1 circumstance bonus to the checks to gain access.

It seems clear that the wording allows the exocortex and the mechanic to both make checks while hacking (which as we've noted above is a particular usage of the computers skill). So is this a case where the specific rule overrides the general rule (i.e. hacking is typically a full round action, but not in this case)? Because otherwise, the conditional nature of Coordinated Assault would mean that you could never get the +1 bonus since it would require the mechanic and their exocortex to be simultaneously hacking (which wouldn't be possible given that the exocortex only gets a standard)

Perhaps the intention was that the exocortex could aid, as a standard action and that if you're hacking and your exocortex is aiding, you both get +1's on those checks? But it seems like that would be an easy thing to say concisely if that's what the developers meant.

I would really love to hear a developer's thoughts on this subject. But in the meantime, what are your thoughts?


WhiteWeasel wrote:

Seems like starfinder really needs the golden rule of magic for class features.

Magic The Gathering wrote:
The first golden rule of "Magic The Gathering" states that whenever a card contradicts the basic rules, the card takes precedence.

It does. Specific rules beat general rules.


Garretmander wrote:
WhiteWeasel wrote:

Seems like starfinder really needs the golden rule of magic for class features.

Magic The Gathering wrote:
The first golden rule of "Magic The Gathering" states that whenever a card contradicts the basic rules, the card takes precedence.
It does. Specific rules beat general rules.

This. Specific beats general. The mechanic has a specific rule around hacking computers which trumps the general rules around it.

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