What kind of action is it use your own attack bonus via computer control module?


Rules Questions


On page 139 of the Core Rule book, under the Computer skill, we have the Disable or Manipulate a Module skill use.

It states it is a standard action and a DC 10 check to activate a module.

Modules include things like Control Modules, listed on page 215. A control module connected to a weapon can allow an authorized user to make a attack roll (or skill check). Or the computer can make the attack roll.

So if someone spends a standard action to activate a control module, what kind of action is it to make the attack roll. Is it a standard action to activate the module each round and a further standard action to make the attack roll as yourself, or is it combined in a single standard action to use the character's stats.

How does this interact with an Exocortex Mechanic's Wireless Hack ability, which gives them an extra standard action which can only be used for a computers check (such as Disable or Manipulate a Module). I think its pretty clear they could use that standard action to fire a weapon using the computer attack roll (BAB=computer tier, presumably Dex bonus of +0), but could it use the Exocortex's Mechanic's attack bonus and dexterity instead?


Hiruma Kai wrote:

On page 139 of the Core Rule book, under the Computer skill, we have the Disable or Manipulate a Module skill use.

It states it is a standard action and a DC 10 check to activate a module.
Modules include things like Control Modules, listed on page 215. A control module connected to a weapon can allow an authorized user to make a attack roll (or skill check). Or the computer can make the attack roll.
So if someone spends a standard action to activate a control module, what kind of action is it to make the attack roll. Is it a standard action to activate the module each round and a further standard action to make the attack roll as yourself, or is it combined in a single standard action to use the character's stats.

I'm guessing in this example you're hacking into someone else's computer - so you have to manipulate their modules one by one.

First, you need a Computer skill as a standard action check to "Manipulate" or "Activate" the control module (DC 10 if you have root access, or DC related to its tier if not). There's no time limit for how long this lasts that I could find, so I suppose you need to do it once and the module is yours (until someone with root access kicks you out).

After that, either attack through it with a regular attack roll, or have the computer attack by itself.

I'd allow for the character to activate the module and have it attack by itself in the same round (computers seem to be that independent, in exchange for their crappy "bonus equal to tier"), but not for the character to do both by himself - unless there's some class ability that allows you to do 2 standard actions in the same round...

Hiruma Kai wrote:
How does this interact with an Exocortex Mechanic's Wireless Hack ability, which gives them an extra standard action which can only be used for a computers check (such as Disable or Manipulate a Module). I think its pretty clear they could use that standard action to fire a weapon using the computer attack roll (BAB=computer tier, presumably Dex bonus of +0), but could it use the Exocortex's Mechanic's attack bonus and dexterity instead?

... such as in this case. I'd allow the character to manipulate the module with his exocortex, and fire through the computer with his standard, in a single round.

But using a weapon with a control module does not require a computer check, which is what the exocortex gives.

"When
operating a device that requires a skill check or attack roll (such
as a computer hooked to a med-bed or weapon), the controlling
computer can either allow a creature with authorized access to
attempt a skill check or attack roll, or attempt the skill check
or attack roll itself.
"

Next round, you could attack with the computer using a standard while the exocortex hacks something else, though.

We really need at least a whole Computers chapter on Armory 2 or in the Starship book...


The Ragi wrote:
I'm guessing in this example you're hacking into someone else's computer - so you have to manipulate their modules one by one.

Actually this was more of a question of a Power Armor the mechanic is wearing equipped with multiple ranged weapons in the weapon slots with attached control modules. Essentially Iron Man style shoulder rocket launchers or the like.

The Ragi wrote:

First, you need a Computer skill as a standard action check to "Manipulate" or "Activate" the control module (DC 10 if you have root access, or DC related to its tier if not).

There's no time limit for how long this lasts that I could find, so I suppose you need to do it once and the module is yours (until someone with root access kicks you out).

I was reading manipulate as in use or operate, but I suppose turning on and let run is another way to look at it.

The Ragi wrote:
After that, either attack through it with a regular attack roll, or have the computer attack by itself.
The Ragi wrote:

But using a weapon with a control module does not require a computer check, which is what the exocortex gives.

"When
operating a device that requires a skill check or attack roll (such
as a computer hooked to a med-bed or weapon), the controlling
computer can either allow a creature with authorized access to
attempt a skill check or attack roll, or attempt the skill check
or attack roll itself. "

I guess I was interpreting manipulate or activate a module as "operating" the control module. However, rereading the computers skill section intro suggests if you have root access you can just use any functions or modules without a check. So manipulating the module is more akin to reprogramming it? Although perhaps there is some added security in turning your weapon modules off when not in combat and making code changes on the fly to set the target (i.e. manipulate the module's safety and targeting parameters).

But that also implies, once you order or program the computer to attack a target, it will just keep shooting every turn with its poor attack bonus without additional inputs or actions taken by the user?

Or is the act of operating each turn a standard (non-computer) action?

That might in general raise the value of powered armor for all characters, since depending on the type can have multiple ranged weapons installed (as opposed to a single weapon carried in your hands). I suppose there's room for interpretation on how weapons are installed in power armor and whether such weapons can be aimed independently of the user. But a flight frame with AoE heavy weapons attached could be scary for the few minutes its batteries last.

Of course, there's always the counter play of what we just described - enemies hacking in and taking control of the modules.

The Ragi wrote:
We really need at least a whole Computers chapter on Armory 2 or in the Starship book...

An expanded section on computers would be nice, with some examples of what they imagined would be possible or reasonable.


Hiruma Kai wrote:
I guess I was interpreting manipulate or activate a module as "operating" the control module. However, rereading the computers skill section intro suggests if you have root access you can just use any functions or modules without a check. So manipulating the module is more akin to reprogramming it? Although perhaps there is some added security in turning your weapon modules off when not in combat and making code changes on the fly to set the target (i.e. manipulate the module's safety and targeting parameters).

All this was actually based on the necessity of having to hack the computer - if you bought it, you have root access and just have to set it up as you like.

The rules language concerning computers is not quite clear, and the computer [equipment] and computer [skill] don't connect very well, with a lot of RAI left open for interpretation.

Hiruma Kai wrote:
But that also implies, once you order or program the computer to attack a target, it will just keep shooting every turn with its poor attack bonus without additional inputs or actions taken by the user?

That seems to be the case.

But also take this in consideration: how does the computer know where/who to shoot at? I'd require the purchase of at least a regular camera (5 credits) and a control module for it (0.5 credits) to let it target on its own.

The module controlled gun would stop shooting once it meets some standard set by its owner, or he can just use his computer to make it stop.

Hiruma Kai wrote:
Or is the act of operating each turn a standard (non-computer) action

Unless the character is shooting using the computer, it doesn't seem to cost him any action.

Hiruma Kai wrote:
That might in general raise the value of powered armor for all characters, since depending on the type can have multiple ranged weapons installed (as opposed to a single weapon carried in your hands). I suppose there's room for interpretation on how weapons are installed in power armor and whether such weapons can be aimed independently of the user. But a flight frame with AoE heavy weapons attached could be scary for the few minutes its batteries last.

The control module section indicates one computer can make one skill check or one attack roll. If you want to control multiple weapons using computers, I'd require a computer for each weapon, with a control module connecting each one; and control modules for each of these secondary computers connecting to your main one. Then you could use all of them, but with garbage attack bonuses.

Hiruma Kai wrote:
Of course, there's always the counter play of what we just described - enemies hacking in and taking control of the modules.

That makes for great moments in combat.

The other problem, obviously, is the huge cost to set all this up.

Hiruma Kai wrote:
An expanded section on computers would be nice, with some examples of what they imagined would be possible or reasonable.

Computers are insane, and I'm eager for more.

Right now I'm working on a character concept completely based on computers: a hikikomori (shut-in) that never leaves the starship, instead sending a medium sized vehicle equipped with weapons and spell chips to tag along the party.

A control module on the vehicle, a bunch of cameras with control modules all over it, some heavy weapons mounted with control modules, and a on board computer with a control module to use spell chips (the character would have to be technomancer, or maybe even a mystic).

It probably doesn't work as a PC due to the cost to maintain such an extravagant lifestyle, but as an NPC, the limits are much more vague.

I just need something better than a goblin junkcycle to install all this on.


The Ragi wrote:

That seems to be the case.

But also take this in consideration: how does the computer know where/who to shoot at? I'd require the purchase of at least a regular camera (5 credits) and a control module for it (0.5 credits) to let it target on its own.

That is a good suggestion. That question is also why I was thinking the Exocortex's Wireless hack standard action could be used to direct the weapon at a target (or maybe just a target square).

Manipulating (i.e. changing the code of) a module is a standard action. If you have a code that has four hard coded variables:

Fire = True #Engage fire subroutine

#Target cooredinates (in feet! Remember the last time we messed up units?)
X = 15 #X axis is current facing
Y = -10 #Positive to the right
Z = 0 #Vertical

if keep_alive():
err = fire_subroutine(Fire,[X,Y,Z])
if err:
abort()
sleep(6) #seconds

You've just told the code to fire each turn at a square 3 in front and two to the left, every turn. Change the parameters with a computer action every turn, and there is your targeting setup (or off button).

Throw in a keep alive check (confirm the user and exocortex is functioning and mechanic is conscious) and you've got a backup safety if you go down. Presumably this would be the Expert Rig (7th level) computer with a 10% cost control module for the weapon having been bought.

When I've been in a hurry to certain types of testing, I've literally written scripts for controlling electronics/machinery like this, skipping any fancy UI or command line options, and just change the parameters at the top of the script, and restart.

Edit: Indentation on code didn't work and there's no [code] tags. Oh well.


I think the best thing for computer-assisted gunnery is to use explosive heavy weapons. Your computer's cruddy attack roll doesn't matter if it's aiming at an AC 5 map vertices and will maybe hit an enemy even if the attack roll misses.

I'd also expect that one could program the targeting algorithm to aim at enemies with various visual cues, such as using a certain sort of armor or weapon. Just make sure that none of your guys are using azimuth laser pistols and you should be OK.

My technomancer is definitely going to look into this when he buys his power armor.


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Dracomicron wrote:
I think the best thing for computer-assisted gunnery is to use explosive heavy weapons. Your computer's cruddy attack roll doesn't matter if it's aiming at an AC 5 map vertices and will maybe hit an enemy even if the attack roll misses.

And:

"When making its own check, the computer
is assumed to have an attack bonus equal to its tier, proficiency
with any weapon it controls
, and a total skill bonus equal to
2-1/2 × its tier.
"

Makes up for the low bonus, a little bit.

Dracomicron wrote:
I'd also expect that one could program the targeting algorithm to aim at enemies with various visual cues, such as using a certain sort of armor or weapon. Just make sure that none of your guys are using azimuth laser pistols and you should be OK.

I usually leave the choice of targets to the AI upgrade. "Shoot at the trees in case any local fauna approach my tent. If they don't leave immediately, wake me up and start making some coffee."

Silver Crusade

What would the save DC of computer-fired weapons be? I'm inclined to go with the PF rule of "a creature that doesn't have an ability score has a modifier of 0." Any reason that a computer-fired weapon with the Explode property shouldn't have a save DC of 10+half item level+0? Same goes for critical effects that call for a save.

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