Jump to content
g3taso

"Aliens" Colonial Marines Target Tracker

Recommended Posts

You've seen it, that little gizmo that lets the marines know the aliens are coming in from all aides. I was wondering what different builds people might have to get this up and running. 

 

Here's my initial take:

30
Spatial Awareness (Unusual Group), Increased Arc Of Perception (360 Degrees), Telescopic: +6

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Both excellent observations.

21  

Detect Moving Objects & Creatures 18- (Unusual Group), Increased Arc Of Perception (240 Degrees), Targeting, Telescopic: +1

 

(although the wiki describes this as ultrasound based, I am considering that SFX and not basing mechanics off it)

 

Love to see what others might come up with.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So its range is variable on surroundings: Up to 1km in open field. Down to 20m in spaceships and stations. This might be solved by simply putting it into the hearing group. There are already penalties for walls and closed doors.

Very small movements (bugs) could be filtered out, but something like moving Machienry might cause faulty detections. Fellow marines had to carry IFF gear that would allow the motion detector to ignore them.

Field of vision is not 360°. The first step of expanded (120°?) should be more fitting. Maybe even just normal field of vision?

It was definitely not discriminatory. Maybe it had limited Discriminatory?

 

Detect Movement (Active [Ultrasonic], Part of Hearing Group), Also Affected as Sight Group (have to read a Dispaly), Non-Discriminatory

Against smart opponents there are a number of Drawbacks:
The Active part makes the scanner a target, like Active Radar does

The scanner can be jammed (Darkness vs Ultrasonic)
The scanner can be fooled by moving slow enough (a application of Stealth?)
It propably filtered out movements like the ones made by a beating heart, if it could detect those movements inside the body at all
There were handheld and hands-free version avalible. But both involve reading from a Display. I would consider the handheld a form of Concentration, as they never used them while on the run.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Christopher said:

Detect Movement (Active [Ultrasonic], Part of Hearing Group), Also Affected as Sight Group (have to read a Dispaly)...

 

Wouldn't the need to "read the display" to use this power simply be an intrinsic aspect of being in a Focus defined as a "motion tracker device with display"? To me this is a good example of how things went from (relatively) simple pre-5th edition to needlessly overspecified since 5E.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, zslane said:

 

Wouldn't the need to "read the display" to use this power simply be an intrinsic aspect of being in a Focus defined as a "motion tracker device with display"? To me this is a good example of how things went from (relatively) simple pre-5th edition to needlessly overspecified since 5E.

I would say this is better solved with a seperate Limiation, even if a -0 one. Nothing in focus indicates that you could not use the Power if you have your sight Flashed. If the tracker had some form of Neural Interface the "Also Affected as Sight Group" limitation would fall off, while it would not automatically loose the Focus limitation.

 

We tend to not consider this angle, as the the Foci used most often is are Weapon. And a Combat without sight of the enemy already has established penalties. I would say sight group Sense Affecting Powers are a common enough occurence in any hightech setting like Aliens, that this limitation might be a effective Limitation.
If I rememebr correctly, the Aliens do not even have eyes to begin with. At least I never saw anything like that on their warriors. That would explain why we never saw them use Sight Group Flashes against the Aliens- they are evolved to not have that weakness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
57 minutes ago, Christopher said:

I would say this is better solved with a seperate Limiation, even if a -0 one. Nothing in focus indicates that you could not use the Power if you have your sight Flashed.

 

I feel it is implied in the SFX of the Focus. If you have a bunch of KSes in a "Computer System" Focus, it is implied that you could not use it (make use of its KSes) if you could not see the monitor or didn't have the available hands/fingers necessary to use the keyboard/mouse that is its interface.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, zslane said:

I feel it is implied in the SFX of the Focus. If you have a bunch of KSes in a "Computer System" Focus, it is implied that you could not use it (make use of its KSes) if you could not see the monitor or didn't have the available hands/fingers necessary to use the keyboard/mouse that is its interface.

I am not a fan of "SFX derived game effects", positive or negative. It is too easy to end up in a game based on those, and then any semblance of balance the System Provided is out of the Window.

 

When in doubt, make it a -0. It is written down. And when it comes up often enough, you can upvalue it to a -1/4, -1/2 or whatever. It is generally easier to add a limitation then to remove one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, Christopher said:

I am not a fan of "SFX derived game effects", positive or negative.

 

Okay, well I find that a very strange position to take as a player of the Hero System, but whatever.

 

I get the overwhelming sense (throughout these forums) that Steve Long's influence on the game has caused a bizarre shift away from using one of the more powerful, innovative, and useful tools of abstraction to be found in the original design.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Tech priest support said:

Remember kiddies, if this thing is emitng a signal it's an active system and can be detected. As a rule of thumb for gaming ice say it can be detected at about 2x the range it works at.

 

Trust me, I know tech...

Both the Wiki Article and my writeup exlicitly noted the active part.

 

11 hours ago, zslane said:

 

Okay, well I find that a very strange position to take as a player of the Hero System, but whatever.

 

I get the overwhelming sense (throughout these forums) that Steve Long's influence on the game has caused a bizarre shift away from using one of the more powerful, innovative, and useful tools of abstraction to be found in the original design.

If you can make it work for your own Groups, more power to you. I tend to like rules. They help me avoid stupid mistakes.

Works this way with Electro Technic & Databases. Works with way with RPG Systems.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To quote page 120 of 6E1:

 

The special effects of a Power define how it works, what it looks like, and any other incidental effects associated with it. Sometimes a Power receives minor benefits and drawbacks because of special effects.

 

It is in the interpretation of these two sentences, and in particular what constitutes a "minor benefit or drawback", where I see the aforementioned drift away from effective use of this important abstraction tool. It appears that a lot of players are afraid of using it to simplify their game. The trick in avoiding "stupid mistakes" is to use Special Effects smartly, not to downplay them to the point where you are instead using Advantages and Limitations to model the "incidental effects" of a power.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's hinted in the original movie "Alien" that the motion detector operates on some unknown principle. 

 

(spoilers for 40 year old movie)

 

The android Ash tells Ripley that the tracking device he built keys off of "micro-changes in air density".  When it then detects the cat through a closed door, Ripley says under her breath "Micro-changes in air density, my ass."  The implication is that the technology was custom-built by the company specifically to pick up the alien.  Now it still detects the cat, so it's not just "Detect alien".  It's probably "Detect non-human lifeform" or something like that.  My guess is that the tracking device the marines are carrying works on the same principle.  The company knows exactly what they're sending their people to find.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as the special effect discussion, this is likely covered by the "real world equipment" limitation.  Many times in a game, neither players nor the GM can foresee every possible limitation that might apply to a power.  In these situations, special effects end up governing.

 

Suppose I want to play a Colonial Marine, and I have my motion tracker, just like in the movie.  But I didn't think about getting sight flashed, and the GM didn't think about it either.  Now I'm five sessions into the game, and I get hit by a sight flash.  Can I see the motion tracker or not?  From the description of how the power works, no I can't.  But it's certainly worth a limitation if that sort of thing is going to happen very often.  But in the Aliens franchise, I don't know that we ever see a sight flash, which is probably why the player never thought about that limitation.

 

Special effects should keep the game flowing smoothly.  They shouldn't be used to give characters huge advantages or to screw them over either.  But it makes perfect sense that you can start a campfire with your flame blast, or heat up a can of chili without having to buy a transform.  Likewise, occasionally somebody can't see their motion tracker when they get hit by acid blood right in the face.  It happens, and the game doesn't require you to be able to see the future when building a character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, massey said:

It's probably "Detect non-human lifeform" or something like that.  My guess is that the tracking device the marines are carrying works on the same principle.  The company knows exactly what they're sending their people to find.

The need to filter out any "human lifeform" is circumvented by the guy with the scanner always being in front. Regardless how you scanner works, you do not want anyone standing between it and whatever you are looking for. The only case it would even come up would be multi-unit operations. And those afaik never happen in the Aliens Franchise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×