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How does drone stealth work?

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Andinel

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« on: <09-15-10/1627:26> »
I'm a little confused about how stealth works for small and smaller drones.

1. The Perception table on SR4A p.137 lists a threshold and not modifiers for noticing a small object. A drone actively using stealth, especially if it's a mini- or micro-drone would start with a very high threshold, so how does their Infiltration work with this? Does each hit add 1 to the threshold?

2. Since there are no modifiers for size on the Perception table (which would be useful against drones), does the drone's Concealability modifier apply to the observer's Perception test?

Essentially, I ask this because it would make very little sense to me for a Shiawase Kanmushi drone with upgraded Pilot 6 and a rating 4 Covert Ops autosoft to have a threshold of 3 to notice on a Perception test normally, where if it wasn't using stealth it would have a threshold of 5.
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Bradd

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« Reply #1 on: <09-15-10/1800:57> »
I was wondering the same thing recently about all characters, not just drones.

Pedestrians are threshold 2, and you need at least one net hit to notice something, so in practice you need 3 hits. Of course, you don't need to roll at all if a guy is just standing there in front of you. But if you're driving on a busy street, and maybe even getting shot at, you could easily overlook a jaywalker. Heck, sometimes I forget to look both ways before turning, and only notice a pedestrian at the last moment.

Anyway, it seems to me that if the pedestrian is trying to hide from you, the Perception threshold should be at least 2! But I'm not sure how to reconcile that with the Infiltration rules. Same issue you're having with drones, really.

I was also wondering how to handle ties for Infiltration vs Perception. Normally the "defender" wins ties, and my intuition tells me that's the perceiver. However, the rules do explicitly say that you need a net hit to notice something. Also, if Perception wins, that means you need at least 3 hits on Infiltration just to hide as well as a pedestrian on a busy street. That seems ludicrous to me. Therefore, I'm thinking that I shouldn't break ties, but make them a stalemate: The guard doesn't see you, but only if you stop what you're doing immediately. You stay hidden, but you don't win either.

(By the way, while investigating this, I noticed that the rules use "net hits" a bit inconsistently. It's especially bad in the spell rules, where they define a threshold as a number of net hits. That's a self-contradiction, since net hits are defined as hits in excess of a threshold! Similarly, the spell rules often seem to use "net hits" when they really mean "hits." My best guess is that they're using a threshold of 0 for the simple success tests, much like an opposed test versus an unaware/willing defender.)

voydangel

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« Reply #2 on: <09-15-10/1840:46> »
I think it's a matter of passive vs active 'stealth'.

If the object/person is not actively trying to hide from you, then it is just the threshold test. However, if they are actively trying to remain unnoticed, then it becomes an opposed test of perception vs stealth. Also don't forget that unless the observer is actively looking for something (something most trained guards don't even do unless they think they heard something), they have a -2 modifier to their perception check. I would think, if you wanted to, you could safely give the smaller drones a bonus to their stealth roll of one-half of the inverse of their concealability modifier. That is, a micro-drone (conceal -6) would get +3 dice, mini-drones would get +1. I would also say then, to be fair, that small drones get a -1 die penalty, medium drones would be at -3, and large drones would be at -6 (at least).

Just my 2 cents.
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Kontact

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« Reply #3 on: <09-18-10/0037:08> »
There's a difference between:
actively looking for +3
Distracted for -2
and neither for a null effect.

Just because someone isn't looking for a thing that doesn't mean that they are distracted by other responsibilities.

voydangel

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« Reply #4 on: <09-18-10/1349:52> »
Actually...
Quote from: RAW pg.135
Unless a character specifically takes an Observe in Detail Simple Action to perceive, she is considered to be distracted by whatever task is at hand (suffering a –2 dice pool modifier).
So, unless the character is doing literally absolutely nothing but "keeping an eye out", I think the -2 is pretty much universal.
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Bradd

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« Reply #5 on: <09-18-10/1450:37> »
I take the "actively looking" mod to mean that you're looking for something specific. For example, if you're driving and not observing in detail, then you're fiddling with the radio, thinking about what you'll do when you arrive, and paying attention to the controls. You'll probably only notice really obvious things unless you're alert, and there's a -2 distraction penalty. Now if you're about to change lanes, and you observe in detail to make sure it's clear, you're alert, so there's no penalty, and additionally you'll get +3 to notice trouble like oncoming traffic.

Kontact

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« Reply #6 on: <09-19-10/0621:11> »
Actually...
Quote from: RAW pg.135
Unless a character specifically takes an Observe in Detail Simple Action to perceive, she is considered to be distracted by whatever task is at hand (suffering a –2 dice pool modifier).
So, unless the character is doing literally absolutely nothing but "keeping an eye out", I think the -2 is pretty much universal.

Yeah, you're right.
Seems silly that you automatically take a penalty just because you don't know what it is you might be trying to spot.  I guess, "trouble" is specific enough?

voydangel

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« Reply #7 on: <09-19-10/2308:42> »
Yea, that's my thought. I think it would be dumb to take a penalty if you're not looking for a "female troll wearing urban camo sneaking over the fence". I don't think you have to be real specific. I figure there's 3 "states of being" when it comes to perception.

1. Playing with the radio/texting/talking on the phone while driving. -2
2. Just driving. 0
3. Checking traffic and locations of vehicles to change lanes. +3 (but only in the direction you're looking, everywhere else gets -2)

A more SR friendly example might be:
1. Guard who is reading paper/watching the game/talking with a buddy. -2
2. Guard who is sitting there doing his job.
3. Guard who has some reason to think that something is going down. (thinks he heard something/buddy wont respond on the radio/found traces of a break in) +3

That's the way I run it anyway. =)
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Bradd

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« Reply #8 on: <09-20-10/0444:42> »
Yep, agreed, and it actually came up a couple times over the weekend. Twice in the players' favor, when guards were too distracted to notice what was really important, and once in the enemies' favor, when a PC was too busy fighting to notice reinforcements arrive.