Sensors

Skills / Mechanical Skills

Time Taken: One round or longer.
Specializations: Type or model scanner — hand scanner, med diagnostic scanner, heat sensor.

Characters with the this skill can operate various kinds of sensors, including those that detect lifeforms, identify vehicles, pick up energy readings, and make long-distance visual readings. Sensors covers everything from portable hand scanners (like the one used by Han Solo on Hoth) to the huge sensor arrays used on capital ships and in military bases.
Some scanners have die code bonuses — these extra dice are added when characters roll their sensors skill.

Note: Sensors are best used as a plot devices: the characters should detect just enough to intrigue them. They'll have to personally investigate the situation to find out the whole story. ("You detect three ships headed out of the system … sensors can't determine what they are, but their energy signatures indicate they could be fighters. Wait! They've just changed course and are now closing in you!"

While there are plenty of sensors modifiers to choose from, don't be afraid to keep things simple! Pick a difficulty number using your judgment. If the character beats the difficulty number, he detects something; if he rolls really well, he maybe able to get very detailed information.

One sensors roll can be made per round: the character detects everything he rolled well enough to notice. Sensors can perform two distinct tasks: detection and identification. When a sensor detects something, it means that it has noticed the object, but cannot identify exactly what it is. ("There's a ship out there … it might be a freighter or a fighter.")

When a sensor identifies something, that means that the sensor identifies the specific type of ship or object. ("It's a light freighter. Scanner identifies it as a Corellian YT-1300. Look at the power signature … he's carrying around a lot of weaponry.")
The base difficulty to find a ship with sensors depends on the mode the sensor is in: passive, scan, search or focus. The ship must be within a sensor's scanning range to be detected.

Sensor ModespaceDetectspaceIdentify
Passivespace spacesModeratespaVery Difficult
Scanspace spaces sEasyspace spModerate
Searchspace spacesEasyspace spDifficult
Focusspace space sVery EasyspaEasy

Modifiers:
+1D or more to the difficulty: Target is using a sensor mask.
+5 to the difficulty to identify only: Target is using a sensor decoy (sensors detect both ship and decoy as "real" unless difficulty is beat). ("We've got one ship out there. Wait a minute … sensors are now picking up two ships!")
+5 to the difficulty: Target ship's sensors are in passive mode.
+ 15 or more to the difficulty: Target ship is running silent.
+ 10 or more to the difficulty to identify only: Target is jamming sensor readings.
+10 or more to the difficulty: Ship is hiding behind planet or other massive body.
+20 to the difficulty: Ship has other mass objects, such as asteroids, to hide among.
+5 to the character's roll: Targeting a small natural body. A small asteroid.
+10 to the character's roll: Target is the size of a capital ship.
+10 to the character's roll to detect only: Target ship is jamming sensor readings.
+10 to the character's roll: Target is a moderate-size natural body. A decent-sized asteroid.
+20 to the character's roll: Planetary or moon-sized natural body. Death Star-scale ship.
+30 or more to the character's roll: Stellar object. A star, nebula, black hole.

If the sensor operator scans a ship and beats the sensors difficulty by 10 or more points, he can pick out a ship's transponder code. However, while the Bureau of Ships and Services (BoSS) keeps detailed records of starship transponder codes, it only releases these records to the proper authorities — local planetary defense forces, starport authorities and, of course, the Imperial Navy and Imperial Customs. Should characters somehow get BoSS records and download them into their ship's sensors computer, they might be able to identify other vessels by their transponder codes. Of course, if the ship has a false transponder code, this information can be worthless anyway.

Scanning Planets: Scanning for specific objects on a planet's surface can be fairly difficult. While it's easy to find major landmarks — continents, mountain chains, inland seas and so forth — a planet's geothermal functions, the energy generated by large settlements, large concentrations of metal, and other energy sources can distort sensor readings, especially if the sensor is looking for a small facility but scanning a large area. Often, sensor operators must greatly limit their scanning area — covering perhaps a few square kilometers at a time — to find military bases, small cities and other "minor" landmarks.
The basic sensors difficulty depends upon how much of the planet is being scanned. No more than half a planet may be scanned because only one hemisphere is visible at any given time.
Characters normally make a general scan of the planet to determine basic characteristics — atmosphere type, presence of major geographic features, scans for energy readings typical of very large cities — and then conduct increasingly detailed scans on smaller and smaller areas to determine information about interesting landmarks.
These sample difficulties are for scanning from orbit and finding a specific item — such as a starport, small town, factory complex, scout base, Imperial garrison or industrial compound — when scanning an area of a certain size.

  • Very Easy: An area one square kilometer or less.
  • Easy: An area 100 square kilometers or less.
  • Moderate: An area 1,000 square kilometers or less.
  • Difficult: An area one million square kilometers or less. An average size nation.
  • Very Difficult: An area 100 million square kilometers or less. A small continent.
  • Heroic: One hemisphere.

Modifiers:
+5-20 or more to the difficulty: Looking for telltale energy emissions, such as emissions from spaceships.
+10 or more to the difficulty: Specific signal is hidden among other similar emissions or in an area where other signals will overwhelm that object's signal. (A ship flying among volcanoes to disguise its trail; for a hand scanner, hiding a droid in a factory filled with active droids and electronics systems.)
+5 or more to the difficulty: Spotting or identifying a specific life-form if there are many different species in an area.
+25 or more to the character's roll: Looking for basic information. Location of major continents, planet's atmosphere and gravity, general composition of land masses.
+10 to the character's roll: Looking for major sources of heat, light and other energy sources; by default, other, nonenergy emitting areas, such as glaciers, can be found.
+5-15 to the character's roll (depending upon size): Looking for major landmarks. Mountain chains, forests, large lakes, or cities.
+5 or more to the character's roll: Finding life-forms if lifeform is known and there are massive concentrations of them determining that humans live on a planet if there are thousands of them clustered in a small area).
+5 or more to the character's roll: Spotting or identifying a specific lifeform if it is very different from all other lifeforms around it (finding a human and a Wookiee who are hiding in a Noghri village).
+10 or more to the character's roll: Following an energy trail left by an incoming starship.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License