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Using Sensors In 1E
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:14 pm    Post subject: Using Sensors In 1E Reply with quote

Sensors are addressed differently than they are in Second Edition. In that version of the game, there is an entire rule subsystem in place, with its own skill, set for the player character to roll sensor checks.

I've played 2E extensively, and, at least in my game, Sensors was not a skill that had any sort of impact on the game. My players recognized this and would not improve the skill. Skill Points are just too valuable to place on low impact skills.

And, in the Star Wars movies, sensors are not referred to that often. A character either detects something, or he doesn't.

The 1E method is closer to that seen in the movies, and I, personally, much prefer 1E's method of dealing with sensors.


Sensors are a tool for the GM to use in telling his story. There is no Sensor skill. Sensor readings are part of the GM's description to feed dramatic information to the PCs.

For those GM's, like me, who want to put a little more detail into their sensor descriptions, there's the short section about Sensors on pages 9-10 of the Sourcebook. That will tell a GM what types of sensors are in use in the Star Wars galaxy, and it will tell him what sorts of information those sensors report. The GM can also use that info to figure what sensors are available on different types of vessels.

If you don't want to get too detailed about sensors in your game, then don't. Just describe the scene. What do the sensors tell the characters? You don't have to distinguish between an EPR or an FST sensor (actually, a sensor cluster). You just need to describe the scene in the best Star Wars dramatic way that you can!

"Fighters! Coming in point three-five!"

In some situations--dramatic situations--you may want to allow the PCs a roll. Maybe the PC freighter is being followed by Boba Fett, and the Slave I is set at full stealth mode. You want to give the players a chance to have their characters detect the bounty hunter.

Or, maybe you've got an ambush set up in space, and you want to give the PCs a chance to detect the ambush before it happens--having the PC roll determine the range at which the ambush is sprung. Pirate fighters have landed on an asteroid ring circling a gas giant, and as the players' ship passes, the fighters will swarm out and engaged the PCs.

The section in the Sourcebook tells you all you need to know in order to set up this encounter. It talks about the active mode and passive mode as well as the different sensor sweeps: Scan, Search, and Focus.

"Sensors are skittish. You're picking up ghost trails on your EPRs. You know that's a weak scanner, though, and subject to false-positives. Roll your Starship Piloting skill (or your Astrogation skill, if it is higher) to adjust your readings. You'll want to clean them up. Let's see what you find out. Roll."

Just pick an appropriate skill, set a quick difficulty, and roll.

Don't do this all the time. Just use it when you can heighten the tension. Or, even, roll it behind your GM screen and don't tell the players anything. Just roleplay out the result!


There is no Sensor skill in First Edition. You'll want to use a Mechanical skill, obviously, and I suggest Starship Piloting because the skill says it is used to operate starships. Every pilot will know how to use sensors, to it makes perfect sense that using sensors is a function of the piloting skill. Plus, it makes sense that ships without hyperdrives still have sensors (which is an argument against Astrogation, below).

But, you may feel differently. If so, go with your gut. Maybe you think that Astrogation should be used since a much of that job is working with sensor scans and sensor data. Heck, for the same reason, Starship Gunnery could be used in a pinch, maybe at a higher difficulty level.

Or, maybe you think that operating sensors should be Perception based. Maybe it's a use of the Search skill? Or...maybe your argument is for the Technical skill, Droid Programming and Repair, since operating sensors is akin to operating computers, and operating computers is akin to programming droids.

Just pick something that makes sense to you, and go for it.

Don't make this a lot of work. Most of the time, you'll just use the report of a Sensor to set the scene for your players. Their will be no rolling. But, in those rare cases where you think the roll would be dramatic, then pick the best skill or attribute for the sensor task, roll and go.

And, if you want to have strict rolls and a Sensor skill in your game, then import that section of the rules from Second Edition.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Boba Fett's vessel, the Slave I, has improved stealth technology. In GG 3: TESB, it says this--

Most of this remarkable ship's stealth comes
from a highly sophisticated sensor-jamming
array built in to the vessel's hull. The hull itself
is magnetically polarized, and acts as an antenna
for any and all electronic signals and
pulses within a 100 kilometer range of the
ship. These magnetically attracted pulses of
power tend to jam and scramble enemy sensor
scans, reading usually as some sort of ion
storm rather than as a starship. In addition to
this, Fett has dampened Slave I's particle vapor
trail, so as to make the ship nearly untraceable.

So, when dealing with sensors, the GM should consider Fett's vessel and know that it is the GM's imagination as to the improvements that special ships may have in his game.

On those rare occasions when the GM calls for a sensor check, as I describe above, take into account the difficulty in detecting the Slave I when in stealth mode, pick a high difficulty number, and run with it.
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Wajeb Deb Kaadeb
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


The Sourcebook will give the GM an idea of what types of sensors are normally installed on particular starships. The GM should allow the player's ship the appropriate sensor packages.

But, the players may want to upgrade their vessel. And, if they do, then turn to GG 6: Tramp Freighters. Chapter Eight covers modifications and repairs (plus mundane things like docking fees, overhaul, consumables refreshment*, etc.), presenting a system the players can use to use the game rules, Technical skills, and extra credits to improve their vessel.

Page 31 gives base prices for upgrading to any of the sensor packages mentioned in the Sourcebook.

*NOTE: The first edition of GG 6 includes a section of fuel use. It's the only place in the entire game line where I have seen this addressed (besides the mentions about what type of fuel is used in the first chapter of the Sourcebook).

This information was omitted from the Second Edition version of GG 6 because the writers considered that the Star Wars RPG should not be about figuring fuel usage and bookkeeping.

Yeah, they've got a point. OTOH, it's not that the rules presented in the First Edition version of GG 6 present hard to use, detailed rules for fuel expenditure. Like most things in First Edition Star Wars, it's a very simple, easy system.

I think the section should have been kept in the 2E version as an optional rule. But, it wasn't.
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