Problem with stealth in Eclipse Phase

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Benny89 Benny89's picture
Problem with stealth in Eclipse Phase

So while playing new campaign I noticed that it's pretty much impossible to use stealth or sneaking in this game. I am not talking about cameras everywhere that can be hacked but about enchanced visions and radars. For example X-Ray vision + Thermal Vision + Radar + Echolocation (full combo cost NOTHING) and it's absolutely impossible to use stealth around such target or group of them. What's more the whole sneaking inside "secured facilities" becomes a problem. If X-Ray, Radar and Echolocation is so cheap every semi-equiped lab, hab, facility should have such detectors.

It pretty much negates any sort of hiding behind something (X-Ray), Chameleon and Ivisibility Cloacks/Augments (X-Ray, Echolocation, Radar) or simple sneaking with biomoprth (Thermal, others).

One of my players wanted to be sealthy character but sadly with so easy accessed technology every semi-trained enemy I throw at them have those upgrades because they are so cheap that only total idiots wouldn't use them. Bodyguards, ex-military, security workers, assassins, ego hunters- everyone would use it just by logic.

So how to allow stealth in this game?

Sojur Sojur's picture
Benny89 wrote:So how to allow

Benny89 wrote:
So how to allow stealth in this game?

First off, I'll admit I'm very new to Eclipse Phase and have only played one game so far. But as I was reading up the background of the game, the rules, and creating my character, I noticed the exact same thing you did: Stealth as we usually envision it is all but impossible in Eclipse Phase.

So here's the short answer alternative I came up with: Be "socially stealthy".

In other words: It's perfectly fine to let the guards and other people you're trying to get by to see you walking on up to them. The trick is to convince them that you're allowed to be there. That's what the disguise, impersonation, and deception skills are for. There are also other skills and things to cover forging an ID should they ask for one, or hack into a computer to put yourself on the guest list. Also remember smart clothing can change its appearance on the fly so you can quickly alter your clothing to dress similarly to the people you're trying to infiltrate. Not to mention implants that go even further to alter your appearance should a situation call for it.

Eclipse Phase seems to completely eliminate our classic, romantic notions of the "ninja ghost" sneaky stealth type who remains completely unseen when infiltrating. That's why you can suggest my more socially oriented alternative to the player if he seems like he could go for that sort of thing. Try to work the James Bond super spy angle if it needs to sound more appealing. Also, he ought to ask the GM if he can "respec" or roll up a new character that's oriented in this direction.

Benny89 Benny89's picture
Yeah, I just wonder what's

Yeah, I just wonder what's the point of infiltration then.... The only one I can think of is long range sniping since X-Ray, Thermal, Radar etc. have their maximum range so being hidden over long distance can be good, but is it worth investment in infiltration? If you str 1,5km from targest, shooting Reative Armor Piercing Accushot rounds- the only way to counter you is really counter sniping or artilery... Following someone? You can do that via mesh or cameras around or simple drone above them.

Also how does EP handle it mechanically. Lets say I have a guy with Infiltration 90 and enemy with X-Ray. Is my player automatically detected or it's opposed test Infiltration vs Perception but enemy get bonus from having X-Ray?

Same with echolocation.

Sojur Sojur's picture
Given my limited experience

Given my limited experience with EP, my guess would be that the infiltration skill can still be useful if you're trying to infiltrate more "low tech" people who have a limited amount of resources available to them. The kind of people who, for whatever reason, would not have x-ray vision or another visual enhancements immediately available to them.

But after opening up the book and re-reading the infiltration skill description (p180), two examples and specializations are given: Blending in, and Shadowing. I would imagine Blending In can still be VERY useful if you can make yourself unnoticed amongst a crowd of people. To use your high-tech facility example: Sure the x-ray scanners can see you, but they can also see the gaggle of guards you're hanging out and having a smoke with - nothing unusual to see there. Shadowing can also be useful because if you're trying to follow somebody around unnoticed, then sure they can see you with their x-ray vision and whole suite of vision enhancements if they have them. But can they pick you out of the crowd you're floating around in?

EDIT: I just re-read your post and noticed you mentioned how following somebody around can be accomplished through other means (drone/mesh). This is true, but I guess having the infiltration skill presents one more option available to use should a drone or mesh tracking not be practical for whatever reason.

Also, given how new I am to the game, I have no idea how your example should be mechanically handled. I guess that's up to the individual GM and their interpretation of things.

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
There are countermeasures,

There are countermeasures, you need the full suit of stealth gear and the like. And in the end, it's better to replace an authorized dude than trying to pull a Solid Snake, EP is game where it pays off more to think like a spy than a Delta

Benny89 Benny89's picture
But there are surely some

But there are surely some "Delta" action in EP world. You have black ops hypercorp squads for sure, Direct Action mercs etc.

So how does it work mechanicaly? As I said I have a guy with Chameleon Cloack Infiltration 90, Cloack +30, he rolled 95 MOS. Now I have guy with X-Ray and Perception 40. Does he just automatically sees my slealth player or he still have to roll Percpetion but for example with +30 bonus. Because so far in EP every action and reaction is counter-test.

Btw. in real life - how to avoid X-Rays or Radar? Do Synthmorphs show in X-Ray even? And you can I guess buy a remote radar jamm as gear or as robotic augment (since you can have Radar as robotic augment too, then I guess you can have anti-radar).

Even today some planes etc have anti-radar equipment etc. so I guess it's possible to counter those.

o11o1 o11o1's picture
Stealth Classic becomes more

Stealth Classic becomes more valuable in a complex tactical environment. For example, if people are busy trying to deal with a loud and flashy firefight, they're going to have enough distraction modifiers that you can still manage to win on the stealthy checks.

X-rays detect changes in density, so you have to either look like you're the same density as whatever you're hiding behind, or use meta materials and present an X-Ray image that looks the same. Or more likely, make sure that you look like something that's supposed to be there. (not automatically like a person! Hiding in a delivery of feedstock might work.)

Flexbots and Swarmanoids in particular seem great at "pretend I'm a simple cleaning drone" and using Infiltrate that way.

A slight smell of ions....

Xagroth Xagroth's picture
Benny89 wrote:

Benny89 wrote:

Btw. in real life - how to avoid X-Rays or Radar? Do Synthmorphs show in X-Ray even? And you can I guess buy a remote radar jamm as gear or as robotic augment (since you can have Radar as robotic augment too, then I guess you can have anti-radar).

Even today some planes etc have anti-radar equipment etc. so I guess it's possible to counter those.

Ok, IRL there is no "anti-radar equipment", but radar-absorbent materials mounted on specialized vehicles that already minimize the radar contact... This means, essentially, that you are not invisible to radar, but look like a bird instead of an F-122.

In that regard, one can assume that the Chameleon Cloaks and the like are also made of anti-reflecting materials of a wide array of wavelengths, thus any system that works in a "send wave, check return" can be countered by it.

Now, if I were to use x-ray systems as sentinels, I would place focal x-ray emitters projecting cones towards the base, with receivers pointing outwards. Kinda more hard to go discreetly if you are black blob moving through the system! Of course, this only works against ground attempts.

Anyway, there comes a point when you have to "handwave" to simplification into a workable model, in this case stealth being a combination of all required counter-detection actions, and perception and combination of all detection actions, but with the tech needing to be added.

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
Personally, I feel

Personally, I feel infiltration is useful, albeit there's a few things to keep in mind as a DM. The first is if your target doesn't have access to all the sensors in the world. Not every two bit thug you run across is going to have a fully decked out morph with all the sensors in the world, and while cameras may be all over the place, unless you're breaking into a place the target owns they likely don't have control of the network. Even if they DO, your team's hacker can fix that.

Second, you're assuming the people you're up against are always 100% alert and scanning for intruders. People naturally let their guard down if there hasn't been an intrusion in a while. Unless they're expecting a break-in any second now, they're not going to be tuning all their sensors at every entrance every second. This is even reflected in game by the -20 modifier for passive perception: If someone isn't making a conscious effort to focus on an area, they're considered distracted and suffer that penalty. Just because their infrared sensors pick up someone's heat signature doesn't mean they actually notice the person is there.

Lastly, the more difficult to avoid sensors do have a catch: They're all active. The passive scans can pretty much be avoided by using a chameleon cloak and trying to avoid making sound. Active scans require the person scanning to be on alert and searching, and if the person hiding has enhanced senses they can pick up the emissions themselves and use it to help avoid detection, like avoiding the cone of a flashlight beam.

Benny89 Benny89's picture
Urthdigger wrote:Active scans

Urthdigger wrote:
Active scans require the person scanning to be on alert and searching, and if the person hiding has enhanced senses they can pick up the emissions themselves and use it to help avoid detection, like avoiding the cone of a flashlight beam.

Ha! Didn't think about that. So you can use some senses to detect lidar and X-Ray vision "cones of sight", correct? However you can't I think see Radar waves... And echolocation is an effect around the user I think. But still many good points by you, many thanks!

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
You can pick up the radar

You can pick up the radar pings much the same as the person using it. With all three (radar, lidar, echolocation) you can take measures against it such as hiding behind things that will block it or hiding in a spot where you'll appear as just another part of the environment.

Keep in mind most of these enhanced senses are lower resolution than vision. You'll pick up someone in the open just fine, but someone up against an art structure may appear to just be part of it.

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
There's a big difference between being Seen and being Noticed.

Hiding from x-ray vision is functionally very similar to hiding from regular sight - using cover to make yourself less visible, breaking up your silhouette, that sort of thing. The difference is the methods you use to do it - you're looking for dense and/or complex objects for cover, not opaque ones.
To put it another way, if the person hiding would be completely concealed from 'normal' vision, the enhanced senses are the reason the viewer can make a perception roll at all.

It's also worth noting that having walls made to block x-ray vision will likely be fairly common, proportionally to how common x-ray vision is, because not-being-see-through is one of the main reasons to have walls in the first place.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

Benny89 Benny89's picture
ThatWhichNeverWas wrote

ThatWhichNeverWas wrote:
Hiding from x-ray vision is functionally very similar to hiding from regular sight - using cover to make yourself less visible, breaking up your silhouette, that sort of thing. The difference is the methods you use to do it - you're looking for dense and/or complex objects for cover, not opaque ones.
To put it another way, if the person hiding would be completely concealed from 'normal' vision, the enhanced senses are the reason the viewer can make a perception roll at all.

It's also worth noting that having walls made to block x-ray vision will likely be fairly common, proportionally to how common x-ray vision is, because not-being-see-through is one of the main reasons to have walls in the first place.

See this is also how I want to interpret that. That if someone is using high Infiltration (like 80+) with Chameleon Cloack (+30 bonus) the successful roll means that (if he is aware of X-Ray, Lidar or Echolocation) he uses his stealth experience to try to avoid such systems (though it's harder with 360 robotic vision...) and I would allow not actively seeking enemy to roll with bonus if they use those or ignore distraction. If Actively seeking I would give bonus to their perception or give player penalty to their infiltration (as they have to work extra to avoid those augmantations, like being super silent vs echolocation, move slowely and low because of radar, or look for thicc objects or stop moving beceause of X-Ray). But I would still make it as opposed test.

This is what I am missing from Core-Book, how does X-Ray, Lidar or Echolocation help vs stealth, what bonuses they get and how infiltration becomes harder vs those. Because I don't believe as they would simply give auto-detect on X-Ray or Lidar in opposed-tests based game.

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
Echolocation isn't avoided by

Echolocation isn't avoided by being extra silent: it's avoided in much the same way as radar. It's the thing bats have to "see" in the dark.

Benny89 Benny89's picture
Urthdigger wrote:Echolocation

Urthdigger wrote:
Echolocation isn't avoided by being extra silent: it's avoided in much the same way as radar. It's the thing bats have to "see" in the dark.

So move slowly or stop and stay low?

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
Stop and stay low. Or use

Stop and stay low. Or use equipment to like... soundproof yourself. It's bouncing sound waves off of things to see where they are by the echos... hence the name echolocation. It's also blocked by like any solid surface.

Benny89 Benny89's picture
Urthdigger wrote:Stop and

Urthdigger wrote:
Stop and stay low. Or use equipment to like... soundproof yourself. It's bouncing sound waves off of things to see where they are by the echos... hence the name echolocation. It's also blocked by like any solid surface.

Thanks. Can you use some vision-augment to "see" sound waves? Or can you "hear" sound waves in standard enviorment?

Urthdigger Urthdigger's picture
The description of the

The description of the echolocation augment specifically states it's using your ears. So no, you're not seeing sound waves. You're emitting an ultrasonic pulse and then hearing the echo to find obstacles. It's like radar, but worse.