Slicer tree modifications

Playing a technician I’ve looked at my different specialization options a lot, and all specialization trees have something to offer and something that makes me want it. Except Slicer.

I have a few issues with the tree.
First, there’s ony one way to go, you cannot branch out until the fourth row of the tree, forcing you to take defensive slicing and twice, and it almost forces you to take improved defensive slicing as well.

Secondly, while the tree has a few good talents, such as natural programmer re-rolls are always great, and I guess technical aptitude would save some time if you program droids a lot. But Bypass security and Codebraker are useful only in very specific scenarios. Similarly Defensive Slicer is only useful if NPCs are trying to hack you. Those three talents are nearly half the specialization tree. Add the fact that a lot of the ranks in these talents are mandatory if you want to progress the tree.

I don’t know if there’s something I’m missing, but it seems like most talents in the tree are more limited and situational than most other specialization trees I’ve seen. And the GM will have to include a lot of slicing to make the specialization feel useful. We’ve played some of the written adventures, and there has not been a whole lot of slicing, and when there was a good intellect score and some ranks in the computer skill has been more than enough.

Are there any suggestions on how to improve the tree? My super quick idea on how to improve the tree was to connect Technical aptitude (5 XP) to Grit (10 XP). That would at least open up the tree, and not force you to buy your way down the tree. But maybe that opens up the tree too much? Should some other connections be removed? Such as one or two of the talents connecting to Grit (10 XP)?

I also feel that 3 defensive slicing, and 1 improved defensive slicing is too much. Maybe swap out one of the defensive slicing to Speak Binary, it feels like that would fit a hacker computer expert.
There’s also three bypass security, I think something like Black Market Contacts could fit better, some slicing gear is restricted after all. Swapping out the 10 or 15 XP version of bypass security would make the tree more varied.

Any thoughts? Maybe there’s already an improved Slicer tree floating around the internet, but I didn’t find it.

1 Like

You aren’t wrong. Slicer is one of the three worst trees to progress through.

As for actual slates of talents, I think that it’s fine, just very specialized. Neither Technical Aptitude is required, but if the character wants them they’re good. 3 Codebreaker makes it much easier to intercept communications (and is the only talent to affect that), 3 Defensive Slicing makes you much better at protecting your computer systems, but you could probably drop a Bypass Security maybe in favor of a Grit.

In some campaigns, you’re better off just putting ranks in Computers. In others, Slicer will be particularly potent. It depends on the sort of campaign, how interested you are in Slicing, and on the GM.

3 Likes

No thoughts on the Slicer tree, per se, but I often rework trees a bit too. I have altered at least a third of the specializations in one way or another. Maybe more.

Slicer is on my radar, but I have not done anything with it yet. The singular path is problematic. When I think of slicing, it think of more than just computer hacking, which seems to be an overwhelming part of that tree.

Your thread here is a good opportunity to take a closer look this weekend.

Yes, I’ll probably manage with a decent intellect and computers skill in the current campaign. Slicing encounters are few and fairly short. Somehow Slicer feels off for me, but it might be the forced progression I have an issue with.

I can see myself playing as a hacker character, but if I did and my starting specialization was Slicer I’d probably get all the 5XP talents, and then buy my way down to Natural programmer. After that I’d probably leave it and start outlaw tech as a secondary specialization.

If you do make a modified version of the tree I’d be interested in seeing it. :)

1 Like

I would throw out there that Technical Aptitude is an illogically broken talent. If taken as written, it reduces the time needed to make computers-related checks by 25%, and it stacks. But it’s also possible to acquire more than 4 ranks of it, so what does that mean? The universe gives time back to the character? The character completes the task before they begin?

2 Likes

Agreed, technical aptitude should probably be capped at 50%. But aren’t Slicer and Artisan the only specializations with technical aptitude?

Analyst has 1 rank. Between the three, you can get 4 ranks if Technical Aptitude, which already breaks logic as that amounts to a 100% reduction in time needed. The integrated slicer gear attachment form Special Modifications can be modded to add a 5th rank, for 125% reduction.

Yeah, so that’s where the GM steps in and says “slow down there, buddy.”
I’d probably cap it at a 75% reduction, but it’s worth mentioning that when the talent was introduced, there were only two ranks of it in existence. Also worth mentioning that there are only 3 ranks in Age of Rebellion, and only 1 in Force and Destiny.

2 Likes

Slicer feels off because of the forced progression and the really odd layout that make some things tough to reach. I call that sort of tree “a nightmare to navigate.”

I’d suggest you not go for Slicer. I like Slicer-type characters, but the tree itself is quite often not actually useful. In the right circumstance, it’s really good. But without the right circumstance, you aren’t going to get much use out of it at all.

I would make the reduction multiplicative, rather than additive, and then there’s no limit on ranks. So each rank multiplies the time by 0.75. So the total time required at each rank is:

1 Rank: 75.00%
2 Ranks: 56.25%
3 Ranks: 42.19%
4 Ranks: 31.64%
5 Ranks: 23.73%

Or 75, 55, 40, 30, 25, for simplicity’s sake :slight_smile: .

3 Likes

You could do that, sure. My point is more an issue with how the talent was designed in the long term. And I don’t really play Star Wars anymore, so it’s not an issue to me; even if I did or do come back to it one day, I’d probably use Genesys talents and rulings anyway.

Computers-related talents are strange to me in that they were treated very oddly compared to other skills. Like, there are talents that reduce time for other tasks, but they have a flat, non-stacking 50% reduction. There are also no talents that remove setback dice from Computers checks, despite an abundance of other talents that do exactly that EDIT: for other skills.

Yes, it would have made more sense if it was similar to other talents, removing a black die per rank but decreasing time by a fixed amount (like 50%) no matter how many times you got purchased talent.

2 Likes

Slicer is a very special tree thus require a special campaign. That’s all.
If your GM doesn’t want to bother with slicing encounters and counterespionage why would you even make a slicer?
Just take something with computers as career skill and call yourself a slicer. People always forget that spec names are just narrative flares. You can be a slicer with a Politico who took Computers and Streetwise with Well Rounded.

However if it’s a focal point of the campaign a specialized slicer could be immensly valuable to protect the group from ISB, Imperial Intelligence CSA hackers and other non-combat threats.

2 Likes

Sure, but you could construct a more generically useful slicer tree without too much difficulty. Given few of the other trees are this limited in scope, it seems odd they chose to. For example, Mechanic has Bad Motivator: Make a mechanics check to have one device spontaneously break 1/session. That would make far more sense as a Slicer talent where you instead got lucky and sliced the lights or a door or something.

2 Likes

That’s what I’m thinking. An alt version of Slicer for campaigns that are less focally pointed in slicing.

1 Like

I agree, but there are other specs that narratively have quite a narrow focus area, but still manages to feel useful in a broader context of an adventure/campaign. But I agree that all specs doesn’t have to be useful in all campaigns.

That’s what I’m thinking as well. The tree could be more universally applicable, but still have a slicer focus.