Datasphere Control Tier 6 ability - Speaks to the Datasphere

Hi I'd like to hear from other GMs about how to deal with this Tier 6 ability

Tier 6: Datasphere Control (8 Intellect points). Exploiting your connection to the datasphere, you can control the functions of any item of the numenera, automaton, or machine (intelligent or otherwise). If you use an action to concentrate on the device, you are aware of what is going on around it (you see and hear as if you were standing next to it, no matter how far away you are). You must touch the device to create the bond, but afterward, there is no range limitation. This effect lasts for one week. You can master only one device at a time. Action to initiate.

How does this work when taking control of Automatons? Would a player have to roll against the level of the Automaton i.e. to successfully touch it or take control? The description itself doesn't seem to imply any roll, only a touch is required to create a bond.

I can foresee a player using 'Speaks to the Datasphere' wanting to take control of high level Automatons such as the Dread Destroyer and either auto-destructing them or using them against other enemies. While i don't take issue with the idea itself, I want a practical and fun means of dealing with it. 

 Thanks in advance.



  • edited April 2017
    euriah said:
    The description itself doesn't seem to imply any roll

    Per the Core Rules, it would be an attack on the grounds that most intelligent machines wouldn't want to be controlled and should therefore require a roll. "An attack is anything that you do to someone that they don’t want you to do. Slashing a foe with a curved dagger is an attack, [...] and controlling someone’s mind is an attack. An attack almost always requires a roll to see if you hit or otherwise affect your target." (page 91).

    It is still very powerful even so, even for a Tier 6 ability. But not, I think, game-breaking. To take control of a Dread Destroyer would require a roll of 30 on a d20. To get that target number down to a reasonable level, you'll probably want to spend 6 Effort (which is allowed, being a Tier Six character), which together with the base cost of 8 Intellect means you are sinking over 20 Intellect points (before Edge) into this one roll. Assuming a level of training also, the PC would still need to beat a 9, only slightly better than 50/50 odds. But assuming it succeeds, the DD could then be used to take out the Stellar Weaver plaguing a nearby aldeia.

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