View Full Version : Comlinks

1 February 2002, 06:15 PM
How do you adjudicate comlinks? I mean, do you treat them like short range (50 km) cell phones - as long as you know the other party's "number" they can call? Are they like walkie-talkies - only a few "bands" on which to communicate? Do they function like tin cans with wax string - one comlink can only communicate with another comlink unless someone goes in and changes the wiring? I'm a little unclear as to exactly how they should function.

1 February 2002, 07:13 PM
For convience I have usually treated them as Cell Phones, but I dont think thats how they actually operate. I think they are more like CB's.

1 February 2002, 08:32 PM
Yea Moose me too

I just figure that they have tons of bands to choose from so you gotta know someones band in order to talk to them. Individuals have a tight band that is fairly unique, but we have allowed "broadband" communication so a person can shout out to lots of differnt bands. Microwave communication requires a satalite or microwave tower, and I play that all you need is one comlink to talk to another comlink...no satelite.

What ever...I say make up rule that work and don't pick it apart any more than that. We don't have to know everything about the technology in order to play with it.

Durian Keldrona
1 February 2002, 11:46 PM
encrypted comlinks will be like motorola encrypted radios.

Chris Curtis
2 February 2002, 12:05 PM
You might be interested in a previous thread about this topic. My reply is already in that one, so I won't repost it here.

Comlinks - Mobile phones??? (http://holonet.swrpgnetwork.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3056)

2 February 2002, 12:26 PM
I've always treated them somewhat like cell phones. I assume that the number of bands is huge and actual communication lies on a small one. I rarely allow characters to broadcast on "all frequencies" mainly because it seems unlikely that the government (especially the Empire) would allow people to do such a thing. If a character attempts it, it probably isn't very effective. At short range, perhaps the signal is strong enough to be audible on other comlinks, and medium ranges, everybody gets garbage, with multiple signals interfering, at long range, your message is largely lost under more powerful signals. Of course, as soon as the government discovers you illegally broadcasting on a bajillion frequences, you're in trouble.

2 February 2002, 06:02 PM
Thanks for all the input, and thanks Chris for pointing me to a previous discussion that pretty much mirrors this one. I wish I'd have seen that one before I started this one.

Anyway, I like the limited communication model approach. The way I've seen them used is of a limited nature. Luke communicated only with C-3PO, and Qui-Gonn only communicated with Obi-Wan.

The problem came up because in an adventure I'm about to run on Coruscant (Old Republic) I have two Jedi who will be in a real quandry. They have information that the bad guy they've been after is coming to a place they happen to be. The problem is he's coming soon. If they stick around and deal with him alone, they more than likely will be killed (he's a bad bad guy). If they head back to the Temple they can get reinforcements, but they'll miss the bad guy. They'll assuredly think to use their comlinks to contact the Temple, but I wanted to make sure that didn't happen.

If the result of this debate came back that comlinks were basically cell phones (without the cells) then I would have to find a way to be sure their comlinks weren't functioning or were missing. But since I think it seems like they function more like walkie-talkies (at least that's the version I like) I'm going to have their comlinks only communicate to each others. And since they're standing side-by-side, are pretty much useless.

Of course, if I were to go with the cell-phone version, I could still let them call the Temple and ask for backup, but make the bad guy come within a few minutes of the call. They'd still be fighting him alone, and the Jedi backup would arrive in time to make sure their bodies weren't desecrated.

Hmmm, either one sounds like a lot of GM fun. It's like looking at a menu too long after you decide what you want to order. Inevitably you find something else that looks good too.

Anyway, thanks again all for all the input.

2 February 2002, 06:53 PM
I think I found something interesting when I looked back on how I've played comlinks over the years. Early on they were simple, walkie-talkie types. Recently, they're more similar to cell phones. I think it's because cell phones are relatively new, and before they were popular, my vision of what comlinks were capable of was more limited.

But now, I treat them more like a CB system. It's a limited broadcast range with several preset frequencies for use. On most CBs there are 40 channels, and channel 19 is the 'everybody' channel that gets the most use. Turn a dial and select a different frequency, and talk only to people on that channel.

Similar walkie-talkies have features like this. Some have multiple channels, some have coded channels so that only models with the translation algorithm can understand the broadcast.

The difference with comlinks is that I allow up to 10 presets on a handheld comlink depending on the cost. And with the proper computer gear (datapads, portable computers, or whatever you like) the characters can change the preset frequencies. That way they can have private frequencies, or 'team' frequencies for quick access to the entire group at once.

One other thing. The CB in my car also monitors weather channels. If I'm listening to one of the regular 40 CB channels and there's a weather alert, my CB beeps at me so I'll switch over to the weather section and get the alert. So my radio can listen to one set of frequencies, and 'monitor' the other simultaneously.

In my games, all comlinks monitor an 'emergency' frequency used for distress signals. So if you broadcast a mayday call on the emergency channel, every com device in range can pick it up, and the com will alert users to monitor that channel.

For a fee, you can get a model of comlink that uses standard frequencies and can monitor two other bands: the emergency frequency and one other custom frequency. This is usually the one my players use as the 'team' frequency, tho not always.

Anyway, that's how we do it.