One of my Mutants & Masterminds players wants to make a hero inspired by Aiden Pierce, the protagonist of the video game Watch Dogs. All was well until we came to the topic of hacking things besides computers—as Pierce does in the game—, like phones, vehicles, and bombs.

I thought such a power might just be normal hacking, but this seems to make everyone with a decent Technology skill much too powerful. It also seems like such an ability should be unique to this character. I've considered some kind of environment control, but that seems lacking in possibilities.

How can this sort of super-hacking ability be simulated?

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    \$\begingroup\$ If this is a contemporary setting, phones, vehicles and bombs are ALL computers. Almost all modern electronic devices more complex than a toaster are microprocessor driven. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Nov 12 '16 at 22:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ Besides, ever heard the term "phone phreak" before? Trust me, the phone system was being hacked back in the bad old days too ;) \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Nov 12 '16 at 22:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ (I am certain the asker knows that phones, vehicles, and even bombs contain traditional computers, so blame should be placed on the editor for the question's old-school use of the term computer to mean fast abacus that sits on a desk or whatever. Note also that the M&M skill Technology is a little vague.) \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Nov 12 '16 at 23:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ Maybe I should add that he wants to do the hacking through cameras and nearly instantly. So the time the technology skill suggest it takes to hack might be to long. Besides only some standar-ish objects should be hacked like this. The rest is done by a technology skill roll. \$\endgroup\$ – Goju Ryu Nov 13 '16 at 20:54

There are two ways to model this. One is to build it as the typical set of powers you might wield (Feature: Traffic signals go my way, Damage 4 (Burst) [descriptor: exploding control panels], etc)

The other is to set it up as an Affliction, resisted by the Technology skill of whoever set it up (which is a +0 for many items), with the first degree being something like Impaired [Getting closer to cracking it], Disabled [Almost in] or Compelled [I can make it do things... but only inserted commands, not total control], Controlled [p\$0\$wnzed!].

If you're doing the latter, I'd still recommend building a Subtle Indirect Perception-Range damage power at a low rank to model thinks blowing up, since that's not usually something that people under mental control do on their own (since it's sort of self-destructive), maybe with the Skill Check on it to model having to hack it.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Wow this is smart. Thank you. With an affect objects modifier this would be perfect! \$\endgroup\$ – Goju Ryu Nov 13 '16 at 20:58
  • \$\begingroup\$ You only need Affects-Objects if you're targeting a save that the object would not have. In this case, you're using an Alternate Resistance (Technology), probably with a Limited (Hackable Objects Only). Depending on GM, that might amount to a -2, -1, or +0 in total for the modifier. \$\endgroup\$ – Sean Duggan Nov 14 '16 at 5:30

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