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intothenight

Force-Using Droid Character Concept

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So, this idea popped into my head a while ago, and now it's slowly consuming my thoughts. First off, I was considering a replacement character for my PC if that dreaded 151+ crit ever comes up. Second off, I always liked Guri, the Human Replica Droid from Shadows of the Empire. Third, I couldn't help but remember PROXY holding his own against Starkiller by imitating different Jedi and Sith in The Force Unleashed. That's when this character came to life.

 

It's a replacement for my Chiss Gadgeteer should anything go wrong. Said Chiss is fascinated by droids and is obsessed with creating droids to do random tasks. Does the engine coolant need to be checked? Scavenge some parts and build a droid to do it. Is someone always airing out their boots in the mess hall? Scavenge some parts and build a droid to deal with it discreetly. Does the crew need a copilot? Buy that REX unit Star Tours is selling at a suspiciously good price. The fact that this PC is always tinkering with random droid parts doesn't exactly raise eyebrows with the rest of the party.

 

What they don't know is that I'm building an emergency backup me. That's right, this droid is Hevrask's Experimental Replacement One (EXR-1). I've rigged up a lifesigns monitor to connect with a special comlink, so that if I ever die, the droid version of me goes online. It's not quite a perfect copy of me. It looks like me. It's got some decent synthskin coating taken from defective cybernetics. It can fight. It has about as much EXP as I do. But it's got its oddities.

 

First, it doesn't know it's a droid. Scanners will identify it as a droid, and it has droid-like speech patterns, but it is incapable of accepting the possibility of being a droid.

 

Second, it thinks it's a Jedi. I found some bizarre curio I wanted to analyze, and I connected it to the droid brain to help me sort through the data. Unfortunately for me (and fortunately for the droid), I will have died before disconnecting it and poring over the results. That curio turns out to be a Jedi holocron, and it had some very bizarre interactions with the droid's programming. At least it can wield a lightsaber.

 

Third, it thinks it can use the Force. This part is pretty much directly taken from PROXY, who uses tractor and repulsor beams to throw objects and his lightsaber. The droid was built to assist in combat and help move cargo around, but now the droid thinks it can use Force Move. While it wouldn't actually be the Force, I'd want to use the Force Move tree here. Upgrades would reflect the droid being able to draw power more efficiently to get more use out of its systems. When it uses dark side points to fuel it, its combat droid programming would create errors when conflicting with the Jedi Code, creating strain by overloading its circuits.

 

Fourth, it can't ever really use the Force. It can use lightsabers and learn new forms from the collective knowledge of Jedi Masters of ages past, but it can't, say, deflect blaster bolts based on precognition. It can use and upgrade Force Move, but it's not really the Force. Other powers will always be unavailable.

 

Since this campaign started as an EotE campaign, I think I'd stick toward Obligation. I really can't see Morality working as a driving force for this droid. It can't actually fall to the Dark Side, since it doesn't even have access to the Force to begin with. I like the idea of this droid believing it's the last of the Old Jedi, sworn to fight the Empire that destroyed its comrades and somehow erased all its memories before it woke up in a gadgeeteer's workshop.

 

So that's the plan for the brave Jedi(?) Knight, Hevrask Exar-Wan. Thoughts? Improvements? Concerns about proper grounding of electrical equipment when dealing with Force Lightning?

 

TL;DR version: I built a droid replacement for a PC character that looks like a Chiss and thinks it's a Jedi. Thanks to some of its equipment, it thinks it can use Force Move as well.

Edited by intothenight

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Interesting concept... I'm not sure how much legs it has under it.  Once it discovers it's a droid and also not a Jedi, I expect things to start to unravel pretty quickly.  Should be a fun ride for a few sessions, though.

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That's the beauty of it. It's not just that it doesn't know it's a droid. It's that it literally cannot consider the possibility.

 

Arm cut off in battle, revealing durasteel and wires? "This arm appears to be cybernetic. Probable cause: Imperial treachery. Their evil must be stopped."

 

Data being uploaded to it from a computer? "I am unfamiliar with this technology that allows data to be transferred into sentient minds. Are you certain this is safe?"

 

Servos being repaired after a tough fight? "Your medical instruments are strange and disturbing, but the Force does not warn me of danger. Proceed."

 

Synthskin peeled away, revealing the full droid chassis? "Sith illusion detected. There is no emotion, there is peace."

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Work with your GM on this.  It's a good concept but it may not last.  You'll need to cover almost any eventuality that could expose the artificialness of the Character.  The GM can work certain elements into the overall story to make the deception last.  For example, a normal hit from a blaster could only burn the skin without penetrating it and normal Medicine checks could help heal the damage.  However a Critical hit would reveal the circuitry beneath the flesh and possibly damage the underlying components.

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That's the beauty of it. It's not just that it doesn't know it's a droid. It's that it literally cannot consider the possibility.

I like this. I had a similar concept with a species of robots in my DW:AiTaS game. They knew that time travel was a mathematical impossibility. They had proved this, in fact. And therefore were literally incapable of believing in time travel. In the same way you would be literally incapable of believing you were floating in the air when you can feel your feet pressing against the ground and see that you're not. It simply ran up against an unshakeable thing that they knew to be true. It was quite good fun, actually.

Returning to Star Wars, I would imagine this would be regarded as something of a perverse / bizarre / out there idea. Recall C3-P0's comment in the factory on Genosis - "Machines making machines - how perverse." And the head of the Black Sun crime syndicate has a gynoid that is disguised as a human but this is very much a secret. Star Wars is a setting where the boundaries of droid development are quite socially constrained. There's Obi-Wan's "And if droids could think, there'd be none of us here." People routinely wipe droid memories as a form of maintenance. Actively building a droid that is meant to be a fully independent, sentient person seems to be Something That Just Isn't Done.

I kind of like this about Star Wars. It's an odd, idiosyncratic thing that sets it apart and is at the same time, strangely believable. I would imagine many who found the truth about your character would have reactions running the full gamut from horror to fascination to disgust. I can almost hear C3-P0's voice in my head:

"A droid that thinks it's a master. How deplorably ill-thought out. Where will it end?"

Edited by knasserII

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I almost went into this thinking I was going to read about an Iron Knight write-up proposition for FFG Star Wars (which wouldn't be that hard, honestly, as Shards don't really have "stats" of their own), but am pleased to see otherwise, even if this idea might be even more "wait, what did I just read?" ;) Make sure not to fall for the old "as an organic, we need to put you under to perform this surgery, to heal your significant damage, here" ploy, and then they reformat your hard-drive, because in-universe, this idea could be viewed as terrifying, despite us, out here, thinking it is rather cool. And if it knows that much about Jedi, basically being a walking Holocron, the Empire will still try to ace it, so that will fit well as a character bit.

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I almost went into this thinking I was going to read about an Iron Knight write-up proposition for FFG Star Wars (which wouldn't be that hard, honestly, as Shards don't really have "stats" of their own), but am pleased to see otherwise, even if this idea might be even more "wait, what did I just read?" ;) Make sure not to fall for the old "as an organic, we need to put you under to perform this surgery, to heal your significant damage, here" ploy, and then they reformat your hard-drive, because in-universe, this idea could be viewed as terrifying, despite us, out here, thinking it is rather cool. And if it knows that much about Jedi, basically being a walking Holocron, the Empire will still try to ace it, so that will fit well as a character bit.

This brings up an interesting question - does the droid believe it is human on ALL levels, or just the personality level. To explain what I mean, consider this scenario above where someone wants to perform major surgery on the droid. Now if the droid thinks it is human on all levels, it may agree, thinking it really needs this operation. If there is a level below its "consciousness" for want of a better term, maybe that layer knows that this is a great risk to it. It might come up with ways to avoid the situation. You would have what would effectively be a self-defensive constraint on the droid's personality and it could well make sense that its creator deliberately built this in. In fact, I could make a reasonable argument that this would almost be necessary to preserve the illusion of the personality layer.

Think of it as perfect rationalization. For example, the team are trapped on a desert world and supplies have to be carefully rationed. After a week, everyone has lost weight except for the droid. When this is pointed out, the droid declares (and believes it) that their Jedi training means they need to eat much less. Or someone asks the droid to donate blood to help someone and the droid states that they have a blood disease and cannot do so.

The human brain actually does this to greater or lesser extents - it will do something and then post-fact come up with a rationalization that explains to the person why they did something. I could well see the droid's brain doing something like this - effectively the personality of the droid is a prisoner of certain constraints its creator / sub-conscious impose on it.

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You guys have brought up some good points, so I've had the chance to rework some ideas about this character.

 

First off, it's not a full Human (or Chiss, whatever) Replica Droid. It's got a layer of synthflesh, some clothes, and things like that, but it won't leave genetic traces like fingerprints or DNA anywhere, and it could never fool a decent scanner. I think this droid was originally created to serve as reputation enhancement for my Gadgeteer. This bounty hunter can capture two targets on opposite ends of the galaxy on the same day! Amazing! It could also work as a decoy when pursuing a tricky target. Of course, the Gadgeteer won't survive to see this droid in action, so the programming issues are here to stay.

 

I don't think it will be obvious to most people, not even Inquisitors, that this droid is housing a holocron. Now the apparent Force use, the lightsaber, and the anti-Sith rhetoric will definitely catch Imperial attention. I wouldn't have it any other way.

 

As for the idea of subconscious self-preservation programming protecting the droid, I like this idea, but I don't want to go too far with it. Like I said earlier, the droid cannot be made to understand that it is a droid. Show it conclusive proof, and it will see a detailed, but unconvincing, forgery. If it is in a situation that would harm droids but not humans, like walking through a barrage of ion cannon fire, that self-preservation programming would activate. The droid was originally made to convincingly pass off as a person, so it will avoid things that would dispel that illusion. Since it thinks it's a Jedi, it will assume this is the guidance of the Force. If it slips and lands in the middle of that ion cannon barrage and gets rescued later, it will decide that those were obviously not ion weapons. If it's being repaired, it will see those parts being worked on as some sort of vision and try to interpret the meaning.

 

Its delusions will build more and more of a backstory over time. It doesn't have any memory because the Imperials took it. It can't use Force Heal because something blocked that part of its brain when its memories were taken. It can't sense immediate danger because the Dark Side is difficult to see through.

 

Now, when it comes to interactions with other droids, that should be a lot of fun. It looks down on all droids as sad little trinkets who seem sentient, but have no hope of ever experiencing the wonders of the Force. It will be obvious to most droids with decent photoreceptors that this "Jedi" is clearly a droid, and not one suited for any convincing acting roles. Thank the Maker they had better programming than that malfunctioning pile of scrap.

 

Gotta be honest. The more I get into this droid, the more I want my Gadgeteer to die in a blaze of glory so this can replace it. It's a bit too soon for that, though. Plus I'd miss the Gadgeteer. We've been through a lot together.

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lol, If you really want to throw a curve ball in there, since it's housing a Holocron, you could work in a couple of Actual force powers.  Since Holocrons can do all sorts of weird things, wouldn't it be interesting if this droid had access to a Non Upgradable Force Rating of say "1," and access to, say, the Influence Tree.  You could spend XP to climb the Influence tree as normal as long as the holocron is still housed within the droid.  

 

This would really confuse people fighting with, or alongside, this character.  Is he a droid?  Is he a Cyborg?  WTF?

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Come to think of it, I would really have fun with a concept like this.

 

You could reasonably gain access to several Force Power Trees (With Limitations) through creative use of technology.

 

1.  Move and Bind could both be used with personal tractor beams - I would allow the PC to spend XP on the trees to upgrade these abilities.

2.  Foresee (and Possibly Battle Meditation) could be used as an Enhanced Computer Prediction/Anticipation Program.  Similar to that computer program from "Captain America: The Winter Soldier."  Chuck in a Holonet Receiver and some specialized computer equipment and BAM!  Instant Insight Software.

3.  Sense could be used as an Extrapolated Enhanced Sensory Input Program designed to read things like pupil dilation, blood pressure, and heart rate.

4.  Unleash wouldn't use the Force Power Tree, but could be mimicked by using some sort of electrical weapon.

5.  Protect could simply be a built in Personal Shield.

6.  The droid could claim to be using Enhance when he's really just using the bonuses from Cybernetics along with a special Cybernetic upgrade that increases leaping distance.

7.  I can't think of any way Heal, Harm or Misdirect could be used off hand...

8.  Influence could be accessed like I mentioned above.

 

Mechanically, I would probably run a lot of this just like a regular force using character trying to activate a power, BUT I would permanently limit the Force Rating to 1. Except for the Influence power, this would represent the Droids Power Consumption during use and I wouldn't even worry about black pips.  I'd consider all black and white pips grey for this character.

 

This creates a permanently limited but wonderfully diverse ability set that leaves some wiggle room for advancement, but that will never be as powerful as a real force user.

 

AND Whola!  Delusional Force using Droid!

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OH!  Some Holographic Projectors could be used to mimic the Misdirect Tree's Illusionary powers...

 

Heal might require a more intense delusional mindset, but how about if the droid had a built in stimpack injector or something to that effect.  A toxin injector might work for Harm in this regard as well.

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Heal could be used with nanodroids.....BUT I don't think THAT tech exists in star wars (at least I dont remember any instance of it)

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Heal could be used with nanodroids.....BUT I don't think THAT tech exists in star wars (at least I dont remember any instance of it)

Nanodroids exist. They are used in the Wrong Jedi arc in TCW. The bomb in the temple uses them, but there's no hint that they're a routine or common thing. They're in the setting but still a 70's sort of techlevel thing. We're not talking transhumanism or some of the more modern feels you normally get with them.

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I generally try to stay clear of nano tech in sic fi games.  It starts with nano healing robots then jumps to how they are constantly in the body and your character heals so much per turn, then jumps to enhancing attributes, then to liquid armor made from nano tech, and sooner or later someone comes up with a means to do just about anything you can think of using some form of nano tech...  It almost always ends up in quasi-theoretical discussions as to why nano can or can't be used to do things...  So unless specifically utilized in a specific way in official material, I just say no.

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