# Why would anyone ever play a droid?

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Do you mind reading my earlier reply where I do the math to show that there is no gap? I hate repeating myself...

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I think your math is off on the costs though.

Droid start at 175xp. Now getting them to the baseline 2 in all characteristics like Humans (easily the best choice for races xp wise) would come to 120xp, leaving 55 xp m. A 45 point difference with humans. Now I would like to point out that going "that way" is hardly the appropriate thing to do with a droid PC mind you, you want 4-3-2-1-1-1 that 3po unit has no need for brawl, agility or cunning. But I digress...

Humans get a rank each in two non-career skills (versatile). Droids get 4 additional ranks in career skills (specialized). Which kinda evens things out if you only use it on a first 'level' but it is very possible to use this to get a second rank in a skill (mechanic for instance can use it to gain 2 ranks in mechanics, pilot can get 2 ranks in each of the piloting skills, etc.) So there's a bigger possible benefit in the droid there, let's say a 5 point benefit? There is the "free" Enduring for another 10. Closing the gap to 30...

Now, there are quite a few features that are governed by this 30 points.

I think your math is off a bit, too.

Take that 4-3-2-1-1-1 droid and compare it to a species that started with 3-2-2-2-2-1: It costs the droid 160xp to get these stats, leaving 15xp. For the other species to get to 4-3-2-2-2-1 will cost 70xp, leaving 30xp.

The Endurance 1 of the droid only matters if Brawn is one of the stats they're boosting, otherwise it will just compensate for the fact that they only have a Brawn of 1.

Regarding the bonus career skills: Mathematically (though not necessarily conceptually) non-career skills are worth more. Also, I'm wondering about the 4 additional career skills you mention: Don't they get only two additional career skills? (I'm away from my books right now, so I'm working from my notes, here, so I could well be mistaken).

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I think your math is off on the costs though.

Droid start at 175xp. Now getting them to the baseline 2 in all characteristics like Humans (easily the best choice for races xp wise) would come to 120xp, leaving 55 xp m. A 45 point difference with humans. Now I would like to point out that going "that way" is hardly the appropriate thing to do with a droid PC mind you, you want 4-3-2-1-1-1 that 3po unit has no need for brawl, agility or cunning. But I digress...

Humans get a rank each in two non-career skills (versatile). Droids get 4 additional ranks in career skills (specialized). Which kinda evens things out if you only use it on a first 'level' but it is very possible to use this to get a second rank in a skill (mechanic for instance can use it to gain 2 ranks in mechanics, pilot can get 2 ranks in each of the piloting skills, etc.) So there's a bigger possible benefit in the droid there, let's say a 5 point benefit? There is the "free" Enduring for another 10. Closing the gap to 30...

Now, there are quite a few features that are governed by this 30 points.

I think your math is off a bit, too.

Take that 4-3-2-1-1-1 droid and compare it to a species that started with 3-2-2-2-2-1: It costs the droid 160xp to get these stats, leaving 15xp. For the other species to get to 4-3-2-2-2-1 will cost 70xp, leaving 30xp.

Which would be negated completely by all the extra skills a droid can take. Let's say tis would be worth 15xp (at least)? Leaving 15xp and all those other skills/talents... So in this case the droid would be even more valuable.

The Endurance 1 of the droid only matters if Brawn is one of the stats they're boosting, otherwise it will just compensate for the fact that they only have a Brawn of 1.

Which would, in fact, make it worth its xp either way.

Edited by DanteRotterdam

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Three extra skills. Two from career and one from specialization.

Nobody seems to mention that healing Droids suffers greatly from a lack of talents comparable to Surgeon, Physician, Stimpack Specialization, and even Bacta Specialist.

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Three extra skills. Two from career and one from specialization.

Nobody seems to mention that healing Droids suffers greatly from a lack of talents comparable to Surgeon, Physician, Stimpack Specialization, and even Bacta Specialist.

Yeah, but then again the Technician book is still to come and I have a feeling that might be taken care of soon enough.

Edit:

Also, (I am away from my books now) but droids can heal themselves more easily and aren't there oil baths???

Edited by DanteRotterdam

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Everything is subjective and relative. There are no concrete mathematical processes for designing species. I find droids fine as is, as do many others. Others may find them lacking for whatever reasons. Quicksabre seems to have listened and at least considered what has been said. If Jhaelen wishes to continue to believe they are still lacking that's all right, too. Dante you already did a complete mathematical breakdown which was pretty accurate or as close as you can get anyways. No need to keep repeating yourself if he's not going to consider that. Droids as a species are not some gaping hole or error in the game.

We will continue to see new people coming here for the first time thinking they've discovered the next thing which needs to be fixed. And they always seem disappointed when we all don't automatically agree. Not realizing that many of us have discussed such things having been here since the beginning. Reminds me of my teenager thinking he's doing everything for the first time like I wasn't a teenager once. (Well I am still one mentally anyways.) Posts on fixing soak, fixing morality, and fixing droids will, in all likelihood, continue as the game gains new fans. Some will accept the advice given, join the community and become a contributing member. Others will take their ball and go play elsewhere. We've seen it before and we will continue to see it.

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200 xp into this game the starting stat breakdowns are nearly pointless.

In regards to pandering to, or tailoring a session to make a droid shine, frankly if as a GM you aren't tailoring your sessions to make all your PCs shine I'm not sure you're playing an RPG, sounds more like a table top tactical simulator at that point to me.

In regards to droids specials, if you aren't including the vacuum of space, primitive planets with toxic beasts, trying to go un-noticed to "avoid Imperial entanglements", not having to worry about food and water riding beasts of burden across a desert to the pirate base, or be sure that your "thoughts" don't "betray you" to the dark force user, are you playing Star Wars?

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I agree. One of my players is an astromech droid who is by now the only player not on the Empire's wanted list. Not because he didn't do anything wrong mind you, but the droid is just a tool compared to the other characters. Who knew there could be an upside to discrimation?

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Three extra skills. Two from career and one from specialization.

Nobody seems to mention that healing Droids suffers greatly from a lack of talents comparable to Surgeon, Physician, Stimpack Specialization, and even Bacta Specialist.

Ah, thanks, so neither us was right; three it is!

Regarding Droid Healing: that's why I wrote in my initial post, that I'm more inclined to consider droids a liability for a group: Because the group's medic won't be able to do anything for them. You also need to have a mechanic with the relevant skills and equipment. But that's likely to be no problem for a group that creates their characters as a team.

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That. And also keep in mind not all groups have a medic... Our group does have a mechanic and no Doctor for instance.

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Okay, my final post regarding this topic: As I already mentioned, I get that a majority doesn't feel there's anything wrong with the droids. Cool!

What I don't get, though, is the opinion that they're fine because the GM will make sure they're fine. that doesn't sound like a satisfying 'solution' to me.

It looks (or rather looked) to me like this:

Player 1: I want to play species x!

GM: Sure thing, here's 100 xp to spend on improving your character.

Player 2: I want to play a droid!

GM: Sure thing, here's 50 xp to spend on improving your character.

Player 2: Uh, huh?

GM: Don't worry, I'll make up for it by ignoring you when the Empire goes after your group.

Player 2: Ah, alright, then, awesome!

Player 1: WTF?!

The problem with special advantages like the droid's 'Mechanical' is that they're hard to quantify.

And that's why we'll have to agree to disagree on whether the droid is actually mechanically worse off than other species or not.

Anyway, there's also been plenty of good examples and reasons why playing a droid might have more less obvious benefits than I initially considered.

So my worries that a player who would be interested in playing a droid might be discouraged from doing so by glancing at the stat block is at least somewhat alleviated.

At least I can now always point them to this discussion

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Okay, my final post regarding this topic: As I already mentioned, I get that a majority doesn't feel there's anything wrong with the droids. Cool!

What I don't get, though, is the opinion that they're fine because the GM will make sure they're fine. that doesn't sound like a satisfying 'solution' to me.

It looks (or rather looked) to me like this:

Player 1: I want to play species x!

GM: Sure thing, here's 100 xp to spend on improving your character.

Player 2: I want to play a droid!

GM: Sure thing, here's 50 xp to spend on improving your character.

Player 2: Uh, huh?

GM: Don't worry, I'll make up for it by ignoring you when the Empire goes after your group.

Player 2: Ah, alright, then, awesome!

Player 1: WTF?!

The problem with special advantages like the droid's 'Mechanical' is that they're hard to quantify.

And that's why we'll have to agree to disagree on whether the droid is actually mechanically worse off than other species or not.

Anyway, there's also been plenty of good examples and reasons why playing a droid might have more less obvious benefits than I initially considered.

So my worries that a player who would be interested in playing a droid might be discouraged from doing so by glancing at the stat block is at least somewhat alleviated.

At least I can now always point them to this discussion

Well, at least I like half your post...

The little play you wrote however is completely taking things I, myself, and others have said completely out of context and is a bit disengenuous.

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Not needing to breathe in an outer space game is pretty easy to quantify.

Not being affected by any poisons is pretty easy to quantify.  If in D&D there was a race that could completely ignore the effects of all poisons that would be OTT godlike.

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Well, that's balanced by the fact that Droids can be targeted by computer viruses and so on. Organic meatbags don't have to worry about that kinda thing (unless they're neuro linked into a computer somehow and it fries them). Saying that as a GM though. I mean, sure a droid doesn't need to breathe but what happens if the ship's stuck in an ion storm? Need to make repairs else the meatbags all suffocate or something equally horrific.

The droids have strengths but the GM should still poke at said strengths, right?

Anyway, has anyone ever tried out a droid with two 4s in their Characteristics? It means taking a +5 XP Obligation and no talents or extra skills to start with. But it seems appropriately powerful.

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How many players are accustomed to games where being well rounded trumps specializing? Or how many are accustomed to more ruthless GMs who are willing to exploit any weak spot, so they compensate by at least being average/above average in all areas? I can see some with that kind of gaming history, where being well rounded is the name of the game and/or a survival tactic, might object to a species who's whole point is to excel in one or two stats but be subpar in the others.

From a lore/storytelling perspective, it makes sense for droids to specialize. They are machines; R2-D2 isn't built for combat or diplomacy, but he's an unsurpassed mechanic/computer tech. B1 battle droids are neither intelligent nor are they mechanically inclined or adaptable, but they are (theoretically) good at shooting stuff (they are intended as such, anyway). To do that, a player might have to just break down and go with the idea that they won't be a jack of all stats, but they can do one thing really, really well. And hope their GM isn't a d-bag.

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Three extra skills. Two from career and one from specialization.

Nobody seems to mention that healing Droids suffers greatly from a lack of talents comparable to Surgeon, Physician, Stimpack Specialization, and even Bacta Specialist.

Ah, thanks, so neither us was right; three it is!

Regarding Droid Healing: that's why I wrote in my initial post, that I'm more inclined to consider droids a liability for a group: Because the group's medic won't be able to do anything for them. You also need to have a mechanic with the relevant skills and equipment. But that's likely to be no problem for a group that creates their characters as a team.

The heart of the issue is that the group's medic (especially a Medic) can do things to get all the living characters back into the action way beyond what a mechanic (even a Mechanic) can do for Droids. Even if a dedicated role--complete with new and appropriate Talent--intended to heal Droids did exist, it's then likely useless to the presumed majority of non-Droid characters in the group. This would mean that such a role very well might be a problem for a group creating characters as a team because of the opportunity cost of taking such a narrow role vs one that can benefit the majority of the group.

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There's too many posts to check.. but... droids can get into places that organics can't..

For instance, there WAS only 2 of us playing ( now we got 3 with my youngest son playing YAY!!) and on a few occasions the droid PC has gone into places as... 'the newly ordered mech droid, or ...docking bay maintenance droid... papers all correct no questions asked.

Droids are 'looked over' a lot of the time in the SW universe.. a good player RP'ing a droid can convince many that it is not self aware... ours just stands there

OK other races can sneak in or fast talk their way in,,,, but having the droid player brazenly walking through the front door of a crime lords mansion etc makes up for being chucked out the Mos Eisley Cantina

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The heart of the issue is that the group's medic (especially a Medic) can do things to get all the living characters back into the action way beyond what a mechanic (even a Mechanic) can do for Droids. Even if a dedicated role--complete with new and appropriate Talent--intended to heal Droids did exist, it's then likely useless to the presumed majority of non-Droid characters in the group. This would mean that such a role very well might be a problem for a group creating characters as a team because of the opportunity cost of taking such a narrow role vs one that can benefit the majority of the group.

Droids cannot benefit from medical care. However,
they do receive the same benefits from Mechanics
checks, based on the same guidelines and difficulty
ratings as their Medicine-based equivalents. All of
the guidelines and rules governing Medicine checks
also govern Mechanics checks to heal droids, with the
exception that a droid using Mechanics to heal himself
only increases the difficulty by one, rather than two.
Simply put, most droids can avoid feeling "pain" and
have the self-diagnostic routines and programming to
better understand how to repair themselves.

Age of Rebellion, p.233

Apart from the Stimpack stuff, I think all the other Talents for Medics are fine for Droids too. There's even an "Oil Bath" for Bacta Tanks.

With a decent Int score the Medic should be fine even without having Mechanics as a skill, right?

Was there something more that I'm not seeing? This seems quite fair.

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To everyone saying that the numbers don't matter, that it's all about personality, and the personality is all you'll remember anyway, I've gotta say I disagree, and also that those two ideologies aren't mutually exclusive. Sure, personality is important, but so is being able to meaningfully contribute to the group and the game. It's no fun playing a character that is simply outclassed by every other species (if that is fun for you then great, but you're an exception). It's also no fun playing a character that can't contribute at all because you are super specialized in one thing, and your group isn't doing that one thing this session. Every other race can be as good as a Droid in one thing of their choice, but also fairly good at a number of other things. A droid, as is, has to choose one thing to be good at, at the expense of everything else. This is not fun, and this is not a good design.

As far as fixing this problem, I'll just paste what I posted in the House Rules forum:

I've been toying with some house rules for Droid characters. Since they can incorporate items and weapons into their bodies, it would make sense to allow them to install Modifications, substituting Cybernetic Slots for HP. For instance, instead of having armor with the Enhanced Optics Suite attachment, a Droid could just install that mod directly into their body, using up a Cybernetic slot. This would essentially give them 6HP to work with, but it doesn't seem OP since modifications tend to be significantly less powerful than most Cybernetic upgrades.

As far as equipment HP goes, it would probably stack. For instance, if a droid character equips Laminate armor, the book says the character is essentially installing the armor onto their body. Since Laminate armor has 3 HP, and is now a part of the droid's body, it would make sense that the HP just combines with their natural HP, for a total of 9 (which I'm not even sure a droid could spend, considering they don't need a lot of the armor attachments meant for organics).

Overall, I think this makes sense from an RP perspective, and it also makes droids more enticing to play (considering their fairly low starting XP, after taking into account their starting attributes). I've been doing the math, and while almost any race I've looked at can easily have two rank-4 attributes along with either all 2's or all 2's and a 1, the most a Droid can hope for is a 4, a 3, and all 1's (with a 2, if they don't want any talents or skills; They could also do a 4 and all 2's, which puts them about 70xp[!] behind your other races). Considering they're also affected by Ion damage, along with numerous RP setbacks, I think this is a house rule that makes a lot of sense and helps enhance what playing a droid should be (an equipment-based highly-modifiable entity), without unbalancing the current system.

 I realized that this rule could technically apply to any character, and would give way more options for a cybernetically oriented character. If HP and Cybernetic Slots could be used interchangeably, then characters wouldn't be limited to the mostly expensive and arguably overpowered cybernetic options available. It makes sense that a Human could buy an Enhanced Optics Suite cybernetic attachment. Maybe double the cost and increase the rarity for non-droid characters, since the mod would need to be...um...modded for such a use.

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I am playing around with the idea of a EoE non-career specialization called Independent Droid (inspired by the SAGA rules and HK-47). Some extra soak from ionization damage, ability to resist or ignore restraining bolts and a couple of other unique talents aimed at droids. And maybe a way to keep the droid's memory from being erased (hidden kernel) that can reset after a memory wipe.

Also look at recreating the Droid Commander specialization if playing during the Clone Wars or before.

Edited by shoes

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Apart from the Stimpack stuff, I think all the other Talents for Medics are fine for Droids too. There's even an "Oil Bath" for Bacta Tanks.

With a decent Int score the Medic should be fine even without having Mechanics as a skill, right?

Was there something more that I'm not seeing? This seems quite fair.

Stim packs are replaced with repair patches - same results, same rules.

The down side is there are medical Talents that give bonuses, Surgery for WP, Physician for Strain, & Bacta Specialist increases wound healing with bacta. Rather than talents that boost the healing done, the Engineer & Technician careers offer Talants that make it easier to succeed - gearhead removes 1 setback per rank. Utinni! may make it easier to find replacement parts etc.

You may be able to convince your GM that Fine tuning and Solid repairs should be applicable to droids as well since they are analogus to Surgery & Physician.

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Out of curiosity, if you had the choice to buy the traits 'inorganic' and 'mechanical beings' with XP, how much XP would you pay for them?  This whole disagreement may simply be the case that some of us just don't value those qualities as highly, in which case the issue isn't so much with droids as with player perceptions of certain abilities, which is a different and essentially insignificant issue.

Well, you can already buy the Vacuum Sealed attachment for 1,000 credits, which essentially gives you all of the Inorganic traits other than not having to sleep, but you also get to avoid taking strain from Ion damage. So overall, I'd say most of those traits are moot, since they're so easy to replicate with fairly cheap equipment.

Edited by karaokelove

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Actually, I'm pretty sure repair patches work slightly different than stimpacks. I'm AFB, but if I remember correctly they only restore 3 per use and are one use, but don't decrease in effectiveness like stimpacks do.

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Actually, I'm pretty sure repair patches work slightly different than stimpacks. I'm AFB, but if I remember correctly they only restore 3 per use and are one use, but don't decrease in effectiveness like stimpacks do.

IMO, you’re both correct.

Logically, tinkerghost is correct that repair patches are the droid equivalent of stimpacks, but in the case of stimpacks there are additional talents that can be applied that can give a higher level of benefit to meatbags.

Technically, you are correct that repair patches don’t follow the exact same precise rules of operation. They perform the same basic function for droids that stimpacks do for meatbags, but they don’t work quite the same way.

So, you both win. IMO, of course, and YMMV.

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To everyone saying that the numbers don't matter, that it's all about personality, and the personality is all you'll remember anyway, I've gotta say I disagree, and also that those two ideologies aren't mutually exclusive.

IMO, that is a false dichotomy. Yes, I believe that achieving true numerical parity is not relevant, if nothing else because you’ll never get everyone to agree to how much certain non-numerical benefits are worth.

However, it’s not the personality that I think is the true balancing factor here. IMO, that role is filled by overall balance of the game itself.

In short, the way droids are currently written up, I will agree that they may suffer some numerical imbalance compared to the other races, at least in terms of beginning stats, etc….

However, when taking overall game balance into account, I believe that the less tangible benefits are sufficient to compensate for the numerical deficit.

And in the long-term, your starting stats become more and more irrelevant as the game goes on, and your character gets more and more skills and more and more talents — including Dedication.

IMO, anyone who is arguing “imbalance” or “unfairness” on the basis of what they perceive to be a pure numerical deficit, the fundamental thing they’re missing is a failure to account for overall game balance as a whole and all those less-tangible benefits that don’t show up as simple numbers on the character sheet.

IMO, YMMV, etc….

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