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Warl

Droid power sources?

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In my game, I usually hand wave these sorts of things.

 

IMO, this is probably the best solution.  

 

You could also handle this like ammo for blasters: powered by Despair.  If a droid rolls a despair on some check, you can require them to shut down for recharge or connect to a recharge item (e.g. Fusion latern) at the next reasonable time or something.  

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With handwaveyness, I assume people are eating when they need/want to. Along with that, I would assume droids are plugging in to the ship's systems or other power sources when they need/want to charge up a bit.

 

It only becomes a factor when it's important to the plot or the game table.

 

In game, the group's protocol droid asks permission to shut down for awhile in the NPC hermit's home in order to conserve power. Out of game, his player, Anthony, had to step away from the table for a bit to use the bathroom. Or perhaps the minion droids belonging to the story's overly cybernetic villain are dropping in droves from power loss because I decided it would give the bad guy a solid reason to simply flee the encounter as he is (usually) wont to do.

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Droids pay 55-points for being a Droid.  Part of this (~10-points) is not having to eat.  Making Droids eat just screws them over more than they already are. 

 

I would say that Droids need to get power, but at a much different scale than organics.  Perhaps on the weeks or months scale, rather than daily.  Any Droid would power up given the chance as often they have nothing better to do.  Perhaps they power down while running maintenance programs, and may as well charge up at the same time.

Droids, unlike organics would also hit a hard wall. A person that doesn't eat for days (or even weeks) has ways to sustaining basic functions. Most notably cannibalizing one's own body to fuel other parts. Droids can't do that. They can't get electrical energy by tearing apart circuits. But they don't "starve" like an organic. They run out of juice and just shutdown. Plug them in and charge them back up and they'll switch back on like nothing had happened (other than a gap in their memories for the time they were offline) provided they didn't shutdown in a bad environment (rust, corrosion, crushing, etc... can all kill the body).

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Do you worry that much about when your characters eat? Drink? Sleep? I think in most cases one should not worry much about it unless it is relevant to the story. 

I do... 

 

If they miss meals or don't get rest... I use it for penalties/set back dice.

 

though for food/water I only track it by the day

Edited by SnowDragon

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Droids pay 55-points for being a Droid.  Part of this (~10-points) is not having to eat.  Making Droids eat just screws them over more than they already are. 

 

I would say that Droids need to get power, but at a much different scale than organics.  Perhaps on the weeks or months scale, rather than daily.  Any Droid would power up given the chance as often they have nothing better to do.  Perhaps they power down while running maintenance programs, and may as well charge up at the same time.

Droids, unlike organics would also hit a hard wall. A person that doesn't eat for days (or even weeks) has ways to sustaining basic functions. Most notably cannibalizing one's own body to fuel other parts. Droids can't do that. They can't get electrical energy by tearing apart circuits. But they don't "starve" like an organic. They run out of juice and just shutdown. Plug them in and charge them back up and they'll switch back on like nothing had happened (other than a gap in their memories for the time they were offline) provided they didn't shutdown in a bad environment (rust, corrosion, crushing, etc... can all kill the body).

 

Remember that, in the FFG game, Droids are capable of passive self-healing. That hard wall you mention may not be so hard if they can draw power from this system.

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Droids pay 55-points for being a Droid.  Part of this (~10-points) is not having to eat.  Making Droids eat just screws them over more than they already are. 

 

I would say that Droids need to get power, but at a much different scale than organics.  Perhaps on the weeks or months scale, rather than daily.  Any Droid would power up given the chance as often they have nothing better to do.  Perhaps they power down while running maintenance programs, and may as well charge up at the same time.

Droids, unlike organics would also hit a hard wall. A person that doesn't eat for days (or even weeks) has ways to sustaining basic functions. Most notably cannibalizing one's own body to fuel other parts. Droids can't do that. They can't get electrical energy by tearing apart circuits. But they don't "starve" like an organic. They run out of juice and just shutdown. Plug them in and charge them back up and they'll switch back on like nothing had happened (other than a gap in their memories for the time they were offline) provided they didn't shutdown in a bad environment (rust, corrosion, crushing, etc... can all kill the body).

 

Remember that, in the FFG game, Droids are capable of passive self-healing. That hard wall you mention may not be so hard if they can draw power from this system.

 

It wouldn't provide power. Repair would take power, breaking down those systems would take power. It is "passive" from the standpoint that you don't have to take the droid into a shop and spend time doing mechanics checks to fix things, not from the standpoint of if the system takes power to do it. Heck, we biologics are self-repairing, but without energy input we can't do it.

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In our rp-style we don't keep track of meals and so on, excepts it is realy important for this situation, like... our ship crashed and we walk throu the dessert or smth. Or, maybe someone will express something, he play a noble charakter and wants to spend extra money for better food, for roleplay.

But if you play a droid... he has to rest to heal himself, yes, but i wouldnt make a problem out of his energy. I feel like this would... cut the roleplay out of playing a mashine, the interesting thing on a droid is that he is different (well C3PO we do ignore for this example) than an organic hero... the droid can wait 3 days somewhere without getting bored, or he can lie under some ruins for a month and after that he stands up and is OK. But maybe, because he is constructed on a desert planed, he fears rain like hell.

I think both in roleplay and in powerbalance droidplayers should be not harassed with "eating power"

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It only becomes a factor when it's important to the plot or the game table.

 

This would be where I'm at on this. Food/water for organics and charging for inorganics only becomes important to track when the PCs find themselves without a source for such. For example, the classic shipwreck scenario: How much food is on board? Is there a local source of water on the planet? Did the ship's fusion reactor and recharge port survive the crash?

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I would only ever worry about power when away from civilization. I've never been at a table where you had to micromanage eating every meal at the the appropriate time, going to the bathroom, and that kind of thing. I think it's fair to assume that every day or two, if power is available, the droid can shutdown and plug in for a couple of hours.

When away from civilization, I would allow for 48 hours of standard activity or 72 hours of low activity before power failure. I would allow a droid with a built in fusion lantern to run indefinitely, as he's paying the price for his power via encumbrance.

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Kirdan Kenobi's take is a good one. I'd only make an issue of this when away from any sort of electricity grid or other readily available power source, like when being stuck in the jungle or something. You could even make it a special factor for the droid; all the organic characters need to forage for food and avoid poisonous plants and the like, so maybe the droid would have to be careful and conserve power. Any Threats rolled on physical checks like Athletics could mean that the droid character spent excessive amounts of power on the task and will run out that much sooner.

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I still would assume that a "good" droid (and the players would play one) have energy for several months.

Because:

1. A battle or field medic droid shouldnt be designed to run two days and then shot of. In war, long scout missions and so on, you dont have access to energy all the time, so they should have or small reactor in them or a good battery. (I know, you can't compare our techic with SW-technic, but:) Even the mars rover can endure for years.

2. It s the cool thing of beeing a droid, that you are not a human. If you replace all needs of a human just with the same but with a different name, it takes a little bit the fun and the special thing out of it.

 

You still could run out of energy,  after a mean critical hit for example. "Your power source is hit, you need to replace it within X hours or you can't move anymore"

 

But, maybe the best solution would be a "Droid and cybernetics book", where the creation rules of droid get a little bit more dense, so you can buy special abilitys "looks like a human, and organic lifeforms like to interact with it" "has an independent energy source that lasts for months" "can play the Pina Colada song"

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Just as an FYI, The Mars rover Relies not so much on it's battery as the Solar panels... As soo as the sun goes down on it, it runs out of power to opperate and move and what power remains is there to keep the memory active. 

 

The battery itself is not able to power it for years. 

Edited by SnowDragon

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Anyway, I've been thinking about this and based on what we see in the movies (Basically C3PO's "Sir, if you'll not be needing me, I'll close down for awhile" line in ANH and Luke plugging in R2 in ESB) I think it's reasonable to assume most mobile droids have some kind of relatively weak power core that is just barely sufficient for minimum 'active' function plus an energy reserve.  During periods of increased activity, they pull off the reserve to supplement generation.  During "down time", the core's production exceeds the need to keep the absolute minimal required processes functioning, and excess energy replenishes the reserve.  Alternatively, the droid can plug into a larger power source (e.g. a portable reactor or starship) to replenish their reserve

 

I think this fits rather well with what we see in the films:

  • C-3PO takes a 'nap' after getting knocked around by sand people and the excitement of meeting Obi-wan.
  • R2 plugs into the little fusion generator after getting eaten and regurgitated by the swamp creature and unloading the X-wing

Mechanically, this will typically happen off-screen, but a Despair or a handful Threat (Esp on a resilience check) could be spent by the GM to say "You're low on power, you'll need to replenish soon after this encounter, or [consequences]".  This shouldn't get used frequently, but it could be handy when the PCs are on a time table and the GM wants to inject some consequential player decisions into the narrative.

 

Alternatively, maybe 3PO's player had to hit the head and the GM worked it into the story.

 

Just a possible explanation.  Take it.  Leave it.  w/e.

 

ah well, time will tell how long those end up lasting. 

 

Well, Voyager 1's RTGs are still operational after nearly 40 years, and are expected to last another 10.

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true, though there is a huge difference between the activity usage of Voyager 1 and the Mars Explorers. Voyager 1 is not powering a motor much of any kind. mostly just taking pictures and transmitting data.

 

Also Voyager was equipped with solar arrays to supplement power. 

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Actually, I just realized this is your thread so it's not much a derail to fact check this statement below here.  You can basically ignore the PM I sent.  Or not.  the content is basically the same, but I'd like to share this with 'the masses'.

true, though there is a huge difference between the activity usage of Voyager 1 and the Mars Explorers. Voyager 1 is not powering a motor much of any kind. mostly just taking pictures and transmitting data.

 

Also Voyager was equipped with solar arrays to supplement power. 

 

Highlights:

  1. Voyager doesn't have solar panels (at least AFAIK)
  2. Solar panels are kinda useless past the asteroid belt anyway (distance squared law)
  3. Curiosity's transmissions don't need to be nearly as strong as Voyager's (Closer to DSN & Can use orbiting relays).*
  4. Curiosity can go quiet(ish) without getting lost, Voyager needs to transmit regularly.*

(*I think 3 & 4 probably offset any motor usage)

 

The immediate point: RTGs are very useful to provide moderate amounts of power for a long time.

 

My interpretation relevant to the current discussion: RTGs may be a reasonable model for some droid power sources.

Edited by LethalDose

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Offtopic: Curiositys minimum lifetime is 14 years (not the mission length). And i think this energy supply is both quite predictable and proven. But again: Our technic isn't SW technic

 

Ontopic: both C3PO and R2D2 are examples of droid who are never far away from energy sources, so they don't need a good long time supply. An astromech droid will be the most time in his spacecraft slot, an protocoll droid will be most of the times where rich people of different origin will meet each other, so usually not in deserts or swamps, but in spacestations and citys. Battle droids are designed to kill people not just around powerplants. So i think should have better energy supllies.

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Offtopic: Curiositys minimum lifetime is 14 years (not the mission length). And i think this energy supply is both quite predictable and proven. But again: Our technic isn't SW technic

 

Ontopic: both C3PO and R2D2 are examples of droid who are never far away from energy sources, so they don't need a good long time supply. An astromech droid will be the most time in his spacecraft slot, an protocoll droid will be most of the times where rich people of different origin will meet each other, so usually not in deserts or swamps, but in spacestations and citys. Battle droids are designed to kill people not just around powerplants. So i think should have better energy supllies.

 

The B-2's also have to power their wrist blasters off their own energy supply.

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I think we know that Clone Wars era Battle Droids batteries don't last all that well from that episode of Clone Wars where Grievous abandons ship onto a planet and has to cross it on-foot to get to an extraction point.  The Battle Droids with him are all drained of power over just a few days away from their ship.  Grevious obviously has a far superior power supply as he never appears to be in danger. 

 

Also as the droids run out of power they appear to "get tired".

 

I looked it up, S02E10 "The Deserter".

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  • C-3PO takes a 'nap' after getting knocked around by sand people and the excitement of meeting Obi-wan.
  • R2 plugs into the little fusion generator after getting eaten and regurgitated by the swamp creature and unloading the X-wing

To me, these are perfect examples of Strain, or even a handful of Wounds. Need to heal a bunch of Strain in a hurry? Hook the droid up to a power source.

 

Maybe Luke rolled a successful Mechanics check to 'heal' the 2 wounds R2 suffered - "hook him up to a fusion lantern and clean out the muck with your tool kit and it will be 'healed' shortly" (which is a much more interesting and immersive story element than

/roll - 1 success!

OK. You heal the 2 wounds, and your droid is now fine.

Which is boring)

 

Sure, all Strain resets between encounters, but this is an appropriate narrative way to deal with it.

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I think we know that Clone Wars era Battle Droids batteries don't last all that well from that episode of Clone Wars where Grievous abandons ship onto a planet and has to cross it on-foot to get to an extraction point.  The Battle Droids with him are all drained of power over just a few days away from their ship.  Grevious obviously has a far superior power supply as he never appears to be in danger. 

 

Also as the droids run out of power they appear to "get tired".

 

I looked it up, S02E10 "The Deserter".

 

Thread derail

 

That scene, any like it in a Space style game, Always makes me laugh... They were out in the middle of no where and not under enemy fire any longer...

Why did they need to move to an extraction point?  A Space ship can pretty much drop in and go anywhere on the planet?

 

"I am sorry sir... We are dropping in on the oher side of the planet.. Even though we fly faster than you can walk, Could you please walk across half the continent and meet us over here while we cook dinner?"

Edited by SnowDragon

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  • C-3PO takes a 'nap' after getting knocked around by sand people and the excitement of meeting Obi-wan.
  • R2 plugs into the little fusion generator after getting eaten and regurgitated by the swamp creature and unloading the X-wing

To me, these are perfect examples of Strain, or even a handful of Wounds. Need to heal a bunch of Strain in a hurry? Hook the droid up to a power source.

 

Maybe Luke rolled a successful Mechanics check to 'heal' the 2 wounds R2 suffered - "hook him up to a fusion lantern and clean out the muck with your tool kit and it will be 'healed' shortly" (which is a much more interesting and immersive story element than

/roll - 1 success!

OK. You heal the 2 wounds, and your droid is now fine.

Which is boring)

 

Sure, all Strain resets between encounters, but this is an appropriate narrative way to deal with it.

 

All Strain does not recover between encounters.

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