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RecklessFable

"Stealing" a droid

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Need help brainstorming this:

My PCs are going to need a ship soon and it is possible there won't be a mechanic (or medic) among the regular players.  I'd like to give them a chance to have droids "back a the ship" to fill in certain roles when the party is short.  However, I don't want to just give them 10s of thousands of credits without effort.  

I've been thinking about what is involved in "stealing" a droid.  Are they loyal without a restraining bolt?  At what intelligence level do they become their "own being", etc.  For example, if the ship they steal happens to have a repair droid aboard already, what would be involved in making that droid not just sabotage the ship?  What if they kill the former owner?  

Medical droids might be even tougher since they have to be more sentient.

Note: I'm going to just let the missing players have their characters become "invisible ghosts" when they aren't at a session and then let them act normally when they are back.  There will be no mention of whether they were there or not and NPCs will generally have attitudes about the group more than PCs specifically.

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23 minutes ago, RecklessFable said:

Are they loyal without a restraining bolt?

Maybe?

I mean, stealing a new one that's still in the box, or conducting a memory wipe would fix that problem, as well as most other problems related to long-term personality issues caused by accumulated "bad memories."

Still, droid personalities tend to be consistent even across wipes, so keeping a bolt on "just in case" probably isn't a bad idea, especially with droids that have a habit of misbehaving.

25 minutes ago, RecklessFable said:

At what intelligence level do they become their "own being"

Well, it's pretty standard that all droids of the right type fall under this category the first time you turn them on. It's just a matter of what you mean. A complex droid that needs to store lots of info and interact with organics will probably be more of a "person" compared to a simple labor droid that's at best going to be on par with a talking dog.

It's really a by-droid by-model thing.

A 3PO unit that's been running for a few years is probably gonna be "his own person" though largely submissive, even if he is a know it all.

An R2 unit that's been through 2 wars and seen some poop is probably going to behave like someone who's too old for this dookie and doesn't have time for your excrement.

A B1 battledroid that's recently activated is probably going to always be a little wary and indecisive when not given orders.

A B1 Labor droid (not to be confused with the battledroid of the same designation) is always going to follow instruction to the letter and respond with "yes" or "no" no matter how long it's been moving boxes around.

38 minutes ago, RecklessFable said:

if the ship they steal happens to have a repair droid aboard already, what would be involved in making that droid not just sabotage the ship?  What if they kill the former owner?  

Memory wipe and memory wipe. You can't be mad about what you don't know.

Again though, having the thing "new in box" is also a solution that would start the droid off on the right foot.

39 minutes ago, RecklessFable said:

Medical droids might be even tougher since they have to be more sentient.

No, they just have to be better at interacting with organics. 

Think of it like this:

In one corner you have a Virtual Intelligence holographic tour guide for a theme park. It can do nothing but pre-programed responses and actions. But... It's programmed with literally millions of responses and actions, and designed to APPEAR very human.

In the other you have a full blown AI. It can learn new things, and, while not as good as an organic, it can extrapolate and execute new solutions based on previous experience. However this AI is programmed and equipped to do nothing but manage a warehouse full of underpants.

Underpantsbot is probably going to be able to provide more... interesting solutions to problems related to the storage of undergarments, but the Tourguide is going to be far more interesting to interact with, even though after all is said and done, one is a "Droid" that is "it's own person" and the other just a really fancy app...

 

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Does the Group include someone skilled with Computers? -> memory wipe alone would solve most of the problems - although I think killing the former owner would work pretty well also.

On the other Hand, you could just go the route to let them start without those party roles filled and set the first adventures to get a crew and keep flying ( :D ).

And when I say, crew, I mean everything good or bad you could think of to make further adventures possible. Maybe not an awesome doctor who is hunted by the whole ISB because he kidnapped his sister from some secret research lab. But something that could work as a plot hook in the future, after they became an important part of the crew. They could even be connected to one of the obligations although no one knows about it at the beginning?!

You could throw in Droids as well as Persons - just try to make em interesting, give them a few quirks and make em likable as well as skilled and somewhat loyal. Stuff like some friendly mechanic and his droid help them to fix a few problems with the ship but gets killed by the bad guys in the adventure, leaving his mourning but eagerly and helpfull astromech behind. But where the mechanic got this not at all wiped droid from (even wiping resistant?!), will be something to solve in the future...

As long as you don't have a bunch of paranoid murder hobos this could work out as some really interesting stuff.

If your table is not into something like that, take the memory wipe option of stolen droids but use some specific obligation to counter the value - to "pay it off" in some way.

Edited by Malashim

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You might want to consider an alternative to stealing for making players earn the droid. Abandoned or long-lost has worked for me, as players often see droids as pets.

My players have had exactly the same thing since the second of 30 sessions. It's an R4 droid.

It turned out to have been reprogrammed* for a no-witnesses kidnappee rescue 15 years prior. The party found a small underground research station turned tomb for the culprits (and unfortunate workers) present when the R4, as programmed, used computer access to flood the place with poison gas.

It was deactivated, facing a wall for a decade and a half. Charged up, the droid cheerily vowed to aid its ostensible corporate coworkers, then promptly wheeled to a nearby console to flood the place again. Players shot it, returned it to their ship, locked it up and then paid a tech to wipe memory.

But the mission's consequences stuck, and little R4 has become known as a kind of Dexter that players like but never quiiite trust. When I finally statted the thing as a Saboteur with Cunning 4, they fell over laughing and now every session hits the inside joke at least once.

Recently, the players were incarcerated, and the droid player got sent to the droid hock garage. He reactivated and immediately warmed to a random P4T-GM I'd stuck in there who's the chronicler of some nutty, late gunslinger, so now "Petey Fortee" sometimes joins as support cast, too.

Bottom line: free can still feel earned, and the right circumstances can really make it special.

* By 4LOM! But players didn't care and never followed the trail. They just love their "murdery" droid.

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15 hours ago, RecklessFable said:

On the topic of memory wipes, I feel like it should be a daunting check or something unless you have certain tools.  Otherwise the PCs would just run around wiping droids all the time.

The films support the idea of special skills and/or hardware. Owen tells Luke to take the droids to anchorhead, which considering the Lars had a decent garage with Droid maintenance gear, does suggest memory wipes need special gear.

I'd make the gear kinda expensive and a little hard to get, so your typical murder hobos won't bother with it, but easy enough that a dedicated crew, or one merely on the level could get it.

I'd probably make the long description say most places require a license or background check to possess it, bypassing that increases the rarity a bit and makes it count as Restricted.

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22 hours ago, Ghostofman said:

 

I'd make the gear kinda expensive and a little hard to get, so your typical murder hobos won't bother with it, but easy enough that a dedicated crew, or one merely on the level could get it.

 

I had the thought of having the MemWipe(R) System a Restricted piece of equipment and Needs to be Registered with the local authorities... but that's up to you...

*more house rules  - facepalm*

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48 minutes ago, ExpandingUniverse said:

I had the thought of having the MemWipe(R) System a Restricted piece of equipment and Needs to be Registered with the local authorities... but that's up to you...

*more house rules  - facepalm*

Also considering the idea it's heavy and time consuming, probably something that needs to be installed in a garage or workshop.

Wiping droids isn't a huge issue, just letting players do it wherever in a round or two.

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As far as weight I'd make it no bigger than the hyperdrive they needed in Ep 1... I mean it takes no time in the RW to format a hard drive etc. You can argue the fact that Ep4 was written waaaaay back and tech hadn't progressed like it did now but having something as a big as an average house or even a YT1300 just to wipe the memory of a droid is stretching it a bit far even for an RPG but each to their own

I'm defo going for the size of a the Ep 1 hyperdrive and associated cost/registration... maybe only produced by the companies that manufacture droids so they have the monopoly on price and availability.

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On 1/10/2019 at 10:09 PM, wilsch said:

You might want to consider an alternative to stealing for making players earn the droid.

In Edge of the Empire stealing is earning. Like Eddie Hawkins, Edge PCs live “in a world where crime is a legitimate business tactic.” And I swear this response want just an excuse to quote Hudson Hawk.

As far as aquistion goes, do whatever makes for the coolest adventure, preferably with recurring characters coming out of the deal.

in terms of the Droid personalities, giving more than one or two regular supporting cast Droids strong personalities seems likely to diminish their individual impact. So maybe pick whichever Droid the PCs will likely interact and start our focusing there.

Edited by LStyer

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On 1/10/2019 at 5:38 PM, RecklessFable said:

Need help brainstorming this:

My PCs are going to need a ship soon and it is possible there won't be a mechanic (or medic) among the regular players.  I'd like to give them a chance to have droids "back a the ship" to fill in certain roles when the party is short.  However, I don't want to just give them 10s of thousands of credits without effort.  

I've been thinking about what is involved in "stealing" a droid.  Are they loyal without a restraining bolt?  At what intelligence level do they become their "own being", etc.  For example, if the ship they steal happens to have a repair droid aboard already, what would be involved in making that droid not just sabotage the ship?  What if they kill the former owner?  

Medical droids might be even tougher since they have to be more sentient.

Note: I'm going to just let the missing players have their characters become "invisible ghosts" when they aren't at a session and then let them act normally when they are back.  There will be no mention of whether they were there or not and NPCs will generally have attitudes about the group more than PCs specifically.

My understanding was that they were more beholden to their programming the more recently they had had a memory wipe. For example, Threepio has had several and his personality has been pretty consistent. To me (ymmv) Artoo in TPM is not the same as Artoo in Empire (although that's based entirely on people's reactions to his beeps and the number of times he makes raspberry noises). 

As for loyalty, the way our group played it was that the older (and more downtrodden) a droid was, the easier it was for the droid to 'ignore' bits of its programming if someone was clever. An example for that is a much beleaguered protocol droid (he wasn't even allowed the newest language upgrade packs!) was stuck cleaning an Imperial Officer's office. With some clever language and a charm (or deception, I don't remember) check, we were able to convince him to show us the Officer's secret hold out blaster and help us navigate the base. It took a lot of flattery and deflection ("We absolutely submitted that requisition form, really") but in the end he toddled onto our stolen shuttle when we made our escape. Lots of fun, a fair amount of work, and a deeper understanding that we'd better be nice to him or face problems when some other thug tries to take OUR secret hold out blasters.

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On ‎1‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 4:19 PM, HappyDaze said:

You don't need to stick to droids for this; just about any species can be enslaved and taught a very focused set of skills to fulfill a purpose.

I agree as I believe that droids are just the peasants of this setting. If it would make sense in a medieval game or feudal japan game then I am on board with droids being that way. Treat them well and they are likely to hang around unless they have a bad personality. 

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