Jump to content
Josep Maria

Alita: Battle Angel dilemna: Droid or Cyborg?

Recommended Posts

On 8/12/2019 at 4:11 PM, Josep Maria said:

Hi everyone!

My girlfriend wants to use an "Alita-type" character for our game and I'm really stuck with it.

Based on Alita universe (I'm not an expert of it), Alita was a human that was transformed into a "robot". I know that its body its pure mechanic thing but has a human brain (exchanged by a CPU in the manga). 

I'm not sure if focus the character with a "highly modified" cyber-tech human or just a "droid conected to a brain".

I would thanks some enlightment with this, thank you ;)

One thing you might want to factor into the game setting, regardless of how you stat out her augmentations, is the way society in Star Wars views "droids" or cyborgs.   In general, if she determined to be a "droid", or outwardly looks like a droid, more than a living being (obvious mechanical limbs, moving in ways that are not consistent with her species, etc), she will probably run into a lot of discrimination when going around the galaxy.  "Your droid will have to wait outside!  We don't serve their kind in here!"   Or just the idea that she is "property", and will likely be treated as such.   If she's "organic real" in her appearance, like cylons from the new Battlestar Galactica show.  Or replicants from Blade Runner, this won't be as much of an issue.  But if she's going to look like the source you cited, Alita, she will probably get a lot of attention in the "wtf is that? A droid or a cyborg?" kind of way.  And depending on the era you play in, this could be a big problem.   

New Hope era, after a years long, galaxy spanning war against an unstoppable, soulless droid army that swept across the galaxy, the average opinion on droids is probably terrible.  At best, they are considered second class...well i wouldn't even say citizens, as they are literally property.  And people casually discuss wiping their minds when buying/selling them, effectively destroying any individuality that unit might have developed over time.   This casual disregard for them is pretty ubiquitous, so it's not unreasonable to assume it might spill over onto her.

 

Of course, you guys might not want to have a game setting with that kind of prejudice in it, as it could detract from the fun you want to have, based on your group's personal dynamic.  But, if it is something your gang is interested in having in the game, it's something you should consider when fleshing out your NPCs and such, and how they might react to her presence in any situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

/!\ SPOILER WARNING FOR THE ALITA MOVIE.  If you haven't seen this movie yet DO NOT READ THIS POST.  GO WATCH THE MOVIE FIRST.  /!\

 

 

Yeah, I'm still convinced that Alita is a Robot like Guri.

I've only seen the move once but . . .

/!\ HERE'S THE SPOILER BIT /!\

When they transfer her positronic processing widget from body 1 to body 2 they're transferring hardware.  Not wetware.  Ergo: Robot.

(I warned you!  Now go watch the movie.  It's still awesome).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Mark Caliber said:

/!\ SPOILER WARNING FOR THE ALITA MOVIE.  If you haven't seen this movie yet DO NOT READ THIS POST.  GO WATCH THE MOVIE FIRST.  /!\

 

 

Yeah, I'm still convinced that Alita is a Robot like Guri.

I've only seen the move once but . . .

/!\ HERE'S THE SPOILER BIT /!\

When they transfer her positronic processing widget from body 1 to body 2 they're transferring hardware.  Not wetware.  Ergo: Robot.

(I warned you!  Now go watch the movie.  It's still awesome).

Could be there is a squishy brain inside a brain casing, which I think is what they do with Ghost in the Shell.  Dunno, never saw Alita, or read the manga.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the manga, Gumn, Gally (or alita in the english version) has an organic brain and a cybernetic body. In the follow up manga Gumn Last Order, she has her organic brain integrally copied then replaced by a chip with a cybernetic body. She still see herself as cyborg after she learns she's a full artificial being.

I didn't see the movie. I love too much the manga and was afraid to be disappointed by it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Mark Caliber said:

/!\ SPOILER WARNING FOR THE ALITA MOVIE.  If you haven't seen this movie yet DO NOT READ THIS POST.  GO WATCH THE MOVIE FIRST.  /!\
Yeah, I'm still convinced that Alita is a Robot like Guri.

I've only seen the move once but . . .

/!\ HERE'S THE SPOILER BIT /!\

When they transfer her positronic processing widget from body 1 to body 2 they're transferring hardware.  Not wetware.  Ergo: Robot.

(I warned you!  Now go watch the movie.  It's still awesome).

I think you should watch it again because I'm pretty sure Dr. Ito says she has a living, human brain. There is also a scene near the end where Alita slices whatshisname in half and we see his brain goo...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Mark Caliber said:

/!\ SPOILER WARNING FOR THE ALITA MOVIE.  If you haven't seen this movie yet DO NOT READ THIS POST.  GO WATCH THE MOVIE FIRST.  /!\

 

 

Yeah, I'm still convinced that Alita is a Robot like Guri.

I've only seen the move once but . . .

/!\ HERE'S THE SPOILER BIT /!\

When they transfer her positronic processing widget from body 1 to body 2 they're transferring hardware.  Not wetware.  Ergo: Robot.

(I warned you!  Now go watch the movie.  It's still awesome).

They transferred her entire head and shoulders to the new body, not just some "positronic widget". The new body was just that, a body. it had no head, no neckline, no collarbones etc. It was just the torso and limbs. Ergo, cyborg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, FuriousGreg said:

I think you should watch it again . . .

I agree.  Cool movie all around and I'd love to re-check that body transfer scene again.  IIRC there was one scene where the doctor cracked open her cranium (which is what I may be remembering).

And yes.  EVERYONE else were definitely cyborgs.

But I still believe that rules wise it would be easiest to just treat the OP's character as a robot.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Mark Caliber said:

But I still believe that rules wise it would be easiest to just treat the OP's character as a robot.

I don't disagree, in my previous post I suggested just making a Droid and narrate as a cyborg. If you want it to be a meat brain drop the Force immunity and allow them to use the Force and if you play it as a full machine brain you keep it as is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robot would probably be easiest mechanically, and I'm all for keeping things simple.   But the player might want to explore the story angle of "I've still got fleshy bits! So don't treat me like a machine!" or whatever, which is one of the most common story tropes for this kind of protagonist.   Ultimately, a cyborg and a droid have the same weakness (ion damage), where as a cyborg doesn't really have anything special/different on a mechanical level that's worth noting, other than possible Force use.  Which doesn't actually change the starting stats at all, and is something bought into later, irrespective of starting stats.  

If I was the GM, I would just ask.  "Are the mechanical parts the majority of the body?  Like 90%+ ?"   If yes, then just call it a Droid for character generation purposes, and move on.  Having that one fleshy organ doesn't change anything, other than narrative options later, which should be handled by the player and GM, acting out a scene where it's relevant.  

Building a character in this system shouldn't be a weeks long endeavor, where the theories of transhumanism and cyberpunk advancement are presented to justify if you put a 3 or a 4 in a stat.   If the player wants some fleshy bits for story purposes, and if the GM is on board, what else needs to be said?   If the player wants to be full mechanical, and explore the "just because I'm a copy, doesn't mean I don't have a soul!" angle, again, if the GM is on board, what else needs to be said?

Neither route "breaks' the game, or makes the PC overpowered, as it's still just a starting PC's pool of options.   The variations are minor at best, and can easily be accounted for by the GM.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
On 8/16/2019 at 1:26 PM, Mark Caliber said:

I agree.  Cool movie all around and I'd love to re-check that body transfer scene again.  IIRC there was one scene where the doctor cracked open her cranium (which is what I may be remembering).

And yes.  EVERYONE else were definitely cyborgs.

But I still believe that rules wise it would be easiest to just treat the OP's character as a robot.

 

 

I bought it and watched it this weekend and she does have an organic brain in a case which looks like a human head, her spine is encased in a metal housing, her heart is a micro fusion reactor.  Both of her cybernetic body's seem way more sophisticated than anything in Star Wars, the second is made out of a self-repairing metal that looks like blue metallic human musculature.

Edited by Eoen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Eoen said:

I bought it and watched it this weekend and she does have an organic brain in a case which looks like a human head, her spine is encased in a metal housing, her heart is a micro fusion reactor.  Both of her cybernetic body's seem way more sophisticated than anything in Star Wars, the second is made out of a self-repairing metal that looks like blue metallic human musculature.

Yeah, nanotech wasn't part of the general science fiction lexicon back when Star Wars was made, there were some novels and stories written before but it didn't really hit until the 90's. It's not really part of the Star Wars setting so I'd ignore that aspect and just keep it as if the PC is a robot/droid without that level of self healing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, FuriousGreg said:

Yeah, nanotech wasn't part of the general science fiction lexicon back when Star Wars was made, there were some novels and stories written before but it didn't really hit until the 90's. It's not really part of the Star Wars setting so I'd ignore that aspect and just keep it as if the PC is a robot/droid without that level of self healing. 

There is a blurb in the healing section about droids having self repair systems. Also the Clone Wars has an episode with nano-explosive droids as part of the plot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Eoen said:

There is a blurb in the healing section about droids having self repair systems. Also the Clone Wars has an episode with nano-explosive droids as part of the plot.

Oh, I wasn't suggesting removing self healing just not that whole Ironman suit/Alita level, see it spreading, nano healing. I recommend this because in both those examples the nanotech not only can "heal" it can also reconfigure and that is most definitely not Star Wars-y.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42 minutes ago, FuriousGreg said:

Oh, I wasn't suggesting removing self healing just not that whole Ironman suit/Alita level, see it spreading, nano healing. I recommend this because in both those examples the nanotech not only can "heal" it can also reconfigure and that is most definitely not Star Wars-y.

Given how often a busted up droid has been shown in the franchise (the jawa truck in New Hope, 3PO in pieces but still functional in Empire, etc), I think the easiest is to just do what FFG has, and have it be comparable to an organic healing, and just narrate it as them occasionally taking a minute or two to fiddle with a busted arm joint, or hip servo, etc.    Critical Damage still has to be actually "treated", just like a Critical Injury, so it lingers around until dealt with.  Wound damage you can just narrate it as them finding scrap metal and welding it over the holes or whatever.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

We had a human replica droid in the party whom effectively used the species stat line and xp , but had their species traits completely replaced by droid traits and mechanics instead of healing. It reflects a more advanced mode of droids rarely seen in Star Wars. That and b big outed as a droid can turn a character from a person to a object.

 

then again, our brand of Star Wars is in the style of tongue in cheek action movie, we are a team of bad arses with a troubled reputation.

Edited by LordBritish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 8/28/2019 at 2:50 AM, lowfyr01 said:

I always thought she was more or less like Robocop. The main difference being that he had his face put in front of his steel head to make him more "friendly"

I think it depends on the source material when it comes to Alita, as there is the manga stuff, and then the film.  And there seems to be some debate on which style the film went with, based on certain scenes.

I've never read, nor seen the film, so I don't really know, but ultimately, for the mechanics of building a PC, it doesn't actually change anything.  Best case scenario for Organic Alita is she's a human brain, in a completely robotic body.  Which...I mean there is no real mechanical difference in that case, when it comes to building a PC, when compared to a droid.  Everything is the same really.  I don't think "Having a Gun Gun brain" is going to infer the racial bonuses of that species, if you are entirely robotic but with a fleshy brain.   So, to me, I would just tell the player "Pick whichever you want.  Either full droid, or cyborg, but only like the brain or whatever, since you are making an Alita copy, and just use the Droid stats to build your PC as you see fit."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...