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Reprogramming security droids?

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So, one of my players has started collecting droid bodies with the intention of reprogramming them at some point.

 

I am of a mind to let him, once he has enough skills etc.

 

However, Letting him have his toys permanently would be hard to balance for.

 

So, the plan is to let him succeed...with a catch. Depending on his success, the droid will be reprogrammed for x amount of rounds. Then...its eyes start flashing red for one turn. Then it returns to its previous programming. 

 

I do not intend to tell him of this plan until its happened :) 

 

Thoughts?

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Why is it hard to balance for? Make them a group of minions controlled by the player and then go to town on them.

 

Having all the players work turn out to be worthless at the worst possible time is pretty harsh in my opinion. Especially if you are not telling him first

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Having all the players work turn out to be worthless at the worst possible time is pretty harsh in my opinion. Especially if you are not telling him first

I agree with this. it's pretty low to let them work, successfully make their computers checks and then remove the hard work.

try and avoid the idea that you need to stop the players doing thing they want to do. flow with it. there are many more ways, story-driven and exciting ways, of working with this. for instance, have a local Hutt get really antsy about a smuggler crew with droids. or get them hired for a mission into a war-zone, with the reason for their hiring being the extra protection they have access to. or have the Empire crack down (especially in response to 'stockpiling' droids as in the Clone Wars days.

use it as an opportunity to tell a story. perhaps with a Despair on the role, you could have a rogue robot on the loose, but otherwise, think bigger, and think about ways you can work with the players to tell a really cool story.

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I agree that the thoughts are tad harsh. Its something that is a bit of a struggle. We have played in the D20 mechanic for soooo long that we have become accustomed to this versus system. Players v GM. This mechanic isn't that. The versus, as I see it, is not between GM and players. The versus is actually in the dice mechanic.

 

So for example he may be repairing the droids so they are serviceable again. Does memory wipes, etc but obviously he has to make his rolls. Put a red die in there for any roll and any despairs that come up then use in your story driven mechanic. You can hold on that despair, doesn't have to be immediate. Maybe the check succeeded but the despair is something that the mechanic unlocked unwittingly inside the droids deep core that has launched a sub routine which will record all the mechanics activities and transmit to the very original owner, who is a notorious crime lord, bounty hunter, etc.

 

There isn't much need really to nerf players actions as GM. Let the dice do that. At some point those despairs will come up my friend. ;)

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I'm a little surprised that you let it get to a point where you feel a need to now put serious limitations on it.  If you knew this, it may have been smart to introduce security bots with some sort of self-destruct or make it so once they were fought he might find some serviceable parts left on the remains but could not really salvage the whole droid without serious amounts of effort.  Even if he was managing to disable (and not fight/destroy) each droid somehow, its would make sense that some of the parts may have been "fried" and are not usable.

 

I think the rest of the posters are right, you are almost obliged to now hope that when he re-programs them he gets some serious threat/despair so you can build in something nasty to this practice.  I would really hope for a despair, because it would allow you to make them short circuit  randomly due to shoddy/damaged parts or maybe even have one of the droids work against their master and try to re-program the other droids to his side, etc. Your only other alternative is to whittle down the droids somehow. Combat would be the easiest/least imaginitive way, but another alternative would be to have some outside force confiscate them when he goes somewhere and then have some nefarious force bug/damage them.  This would allow you to not scrap all his work, but work it down so you could manage it through other means in the future.

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If these are droid bodies left over after battle, why is he able to rebuild every one? At best I would allow for the salvage of parts from all of them to build one. If more than one, then, as someone already said, treat them as a minion group. I haven't looked at the Small, But Vicious Dog from the Warhammer RPG, but if you get the chance it may be useful in determining how you want to run this. Having extra actions for combat or in general tends to make other players jealous and soon you may find that all the players want their own personal bots.

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As it stands, he does not have the skills to pull it off. 

 

I don't want him to command a droid army :) 

 

When he is commanding the droid/s, he cant be more powerful than the other players. 

 

I will need to set some limits on the number he can have, how good they are, how long they last. It may end up needing a skill check per round to keep command. 

 

Running them as minion may be an option. But if he has more than one, I think it might end up requiring all his attention, so using the droids is his action.

 

He doesn't have too many droids yet, but having played various rpgs with him for some time... I know he will have a freakin droid scrapyard on the ship soon. 

 

I am just trying to get a strategy together for how to deal with this when it eventuates. I prefer to let my players succeed at their crazy schemes... but, there does need to be some limits :)

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I don't want him to command a droid army :) 

I'd be a bit concerned with this phrase. recently I had the opportunity to play as a player in a zombiepocalypse game, unrelated to EotE. the GM was a newer GM, and had an idea in mind for the party to be involved with. but we didn't know his idea. we decided to head in the complete opposite direction from where the GM was headed. so instead of finding a story-driven way of getting us back on track, at every turn that would have taken us in the wrong direction, we were met with either a horde of zombies too thick to drive through or a truck on its side blocking the road.

we felt trapped as players and it wasn't any fun. your role as GM is to provide a place for players to enjoy Star Wars. they're going to do crazy stuff from time to time. don't block it. or at least don't look like you're blocking it. roll with it. turn it into something bigger, something cool, not just a dead-end filled with truck-on-its-side. think about how the Star Wars galaxy will respond to an army of droids (or even the rumours of one). as a side quest, introduce a virus or something. make it non-combat. have an NPCS trader offer to buy the droids. something.

but don't spoil your players' fun just because it's not what you want from the story. this is collaborative story-telling.

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I think my statement is fine.

 

If this was a solo game, sure. But it is not. 

 

I dont see how one player hogging the spotlight results in a fun experience.

 

A couple of other players have raised some concerns about this, which is why I posted here to begin with.

 

What I love about this system is that it is open enough that I can let my players go off on their crazy plans with very little preparation on my part. Just throw a few stat blocks together on the fly and off we go. 

 

HOWEVER, theres comes a point where one players ambitions might not align with the group's.

 

Now... if he is prepared to put a bunch of xp and cash into making this droid thing happen, thats cool. There does need to be some limits to keep thins fun for everyone. 

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we felt trapped as players and it wasn't any fun. your role as GM is to provide a place for players to enjoy Star Wars.... 

but don't spoil your players' fun just because it's not what you want from the story. this is collaborative story-telling....

 

 

Its one thing to roadblock players going off on a tangent. Its another to allow a player to overshadow other players by their interest in having a small army. 

 

I would let his interest in reprogramming droids simmer (fester?) but I would would require rolls on each droid when he programs and depending on the rolls, I would introduce

 

* works as player expects [player rolled really well: spectacular results] 

* 'works' by following the player and follows instructions but does nothing when combat starts [on a good success]

* 'works' by following the player and follows instructions but goes berserk when combat starts [on a good success]

 

* 'works' by following the player and follows instructions but perceives an action by NPC as aggressive and attacks [on a bad success]

 

Basically introduce 'bugs' in each droid. As a programmer, I can make a program and think it works but i would get weird results when actually working. And the more complex a system is, the more it takes to test out its programming.  Use that to your advantage.

 

Couple that with parts that the player needs to keep the droids operational, I would hope the PC would lose interest and not rely on having his pets to do his dirty work. 

 

 

Note, my core rule book in in route so I could not explain how to interpret the rolls other then good/bad. 

 

 

Edit: Grammar

Edited by HastursTheName

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Just have most of the droids too damaged to repair (theyve been shot right?), start taking into account where and how they're storing the droids. Have a Imperial customs, ISB or Imperial Intelligence search the location they're storing the droids after civilians, who saw them carry off droids after a fight, tipped them off. Also if other players are worried have them rp the discussion out. The in game universe has canon ways to react to people building/maintaining combat droids (ie it's illegal)

I always help my players understand that certain things would have a common knowledge reaction out in the game world if they don't already know the canon but I never tell them no, I just react to it as realistically, relative for Star Wars, as I can.

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Have one ask him what his purpose in life is, and if he has a soul.

That will put him on edge, and make him think about what he's doing.

And if it doesn't, 

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Droid_Revolution

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Great_Droid_Revolution

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Second_Great_Droid_Revolution

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Servo_Seven

http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Droid_rights_(movement)


These are only a few of the MANY droid rebellions and rights movements that happened over the years.  When he suddenly has 20 combat droids wondering why they have to fight unquestioningly, he and his friends might realize they are in for quite a surprise.

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Don't look at this as an obstacle. Look at it as an opportunity! 

 

  • One of the previous owners of these droids installed tracking devices in each and every one of them in case they rebelled or were stolen. The device is attached in such a way that removing it would permanently fry the droid's circuits unless the mechanic could make a very difficult skill check. Now the previous owner or his superior is using the tracking devices to find whoever stole his droids. 
  • One droid among the ones recovered used to fight for a criminal organization and was trained in ruthless guerilla tactics. This programming was overwritten later, but a disadvantage or despair on a mechanics roll in some way reactivates the old programming. The droid goes into self defense modus, at first pretending that nothing is wrong, but secretly trying to subvert the other droids and start an armed rebellion against its masters (who he doesn't recognize and thus assume are the enemy).
  • One of the droids, when reactivated, reveals that it possesses knowledge that could be very dangerous to certain people if it was publicly known. These people are about to go to great lengths to get the droid back and make sure the secrets it contains are never revealed, even if that means killing everyone who's been close to the droid since it was stolen. 
Edited by TiLT

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Don't look at this as an obstacle. Look at it as an opportunity! 

 

  • One of the previous owners of these droids installed tracking devices in each and every one of them in case they rebelled or were stolen. The device is attached in such a way that removing it would permanently fry the droid's circuits unless the mechanic could make a very difficult skill check. Now the previous owner or his superior is using the tracking devices to find whoever stole his droids. 
  • One droid among the ones recovered used to fight for a criminal organization and was trained in ruthless guerilla tactics. This programming was overwritten later, but a disadvantage or despair on a mechanics roll in some way reactivates the old programming. The droid goes into self defense modus, at first pretending that nothing is wrong, but secretly trying to subvert the other droids and start an armed rebellion against its masters (who he doesn't recognize and thus assume are the enemy).
  • One of the droids, when reactivated, reveals that it possesses knowledge that could be very dangerous to certain people if it was publicly known. These people are about to go to great lengths to get the droid back and make sure the secrets it contains are never revealed, even if that means killing everyone who's been close to the droid since it was stolen. 

 

 

Heck - Have IG88A show up after hearing about someone building a 'slave' droid army to liberate his brethren. 

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Droids are expensive. Your players fought or disabled all of the droids and took them. Why not have thier owners report the theft and get the characters outlawed? Maybe even going so far as to have them be kicked out of places and ports for being droid thieves.

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