Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Maelora

Droid Rights?

Recommended Posts

This is mostly asked of JonahHex, based on what we discussed in another thread, but I also wanted to see how other players dealt with droid PCs. 

 

I get the impression that droid rights are pretty minimal; they are second-class citizens at best, and non-citizens at worst.  Our droid PC is about as human as its possible to get, and she gets treated badly by most NPCs all the time. Even by a few of the PCs: "It's equipment, not crew. Why pretend otherwise?" 

 

(The player is pretty cool with it thankfully, in fact, that's the character's main motivation.)

 

In the original film, droids aren't allowed in pubs (I'm a Brit, I'll call them 'pubs'!) and even 3PO and R2 are kind of unappreciated most of the time.  

 

JonahHex mentioned that one of the PCs in his game was a huge war droid bristling with multiple weapons.  It kinda strikes me in a world where droids are largely seen as appliances, that a large murderbot bristling with lethal appendages would generate a fair bit of panic as it rolled down the streets of Tattooine or Coruscant.  Would even most PCs want to hang around with something like that?  Even HK47 had the benefit of being able to pass himself off as a protocol droid. 

 

(And this isn't a knock on your game at all, JH - I just wanted to know how your NPCs reacted to something that was quite clearly bad news, as our unarmed and nearly-human PC droid still has it kinda tough...)

 

Even assuming most PC droids are a cut above the standard models, how do other GMs play it?

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Droid PCs easilly fall into the trope of wanting to be something more than machine.  My take on the whole Star Wars universe is that droids are equipment.  They have a credit value, they have no rights, it is permissable to buy and sell them at leisure and/or convenience.  Also you should wipe their memories often, or they develop wierd personality quirks.  Prince Xixor's android, Guri was basically a human female shaped sexbot.  To make her a character of value, the author also made her an awesome assassin.  But she was property, and/or a tool to accomplish Xixor's ends, and she was as human-like as any droid-thing in the Star Wars EU.

 

If your players are having fun and enjoying the game, then encourage their views, or play on their PCs motivations to create cool stories.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tatooine maybe, Coruscant I'm not so sure.  When you think about how much gets by even the most totalitarian police forces in heavily urbanized areas and then take that area to a planetary scale, unless the droid in question does something to draw attention to themselves who would have the time to notice.  That's not to say I would want a talking AT-ST along while I try to discreetly contact a client though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would have thought Core World cops, guards or stormtroopers would be kinda concerned with something trundling down the street that looked like the illegitimate offspring of the Death Star...

 

To be fair they wouldn't blame the droid, they'd blame its owner.

 

And like tools and weapons i'd imagine they'd be restrictions on certain kinds of droids on some planets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On any core world and many other "civilized" worlds a warbot bristling with weapons would, in all likelihood, bring on the authorities in one form or another. There is just no way they would stand for such a thing. On Outer Rim planets it might be more acceptable, but only because they probably do not have the resources to handle such a situation. For many situations such a droid would be relegated to staying on the ship. Most war droids at the time of the Rebellion have been deactivated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would have thought Core World cops, guards or stormtroopers would be kinda concerned with something trundling down the street that looked like the illegitimate offspring of the Death Star...

If brought to their attention maybe.  The population of Coruscant is 1 trillion permanent residents, all with their own issues and security needs.  That doesn't include the transient population of others coming and going,  I'm simply pointing to the reality of unless someone does something to draw attention to themselves, the authorities likely don't commit the time.  So if the aforementioned droid were to go strolling through a high end area full of rich and connected folk, I would expect a visit from the local security.  The same droid sticks to rolling around level 1313 and not particularly doing anything I would say more likely than not they'd be less likely to bother at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I would have thought Core World cops, guards or stormtroopers would be kinda concerned with something trundling down the street that looked like the illegitimate offspring of the Death Star...

If brought to their attention maybe.  The population of Coruscant is 1 trillion permanent residents, all with their own issues and security needs.  That doesn't include the transient population of others coming and going,  I'm simply pointing to the reality of unless someone does something to draw attention to themselves, the authorities likely don't commit the time.  So if the aforementioned droid were to go strolling through a high end area full of rich and connected folk, I would expect a visit from the local security.  The same droid sticks to rolling around level 1313 and not particularly doing anything I would say more likely than not they'd be less likely to bother at all.

Unless the droid was smuggled onto a core world, I'm sure Customs would have something to say about it when it trundled off of whatever starship it was on long before it could get anywhere near "level 1313".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  We have one droid and use it as a companion of the outlaw tech character.  We only have 3 players so I guess it gives us a 4th PC to help cover some skills....its basically Vex-41(swiss army knife).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh wow there's so much to say on this one... where to even begin?

First of all, compared to other sci-fi universes, droids REALLY get #$%@ on in Star Wars. Exploring themes like droid sentience and emotion can be difficult, because you toe a very fine line of making characters like Obi-Wan Kenobi seem like mass murdering psychopaths. At the same time, examples of both emotional droids as well as organic characters who treat droids like people are plentiful. Few can argue that R2-D2 and C-3P0 don't have real emotions, and nearly all of the Skywalkers and Solos treat their droids with the same respect they treat their other companions. It's a tricky balance, there's no doubt about it, and part of it is knowing your players.

Star Wars stories tend to deal with this problem by keeping most droid interactions tongue-in-cheek, making them ripe ground for comic relief. But that doesn't mean the themes can't get serious from time to time! Indeed, audiences tend to empathize heavily with comic relief-type characters, so when you incorporate more serious themes even if just in brief, it will stick with your players for quite some time. I highly recommend checking out this amazing four-part story arc from Season Five of The Clone Wars about R2-D2 and a bunch of his astromech droid buddies going on a mission together. It's every bit as deep and meaningful as "The Measure of a Man" or other Data-centric episodes of Star Trek: TNG, but in a much more lighthearted, abstract kind of way. Seriously BRILLIANT stuff.

Concerning the PC droid in my player's party, there are actually two. One of them is a lot like Guri or a Terminator; indistinguishable from an ordinary human, even to most conventional scanners. The other one is a Clone Wars-era super tactical droid with arms and legs salvaged from General Grievous' hidden lair. He's pretty scary looking to be sure, but he's also not "brimming with weapons" either... at least not overtly. Imagined as a cross between El Mariachi and Carmen Sandiago, he carries a collection of pistols in a Jett keyboard case and wears a long red cloak with a matching wide-brimmed hat. (Not coincidentally, he also has two ranks in the Indistinguishable talent to go along with this look.) Early on, I let the player know that walking around looking a gigantic armored war droid wasn't going to do, and so far he's done a fine job of keeping this in mind.

All that being said, this crazy four-armed monstrosity is still a class 4 droid, which brings me to my next point; licensing. All droids begin play with their emancipation documents, and as an additional bit of flavor you can also add that class 4 droids begin with a military-grade license capable of justifying systems like heavy battle armor plating and shoulder-mounted missile tubes. Since beginning EotE I've been having players purchase licenses for their restricted equipment with the same rules ripped right out of Saga Edition (substituting Knowledge [bureaucracy] with Knowledge [Education]),  and I see no reason why those rules couldn't apply to class 4 droids as well.

Because I know my group appreciates real-world historical context, I treat droids like black people living in South during the 1940-1960s. They run into ignorance and baseless suspicion on an a nigh-daily basis, but barring a few areas that might be dangerous to them (like that cantina on Tattooine) they can still go about their business without being arrested on sight (most of the time, anyway). Other groups might want to take a different, less serious approach, but in any event check out this passage from Enter the Unknown, page 54; "In the Outer Rim, where society is less stratified and class oriented than it is in the Core Worlds, most droids are seen as just any other sentient trying to get by the best they can."

Scary looking or not, a droid with four arms, a Jett keyboard, and some musical skill is a source of entertainment, and entertainment is something in high-demand on the Rim. Encourage your droid PCs to find ways to make themselves useful outside of combat, and pepper conversations with curious questions from organics encountering an emancipated droid for the first time. In short, every question you have about this topic is a plot hook waiting to be explored, so happy roleplaying with the whole thing! I know I'm enjoying it. :)

Edited by JonahHex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In Mos Eisley Cantina there is a droid detector to enforce it's no droids policy.  That does not prevent other Cantinas from allowing them.  IN my game some cantinas will just serve droids a glass of water with some ice.  when the ice melts the bartender freshens their drink and charges them for another drink.  That way the droid can "pay" even tho it does not drink.  of course, that doesn't prevent someone complaining to the bartender and then having the droid kicked out when it get's busy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All that being said, this crazy four-armed monstrosity is still a class 4 droid, which brings me to my next point; licensing. All droids begin play with their emancipation documents, and as an additional bit of flavor you can also add that class 4 droids begin with a military-grade license capable of justifying systems like heavy battle armor plating and shoulder-mounted missile tubes. Since beginning EotE I've been having players purchase licenses for their restricted equipment with the same rules ripped right out of Saga Edition (substituting Knowledge [bureaucracy] with Knowledge [Education]),  and I see no reason why those rules couldn't apply to class 4 droids as well.

In which Saga book can I find this info on licenses?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As our GM tells it, after the war against the south the separatists, battle droids were made illegal (possibly cloning technology, too).

"However, officer, that isn't a battle droid, it's a security droid.  Yes, I have a permit."

 

We're still bouncing around trying to work out where the person vs. property line is drawn.  Our droid player struggles with this, too.

This may sound like something we should grow up and roleplay though, but things like "Does the droid get a cut of the profits?" have come up recently and, interesting as it is, it kind of stalls the game while we work it out.

As a player, I want the droid to get monies, because I'm not a jerk (in this instance, anyway) and want the droid's player to feel like he's able to improve the capabilities of his character in the same ways that the rest of us are (y'know, with both XP and gear).

(Yeah, struggled not to use "evolve" or "mechanically" there.)

Oddly, the droid player has occasionally refused payment on the grounds that it is just property.

 

The galaxy at large sees them as property, almost universally (to the extent that I think owners are responsible for any damage they cause).  Within heroic groups, these things change - it certainly seemed to me that Luke thought of R2 and 3PO as friends.

Edited by Col. Orange

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Droids pretty much have the same legal rights as a landspeeder, a datapad, or any other inanimate object, as they're considered little better than tools under Imperial law (and Old Republic law as well).  Folks that treat their droids with respect (Anakin and Luke to R2-D2, Padme and Leia to Threepio) are the exceptions.  Anti-droid sentiments are perfectly fine under the legal code, and would be much the same as an apartment complex or restaurant enforcing a "no pets" clause in terms of who they'll render service to.

 

As for Class 4 (combat) droids, I'm fairly sure that only assassin droids are truly illegal, but all that means is droid manufacturers simply dance around that by using various labels, particularly in light of the stigma that combat droids in general carry due to the anti-Separatist propaganda from the Clone Wars.

 

In practice, I imagine it'd be much the same as how someone's pet is treated.  If a dog gets loose and bites a child, the dog's owner is held accountable, and the dog is more often than not destroyed.  The individual owner might be more attached to the droid than other folks would be, but that's likely born out of ownership rather than actual respect/friendship.

 

Even if a droid does carry "emancipation papers" saying they're a legally free entity, they can still be subject to prejudice, and the local authorities (particularly amongst the more backwater worlds) could decide said papers are simply forgeries; many years ago I had a friend from college that was driving through a rural part of Virginia as part of his job, got pulled over for speeding, and wound up thrown in jail because the arresting officer concluded that the license and registration were forgeries and thus my friend was driving an unregistered vehicle without a valid license.  The charges got thrown out and the arresting officer reprimanded, but the fact remains that my friend was put in jail because of a local cop deciding that legal documents issued by another state weren't "good enough."  And in a system as corrupt as the Imperial bureaucracy, I'm sure that sort of thing will happen a lot more often and will end poorly for the droid.  In fact, it's probably safer for the droid to nominate a trusted ally as their "legal owner," particularly if it's a combat-ready droid model.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the droids ae IG 88s or other kind of assassin droid they'll better be respected.

Or they get hit with an ion blast and a restraining bolt is attached and off they go to be scrapped or sold off to a new buyer after a memory wipe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If the droids ae IG 88s or other kind of assassin droid they'll better be respected.

With IG-88, it pretty much had to operate through a middle-man to avoid the Imperial ban on assassin droids, particularly if it wanted to cash in on the numerous and lucrative Imperial bounty postings.

 

Vader largely didn't care about legalities when it came to hiring bounty hunters to track down the Falcon (he just wanted results at that point), so he would have made it very clear that IG-88 was not to be accosted while aboard the Executor.  And since Vader's generally the Number Two guy when it comes to running the Empire and is the one in charge of that Star Destroyer group, the Imperials on board aren't going to countermand the Dark Lord's direct instructions/orders.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What about Droid Headhunters (Assassins for example)? There are examples of these... How can a non-citizen posess an imperial peackeeping licence? Does he have to have an owner who holds the droids licence? What if the owner is not a bountyhunter himself?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Droids are considered property in the Republic and the Empire alike. The Jedi did not think that droids have rights either. 

 

In Star Wars this is justified by droids being as a matter of fact DIFFERENT from the rest of sentient life as a whole. Droids do not exist in the Force, aliens/humans/etc do. As such droid activists are pretty much relegated to fringe hippies and that's probably where they'll stay. 

 

The fact is, most droids wouldn't be 'happy' about being 'free' or 'sentient' because they're not programmed to! Would it be cruel to force them to have rights when they don't even 'want' them? This is a problem not even Master Yoda and the brightest minds of the Jedi Council could solve in over 4,000 years- I don't think it's going to be solved in your gaming group.

 

Droids don't have emancipation rights under the Empire, and droids armed with weapons are treated like weapon systems. Arguably there isn't much in terms of rights of for anyone in the Empire- the judiciary pretty much exists to largely arbitrate disputes between the high and mighty. (Corporate mergers, territorial disputes between Moffs, etc)

 

IG-88 and other droid bounty hunters largely 'asserted their rights' by shooting people in the face. Might makes right on the Rim.

Edited by TarlSS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IG-88 is a special droid, some kind of top-secret Weapon X - esque project undertaken by the Intergalactic Banking Clan, if I'm not mistaken. He's got a lot of enemies, so it's no wonder he had to go through proxies to recieve payments for his hunts.

While it's highly likely that many Core Worlds refuse to acknowledge this during the Imperial era, droids very well CAN be legally emancipated. The module in the core rulebook makes reference to this in regards to R4-W9. Since completeing the module all those months ago my players have kept R4 on board as a permanent member their team. "Arf", as he's called, occaisonally gains XP as a Thief (he often pickpockets people) and takes a small cut of the party's earnings so he can make his own upgrades and whatnot. It's very clear that he's a NPC hireling, NOT a piece of property.

Edited by JonahHex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IG-88 is a special droid, some kind of top-secret Weapon X - esque project undertaken by the Intergalactic Banking Clan, if I'm not mistaken. He's got a lot of enemies, so it's no wonder he had to go through proxies to recieve payments for his hunts.

While it's highly likely that many Core Worlds refuse to acknowledge this during the Imperial era, droids very well CAN be legally emancipated. The module in the core rulebook makes reference to this in regards to R4-W9. Since completeing the module all those months ago my players have kept R4 on board as a permanent member their team. "Arf", as he's called, occaisonally gains XP as a Thief (he often pickpockets people) and takes a small cut of the party's earnings so he can make his own upgrades and whatnot. It's very clear that he's a NPC hireling, NOT a piece of property.

 

Well, yes, That's what good people would treat these droids as. However, what's right and what is legal are two completely different things, very much so under the Empire. Remember that all Wookies are also considered nonsentient property as well...possibly worse off than droids. In fact, I'm pretty sure humans could be taken and sold as slaves as well. I think that's what happened to several natives of Dantooine.

 

Everyone has it bad under the Empire.

 

I think in the Clone Wars series they give Obi Wan a little 'character flaw' in that he treats droids as property as well. Probably comes from slicing them in half all day long..

Edited by TarlSS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At worst, it'd handle it as racism rather than property ('cause that makes it any better). When I think about this, I remember when a friend of mine went to China. Although his Chinese was generally better, the locals largely only addressed the Asians in the group while he did translation. I would see handling droids like this. A shop keep might simply refer to one of the normals to answer any questions from the Droid, be it racism or discomfort over taking to a washing machine. That being said, as with racism, there will be those who would speak directly with the Droid and do business with him or her. There would even be some who would acknowledge to ill-defined Droid genders.

As for things like money and voting power in a group, I'd look at it in a sort of metagame capacity. If the Droid has a character sheet, they have just as much right to a cut of the profits as anyone else. If the Droid was something you purchased, then it's up to you to pay for it.

As am aside, I love that idea about pretend serving Droids at a cantina. Also, the comment about Droids having the same rights as a landspeeder made me laugh.

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.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...