In Star Wars: The Roleplaying Gameplayers can take on the role of multiple archetypes and careers seen throughout the star wars franchise. They can choose from a number of careers and species, from dashing smugglers to ambitious ambassadors, and even force-wielding Jedi. However, one franchise archetype that isn’t quite as clear as some of these others is droids.
Droids are the semi-sentient robots of the star wars Galaxy, serving as co-pilots for doctors to mediators for political debates. They range from humanoid forms, like those of Protocol Droids and Assassin Droids, to what are essentially trash cans with legs known as Gonk Droids. Interestingly, depending on how the player decides to build, these options are all theoretically possible in the Star Wars role play. The following options are taken from On the edge of the Empire sourcebook, but droids can be used in almost any setting.
Are droids a life form in the Star Wars galaxy?
As mentioned above, droids are semi-sentient. In the star wars Galaxy, there are two conditions for a thing to be considered a living species, as stated in the On the edge of the Empire book: sensitivity and sapience. Neither concept applies easily to droids, but neither can be entirely negated either. Sentiment is a species’ ability to sense and smell things, which droids can and cannot do. Droids can sense their surroundings with optics and they can respond to external stimuli in their surroundings, but they cannot sense emotions.
Wisdom is described in On the edge of the Empire as “the wisdom that comes from self-awareness”. It’s a little harder to define because droids are certainly self-aware, they know they’re droids, and they know their functions and limitations. However, they are not programmed to learn from this knowledge and therefore cannot ruminate on the nature of their existence or derive understanding from it. At least they’re not supposed to.
Droids that go long periods of time without memory erasing or resetting are known to develop personalities, quirks, and behaviors that they weren’t programmed for. Some famous examples are C-3PO, R2-D2, K-2SO and HK-47 – all very different types of droids with very different functions that have developed personalities over time. In the case of R2-D2’s personality, he was even able to transcend multiple memory wipes. Even basic personal terminals and on-board computers are known to develop personalities in the star wars Galaxy, so it’s not such a stretch to believe that a droid can develop a higher level of sentience.
Droids are the utility belt of the Star Wars galaxy
As a playable species, droids are incredibly customizable and variable. At first glance, the Droid species seems rather underpowered, as all of their stats start at 1. However, they have a significantly larger XP pool during character creation, allowing them to specialize strongly in the function for which they are intended. Droids can take on any of the same careers and specializations as any other species, with the limitation that they can never become Force-sensitive and cannot use Force powers.
However, being a droid has several other benefits. Droids cannot be poisoned, are immune to all toxins, do not need to eat, sleep, or breathe, and have a much higher cybernetic ceiling than most other species. They can train job skills at a much faster rate when creating characters, and can communicate more easily with other droids. However, they cannot be recovered by traditional means. As inorganic lifeforms, they cannot be cured by Bacta, stimpacks, or medicine skill tests. Instead, they must be repaired with repair patches or mechanical skill tests.
Droids could have a wide variety of careers in the Star Wars galaxy
With so much customization available, it can be hard to decide what career a droid might have. Fortunately, there are a number of typical droid models listed in the On the edge of the Empire book that can be used as basic starting points. However, it is still possible to create a completely unique droid, as it can be a custom build or a combination of multiple designs.
2-1B Surgical Droids would likely use the Colonist career with the Doctor Specialization, while IG Assassin Droids would likely use the Bounty Hunter Career with the Assassin Specialization. Protocol droids of various types can use the Colonist career with the Politico or Scholar specializations, while a highly specialized Scout droid can use the Explorer career with the Fringer or Scout specializations.
Less humanoid droids are a little harder to analyze. Gonks, Astromechs, and other service droids and co-pilot type droids seem so specialized that they might be better served as NPCs than playable characters. However, an Astromech could easily be built as a Technician with the Mechanic specialization. It’s even theoretically possible to play as an MSE-series Mouse Droid as another type of Technician, likely a Slicer.
Play a droid in the Star Wars galaxy
Droids can come with a fair amount of built-in stories for their campaign. Droids are not born, they are created, so a Droid player must consider who created them, why, and the basis of their relationship with that person. Are they freed from the oppressive yoke of their organic masters, or do they worship their builder the way C-3PO worships their “Creator?” Were they built by a member of the party and therefore indebted to them in some way?
There are several other droid-related concepts that can create incredibly interesting storytelling. Restraint bolts, memory wipes, system resets, HoloNet, communications between droids – the list goes on. While droids as NPCs are useful and interesting characters in their own right, bringing one in as a player character allows for much more interesting storytelling.
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