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When Shards change droids
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:59 pm    Post subject: When Shards change droids Reply with quote

What do you do with the improved Dex and Str skills when Shards change droids? Specifically to a droid with different Dex and Str attributes?

Anyone have any experience with this?
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Pel
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man, I'd forgotten about those guys. Never used them, but they sounded neat. Here's the Wiki link if anyone else is having a senior moment.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2019 7:49 pm    Post subject: Re: When Shards "change" droids Reply with quote

Kytross wrote:
What do you do with the improved Dex and Str skills when Shards change droids? Specifically to a droid with different Dex and Str attributes?

Change? And I'm not sure what you mean by "What do you do with the improved Dex and Str..." It is true that droids tend to have lower attributes and PCs tend to have higher. In my game, all PCs of all species have 18D in attributes and they work like attributes always do. I view each shard character as a unique symbiosis of shard and droid, so the character's stats are the character's stats not the droid model stats. Does that at all even touch on your question?
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Pel
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After a bit of research, I think Kytross is asking what we would do with a droid who already had improved skills in Dex & Str, who was then taken over by a Shard. The text in AJ 15 is contradictory, mentioning both that "all of the skills of the droid are provided by the Shard driving it" and Shards can "learn Dex or Str based skills and use them in conjunction with a droid body, if the body is capable of performing that skill".

Ok, so a droid has to have Str & Dex attributes of at least 1D to function, and a lot of models have some improved skills under them (Lifting springs to mind). A droid chassis has its physical attributes because of servos and other hardware, but it doesn't necessarily know how to use them without programming. Granted, the Shards have no physical mobility outside of a droid body, but do they spend their first week falling over and running into walls after assuming control? I'm thinking not, but there is an argument for this: when toddlers learn to walk or to do anything it takes a lot of trial and error. The Shard could be like a toddler, only it would learn much faster, perhaps enjoying a reduced die code at first and working up to its full potential with practice.

My other idea is while the Shard is controlling the droid and certainly has the ability to reprogram its droid host, it doesn't mention anything about wiping the existing programming. I'm thinking the Shard can multi-task and assign certain functions (balance, collision-avoidance, basic movement) to the droid brain that already knows how to do these things, while the Shard concentrates on where to go and what to do. What I'm seeing here is an emulation of our own voluntary and autonomic systems. Adult humans don't think about standing or walking around, we just do it. The Shard could delegate these basic functions to the droid brain and let it go on autopilot at first, only taking control of physical interactions in emergencies. Otherwise, it could just instruct the droid to "go to the market" and let the droid's native software handle the task.

I just had a third idea: Shards can communicate wirelessly with droids and other intelligent devices. Could the Shard just ask other nearby devices how to walk and then download their basic instructions? That might be a dangerous precedent and subject to abuse, though.

That's my 50 cents on the subject. How have the rest of you handled this situation?
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Let me give an example

The Shard player is in a protocol droid. 1D Str, 1D Dex. Over the course of several adventures they bring their Dodge skill up to 3D. That's the attribute +2D.

The Shard transfers to a droid body with 3D Dex. Does its Dodge skill stay at 3D or is it still attribute +2D, or Dodge of 5D?


Also, reverse that. The Shard is in a droid with high strength, levels dodge a bit, then ends up in an astromech, 1D Dex.

We're all GMs here, what would your ruling be?


Whill, I appreciate your 18D for all attributes approach, it is something I've praised over the years, but I'm going a different route with this one.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't had a Shard PC yet but added them to my playable species list because I do not want straight-droid PCs and Shards were a compromise after having a potential player that wanted to play an astromech droid (She was in my prior D&D group and never ended up playing Star Wars with me). I've actually grown to love the Shard concept but haven't completely finished developing my version of the character species so I really appreciate discussions about them here.

Thanks, Pel. Reading your last post, then the stat block for Shard in AE, and then Kytross' OP has brought me to understand what he is asking. He is asking about when a shard changes from one droid body to another. But first, I don't think the two statements you refer to from the RAW stat block are contradictory to each other.

Quote:
All of the skills of the droid are provided by the Shard "driving" it.
Quote:
They have no natural Dexterity or Strength dice. They can learn Dexterity or Strength based skills and use them in conjuncture with a droid body, if the body is capable of performing that skill.

I think this means that the Shard has all the skills, but its Dex and Str skills are relevant to a specific droid model.

Say you have a Shard in a 3PO-type droid and it has the Dodge skill of 3D. That skill would technically be "Dodge (3PO) 3D". Then the 3PO body gets destroyed but the Shard is salvaged and given an R2-unit body. The character's Dodge skill in the 3PO body would not apply in the R2-unit body.

A harsher interpretation would be that it is not model but per individual droid. Say when the above droid's first body gets destroyed, he moves to a new droid body of the same model. The GM states that the character even having 3D Dodge represented physical modifications beyond the stock capabilities of the droid, so the skill would not fully apply to a stock body.

Me personally, I am functionally of the mind of the latter, but I would allow for the story to provide a new modified droid body even of a different model with all different attributes to be built-up for the character, thus rebuilding the character by reallocating the original skill dice and reapplying most (but not all) of the CPs built into the character to approximate the character's skills from before. Some skills might be a little higher and some would be lower but that could be explained as reintegration with a different body. So in effect it would work a lot like a plain replacement character for a PC death, but in this case the replacement character has the memories of the first incarnation, a similar skill set, and a similar if not the same personality.

I hadn't really thought about how to handle the Str and Dex thing. Now I'm feeling that, since in my game a death replacement character would get a little under the number of CPs built into the PC with the lowest amount in the PC group, I would probably take the difference out of Str and Dex skills as the price for acclimating to a new body. So if the Shard's Dodge skill was 5D in the last body, it wouldn't go down to 1D but it may be less than 5D in the new body.

I'm really happy this topic was posted and my flu-addled mind finally made some sense of it! Of course, everything in my previous two paragraphs is based on maintaining the same 18D total in attribute dice between incarnations (even if some of the attribute values changes)...

Kytross wrote:
Let me give an example

The Shard player is in a protocol droid. 1D Str, 1D Dex. Over the course of several adventures they bring their Dodge skill up to 3D. That's the attribute +2D.

The Shard transfers to a droid body with 3D Dex. Does its Dodge skill stay at 3D or is it still attribute +2D, or Dodge of 5D?

Also, reverse that. The Shard is in a droid with high strength, levels dodge a bit, then ends up in an astromech, 1D Dex.

We're all GMs here, what would your ruling be?

As a GM, I don't think it would normally stay the same if the attributes changed. I would consider allowing straight die value differences to be added to or subtracted from different attribute die values only if the dice were from skill dice allocation in char gen. If the character raised the skill from improving the PC with CPs earned form adventures, then I would probably allow the CPs to be re-spent however it worked out. Not looking at the total character, here is how I am thinking would instead handle your specific example. And I would apply this as a general guideline to all attributes, not just Str and Dex.

It would take 9 CPs to raise Dodge from 1D to 3D. When the Shard moved to a body with 3D Dex, applying the same 9 CPs to Dodge would raise it to 4D.

Reversing it, if a Shard PC had 3D Dex with Dodge raised through CPs to 5D, that would have taken 21 CPs. For a new droid body, putting that into a 1D Dex's Dodge skill would raise it to 4D with 3 CPs left over.

This method helps preserve the inherent game balance in the skill improvement system. Say a Shard PC had a low Dex and Str so spent CPs raising a lot of those skills to to decent levels, and then transferred to a new droid body with high Dex and Str, if you just go with straight die value difference transferred, the new character will be disproportionally better-abled than the previous incarnation and possible become more powerful than the other PCs. It would be spending a smaller amount of CPs to later get a higher reward. And like I said above, for the difference in total advancement CPs for a replacement character, I would consider taking the difference out of Str and Dex skills to reflect the adjustment to a new body.

Kytross wrote:
Whill, I appreciate your 18D for all attributes approach, it is something I've praised over the years

Thank you. I appreciate the kind words.

Kytross wrote:
Whill... I'm going a different route with this one.

Please forgive me. I've been sick lately, but I'm not sure how to take this. This sounds definitive. If you already know where you are going, why are you asking? Or is it that you don't know where you are going but you know that whatever you do, you are 100% for sure that it won't involve a constant 18D attributes for PCs? It may be helpful to the discussion to share your ideas for Shard attribute allocation/reallocation to work because your above examples only deal with the skill changes with body changes, not the overall attribute reallocation.

Or does this mean that you don't want any input from me on this topic?
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Mamatried
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 4:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am using the "old" , house ruled, or what not Droid rules, giving a driod a combined 25D to be used for both Skills and attributes, with a max to any skill og 12 D and a max of any attribute (at start) 6D

As to changing the droid body for a shard I have these thoughts on the subject.
The shard is a rock, or rather a crstal and non mobile, a very smart crystal.
They can not on their own (maybe with cool kinetics) change their droid body.

However if they had a new body made and all that rquired to move in, then I say the droid keeps the attributes NOT used by the shard.

A shard imo has no dex score, as they are imobile, but a droid body can have dex.
So if a shard leves the droid, the droid is "non fuctioning" it has no brain nd all that, as this was "used by" the shard.
So I would say that abilities of DEX and STR as attibutes will be what they was, while the others will reset to 1D i suppose.

If the droid body is reused I would give it 25D minus, any value for the attribute nd any already installed skills
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whill wrote:
Please forgive me. I've been sick lately, but I'm not sure how to take this. This sounds definitive. If you already know where you are going, why are you asking? Or is it that you don't know where you are going but you know that whatever you do, you are 100% for sure that it won't involve a constant 18D attributes for PCs? It may be helpful to the discussion to share your ideas for Shard attribute allocation/reallocation to work because your above examples only deal with the skill changes with body changes, not the overall attribute reallocation.

Or does this mean that you don't want any input from me on this topic?


I still need to reread what you wrote in the rest of the post, but I felt the need to address this part immediately.

I want your input Whill. You're brilliant with the D6 system, and after one read, I think your CP solution is what I was looking for, but it's been a long day and I don't like to make decisions when I'm tired.

I love getting input from all of you guys. Even when I disagree with people I appreciate the effort they've put into the argumentation and am often presented with a new point of view, or interpretation of the rules, that I had never considered before. It makes me a better GM and a better player.

Thank you all.

What I was trying to say in regards to "going a different way" is that I am not going to change a Shard character's other 4 attributes when they switch droid bodies.

I'm going to have them start with 18D attribute dice divided however they like, according to the character creation rules. If they end up with more than 18D in attributes by switching droid bodies after character creation, during the course of the adventure, that's fine. If they end up with less than 18D attributes, that's fine too.

The player also needs to accept that at times, during my game, they may not be in a droid body at all. They may be carried by another player after their droid body is destroyed. They may be captured by the Imperials and forcibly separated from their droid and held captive. Some other scenarios may arise that I haven't contemplated yet. During the times without a droid body they will have neither a strength nor a dexterity attribute and will have a body strength of 1D.

Taking the extreme example, starting off as a Shard with no droid body, likely in the possession of another player, I would even allow the player to use all 18D for the other 4 attributes. I would explain that they would not be getting a droid body for at least the first few sessions, and that they likely aren't going to get a droid body with more than 1D in strength or dexterity until after the first or second adventure is over. To be fair, they would be able to exercise their special abilities, allowing them to communicate through comlinks, control nearby droids with restraining bolts, and access computer systems remotely. They would still be able to impact the story, but in a restricted way.

If the player found that intriguing, or challenging, or whatever, I would gladly let them play it out.

I also don't want the player switching droid bodies at the drop of a hat. So I plan to put some sort of restriction on modifying droids to accept a Shard in place of a droid brain. It could be a financial restriction (The parts are rare and cost a lot), a temporal restriction (The redesign takes a minimum of six work hours), or a skill restriction (It is a difficult roll). Swapping droids should be rare.
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I've gotten some sleep and reread everything. I think Whill's CP solution is the one I'm going to go with. Any skills under Dex or Strength are converted to CPs and reapplied to the new droid body, when and if it gets a new droid body.

I'm leaning towards going with a droid's 'brain' is removed to convert it to a Shard droid body. That means that the droid body, without the Shard in it, has no brain, and loses all its Kno/Per/Mec/Tec attributes until a droid brain is reinstalled. All of it's attachments are still intact. So if it has a database that gives it 10D in languages, then the new droid brain still has that attachment and can access that once a droid brain is installed.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kytross, thanks again for posting this thread. All of the discussion here has really given good perspectives on Shard characters, stuff I hadn't thought about before.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I read it as the Shard melds with the droid, but this has never come up in my games (although it probably will now).

So when a Shard leaves a droid body (let's assume it's voluntary and not the result of damage) does the droid go back to being a regular droid of whatever model it is? Is it a lobotomized shell? If not, does the droid retain some memory of it's possession by the Shard?
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My concept of shards was that it was a symbiosis of shard and droid. The shard may be in charge, but the droid is still there. But the droid is altered through a special process to be able to interface with the shard. I think it is possible to restore the droid to full functioning ability if the shard is removed, but that would also need a special process that may not work 100% of the time.

However I feel interfacing the shard with the droid in the first place is a complicated and expensive process not done lightly, so shards are not moved to a new body on a whim. I've felt that unless the droid body is malfunctioning or harming the shard, the shard is stuck with that body. In my game a shard moving to a new droid body would probably only occur when the droid body is destroyed but the shard is ok.
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Kytross
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have a problem with the Shard changing droids, but it should be a big event. A reward for hard work, like a quest reward or something built to over a few sessions.

I can see a player starting out in an astromech and wanting to upgrade to a humanoid design. Or as one of their goals being to upgrade to an IG-100, or some other specific droid.

Of course, upgrading to a combat droid brings in game consequences. First off, they're generally illegal. Secondly, if it's rebellion time period, they're probably shoot on sight for the Imperials. Third, having a very noticeable battle droid in your group is going to draw attention to you like crazy.

I can see the appeal of having a body you can upgrade, add attachments to, all the fun stuff about being a droid.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kytross wrote:
I don't have a problem with the Shard changing droids, but it should be a big event. A reward for hard work, like a quest reward or something built to over a few sessions.
...
I can see the appeal of having a body you can upgrade, add attachments to, all the fun stuff about being a droid.

Cool.

Kytross wrote:
Of course, upgrading to a combat droid brings in game consequences. First off, they're generally illegal. Secondly, if it's rebellion time period, they're probably shoot on sight for the Imperials. Third, having a very noticeable battle droid in your group is going to draw attention to you like crazy.

Exactly. I'm just flat-out disallowing any Shard PC from starting with a 4th degree droid body of any kind. In my concept I've embraced the notion that the Shard species is sending volunteers out into the galaxy incognito as regular droids to learn about the galaxy before reporting back someday and sharing their knowledge and experiences with the Shard collective. Being a military droid would draw too much attention and blaster fire when the goal is to never be uncovered as anything more than a regular droid by those who might do them or the Shard society any harm.

However I'm all for the character working towards modifications with secret defensive capabilities.
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