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Designing Custom Droids
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MrNexx
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PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2021 12:08 pm    Post subject: Designing Custom Droids Reply with quote

This is imported from my Disadvantages, Advantages, and Special Abilities thread. It isn't a question, but a houserule to play around with and interact with on its own terms. "I don't like this because the current system is fine for me" doesn't help with how this system works.

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On a design aside, I really wish they'd gone with 3:1 ratio for skill dice to attribute dice; it would let you trade 1 skill die for a pip in an attribute, and 3:1 is their ratio for pretty much everything else. It would also make droids the slightly more reasonable 57 dice in skills, Advantages, Special Abilities, and attribute conversions... I'll start another topic about that, though.


To catch up: d6 Space (and other d6 games) have a system of Advantages, Disadvantages, and Special Abilities, which add or subtract skill dice to make more mechanically nuanced characters. Want to play a Kid? Take the Age (1) or Age (2) disadvantages, getting a couple other skill dice, which you can put to skills, or giving yourself an advantage like Wealth or a special ability like Increased Attribute.

You can also take 4 skill dice gained from Disadvantages and turn them into 1 attribute die. However, I like the ratio of 3D skill to 1D attribute, partially because, as above, you would be able to use 1D from skills to add a pip to an attribute without having to get funky.

But this ties into my dissatisfaction with designing custom Droids, where you have 25D to spread among attributes, skills, and special abilities. But, obviously, attribute dice and skill dice are not equivalent.... if I'm designing a custom protocol droid, for example, there's little reason NOT to give him a 10D in Knowledge, then divide the other 15 dice between the 5 attributes. I now have a hyper-competent protocol droid (with 10D in Languages and Cultures), and 3D in all other attributes. This doesn't require any particular min-maxing... just playing the rules as written. It also doesn't address other issues, like the disparity between an explorer droid having 4D search, plus 2D search in certain situations... those are obviously not equal, but the current system treats them as such. A medical droid gets a +2D to all medical skills when tethered... but that's counted the same as a 2D bonus to Technical or a 2D bonus to First Aid, none of which are the same.

Enter the revised d6 system, with its DASA. Now, you can get a lot more detailed on stuff like this, and create droids who are balanced with non-droids, without having to impose anything outside the system. In this version, droids would have 1D in every attribute* and 76D** in skills, advantages, special abilities, and attribute conversions. You could still make that hyper-competent protocol droid... the system is just less forgiving for it, and it is not as obvious a solution. Do you want a +2D bonus to Medical Skills? You might choose 6 levels in Skill Bonus: Medical, which you then modify with Ability Loss (4), where being more than 5 meters away from a medical computer will cause the bonus to go away. You've now spent 2 dice on that +2D bonus... where adding +2D to Technical would cost you 4 points, or adding +2D to search at long range would be merely 2 pips (for 2 dice worth of specialization).

Now, I prefer a 3D skill to 1D attribute ratio. This would change the skill dice allotment to 57D... it would drop the overall competence of droids, though you could still design the uberdroids if you want. I prefer it because it makes the system a lot more smooth and symmetrical. As it stands, 3D in specializations makes 1D in skills. This would make 3D in skills equal 1D in attributes... a smooth progression.

Why do all this, especially if it doesn't actually change things, or remove the ability to create uberdroids? Because I like having systems in place to describe things. Yes, I can create a custom droid that looks like whatever I want, but I want to create a system that brings things more or less in line with the rest of the rules, while allowing a lot of expression, and I think the game is more fun if everyone is on a reasonably level playing field... being a droid is hard enough, with plenty of restrictions (like not being able to heal naturally, and not being people in many folks eyes), so a system that gives them a bit of parity is a win for me.

*I know some houserules allow for sub 1D attributes, but I'm ignoring them for this purpose. As Dave Dietrich said in his Third Invid War webbook, we use the standard rules so everyone understands them, and can apply their own houserules to something built on the standard rules.

**25D-6D = 19D; 19D * 4 = 76D
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Argentsaber
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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2021 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe the rules have attribute dice cost 5D building dice each, and armor & speed code upgrades cost 3D building dice each. This places a practical limit on droid attributes based on building dice, but personally I require a droid to be first designed under the lower NPC building dice cap, and allow the higher PC building dice only to modify from there. I have found this makes people consider how a droid might actually be designed rather than min-maxing by accident.
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MrNexx
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2021 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Argentsaber wrote:
I believe the rules have attribute dice cost 5D building dice each, and armor & speed code upgrades cost 3D building dice each.


Where would this be written? I don't see it in R&E, and REUP has either "Spend 25D however you like" or "Get a credit cost from your GM and build with this other system."
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Whill
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2021 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cynabar's Fantastic Technology: Droids has a droid design system but I do not remember the specifics because I am opposed to equating attribute dice to skill dice by any formula.
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cheshire
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I've got the Cynabar's book. But anytime I've made a custom droid, I've done it by creating it by a standard template for humans, and contrived story reasons for it being so. The GM has never complained since it resulted in a balanced character that functions as a part of the team.
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Whill
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cheshire wrote:
Yeah, I've got the Cynabar's book. But anytime I've made a custom droid, I've done it by creating it by a standard template for humans, and contrived story reasons for it being so. The GM has never complained since it resulted in a balanced character that functions as a part of the team.

I agree with your GM. All PCs should be game balanced to each other, droids or not.
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CRMcNeill
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed, but having a "Dice Price" available for all the various mods droids can be equipped with is a reasonable method of balancing. I mean, unless, all the add-on systems are treated like a droid's Equipment (which can be particularly unbalancing depending on what they're equipped with).
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Whill
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2021 10:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CRMcNeill wrote:
Agreed, but having a "Dice Price" available for all the various mods droids can be equipped with is a reasonable method of balancing. I mean, unless, all the add-on systems are treated like a droid's Equipment (which can be particularly unbalancing depending on what they're equipped with).

Agreed, droid equipment could be unbalancing so it should be considered.
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