Exploring the mechanical residents of Star Wars.
The Star Wars RPG lists Droids as one of the playable races. They have special rules and capabilities that reflect their differences from the fleshy races of the Star Wars galaxy, such as how they heal, their ability to be modified with cybernetics, and not needing to eat or sleep. One way of exploring PC and NPC droids in a possibly more interesting way is to have them form the whole of the main party. Droids are exceptionally flexible in the roles they take on in Star Wars, but a player controlled droid has even more potential. You can have an astromech that’s actually a gunslinger with a pair of micro blasters stowed away in their chassis or an old B1 unit from the Clone Wars that’s been reactivated and refitted to serve as an odd form of protocol droid. By having the party be built from such vast possibilities, you can craft any number of stories.
Some of what can make this campaign special depends on the NPCs you create, players, and their droids:
- Droids are often not seen as actual people, even more so than some of their enslaved biological counterparts. We might think of R2-D2 as a vital character within the stories he’s taken part or starred in, but droids are typically seen as tools and sometimes rather disposable ones. Memory wipes are considered routine maintenance, buying or selling droids is simply business, and droids are often built specifically to perform in hazardous environments so organic beings don’t have to. The Mos Eisley Cantina on Tatooine refuses to even allow droids inside and it is not the only place in the galaxy to do so.
- An entire party of droids will often not be seen as more than a mere curiosity and won’t be taken seriously. Then again, a band of many unique droids of varied models all together may draw quite a lot of attention.
- An all-droid party may very well focus on droids’ rights, campaigning in one of many ways for sentient droids to be recognized as beings worthy of the same protections as their organic counterparts. Maybe even political representation in the Senate or local governments. This could be through gaining political allies, fomenting a droid-centric rebellion, outright building self-motivated droids, or one of several other paths.
- Perhaps the droid party would rather avoid the public eye and find a place to build a home where they can live the lives they choose rather than what they were built for. This would require the party to gather resources, find a suitable world (or moon or even asteroid), and plant roots. They would probably need to defend themselves against local wildlife and environmental hazards as well as scavengers and the like while at the same time building up their new home and possibly drawing in other free droids to their settlement. This could lead to the foundation of a droid civilization, though this would vastly amplify the demands of defense and resource management.
- As yet another option, a party of nothing but droids could become quite the formidable force of destruction by specializing in the use of weapons that harm flesh but leaves little mark on durasteel. Fighting in a cloud of toxic gas means nothing when you don’t have lungs. The same can be said about fighting in the vacuum of space aboard a ship who’s life support has been compromised.
- And of course, a band of thieves or saboteurs can get away with quite a lot by being droids as nobody takes much note of astromechs accessing computer terminals, labor droids carrying supplies, maintenance droids opening panels and messing with the workings of engines, or chauffeur droids flying off with speeders or transports.
- If you don’t want 100% of your party to be droids, you could always have one player have a non droid character. This character is likely to be assumed as the owner of the droid characters by most NPCs, which may or may not actually be the case. This assumption, though, can easily lead to that character becoming the leader of the group as they will be taken more seriously by most NPCs than “their” droids. Having a non robotic NPC in the party can also fill in this role if the players are comfortable with it.
- One thing to consider about an all droid party is that you will never have the potential to explore the idea of having Force users in your party. That is, unless you choose to include the Iron Knights from Legends into your game. The Iron Knights are droids controlled by sentient, Force sensitive crystals implanted within them and would function exactly like a normal droid character in every way but that they automatically can use the Force and can be affected by mind altering Force powers. Even other Force sensitives are unlikely to believe that a droid can be connected to the Force, however.
- A final and rather complicated option is to have one or more droid characters motivated by the idea of becoming something other than a droid (or at least as close as they can). This would allow them to bypass many of the drawbacks of being a droid while possibly enjoying many of the advantages of not being wholly organic. Synthetic flesh can hide the machine within, but that may not be enough for such a character. Maybe they seek to grow a clone body and implant their mind within it (via cybernetics most likely). Maybe they seek to detach their mind from their physical frame, becoming a free-traveling AI. Maybe they seek to transfer their consciousness into a human replica droid, becoming the closest thing to human while technically remaining a droid. Keeping Legion from Mass Effect and Data from Star Trek in mind would provide ideas for who this character would act.
We actually talked briefly about a few interesting Droid Variants yesterday. You can check them out for ideas about how to start your players off for this campaign (at least stat wise).