Heroes on Demand: R2-B08, Independent Astromech

Welcome yet again to Heroes on Demand, your source for ready-to-play PCs for a growing number of RPGs.  For this installment, I thought I’d take a page out of the playbook of one of my players.  Back towards the end of January, I ran the introductory adventure “Escape from Mos Shutta,” but allowing the players to make their own characters using the rules in the Edge of the Empire Beta.  If you’re interested in seeing how it all played out, as well how I adapted the adventure for heroes that were probably a bit tougher than the pre-gens offered in the Beginner Box, you can read about  on my blog at  http://jedimorningfire.blogspot.com/.

One of the more interesting things to come out of that session was that one of my players had his heart set on playing a droid, but not just any droid, and particularly not a combat droid.  No, he wanted to play an astromech.  And to my surprise and relief, we found the Beta rules were quite capable of handling this request.  As a result of this, I decided to provide players and GMs alike an example of just how flexible and robust the Droid creation rules in Edge of the Empire can be.  So hold onto your lug nuts and get those logic circuits primed as we introduce…

: Star Wars: Edge of the Empire Beta

Species: Droid (2nd Degree)
Career: Technician
Specialization: Mechanic
Obligation: Responsibility*
Motivation: Comrades
*increase starting value by +5

Brawn 2
Agility 2
Intellect 3
Cunning 2
Willpower 2
Presence 1

Astrogation 1, Computer 2, Discipline 1, Mechanics 2, Perception 1, Pilot (Planetary) 1, Pilot (Space) 1, Skulduggery 1, Knowledge (Outer Rim), Melee 1

Enduring, Gearhead, Fine Tuning, Solid Repairs, Toughened

Soak/Defense: 3/0
Wound Threshold: 14
Strain Threshold: 12
Silhouette: 0
Abilities: Droid (does not need to breathe, eat, or drink, and can survive in vacuum or underwater, immune to poisons or toxins, cannot be Force-Sensitive)
Systems: Light blaster pistol (Ranged [Light], Damage 5, Crit 4, Medium Range, stun setting), arc welder (Melee, Damage 3, Critical -, Engaged, stun damage), circular saw (Melee, Damage 3, Crit 2, Engaged, Pierce 2, Vicious 1), internal comlink, enhanced data module (as datapad), general purpose scanner, tool kit, internal storage space (as backpack)
Equipment: 2 emergency repair kits, 22 credits

Background: Rolling off the Industrial Automaton production line shortly after the end of the Clone Wars and the formation of the Galactic Empire, R2-B08 has bounced from one end of the galaxy to other under a wide variety of owners, running the wide gamut of respectable to shady characters.  Over those many years, the one thing that B08 hasn’t experienced very often is a memory wipe, a fact that he’s quietly very thankful for; he’s gone through a lot over the years and learned a lot of things that most factory-fresh astromechs are clueless about, and it’d be a shame for all that knowledge to be lost.  There’s also the matter that his behavioral inhibitors are not working at full factory specifications, thanks in part to his heuristic processor enabling him to find new and increasingly creative ways to work around the “cause no harm to an organic being” restriction that most 2nd degree droids find themselves operating under.  Ever since his last owner wound up being incarcerated by the Empire for trying to smuggle illegal narcotics past customs, R2-B08 has been on his own, a condition the droid finds almost intolerable; the constant change in ownership over the little droid’s lifespan has lead to a heightening of the loyalty sub-routines found in most R2-series astromechs, and he’d really like to find a new owner who’d appreciate having a droid of his capabilities in his service.

Design Notes: Most Star Wars gamers tend to think along the lines of IG-88, HK-47 of the Knights of the Old Republic video games, or even the various types of battle droids of the Clone Wars era when they think “4th Degree droid,” which for those not quite as versed in Star Wars lore means a droid that’s not prohibited from causing harm to organics.  While out-and-out assassin droids remain highly illegal during the Emperor’s reign, there’s still a viable market for security and bodyguard droids.  One of the early concerns during the Edge of the Empire beta-testing was that the rules given for droid player-characters wouldn’t really permit players into making non-combat droids like C-3P0 or R2-D2, two of the most iconic figures in the entire Star Wars franchise.

As the above hopefully illustrates, this is not true.  Granted, most Droid PCs are going to be specialists, as is the case with R2-B08.  Like any good astromech, this little guy is a crack mechanic and really good at making computer systems do what he wants them to do.  In terms of game mechanics, the only real change that needed to be made was to reduce R2-B08’s Silhouette from the normal default of 1 for player-characters to a Silhouette of 0, which is fitting as he’s just under a meter in height.  With the way size works in Edge of the Empire, this isn’t quite the perk that being Small sized in the various d20 iterations of Star Wars RPGs was, since most of the things that are going to be shooting at B08 are going to be Silhouette 1 themselves.  There’s also the purely role-playing restriction that as an astromech, he can really only speak in Binary, but it’s easy enough to handwave that the other PCs can get just enough out of the various chirps, beeps, and whistles that R2-D2 is known for making; if there’s a PC with the Speak Binary talent, then figure they’ve got no problem understanding the little guy.

Pretty much all his equipment is built-in, thus it being placed under the header of Systems in his stat block, much like a droid’s internal gear was labeled in WotC’s Star Wars Saga Edition.  I have to admit to being pretty impressed with how much gear I was able to pack into the little guy with just 1500 credits.  I chose to interpret the backpack that’s listed on page as simply being a means to reduce a character’s encumbrance value than strictly as a literal backpack, especially since it’d be a built-in component, thus providing this R2 with the “empty space” that astromechs are known for having, enough for a small item such as a blaster pistol, a vibro-knife, or even a lightsaber.  If the GM allows it, you could even drop the two emergency repair kits to purchase a second “backpack” and reduce his encumbrance value even further, providing more room for additional gear or possible upgrades later on.

Character image is courtesy of Wookieepedia.

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