When you make a character in one of the FFG Star Wars games (Edge of the Empire, Age of Rebellion or Force and Destiny) you receive a baseline of characteristics determined by your race and than an amount of experience points to spend on improving characteristics, buying specialisations and other such things. Droids start off with all of their characteristics at one and you have to spend to buy them up whereas other races generally have some slightly higher scores in that species area of expertise. I’ve seen a few forum posts decrying the droid build saying that you can only be as good as a non-droid character in a relatively narrow area of expertise, TBH I have no idea if this is true or not since my own choice of droids as a species has nothing whatsoever to do with the characteristics that you get.
Below are just a few reasons that might make you consider playing a droid character the next time that you pick up those narrative dice and get ready to explore a galaxy far, far away:
- Droids can look like whatever you want
Everyone knows what a Quarren or a Rodian looks like, and therefore, if like me you find yourself scouring the internet for character pictures, it limits your options somewhat, however droids can be made in a bewildering array of different configurations, meaning that they can look like pretty much whatever you want; any robot or cyborg picture can be pressed into service as a prototype or rare droid.
- Droids can sound like whatever you want
Not been able to find a gaming outlet for that strange accent that you’ve been working on? Consider rolling it out for a droid character since they can sound like almost anything, it’s also a good opportunity to use any voice changing software that you may have since these tend to give an electronic edge to your voice (personally I use Voxal Voice Changer).
Most droids only achieve sentience after a prolonged period of being active (if at all), since the FFG game assumes that your droid character is sentient you can assume that for a lot of their existence they were performing whatever function they were designed for.
For example: I recently played a 2-1B Surgical Droid, in a game run by Andre Martinez (you can see the video of that session by clicking here), therefore it makes sense that for the first part of his existence, before achieving sentience, my droid was working as a medical practitioner.
Although I’m a great advocate of players preparing backgrounds, since I think it helps make a setting more detailed and also tells the GM what you want to see in the game, one of the great things about a droid character is that you mainly have to focus on what incident lead to your droid becoming sentient and how their life changed afterwards. This is great time-saver, particularly if you’re going to be playing in a one-shot.
- Droids allow you some additional narrative freedom
This point is dependent on how much narrative control your GM allows you to exercise in your Star Wars game, I’m lucky enough to have played in games (and groups) that encourage a lot of narrative freedom. So what exactly do I mean by this? Well if you think about it, with a biological organism, we all have certain limits and have to rely on external tools to interface with technology, make a communication, etc whereas with droids a lot of this can be hand-waved or taken as part of the droids internal systems.
Of course I’m not advocating that players should try and wring ‘unfair’ advantages from their species choice, however, it can be used as a great shortcut to save time and move the storyline on (although obviously your GM has final refusal).
For example: In the recent game I played, we had retrieved a holo-disc that we needed to play, instead of having to look around and search for a device to play it in, I suggested that my droid would have the ability to re-play the disc, opening up a panel in his chest and relaying the message. This didn’t give us a massive advantage, however, it allowed us to quickly discover the contents and progress with the storyline.
- Playing a recently sentient droid is good fun
IMO it’s always fun to play someone who is attempting to understand the society in which they find themselves, especially if you as a player are new to a game, since you can find things out at the same time your player-character does; obviously droids have been in Star Wars society for some time, but until achieving sentience they probably stayed within the rigid strictures of their programming and area of expertise, interactions and activities outside of that may be entirely alien to them. Droids also tend to lack subtlety (except in the case of certain advanced droids programmed for social interaction) which can be entertaining to RP, although it shouldn’t be overdone to the extent that it becomes annoying or interferes with the party’s progress.
- It’s fun to play the underdog
Star Wars in some respects is pretty much the story of the underdogs, whether it be the Rebellion, the Resistance, or whatever we generally find ourselves rooting for the plucky little guy who is trying to make a stand against the huge, monolithic forces opposing them. Droids occupy an interesting place in the Star Wars universe, they are created beings who can achieve sentience and become free-willed, however they are regularly memory wiped to prevent them from doing so and are often treated as little more than property or slaves by their owners. Despite certain characters in the Star Wars universe treating favoured droids differently there is generally little thought given to other droids in this regard, and even as a sentient droid, many people will ignore a droid character or treat them as little better than a walking piece of furniture.
Playing a character attempting to reconcile this prevailing attitude with their need to express individuality and forge friendships can be very interesting and lead to some powerful stories.