Custom droid crafting Directives

Pointing to the discussion that branched into this topic from Droid crafting rules questions:

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As we make these, I’ll add them to my Crafting Spreadsheet, which you can also find here along with a gear compilation: SWRPG Equipment Spreadsheets

Currently, I’ve only made and added one template, “Thievery Directives”, which gives Skulduggery 2, Stealth 1, and Convincing Demeanor 1. It is Hard difficulty and takes 1 day.


Here’s what I’ve been thinking. I thought we needed a Hard rival template. Based it off the Combat template with the Specialist time.

Template Price (rarity) Skill check Time Class Sil Soak WT ST M/R Br Ag Int Cun Will Pr
Limited Specialist 3750/3 Hard Mechanics 56 hrs Rival 1 2 7 - 0/0 1 2 2 1 1 1

May swap a 1 and a 2 characteristic as desired.

Directive Check Time Skills Talents
Astromech directives Daunting Computers 96 hrs Mechanics 2, Computers 2, Astrogation 2 Gearhead 1, Solid Repairs 1, Galaxy Mapper 1, Technical Aptitude 1

I almost combined the Repair & Navigation ones and per comments below made it harder.

I don’t know how people rule the 2 or 3 day tasks, but they clearly require uninterrupted time, so can the mechanic take naps during those hours or does it get extended +50% by sleeping 8hrs a day?
[edited Directive per comments]

I don’t think that’s necessary. A Combat Chassis is Hard and gets 221111. A specialist gets 112222. To make a Hard chassis, it would need to only have two Characteristics, and you’d have to basically pick its specialty by the nature of the chassis because of the limitation. So if you go for 111122, it works for a Protocol Droid (sort of). If you go for 122111, it’s only good as an Astromech.
As is, we’ve got two Specialist Chasses, the RAW one and a custom, miniature one (which loses one Characteristic point).
I think adding a new chassis for your purpose is unnecessary, and not actually beneficial. The only benefit I see is reducing the difficulty by one to make it more accessible, but I think you sacrifice too much to make it workable, unless it’s just a more min-maxed version meant for a particular directive.

No, this isn’t good. Why would anyone not just do this? You get both, simultaneously, for the same difficulty. It’s significantly better than either competitor and it’s the same difficulty.
This isn’t different enough, it doesn’t fill a niche, it’s just an overpowered combination of existing stats.

If you want to make “a better astromech directive” I would suggest that you increase the difficulty to Daunting, vary the skills’ ranks, and cut down on talents.

Alternatively, I think you’d be better off making “Piloting Directives” of a similar level to existing stats, giving a different niche to build into.

It just means you need to invest that much time. A few hours here, a few hours there, doesn’t have to be consecutive.

I like having a Hard rival template. Yes, this is designed when you don’t need 2 in 4 characteristics that Specialist gives you, but you still want to give it skill ranks. Costs almost as much, takes about as long, but is a bit easier because it’s more limited (and has less WT).

OK. I’ll grant you that if my Astromech directives existed, everyone would go for that vs. Navigation or Repair. My initial inclination was as you suggested, upgrade to Daunting.

Which brings up a question-- Why are there are no costs for Directives, and no materials or research or requirements? I would think that simply combining the two would cost more; that could have been a deterrent. Can a PC program a droid that is smarter/more skilled than them? If so, I’d think they’d need to buy some “body of knowledge” from somewhere. Are we presuming that those are out there for free?? Even if you are teaching an AI to do things better, you need reference “good data”.

Agree there could be a piloting directive, solely focused on that. But then there is the Autopilot droid brain from Fly Casual p.62. That costs 6000 for 2 Agi 0 ranks, and add 3000 to get the 2 ranks. And there is an Astrogation brain that’s base cost is 7500. At that price one wonders, why not just buy an astromech droid? Of course, crafting it yourself should cost about half that price, so I think I’m in the ballpark.

Okay, but you need to choose two characteristics to reduce by one, and you can’t raise Agility.

The book actually talks about acquiring templates, mostly leaving the nature of that up to the group. But droid programming doesn’t cost anything other than time because it doesn’t take any materials as long as you’ve got the tools on hand.
Yes, a PC can program a droid who is smarter or more skill them himself. Do you think the people who program brick-laying robots are expert bricklayers themselves? Much of the time, you’ll be programming droids to fill a niche that is lacking. And in the galaxy far, far, away, open source droid programs are probably about as common as open source Discord bots here. Those would be the directives in your crafting options. The proprietary ones are the ones you can purchase that have stats superior to what you can generate with crafting results.

Actually, it starts with 2 ranks and can increase the number of ranks by 2. That’s so it can effectively assist a pilot with high Agility but no Piloting.
There are some parties who lack a sufficiently skilled Mechanic to craft an Astromech, or if they purchase one they would have it more focused on repairs and stuff. The Astrogation and Piloting brains can fill a necessary niche there.

Yes, did that already. Proposed stats are 122111. Why do you exclude Agility at 2?

OK. I can buy that.

Yeah, but you raised Agility.
Because it isn’t a characteristic had by the Specialist Chassis, and it’s only useful for either combat or piloting, neither of which makes much sense for any of the directives unless you have something in particular in mind like Navigation Directives.

Agreed, not needed for my Astromech directive, but PC may want it while hoping for a two Adv to add a new piloting skill. Might make more sense to put under Cunning so it has better Perception, or Willpower for Vigilance.

Leads to a question: in the movies, R2-D2 seems to have a built-in scanner, detecting nearby life forms. But find no such mention under core astromech rival stats. Was that a custom mod?

According to the CRBs when discussing droids, equipment can be considered “built in” and not contribute to their encumbrance capacity. I came up with a system of sorts for determining how much they could build in, I’ll see if I can uncover it.
Found it:

Here’s how I handle droids and encumbrance:
A droid can carry up to its encumbrance threshold in equipment as integrated equipment that doesn’t count against its encumbrance threshold (5+Brawn of 1=6). A Mechanics check can be made with a difficulty equal to total encumbrance-threshold to include equipment of encumbrance greater than its threshold (8 total encumbrance-6 encumbrance threshold=Average difficulty).
It can then carry equipment up to its encumbrance threshold in its graspers or whatever.

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Just stumbled upon this old post, from someone known there as “Darzil”, suggesting a different droid template between Specialist and Advanced Combat, a combat rival (rather than nemesis). I’m just posting it here as a suggestion.

Template Price (rarity) Skill check Time Class Sil Soak WT ST M/R Br Ag Int Cun Will Pr
Rival Combat 11,000® /5 Daunting Mechanics 120 hrs Rival 1 5 13 - 0/0 3* 2 1 1 1 1
  • may elect 2 Brawn, 3 Agility, but drop WT & Soak 1 each
    [edited per some suggestions below to drop other characteristics in favor of more WT/Soak]

Per there, “Slight upgrade on Specialist Droid (1 stat, 1 soak), but increased cost and time to build also. With equipment, 6-7 soak in practice.” I think he meant putting armor on the droid.

Whaddaya all think? I think it should cost more than +2k over the Specialist. 3 Brawn and +1 soak means it needs heavier armor, gears, motors. Then again, the Combat chassis has 3 brawn and only costs 3500. The original posted estimated droid cost should be 8-10k, so at least 8k, right?

There is also an implied new Directive lower than Elimination that yields Melee 1, Ranged (Light) 1, Stealth 2, Mechanics 2, Athletics 1, Coordination 1. “Maybe give it bodyguard 1 as well.” I don’t see why he wants Mechanics 2; should be more Melee or Ranged. That needs more work, I think.

The link seems broken.

I feel that the combat chassis, beeing a minion, has a severe drawback right there. To be able to operate (somewhat) efficiently you’d need at least two or even three minion combat droids (i.e. 7k-10k).

A combat rival would be useful on it’s own, so I feel that the price should probably be around 10k at least, probably even more, somewhere around 12-15k. At a price of 8k you’d get 4 rival level combat droids for the same price as an advanced combat droid.

I feel that the normal Combat directive would be sufficient for a rival combat chassis. Getting 1 in 3 combat skills, would make it ok, and the crafting charcter has some computer skills, the average check should generate at least a few some advantages or even triumph to improve at least the primary combat skill to two or three.

But an in-between combat directive could be a hard computers check to get 2 ranks in two combat skills, and 1 in two combat skills.

Could be for the droid to do self repair, or repair other combat droids in a combat situation. Like a basic combat first aid for droids. :)

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Fixed the link to point to the SWRPG archive. Works now. Thanks, @k7e9

Agree on pricing. Let’s say 1/3rd the cost of Advanced Combat, 11,000.

Your point that the Combat directive at Average will likely yield some Adv/Triumph that allows decent upgrades is good. You’ve also suggested a Hard Combat directive; I was thinking of Daunting with more.

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Certainly a daunting could also be an option to get some rank 3 combat skills right away. I don’t know how many advantages a decent programmer (like int 4, computers 3) could expect on average, and it would obvioulsy depend a lot on talents Eye for Detail, Natural programmer and signature abilities like unmatched calibration.

But I get the feeling that you could get a better combat droid when rolling an average or hard skill check for the directive, than daunting or formidable, the advantage costs for improving skills are quite low. Also, most combat droids will probably have a primary weapon and maybe a backup that uses another skill. So having lots of ranks in three or four combat skills might not be worthwhile, it could be enough to have one combat skill at rank 3, and maybe a backup at rank 2, which is not impossible with the Average dificulty combat directive. At the same time, daunting or formidable checks run the risk of getting multiple threats instead.
Just to be clear, this is just speculation, based on a feeling, I have not done any math to back this up. :slight_smile:

As to the math required, genesys_dice is a great probability calculator. Can tell you, “If I want 3 advantages (with a successful roll), what are chances with 2 boosts? What if I spend a destiny point to upgrade?”

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Giving it a combat rank from the directive saves you 1 Adv to upgrade it; cost of Adaptive Programming (2 Adv) vs. Defense Programming (3 Adv). But the more Adv you expect, the less likely that roll. Like, need a LOT of dice for 7 Adv.

Example: with 2y2g1b + 1success (crafted a Specialist tool), chances of plain success on Daunting roll is 50%. Chances of success and 7Adv on Average roll only 0.1%. So having a higher difficulty directive is worthwhile.

That doesn’t factor in the chance for a Triumph, which reduces the number of Advantage you need dramatically. Additionally, if you have Safety Features on your Specialist Tool, then you’re adding +1 Advantage for “free.” So if you roll a Triumph, you only need a net 3 Advantage. Add in a couple ranks of Eye for Detail, and your odds improve as you can adopt additional net success.

I think the Combat Directives is fine as-is. When you look at Rival-level combat droids, they generally don’t have all that many ranks or skills.
For the chassis, I’d drop Intellect. I’d suggest dropping Cunning as well, but I think you can get away with it. My main concern there is just that Cunning is a rare stat for combat droids, so when it shows up (Sniper Droideka, BX-series Commando Droid) it could be seen as a case of Superior Hardware.
I think that 321111 is probably the best bet. Increase Soak to 5 and WT to 13. Soak and WT is based off Brawn. When compared to the Specialist Chassis, WT-Brawn=10, so 10+Brawn=WT. Likewise, Soak-Brawn=2, so 2+Brawn=Soak.
With 3 Brawn, you come up with Soak 5 and WT 13. If you were to add in “a rank of Toughened” as is common for many combat-focused Rivals, then that would put it to 5 Soak, 15 WT. I’m not against that at all, I think it might be good.

Keep it at Daunting, but I’d increase it to 5 days (120 hours). That means that Basic to Intermediate is +3 to 5, and then Intermediate to Advanced is +5 to 10. I like that sequence, the numbers “rhyme” if you will, moving in a nice curve. Similar to Fibonacci numbers, though the sequence isn’t quite the same. But I digress. ^_^

As for the cost, best option is to compare to what’s on the market. (Editor’s note: and then I got sidetracked. Bear with me.) Closest comparison is the Security Droid, which is really just a basic Combat Chassis with +1 Cunning (so it has decent Perception). Its skills are Ranged (Light) 3 and Vigilance, and it’s got a Soak of 5 (2+Br+Armor Plating) and a WT of 14 (10+Br+Reinforced Chassisx10).
The only one that doesn’t line up is the Reinforced Chassisx10, and that could be remedied by my earlier explanation of how this would be chalked up to the R&D that goes into the official droids, something the PC doesn’t have the time, crew, or possibly even the inclination to do.
To replicate the droid, one could simply make a Rival-level Directive (“Sentry Directives”) that gives 2 ranks in a Combat skill, 2 ranks in Vigilance, and automatically makes the droid a Rival if it wasn’t already.
Oh, right, price. It’s priced at 9,600.
If you compare the other closest comparisons, the Specialist Chassis is 56% the cost of the Protocol Droid or 54% the cost of the R2 Astromech, the Advanced Combat Chassis is 49% the cost of the Assassin Droid, and the Combat Chassis is 50% the cost of the Antiquated Battle Droid.
However, the Security Droid isn’t much of a jump in price. Therefore, I’d say that it doesn’t give us a great comparison since it seems to just be a very well-done Combat Chassis, hence the ~50% mark-up from 6,500 to 9,600.

My conclusion: We don’t really need a new chassis, just good rolls. What we do need is a new directive, “Sentry Directives.” Give it 2 ranks in a combat skill and 2 ranks in Vigilance. If the chassis is not already a Rival or Nemesis, it becomes a Rival.
At a base with no Advantage or Triumph spent, you get a Rival-level droid with the following stats:
221111, 4 Soak, 4 WT, 0/0 Melee/Ranged Defense.
Skills: Ranged (Light)* 2 (YY), Vigilance 2 (YG).
Talents: [Maybe add one]
Abilities: Droid

On building, a Triumph and 3 Advantage could give it +1 Cunning and +1 Soak or +3 WT (the latter is better, in this case).
On programming, a Triumph and 2 Advantage or 4 Advantage can easily get it to 3 in both skills. For good measure, you could even add Perception to its skills if you wanted to.
*Doesn’t have to be Ranged (Light), but that’s what the Security Droid had.

But I think this represents what we see well, without really needing a new chassis or trying to wrangle a new price.

Looking through CotR and RotS, the only Rival-level droids are exotics like the LM-432 Crab Droid, Droideka, DSD-1 Dwarf Spider Droid, Octuptarra, etc. The only exceptions to this are the C-8 Saboteur and the Supervisor Droid. The latter is basically a Combat Chassis with a species Directive that would make it a Rival, the former is utterly different from anything we could currently craft, and should be treated as an outlier.

Thanks for the research and discussion. This is great stuff. I was unaware of Eye for Detail and that is amazing for crafting! My PCs are not that experienced so I’m not familiar with all the tricks to make rolls better. I think it’s still nice to have an intermediate combat profile that is achievable for lower XP PCs.

I like the idea of a Combat directive that upgrades it to Rival already, but problem with that is the 0 cost of directives. Then one can start with a cheap Combat Template and get a rival for 3250! Unless you add a cost for this one directive. That isn’t consistent with the rest.Were you thinking Daunting difficulty?

I like your earlier suggestions to the template of dropping Intellect & Cunning in favor of higher WT & Soak, increasing to 5 days, and price at 9,600.

If you allow my template, then you can roughly align the 3 combat templates to real droids:

  1. Combat - B1 battle droid
  2. Combat rival - B2 super battle droid
  3. Advanced combat [nemesis] - droideka

Except that the B2 is a Minion and the Droideka is a Rival, and neither have raised stats beyond Brawn and Agility. The stats for the B2 are not RAW and are overstatted.
The official stats are in Rise of the Separatists and Collapse of the Republic.

If you make it achievable for lower XP PCs, it’ll likely be broken for high-XP PCs. It’s a balancing act to find what makes sense.

I didn’t suggest putting the price at 9,600. I said that the closest comparison, the Security Droid, was at 9,600. I then went through and showed how that most lines up with the basic Combat Chassis and doesn’t need a Rival-level chassis.

A Rival isn’t a big step up from a Minion in actual combat ability when you’re talking about droid crafting. You see, the main difference between Minions and Rivals when it comes to statted NPCs is in their Wound Threshold, typically 4 or 5 for a minion vs. typically 13 or more for a Rival. If your Rival is moderately more skilled than a Minion, but drops in one shot, it’s not going to do you much good. That’s the balancing matter.
No, just Hard difficulty. It’s not two steps above the basic Combat Directives.

You are limited in how big and bad you can build a Rival-level droid with a basic Combat Chassis because of how low it starts off. You’re not going to be building a Droideka for 3.5k.
Additionally, this is before any gear. Gear will add to the cost significantly.