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Thread: Android character help

  1. #1

    Question Android character help

    Hi, guys. Hoping you could help me out with something. We are creating characters for the Star Trek coda system. I'm not too familiar with Star Trek, but I wanted to create an android. I had some questions about it that I hope you could clear up.

    1.) In the database ability it says you may spend 3 picks to get the Engineering certification and/or Journeyman abilities. I assume this is a typo and it is 3 picks each, which means you cannot get both in char gen (having only 5 picks). Can anyone verify?

    2.) On species skills. I can't find much on species skills, but in the main book there is a section saying to pick the specialty where you grew up. I figure that my character isn't really interested in culture, law, or politics of a species. I might take history or specific world, but have no idea what to specialize in. I thought it might be cool to take at least a point in a bunch of different languages, but have no idea what to take other than the species languages in the main book. Suggestions?

    3.) If it is TN 5 for most knowledge skills and I can use them untrained, with a +4 int mod and a +2 to academic tests, is there much point in getting knowledges at more than 1? In getting them at all?

    Some background: My character is extremely awkward with prs 0, and doesn't see the point of social aspects. I am thinking she was created to help enterprise. I'm giving her the emergency medical programming background. I'd like to be able to use all the int skills you need trained with this character so I am going to be and engineer and take Journeyman at creation.
    Last edited by flaeryn; 06-27-2016 at 09:07 PM. Reason: grammar typo

  2. #2
    Can something with PRS 0 communicate at all?
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  3. #3
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    You cannot have a character with a Presence of 0. Only PsiI can be had at 0. That said, one can have a Presence of 1 with both Empathy and Will power at -2, meaning you're at a severe disadvantage when doing Empathy or Willpower-based tasks, but one always has at least 1 on all the basic stats (excepting Psi, of course). Even animals have Presence. The only way for an Android to have a Presence of 0 would be for it to be non-sentient. Even classic Cylons have a Presence - they don't have individual personalities, but that's a whole different ball of wax.


    You'll have to go back and read the rules more closely.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Owen E Oulton View Post
    You cannot have a character with a Presence of 0. Only PsiI can be had at 0. That said, one can have a Presence of 1 with both Empathy and Will power at -2, meaning you're at a severe disadvantage when doing Empathy or Willpower-based tasks, but one always has at least 1 on all the basic stats (excepting Psi, of course). Even animals have Presence. The only way for an Android to have a Presence of 0 would be for it to be non-sentient. Even classic Cylons have a Presence - they don't have individual personalities, but that's a whole different ball of wax.


    You'll have to go back and read the rules more closely.
    ? Isn't this in the CODA section?
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  5. #5
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    Ooops! Yes, I guess it is. That damned "Activity Stream" opening page makes it easy to get mixed up. My comments of course would only apply if you were playing an ICON campaign and do not apply in this case. In systems that allow a 0 stat, that merely means that the character isn't good in a category, not that they are incapable of it. Move along, move along, nothing to see here...

  6. #6
    Well, in this case, this is what the NG says (on pg. 208) about a Presence of 0:

    Presence is a social attribute, meaning that most creatures fall well below humanoid norms. For this reason, creatures rarely need to make any tests relating to Presence. Gregarious creatures such as pack and herd animals may demonstrate Presence as high as level 2 or 3, but rarely exceed that plateau. In most instances, you can assign a value of 1 to any animate creature, and assign no Presence to most creatures that exhibit the filter feeding habit.

    So an android with a Presence of 0 is literally as expressive as a clam.
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  7. #7
    Right, so the PRS 0 is part of the character concept and I think it will be fun to play. Anyone able to answer my actual questions?

  8. #8
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    Android charaters

    This is the best thing I've ever found for designing Android, and Holographic characters.

    Artilects (Androids and Artificial Intelligences) by Scott Rhymer & Daniel Potter

    I've used it for one of my favorite characters - Lt. Commander Omega, a Soong-type Android. It works out very well.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by flaeryn View Post
    Right, so the PRS 0 is part of the character concept and I think it will be fun to play. Anyone able to answer my actual questions?
    A mute robot stumbling around sounds like it might not be fun for the rest of the group...
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    He doesn't need to be mute. Sure, he's no Data, Questor, Kryten or even Marvin, but he could probably speak in an obvious synthesised voice, more or less like Professor Hawking's voder. And he'll have one hell of a poker face. Not that he'd play Poker, but he'd probably know all the rules and probabilities - he could be a walking rulebook.

  11. #11
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    Been quite a while since I looked at CODA char-gen. But some general thoughts, as I'm not near my books at the moment.
    Quote Originally Posted by flaeryn View Post
    1.) In the database ability it says you may spend 3 picks to get the Engineering certification and/or Journeyman abilities. I assume this is a typo and it is 3 picks each, which means you cannot get both in char gen (having only 5 picks). Can anyone verify?
    Is "Engineering certification" giving any modifications, or just that the character have the paperwork stating he or she is qualified? That sentence could be read as if it is 3 picks toward the skills, but just because someone has the skill to do it don't necessary means they have a diploma or certificate.

    Char-gen in Star Trek (regardless if we are talking CODA, ICON, FASA, or otherwise) also rarely means they doesn't have more steps to get picks from, unless it is focused around young characters.

    2.) On species skills. I can't find much on species skills, but in the main book there is a section saying to pick the specialty where you grew up. I figure that my character isn't really interested in culture, law, or politics of a species. I might take history or specific world, but have no idea what to specialize in. I thought it might be cool to take at least a point in a bunch of different languages, but have no idea what to take other than the species languages in the main book. Suggestions?
    As it is an android character without much of (intentional) personality, I guess "species skills" isn't really a good fit and it would make more sense to focus those points on things making sense to know to be able to carry out the tasks the android was designed to do. Perhaps having a good knowledge of where to get spare parts and tools, and understanding non-UFP designs within the androids area of expertize?

    3.) If it is TN 5 for most knowledge skills and I can use them untrained, with a +4 int mod and a +2 to academic tests, is there much point in getting knowledges at more than 1? In getting them at all?
    Not all checks will be against TN 5. The routine ones will be, but suddenly there is the "understand and do surgery on an alien physiology, without the proper tools or diagnosis equipment, within a very limited times and while everything is shaking;" then we are not talking about a TN 5 anymore

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Owen E Oulton View Post
    He doesn't need to be mute. Sure, he's no Data, Questor, Kryten or even Marvin, but he could probably speak in an obvious synthesised voice, more or less like Professor Hawking's voder. And he'll have one hell of a poker face. Not that he'd play Poker, but he'd probably know all the rules and probabilities - he could be a walking rulebook.
    Given the hierarchy of low Presence given in the rules, Presence 0 definitely precludes speech (which, depending on how you interpret NG208, might at PRS 3) and, given that 'animate animals' have a PRS of 1 or greater, might even preclude having a humanoid body which others can read intent or potential action from.

    How did the character get below the minimum 1 rating anyway?

    EDIT: NG208 also has a suggestion that low-PRS creatures with social awareness might have a high Savvy reaction; the opposite might make more sense in the android's case, wherein they have a PRS of 1-3 and a negative Savvy modifier.
    Last edited by The Tatterdemalion King; 06-29-2016 at 05:01 PM.
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  13. #13
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    It is quite possible to read body languages of animals, even if they don't have a humanoid body. We know how to read the body language of a dog, and they can read ours, which I think should give a higher Presence rating than say an Iguana, as even as they have a body language a lot is missed in translation (and quite possible not as varied).

    So an android that don't have a body language or alternate any speech pattern (neither tempo nor tone), and don't understand human body language or speech patterns, would very well have an extremely low Presence. Not sure what requirements I would have, if I was running a CODA game, to allow a Presence of 0, but being mute wouldn't be it.

  14. #14
    In this case, a dog still has a humanoid body. Animals with a non-humanoid body would be something like a bivalve. (Dogs are also pack animals, so they can qualify for a 1+ PRS under the NG208 rules.) We know how to read the body language of a dog; we don't know how to read the body language of a tree.

    For comparison, the example Horta statblock has a PRS of 4. This is a creature with an entire episode revolving around how hard it is for humans to communicate with it.

    The creatures with PRS 0 in Creatures tend to be arachnids, slugs, or solitary predators, although I think it is inconsistently applied across authors' sections, with eels having PRS 1 or 2 for a chunk and then things like vultures and sabre bears having PRS 0 later.

    I'm mostly wondering what in the android-ness qualifies it to go below the minimum 1 for PCs in the PG.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Tatterdemalion King View Post
    In this case, a dog still has a humanoid body. Animals with a non-humanoid body would be something like a bivalve. (Dogs are also pack animals, so they can qualify for a 1+ PRS under the NG208 rules.) We know how to read the body language of a dog; we don't know how to read the body language of a tree.

    For comparison, the example Horta statblock has a PRS of 4. This is a creature with an entire episode revolving around how hard it is for humans to communicate with it.

    The creatures with PRS 0 in Creatures tend to be arachnids, slugs, or solitary predators, although I think it is inconsistently applied across authors' sections, with eels having PRS 1 or 2 for a chunk and then things like vultures and sabre bears having PRS 0 later.

    I'm mostly wondering what in the android-ness qualifies it to go below the minimum 1 for PCs in the PG.
    I agree that a dog has quite a few humanoid traits, as we are not too many branches away on the evolution tree. But those was part of my argument, so we are somewhat in agreement. At least when it comes to dogs

    When it comes to the Horta, I would say that it depends on if they have a wide range of expressive emotions. The "they all look the same" among humans is not just racism, but that different ethnic groups have their variations in different parts of the face, so it takes time to learn what to look for. So if someone would hang out with a group of Horta for a few month, it is very possible that person would easily not only tell the differences between them, but also their mood. So it is a "PRS 0 until you figure out they are alive at all" situation.

    Then, it can be a matter of no coordination between the writers. Wouldn't be the first or the last RPG suffering from that issue.

    Having no way to convey emotions (and R2-D2 and BB-8 have both shown you can do it with a little motion, and beeps and whistles), it would drop significantly. No body language and a flat tone of voice would do it.

    When it comes to an android, we have another ting to consider; the uncanny valley. By being close, but failing to imitate humans, it gives an unnerving sensation. That would also open up a possible story arch where the android finds things to upgrade bit by bit and get through the valley. Sort of having a PRS 2 with a constant drawback of -2 on PRS.

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