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Robot as PC - Maintenance costs?

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  • Robot as PC - Maintenance costs?

    In core SWADE, there is no mention of ongoing maintenance costs of a robot/construct/android. In the Sci-Fi companion, it says there is a 1% monthly cost.

    I have a PC idea, an ancient warbot that has been resurrected with new non-combat sentient AI by an as yet unknown person. Though the old code for combat skills still exists, as well as some inert weaponry, most of it is encrypted//disabled/otherwise inaccessible to the new AI. (I figure this opens opportunities for skill/edge upgrades as the PC advances).

    I'm concerned the cost of maintenance, how it might prevent other purchases/upgrades. I'm guessing there's supposed to be some validation for such a tax on constructs?

  • #2
    It really isn't an issue unless you want it to be.

    The line is there to prevent players from saying "hey, since I don't need to eat or require shelter or any sort of creature comforts, I don't need to spend any money on lifestyle costs".

    If the campaign handwaves lifestyle costs, then the GM should waive the maintenance cost requirement.

    If the campaign requires other PCs to pay some sort of lifestyle cost, then the maintenance cost gives a benchmark for robotic PCs

    Of course, the real issue is that players typically act as if their characters are boring monks that have taken a vow of poverty. Unless forced to do so by the game system, they will never spent money on "frivolous" items, such as good food, a warm bed, clean cloths, etc.... let alone social activities such as dating or clubbing. All of their money goes into making them more powerful.

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    • ValhallaGH
      ValhallaGH commented
      Editing a comment
      ... They'd do pretty well in these times of Social Distancing. Anyone that comes within 90 feet is and enemy to be head shot. Otherwise, stay in your bunker full of $0.30 instant ramen.

    • Daosus
      Daosus commented
      Editing a comment
      Ramen and generic brand multivitamins.

  • #3
    Originally posted by AwesomeOpossum74 View Post
    In core SWADE, there is no mention of ongoing maintenance costs of a robot/construct/android. In the Sci-Fi companion, it says there is a 1% monthly cost.

    ...

    I'm concerned the cost of maintenance, how it might prevent other purchases/upgrades. I'm guessing there's supposed to be some validation for such a tax on constructs?
    Correct, there is no maintenance cost for Android/Construct player-characters in SWADE. As mikeZekim points out, this is essentially reduced to a "cost of living" expense in the new edition. If a GM requires one, it should be required from all players. Otherwise, such things are abstracted to the background and assumed to be subsumed by whatever income the characters do receive. (I.E., if a character earns 100 bucks, assume the actually reward was higher and some it went toward daily living expenses.)

    As for the Science Fiction Companion, there's an interesting bit of nuance surrounding maintenance costs. The specific line is:
    "...the owner must pay 1% of the base cost..."
    Robots are property, and their actions are typically the responsibility of the owner. Just because a robot is a PC (and not merely a piece of gear), that doesn't change the attitudes and actions of people in the setting. Ostensibly, the "party" owns the Construct character, so the party, collectively, pays the maintenance cost. It's not incumbent upon the robot to pay for it's own maintenance.

    Indeed, it's debatable whether or not the robot character would technically be allowed to control any finances at all. Pets, by law, are considered property. When was the last time your dog decided what brand of food you fed it, or what toy to buy? Maybe not an apt comparison, but enough for the point to be made.

    As for any concern over the "tax" of maintenance, two things:
    a) It's not required in SWADE, and GM's should treat it just the same as a fleshy character's cost-of-living expense.
    b) 1% per month is a fairly small. A base-model Wild Card robot from the SFC, without any mods, would pay 500 a month. Even decked-out with the most expensive mods, you're looking at barely more than 1000 per month. Split evenly amongst the party makes the cost negligible. It shouldn't interfere with buying other weapons or gear.
    Last edited by Deskepticon; 05-19-2020, 01:08 PM.

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    • #4
      I'd only make it an issue when it's interesting. In the Starfly (Wars/Trek crossover) game I run I don't generally bother about meals, recharging the android character etc, it's just assumed to happen in the background. However, when they were stranded on a primitive planet and had to use the Survival skill to collect food the issue of keeping the android charged became one of the challenges.

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