Reprogramming a droid's starting feats

I believed I read something here in the past, but I can't find it anymore.

Would you allow a (custom or chassi) droid build to reprogram the starting feat slots that it get's from it's starting class?

Let's say a droid soldier (protocol chassi?) wants to reprogram all his armor proficiencies to something more useful e.g. Skill Focus (soldier bonus feat) or a Logic Upgrade (no soldier bonus feat). Normally I would say no, but it seems several droids from the books are doing exactly that as the a-series medical droid from GW or the MK-series from the SGD.
I would say no as well and don't really care for how stock droids in the books are written up.  I'm not too keen on letting droids reprogram starting skills either.

Now if a droid starts off in non-heroic I'm not so hardlined but that is because a NH droid starts with access to all skills and its available starting feats should already cover almost everything I'd let them "reprogram" a starting feat to.  I really take issue when you want to build a droid and start it in a heroic class but then basically reprogram out everything (aside from hp and defense bonuses) about the class.  Reprogramming out armor feats (and replacing them period) is a very sore topic because we all know that armor requires additional investments to keep it useful at higher heroic levels; who doesn't want to trade out those "things they must have but never wanted" to get things they would use?
I allow droids to reprogram starting Feats and Skills, but I allow other characters to retrain a lot of their abilities so it doesn't affect the game much.  If a droid ask to reprogram his Soldier Armor Proficiency Feats, I'd be all for it.  And, by the rules, he can do that.
"And the TL;DR award goes to Raul Torin!" - CorranHornIsAwesome Official SAGA Edition Errata Dawn of Defiance Other Articles Thanks to GreySword for compiling these
Thanks for the oppinions!
Retraining even the free starting feats? Would that not give an extra edge to the soldier that won't wear any armor?

Just a side question... Droid scouts "shake it off" or not?
Fogive me if this gets confusing; I am really tired, but I wanted to respond before I went to sleep.

Allowing Soldiers to retrain those armor Feats does not give them an edge at all.  If I build a Soldier who wears Heavy Armor, then I must have both AP (Light) and AP (Medium), which I gain as starting Feats from my class.  Think of those starting Feats as Feat Slots (here defined as a slot in which you have any Feat).  If I'm making this Soldier with Armor, then I gain the full benefits of those two Feats as I need them for my build.  In effect, I have two Feats slots and I am gaining the value or utility of two Feats.  Now let's say I am making a Soldier without armor.  Because I get those Feats for as a starting package, they do consume two Feat slots, but I will not use them at all.  Thus I will not be gaining the value or utility of those two Feats.  When you look at it, it becomes clear: the first build is actually gaining the worth of two Feats over the second build because he uses those Feats while the other doesn't.  If we allow the second build to swap out those two Feats for other Feats that the player wants, then he will have two Feat slots and be gaining the value of two Feats.  If the armored Soldier is balanced, then the second one must be as well.  If allowing the second build to retrain is imbalanced, then the first build is imbalanced to begin with.

As for Shake it Off, the same logic applies.  If I get the Feat, then I've gained a Feat.  If I don't, then  didn't get a Feat that another character did get.  So yes, I allow substitutions there (not retraining though, as that would require the character to first have the Feat, which isn't possible in thise case).   
"And the TL;DR award goes to Raul Torin!" - CorranHornIsAwesome Official SAGA Edition Errata Dawn of Defiance Other Articles Thanks to GreySword for compiling these
Thanks for the oppinions!
Retraining even the free starting feats? Would that not give an extra edge to the soldier that won't wear any armor?

Just a side question... Droid scouts "shake it off" or not?

Yes, that would give him an extra edge! I don't think that leting droids or anybody elese retrain the class staring feats is a good idea. The staring feats gives you the basic things you should know from that class, and they are diverse for most classes. If you let a level 1 soldier retrain most of his staring feats to focus on just one thing, he could be too strong for his level. He could be doing damage a level 3 (or even level 5) character could be hard pressed to match! The risk is that balance goes out the window...

On the side question: No, droids can't gain the feat "Shake it of" as they don't have a Con score.

If I get the Feat, then I've gained a Feat.  If I don't, then  didn't get a Feat that another character did get.  So yes, I allow substitutions there (not retraining though, as that would require the character to first have the Feat, which isn't possible in thise case).   

A common house rule is to allow swapping of a starting feat for training in a class skill. But as that would then be a starting feat, you could not retrain it. Maybe you could retrain it to a different skill, but at least not another feat.

20801.jpg

The staring feats gives you the basic things you should know from that class...

 Class =/= concept.  You say that like class choice is a school or training program.  As though there would be Noble Academy, Scout School, or Scoundrel Colleges.  Your statement is founded on the idea that the class defines the character concept, but the opposite is rather more accurate.  The character concept should direct the player to the right class.  If I were making a bouncer who's a great fistfighter, but who's never touched a blaster, then I might choose Soldier, but why should I have to have Weapon Proficiency in two categories I'll not use and that will not fit my concept.  

If you let a level 1 soldier retrain most of his staring feats to focus on just one thing, he could be too strong for his level. He could be doing damage a level 3 (or even level 5) character could be hard pressed to match!

Or he could have Defense scores comparable to characters three levels high.  Or perhaps he'll have more skills than other Soldiers, or his attack will be too high, or he'll have more HP.  Doesn't matter in the slightest because everything he uses to increase his focus in one area will cost him in others.  Sure, he might do more damage, but he won't be able to wear armor.  Yeah, his armor might make him almost untouchable, but he won't be able to use any weapons. 

The Soldier class forms the best argument for why you are wrong.  If I use Rifles and Medium Armor, then the class is basicaly perfect.  If I choose to use Heavy Weapons and Advanced Melee Weapons, and no armor, then I end up with two completely wasted Feats.  At that point, I am actually behind two Feats when compared with the first character.  That's the important part.

Also, keep in mind that Proficiency Feats are about the most powerful Feats in the game.  There aren't more than a couple Feats which are better, so trading them for any other Feat is going to be a step down.
"And the TL;DR award goes to Raul Torin!" - CorranHornIsAwesome Official SAGA Edition Errata Dawn of Defiance Other Articles Thanks to GreySword for compiling these
I don't think the problem, per se, is the swapping of feats so much as a droid could do it but another type of character wouldn't be able to swap.

I agree with Raul that a soldier who wants to use armour has an advantage over someone who doesn't at the starting level (even though they are using the same number of slots) because the one is fully utilizing his feats while the other isn't.  However, the person not utilizing the armor slots can not "empty them" for futher use so he is stuck with 2 unusable slots.  A droid could get around this by simply reprograming any slot that he doesn't intend to use with something more to his taste.  And if the droid decides later that he would like to use armor then he can simply "swap back" to the original feats with little to no penalty.

Now if IIRC Raul does allow his players to swap starting slots so there is no advantage/disadvantage in his games.  In most of the games that I'm aware of this is not the case.  In this situation I believe that allowing a droid to swap out starting feats gives them an undue advantage.

I would also point out that per RAW a droid can not swap out his factory installed starting feats.  I would play the class starting feats as if they were the factory installed feats and therefore "hard wired" into the droid.
On the side question: No, droids can't gain the feat "Shake it of" as they don't have a Con score.


That's what I thought, but have a look at the SGD118/119 MK-Series.

I would also point out that per RAW a droid can not swap out his factory installed starting feats.  I would play the class starting feats as if they were the factory installed feats and therefore "hard wired" into the droid.


You can read that in different ways. This rule is intended for the Standard Model Droid build. A Custom Model doesn't need to be build in a factory and has no factory installed presetting. Also it won't work that well on the Chassi system. If I have a Protocoll Chassi soldier droid, why in the Force' name would anyone at Cybot Galactica have Armor Proficiency preinstalled.
No, from what I see RAW it is allowed as long as you are not playing a Stanard Model Droid (no one does) and then it's not even the Class starting feats but those written in the droid's stat block.

However I wouldn't see the armor proficiency of a soldier droid as a real software program. It's more like a natural affinity for a droid that likes fighting. Something you can't remove without changing the complete personality and functionality. You might argue what is really natural in an artificial being, but Lucas made the Droids very human-like, more than just the sum of their routines.

I believe retraining all starting feats freely might be critical. For one the soldier get's more than any class and Armor Proficiency is a rather weak feat compared to others. I don't know any Noble Build that goes Armor. It's too expensive, if you won't get the feats for free. Also you it makes the bonus starting feat for multiclassing a bit obsolete. You could just aswell give out any bonus feat.

That said I generally like the idea of retraining for groups that play very long from 1st to late levels, because it gives the player more possibilities for character concepts, which they might not have thought of when they created the character. Perhaps even retraining one starting feat with a good reason described in the backround story could be alright. I need to think about that.
Raul, do you use any certain rules for retraining, as in "one feat per level up" or can your players simply change their whole concept after every game?
That's what I thought, but have a look at the SGD118/119 MK-Series.


It's a mistake. There's lots of them in WotC Saga stat blocks
You can read that in different ways. This rule is intended for the Standard Model Droid build. A Custom Model doesn't need to be build in a factory and has no factory installed presetting. Also it won't work that well on the Chassi system. If I have a Protocoll Chassi soldier droid, why in the Force' name would anyone at Cybot Galactica have Armor Proficiency preinstalled.
No, from what I see RAW it is allowed as long as you are not playing a Stanard Model Droid (no one does) and then it's not even the Class starting feats but those written in the droid's stat block.


You're equating the term "basic" with "standard," and you shouldn't. A basic model droid is one that is first level in a given class without any trained skills or feats or talents (but with preset class starting feats. These can't be wiped or changed). 
However I wouldn't see the armor proficiency of a soldier droid as a real software program. It's more like a natural affinity for a droid that likes fighting. Something you can't remove without changing the complete personality and functionality. You might argue what is really natural in an artificial being, but Lucas made the Droids very human-like, more than just the sum of their routines.


yup, there ya go. There are some things hard-wired into a droid. Says so on SECR 192 if you're looking. Again, basic/=standard.
I never listen to the Order 66 Podcast. Winner of You Build the Character #27 - Cad Bane
The staring feats gives you the basic things you should know from that class...

 Class =/= concept.  You say that like class choice is a school or training program.  As though there would be Noble Academy, Scout School, or Scoundrel Colleges.  Your statement is founded on the idea that the class defines the character concept, but the opposite is rather more accurate.  The character concept should direct the player to the right class.  If I were making a bouncer who's a great fistfighter, but who's never touched a blaster, then I might choose Soldier, but why should I have to have Weapon Proficiency in two categories I'll not use and that will not fit my concept.

You are partly right, in that class and concept need not be the same thing. You could make a fine jedi, without a singel level in the class. You could also make a fine jedi staring of with the first 7 levels in the Jedi class. This is as you say controlled by the concept. So if you concept is a fist fighter without training in blasters, you are out of luck as all classes in SAGA start with some training in blasters, except Jedi. Just choose a primitive species and the problem is fixed.

If you let a level 1 soldier retrain most of his staring feats to focus on just one thing, he could be too strong for his level. He could be doing damage a level 3 (or even level 5) character could be hard pressed to match!

Or he could have Defense scores comparable to characters three levels high.  Or perhaps he'll have more skills than other Soldiers, or his attack will be too high, or he'll have more HP.  Doesn't matter in the slightest because everything he uses to increase his focus in one area will cost him in others.  Sure, he might do more damage, but he won't be able to wear armor.  Yeah, his armor might make him almost untouchable, but he won't be able to use any weapons. 

The Soldier class forms the best argument for why you are wrong.  If I use Rifles and Medium Armor, then the class is basicaly perfect.  If I choose to use Heavy Weapons and Advanced Melee Weapons, and no armor, then I end up with two completely wasted Feats.  At that point, I am actually behind two Feats when compared with the first character.  That's the important part.

Also, keep in mind that Proficiency Feats are about the most powerful Feats in the game.  There aren't more than a couple Feats which are better, so trading them for any other Feat is going to be a step down.

If I go by your house rules I would never start a jedi in the Jedi class. I would go soldier every time. Then I could switch out 2 of those staring feats for Force Sensitive, and Lights Saber Proficiency, and still have two more feats and one skill more then if I start out in the Jedi class. I will most likely spend those on Force Training and maybe Skill Focus: Use the Force! I could always multiclass into Jedi on my second level, but as I would have all Jedi staring feats already I could replace the feat I gain at the first Jedi level with another Force Training or maybe Power Attack.

As I see it the Soldier class is the best argument that I'm right. It just has to many feats to swap out! Soldiers are balanced as is because they can't use all of those staring feats at once. At most they will be using two armor feats and one weapon feat at the same time (if they for example are wearing medium armor and using a blaster). Messing with this will upset the balance between the classes, and as my jedi example above shows it will even destroy the balance in the force!

20801.jpg

<- agrees="" with="" merc="" br="">
And yes, I do agree that Class =/= concept, but classes do generally pander to a numbers of specific character archetypes.  This is why, for example, a Droid can't start in the Jedi class by RAW. You can't argue that it's because of the wasted Force Sensitivity feat; a Droid scout wastes Shake It Off as a starting feat.

The classes as they stand are balanced in such a way that removing/swapping out feats is just bad bombin'. If you have a character that has "wasted" feats, then that's your choice to build it like that. For a non-armored soldier, the cost of a full BAB is your two unused AP talents. As another example, Gamorreans are primitive so Soldiers and Scouts take a big feat hit at first level. But they're balanced to make u for it in the long (and even short) run.
I never listen to the Order 66 Podcast. Winner of You Build the Character #27 - Cad Bane
Scavenger's Guide to Droids is littered with examples of the reprogramming of starting feats. Right in the text of the book.

The way I run my games is that the starting feats, talents and skills are hard-wired only in the sense that if the droid gets a total memory wipe, they are the default install but they can still subsequently be re-programmed.
Please Note: I changed my username from "Sodan" to "DroidDreamer"
That leads to the question of how does the droid "reset to the defaults" when the defaults have been purged from the system? 
That leads to the question of how does the droid "reset to the defaults" when the defaults have been purged from the system? 



You can rationalize it however you want. I like to think of it as the difference between what's stored in firmware vs what's in active memory/use. These sort of details are best abstracted. 

But Scavenger's Guide to Droids shows lots of examples of this so if you don't want to use in your campaign that's cool but there're plenty of examples to rely on if you want to allow it.  
Please Note: I changed my username from "Sodan" to "DroidDreamer"
A basic model droid is one that is first level in a given class without any trained skills or feats or talents (but with preset class starting feats.

Wouild you kindly eleborate this a bit more? If you know any part in the book that support this claim I would be more than happy. From what I can read Basic Model, Stock Model and Standard Model are equivalent terms use for a kind of droid. These are (mass-)produced commercially (in factories) where as the custom models, are generally build out of (older) parts.
The CR support this by "These factory-preset are embedded in the droid's core programming and cannot be altered." excluding the custom model droid that doesn't have any factory-preset because it wasn't (necessarily) build in a factory.

I allow my custom (and even chassi) droid player to reprogramm the feat they pick on first level and all skills (as if they were all originally unassigned), but not the bonus feats of the starting class. A wiped custom model has tough luck, but most of them will have a hidden core anyway.
As I understand this is the same as what awaypturwpn does in his games, but from the rules reprogramming starting feats seem to be possible. It can't be a mistake in so many stock models descriptions over various books. Well, I would argue with a player that a factory has other possibilities to utilise the memory space of these starting class feats for something more useful, than the common techie building a custom model from scrap parts.

Additionally I rule that chassi droids can be independand from level 1. They can be a flawed sample out of a mass production, oringinal having a very different programming from what others models from that series have, thus allowing protocoll soldiers or power lifting nobles. Of course they have to retain the degree of the chassi.

I also believe the Shake it Off in the MK-Series was an error. I just wanted to know if there has been any public errata on this or not. I couldn't find anything about it, so there is still the chance that someone is using this as precedent.
Perhaps I mispoke when I said "first level." What I meant was that a "basic" model droid is whatever that droid started out as. Where the word "basic" is used in the Droid chapter (when not referring to a basic processor or the language Basic), it is used to describe a droid at the state of being built/after receiving a memory wipe.

Never is the term used to refer to a Standard model droid. 

And to each his own; I really don't like using the official stat blocks for rules-extrapolating, but that's just me. Run your games how you want to, but I'm not going to give my droid players even more opportunities to create broken monstrosities
I never listen to the Order 66 Podcast. Winner of You Build the Character #27 - Cad Bane
Ah. Missed this on my read-through last week. See SECR 192, Reprogramming rules: "Unassigned skills as well as feats and talents gained through level advancement can be altered through reprogramming." Starting feats aren't gained through level advancement; they're gained by being that class. Like any character building option, it would seem that reprogrammed droids should also be able to have their levels deconstructed and account for every talent and feat acquired as if they'd gained it by leveling.
Reprogamming therefore is not a way to bypass normal character creation and leveling rules, but simply a defined mechanic for retraining. 
I never listen to the Order 66 Podcast. Winner of You Build the Character #27 - Cad Bane
While I'm against reprogramming class starting feats I'll just warn you that some may argue that "gained through level advancement" would also include anything you gained with you "advanced" into first level.

I may use some houserules that allow for alternative starting feats at first level but those apply to everyone and not just droids.  Even those will not allow someone to "reprogram" a Soldier's two Armor Proficiency feats into Improved Defenses and Martial Arts I; that may look like a 1:1 trade but for many characters it is big boost to Defense scores for a character that may not use armor and certainly doesn't need to make more investments to use armor at higher levels.  
While I'm against reprogramming class starting feats I'll just warn you that some may argue that "gained through level advancement" would also include anything you gained with you "advanced" into first level. 


I suppose my response to that would be, "Then why was the distinction made?" Cuz you can't really gain feats any other way than by advancing levels or starting in a certain class.
I never listen to the Order 66 Podcast. Winner of You Build the Character #27 - Cad Bane