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Old 10-07-2017, 03:40 PM   #1
cvannrederode
 
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Default Question on SW Protocol Droids and Languages

In our current GURPS SW campaign, we have purchased a protocol droid specifically for translation.

C-3PO always claimed to be "fluent in six million forms of communication."

I'm trying to think of a way to model this without spending 24,000,020 points (Voice + Language talent + 6 million languages at 4 points each). But I'm not coming up with anything...

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Old 10-07-2017, 03:45 PM   #2
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Default Re: Question on SW Protocol Droids and Languages

I believe there is a 40 point "omnilingual" advantage
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Old 10-07-2017, 04:13 PM   #3
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Default Re: Question on SW Protocol Droids and Languages

Omnilingual (actually, its big brother Xeno-Omnilingual) is your rescue here. It was introduced in GURPS Supers, but fleshed out a bit more in the article Speaking In Tongues from Pyramid #3/54: Social Engineering.

Don't forget to include Mimicry to ensure your protocol droid can speak Shyriiwook, Binary, and other such tongues alongside normal human ones.
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Old 10-07-2017, 04:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Question on SW Protocol Droids and Languages

1. Modular Abilities, Computer Brain, 2 slots, 6 points each (to cover full fluency in two languages at a time, over and above the base language). Each slot has a base cost of 6 points and 24 more points for the point value of what it holds; so the total base cost is 60 points. Then you take Trait-Limited, Languages only -50%, to get the cost down to 30 points.

2. Omnilingual, only for human languages from the "known world," 40 points.

Both of these will look very much alike, but the underlying rationale is different.
With Omnilingual, you don't actually know an insanely huge number of languages; you might know a dozen, or a score, or fifty. But you JUST HAPPEN to be fluent in whatever language comes up in the script, the way Sidney Bristow was on Alias. On the other hand, with Modular Abilities, you really do have access to millions of languagesóbut not all at once. They're backed up, and you can bring them online as you need them, fairly quickly, but not quite instantly. (You probably want a high score in Linguistic to identify which language you need!) So at any one time you "know" three languages, but you will "forget" two of them when you need two different languages.

I would actually favor the latter for Threepio, both because it's something that might actually be simplified down to "fluent in over six million forms of communication" (for the naive humans who don't know how droid minds work) and because Computer Brain seems appropriate.
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Old 10-07-2017, 07:11 PM   #5
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Default Re: Question on SW Protocol Droids and Languages

There is an equipment based solution as well.

Per UT a translation program with Native ability is Complexity 5 or only 4 if one of the languages involved is an artificial construct designed for easy translation. SW's "Basic" probably counts as such.

Each language involved requires a 100 GB database so that means C-3PO would have to store c. 600,000,000 GB of data. This is not actually a problem. the storage capacity of a TL11 Personal computer is 100,000,000,000 GB. You could even do it at TL10 if you bought extra storage capacity or used a bigger computer.

The droid's brain would be a base Complexity 8 at TL11 s hit could only run 20,000 of those translation programs at the same time but I think you can probably get by with that.

You do need to assume that those 6 million translation programs are freeware but in a setting so old there's lots of time for copyright to expire. Races that don't speak Basic might hand out their own translation program the same way Adobe hands out the Acrobat Reader.

There's also the (rather cinematic) TL11 Universal Translator program but that does require a C9 computer.
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Old 10-07-2017, 08:43 PM   #6
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Default Re: Question on SW Protocol Droids and Languages

Quote:
Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
2.
With Omnilingual, you don't actually know an insanely huge number of languages; you might know a dozen, or a score, or fifty. But you JUST HAPPEN to be fluent in whatever language comes up in the script, the way Sidney Bristow was on Alias.
AFAICT, the difference is purely cosmetic, and thus irrelevant from a game mechanics POV: For 40 points, your character speaks every language that comes up in the game. Whether it's a limited number of languages combined with a plot contrivance, being a communications droid who actually knows all known languages, or a prophet who's been given the gift of tongues by your tutelary deity is entirely a special effect.
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Old 10-07-2017, 09:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: Question on SW Protocol Droids and Languages

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
AFAICT, the difference is purely cosmetic, and thus irrelevant from a game mechanics POV: For 40 points, your character speaks every language that comes up in the game.
Well, no, not quite. It's every commonly known language in the game. The GM is still allowed, with Omnilingual, to say "Sorry, you don't, in fact, know the ancient and secret language of the Reptile Men who died out three millennia ago", and similar restrictions on other languages you just couldn't reasonably know.

To overcome this limitation, I'd suggest a +50% Cosmic enhancement on Omnilingual, "Truly Universal". That would cover any language ever spoken on your home planet ever for Omnilingual, or basically every planet (or space habitat, mysterious alternate dimension, nebulous gas cloud, etc.) ever, for Xeno-Omnilingual.
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: Question on SW Protocol Droids and Languages

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Originally Posted by whswhs View Post
1. Modular Abilities, Computer Brain, 2 slots, 6 points each (to cover full fluency in two languages at a time, over and above the base language). Each slot has a base cost of 6 points and 24 more points for the point value of what it holds; so the total base cost is 60 points. Then you take Trait-Limited, Languages only -50%, to get the cost down to 30 points.

2. Omnilingual, only for human languages from the "known world," 40 points.
3PO can talk to droids and Hutts. Even more bizarrely he can talk to Ewoks. So he's definitely got that XenoOmnilingual.
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:33 PM   #9
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Default Re: Question on SW Protocol Droids and Languages

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3PO can talk to droids and Hutts. Even more bizarrely he can talk to Ewoks. So he's definitely got that XenoOmnilingual.
Fair enough. In that case Modular Abilities is even more of a bargain.
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Old 10-07-2017, 10:39 PM   #10
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Default Re: Question on SW Protocol Droids and Languages

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Originally Posted by Dalillama View Post
AFAICT, the difference is purely cosmetic, and thus irrelevant from a game mechanics POV: For 40 points, your character speaks every language that comes up in the game. Whether it's a limited number of languages combined with a plot contrivance, being a communications droid who actually knows all known languages, or a prophet who's been given the gift of tongues by your tutelary deity is entirely a special effect.
Well, no. That's the difference if you HAVE the trait. But if you want to ACQUIRE the trait, radically different processes are involved, which require different game mechanics. In the case of Omnilingual, we're probably going to have a training montage where the protagonist practices speaking a bunch of languages, mostly familiar ones, but a couple of exotic ones to convey "they could turn out to speak something obscure and unlikely." In the case of Modular Abilities (Computer Brain), you'd see them being given access to some sort of database of languages.

There's also the question of what sort of worldbuilding is needed to enable either. For Omnilingual, you just need a society where travel and meeting foreigners are possible. For MA (CB), you need a society where there are computers, and AIs, and downloadable skills and languages, and where a huge number of languages have been turned into available downloads.
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