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Episode 53: Shmecond Law of Shmobotics


In the movie, this scene is inexplicable for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the "Queen" thanks R2-D2 and says he deserves gratitude for saving the ship. But a droid is a robot - a machine - built by humans to do a specific job. That's what R2-D2 is supposed to be doing. As a droid, he has standing instructions to do whatever he can to safeguard the ship and the people on board. Surely, no? Thanking a droid is like thanking your car for graciously deigning to drive you to work in the morning.

Okay, clearly the droids in Star Wars are really meant to be seen as self-aware personalities in themselves, not mere chunks of machinery. But still, it's a bit of an odd thing to thank a machine for doing exactly what it was designed to do.

Much more inexplicable is the fact that the "Queen" in this scene is a decoy, and the real Queen Amidala is hiding incognito as one of the decoy Queen's handmaidens. Which one? Why, Padmé, the one that the decoy Queen orders to do the menial work of cleaning R2-D2.

Let's get this perfectly straight. Canonically in the movie, one of the Queen's handmaidens, acting as a decoy, orders the real Queen to do a dirty, grubby cleaning job. And Padmé has to do it, or risk blowing her cover.

If you watch this scene, you can see the other handmaidens smirking in the background.

So, we had to make sense of this ridiculousness. Being a PC, R2-D2 can't be beholden to anyone who gives him commands, so the GM comes up with the idea of optional obedience chips. And when R2 makes his lascivious request, explicitly specifying the most beautiful handmaiden, the decoy "Queen" is in a bind. How can she possibly not choose the real Queen?


Amidala: This droid deserves Our thanks.
R2-D2: For my reward, I wish to be cleaned and oiled by your most beautiful handmaiden.
GM: That's in character. Say it in beeps.
R2-D2: Oh, come on. You have to be kidding.
R2-D2: <sigh> Fine. Beedle beedle boop, beep whirr squeeeeee... pop.
Obi-Wan: Your Highness, R2-D2 says thanks are unnecessary and illogical. It was merely following orders.
R2-D2: Beep beep beep! In a tone indicating "don't bother begging me for help next time".
Obi-Wan: No problem. I'll just order you.
R2-D2: I took Short and Mute, not Must Obey Idiots.
GM: Um, okay, that's enough.
GM: Many droids have chips that make them obey orders. R2-D2 doesn't. Okay?
Obi-Wan: Very well. Your highness, I misinterpreted this filthy little droid. It wishes to be cleaned and oiled by your most beautiful handmaiden.
Amidala: Ooookay... That would be... uh... Padmé?
{She steps over to R2}
R2-D2: Whirrr...
[Inter-player note]: Obi-Wan to GM: The next time anyone cleans R2, we'll install an obedience chip.

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Published: Sunday, 02 January, 2011; 14:36:51 PST.
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