That concept, as you've likely guessed, is...
The Android Barbarian
Nuts and Bolts
Androids, along with other examples of highly advanced technology from Numeria, have gradually made their way into the Inner Sea region. Investigated by the Pathfinder Society, sought out by powerful wizards, and recruited by armies and adventuring parties alike, androids are regarded as curiosities by some, and dangerous war machines by others. These artificial creations may look like people, move like people, and even bleed like people, but they aren't human.
Androids, like any other race in Pathfinder, can choose any class. Being what they are androids are immune to sleep and paralysis effects, as well as to fatigue and exhaustion. They cannot receive morale bonuses either (unless you take the empathy feat from Pathfinder Player Companion: People of the Stars), which may make barbarian a strange choice. However, even if your DM bans you from taking empathy you still gain access to Rage powers, damage reduction, fast movement, uncanny dodge, and any archetype abilities, even if you wouldn't gain the bonus from the Rage itself. And, as the icing on the cake, you never get fatigued from your Rage.
|It does not feel pain... or fear... or remorse... and it absolutely will not stop.|
That's the mechanical side of the equation, and the idea certainly seems over-powered to many people. Fatigue is how you rein in low-level barbarians after all, even though at mid to high levels the number of rounds of Rage they have means their fury is going to last through even a drawn-out combat slog.
That's nowhere near the fight you'll get over the flavor side of this choice, though.
Heart and Soul
One of the arguments that crops up over and over again in fantasy RPGs is that this is a no sci-fi allowed club. So if we have to let android characters in, then they have to take roles that make sense for them. Fighter? Sure, that makes sense. Wizard? Of course, walking, talking computers should be masters of the arcane if that's how they're programmed. Rogue, alchemist, cavalier? Sure, no problems there.
As soon as you mention barbarians, though, DMs will start shouting about how you're not a person, and you don't have emotions. What would an android know about the fires that burn inside a barbarian, fueling their fury?
|That isn't armor... that's actually an android.|
I'd ask you to set that preconception aside for a moment, and to picture an android that looks like a fairly average human. He's strong, tireless, and has a curiosity that drives him toward the adventuring lifestyle. Perhaps he feels compelled to seek out dungeons, constantly examining ancient armors for reasons even he doesn't understand. Except for the bio-circuitry tattoos along his back and arms, and the sheen in his eyes at just the right angle, you'd never even know.
Until he glitches.
Fighting doesn't trouble him, and he is more than capable. Swords, axes, maces, they're all equally comfortable in his hands. But when the enemy poses a genuine threat to him, or to his allies, his eyes flicker, and the emotion drains from his face. His eyes snap open and glow red, and his empty voice echoes with three, blood-chilling words.
Omega Protocol Initiated
Once the Omega program comes online his tattoos glow, and he alters. His blows are brutal, terrible things, delivered with precision and power that leaves a trail of bloody bodies in his wake. He attacks without remorse, without hesitation, and without fear until all his enemies are dead. Then, once the threat is over, he twitches, blinks, and the emotion bleeds back into his face. He's confused, wondering what happened. The terrible strength he wielded, and the strange powers he displayed, gone as if they'd never been.
This setup is interesting all by itself, but it asks a lot of questions. Was your android a war machine whose true programming is battle and destruction, and whose moments of compassion and sentience are actually the malfunction? Was the Omega Protocol simply programmed into him as a means of self defense, in the event he was threatened? How much of the person he thinks he is actually exists, and how much is just a product of what he was made to be?
|I... am not... a gun...|
The end result is that you have a character with a unique race, who can endure some hardcore adventuring, and who has a unique theme. Where you choose to go with the idea from here is up to you!
Thoughts, Feelings, Opinions?
So, what did you guys think of this feature? Would you like to see more unusual character concepts mixed in with gaming stories? Would you like to see this kind of post get its own section on the blog? Or should I stop doing this entirely and go back to what I've been doing? Leave a comment, or if you'd like email me your opinions on the topic.