I'm currently in the beginning of book 2 of Dead Suns and running a group of only three players. I noticed that the Sunrise maiden has an "upgraded" AI, and thought that I may be able to turn this into a NPC that could make computer checks for the players in space combat in addition to the plethora of roleplay opportunities.
I searched for any rules on sentient AI that could make independent space combat checks, but could not find any rules other than computers with an independent control module can add a bonus to a check that is already being made. So with that in mind I decided I would try to homebrew something. I have come up with two ideas, and just wanted to get some feedback.
Option 1: The AI, who has been named Dawn, uses up one of the nodes of the ICM computer installed on the ship. Dawns bonus to Computer or pilot rolls equals the nodes bonus x3. As an example a ship with a Mark II Duonode could use one of those nodes to allow dawn to make an independent check with a +6 modifier.
Option 1 is the simplest option, but eventually computers BP gets really high, so in order to keep Dawn at an appropriate level they would probably have to stick to mononode computers.
Option 2: I have home-brewed that prior to her death Moriko Nash was working on an Integrated Intelligence Amplifier. When connected to the computer system it uses up one of the nodes of the computer system. It provides Dawn with 3 or 4 skill checks equal to the good npc bonus on the expert array. Dawn would also receive a bonus to her checks equal to the ships computer ICM rating. To build the device players would pay BP equal to Dawns CR x2, and to power the device would pay PCU equal to Dawns CR x4. Dawns max CR is equal to the Tier of the Sunrise Maiden.
Option two provides in my opinion a smoother progression of cost and skill bonus. It costs more PCU than Option 1, but far less BP especially at higher computer levels. And it would allow the players to get some minor bonuses through duo or tri node computers with lower bonus instead of focusing on the best mononode they could. On the downside it is far more complicated.
Example 1: Total bonus +9:
Option 1 would require a M3 mononode at the minimum which costs 20 PCU and 9 BP.
For option 2, At Tier 3 the players could pay 6 BP and require 12 PCU ion the installed m1 duonode computer. This would grant dawn a +8 to say computers from the NPC and and additional 1 from the computer for a check of +9. Including the computer that is a total of 22 PCU and 8 BP spent for this.
Example 2: Total bonus +15/+14:
Option 1 would require a M5 mononode at a minimum which costs 30 PCU and 25 BP
Option 2 assuming a M1 computer node it would require a Tier 7 ship. The cost would be 10 pcu and 2 bp for the computer and 28 PCU and 14 BP for Dawn's module. This would grant +14 skill bonus and +1 computer bonus. for a total of 38 PCU and 16 BP
Option 2b Assuming a M3 mononode of 20 pcu and 9 BP a Tier 5 ship. Dawns cost would be 20 PCU and 10 BP for a total of 40 PCU and 19 BP for a +14 bonus.
Thanks for your thoughts.