Robot Characters

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Jak Nazryth
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Robot Characters

Postby Jak Nazryth » Fri Apr 14, 2017 1:58 pm

Last night we kicked off my Traveller campaign by creating characters. I let everyone create 2 characters and they go to pick their favortie.
One of guys who will play starting next week couldn't make it because his son had a concert of some type. I found out from the others that he intends to play a Robot.
I have the Robot book and glanced through it last night after midnight.
It appears that you simply give the player the number of terms, they get the cash based on those terms, and they build what they want.
Is it that simple?

I imposed a 10 term limit on my players, so that should give him a specific amount he knows he needs to work with.

Does anyone have experience in creating robots as a player-character?

Thanks.

BTW... the party so far is...
A Vilani - Smuggler/pirate with every single bridge skill covered + Broker skills
A Dryone Leader - with science, engineering, and some agent/spy skills
A Vilani - Naval Engineer, specializing in Robotics
A Ursa - death machine, Marine/Mercenary
next week a Robot character will be created
next month a 6th person will join the game after his schedule clears up.
paltrysum
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby paltrysum » Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:59 pm

Love the group. Very diverse. Off topic, but how did you go about creating the Droyne character? I have the CT Droyne book, but I don't know if Mongoose has published an updated version somewhere. The reason I ask is, if one of my players ever takes the ref mantle (I do all of the reffing as of now), I want to run a Droyne character and I've been pondering how I might do that.
Last edited by paltrysum on Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Spacers lead a sedentary life. They live at home, and their home is always with them—their starship, and so is their country—the depths of space."
Reynard
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby Reynard » Fri Apr 14, 2017 6:06 pm

Ten term limit? You did read the section for aging during character creation.
AndrewW
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby AndrewW » Fri Apr 14, 2017 7:31 pm

paltrysum wrote:
Fri Apr 14, 2017 5:59 pm
Love the group. Very diverse. Off topic, but how did you go about creating the Droyne character? I have the CT Droyne book, but I don't know if Mongoose has published an updated version somewhere. The reason I ask is, if one of my players ever takes the ref mantle (I do all of the reffing as of now), I want to run a Droyne character and I've been pondering how I might do that.
It was being written, but no Mongoose Publishing hasn't put out a Droyne alien module.
PsiTraveller
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby PsiTraveller » Fri Apr 14, 2017 11:08 pm

Well the 10 term limit could result in players in their late 50's running a spaceship, or they could have a backstory of wealth and a supply of anagathics.
Jak Nazryth
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby Jak Nazryth » Sat Apr 15, 2017 2:21 am

Most players ended at 8 terms, and most of them took anagathics. But since Darrians age at a slower rate, I imposed a 10 term limit.

I'm using MgT1 rules for creation since that's what everyone in my group has. I'm the only one who has 2nd addition rules, but I have incorporating some elements of 2nd addition into the game.
The Dryone simply used the Core rule for base stats and the existing books and supplements to go through careers.

But my original question stands. Has anyone ever created a Robot character or know of anyone who has? Any suggestions on how to approach a robot NPC? Are they somebody's property or are the "sentient" species that can interact with/in society and peruse their dreams just like any other PC race?
mancerbear
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby mancerbear » Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:15 am

True robot sentience comes in at quite a high tech level, even robots tha appear sentient at TL 15-16 are only smart systems with no resl consciousness. At that level, they're toasters, and must belong to someone (in my opinion). Once sentience becomes available, thenit's an issue of how individual planets would view it. Unless your pc is an experimental piece of hardware, perhaps escaping it's creator, there would be no real laws regarding it being seen as an individual being. Most people would see it as a tool. A very very smart tool, but a toolnone the less, and yherefore must be owned by someone.
Sigtrygg
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby Sigtrygg » Sat Apr 15, 2017 8:17 am

Using CT LBB:8 as the source material robots could 'appear' sentient at TL12+ using the emotion simulation program. They are certainly (artificially) intelligent and can learn from experience, but are not truly sentient.
Tech Level 12: More reliable synaptic processors allow true self-programming (heuristic or self-teaching) AI software to be developed, but cost and size continue to be limiting factors. "Low autonomous" computer brains appear. making possible the first self-actuating, learning machine with a reasonable intelligence.
heron61
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby heron61 » Sat Apr 15, 2017 10:17 am

What you want is Mongoose Traveller's Book 9: Robot http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/875 ... st_epoch=0, page 25-40 even has various careers for robots.
vladthemad
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby vladthemad » Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:43 pm

As a GM, my question would be "Why do you want to play a robot?" I'd be concerned with a possible munchkin thinking he's going to get superhuman abilities, but of course it depends on the player and group as well as your plans for the campaign. You'll probably need to decide how the laws will work regarding your universe, especially if he's clearly artificial in appearance. You'll also have to decide if sentient machines are commonplace or if he's an unusual example of a single genius' work, if he gained sentience through some fluke or accident, or any of a dozen other plausible reasons. If you don't want to come up with an entire section of new legislation, legal questions can be avoided for the most part if he doesn't look like a robot, and is more android/synthflesh/whatever. Again though, this really depends on why the player wants to be a robot in the first place and what robot he is inspired by. If he wants to be Data from STNG, he'll look as human as anyone else, but if he wants to be a droid from Star Wars he's going to have some run ins with the law at some point or another, especially if he has combat capabilities built in or software that allows weapons usage.

You could also avoid any legal questions and any ramifications to the setting if he's a cyborg. I don't think there are a lot of full conversions in the OTU, but it's less of an issue than a sentient robot. There'd be legal questions if he has enhanced abilities or weaponry as a cyborg, but these would likely fall under the laws the govern weaponry on each planet already. It'd also be a lot easier to roll up the character as he'd follow the standard career paths instead of building a robot from the ground up. Just wait til he has a mishap,and borg him. The military especially could borg him if he was an exceptional soldier who had a bad mishap. It's more expedient to stick what's left of you in a machine than to deal with vat growing a new body for you. Of course you'd still have the issue of his appearance. If it looks like human flesh and he's a borg, no one will likely notice, if it's a Rifts type borg, you should probably give him negative DMs to social interactions...except for intimidation and interrogation, those you could give him bonuses for.

Lastly I'd suggest this book instead of or in addition to the Mongoose Robot supplement, http://www.rpgnow.com/product/112590/Traveller-ROBOTS if you don't already own it.
Jak Nazryth
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby Jak Nazryth » Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:55 pm

I actually have the book Robot, but have only skimmed through it at most. Now I'm diving into it since somebody wants to play one.

The guy in question is pretty new to me, but I have been gaming with him the last few months in someone else's game. He doesn't strike me as a power player but is more drawn to different/interesting characters.
I guess I'm trying to find a rule... is he the property of someone else, or is he his own free agent?
Does another player on the ship "own" him, like Luke Skywalker / R2D2 relationship? Or Princess Leia Organa / C3PO relationship?
Right now my default concept is that he is owned by the government and is considered a test subject, so see how he interacts. I'll treat him as if he is a Scout Ship, one which the government can "recover" for a special mission or circumstance. In other words, I can use him as a plot hook. Also I'm thinking of an annual or by-annual (maintenance/debriefing/downloading test data) as part of the "full society integration test phase)

Since this is a PC i'm going to give as much leeway as the rules will allow because I want the players to have fun.

All these questions might be answered deeper in the book. Right now I'm simply going over the basics.
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:44 am

vladthemad wrote:
Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:43 pm
As a GM, my question would be "Why do you want to play a robot?" I'd be concerned with a possible munchkin thinking he's going to get superhuman abilities, but of course it depends on the player and group as well as your plans for the campaign. You'll probably need to decide how the laws will work regarding your universe, especially if he's clearly artificial in appearance. You'll also have to decide if sentient machines are commonplace or if he's an unusual example of a single genius' work, if he gained sentience through some fluke or accident, or any of a dozen other plausible reasons. If you don't want to come up with an entire section of new legislation, legal questions can be avoided for the most part if he doesn't look like a robot, and is more android/synthflesh/whatever. Again though, this really depends on why the player wants to be a robot in the first place and what robot he is inspired by. If he wants to be Data from STNG, he'll look as human as anyone else, but if he wants to be a droid from Star Wars he's going to have some run ins with the law at some point or another, especially if he has combat capabilities built in or software that allows weapons usage.

You could also avoid any legal questions and any ramifications to the setting if he's a cyborg. I don't think there are a lot of full conversions in the OTU, but it's less of an issue than a sentient robot. There'd be legal questions if he has enhanced abilities or weaponry as a cyborg, but these would likely fall under the laws the govern weaponry on each planet already. It'd also be a lot easier to roll up the character as he'd follow the standard career paths instead of building a robot from the ground up. Just wait til he has a mishap,and borg him. The military especially could borg him if he was an exceptional soldier who had a bad mishap. It's more expedient to stick what's left of you in a machine than to deal with vat growing a new body for you. Of course you'd still have the issue of his appearance. If it looks like human flesh and he's a borg, no one will likely notice, if it's a Rifts type borg, you should probably give him negative DMs to social interactions...except for intimidation and interrogation, those you could give him bonuses for.

Lastly I'd suggest this book instead of or in addition to the Mongoose Robot supplement, http://www.rpgnow.com/product/112590/Traveller-ROBOTS if you don't already own it.
You play a robot in order to exceed human limitations. Robots don't grow old, they can become obsolete, but they don't grow old, they are infinitely repairable. Robots don't need food, they don't necessarily need to breath air, they don't necessarily need space suits to operate in space, robots typically have quicker reflexes than humans as an electronic signal travels faster than a neural impulse, robots are naturally good in math, they might be able to substitute their brain for the ship's computer in making a jump calculation, robots have excellent memory, they can remember precise details of what they've seen in the past, an can even play back what they've seen in the past for other people to see. Robots might also have some drawbacks, for example they won't heal physical damage, they need to visit a repair shop, robots are built to do work, that means the have obedience programming, some might have Three Laws programming to make them less threatening to humans, and reduce the chances o injury or liability to other people. Robots are at the bottom of the social pyramid, they are even lower than slaves and serfs!
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby Reynard » Tue Apr 18, 2017 1:02 pm

It's not as if you're getting a super character but a unique character that will be fun to play. R2 could have been a human scout with pilot, engineering and mechanic with a toolkit while CP3O could have been a noble(diplomat) in the service of another higher ranked noble. As robots, they have a different set of advantages and difficulties organics don't face which is great for role playing. The CT Robots book had a lot of information regarding 'bots in 3I for the various races - history, legality, interaction and the like. Book 9: Robots from Mongoose is useful to identify how common robots will be on a technological basis. Look at the systems and software tables and note the tech levels. Worlds of TL 8 or less will not make 'bots of their own while TL 13 worlds and up 'bots will be increasingly as common as vehicles barring local laws and social issues and go unnoticed. Low tech worlds would only see robots by way of the starport and travellers possibly with some fear or envy and attract lots of attention.
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby Jak Nazryth » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:55 pm

The guy is coming over Wednesday night to create it.
I'm lost though with "the age"
What the heck is "the age" of cannon Third Imperium of year 1105?
He wants to play a cyborg body guard. That is his very basic concept, he and one of the other players came up with... very new to Traveller..
As in... "I could play a smuggler and you can be my robot body guard... wouldn't that be awesome!" Very "star wars" type of idea.

I may just say "No Robot characters"
Reynard
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby Reynard » Tue Apr 18, 2017 5:23 pm

Ah, sounds like you are looking for augmentations! There are some in the main book and more in Central Supply Catalogue. Cyber him up.

I think you meant 'canon', "a general law, rule, principle, or criterion by which something is judged: ". I missed where you got that reference but it sounds like you're referring to the time period being used currently in campaigns with Mongoose Traveller for Third Imperium, current year 1105.
Jak Nazryth
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby Jak Nazryth » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:48 pm

yes. I'm at the office so I tend to type really fast... cause... I'm at work.
In anycase the Robot book gives "Age of Work", "Age of Slavery" and "Age of equality"... something like that.
I'm running pretty much a canon campaign setting, right out of the core rules. We start off in the Tobia Sub-Sector of the Trojan Reach.
Year is 1105

I'm just trying to figure out what "Age" is appropriate for 1105 3I?

I'll wing it if I have to, or just say "no" to a robot based character. I told the guy that it would be a great learning curve for both of us, but I don't really like the idea of a PC being a slave to a corporation or government... haven're read the whole book yet, but I'm currently starting the "Age of Work" section.
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby paltrysum » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:33 pm

I've always had the feeling that robots were considered subordinate in Traveller, so I would think "age of slavery," but there are always exceptions. Take Tech-World, for example. If autonomous AI is accepted in the Outrim Void, it could be that it influences the Imperial fringe systems near Tobia. Your call really.
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby Condottiere » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:24 pm

Primary school kids can build them and Wookies can fix them.

Image

You may want to invest in the CPU and software, since those would correspond to intelligence and skills.
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:18 am

paltrysum wrote:
Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:33 pm
I've always had the feeling that robots were considered subordinate in Traveller, so I would think "age of slavery," but there are always exceptions. Take Tech-World, for example. If autonomous AI is accepted in the Outrim Void, it could be that it influences the Imperial fringe systems near Tobia. Your call really.
The word "Robot" literally means slave, it is Slavic in origin, comes from the word Roboty which means work.
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Re: Robot Characters

Postby vladthemad » Wed Apr 19, 2017 6:29 am

Jak Nazryth wrote:
Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:55 pm
The guy is coming over Wednesday night to create it.
I'm lost though with "the age"
What the heck is "the age" of cannon Third Imperium of year 1105?
He wants to play a cyborg body guard. That is his very basic concept, he and one of the other players came up with... very new to Traveller..
As in... "I could play a smuggler and you can be my robot body guard... wouldn't that be awesome!" Very "star wars" type of idea.

I may just say "No Robot characters"
The Third Imperium is a little odd regarding laws. Basically, each planet is pretty much autonomous, the Third Imperium only controls and protects interstellar space and trade. The planets pay taxes for this protection, but gain the benefit of access to the wider universe on an equal footing to the rest of the planets for the most part. Really, the "age" would be dependent on each individual planet. I'd assume the Imperium is "slave age", but robots aren't very common so its more likely they would be viewed as an oddity or property.

As usual GURPS has the following concise statement in a sidebar for Traveller:

Vilani conservatism and a prejudice against excessive experimental technology means that true artificial intelligence (self-awareness) is fairly rare throughout the Imperium, although robots are widespread in many areas. It is possible to program a robot to act Human, and to act fairly intelligent, but Imperial technology has stopped short of manufacturing artificial self-aware intelligences. As with nanotech, however, Imperial research stations may be working on the problem, unbeknownst to the public. Rumors of the development of a self-aware machine have circulated for many years.

Robots are considered non-sentient beings in the Imperium (at least under current laws) and are covered by a number of restrictions on their technology such as the Shudusham Accords (see p. 59), which ban robot-carried weaponry. Later laws have decreed that mechanical or artificial constructs are not eligible for Imperial citizenship (see Cybertechnology, p. 16, for some repercussions to PCs).

Machine intelligences could make their way into a game, and GMs can introduce them as plot devices (and all the more effectively, as players won’t be expecting them). See GURPS Robots for ideas.

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