Robot Characters

Discuss the Traveller RPG and its many settings
Tom Kalbfus
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2206
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Re: Robot Characters

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat Apr 29, 2017 8:22 pm

hivemindx wrote:
Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:20 pm
In a lot of cases the main way in which a robot exceeds human ability is the way you can put them in a situation where they will be destroyed with no objections from the robot and no questions from the authorities afterwards. The main attribute of robots you send in to defuse bombs or clean up toxic waste is 'disposable'.
A robot like that couldn't get close to its target and attack by surprise. Everyone would recognize it for what it was a mile off, not so for a robot that looks like a human. Why do you think the Terminator was cloaked in human flesh?
I'm reminded of Pitch-o-mat 5000. The pitching robot from Futurama that was a modified howitzer. If you want to make a robot to do a specific task you shouldn't use a human body plan. Why design your kill bot like a person? Six legs or maybe tracks and low body plan with a 360 degree sensor suite would be more useful than looking sexy. If you are designing a sex bot then I really don't think it needs to be faster and stronger (and a deadly shot!) and in fact most 'users' would be more comfortable if it wasn't.

I think Star Wars is an excellent model. Another interesting, but very different, possibility for source material is the android in Dark Matter. Even though the crew often treat it as if it was a person in most ways (during season 1 at least) the android is very clearly a piece of property and it is completely aware and accepting of that. Of course it is a very valuable and useful piece of property which means nobody is ordering it to jump out a window unless there is a very, very good reason. Most RPG groups would not be happy to have a player that is faster, stronger and tougher than them without some significant drawbacks though.

Perhaps the best source of ideas would be the TV show Almost Human. The robots in this are very much hampered by their built in requirements to assist and obey humans. I'd be impressed with a player who managed to roleplay one of these effectively.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5159
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Robot Characters

Postby Condottiere » Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:13 pm

Players would need to be able to have their robot characters interact with sentient beings.

The future is likely to be far weirder than we can conceive, so role-paying tends to be a mirror to our current experiences and expectations.
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2763
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: Robot Characters

Postby Reynard » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:22 am

We have this fantasy that robots must automatically be superior to a sophont in nearly every way. They do not. They are designed for a task or several tasks ad have the tools and abilities to perform without waste. A robot floor sweeper cleans floors and probably is relatively fragile and limited but, as a robot, can scour a building top to bottom and look for things to clean but otherwise is not tough, strong or bright. Robots that are stronger than humans while built to walk your dog are for cinematics. Scary robot. R2 is a great pilot and engineer and had a taser but it and other R2s were often easily disabled or destroyed. A certain protocol droid was a walking library and wiz as a steward but couldn't kill a fly. Same should be true with Traveller robots unless you have the mentality of the uber starship designers maxing out the craft.

A robot and robot characters should not have to be paranoid combat behemoths for play, they should be designed to fulfill a role and a role play opportunity. Some of course will want their tank with legs but think about a robot as a unique character adding a unique aspect to the game that a player can handle and display the robot in the character.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5159
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Robot Characters

Postby Condottiere » Sun Apr 30, 2017 10:24 pm

Image
Tom Kalbfus
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2206
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Re: Robot Characters

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue May 02, 2017 10:01 am

Reynard wrote:
Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:22 am
We have this fantasy that robots must automatically be superior to a sophont in nearly every way. They do not. They are designed for a task or several tasks ad have the tools and abilities to perform without waste. A robot floor sweeper cleans floors and probably is relatively fragile and limited but, as a robot, can scour a building top to bottom and look for things to clean but otherwise is not tough, strong or bright. Robots that are stronger than humans while built to walk your dog are for cinematics. Scary robot. R2 is a great pilot and engineer and had a taser but it and other R2s were often easily disabled or destroyed. A certain protocol droid was a walking library and wiz as a steward but couldn't kill a fly. Same should be true with Traveller robots unless you have the mentality of the uber starship designers maxing out the craft.

A robot and robot characters should not have to be paranoid combat behemoths for play, they should be designed to fulfill a role and a role play opportunity. Some of course will want their tank with legs but think about a robot as a unique character adding a unique aspect to the game that a player can handle and display the robot in the character.
Image
K2 from Rogue One was a bit of a tougher robot that either R2D2 or C3P0 it is taller and more physically imposing than either, and I only seen C3P0 engage in combat once, and that was in episode II, when its head was attached to a combat droid. C3P0 was not designed to be a combatant, R2D2 could pilot a ship when plugged into a socket, it also had superior sensory capability than C3P0. One has to consider why the robot was built. A sweeping robot wouldn't be designed for combat, but would you as a player want to play one? A combat robot can be built deliberately tougher than a human being, there being lots of materials that are stronger than flesh and bone. One of the easiest things for a robot to have would be quicker combat reflexes, their electronics carry signals at nearly the speed of light, a biological neural impulse does not. Robots also typically have better memory than humans and their brains are built to crunch numbers as they are computers. Think of a robot as an autonomous vehicle because that is what they are, some autonomous vehicles are tougher than others. If you are going to disguise a robot as a human, you are limited to what's in the volume of a human frame, though certain things which kill a human won't necessarily affect them. A robot might not need an atmosphere with oxygen in it, since no one wants to build a spacesuit for a robot, most will probably be designed to operate in a vacuum or in some atmospheres which would kill a human.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5159
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Robot Characters

Postby Condottiere » Tue May 02, 2017 12:12 pm

Threepio was simple enough in conception that he could be built from spare and thrown away parts by a kid, though a precocious one.

One theory circulating is that he acts as a spy for Darth Vader.
Tom Kalbfus
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2206
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Re: Robot Characters

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Tue May 02, 2017 11:44 pm

Condottiere wrote:
Tue May 02, 2017 12:12 pm
Threepio was simple enough in conception that he could be built from spare and thrown away parts by a kid, though a precocious one.

One theory circulating is that he acts as a spy for Darth Vader.
Anakin may have built C3P0, but he spent a lot more time with R2D2. Also Darth's storm troopers made a mess of C3P0 in Cloud City in the Empire Strikes Back!
ShawnDriscoll
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2346
Joined: Sun Dec 13, 2009 6:13 pm

Re: Robot Characters

Postby ShawnDriscoll » Sat May 06, 2017 3:30 am

I used to use robots similar to Dewey (Drone 1) in Traveller. I may go back to using that kind, depending on what the setting is that the players find themselves in.

https://plus.google.com/photos/10823870 ... j-bw4J6lJA
Tom Kalbfus
Duck-Billed Mongoose
Posts: 2206
Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Re: Robot Characters

Postby Tom Kalbfus » Sat May 06, 2017 6:31 pm

Image
How about this robot?
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5159
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Robot Characters

Postby Condottiere » Sat May 06, 2017 8:15 pm

If you establish a drinking hole.

Image
steve98052
Banded Mongoose
Posts: 350
Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2013 6:13 am
Location: near Seattle

Re: Robot Characters

Postby steve98052 » Sat May 27, 2017 7:12 pm

I know that this thread is mostly about the robot, and that territory is pretty well covered. But there's also the matter of the Droyne. My understanding is that the only Droyne caste that is comfortable alone is the Sport. A Leader will become depressed without others to command; Workers, Technicians, and Warriors will become depressed without a Leader to guide them, and Drones will become depressed without other castes for company. Depression for a Droyne that lasts for more than a few weeks is fatal. Only a Sport is immune from that psychological need.

Another possibility is a Chirper. An ordinary Chirper is described as somewhere between barely sentient and childlike* in intelligence, so a player character Chirper would either be a role-playing challenge or uncommonly intelligent.

* I have issues with the idea of "childlike intelligence" as a useful description. Children exceed adults at ability to learn, match adults in a lot of ways. They're clearly behind adults in physical capabilities and total body of knowledge, but not intelligence. But that's probably not what the writers meant about Chirpers.
Condottiere
Chief Mongoose
Posts: 5159
Joined: Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:23 pm

Re: Robot Characters

Postby Condottiere » Sat May 27, 2017 8:52 pm

Reptiles or amphibians, change sex if there is a lack.

One of the remaining Droyne develops testicles and takes command.

Or starts a therapy group.
Reynard
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 2763
Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:03 pm

Re: Robot Characters

Postby Reynard » Sun May 28, 2017 12:09 am

Childlike behavior describes, in human terms, simplicity of thought. I just happened to recently acquire GURPS Traveller Alien Races 3 featuring the Droyne and Chirpers. Chirpers are describes as being as intelligent as Droyne workers and have a much harder time with higher technology. It also states Chirpers are uncasted Droyne. The rituals involve psionics to alter mind and body and the chirper is naturally less intelligent. They are Droyne before being caste.

Traveller Alien Module 5 describes Droyne generation. A chirper would be generated by stopping before the casting process. Strength, Dexterity, Endurance and Sense (equivalent to Human Psi Strength) are each rolled on one die. Caste is not rolled and is always 0. Small of stature and only 25 kg, they are not imposing but, as LLB9 Library data suggests, they are fast of foot. Chirpers are two sexes, male and female, rather than what T5 would list as Egg layer, Activator and Bearer. Chirpers would develop thereafter using normal career paths suitable to their tech level and world circumstance. The majority of chippers live simple as gatherers so Drifter(barbarian) might be their standard career. Very rare exception have been encountered in more urban places.

So by that Chirpers might make poor characters unless you have a good role playing idea similar to bring on an Ewok to the party.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], crazy_cat, ochd and 13 guests