The Robot Handbook is Here!

Technetium 98

Mongoose
I'm running through the Robot Catalogue to test my spreadsheet (got a few comments about the designs), but I'm tripping up on the Mining Drone, and Thruster locomotion in general.
Thruster is a special locomotive system which, unlike other modes, is generally available only as a secondary locomotion system, although for cost reasons its primary locomotion type can be ‘none’.
A standard thruster provides 0.1G acceleration if not modified, making it useful only in space or on worlds of Size 0 or 1.
Missiles and torpedoes are a special class of robot that achieve higher acceleration with thrusters as both primary and secondary locomotive types and the vehicle speed movement modification selected.
Thruster (X): The robot is equipped with thrusters capable of acceleration equal to (X) G. By default, secondary thruster locomotion provides 0.1G acceleration. Missile-like thruster locomotion provides 10G at TL8–13 and 15G at TL14+.
  1. Secondary locomotion types can't exceed the original's cost multiplier, and Thruster locomotion has one of the highest multipliers. Is this just an exception?
  2. How so 'Modified'? With the Vehicle locomotion option?
  3. Seeing as Secondary Locomotion and Vehicle Movement are mutually exclusive, is this just another exception with Thruster locomotion?
  4. So, what about primary locomotion? Same acceleration as secondary, or does primary mean missile-like locomotion?
Also, on the Locomotion table, Thruster is listed as having no traits, when it should have Thruster, no?
 
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Geir

Banded Mongoose
I'm running through the Robot Catalogue to test my spreadsheet (got a few comments about the designs), but I'm tripping up on the Mining Drone, and Thruster locomotion in general.




  1. Secondary locomotion types can't exceed the original's cost multiplier, and Thruster locomotion has one of the highest multipliers. Is this just an exception?
  2. How so 'Modified'? With the Vehicle locomotion option?
  3. Seeing as Secondary Locomotion and Vehicle Movement are mutually exclusive, is this just another exception with Thruster locomotion?
  4. So, what about primary locomotion? Same acceleration as secondary, or does primary mean missile-like locomotion?
Also, on the Locomotion table, Thruster is listed as having no traits, when it should have Thruster, no?
Your points are valid, and yes, thruster is a bit of an exception.
For missiles, the it was a matter of forcing a robot design system into making a missile, which results in compromises.
On the mining drone, looking at the design, I set thruster as the primary locomotion type and added vehicle speed movement.

I think the moral of the story is that the first of my statements you quoted, "Thruster is a special locomotive system which, unlike other modes, is generally available only as a secondary locomotion system" is not strongly supported by the facts, process, or implementation.
 

Technetium 98

Mongoose
I appreciate this may not be welcome, but I'd like to iron out any edge cases.

In the interests of having Thruster locomotion be at least a viable option, make 1G acceleration the standard, with tactical speed calculated as normal. With vehicle locomotion, have Thruster give Fast speed by default, increasing to Supersonic at max (counterbalanced by the comically low Endurance that'd give you). If secondary locomotion is taken as well, allow one level of vehicle speed (as an exception for Thruster), giving the Thruster traits as described before. That sound acceptable?
 

Geir

Banded Mongoose
I appreciate this may not be welcome, but I'd like to iron out any edge cases.

In the interests of having Thruster locomotion be at least a viable option, make 1G acceleration the standard, with tactical speed calculated as normal. With vehicle locomotion, have Thruster give Fast speed by default, increasing to Supersonic at max (counterbalanced by the comically low Endurance that'd give you). If secondary locomotion is taken as well, allow one level of vehicle speed (as an exception for Thruster), giving the Thruster traits as described before. That sound acceptable?
The 0.1G was designed to match the CSC thruster options for suits, so I don't want to change that. The whole point of thruster, as opposed to grav, which would be the more 'normal' thing to install, is to emulate robots and missiles designed to be used in space, where space combat rules take precedence, so working it closely with ground and vehicle movement and combat rules is not a high priority.

Yeah, it's a little weak, but I don't see reworking it at this time.
 

Technetium 98

Mongoose
The 0.1G was designed to match the CSC thruster options for suits, so I don't want to change that. The whole point of thruster, as opposed to grav, which would be the more 'normal' thing to install, is to emulate robots and missiles designed to be used in space, where space combat rules take precedence, so working it closely with ground and vehicle movement and combat rules is not a high priority.

Yeah, it's a little weak, but I don't see reworking it at this time.
Ah, nevermind, then. One more thing? Agility Enhancements, do they increase the DEX DM, or is that just in context of the Vehicle skills?
 

Geir

Banded Mongoose
Ah, nevermind, then. One more thing? Agility Enhancements, do they increase the DEX DM, or is that just in context of the Vehicle skills?
The Agility enhancements grant Athletics (dexterity) skill, so that would technically count for anything that would require that skill. It gets a bit odd, when you consider that only the arms have a DEX rating, while agile legs (wheels, grav, whatever) would have Agility. So it very much depends on the referee and interpretation.

If throwing a grenade as a human (or other biological entity), you would use Athletics (dexterity) skill and a DEX DM. But would that Athletics (dexterity) skill for a robot apply to both movement-related tasks such as dodging or moving in zero-g (which was the intent), also apply to throwing things? Referee call. The game mechanics don't get into the details of differences between being 'quick on your feet' and 'tossing stuff'.
 

chibiko

Mongoose
A really minor quibble, but I think the use of the word "subsisted" on p.98 (Training of Clones) should be "substituted".
 

Geir

Banded Mongoose
Whoops. That's funny. Looked right past it. Funnier, the sentence I wrote and the one before that show clear signs of being edited into something better (or more standard - as in 'zero level' changed to 'level 0') than what I wrote. So it slipped past at least one editor, too. The mind subsisted substituted the wrong word for the write right word.

(I didn't notice the More options... ellipses before. Something more to play with, including Fonts and spoilers.)
And
hey, there's a second More options... ellipse, that's odd...
 

chibiko

Mongoose
Whoops. That's funny. Looked right past it. Funnier, the sentence I wrote and the one before that show clear signs of being edited into something better (or more standard - as in 'zero level' changed to 'level 0') than what I wrote. So it slipped past at least one editor, too. The mind subsisted substituted the wrong word for the write right word.

(I didn't notice the More options... ellipses before. Something more to play with, including Fonts and spoilers.)
And
hey, there's a second More options... ellipse, that's odd...
Dramatic...pauses, perhaps?
 

adzling

Banded Mongoose
apologies if i missed it but has anyone brought up how cheap robots in the handbook are compared to robots in the core rules?

example: Astromech droid in CSC = mCr6 while the same droid in the handbook is mCr1.

With the huge decrease in price robots would render many crew positions uneconomical to fill with a human/ sophont.

Was the intent to radically change the availability/ prevalence of bots in the OTU?
 

Geir

Banded Mongoose
The original prices seemed to, well, have no basis in anything, and were all of over the place, from cheap (Cr500) to ridiculous (MCr lots). So the intent was to actually build consistency and repeatability into the process. MCr1 is still not cheap, and while some owners may feel the need to replace some position - remember that astrogation has a built in 'robot penalty'.

What you do get is the option of replacing crew with robots rather than NPCs for campaigns or adventures that may be short qualified Travellers. Choices.
 

adzling

Banded Mongoose
ok thanks for the response Geir.

I do think with these prices the OTU would be more like the Star Wars universe with droids working everywhere and omni-present.
That's not inherently bad but it is a departure from the distinct lack of robots in the canonical OTU.

The ship's brain is also challenging from the same perspective.
Do you have any thoughts on why the ship's brain is a thing in the handbook when there already exists intellect and software options that run on a ship's computer (but are far more expensive)?

thanks
 

Geir

Banded Mongoose
ok thanks for the response Geir.

I do think with these prices the OTU would be more like the Star Wars universe with droids working everywhere and omni-present.
That's not inherently bad but it is a departure from the distinct lack of robots in the canonical OTU.

The ship's brain is also challenging from the same perspective.
Do you have any thoughts on why the ship's brain is a thing in the handbook when there already exists intellect and software options that run on a ship's computer (but are far more expensive)?

thanks
The ship's brain comes from some of my own prejudices of how even in the early days we happened to treat ship computers as 'more interactive', followed by many years of reading Iain Banks novels. I'm not sure the brain will cost out as a cheaper choice, considering that Intellect is now included. And also, if the ship starts to have a personality, it might become more of a negotiation to get it to do what you want (this, among other reasons is, why I prefer driving a car to riding a horse - but even cars these days are starting to tell you what to do).

So there is definitely the question of how much you want to put robots and semi-intelligent (or more) ships into an OTU campaign. Among the Major Races, there's a definite 'pro-organic' bias, but there are pockets, with at least one world run by computers in the Core sector, and then there is Tech-World. So it's presented as an option to have a ship's brain, to treat the computer as less a passenger or system and more the embodiment of the ship - lots of examples from books, TV, and movies to draw from for a campaign.
 

adzling

Banded Mongoose
oh yeah there are lots of sci-examples for sure. I also love Ian Banks, my fave sci-fi author.

I am just concerned that these cost changes render much of the OTUs resistance to / lack of robots mostly moot.

It does seems as though even a mid-range brain like Brian at mCr1 + 1 per 100 tons (@3MCr for a 200 ton free trader) is WAAAY cheaper than Intellect software with the same skills + a ship's computer powerful enough to drive it. MCr1 for each crew position x 8 + 40 computer bandwidth to run it MCr45 = @MCr53.

For our game I think we're going to have multiply robot and ships brains costs to make them less common in universe.
 
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