Robots are complex, mobile machines in widespread use throughout Frontier space that are designed to perform specific jobs.
Basic Robot Types
Many types of robots are available throughout The Frontier, though most are classified as one of the eight basic types listed here:
- Combat Robots: Combat robots have standard bodies and the attack/defense program. They are limited to levels 2 to 4. Combat robots serve as active combat soldiers.
- Cybernetic Robots: Cybernetic robots (cybots) have both mechanical and organic parts. They can perform any job other robots of their level can perform. Cybots can have any body type, but usually are anthropomorphic. They are limited to levels 4 to 6.
- Heavy Duty Robots: Heavy duty robots do heavy excavating, crop harvesting, rock quarrying, etc. They have heavy duty bodies and are limited to levels 1 to 4.
- Maintenance Robots: Maintenance robots clean areas, oil machines, watch for breakdowns and malfunctions, etc. They use standard bodies and are limited to levels 1 to 4. They cannot do actual repairs.
- Robot Brains: Robot brains are robot managers. They usually command other types of robots. They have heavy duty bodies plus the computer link program. All robot brains are level 6.
- Security Robots: Security robots serve as both guards and police. They have standard bodies and the restrain program. They are limited to levels 2 to 6.
- Service Robots: Service robots are used as servants. They work as store clerks, information sources, gardeners, tailors, etc. Service robots have anthropomorphic bodies modelled after whichever race they serve. They cannot be mistaken for a living person, however. These robots are limited to levels 3 to 6.
- Warbots: Warbots are intelligent war machines. They often command combat robots. They have heavy duty bodies and the attack/defense and search & destroy programs. They are limited to levels 5 to 6.
There are six levels of robots. A robot's level indicates how complex it is. High-level robots can perform more complicated jobs.
- Level 1 robots can do only simple jobs. They have been pre-programmed for some specific job and usually cannot do any other job. They cannot communicate, and often are nothing more than moving, self-operated appliances. An example of a level 1 robot is a maintenance robot that washes and waxes the floors of a building each night.
- Level 2 robots can handle several simple jobs. They can receive and follow radio commands in binary machine language sent from some other machine, such as a robot brain or a computer. An example of a level 2 robot is a heavy machine that digs into and smashes up rock, then separates out flecks of gold.
- Level 3 robots can do more complicated jobs. In addition, all robots that are level 3 or higher can talk and follow verbal instructions. If these instructions disagree with the robot's programming, it will ignore the orders.
- Level 4 robots can act semi-independently. Their programs are flexible, letting the robot accomplish specific goals using different methods. When asked, "How do I get to the starport?" one level 4 service robot might give verbal directions, while another might photocopy a city map and mark the proper route on it.
- Level 5 robots can act independently and give orders to other robots (level 6 robots can do this also). For example, a level 5 security robot might decide to stop chasing a criminal because the criminal left victims tied up in a burning house. The robot could organize a rescue mission of other robots.
- Level 6 robots are self-programming. They can change the methods they use and even their goals to account for changing conditions. They are almost, but not quite, living machines. A robot brain that runs an automated manufacturing plant and alters the manufacturing process in response to changing economic conditions is an example of a level 6 robot.
When a robot is built, the designer must give it a body type, a way to move, a way to manipulate objects and programming. Special items can be added at additional cost.
Mission & Function
All robots have a mission. A mission is a set of rules that tell the robot what its job is. A robot's mission is the most important order it has, and overrides any orders that conflict with it.
All robots have several functions that tell them how to accomplish their mission. Low-level robots cannot make decisions, so their functions must be very specific statements. Higher-level robots can make decisions for themselves, so their functions can be more general statements.
For example, a level 3 security robot might have the mission: "Stop all unauthorized personnel from entering this building." Its functions could define "stop" as giving intruders a warning, then using the Restrain program to keep them from entering. "All unauthorized personnel" could be defined as any person or machine that is not wearing a special badge. The robot must be given a function that defines "this building," and another that tells it what areas it must patrol to look for intruders. Another function could instruct it to call the police and report the break-in after an intruder has been restrained.
Programs are a combination of software suites and the hardware required that permit a robot to do things beyond basic unskilled/semi-skilled labor.
- Security Lock - A security feature that must be defeated before any unauthorized roboticist can make any alterations to the robot's programming. This program may be installed on any robot regardless of level.
Only level 2 or higher robots may be equipped with the following programs:
- Restrain - The robot can both defend itself and attack, but cannot use any lethal weapon.
- Self Defense - The robot can fight back if attacked in melee.
- Attack/Defense - The robot can fight using the same type of weapons as a character, and can be equipped with an albedo suit and a screen (with its own power supply). The robot can use lethal weapons.
Only level 4 or higher robots may be equipped with the following programs:
- Search and Destroy - The robot can perform combat missions that include tracking down its target. Arobot must have the Attack/Defense program to use this program.
- Computer Link - This program enables a robot to communicate directly with a computer using a tight-beam, long-range communicator. This gives it access to all the information in the computer.
Some advanced level 6 cybernetic robots have been known to incorporate the following program:
- Bio-electric Circuits - The robot has limited intelligence (INT/LOG 25/75) and an artificial personality (PER/LDR 25/20). It can develop these abilities over time, and even learn new skills.
All body types come with two manipulative limbs (included in cost). These can be mechanical arms, tentacles, or specialized limbs for digging through rock or mounting tools. Parabatteries are sold separately.
- Light robot bodies come in all shapes. They are generally smaller than the average person, but may be built of lighter materials, approximating the size, though not the mass, of a Standard Body robot. They weigh 50 kg (62.5 kg with parabattery) and have 50 Stamina points. A Light Body is powered by a Type 0 Parabattery.
- Standard robot bodies come in all shapes. They are about the size of an average person — ether around 1.5 meters squared or 2 meters tall — weigh 100 kg (125 kg with parabattery) and have 100 Stamina points. A standard body is powered by a Type 1 Parabattery.
- Heavy duty robot bodies also are available in any shape, but they are about the size of a ground car and weigh about 500 kg (550 kg with parabattery). A heavy duty robot has 500 Stamina points, and is powered by a Type 2 Parabattery.
- Anthropomorphic robot bodies look like one of the four major races. They weigh roughly 100 kg (150 kg with parabattery) and have 100 Stamina points. They are powered by a Type 2 Parabattery.
|Robot Movement Table|
Basic Movement: All body types can be equipped with wheels, tracks or mechanical legs, whichever the designer wants (included in cost of robot body).
Under normal conditions, most robots move 10 meters/turn (6 kph). They can travel much faster, however. Top speeds for various types of robots are shown on the adjoining table.
A robot can be given additional arms and legs, a different means of movement, special equipment or special programs. Every two additions picked from the Special Program, Altered Movement or Extra Limbs tables increase the size and cost of the robot's body by 10%.
- EXAMPLE: Sheeta Starfox is customizing a combat robot. Her standard combat robot has a standard body (2,000 Cr), the attack/defense special program (1,000 Cr) and is level 4 (2,000 Cr). It originally cost 5,000 Cr. Sheeta wants to add the Computer Link and Search and Destroy programs, rotor type movement and two additional pairs of standard limbs. The size and cost of the robot's body must be increased 30% (2,600 Cr). The Search and Destroy program costs 3,000 Cr and the Computer Link program costs 4,000 Cr. Rotor movement cost another 5,000 Cr and the additional arms cost 1,600 Cr. The customized robot will cost Sheeta 19,200 Cr (14,200 Cr more than the standard robot). The robot weighs 155 kg (or 130 kg without its battery), but still has only 100 Stamina points.
Robot Price Guide
Basic Robot Price List:
Custom Components List: (Cost in Credits)
Altered Movement Modes
A robot cannot attack unless it has a restrain, self defense or attack/defense program.
A robot gets one melee attack for every pair of limbs it has. If the robot uses a weapon, it causes whatever damage is normal for that weapon. If the robot attacks without a weapon, light limbs cause 1d10 points of damage, standard and anthropomorphic limbs cause 2d10 points of damage and heavy duty limbs cause 6d10 points of damage. A robot using a ranged weapon is treated exactly the same as a character, and is subject to all the ranged combat rules.
A robot's basic chance to hit is 30% plus 10 x the robot's level (factored in the table on the side). This number is used in both ranged combat and melee. A robot's Initiative modifier is its level plus three. Other modifiers apply as usual. Remote weapon systems usually are controlled by computers using Robot Management programs.
Notes & References
Information cited from Alpha Dawn Expanded Rulebook.
- ↑ Robots with Restrain programming may use weapons that have both a lethal and non-lethal setting, such as Electric Shock Weapons, but may only use the non-lethal setting. If this is not possible, it will not use the weapon.
- ↑ Robots with Restrain programming will not use an incapacitating weapon if this will result in the potential death of the target, such as if the target is on a narrow ledge hundreds of meters off the ground. Naturally, higher-level robots are better at making these judgement calls than lower level robots.
- ↑ Unless the robot in anthropomorphic, this "suit" is actually albedo-treated plating or coating that functions exactly like an albedo suit.
- ↑ Robots not equipped with the A/D program can be fitted with/wear albedo suits, but since they are not programmed to compensate for its presence, gain only half the benefit: the suit absorbs only half the damage of the laser (round down), with the remaining damage inflicted upon the robot.
- ↑ Not included in base cost.
- ↑ By definition, this would require line-of-sight with the computer, one of its terminals or one of its communication nodes, assuming it has the Communications program.
- ↑ And vice-versa.
- ↑ Baralou Ap-Reverchan of the Moneyspider, from SFAD-5: Bugs in the System.
- ↑ Baralou Ap-Reaverchan, from the module Bugs in the System, has Astrogation - 4, presumably with the prerequisite Computer-6.
- ↑ About 11 mph
- ↑ About 22 mph
- ↑ About 34 mph
- ↑ About 45 mph
- ↑ Standard and Heavy Duty body-type robots with jetcopter movement modes are unsuitable for indoor use.