Saturday, December 21, 2013

Computers and Robots!

Futurist's Guide to Gadgets!
Volume 5!

Computers are essentially mental Gadgets possessing APs of BODY, INT, WILL, and MIND. INT represents the computer’s processor and speed, WILL its resistance to viruses and intrusions, and MIND the stability of its operating system and resistance to crashes and system failure.
Computers also always have the Recall power to represent their memory storage and ability to access information. Most computers in the modern age also have Radio Communications, reflecting their internet connectivity. Use this power for a connection that requires a human to do the operating and hacking. If the computer can do those things on its own, like many AIs can, use Cybertelepathy instead. Use both if both options are possible. 

A computer with the Split power can download itself into networked receptacles like pads, phones, robots, and helmets. Such devices must have the Radio Communication power to reflect their ability to contact the downloading computer.
Computers may have a limited ability to use various skills such as Detective or Science. Unless a computer is in control of some physical system, such as a robot, it will be unable to perform skills or powers which require any physical activity. A computer can use its skill to enhance the skill use of a character who also possesses the skill. In this case, reduce the OV/RV of the skill’s action checks by an amount equal to the computer’s APs of skill.
     Using the Spy (Hacking) subskill, a character may perform mental attacks on a computer. These attacks are described in the Hacking subskill entry earlier.

Robots are essentially computers with physical form. They have APs of DEX, STR, BODY, INT, WILL, and MIND. A robot with a humanoid appearance is called an android.
            Using the Spy (Hacking) subskill, a character may perform mental attacks on a robot if he has a remote way of doing so or some way of restricting the robot’s movements. These attacks are described in the Hacking subskill. However, robots are far more complex than computers, so a hacker suffers a +1 CS to the OV of all of his Hacking rolls against a robot.

Artificially Intelligent computers and robots (AIs for short) have APs of INFL, AURA and SPIRIT. AI gives a computer self-awareness. This computer then becomes an NPC played by the GM. The GM should be aware of the programming included in the computer. If the computer is programmed to obey its operator (which most are), only an extreme provocation could induce the computer to oppose the operator. A computer with AI may not enhance its own skill or powers use.
AIs can access the internet with Radio Communications or with Cybertelepathy, depending upon how independent they are. They also may possess Virtual Projection, reflecting their presence in the virtual world.

Robots do not possess emotions or personalities without an AI. An AI robot brain is called a Positronic Brain. Robots with positronic brains have INFL, AURA, and SPIRIT attributes. A robot with an AI is extremely hard to hack. Increase the OVs of Hacking attempts by +3 CS.

AI robots, like C-3PO, Red Tornado, or Vision, are designed as characters, not as Gadgets. If a character is building such a robot, do not divide the HP cost of it. The character must pay the full HP amount. Player character robots should always take the Altered Biology (Mechanical) drawback unless they are biotech robots (see the Biotech section).

Programmed to be Evil!
          Artificial Intelligences in comics frequently have sinister hidden programming in their brains. This should be treated as a Special Personality Change drawback worth 100 HPs. The change kicks in when the evil programmer activates the subversive program or the conditions arise that trigger the program. AIs can fight back against this by rolling AURA/WILL as AV/EV against an OV/RV equal to the APs of Gadgetry skill of the programmer that placed the evil into to AI. Success on this roll indicates that the AI may act independently for a time equal to the RAPs gained. If the RAPs equal or exceed the APs of Gadgetry, then the AI has broken free of the evil programming.
However, breaking free comes with its own problems. The AI can continue acting a number of phases equal to the RAPs of the attempt to break free. Then, all of its abilities burn out and must be recovered or repaired.
The Three Laws of Robotics.
Isaac Asimov more or less invented the idea of a robot, and when he did so, he assigned them 3 laws that restricted their behavior:
1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
2. A robot must obey orders given to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

Artificial Intelligences that obey these laws have the Three Laws of Robotics as a 25 HP Drawback. An AI that disobeys any of the 3 laws suffers feedback from it. This is resolved as an attack, with the AI’s own INT/WILL behaving as AV/EV and its INFL/AURA as OV/RV. RAPs of damage are applied to MIND.

Golems are a mystical robots designed by the Ritual Magic subskill. The golem does not necessarily have to be a golem, per se. It could be an animated suit of armor, a living scarecrow, a gargoyle, etc. NPC Golems are mindless: they have DEX, STR, BODY, INFL, AURA, and SPIRIT attributes. If a golem has mental attributes, then it should be created as a character, not as a Gadget. If a character is building such a golem, do not divide the HP cost of it. The character must pay the full HP amount.

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