These aren’t the droids I’m looking for…

So, though my gaming has been pretty sparse of late, I’ve been on a bit of a Traveller kick. (Books 1-3, no Third Imperium, thankyouverymuch) Traveller was, actually, the first RPG I every owned, played, or spent money on. And it was all kicked off by Understanding Traveller.

In fact, I’ve gone and pretty much completed a project I worked on back in 2004 and 2005: creating my own compiled Classic Traveller rules. My plan back then was to put together an nearly-exact duplicate of the Little Black Books, then modify them with various house rules and a few expansions such as Supplement 4, Mayday, and Snapshot. I got quite a ways through it before running out of time and steam, and the files have sat untouched for over half a decade. But a couple of months ago I “dusted them off” and have pretty much finished up.

My plan now is to go straight into “Kilgore’s version” of the game, but that version will be very close to Books 1-3 plus Supplement 4. No Snapshot. No Mayday. Virtually no house rules. (Though I do plan to use the range band starship combat from Starter Traveller instead of the Book 2 vector system.)

One thing I am going to add, though, is some sort of robot rule system. But after looking at Book 8, the rules in the Journal of the Travellers’ Aid Society, and even those in Dragon Magazine #64. Heck, I even checked MegaTraveller. But none of those appear to be what I’m looking for. They’re all too complex and don’t really seem to “fit” well with Book 1-3 Classic Traveller where you can design whole starships with only a few pages of rules and tables.

I’m thinking that a few pages of rules which interact with the character rules sounds about right, making robots a special sort of NPC and not really an entire system unto themselves. But maybe I’m off base.

What do other Traveller players do for robots?

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4 Responses to These aren’t the droids I’m looking for…

  1. ze bulette says:

    Woohoo! A fellow blogger who’s also keen on Traveller of late. I’ve been thinking of ‘bots too, wanting to stat something up but not owning or having seen anything that might provide guidance. Thanks for saving me a post, I hope to see some suggestions here.

  2. ze bulette says:

    I like the idea of using the character gen rules somehow to roll up robots. The whole history and re-enlistment cycle would be unnecessary. Simplifying the customization and cost options sounds might be tricky though if you’re going to allow a player to craft their own special robot buddy.

    Turns out I do have Dragon #64 and took a look at the article there. I see what you mean – I assume Book 8 is even worse. Rather than developing new rules, maybe you could just see how long it takes to roll/stat up a line of Acme robots that fulfill the low/medium/high end options for different duties (guard, janitor, etc.) X-Plorers handles it somewhat like this, by just making a “Standard/Good/Advanced AI” robot with much more limited customization options. Just say that they’re the only models currently available where your players are located. Customization and upgradeability is already becoming less available IRL (see the iPad). Highly Customized robots running open source code are likely hacked units – way more rare, expensive, and possibly illegal.

    You might even be able to break it down to something like your Labyrinth Minions depending on how standardized your robots are.

  3. JDjarvis says:

    I used to treat them like regular characters or like animals depending on how important they were and what TL they were. At least once I did a TL based robot development chart but that’s long gone.

  4. Telecanter says:

    I think a development chart that focussed on different owners would be fun. Maybe some owners take lousy care of their bots. And of course there should be a chance of getting re-purposed.

    I was also always a fan of more organic human-like machines, like Bishop in Alien. If they can pass as human they might have all sorts of career opportunities.

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