Friday, June 24, 2016

The Robot Apocalypse is Coming

So evidently robots are now escaping from their captors: Russian Robot Makes Run Again.

You know, this just makes me want to create a top 10 list of robots (or maybe just technological inventions) that are moving us closer to serving future robot overlords. Here are some entries into that list (in no particular order).

1. Geminoid - How robots are going to replace us in the future.*
2. ACM-R5 - Yes, the Hydrobots from Terminator Salvation really exist.
3. Kuratas - While technically a mecha or exoskeleton-type robot, this robot is notable for it's "grin activated" weapon firing system, see more HERE.
4. Megabot Mark II - Since the Japanese have their entry into the mini-mecha market, here's the American competitor (literally).
5. ComicCon Robot - Mech, Exo, Autonomous Robot, who cares, this thing scores points. Also a hit with the ladies.
6. EATR - The name pretty much says it all, this is a robot that can eat people to fuel itself. See also HERE
7. TALON SWORDS - Not autonomous *YET*, but still mobile weapon platforms.
8. BigDog - This robot design may not have made it in the military's books, but it still looks like what the robots will be to replace pack animals and mounts. (See also BigDog's newer cousins, only a GOOGLE search away.)
9. Robokiyu - Coming to you once again from Japan, this body disposal robot comes in a wonderful Soylent Green paint job.
10. HitchBOT - So now we have hitchhiking killer robots. Looks like this one got capped on the streets of Philly though.

Honorable Mentions:
Cheerleading Robots.
Real-Life Robots That Will One Day Enslave Humanity, Ranked has some interesting entries, such as entries 9 (stabbing motion robot), 8 (Torso-Less Shopping Cart Bot), 6 (Karate Kid Bot), and 2 (Heebie-Jeebie-Inducing Spider Bot) [Looks like evil Gene Simmons will be able to afford that gun with the body heat seeking bullets after all].
Sparring Robot, just need two of these for Rock'em Sock'em Robot Action.
Pole Dancing Robots - For all those soon to be robosexuals out there.
I suppose I should mention ASIMO, but the dwarf spaceman look is kinda meh.
I should also probably mention the ROOMBA, but those things scare me.

*I should note that it seems the Japanese currently hold the record for "creepiest" life-like robots.

Mutant Crawl Classics

So, there's a Kickstarter for a new post apocalyptic role-playing game, using the Dungeon Crawl Classics system, called Mutant Crawl Classics. (Take a preview peek HERE.) I've taken a look at it, and while it *IS* one of the few kickstarter projects I've felt like backing (oddly, most of the Kickstarters I would have backed always seemed to be finished backing by the time I find out about them), I'm not really in a position to back it at this time. Which is somewhat of a pity, since it looks like it might be a decent PA game, for the most part.

I do however, have some additional thoughts and opinions on the game. First off, I'll be honest, I picked up DCC because it looked like it had some interesting ideas to pick up for my own games; things like 0-level funnel, some of the core mechanics (though the ones I use predate DCC, and are often obvious and common D&D-derivatives), level titles (I L-O-V-E level titles, the idea that there is a rank hierarchy may or may not be the basis for level titles, but using level titles as a short hand for how experienced a character (player or non-player) is can be quite useful, not to mention I feel it adds some depth to any setting), additional thief abilities, Fumbles & Crits (though I'm still a bit tempted to use ChartRolemaster tables for that purpose), and some other odds and ends. On the other hand though, DCC has some systems that I either don't care for (Luck Score...I generally consider the dice roll used in a game to constitute "luck" and don't use special snowflake systems like "Luck," "Fate," "Karma," etc. that can alter die rolls) or I think are freaking stupid ("Funky Dice," odd-numbered dice like d3, d5, and d7 as well as even-number dice like d14 and d16 are fairly pointless*). Given my somewhat neutral stance on the DCC system then, my interest in Mutant Crawl Classics will obviously lie in the direction of what I can use in my own games, rather than as a go-to game system for Post Apocalyptic Adventures.

I have to say that the Level-0 Character Professions table in the preview PDF was extremely underwhelming, I'm hoping that it is a placeholder for a much better table, though judging by the table fluff, it looks more like a deliberate design decision. I'm not a real fan of the whole "post-nuclear caveman" basis (even in Gamma World or Mutant Future), but I can work with it (especially after recently watching America 3000). I'm also one of those folks that think race-as-class is stupid, so I wasn't impressed with it's inclusion in MCC, though it was expected. I also wasn't thrilled that there wasn't a race-as-class for robots/androids/cyborgs (though I do like the addition of Holograms); since I consider mechanical beings as an essential part of the whole Human-Animal-Vegetable-Mineral(Mechanical) spread I like to see for Post Apocalyptic playability. I do hope that the "Manimals" & "Plantients" in the game have ample coverage, since so many existing PA RPGs fail in that department (let's face it, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness/After the Bomb RPG is still one of the top PA games for playing mutant animals because it's mutant animal selection & coverage are so extensive; the only other RPG I've seen that comes close is The Mutant Epoch, though Wisdom from the Wastelands #51 for Mutant Future does a fair job of filling that out...though both of these offerings have poor plant coverage). As far as the wetware programs=magic shtick, I'm somewhat on the fence, I do prefer the "psychic powers" approach for my PA settings, and I'm completely unsold on "mental constructs and databases of knowledge" for spells, but some sort of quantum/nanobot magic system wouldn't feel too out of place. I did feel that the Patron AI idea was very Planet Psychon though (don't read anything into that, it just invokes the same kind of vibe). The Archaic Alignments idea looks interesting, as some sort of "Cryptic Alliance" feature.

I do have to wonder why William McAusland is doing artwork for it, INSTEAD of working on his own The Mutant Epoch RPG (not that including artwork he's done is a *bad* thing, I'd just rather see more stuff for TME, especially since it seems he's been working more on TME novels than RPG supplements lately :( ). I also have to admit, when I first heard about Mutant Crawl Classics, I figured the author would be Reid San Filippo, since his Crawling Under a Broken Moon fanzine for DCC already encompasses so many different Post Apocalyptic bits and pieces for DCC *shrug*. The stretch goals do have some possibilities, but I think there's too many "adventure module" stretch goals and some of those utility stretch goals (say GM Screen and Data Orb) should replace some of them.

*There are uses for the fairly pointless dice, NOT by themselves (rolling a d3 for example can easily be accomplished by rolling a d6 and dividing the result by half, or rolling 1d4-1), but in the area of random weapon damage, by expanding the roll range of damage of weapons. Also rolling something like 3d5 can give you a different result distribution than 3d6 or 3d4. However, odd additional dice for the sake of being "edgy" or "different" doesn't really do it for me.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves

A simple table of post apocalyptic fighting pits and gladitorial arenas.
Roll Location
01 Backyard Swimming Pool
02 Ball Pit
03 Ballpark
04 Basketball Court
05 Bear Pit
06 Bullring
07 Caged Pit
08 Children's Wading Pool
09 Community Swimming Pool
10 Doomsday Cage/Tower of Doom
11 Electrified Fighting Cage
12 Fighting Cage
13 Fighting Octagon
14 Fighting Pit
15 Gravel Pit/Quarry
16 Half-pipe/Skate Park
17 Hazardous Pit
18 Horse Track
19 Horse/Cattle Corral
20 Ice Hockey Rink
21 Inflatable Castle
22 Jousting Tilt-Yard
23 Jungle Gym
24 Jungle/Forest Clearing
25 Kickboxing Ring
26 Medieval Times Restaurant
27 Mesoamerican Ballcourt
28 Moated Enclosure
29 Murdermaze
30 Natural Amphitheater
31 Olympic Swimming Pool
32 Race Track
33 Ring of Fire
34 Robot Arena
35 Rodeo Arena
36 Roller Rink
37 Roman Amphitheater/Gladiatorial Arena
38 School Gymnasium
39 School Playing Field
40 Sports Arena
41 Stadium
42 Stone Circle
43 Storm Water Detention Basin
44 Sumo Ring
45 Swamp/Marsh Hummock/Island
46 Tennis Court
47 Thunderdome
48 Volleyball Court
49 Wrestling/Boxing Ring
50 Zoo Enclosure