Flexbots - Draft 1 - Open Discussion

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AdamJury AdamJury's picture
Flexbots - Draft 1 - Open Discussion

The Flexbots chapter is now available for download here: http://eclipsephase.com/downloads/transhumanplaytest_Flexbots_may17.pdf

General discussion here, playtest questions and responses at this link: http://eclipsephase.com/flexbots-draft-1-playtest-q-responses-only

CodeBreaker CodeBreaker's picture
It is 4 in the morning so

It is 4 in the morning so only my first impressions for now.

Yup, this is basically how I expected them to be handled. It seems to be a better written version of how I basically use them already. There are a few things that I am going to need to reread when I am not half concious, but nothing jumped out at as terrible.

Oh, it says somewhere that an example morph would have an attitude maximum of 45, which isn't possible. Also, the Fighter and the Engineer should be renamed to something more fantasy-esque, like Knight and Sapper.

-

OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
I'd like to begin my comments

I'd like to begin my comments by saying;

AAAAAAAAGH! OMGOMG!OMG!!! THANK YOU! OMGICAN'TBREATHE! OMG IF someone doesn't run a homebrew Transformers/EP crossover for me RIGHT FRIKEN now I am just Going to DIE! i m so happee! (I get to be the Stunticons)

I also feel that I must say;
[Points finger at Kindalas] Bwwaaaahaaaahaaahahaha! Put *that* in your sheet and smokeit :D

Now that I have that out of my system...
There's much to love here and a couple of problems.

I'm waiting to post my comments to the questions thread because I'm hoping one of the other critics here can walk me through the implications of Boosted Speed combined with Mental Speed, combined with Jamming and a +10 Coo Bonus.

I'm seeing an effectively unlimited number of ranged attacks per turn. Is anyone else getting that?

Also I'm a little pissed about the Brain Cylinder Implant. I heartily applaud this sideways support for biomorphs in the setting but that +20 on integration should apply to all biomorphs. This gear just made it easier to sleeve from a splicer to a synth with a wet brain than it would be to switch to an exalt. That makes no sense.

Well I'm off to build characters again, singin ma song;
(Transformers--More than Meets the EYE--AutoBots wage thier BATTLE to DesTroy the Evil FORCES of--the DECEPtacons)

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

kindalas kindalas's picture
OneTrikPony wrote:I'd like to

OneTrikPony wrote:
I'd like to begin my comments by saying;

AAAAAAAAGH! OMGOMG!OMG!!! THANK YOU! OMGICAN'TBREATHE! OMG IF someone doesn't run a homebrew Transformers/EP crossover for me RIGHT FRIKEN now I am just Going to DIE! i m so happee! (I get to be the Stunticons)

I also feel that I must say;
[Points finger at Kindalas] Bwwaaaahaaaahaaahahaha! Put *that* in your sheet and smokeit :D

Now that I have that out of my system...
There's much to love here and a couple of problems.

I'm waiting to post my comments to the questions thread because I'm hoping one of the other critics here can walk me through the implications of Boosted Speed combined with Mental Speed, combined with Jamming and a +10 Coo Bonus.

I'm seeing an effectively unlimited number of ranged attacks per turn. Is anyone else getting that?

Also I'm a little pissed about the Brain Cylinder Implant. I heartily applaud this sideways support for biomorphs in the setting but that +20 on integration should apply to all biomorphs. This gear just made it easier to sleeve from a splicer to a synth with a wet brain than it would be to switch to an exalt. That makes no sense.

Well I'm off to build characters again, singin ma song;
(Transformers--More than Meets the EYE--AutoBots wage thier BATTLE to DesTroy the Evil FORCES of--the DECEPtacons)

I have a plan already.

I am a Moderator of this Forum
My mod voice is red.

The Eclipse Phase Character sheet is downloadable here:
Get it here!

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
OneTrikPony wrote:

OneTrikPony wrote:

Well I'm off to build characters again, singin ma song;
(Transformers--More than Meets the EYE--AutoBots wage thier BATTLE to DesTroy the Evil FORCES of--the DECEPtacons)

I have my Ugress - Decepticons on my common playlist :)

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Size description and volume

Size description or volume is all wrong. 300 litres is the size of a small cow, not a large dog. I expect volume.

Then you have a utility cluster listed as .1 metres to a side, which would make it 1 litre, but listed as 100 litres.

Aside from the wonky volume listings, do you really want them with a density of only 0.1 kg/litre or so? That's a REALLY low density. You list them as not being buoyant, which they'd be in water even under 10g. Or is it because they are filled with empty space between internal components and not watertight?

Mephil Mephil's picture
CodeBreaker wrote:

CodeBreaker wrote:

Oh, it says somewhere that an example morph would have an attitude maximum of 45, which isn't possible.

This. Whoever wrote it needs to get their shit together. Core states clearly that any aptitude maximum over 40 is impossible. If it were, then why wouldn't the ultimates all sleeve in flexbots?

Using exceptional aptitude on a morph with max apt 35 would only give it a +5 increase to 40. And morphs with max apt 40 can't even take it. Or rather, if they did it wouldn't do anything, because all their max aptitudes are already exceptional.

The new Ultimate! edition of my digitally saveable extended character sheet!

Myrtle Myrtle's picture
I suggest a merge of the

I suggest a merge of the Brain Cylinder and the Brain Box (from the New Morphs chapter). They are basically the same thing with different rules and costs.

As for high vs. medium costs:
Seeing as this is THE classic cyborg shell, I would say it's a kinda old technology in Eclipse Phase. The predecessor of just resleeving into a new body would have been transplanting your original brain. Therefore, I would tend to the cheaper option. On the other hand, a cyberbrain is a moderately priced item and seeing how it can be mass produced while a biological brain must be grown it makes sense for the biological version to be more expensive.
How about this - putting your old biological brain from another morph into the box can be done for moderate costs while purchasing the box with a new brain inside will be more expensive (i.e. high).

Madwand Madwand's picture
I'm not fond of the "Repair

I'm not fond of the "Repair Hive". It's a step backwards in technology: an Expensively-priced mod that can already be duplicated by keeping a repair nanoswarm worn on the body or in an internal compartment? Or just spraying oneself down with repair spray every once in a while (activated when needed)? There are a lot of other mods in recent books that have done this as well, written (apparently) by authors that don't have a good sense of what Eclipse Phase technology is already capable of when used by someone clever.

LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
I have one response: Throw it

I have one response: Throw it all out.

Well, not all of it. Some of this is very good. I just happen to object to the principle/paradigm behind the flexbot rules. I don't think these rules indicate what being a flexbot is all about. (And some of the rules are simply bad, and should be thrown out even if you disagree with my flexbot-paradigm.)

So I guess I don't have one response. I have a long and complicated, multifaceted response that is heavily dependent on what the authors actually want to do with their supplement.

My main issue is that when I first read the description of the Flexbot, I thought of this, such as this one and especially this one. And, while the art for Eclipse Phase can, at times, be misleading (the description of the Reaper says "disc", while the art is of a sphere...) the Flexbot in Sunward seemed to imply to me I was on the right track.

And then we get to Shape Adjusting. And Shape Adjusting is weird. Because with shape adjusting, I can give any robot that has it any mechanical mobility system, meaning I can give the Liquid Steel a helicopter rotor. Of course, no GM would allow me to do that, but you generally don't want the rules to say "and the GM has to arbiter what we mean". I didn't imagine that the Flexbot literally changed the shape of its structure to give itself hovercraft capabilities, or spontaneously spawned legs to walk on; I imagine that each flexbot module had a built-in hovercraft, and a built-in wheels, and when combined with other modules, could use a module as a leg; see the art in Sunward for an example; the Flexbot is using its modules to walk on.

I didn't imagine that the flexbot could grow rotors, or extra arms, or disguise itself as a Steel. So letting Shape Adjustment do all these things, with the specific intent of giving it to a flexbot, doesn't really mesh with my idea of what a flexbot is, and it doesn't really evoke what it seems to have been inspired by. It doesn't even encourage in-game use of the actual flexbot main feature, which is to change the configuration of your body around for fun effects; you no longer change your flexbot to have legs, you just grow them from any random module.

So there's a disconnect there, between what the shape-adjusting flexbot is presented as, and what I feel it should be - or any shape-adjusting synthmorph, for that matter; the Liquid Steel, I feel, shouldn't be able to spontaneously grow wheels, and the Reaper shouldn't be able to suddenly sport yet another set of tentacles.

----

The Wizard has +10 COG.

Seriously. Stop that.

Here's a list of morphs non-biological morphs that should be allowed to have +10 COG: the Savant.

The Savant gets to have +10 COG because it's purpose, in-setting, is to be the only synthmorph that lets you get +10 COG. It's an advanced project, and since the kind of hardware that lets you boost Aptitudes, especially COG, is verifiably not commonplace (the Savant and Menton being noteworthy for that very fact, for one, the fact that all synthmorphs don't have +5 to all Aptitudes, for another), and not simple.

Furthermore, there's the issue of the rather nasty power-escalation inherent in making +10 become the new "norm" for morph Aptitude bonuses.

Likewise, both the Fighter and the Rogue have +10 COO. Now, +10 to COO isn't necessarily a sin, since its pretty unexplored territory (the only worthwhile morph to have it is the Ghost), but if flexbots are to receive this kind of thing, only one type of core should receive it; flexbots aren't, as far as I can tell, supposed to have COO bonuses as their "thing" (uplifts have INT as their "thing", for example - though I can't tell why...), so they shouldn't be the go-to morph class when looking for COO bonuses.

----

  • There's no way to build the Flexbot using the Modules provided. The Yeoman is, seemingly, the default Flexbot, but it's only one Module; I need five other Modules to make a Flexbot, yet there's no "basic Cluster" I can buy, and buying five more Yeomen will, for one, cost me more CP than a Flexbot does, and more importantly, give my morph a DUR of 150.
  • Utility clusters may only possess the Inchworm mobility system unless they're swarms. The Bouba UC has the Snake mobility cluster, and is hence an illegal build.
  • Ditchdigger is given no indication of what it does, except for its name. If the name is indicative, I'd like to note that nanomachines are perhaps the single least effective way to dig a hole; it would be digging a hole by lifting away grains of sand one by one.
  • What, exactly, makes having a Grimoire so useful in performing Interfacing tests?
  • Lockpick is supposed to be excellent for use with the Rogue... but doesn't have Chameleon Skin, making the Rogue's Chameleon Skin rather useless if the two are used together.
  • Similarly, the Longbow's Reflex Booster is rather superfluous when the Fighter doesn't have any bonus speed.
----

The DUR ratings, in general, are rather high. If a flexbot is supposed to have a DUR equal to the sum of its Modules, then the corebook Flexbot probably has one 5 DUR module and five 4 DUR modules, or 1x10 DUR+5x3 DUR, or something similar. As written, if I want to build a six-Module Flexbot, it is literally impossible to get it below 60 DUR - the realm of the Reaper, and something with which the simplest, cheapest flexbot simply shouldn't even approach thinking about contending with.

@-rep +2
C-rep +1

OneTrikPony OneTrikPony's picture
I really hate to say this but

I really hate to say this but LatwPIAT makes good points.

I've read through this tried to build characters and started Q&A posts several times but I just can't make sense of it. While these rules would be great for a homebrew cartoon crossover I really can't see what any of this has to do with EP. It would be useless in my actual game because this, like much of the proposed material for transhuman, ignores the game and invalidates the core book while doing nothing to support the setting as described in the core.

Frankly I'm surprised that this draft got public in a form that makes the core flexbot impossible. That's What you were supposed to be fixing.

Please try again. Start with description of what the Core flex bot is and how it works then build on that.

Mea Culpa: My mode of speech can make others feel uninvited to argue or participate. This is the EXACT opposite of what I intend when I post.

ScienceGuy ScienceGuy's picture
Additional thoughts

I agree with the above comments about the base flexbot from the main rulebook - it should definitely be possible to build this using the new rules!

In fact, I think it would be very nice to have a few example flexbot morphs presented (i.e. a set of modules that go together to comprise a flexbot morph). The base flexbot morph should be one of these. This would be very helpful for anyone who wants to have a flexbot morph, but doesn't want to engage so much with the added complexity of the rules for them.

One possible simplifcation/abstraction (thinking about the issue of DUR): if flexbots are going to be comprised of 'core' and 'cluster' modules anyway, why not rule that DUR is determined solely by the 'core' module, and have the 'cluster' modules just add functionality?

Perhaps each Core can only run a max of 2-3 (or whatever) Cluster modules.

This would then allow a simple table for the physical size of the resulting flexbot. For example:

1 Core => about the size of a dog (hence counts as a small target)
2 cores => roughly person-sized
3 cores => large size trait (+10 to be hit)

etc.

Question: Should Cluster modules really have a full cyberbrain? Or should they be more limited than that? What about ruling that they're more limited than that, so they can be controlled remotely/jammed/given instructions, but not sleeved into?

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
LatwPIAT wrote:I have one

LatwPIAT wrote:
I have one response: Throw it all out.

Well, not all of it. Some of this is very good. I just happen to object to the principle/paradigm behind the flexbot rules. I don't think these rules indicate what being a flexbot is all about. (And some of the rules are simply bad, and should be thrown out even if you disagree with my flexbot-paradigm.)

So I guess I don't have one response. I have a long and complicated, multifaceted response that is heavily dependent on what the authors actually want to do with their supplement.

My main issue is that when I first read the description of the Flexbot, I thought of this, such as this one and especially this one. And, while the art for Eclipse Phase can, at times, be misleading (the description of the Reaper says "disc", while the art is of a sphere...) the Flexbot in Sunward seemed to imply to me I was on the right track.

And then we get to Shape Adjusting. And Shape Adjusting is weird. Because with shape adjusting, I can give any robot that has it any mechanical mobility system, meaning I can give the Liquid Steel a helicopter rotor. Of course, no GM would allow me to do that, but you generally don't want the rules to say "and the GM has to arbiter what we mean". I didn't imagine that the Flexbot literally changed the shape of its structure to give itself hovercraft capabilities, or spontaneously spawned legs to walk on; I imagine that each flexbot module had a built-in hovercraft, and a built-in wheels, and when combined with other modules, could use a module as a leg; see the art in Sunward for an example; the Flexbot is using its modules to walk on.

I didn't imagine that the flexbot could grow rotors, or extra arms, or disguise itself as a Steel. So letting Shape Adjustment do all these things, with the specific intent of giving it to a flexbot, doesn't really mesh with my idea of what a flexbot is, and it doesn't really evoke what it seems to have been inspired by. It doesn't even encourage in-game use of the actual flexbot main feature, which is to change the configuration of your body around for fun effects; you no longer change your flexbot to have legs, you just grow them from any random module.

So there's a disconnect there, between what the shape-adjusting flexbot is presented as, and what I feel it should be - or any shape-adjusting synthmorph, for that matter; the Liquid Steel, I feel, shouldn't be able to spontaneously grow wheels, and the Reaper shouldn't be able to suddenly sport yet another set of tentacles.

The way I imagine it, the shape adjusting is nanomachines that can take on a variety of shapes. It doesn't have much strength or mobility though. On a Liquid Steel morph, it covers the frame and has shape adjusting - it can change shape, make pockets, the morph could lie on the ground and the shape adjusting could make it crawl snail/inchworm style, all sorts of stuff, but any "heavy lifting" and fast movement is done by the morph frame.

The flexbot on the other hand carries a lot of different mechanical componets inside. The components can be moved about by the shape adjusting nanostuff and linked together. These components are actuators, axles, bars, rotorblade hubs, etc. that can do the "heavy lifting" and fast movement.

So instead of a humanoid frame covered in shape adjusting nanomachines like the Liquid Steel, you have a bag of mechanical components ready for reassembly floating inside shape adjusting nanomachines.

Quote:

----

The Wizard has +10 COG.

Seriously. Stop that.

Here's a list of morphs non-biological morphs that should be allowed to have +10 COG: the Savant.

The Savant gets to have +10 COG because it's purpose, in-setting, is to be the only synthmorph that lets you get +10 COG. It's an advanced project, and since the kind of hardware that lets you boost Aptitudes, especially COG, is verifiably not commonplace (the Savant and Menton being noteworthy for that very fact, for one, the fact that all synthmorphs don't have +5 to all Aptitudes, for another), and not simple.

Furthermore, there's the issue of the rather nasty power-escalation inherent in making +10 become the new "norm" for morph Aptitude bonuses.

Likewise, both the Fighter and the Rogue have +10 COO. Now, +10 to COO isn't necessarily a sin, since its pretty unexplored territory (the only worthwhile morph to have it is the Ghost), but if flexbots are to receive this kind of thing, only one type of core should receive it; flexbots aren't, as far as I can tell, supposed to have COO bonuses as their "thing" (uplifts have INT as their "thing", for example - though I can't tell why...), so they shouldn't be the go-to morph class when looking for COO bonuses.

I sort agree with this. There's been a tendency for power creep among synthmorphs, and now infomorphs too, where they enter what used to be biomorph territory.

I don't think it is all bad (flexbots, swarmanoids and infomorphs sucked with aptitude bonuses), but synthmorphs in general has some nifty advantages and the biomorphs seem to be a bit left out at present.

Quote:

[*]Ditchdigger is given no indication of what it does, except for its name. If the name is indicative, I'd like to note that nanomachines are perhaps the single least effective way to dig a hole; it would be digging a hole by lifting away grains of sand one by one.

Ditchdigger has form factor arms and legs and pneumatic limbs implant, allowing it to do some seriously heavy lifting (and so also digging). The nanomachines are in addition to that ability.

Quote:

The DUR ratings, in general, are rather high. If a flexbot is supposed to have a DUR equal to the sum of its Modules, then the corebook Flexbot probably has one 5 DUR module and five 4 DUR modules, or 1x10 DUR+5x3 DUR, or something similar. As written, if I want to build a six-Module Flexbot, it is literally impossible to get it below 60 DUR - the realm of the Reaper, and something with which the simplest, cheapest flexbot simply shouldn't even approach thinking about contending with.

The DUR rules for flexbots seem totally broken, yes.

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
OneTrikPony wrote:While these

OneTrikPony wrote:
While these rules would be great for a homebrew cartoon crossover I really can't see what any of this has to do with EP. It would be useless in my actual game because this, like much of the proposed material for transhuman, ignores the game and invalidates the core book while doing nothing to support the setting as described in the core.

Frankly I'm surprised that this draft got public in a form that makes the core flexbot impossible. That's What you were supposed to be fixing.

I don't see it that way at all. I think there are some issues with much of what has been presented, but nothing more than what's expected from a draft. There are some inconsistencies, a few silly things, some broken mechanics, some stuff seems too powerful, that sort of stuff. It's fixable.

But nothing that makes it seem like a cartoon crossover, or invalidates the core book once reasonable fixes are in. What parts are you thinking about?

On the basic flexbot being impossible: Maybe it is an oversight, but I've been developing a strategic computer game, and in the end of the project there is A LOT of finetuning you need to do to make everything fit together. At the point where you start doing that, you're past the point where you want to introduce any other changes. You can introduce changes early in the production cycle, and if you want in on that, you're just going to have to deal with some rough edges too. It might even be something as simple as the Yeoman cost just being incorrectly listed as 5 when it should be 25...

Smokeskin Smokeskin's picture
Regarding flexbot DUR, I've

Regarding flexbot DUR, I've been looking at it again, and I simply think the Yeoman was incorrectly listed as CP 5 where it should have been 25.

This pretty much makes them non-broken, doesn't it? Is a 4 Fighter core flexbot at 200 CP better than 2 Reapers at 200 CP?

Chernoborg Chernoborg's picture
i was thinking about

i was thinking about something similar to the DUR issue in regards to swarmanoids, especially the concerns over the new smart swarm being too powerful. My thoughts in that case were that you could the listed DUR as a pool and then use the average of a single unit and an amount of the total "risked" for a construct with the minimum DUR being that of a single unit. So a 30 DUR smart swarm of 5 DUR microbots could come together into a maximum 17 DUR object. This would reflect a larger object yet still made of essentially fragile pieces. Unfortunately all my other ideas for scaling this up are proving "inelegant" example: averaging the sum of smaller modules with the core . Back to the drawing board for me!

Current Status: Highly Distracted building Gatecrashing systems in Universe Sandbox!

nick012000 nick012000's picture
Uh, guys? The Flexbot in the

Uh, guys? The Flexbot in the Eclipse Phase Corebook is just a single Module. More specifically, it's basically the Engineer Core, minus the T-Ray Emitter and the Aptitude bonuses.

Incidentally, the Engineer Core could probably use some Enhanced Vision; it's got a T-Ray Emitter, but no way to see the T-Rays it's emitting.

+1 r-Rep , +1 @-rep

LatwPIAT LatwPIAT's picture
nick012000 wrote:Uh, guys?

nick012000 wrote:
Uh, guys? The Flexbot in the Eclipse Phase Corebook is just a single Module. More specifically, it's basically the Engineer Core, minus the T-Ray Emitter and the Aptitude bonuses.

The rules are, at best, extremely unclear whether the Flexbot in the core book is one Module or a combination of six Modules to form a "core frame". Going by the picture in Sunward and the fact that to buy a six-module basic flexbot would then require 150 CP, I remain doubtful.

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Acatalepsy Acatalepsy's picture
LatwPIAT wrote:The rules are,

LatwPIAT wrote:
The rules are, at best, extremely unclear whether the Flexbot in the core book is one Module or a combination of six Modules to form a "core frame". Going by the picture in Sunward and the fact that to buy a six-module basic flexbot would then require 150 CP, I remain doubtful.

I had someone want to do a flexbot, and he wanted to be a modular person with a synthetic skin - and at the time, I just sort of ran with it. Sunward wasn't out at the time, and I didn't have a strong vision of what a flexbot was. The core flexbot isn't clear on how to actually use it, and he didn't make much use of its capability or modularity, so this is very much needed.

I'm hoping some people in my playtest game (see the registry!) will make some use of flexbots, but in general I agree with Latw. This isn't quite "start over", but some more thought needs to be put into this. It might be necessary to issue at least some errata going along with Transhuman, to help smooth things over - though I can certainly understand the reluctance to do that.

This isn't a war ordinary humans can win. This is the future. Death's an inconvenience, now. Nothing more.

nick012000 nick012000's picture
LatwPIAT wrote:nick012000

LatwPIAT wrote:
nick012000 wrote:
Uh, guys? The Flexbot in the Eclipse Phase Corebook is just a single Module. More specifically, it's basically the Engineer Core, minus the T-Ray Emitter and the Aptitude bonuses.

The rules are, at best, extremely unclear whether the Flexbot in the core book is one Module or a combination of six Modules to form a "core frame". Going by the picture in Sunward and the fact that to buy a six-module basic flexbot would then require 150 CP, I remain doubtful.


Look at their stats, dude. They're nigh-on identical with the Engineer Module; presumable each Module is in turn composed of smaller "modules", though I can understand where the confusion might be setting in. Maybe the writers should either explicitly state that the corebook Flexbot is one Module, explain that each Module is itself composed of modular components, and/or change the name of Modules to remove the confusion.

Acatalepsy wrote:
I had someone want to do a flexbot, and he wanted to be a modular person with a synthetic skin - and at the time, I just sort of ran with it. Sunward wasn't out at the time, and I didn't have a strong vision of what a flexbot was. The core flexbot isn't clear on how to actually use it, and he didn't make much use of its capability or modularity, so this is very much needed.

Yeah. Personally, I had a guy who played a Flexbot that had bought the Swarm Composition Roboting Enhancement, and was basically identical to the Smart Swarm in concept (except that it became a Flexbot when the microbots combined, like the Replicators from Stargate). Speaking of which, the Smart Swarm probably needs the Shape Adjusting Robot Enhancement.

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