Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

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DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

Does anyone have much experience with flexbots? It is something that has taken my interest again recently. I have been rereading the transhuman play test and comparing them to the released rules. However, there are some things that I'm still having difficulty with.

I have a few questions:
1. Does anyone use the rules in the Transhuman book? Do you use some other rule system? Do you make things up as needed?
2. Does the price of flexbots affect you using them? They aren't cheap so I imagine that it is difficult to get more than a few of them without running out of money (or favors).
3. Things like chameleon skin and synthetic mask require that every module in a flexbot to have that augment, or it doesn't work for the flexbot. Likewise, medichines only work for the host module. Has anyone had any problem with needing to buy the same augment multiple times?
4. I'm finding it difficult to justify why you should get a flexbot. The way their advantages work, I'm finding it difficult to determine why you should want to get a flexbot instead of getting a single large synthmorph with similar augments (including shape shifting). Aside from some min/maxing or munchkining ideas that I came up with, but I'm not sure if that would count as cheating.
5. Is there anything that you think that the rules didn't cover?

I suppose my big problem is with the modular construction augment, not the shape shifting augment. Any answers or help would be appreciated.

uwtartarus uwtartarus's picture
Modularity perhaps? I tried

Modularity perhaps? I tried giving one to one of my players, and make a subquest on acquiring more parts but we didn't get far into it.

Exhuman, and Humanitarian.

Kojak Kojak's picture
The latest player to join our

The latest player to join our group will be jocking a flexbot. Since he joined mid-campaign, I let him take a few modules and augments for free to bring him up to par with the rest of the group. Beyond that, though, I'll report in my findings after our next session in a couple weeks.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

Maudova Maudova's picture
Buy the Blueprint...

Acquire the Blueprint of the Flexbot you want.
Acquire the Blueprint of the augmentations you want.
Fab away. Have the self repairing, chameleon cloaking, shapshifting, running, flying, bot of guerilla doom!

~Alpha Fork Initialized.
P.S. I often post from my phone as I travel extensively for work. Please forgive typos and grammar issues.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
I do use the rules in

I do use the rules in Transhuman, though all of them rarely come up.

Flexbots are expensive enough that it's best to use favors to get blueprints IMO. If there isn't any access to nanofab, than using flexbots may be a bad idea.

The big advantages flexbots have over single large synths is that they have freakishly high durability when grouped. It only takes 2 Fighter flexbots to be as tough as a reaper. The real advantage is being able to have single modules preferentially take take damage, and then shed damaged modules to drop wounds. Because of these tricks, flexbots are way better at surviving damage than other morphs.

A lot of the implants which needs to be purchased multiple times can be replaced with gear, such as buying a chameleon cloak rather than getting chameleon coatings.

RAW, all of the super advanced tricks using shape adjusting which can be found in Transhuman apply only to flexbots, other morphs with shape adjusting (such as the Liquid Silver Steel morph) only get the base benefits, and cannot evolve new limbs or mobility systems. That's kind of a thin argument, but it gets rid of a lot of the weirdness of other morphs with shape adjusting.

Boomscatter is also amazing when someone traps a place with bombs. And always try to get Right At Home (flexbots), as it makes splitting them up and rejoining them much easier. The trait which helps with merging is also good for that kind of thing.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Re: Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

@ Kojak

Ok. I'll keep an eye out for that report then. Until then, good gaming.

@ Trappedinwikipedia

Synthmorphs can have high durability too. Its just that few of the stock morphs really play that up. People have complained that even the Fenrir wasn't tough enough to be a tank. The morph creation rules do allow you design morphs to get up to 200. That is what I was suggesting for a custom morph.

I forgot that flexbots could drop wounds by dropping modules. That would be useful. It would keep combat efficiency up. It might make up for many problems that modular design can create. I may have to reevaluate how flexbots compare to a custom synthmorph.

For shape shifting:

Quote:
Transhuman p. 208
SHAPE ADJUSTING
The following rules apply to the use of the shape
adjusting robotic enhancement.

Things like extrude limbs or create new mobility systems are listed there. There is no mention that it requires modular design to work.

I don't think that Right At Home (flexbots) is valid anymore. I think it used to work before we got different models of flexbots. I think that trait would at best work with a specific model of flexbot, such as the fighter or Yeoman. I'm not even sure how it is supposed to work now that you make tests when combining flexbot modules (those checks wasn't a thing until transhuman). We might need new traits for flexbots.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
The RAW weirdness comes from

The RAW weirdness comes from the rules which follow, all of which specify flexbot capabilities. Wordings like "the flexbot can" or similar abound in almost all of the rules there.

Quote:
Flexbots can reshape themselves to possess any mobility system based on purely mechanical principles.

Quote:
Flexbot modules are small. In a typical configuration, they’re the size of a large dog (roughly 75 centimeters high x 75 centimeters long x 25 centimeters wide) and weigh 35 kilograms without armor.
A flexbot or module can change its dimensions in the following ways:

"Or module" could imply a requirement for modular design as well.

Quote:
The following list explores a few of the possi- bilities that flexbots can pursue by reshaping their configurations.

Because of this is seems reasonable to conclude that the rules there are flexbot specific, and apply to their use of shape adjusting and modular design only.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Re: Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

It could be that the devs used the word flexbots when they should have been saying synthmorphs with the shape shifting augmentation. It was the flexbot section, and so words like flexbots should be expected. Also, saying flexbots is shorter than using the synthmorphs with the shape shifting augmentation.

I also could point out that the section on shape shifting starts with saying that the rules apply to the use of the augment and not to flexbots specifically.

Quote:
SHAPE ADJUSTING
The following rules apply to the use of the shape
adjusting robotic enhancement.

The next part says:

Quote:
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Morphs with the shape adjusting modification aren’t
completely amorphous. While they can radically alter
their structure, these transformations aren’t instanta-
neous. A quick change to a superficial characteristic
such as the morph’s surface texture can be carried out
in seconds, but changes that require major structural
alterations may take much longer.

So the word morph could have been used to avoid rule lawyering. The text also doesn't appear to suggest there that these rules are flexbot specific. It also mentions limitation to radical alterations, which implies that time is usually the limiting factor, not whether or not you have the modular design augment.

Also, the very start of the section of flexbots, it defines flexbots as morphs with the modular design augment. Not morphs with *both* modular design and shape shifting. In fact, not all flexbots modules found in the flexbot section has shape changing. For instance, the first 2 morphs, the Apiary and the Beekeeper don't have shape changing. As such, to make significant limits to shape changing based upon them being flexbots is a bad idea because not all flexbots have shape changing. They can't do any of the things listed in the shape changing section.

Quote:
Transhuman p. 200
FLEXBOT TERMINOLOGY
A module is an individual flexbot component (or
another synthmorph, robot, or vehicle with the
modular construction enhancement). A flexbot morph
is one or more interconnected modules controlled
either by a single ego or a by group of egos acting
together...

If this does not satisfy you, then maybe we should agree to disagree. There are other details I would like to worry about.

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
What I'm attempting to argue

What I'm attempting to argue for is excluding morphs like the Liquid Silver Steel from using flexbot specific tricks. It seems from your read that things with modular design can use the rules for both modular design tricks, and shape adjusting tricks, while morphs which have shape adjusting but not modular design lack any capability noted to be for flexbots. Flexbots without the shape adjusting rules are naturally locked out.

I anticipate that if those rules were simply intended for any morph with shape adjusting, they would have used that terminology, rather than the more specific flexbot wording used.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Re: Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

I double checked the description of the Liquid Silver Steel morph. It says that it can take the form of any humanoid synthmorph. It does not say that it is excluded from taking the forms of other synthmorphs. You go do what you like, but I'm not going to exclude the liquid silver from doing more than what it was originally built to do. If the liquid silver was only capable of taking the form of humanoid morphs, then I would treat it as an exception, not as the rule.

Besides, that morph was written before the shape adjusting section was written up. There wasn't a list of what shape adjusting could or could not do that the devs could have referred to.

Edit: By the way, the specific use of the word flexbots could have been a mistake. The devs did do many playtests for the transhuman book asking for players to point out problems. They did fix many of the problems that players did point out. As evident now, the word flexbots in certain places should have been one them. I'll try to remember to bring it up the next time the devs do errata for the book and ask for things that need fixing.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Re: Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

I was going over a list of the flexbots. I figured I would try some crazy stuff on paper while I wait for someone else to comment on this thread. While looking, I found that there are a handful of cheap flexbot morphs.

The Apiary, the Bouba, and the Sapper are about 10 k each. Their CP costs are less than 15. Not too pricey. They can serve as a start for anyone getting started using flexbots. However, the first two are very much concept morphs. They kinda show off what things can be like with certain combinations of augments. The Apiary is a flexbot and a swarmanoid. The Bouba is a squishbot. However, the Sapper is not a concept morph and is more of a specialized flexbot. It has many of the systems expected of flexbots (modular design and shape adjusting) without adding more exotic systems (like swarm composition).

However, that is about it for entry level morphs. Maybe there should be a write up for more entry level flexbot morphs. That way you could get a flexbot composed of 4-5 modules without needing to spend more than 50-60 k. Flexbot morphs that start at 45-60 credits do not make it easy to get started playing with flexbots.

I plan on writing up a bunch of new cheap flexbot morphs.
-Dagger. A low cost combat flexbot. Maybe it should favor sneaky tactics since it won't be tough enough to hold its own in a fight.
-Toolbox. A low cost construction flexbot morph. A cheaper version of the Crafter morph. Will likely use lower tech equipment to keep costs low.
-Sneak. A low cost stealth flexbot morph.

I'll be working on ideas and stating out those morphs.

----

By the way, I have a question about modularized gear. At first, it seemed to be much like weapon mounts except by a different name. It was also a bit more expensive. They didn't seem to offer much beyond being a slightly more context specific piece of gear. However, now after thinking about it more and thinking about flexbots in general, I'm beginning to wonder if it was supposed to be like small limited flexbots. They could be snapped into place onto any flexbot in a plug 'n play manner, instead of taking about a tool kit and spending maybe an hour to hook things up right. Is this a fair assessment?

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Re: Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

I present to you the Dagger morph:

Spoiler: Highlight to view
Dagger
Daggers are a low cost combat flexbot. They favor
stealth and sneak attacks.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts,
Chameleon Skin, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain,
Grip Pads, Light Combat Armor,
Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, 2
Weapon Mounts (Articulated)
Mobility System: Walker (4/16), Hover (8/40)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 25
Wound Threshold: 5
Advantages: Armor 4/4 (18/16 with Light Combat
Armor)
Notes: Small Size trait (Transhuman p. 95)
CP Cost: 10
Credit Cost: High (minimum 10,000)

Design notes:

Spoiler: Highlight to view
I opted to model it after the Longbow. I knew from the get go that I didn't want aptitude bonuses for a cheap morph (too expensive), so removing it reduced costs by quite a bit. I also swapped out the heavy combat armor for light combat armor (about 4000 cr cheaper). I decided to add in chameleon skin so it could become a stealthy killer, and the grip pads allowed it mobility so it could find some place high up to get good line of sight for its articulated weapons.

If I followed the morph creation rules to the letter, the morph would cost 11 cp (11,000 cr) and would have the clanking masses trait. No flexbot module has clanking masses. Likewise, all morphs have cp costs in multiples of 5, so 11 cp is a bit weird. The only reason it is 11 cp is because the rules dictate that light combat armor is full priced and was to be added after the rounding happened. Light combat armor is the only full priced augment whose price is not a multiple of 5000. Since the morph price before rounding was 7.75 cp, I add the light combat armor to that before rounding.

So I decided that the final version is 10 cp (10,000 cr) and it doesn't have clanking masses. I would still have about 1.25 cp to add more stuff with before I hit at least 10 cp, so I might look to see if there is any else that I might want to add.

So what do you guys think?

jackgraham jackgraham's picture
DivineWrath wrote:I don't

DivineWrath wrote:
I don't think that Right At Home (flexbots) is valid anymore. I think it used to work before we got different models of flexbots. I think that trait would at best work with a specific model of flexbot, such as the fighter or Yeoman. I'm not even sure how it is supposed to work now that you make tests when combining flexbot modules (those checks wasn't a thing until transhuman). We might need new traits for flexbots.

If it were my campaign, I'd rule that it applies to all flexbots (and I probably would have written it thus in TH if I'd thought of it at the time).

There were a lot fewer morphs when we introduced that trait into the game. Given the variety available now (100+), it probably needs an overhaul to be worth the points.

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

jackgraham jackgraham's picture
jackgraham wrote:DivineWrath

jackgraham wrote:
DivineWrath wrote:
I don't think that Right At Home (flexbots) is valid anymore. I think it used to work before we got different models of flexbots. I think that trait would at best work with a specific model of flexbot, such as the fighter or Yeoman. I'm not even sure how it is supposed to work now that you make tests when combining flexbot modules (those checks wasn't a thing until transhuman). We might need new traits for flexbots.

If it were my campaign, I'd rule that it applies to all flexbots (and I probably would have written it thus in TH if I'd thought of it at the time).

There were a lot fewer morphs when we introduced that trait into the game. Given the variety available now (100+), it probably needs an overhaul to be worth the points.

Caveat: As another poster mentioned, the term "flexbot" gets used to refer to other type of modular/shape adjusting morphs (see p. 200, "Flexbot Terminology"). I probably wouldn't extend the house rule about Right at Home to every synth with these capabilities, though.

I started a thread about Right at Home here for those who have thoughts on this tangent: http://eclipsephase.com/right-home-trait

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

jackgraham jackgraham's picture
DivineWrath wrote:By the way,

DivineWrath wrote:
By the way, I have a question about modularized gear. At first, it seemed to be much like weapon mounts except by a different name. It was also a bit more expensive. They didn't seem to offer much beyond being a slightly more context specific piece of gear. However, now after thinking about it more and thinking about flexbots in general, I'm beginning to wonder if it was supposed to be like small limited flexbots. They could be snapped into place onto any flexbot in a plug 'n play manner, instead of taking about a tool kit and spending maybe an hour to hook things up right. Is this a fair assessment?

No, that wasn't really the idea, but I do like it. We don't talk a lot about bodging together synthmorphs in the Hardware rules, but I'd probably give someone a bonus on their Hardware test if they were doing what you describe.

Another neat thing about modularized gear is that if it's in an articulated mount, an auxiliary ego (see TH p. 207) can operate it.

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Re: Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

jackgraham wrote:
If it were my campaign, I'd rule that it applies to all flexbots (and I probably would have written it thus in TH if I'd thought of it at the time).

There were a lot fewer morphs when we introduced that trait into the game. Given the variety available now (100+), it probably needs an overhaul to be worth the points.

In that case, I'll leave the restrictions loose until I see a better official version.

And yes, shoulda, coulda, woulda. If I knew now then what I know now, I would have pointed more problems Transhuman playtest. Some of the problems that I'm asking about right now are among them.

jackgraham wrote:
No, that wasn't really the idea, but I do like it. We don't talk a lot about bodging together synthmorphs in the Hardware rules, but I'd probably give someone a bonus on their Hardware test if they were doing what you describe.

Another neat thing about modularized gear is that if it's in an articulated mount, an auxiliary ego (see TH p. 207) can operate it.

No? Ok. I was trying to justify the price of modularized gear. It is [Price category + 1] so I was hoping it was good. The flexbot clusters in the Transhuman playtests would be capable of doing what I was suggesting (and other stuff), but they didn't make it to the final version of the book. I don't see a good reason to use modularized gear instead of a weapon mount for gear. You can install a tool kit on a weapon mount, right? The Daitya does that with disassembly tools. Maybe I'm miss reading its write up, so I'm not really sure what it is really supposed to do.

It is a thing that does come up in different shows, games, and RPGs, where different kinds of robots (or cyborgs) have parts or slots designed with the intent of devices being added or removed. In one show I remember, a piloted robot was able to have a wrecked arm replaced as quickly as 10 seconds. All it needed was a friend to had over a spare, and the piloted robot could fasten the connection itself. It was like a self spinning screw hole.

It wouldn't be handy just for repair work. Maybe you are a synthmorph cop that has put his shady past behind him and now does things by the books. He doesn't carry around anything illegal most days. You wouldn't make it past security at the police station if you did. Other days, maybe his past catches up with him so he need to swap out a limb or pick something up that will give himself an extra edge.

As for the articulated gear mount, I was planing on doing what you were suggesting for my toolbox morph that I was working on. I was considering making it a flier so it could fly up somewhere to do work in places where few other flexbots could easily reach. The pilot would hold the morph steady while the auxilary ego would operate the tools using the articulated gear mount.

jackgraham jackgraham's picture
DivineWrath wrote:No? Ok. I

DivineWrath wrote:
No? Ok. I was trying to justify the price of modularized gear. It is [Price category + 1] so I was hoping it was good. The flexbot clusters in the Transhuman playtests would be capable of doing what I was suggesting (and other stuff), but they didn't make it to the final version of the book. I don't see a good reason to use modularized gear instead of a weapon mount for gear. You can install a tool kit on a weapon mount, right? The Daitya does that with disassembly tools. Maybe I'm miss reading its write up, so I'm not really sure what it is really supposed to do.

Huh. Yes, the case of the daitya is an inconsistency. As written in core, weapon mounts are specifically for weapons. I'll have to talk that one over with Rob some time. It seems like the +1 cost for modularization is more of a problem for gear that is already High or Expensive.

J A C K   G R A H A M :: Hooray for Earth!
  http://eclipsephase.com :: twitter @jackgraham @faketsr :: Google+Jack Graham

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Re: Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

I'm not really sure what I'm being sold with modularized gear. There are many instances where I could get equivalent stuff for the same price. For instance, Chameleon Cloak -> Chameleon Skin, Specs -> Enhanced Vision. In some cases, the augment is not only the same price but also better (compare specs to enhanced senses). Other cases, Nanobandages -> Medichines is a clear upgrade (for instance, you heal twice as fast with medichines than with nanobandges) so I can justify the higher price. Likewise, drug glands can be worth the price since you then get an unlimited supply of the drug for price category + 1. Blueprints for fabbars is handy to have, so I can see why they might cost more. However, weapon mounts don't cause the weapon to cost more, so I'm wondering why modularized gear is different.

What I get with modularized gear? Not only can I install it on my flexbot, but I can also hide it. You know what else I can hide? I can hide my access jacks and cortical stack using my shape adjusting. If that is it, I might be better off buying a hidden compartment or 2 and keeping my expensive stuff there. Maybe it was being compared to Implant Masking (Panopticon p. 148) which gives similar bonuses?

The Daitya is inconsistent? I don't see much of a problem installing tools on a weapon mount. Installing tools on a weapon mount would just require the tool to be fitted correctly, which should be as simple as telling the fabber to build the tools the right specifications. In the case of a tool kit, I imagine that EP tools can be highly automated, such as drills that could change their own drill heads or use smart materials to change the shape of the drill head.

UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
I believe that while the

I believe that while the Daitya was fluffed as having built-in disassembly tools, the stats it has are for Natural Weapon as seen in the morph building rules. The damage is the same, anyway.

H-Rep: An EP Homebrew Blog
http://ephrep.blogspot.com/

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Re: Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

I don't know what happened but my cheap construction flexbot turned out differently than expected. I'm going to call this one the Flying Wrench to reflect its differences. It is very much a flying morph designed to carry 2 egos (and their muses) while they go fly somewhere to do work. One will fly and hold things steady while the other does the work. Maybe I'll get back to the Toolbox at a later date.

Until then, I present to you the Flying Wrench.

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Flying Wrench
The Flying Wrench is a low cost construction morph.
It can fly to reach hard to reach locations, and
either stick around to do work, or hover in place.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, 2 Articulated Gear
Mounts (Modularized Gear), Basic Mesh Inserts,
Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Fractal Digits, 2 Ghost
Rider, Grip Pads, Magnetic System, Mnemonic
Augmentation, Modular Design, Nanoscopic Vision,
Pneumatic Limbs, Retracting/Telescoping Limbs,
Shape Adjusting
Modularized Gear: Tool Kit, Specialized Hive
(Engineer Swarm)
Mobility System: Walker (4/16), Thrust Vector
(8/40)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
Advantages: Armor 2/2, +10 Flight
Notes: Small Size trait (p. 95)
CP Cost: 15
Credit Cost: High (minimum 10,000)

Design Notes:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Like I said earlier, I don't really know what really happened. I recall that I was finding it hard to drop stuff so the price of the morph would drop just below 10 cp. At some point I came to accept that it would be at least 15 cp. I suppose that since I had some CP to work with, I kept adding stuff.

At first, I added the ability to climb and stick to stuff so it could reach difficult reach areas to do work, but then it became a flier to reach areas hard to get to. Then it got ghost rider modules so that could carry a second ego with their muse (or just 2 egos, no muses). The spare ego(s) could use the articulated gear mounts while the pilot would hold the morph steady. I even bought the morph some bonuses to flight. Likewise, the telescoping limbs and pneumatic limbs would allow it to do work at a distance so the morph didn't need to get too close.

For a flight system, I initially was going to go with rotor flight, but I couldn't find a good example of a morph that did use it. Everyone seemed to like using thrust vector. So I made the morph a thrust vector flier.

A problem that did come up was how do price measure and augment count Modularized Gear: specialized Hives? A Modularized Gear: specialized hive is 5000 or high, but it would also come with a nanoswarm. The Crafter Flexbot has one for Engineers (1000 or moderate), and the Sapper has Disassemblers (5000 or high). Do the swarms count as augments in the morph creation rules, for instance no more than 10 moderate augments?

Also, can a flexbot have more than 2 mobility systems? It says that it can't have more than 2 shaped ones on Transhuman p. 208. Does that mean 2 period, or does that mean it up get up to 2 extra because of shape adjusting. In that case, does the morphs listed in the flexbot section have mobility systems bought for them, or did they shape them? Could they get 2 more mobility systems to go with their walker and hovercraft?

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Re: Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

I think the price of the Sapper is wrong. I've stopped to check the numbers I get from the load out several times, but it seems that the morph is supposed to be 25 cp, not 15 (22.5 before rounding up). The Modularized Gear: Disassembly tools, Specialized Hive: Disassemblers, and the Exceptional Aptitude (SOM) really push the price up. So much for it being one of the cheap flexbots...

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
The Single Sentence Avenger Strikes Again!

jackgraham wrote:
I'll have to talk that one over with Rob some time. It seems like the +1 cost for modularization is more of a problem for gear that is already High or Expensive.

IMO the real problem is the cost of blueprints are then +2, which is prohibitive even for basic gear.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Re: Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

Curse the Single Sentence Avenger! He shows up and meddles in threads. He is gone after a single sentence. Would it kill him to expand on his thoughts and ideas?

Anyways, I've noticed that flexbots don't appear to have morphs for water environments and space environments. For water environments, would it be required for the flexbots to have a swim bladder augment to control buoyancy? Would the swim bladder count as a mobility system that works on a purely mechanical principles, or would the flexbot need one for every 3 modules? Am I mistaken for trying to treat the swim bladder as a mobility system? Would the submarine mobility system work well by itself?

Trappedinwikipedia Trappedinwikipedia's picture
Transhuman says that Flexbots

Transhuman says that Flexbots aren't buoyant in most fluids so they'd need something to alter that. Gasbags or similar would be needed. I think it could be really simple though, basically a reverse weight belt. It could probably be a worn piece of gear or cheap implant/naturally "evolved" part of a flexbot. IMO it would be purely mechanical.

That said, flippers/streamlining can make flexbots decently quick under water. For space I imagine adding a gas-jet system for near space movement, or internal rocket/plasma sail for bigger trips would do it, but all of those would not be purely mechanical.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I've been looking at morphs

I've been looking at morphs that have the swim bladder, and those that I expect to have the swim bladder. I'm trying to figure out how they are used so I could build effective aquatic morphs.

Interestingly enough, the Cetus (a synthmorph, Rimward, p. 185) is an aquatic synthmorph that lacks the swim bladder, but has a submarine mobility system. So maybe the swim bladder is not required? I've also seen morphs with the swim bladder but are built to be cloud skimmers, or otherwise supposed to function in high pressure atmospheres.

The write up for the swim bladder (Gatecrashing p. 152) doesn't give good game mechanics for how it works. It says stuff like control buoyancy, gauge pressure/depth, and improve hearing underwater. I don't recall the core rulebook covering much about swimming mechanics, so a lack of a game mechanic of how it works doesn't help me much.

Can thrust vector work in space? I kinda assumed no, as none of the mobility systems says anything about moving in space. The reader is left to figure out if they could work in space. I assume that the flying systems in the core rulebook require an atmosphere to work correctly. The gas-jet system would work in space despite the write up not mentioning that it does. For the record, the write ups for mobility systems often say they work in micro gravity and stuff, but never say they work in open space or any vaccum.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Re: Does anyone have much experience with flexbots?

I present to you, the Sneak:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

SNEAK
Sneaks are cheap, disposable infiltration flexbots.
They are good at spoting trouble, and have some
ability to hide. They are illegal or restricted
on many habitats.
Enhancements: 360 Degree Vision, Access Jacks,
Basic Mesh Inserts, Chameleon Skin, Cortical Stack,
Cyberbrain, Enhanced Vision, Enhanced Hearing,
Hidden Compartment, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular
Design, Oracles, Radar Absorbent (p. 149, Panopticon),
Shape Adjusting
Mobility System: Hopper (4/20), Walker (4/16)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 20
Wound Threshold: 4
Advantages: Armor 2/2, Infiltration +10
Notes: Small Size trait (p. 95)
CP Cost: 10
Credit Cost: High (minimum 10,000)

Design Notes:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

I tried to make this thing more than a watered down version of the Picklock or Rouge, but I didn't have a whole lot of room to work with. Beyond giving it the concealment advantage and radar absorbent, I ended up augmenting the senses by adding enhanced vision, enhanced hearing, 360 vision, and oracles. This would significantly improve its ability to spot danger or notice things it should watch out for. I also give it an infiltration skill bonus using some spare points.

I'm finding that I can't do a whole lot to get 10 cp or less without reducing armor and durability. I'm hoping that I'm not making my morphs too frail or cheap. Well, they are intended to be cheap modules for flexbot combining, so they weren't supposed to go at it alone.

ThatWhichNeverWas ThatWhichNeverWas's picture
His alacrity is his gift, and his curse.

DivineWrath wrote:
Curse the Single Sentence Avenger! He shows up and meddles in threads. He is gone after a single sentence. Would it kill him to expand on his thoughts and ideas?

Far worse, for should he utter more than a sentence then he has to explain to his Significant Other why he's late meeting them.
I, on the other hand, have time to say things :P

I love the idea of flexbots, but in practice they don't live up to the hype because of the expense.
The concept is all about attaching or altering modules on the fly, but for the vast majority of equipment there's no need for that flexibility – a radio booster or enhanced vision are always useful, and usually of equivalent cost (iirc).
Conversely, those features where plug-and-play functionality could be useful are exactly those where it doesn't work, notably armour and mobility systems. If you want to reconfigure your spybot into a combat morph you still need the blueprints or gear to armour up the modules which aren't swapped out, rendering the whole necessity redundant.
Imo, the best way to use flexbots as written are to use a “normal” synthmorph enhanced with Modular construction as a base, and then use a single flexbot as an equipment “pack”.

The problem with modular equipment mirrors this; Either you buy each piece of gear at a markup to have it mounted and concealed (x20 if you want the blueprint), or you pay [Moderate] to get the blueprint for internal compartments and just produce new limbs to use them as necessary.

In the past we've had to compensate for weaknesses, finding quick solutions that only benefit a few.
But what if we never need to feel weak or morally conflicted again?

Kojak Kojak's picture
Alright, the player who's

Alright, the player who's running a flexbot got to debut his character in our last session. Unfortunately, the stuff he did wasn't necessarily stuff that's unique to flexbots: primarily, he used his synthetic mask and skinflex to impersonate an NPC's contact in order to get them alone so the team's async could extract information from the contact. It was pretty cool during a subsequent firefight with some gangsters when his apparently-unarmed morph extruded weapons pods and mowed down four dudes in quick succession, though.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Ok, thanks. I was hoping for

Ok, thanks. I was hoping for more, but I'll take what I can get... for now.

Kojak Kojak's picture
I will update this thread

I will update this thread again after the next session on the 22nd; hopefully he'll get a chance to use the flexbot-specific stuff to greater effect.

"I wonder if in some weird Freudian way, Kojak was sucking on his own head."
- Steve Webster on Kojak's lollipop

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I decided to reject

I decided to reject modularized gear. I've taken some time to sleep on it, think about it, reread the source material. I've decided that its too expensive and doesn't really add much that is unique. Plus it is confusing. Also many robots have run around with gear as on board equipment without a serious price increase, so I see no reason why synthmorphs can't do the same.

From now on, I'm ignoring modularized gear. Its more trouble than its worth. I'll ad-hoc things as needed.

galactiphat galactiphat's picture
I've been playing a flexbot

I've been playing a flexbot for several months now. Aside from my character's primary niche as the teams infosec/combat hacker/bot jockey, my other role seems to have grown into using the morphs flexibility to dynamically fulfill the team's needs, quickly. Usually this involves resleeving into a more situational combination of modules without worry of side effects (Right at Home), or altering movement types to help move someone or something. I realize I'm late to the party, but I wanted to provide some feedback:

1. We use the flexbot rules in TH.
2. Sort of. As discussed earlier, blueprints help a ton. I almost always run 2-3 modules at once, wizard, grimoire, and longbow, with the longbow being a detachable "attack dog" of sorts. My other modules are a beekeeper, an apiary, and 2 yeomen, and I swap those in when needed. But yes, I got vaporized by a bomb that the adventure kind of hand-waves and just says "you die" (so no Boomscatter), and that was very, very expensive to come back from. That's what prompted me to get blueprints and be a bit more careful as to which modules I'm rolling in, and when.
3. Next to my modules on my character sheet, I list two things- "common enhancements"... enhancements and mods common to every module in the assembly, and yes, I pay for each one individually, multiple times. Thankfully, these are almost all trivial and low cost items. I also have "core module enhancements"... enhancements specific to whatever module my ego is in. It makes it very easy when buying new modules, resleeving, etc. The only thing I've had trouble with buying multiple of are Speed enhancers, because they are so expensive and because of the whole need-one-for-every-module thing. Fair trade, IMO.
4. On-the-fly flexibility, mostly. I don't run large or bigger very often because of the associated penalties.

We use modular gear, but myself and my GM would agree it's very situational (concealed and illegal stuff is the best), and the pricing is indeed strange. He changed it so it's one cost level LESS than the item modified (with a minimum of trivial), in addition to the cost of the item.

I have two modular laser pulsers. My group was to gain access to an event with a strict no-weapons policy. The guy at the door rolled great and made both of his checks with the T-ray scanner at a 30 penalty. My teammate was discovered, because he could clearly see an assembled weapon hiding in his secret compartment. He made the check to see the modularized pieces of my pulsers, but did not put 2 and 2 together to realize those pieces were the disassembled components of a weapon. The description says "almost impossible", so that's how my GM interpreted it.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Thanks for the feedback. It

Thanks for the feedback. It does help.

A follow up question. For question 2, have you considered using flexbot modules of your own design? I have toyed with designing my own flexbot modules and the price goes down quite a bit if you remove aptitude bonuses from the equation. Many of the default flexbot modules have aptitude bonus worth 10k to 20k in credits. Removing those costs from the equation seem to make multi module flexbot much more affordable.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
I've been toying with the

I've been toying with the flexbot augment "Mass Transfer". Its an augment that allows a flexbot to transfer DUR with another flexbot. (It can also dump damaged mass). The description covers what it does, but not how you would use it.

I'm thinking that doing this should require a complex action at minimum. I'm also tempted to require both flexbots to combine before they can transfer mass. This augment allows a flexbot to repair in a near instant.

Balance wise, it can easily outclass medichines and even healing vats. It can bring a flexbot to full repair in less than a few turns. Healing vats, at their very best, can take hours to completely heal a character. Further more, there doesn't appear to be any obligation for the donor flexbot to be even an equal to the flexbot being repaired. I designed a 5000 Cr bot that qualifies for this mass transfer augment and I see no reason why it couldn't be used to repair a 50,000 Cr or even a 100,000 Cr flexbot.

Other thoughts of mine include whether or not a disabled bot can be repaired in this manner, and if a damaged mass can be transferred to a donor bot. I'm thinking that if a donor takes on damaged mass, then maybe it could use on board medichines to repair the damaged mass or make a quick run to the nearest Cornucopia Machine.

BalazarLightson BalazarLightson's picture
Quick-Change Parts

Mass Transfer sounds like simply changing out component parts... which is kinda exactly what Flexbots do. You're effectively allowing them to quickly dis' and reassemble the modules themselves on the fly. Sounds like it needs a specialized technician module or nanites to help at minimum, and Tasks actions for completion. Watch a Formula One pitstop for inspiration. Others need to be there to help.

It's probably easier to just allow the Ego to shift across to an undamaged module with a bonus on resleeving rolls if the module was the exact same type.

Otherwise, putting in repair nanites and a slaved technician AI into a Ghostrider would be a good move to fill the gaps.

DivineWrath DivineWrath's picture
Formula One pitstops. I like

Formula One pitstops. I like that reference. I'll do some research and give it some thought.

Anyways, shifting an ego from one flexbot to another doesn't work when the bots are very dissimilar. As I've stated earlier, I designed a 50,000 Cr flexbot that can be mass transfer repaired by bots 1/10th the price. I'm trying to push the rules to the extreme.

Lurkingdaemon Lurkingdaemon's picture
DivineWrath wrote:I've been

DivineWrath wrote:
I've been toying with the flexbot augment "Mass Transfer". Its an augment that allows a flexbot to transfer DUR with another flexbot. (It can also dump damaged mass).

The Mass Transfer augment is indeed great on paper, but: all the flexbots in the cluster/assembly need to have the augment in order to benefit from the options it provides.

That said, a Beekeeper that can produce Fixer swarms, and judicious shedding of damaged mass would keep a flexbot assembly in top fighting form (if slowly diminishing in overall toughness) while enemies, and potentially allies, would suffer attrition if they weren't in a morph of similar ability.

On the idea of new flexbot designs, I had ideas towards flexbot modules that covered the 'high end' spectrum of use, primarily by being larger (medium sized) and more immediately capable per module in one aspect, but equally weaker or less capable in another.

This sounds like a bad thing to start, but TH's flexbot rules state that an assembled Flexbot uses the highest of all aptitude maximums from it's connected modules.

For most effective min-maxing, one could use TH's morph creation rules to easily create a flexbot morph with a 40 aptitude max in one category, and have a weakness of 20 in another - with the rest being aptitude maximums of 30. Since the creation rules use the average of all aptitude maximums to determine the relevant cost, this means an average of 40+20+the rest comes up to....30 - which has no extra cost.

Having a line of such modules would enable larger flexbots (a personal preference) with fewer modules - avoiding the penalties for large size and shape adjusting, or the alienation troubles of large numbers of bots as one body. Each module 'covering for' the weaknesses of the other would also encourage linking bots together, rather than slapping Modular Design and Shape Adjusting on an existing Synthmorph design so it can 'backpack' useful modules on a whim.

Daemon-Dynamics Projects:
2nd Edition Morph Creation Rules