View Full Version : Megaman robot role-playing game [homebrew work-in-progress]

2009-10-06, 10:56 PM
I've been thinking about playing a Megaman game but due to my complete inability to properly DM a game I figured I might try coming up with an interesting setting and mechanics for such a game.

It would probably be like a freeform game but might include stats to determine attack, defence, abilities, and the price for upgrades. I'm currently thinking of borrowing heavily from 4th edition DnD for the mechanics to keep the robots balanced (and its one of the few systems I'm really familiar with).

The Setting:

The game takes place in an alternate earth where advances in robotics have replaced the advances in information technology that we have. We have the internet, they have robotic butlers. We have the Information Age, they have the Automation Age.


Most robots fall into one of four catagories:

Type 1 - Simple stationary automated machines like dishwashers or universal constructors.

Type 2 - Mobile non-sapient robots like auto-driving cars, robotic vacuum cleaners, or flying exploration robots (this is where many Megaman enemy robots fit in).

Type 3 - Non-sapient humanoid robots. These robots have arms and legs to let them use human tools and potentially perform a wide variety of tasks for humans. They are not self-aware and must be programmed with the instructions to do any task. They are literally unable to 'rebel' against humans unless faulty programming makes them malfunction or someone gives them violent programming. They can usually speak but they are limited to pre-programmed phrases and giving verbal error messages. Don't expect them to get your jokes.

Type 4 - Self-Aware robots. Almost always have human-like levels of intelligence (though given the variation of intelligence among humans that can mean alot of things) and usually have a humanoid body to perform various tasks. These are the first robots with a true consciousness and are capable of learning new tasks, forming a sense of morality, and even of making their own decisions and potentially rebeling against humans. Their personality is usually programmed in at their creation (which means that most type 4's are really nice robots who like helping humans out) but they are able to overcome their programming if they really want to. They are still suceptable to being reprogrammed or given dangerous instructions, but their free-will makes this much more difficult to do than with lesser robots. (this is usually due to the fact that Type 4's develop new sub-programs to adapt and expand their minds... so a virus that changes their factory-installed programs can get overridden by their self-installed programming code. New Type 4's are thus easier to reprogram and corrupt than ones who've been around long enough to develop morals and quirks).

There are some robots who don't fit cleanly into these categories, the most noticeable are the robots now dubbed Type 3.5. These ones are humanoid robots who were basically Type 3s who developed a sort of self-awareness as a result of advanced programming. They generally aren't as humanlike as they Type 4s but can develop interesting quirks and occasionally act on their own accord. They are almost indistinguishable from standard Type 3's at first until they start creatively interpreting orders or performing tasks nobody told them to do. They can hold limited conversations and may even start to understand jokes (even if their 'understanding' consists of "A rain dancer convention canceled due to unforseen weather? ... that does compute... but does not... ha hA HeHe WhO AHAhAAHAAAA!!111")

Almost all robot brains include Inhibitor units that help limit and control the robot brain, these devices are similar to Antivirus software and other computer security tools in our world. The Combat Inhibitor is built into a robots brain and prevents it from attacking a human (This acts independently of what the robot 'thinks' so a robot might have trouble demolishing a picture of a human or could trick the device by adding poison to a humans food).

There are robots built for security or military work who can attack, subdue, or even kill humans. However these ones have very specialized fail safes on them. They usually have a human supervisor who keeps tabs on them and can authorize them to attack human criminals or enemies.

The Companies:

Light Labs - A forerunner in robotic innovation, mostly in terms of AI and new technologies. Headed by Dr. Thomas Light, the companies motto "To build a better world for mankind and robots alike". Light has repeatedly turned down military contracts and was the inventor of the Type 4 robot brain. His partner Dr. Albert Wily is an expert in portable power supplies and his work has made robots from Light Labs significantly more efficient than those of other companies. Wily has come into arguments with Light over the rules of avoiding military contracts but he's been overruled by Light and shareholders.

RobCo - A long standing american robot company, they are experts in mass-production and make most of the Type 1 and 2 robots in the US and across the globe. Their forays into humanoid robots have been deemed a limited success at best as their best one so far is the Protectron (http://fallout.wikia.com/wiki/Protectron). They have made several other non-humanoid robots such as the Mr. Handy, Mr. Gutsy, and Sentry Bots. For years their motto was "A robot in every household." They have made numerous Military contracts over the years.

Recently with the rise of robot hobbyists, they have changed their motto to "Moddable, Affordable, Dependable, and Durable." (which has resulted in a few jokes). A RobCo robot usually comes with an extensive list of its parts and the ability to easily order replacement parts. A home version of the Protectron (named the Helpertron) has been released and many have been modified heavily to increase their intelligence and abilities. While RobCo hasn't made any Type 4 robots, their Helpertron robots can easily become Type 3.5 with a few tweaks and several hobbyists have upgraded theirs to Type 4s using shared software and processor upgrades.

Moms Robot Company - A subsidiary of MomCorp owned by Mom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mom_(Futurama)), a wealthy corporate tycoon well-known for her kindly public image. Moms Robot Company specializes in Type 3 and Type 4 robots (there have been accusations that her company had stolen the designs for Type 4 robot brains from Light Labs, but the legal battles are being tied up in courts and may never amount to anything). Their robots are designed to look good and act polite, being all too willing to help around the house and work hard. Moms Robot Company is also the leader in making life-like robots who can be almost indistinguishable from humans (reports of their robotic maids being used as 'love robots' have surfaced but the company denies that they endorse such use of their products). Their motto is "We make our robots with love."

U.S. Robotics - Another long-standing robot company, their best selling product is the Joe (http://megaman.wikia.com/wiki/Sniper_Joe) series of robots. These versatile Type 3 robots have been quiet popular as security guards and military units and rumor has it that a Type 4 version is in the making. They have started having trouble with the various innovations from the other companies and both RobCo and Moms Robot Company have been trying to buy up the company. Their motto is "When there's work to do, send a Joe!"

Robot Hobbyists - Many people have taken an interest in making and modifying robots for their own uses. Their reasons vary as does the extent of their modifications. There have been laws and regulations passed to limit what somebody can legally do to modify a robot, most of these are passed claiming that anyone trying to hack a robot is a criminal trying to disrupt society (similar to how hackers are). Moms Robot Company has made many legal actions trying to restrict how people can modify robots while RobCo has tried to keep such options open for its consumers (since at the moment its target market are modders and its been losing business to other companies that sell high-end robots). Light Labs has pretty much kept out of such arguments and U.S. Robotics has kept out as well since their main product is being mainly used by security firms and military which ask them for modification as needed.

The World:

All over the U.S. , Europe, and Japan the rise of a robotic economy has increased the standard of living for many. Unemployment has risen due to robots taking over manual labor jobs but that has generally resulted in more unemployment benefits and universal health care to take care of citizens. Industry has thrived as labor become cheaper to aquire and manufacturing has allowed for the mass use of solar and wind power to generate the energy to power civilization.

Less developed countries have either become more industrialised as a result of robot labor or have become even worse as the ruling elite use their robots to improve their own lives while leaving the lower classes with nothing... not even jobs.

The massive change in industry and labor has had negative side effects as well, crime has increased in many places since fewer people have jobs to occupy their time with and the use of robots has spawned 'robot crime' in which robots are either programmed to commit crimes by crimminal humans or (in the case of Type 4s or 3.5s) actually decide to become evil themselves.

Governments and politics have undergone changes as well since it seems that human labor may now become obsolete. Some governments forbid the use of robots in their borders (at the expense of a decreased economy) and some have become concerned that a robotic workforce may eliminate concerns about a nuclear war (nuclear devastation may not be so devastating when robots can build huge underground shelters and survive on the blasted surface).

Plus, with robots who have become capable of disagreeing with their masters, the question of robot rights has been raised repeatedly. This problem has been muddled due to the verifiable non-sapience of most robots, the economic requirements of the new civilization, and the fact that robot manufacturing companies could simply stop manufacturing robots that would legally become free and mass-produce robots who are happy to be sold.

And finally, there are groups who have looked at the new automated world and have been hatching plans to take it over. Rebel Robots dedicated to freeing themselves from the slavery of mankind. Mad Scientists and industrialists who want 'take back what is theirs' and control the robots they have made (and the society dependent upon them). And the various criminals and radicals who just have new tools to do what they did before.


Most players would be robots of some kind, exclusively Type 3.5 or Type 4 humanoid robots. There isn't much difference between the two except that 3.5s are more likely to run into enemies that look like themselves (since 3.5s are basically 3s that became sapient enough to avoid getting easily reprogrammed for evil. Type 3s are just dumb robots that play for whatever team programs them... Type 3.5s are the 3s who wised up and know how choose their own team). Type 4s generally don't run into their siblings because Type 4s aren't as easy to reprogram and are thus either 'civilians' or are the sapient robot villains commanding the lesser robots.

Humans may be available, though they would have some major advantages and disadvantages. They can't be targeted by robots with functioning Combat Inhibitors (though they can get hurt with traps and robots with their inhibitors removed), they are much less durable than robots (robots can just get replacement parts, humans... not so much). Maybe a cyborg or something would be more balanced with robots.

Robots would start out with standard equipment and parts but would be able to be modified with Mod Parts which they can get installed either by their owners, an organization they work for, or maybe various less-than-reputable mechanics.

The general backstory for a player is that either they are a robot built to fight the enemy (either by a company, the army, or a hobbyist) or they could be a robot who decided to fight to protect mankind. Perhaps an enemy shows up in an area, converts all the Type 1, 2, and 3s to no longer have inhibitions about fighting but the player is one of the robots who resists control and decides to fight back.


alot like how they are in 4e, though I'm not sure if there should be class/race distinctions since robots should basically be built to do whatever it is they do. Race would probably be whatever model type the robot is and the 'class' would just be whatever parts are attached to it to do its job.

Though actually, could just have various parts that can be added to a robot and each part has a Striker, Defender, Leader or Controller role and a robot is limited to only having one or two 'roles' at a time or else it jams up their system.



Helmet Slot - for helmets on some robots

Face Slot - if the robot shoots lasers out of its eyes, this is where the weapon is

Right Arm Weapon/tool - a robot can have a built-in weapon or tool here, or if they have a hand there they can hold one (hand held devices are less powerful but can be easily switched around while built-in ones need tools to change).

Left Arm Weapon/tool - same

Armor - the plating on the robot

Body Slot- a tool/weapon/device in the chest area

Legs - If the robot has special legs they go here.

Weapon -

Stun Gun (a handheld nonlethal weapon that fires electrically charged rubber bullets. One shot is usually able to disable an unarmored human much like a tazer shot. Usually found on security officers or security robots)
Type: handheld, controller or striker, electric, nonlethal
Range: 20
Standard Action, load Free
Attack: dex vs AC
Damage: 1d8+dex nonlethal electric
Special: this weapon always deals nonlethal damage against humans and never damages robots. This does not allow robots with working combat inhibitors to target humans.

10mm pistol (a handheld gun that fires 10mm bullets. Common human ranged weapon).
Type: Handheld, bullet, Striker
Range: 20
Standard Action, Load Free
Attack: Dex vs AC
Damage: 1d8+dex

10mm Arm Gun (a gun built into a robots arm that fires 10mm bullets. Found on military robots or some security robots that fight rogue robots. A built in targeting camera improves accuracy.)
Type: Arm Weapon, bullet, Striker
Range: 25
Move Action, Load Free
Attack: Dex + 1 vs AC
Damage: 1d8+dex

Protectron Head Laser (a laser built into a robots head. Built primarily for the Protectron guard robots, they also help distract enemies from civilians)
Type: Head weapon, laser, Defender
Range: 25
Minor Action, Load Free
Attack: Dex vs Reflex
Damage: 1d4+dex fire damage
Special: A target hit by this attack is marked by the user until the beginning of their next turn. The market target takes a -2 penalty to any attack that doesn't target the user. The user can only mark one target at a time with this.

Protectron Targeting Laser (a laser built into a robots head. Build Primarily for military Protectron robots, they help coordinate the attacks of their allies)
Type: Head weapon, laser, Leader
Range: 25
Minor Action, Load Free
Attack: Dex vs Reflex
Damage: 1d4+dex fire damage
Special: A target hit by this attack is marked by the user until the beginning of their next turn. The market target takes a -2 penalty to AC while marked. The user can only mark one target at a time with this.

So, what do you think? Again, I'm not that good at statting out weapons or creatures and the only reason I'm wanting to go that direction is to put a little random number goodness into an otherwise freeform game.

As for the company crossover with RobCo from fallout 3 and Moms Robot Company from Futurama I figured it would help flesh out the world and allow for a plot that isn't Wily trying to take over the world.

2009-10-14, 02:20 AM
I love this idea.

Do you mind if I work this into a campaign setting?

2009-10-14, 02:24 AM
Somebody really ought to do a Megaman RPG based on the dystopian interpretation set forth by the band Protomen.

On some other tangent:
I'd interpret the buster gun as a kind of pulse-plasma weapon that exploits a "ball lightning" effect to transmit the projectile. The end result is that the "ball lightning" is rather slow, but the plasma is devastating enough to armored targets to warrant the drawbacks of the technology.

2009-10-14, 02:35 AM
Somebody really ought to do a Megaman RPG based on the dystopian interpretation set forth by the band Protomen.

Care to elaborate? I've never heard of this...

2009-10-14, 02:38 AM
Just look up the band. It's a dystopian rock-opera based on Megaman.

In short, Dr. Wiley has subjugated The City under his iron-fisted authoritarian rule while Dr. Light is an embittered man who sacrificed his first "son" on the behalf of an apathetic citizenry.

2009-10-14, 02:43 AM

so megaman is dead in that...

VERY dystopian...

2009-10-14, 03:22 AM
here is my idea for a megaman style campaign setting (this is a very rough draft, so bear with me):

Robots had been becoming more and more sophisticated for several centuries. Then, in the year 150X, they all seemingly spontaneously developed sentience and personality, leading to widespread panic and whatnot (Wouldn't you be scared if your military class gun toting 500 lb. robot started signing a lullaby? Or if it started shooting you while making a high pitched whistling noise?)

There were thirty years of fighting and panic, during which many human and robot lives were lost. Several factions tried to calm everyone and exert control, but ended up fighting a huge war for power, costly in both oil and blood.

Then, in the year 180X, peace was finally struck, as it was becoming increasingly clear that no one was gong to win, and everyone was going to lose.

The remaining countries were merged into the Eastern Bloc and the Western Bloc. The Blocs were given total authority over their respective locales, and many ground rules were laid out, to help them govern themselves. Robots were given equal status with humans as well.

The game starts in the year 200X, twenty years after the Treaty was signed. Robots have been going rogue for several years now, killing anyone, robot or man, that they come in contact with during their temporary insanity. No one knows why, and a special task force has been assembled to find out the cause. But little do they know they are going to get a lot more than they bargained for.

Hows it look so far?