Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Divisio Investigatus - Robots in 5th Ed, part 1

A poster on the BoLS Lounge asked how to transfer the Rogue Trader era rules for Robots into 5th ed. This is my take on them.

Legio Cybernetica Maniple:

Unit Composition: 1 Controller and 3-6 Robots. A second Controller may be purchased if the Maniple contains 4 or more robots.

Legio Cybernetica Controller:

Some of the most fanatical soldiers in the ranks of the Imperial forces, the Adepts of the Legio Cybernetica swear oaths of loyalty more fearsome than most Astartes warriors to try to erase the stain of their Order's betrayal during the Heresy. Fighting alongside the immortal, mindless machines of the Mechanicus their lot is usually a short one.
They go into battle with their charges, seeing their duty in the thick of battle to tend to the machine's spirits and bodies even when other mortal warriors would quit the field. Casualties are high, but the Maniple Controlers will sacrifice themselves a hundred times over for the sake of one of their precious machines.

Robot Special Rules:

Being inorganic, all Robots ignore Crew Shaken and Crew Stunned Results. Robots will always attempt to Death or Glory a ramming vehicle.

: Each individual Robot is given a Program before battle. This cannot be changed during the battle, and should be clearly written down on the army list to avoid confusion. The three programs are Assault, Secure and Destroy.

The program is consulted before the Robot acts and must be followed even if it would be tactically better to ignore it, but it may be overridden by the Controler using the Command Box (see below).
When a command states to move towards an objective the Robot will attempt to move in a straight line, even when this means moving through difficult or dangerous terrain. Again, the Command Box can override this.

During each phase consult the Program to determine the Robot's actions.

Assault Program:

Move towards the closest enemy unit.
If no unit visible, move towards enemy board edge.
If enemy board edge reached, return to own table edge (and continue until reached).
Fire on the closest enemy unit.
If no unit visible, Run towards enemy board edge.
If enemy board edge reached, Run to own table edge (and continue until reached).
Assault the closest enemy unit.

Secure Program:

When the Robots are deployed (or declared in Reserve), nominate an Objective on the board as the Robot's target. If no objectives are present, place a marker anywhere or nominate a terrain feature. Should an Objective be destroyed, the target Objective will become the closest objective to the Robot.

Move towards Objective.
If Objective reached stand ground.
If enemy unit controls/contest Objective, fire on that unit.
If no enemy unit controls/contests, or it is locked in assault, fire on closest enemy unit
Attempt to assault enemy unit controling/contesting Objective.
If Objective is controled by other friendly troops, assault nearest enemy unit.
Else ignore.

Destroy Program:

Nomintate a type of enemy unit at deployment (eg Infantry, Jump Infantry, Assault Marines, Vehicles, Tanks, Land Raiders) - be as specific or as vague as you like, but keep in mind the restrictions of the program. This type of unit is Target Unit.

Move towards closest Target unit.
If no unit visible, move towards enemy board edge.
If enemy board edge reached, return to own table edge (and continue until reached).
Fire on closest Target Unit.
If no Target Unit visible, fire on closest enemy unit.
If no enemy units visible, ignore.
Assault closest Target Unit.
If unable, ignore.

Slave Programs: If two or more Robots are loaded with the same type of Program they can be slaved together. They are treated as a unit, maintaining 4" coherency, but do not treat Immobilised results as Wrecked - the immobilised robot is left behind, and each Robot must be targeted individually.

When measuring closest distance for the purposes of the Program, it is the closest to either/any of the Robots that is not immobilised. Should all the slaved Robots be immobilised, or their be two precisely equidistant targets, randomise which robot is measured from.
Example: Robots A and B are slaved together with the Assault Program loaded and are both immobilised. I roll a D6, with a 1-3 meaning A, and a 4-6 meaning B. I roll a 5, and both Robots attempt to fire on the unit closest to Robot B.

The Control Box: Each controller is issued with a Control Box, which can be used to manually override the Robot's programming for a short period. Every time a Robot is activated and its Program checked as to what it may do, the Controller may attempt to override the machine.

First, measure if the Robot is within 12" of the Controller; if not no check is made. If within range the signal is strong enough that the Command Box may be used.
This is done as a check against the Controllers unmodified Leadership, and may be used if the Controller has moved, Gone to Ground or is Pinned. It may not be used if the Controller has shot a weapon or is engaged in an assault. Conversely if the Command Box is used the Controller may not shoot (though he can run), or initiate an assault.

If the test is passed the Robot may ignore its Programming and, for that phase, act like any normal unit in the game.
For example acting under the Secure Program, a Robot may be prevented from moving towards an objective (or moved around difficult terrain rather than through it), a Robot's weapons could be targeted at a unit not on the Objective (because they are out of range or a threat nearby is more pressing) etc.
If a group of Slaved Robots is present, only one check is made for the whole group.

Should the check fail, the Robot goes on its merry way as per its Program. This does not prevent the Controller from further attempts that phase or turn. However for each check after the first deduct 1 from the dice rolls, representing the difficulty of micro-maneging that many tasks.
Example: Robot A moves, and the Controller attempts to override it, needing 9 or less. Rolling a total of 5, he passes. Robot B moves, and now the Controller needs an 8 or less. Rolling a 10, he fails.
In the Shooting Phase, Robot A fires. Now the Controller needs a 7 or less should he wish to override the program etc.


Part 2, the unit entry, is found HERE.

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