The "Tin Can" Robot

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by Tom Verreault

Description

A tin can robot with hover movement.  Miniature painted by Tom Verreault. Miniature is from the Star Frontiers Robots Miniature boxed set.

Star Frontiers has humanoid shaped robots and robots the size of a car but a common staple of science fiction is the half sized “tin can” robot. The most famous example is R2D2 from Star Wars but VINCENT and Old BOB from Disney’s The Black Hole fit this category of robot as well. The “tin can” robot body for Star Frontiers, also known as the small robot body, it’s limited to robots of 4th level and lower.

It has the equivalent of 3 limbs for manipulation of its environment and locomotion, though it may start with an altered movement mode for free in place of one of its limbs. This means that a tin can body could be outfitted so that two limbs are used for movement and one is used as a manipulator or tool arm (like R2D2) or alternately it might replace one limb with hover movement and have two manipulator arms (like VINCENT & Old Bob). The manipulator arms on tin can bodies can be retractable.

By default, the tin can body uses two legs for movement and has an "arm" that it can use as a manipulator. The two optional movement modes that are available for free are tracked and hover.  In addition, the tin can body can be equipped with an additional compressed air movement mode that is for use in zero-g environments and acts like a rocket pack (p29 Knight Hawks Campaign Book) except that it only alters the robots speed by up to 5 meters per turn instead of 50.  Adding rotor or rocket movement to the tin can body only costs half compared to the cost for the standard body due to the tin can body's smaller size.

This robot body differs from the standard body in some significant ways. It does not come with a voice box installed even if the robot is of a level that can speak. This equipment must be added separately. These robot bodies cannot carry heavy weapons like the heavy laser, sonic devastator, machine gun, or recoilless rifle. Only one extra arm/limb may be added. Finally, this robot body only does 1d10 points of damage when fighting unarmed instead of the standard 2d10.

The tin can body uses the type 1 parabattery.

These bodies are less durable than the standard robot body (only 50 STA) but the savings from using a cheaper body and free altered movement makes them popular despite their limitations. Robots are naturally capable opponents, thus these would be a more desirable as opponents for beginning characters who may not have had the chance to stock up on high damage weapons.

Tachton Instruments, the premier mega corporation dealing in robotics, is the developer of the “tin can” robot body.

Prices

Prices for the robot body and various add-ons are listed in the table below

Item

Cost

Mass

The “Tin Can” Body

1,200 Cr

50 kg

Voice Synthesizer

   300 Cr

-

Extra Limb

   400 Cr

-

Compressed Air movement

1,000 Cr

-

Sample Tin Can Robots

Listed below are some sample tin can robots that you might find around the Frontier.  All of the above robots weigh approximately 75 kg.

Automated Tracked Assault Chassis (A.T.A.C .) & Automated Hover Assault Chassis (A.H.A.C.)

Tachton Instruments’ ATAC/AHAC design is a cheap combat robot often used to screen live troops or expensive equipment. They have no self-preservation protocols and will charge straight into combat to fulfill their mission. The robot has numerous attachment points for ammo, grenades, weapons and one defensive shield. However, all of those items are considered optional equipment and must be purchased separately. Troops that work with these robots like to scratch out the word “chassis” on their name plate and scribble the word “cannon-fodder” which is exactly what this robot is:  cannon fodder.

ATAC/AHAC

Level:

2

Movement:

Tracked/Hover

STA:

50

Attack:

50

IM:

5

Damage:

1d10

Cost:

2,800 cr (includes parabattery)

 

Maintenance Automated Robotic Servant (M.A.R.S.) Series Maintenance Robots

Tachton Instruments’ MARS series maintenance robot is marketed specifically for use on starships and space stations. The MARS-1 and 2 models are used under the management of a computer or robot brain in large facility where numerous maintenance robots are required and it’s cheaper to use these lower cost models. In situations where only 1 or 2 maintenance robots are required, the MARS-3 or -4 models are generally used because they are more autonomous and require less direction.

 

MARS-1

MARS-2

MARS-3

MARS-4

Level:

1

2

3

4

Movement:

Tracked or Hover plus

Compressed Air Altered movement for zero-g

STA:

50

Arms:

2 tool arms

Programs:

Maintenance

Optional Equipment:

None

None

Voice synthesizer (+300 cr.)

Voice synthesizer (included)

Cost*:

2,900 cr.

3,200 cr.

3,700 cr.

5,000 cr

* costs includes parabattery

 

Security Police Automated Mechanism (S.P.A.M.) Robot

Tachton Instruments’ SPAM Bot is an inexpensive option for automated security but not generally at high security facilities unless supported with other more stringent security measures.

SPAM Bot

Level:

3

Movement:

Wheeled, Tracked, or Hover

STA:

50

Attack:

60

IM:

6

Damage:

1d10

Programs:

Restrain, Law

Other Equipment:

2 manipulator arms, voice synthesizer, chronocom

Cost:

3,300 cr (includes parabattery)

 

Final Thoughts

The tin can robot provides an additional chassis that can be used to add additional variety to the robots in your campaign.  The tin can body can be used in place of the standard body for almost any type of robot where cost or size may be an issue.  As an additional consideration, if you use the character races from the Zebulon's Guide to Frontier Space, you might consider making the tin can robot the standard sized robot for the Ifshnit as its smaller size matches better with the size of that race.