Adv. Star Frontiers: Advanced Robotics Rules

This is an unfinished set of advanced robotics rules I started writing late in my journey with Star Frontiers.  I never really got finished with them but there may be some value in them.  These were written with Zebulons Guide rules in mind.


Robots are usually a difficult thing to define let alone design.  It is usually difficult to discern them from computers. For the sake of gaming, a few conventions must be introduced.  A computer is a tool where a robot is a worker  A computer can sometimes be a part of a robot but it is not possible to have the reverse.  A computer is used by an individual to do work they would not be able to do or would be able to do with extreme difficulty.  Computers are more intellectual and logical and less physical.   Robots are physical and labor oriented; the slaves of modern society.  Robots rely on computers for control, communication and functionality.

Robots by Zebulon University definition are mechanized beings with some level of computer processor brain, as well as a neural network to distribute commands to all the various moving parts.  A robot is capable of some kind of physical action.  It may or may not be capable of intellectual work.  Some mainframes are equipped with internal self-repair units, for example.  This is an example of a computer with robotic parts.  A thinkbot, however, is a mechanized computer able to do many calculations of a computer with a large memory storage, but is portable.


Robotics is the mastery of artificial mechanical life; to give life to a series of inanimate elements carved into moving part, using energy as the lifeforce.  Designing a robot in the Star Frontiers Advanced world requires a designer with the proper skills.

New Robotics Skills for TechEx Profession:

Robotic: Design

Success Rate: Skill level +1 CS

Prerequisite: Minimum Robotics Repair Level 2, Robotics Modification, Robotics Alter Mission, Proper tools & materials.

This skill allows the character to design a robot from top to bottom.  Several rolls must be made t0 design a robot.  If one fails, the character may roll on Robotics Modification for a new route to the design or Robotics Repair to try again on the same things ( one roll for each).  If both fail, the designer must delay one day to start again.

When designing a robot, these are the rolls to make:

  1. STRUCTURAL INTEGRITY:  This roll is for the general body structure.  Adding armor or reinforcement adds Column Shifts.  Also each Body Type Structure (BTS) has its own modifiers.
  2. MOBILITY CONSTRUCTION: This roll covers the equipment and technology used for the robot’s locomotion.  There are many modes of movement and each have their own modifiers.  Also there is the Bi-Mod Option – having two modes in one – which has its own modifiers depending on the two-mode combination.
  3. MAIN PROCESSOR/CORE MISSION PROGRAMMING: This covers all the electronics and programming that gives the robot purpose.  Each robot has its own basic function or Mission.  All programming units (robo-progits) built into the robot supports this Mission.  One roll is required per Mission, and if failure, Robotics: Alter Mission can be rolled once to find a new route.  The Processor Level is the only modifier that applies to this roll.
  4. FUNCTIONAL STRUCTURAL ADDITIONS:  This rolls covers all the basic add-ons needed to accomplish its Mission.  Sensors, limbs, audio, tools and equipment are all part of this roll.  One roll and if failed, a Robotics: Modification can be attempted.  The designer must list all equipment and electronics that will be installed before the roll.
  5. POWER SYSTEMS: This roll is for the installation of the power systems. neural networks, servos, motors and gears through out the robot – the nerves and muscles of the robot.  Power usage depends on the BTS of the robot, the amount of armor and reinforcements, and mode of movement, and size of processor, as well as the complexity of its mission.  Add up all the individual Power Usage Ratings for each, to get the total Power Usage for the Robot.
  6. SPECIAL ADDITIONS: This roll is for optional add-ons. The roll determines the number of special add-ons.  The roll represents the efficiency of the design, the quality of materials picked out by the designer and the extra power the designer might have gotten out of his design.  These special add-ons don’t count towards Power Usage. Special Add-ons can be anything – extra sensory devices, limbs, weapons, robo-progits.  The only thing it can not be is an additional Mission.  However, there can be a submission (see Missions).
 Result  # of Add-ons
 Cobalt  4 Add-ons
 Blue  3 Add-ons
 Green  2 Add-ons
 Yellow  1 Add-on


After acquiring the proper skills, tools and equipment, the designer is ready to make a robot.  A few decisions need to be made before the designer makes the rolls explained above.

  1. What class of robot?
  2. What kind of Mission will it be designed for?
  3. What kind of body structure will be required to accomplish this Mission?

A GM can create a simple NPC robot just by answering the above questions but if he needs more details, he may need to follow the steps following this section.  A PC that is designing his own robot also follows the following rules.


The class of the robot identifies the general purpose and body build of the robot. There are two classes and several subclasses for each class.  Subclasses give a general idea of its programming and its build. Each class is listed, followed by a short explanation which is then followed by a listing of the subclasses.

Standard Build

The Standard build class describes a standard humanoid build equipped with arms for manipulation and lifting, head for sensory and communication, and torso/abdomen for structural integrity and other functionality.  Mode of transportation is usually is usually two to four legs although it doesn’t have to be.

Subclasses of Standard Build

(1) Think-bot: Standard build think bots are usually mobile or self propelled computers with large memory banks and processors.  Translation bots, astrogation bots, and engineering bots are all examples of think bots.  They calculate, translate, inform, and instruct.  Their programming involves large databases of knowledge and massive processors for complex calculations.

(2) Work-bot: Most work-bots standard build are simple in programming, complex in body structure.  Maintenance bots, pack-bots, and assembly line bots are examples. Most have a specific task and nothing else.  Some have sub-tasks as well.

(3) War-bot/Sec-bot – War-bots and Security Bots both have the same basic function – emulate the Enforcer profession in some way or another.  Several weapons are usually mounted on the body structure and it is usually heavily armored. Programming can vary from simple assassin functions designed to kill a specific target to more complex functions a soldier does in the field. Large body type structured war-bots are also called war-mechs or battlemechs and sometimes require a pilot.

Robotic Machinery

Robotic Machinery defines a wide range of non-standard robots classes – robotic vehicles, robotic probes or drones, robotic assembly line machines, robotic construction and mining machines, for example.  Configuration and general internal design vary greatly from BTS to BTS, as does mode of locomotion.

Subclasses of Robotic Machinery

(1) Work-bot – This types of robotic machinery include many of the previously mentioned examples –  robotic assembly line machines, robotic construction and mining machines – and take up a majority of this subclass. Programming varies but usually they are designed to replace existing manned heavy machinery.

(2) Think-bot – Robotic machinery class think-bots are mobile supercomputers and mainframes.  They are usually used as computer cores for temporary colonies or similar operations.  This class is very rare because of it is very impractical.  One popular and practical use is a robotic-brain  – a mobile computer that controls other robots and computers, and the like.  This required complex processing and a strong body structure.  This kind of think-bot is very expensive so typically only major corporations or governments use them.

(3) War-bot/Sec-bot – Robotic machinery class war-bot/sec-bot take up the other majority of the robotic machinery class.  Robotic tanks, aircraft, and artillery all fall in this class.


Body Type Structure (BTS) describes the basic internal structure of the robot.  It defines what kind of processor and mission it can handle.  The structures are normally made up of high-test, pressure treated plasti-steel with enviro-proofing.  There are eight types or levels of BTS, each tying into the 8 levels of processors and eight levels of missions.  For example, BTS level 6 can carry up to processor level 6.  Robot class and sub-class also defines the escat structure.  When more detail is needed, it is up to the designer.

BTS Level 1

This is the smallest robot in existence. They are usually used for basic function like messenger-bots, gopher-bots,  small systems maintenance bots, etc.  They are usually don’t have a main Mission but depend on basic progits for their simple task.  If a Mission is needed, it is very basic and simple (Level 1 type Missions).

The BTS 1 robot usually is no larger than 35x35x35 cm in volume, weaighing no more than 8kg to 10 kg.  They carry only type 1 processors and progits circuitry.  The BTS structure can support a total amount of 30 kg of equipment and cargo.  BTS 1 is capable of one Light Limb.

BTS Level 2

BTS 2 are no larger cubic meter , no smaller than the largest BTS 1.  It can only handle Type 2 processors and Missions or smaller.  They are capable of 2 or 3 light limbs.  They have many uses, usually doing only one task but the task may be complex.  For instance, a inter-system navigation bot.  They can carry up to 55 kg  of equipment and cargo.  They usually weigh between 55 kg and 80 kg.

BTS Level 3

BTS 3 are usually the humanoid type robots or androids – bipedal, two arms, and a head. BTS 3 can be any size between 1.5 meters tall and 2 meters tall standing upright.  Light labor-bots or “mules” are usually BTS 3 – robotic quadruped units that carry small loads.  BTS 3 units have a limit of 115 kg of equipment and cargo.  They are capable of 2 to 4 standard limbs and weigh up to 100 kg.

BTS Level 4

BTS 2 are the slightly larger than humanoid bots – heavy security or war bots, light assembly line work.  They have a capacity of 250 kg and usually are between 2.5 and 4.5 meters tall, standing upright.  THey weigh between 100 and 200 kg.  They are capable of operating up to 2 medium limbs or 4 Standard Limbs.

BTS Level 5

BTS 5 are heavy assembly line robots, light construction, or mining type robots.  Some corporations use them for heavy maintenance in reactors. They usually mass between 180 to 250 kg, standing upright at about 3 to 3.5 meters.  They are capable of 2 to 3 medium limbs or 2 heavy limbs.  They have a mass capacity of 325 kg.

BTS Level 6

BTS 6 units are specially designed for heavy construction, mining, or light mechanized cavalry.  They can also be light war mechs.  They are capable of 425 kg capacity, 4 medium limbs or 2 heavy limbs.  They stand at about 4 to 5.5 meters tall, and mass between 220 to 310 kg.

BTS Level 7

BTS 7 are the medium war mechs, starship construction bots, or the like.  They have 485 kg mass capacity and are capable of 2 heavy limb plus a medium limb or 4 medium limbs and one heavy limb.  BTS 7 usually stand between 6 and 7.5 meters .  They usually mass between 400 kg and 550 kg.

BTS Level 8

The largest of the body types, there are the heavy mechs, space station construction bots and the like.  They are capable of 2 reinforced heavy limbs, 1000 kg, and stand between 8 to 10 meters tall.  They usually mass between 550 to 1000 kg.

BTS Power Use Value Mass Capacity Structural Points Col. Shift Limb Value Upgrades
1 30 25 +1 1 1
2 45  0
3  -1
4  -1
5  -2
6  -2
7  -3
8  -3
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