Image by Jacob Marks
“An indistinguishable time ago, under the rule of the Titans, adamant followers and obedient automatons were crafted from the cybernated wombs of long-forgotten manufactories: single-minded servants of the once-living Titans. These manifold automatons were created to assert the incalculable will of their suzerains. Among them were the argent shepherds, the ego-engines of the Aurum Fleet, and lastly the Trotons, created upon directive from Iapetus, Titan of the auto-forge. Whereas the argent shepherds and Aurum Fleet are venerated because of the focus of their purpose, the Trotons are so prestigious because of the ubiquity of their use.”
-Bethor IV, Autarch of Sinopotamia
A Troton is a levitating robot, roughly twice the size of a true-kin’s fist. Inside are dense polytrontic computers, constructed around a diagravital core, powered by inscrutable dynamos, and encased in titanium-ceramic plate. They are inspired by a few different ideas below.
Firstly, the Troton from an Edena panel by Moebius. The name and mystery of the Troton immediately caught my attention. What the hell is a Troton? What is it used for? What does it look like? They do some guiding. They are with you in the labyrinth. Seems interesting. I don’t own the actual book so all I have is this panel for context.
As I thought further about these Trotons, the Ghost from the video game Destiny wandered into my mind. Bungie’s idea of a polyhedral, floating companion goes back to 343 Guilty Spark in the Halo series. According to Destinypedia, Ghosts are designed to be a “companion, scout, librarian, and mechanic, waking ancient machinery and cracking ancient codes.” Sounds like a useful thing to have around.
Finally, a big inspiration, both functionally and aesthetically, was the companion bot in Hyper Light Drifter. They are the small drones floating beside the character sprites below. Throughout the game, your companion bot helps you unlock doors and alerts you of hidden pathways, as well as crack containers and I’m sure (although not certain, it’s been a while since I played it) he stores coins and health-regenerating serum for the Drifter.
Putting all these ideas together, I thought that it would be awesome to have a floating, automated companion/scout/hacker/regenerator that’s called a Troton and helps your characters explore the vaults and wilds of Vaarn. Even having a bot go in and make sure the glinting reliquary really isn’t trapped, or the sweet-smelling pool isn’t actually flesh-eating acid is a nice option. As a side note, I think it would make sense to limit the amount of Trotons per group to one or two.
Here are some Troton base abilities:
– HD: 2
– Innate Weapon: 1d4 slam/laser/shock/projectile
– Sumpter: 2 item slots
– Assistant: gives advantage on a single ability (whole group benefits)
– Searchlamp: 50′ sphere; 100′ cone
– Terminalogue: hacks/picks simple terminals/locks
– Form: prints simple, homogenous, tri-dimensional objects from plascrete
– Reform: repairs/mends small objects
*Disclaimer: none of this has been playtested
Now, as any fetish-worshipper of Iapetus knows, the Titan did not create all Trotons equal nor did he make them infinite in their powers. Different Trotons will start with different usage die sizes (d8 charges for a simple Troton, d12 if it is better-equipped). Another option is that you could have usage die tied to HD (1 HD will give you a d6, 2 HD a d8, 3 HD a d10, et cetera).
Usage die are stolen from the Black Hack. It uses a dice chain (d20-d12-d10-d8-d6-d4). Every time an item is used, the current die is rolled. If a certain number range comes up (usually a 1-2), the die size decreases.
When a player chooses to use their Troton’s programmed Feat (see table below), they must roll their usage die. It is up to the players and the GM what number range will decrease the die size. For example, a simple “Identification” Feat (taken from the table below), such as identifying the cartel colours on a caravan flag, decreases on a roll of 1 or 1-2. Whereas, the same Feat would decrease on a 1-3 if you were trying to discern what goods the caravan is carrying and how much. To determine such things as the identity of who is in the caravan, their ancestry, gear, cybernetics, gifts, etc, the usage die would decrease on a roll of 1-4, or maybe even more.
If all of the charges are depleted, the Troton can still perform base abilities (bullet list above). But, in order to regain their max usage die, the Troton must consume a certain material. These recharge materials are found in the last column of the table below. If the Troton goes for three days without these consumables, then they enter a minimal mode, where they can only perform Move, Innate Weapon, and Sumpter. After three weeks, the troton will expire.
How will you ever find clean electricity in a land like this? What is a mouldcore? Do you dare pop some pseudo-giant zits to get a few drams of cacogen pus? It is up to the referee how much of this certain substance each Troton must consume in order to refill, but this quantity should be directly tied to how many charges the Troton can store.
I tried to leave these Feat words open-ended, so they can hopefully spark an array of utilizations when it comes to different types of encounters or challenges. Interpret how you like.
Without further ado, here is the table. Roll some Trotons.
|TROTON IS||WHICH IS COLOURED||AND APPEARS||WHICH GRANTS (FEAT)||BUT CONSUMES|
|20||Roll twice||Roll twice||Heat-sealed||Deception||Cacogen pus|
Designer note: I realize that the table formatting is less-than optimal in the current blog layout. It sucks that you have to scroll sideways to see the whole thing. The reason why I put the whole table into one block was so that referees/GMs can simply copy and paste it right into a text document.
6 thoughts on “VAARN . table: trotons”
I really like this, they’re half a familiar and half a hireling, and 100% science fantasy. Really nice work.
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Thanks. The whole process of dreaming up the troton seemed to land upon me quite suddenly. It just made sense. They fit in well with the whole lost-technology spin too.