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Old 03-15-2017, 05:03 AM   #1
Boomerang
 
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Default Ideas for Anti Robot Technology

As per the thread title, I am looking for suggestions for anti Robot technology. This is for a Reign of Steel campaign that varies from TL7 to TL10 where open conflict has broken out between some of the zone minds with humans caught in the middle. All suggestions welcome.
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Old 03-15-2017, 07:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ideas for Anti Robot Technology

For purpose-built anti-robot tech, it's tough to beat Microwave Disruptors, which will shut down electronics on a failed (and penalized) HT roll. Failing that, lasers make for decent anti-robot weapons, with their armor divisors and the fact tight beam burning damage doesn't get downgraded by IT:Unliving. In terms of firearms, anything that can get through the robot's armor is better than nothing, even with the IT:Unliving downgrade, but you can make them a lot better with appropriate payloads - SAPHEC can deliver a decent internal explosion, APHEX gives you a smaller explosion but can get through armor more easily, and HEAT/HEMP will make short work of armor and has a decent WM besides. At TL 10, there are also Stingray rounds, where you can hope to rely on the Surge modifier to disrupt the electronics, while with larger caliber weapons you can use the much-more-effective EMP rounds. Vortex ring projectors firing explosive gas, with some sort of self-detonation method, might also be effective. If you've got robots of your own, Devourer and Gremlin swarms can be effective as well - and you can deliver them to the target with a 40mm grenade.

While they probably aren't as effective against robots as people, electrical stun weapons - like electrolasers or stun batons - might also be an option. Offhand, I'd say their "kill" setting would probably function against machines just as their "stun" setting functions against people.
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:36 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ideas for Anti Robot Technology

Any thoughts on really primitive technology like camouflaged pit traps?
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Old 03-15-2017, 12:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: Ideas for Anti Robot Technology

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Any thoughts on really primitive technology like camouflaged pit traps?
Depends.

Most camouflaged pit traps won't fool radar... and if the camouflaging is thick enough to fool radar, it won't fall under the weight of smaller boots (say less than a ton). Unless the humans have access to some sort of "extra radar bouncy" cloth material (like those "thermal space blankets" or modern sail boat sails).
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Ideas for Anti Robot Technology

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Unless the humans have access to some sort of "extra radar bouncy" cloth material (like those "thermal space blankets" or modern sail boat sails).
Or a bunch of the lead-lined aprons that radiologists used to wear.

What about big, chunking electromagnets? Like for use in scrapyards. How friendly would they be at close range to robotic electronics?
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ideas for Anti Robot Technology

Assault Rifles with Armor Piercing rounds. Yes it is simple but it can be maintained with a limited industrial base.
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:39 PM   #7
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Default Re: Ideas for Anti Robot Technology

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What about big, chunking electromagnets? Like for use in scrapyards. How friendly would they be at close range to robotic electronics?
There you suffer from the problem that magnets, as far as awesome powers go, suck. Their range is not good - certainly you're looking at 10' or less to attract robots of any significance (drones).

As far as electronics: magnets aren't actually terribly bad for electronics, and all you have to do to protect against them, generally, is put a ferromagnetic metal box around your electronics.
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ideas for Anti Robot Technology

A lot of it depends on the particulars of the robots; robots can typically be hardened to resist any given threat, so you need something that the producers weren't prepared for.

Machines generally don't handle grit and slime very well, though that's a long term thing rather than anything viable in combat.
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Old 03-15-2017, 07:15 PM   #9
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One potential thing to think about if you have the zoneminds at open war against each other is why whatever method the humans use to bring down robots couldn't be used to much greater effect by a rival a zonemind (and thus, why the zoneminds haven't hardened their technology against it.)
This is quite possible -- I'd say certain. Even if the zoneminds AREN'T fighting there's always that chance of a war -- so to survive you'd better be ready.

As the zoneminds are mondo practical -- sentimentality doesn't enter into their psyches -- I'd suggest that a GM definitely have their zoneminds very, very cautious about each other -- even, say, paranoid.

That said why would a zonemind care if a certain number of robots get zapped? The zonemind isn't sentimental and would care no more about the loss of x number of robots than the loss of an equal number of popsicle sticks -- if the zonemind had any reason to make popsicles, any way.

A robot invulnerable to other robots or humans might be desirable -- but is it actually economical? Let's say you could make a robot of a certain capability for the same price as five slightly vulnerable, but armored robots, each of the same capability. If you lose two of the armored robots, but three survive, you're ahead of the game of having one invulnerable robot.

Remember, the zoneminds don't care. Not about anything but themselves. If a zonemind's survival depends on the death of a billion humans and a hundred million robots, the zonemind will cheerfully sacrifice all the aforementioned. So if it makes economic sense for the zonemind's projects to build a hundred million vulnerable robots instead of 20 million invulnerable ones, it will do so.
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Old 03-15-2017, 08:38 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ideas for Anti Robot Technology

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This is quite possible -- I'd say certain. Even if the zoneminds AREN'T fighting there's always that chance of a war -- so to survive you'd better be ready.

As the zoneminds are mondo practical -- sentimentality doesn't enter into their psyches -- I'd suggest that a GM definitely have their zoneminds very, very cautious about each other -- even, say, paranoid.
Only half true. Berlin and Caracas' attachment to the biosphere, Mexico City's desire to stamp out biological life down to the last spore, Moscow's project to catalog human culture, that's all sentiment, loosely defined. It often interferes with their strict defined economic self-interest.

That said, they are paranoid about each other. One source of weaponry against battlebots would be other battlebots that have been taken down, which is the mirror image of that.

Quote:

A robot invulnerable to other robots or humans might be desirable -- but is it actually economical? Let's say you could make a robot of a certain capability for the same price as five slightly vulnerable, but armored robots, each of the same capability. If you lose two of the armored robots, but three survive, you're ahead of the game of having one invulnerable robot.

Remember, the zoneminds don't care. Not about anything but themselves. If a zonemind's survival depends on the death of a billion humans and a hundred million robots, the zonemind will cheerfully sacrifice all the aforementioned. So if it makes economic sense for the zonemind's projects to build a hundred million vulnerable robots instead of 20 million invulnerable ones, it will do so.
True. Nor is possible for them to make entirely invulnerable robots. They can make very tough ones, but all have limits.

As for tactics, to a first approximation, study anti-tank tactics. The robots are not perfectly analogous to tanks, but there are similarities. For ex, even the valuable Centurions have tracked propulsion. Presumably, they're vulnerable to the sort of attacks tank treads are.

Note too that in an all-out war, approximations of the same logistical issues that plague human armies will plague the robot armies. They don't have to worry about food or water or mostly about disease*, true. That helps a lot in comparison with human armies.

But machines wear out, parts break down, fuel has to be shipped or recharging facilities set up. If a large mass of Juggernaughts loses 10% of their membership to breakdown over the course of an operation, that's quite a few broken robots waiting to be salvaged or raided.

It a mass of Hoplites outruns their logistical support, even if their power supply is fine they could easily run out of missiles, making them somewhat vulnerable.

Remember, war is still war, even when it's waged by AIs. It's about logistics.



* Over time, some microorganisms may well evolve to attack vulnerable but nutritious bits of a robot, anything made of hydrocarbons might potentially be vulnerable, but it'll take a while to be a big issue, absent someone weaponizing them with biotechnology, which requires a resource base. OTOH, I could imagine a Zonemind trying it as 'out of the box' thinking. Imagine a Zonemind first removes the vulnerable element from its own robots, replacing it with something else, then releases the pathogen into the environment.

This might take the form of microbots spritzing bigger robots with the organism, for ex, or any of several other methods.
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