Saturday, December 26, 2015

Strange Stars A-To-Z: "T" Is For Transmogs


Transmogs were used by the earliest labor teams to leave Old Earth. These teams usually consisted of multiple robots and a single human team lead. Robots possessed artificial intelligence, often with quite pedestrian, companionable, crotchety, or quirky personalities. Having a human team lead was essential to these teams' success. Robot teams were more efficient, more cooperative, and more purposeful when accompanied by a human.

While the ancient robots displayed unique personalities, they were not highly specialized. Instead, these ancient machines used swappable skill modules called transmogs. These were small, thumb sized devices which snapped into a port in the robot's head. Need to switch spacehand skills for salesmen's skills? Swap out the transmog. Need a construction team rather than an ag-team? Look around in the box where all the transmogs are stored and swap the modules out.

If you're confused which transmogs are which, almost any robot on a labor team can help you find the right one.

A few of these robots still exist among the Strange Stars today. They are valuable collectors items, as they often know the locations of archaitech, the hyperspace routes to long-lost systems, and how to build and repair hyperdrives.

The key, of course, is to find one with the right transmogs to do the job - or someone who possesses some of these old modules but who doesn't know or have a use for them. Many transmogs end up being used as jewelry or charms by the ignorant...

This Strange Stars post was inspired by Clifford D. Simak's short story "Installment Plan".


We recently published some Quick and Dirty Robot Rules for Strange Stars. Transmogs can be used with these rules quite easily. Here's what to do:
  • In place of the Assignment aspect, give the robot a Personality aspect. Examples include:
    • Lazy labor robot
    • Battered and brused mechanical spacehand
    • Any crankier and you'd need to wind him
    •  Sexy but rusty gynoid
    • A machine that remembers ancient things
  • Select a Failure Mode. Particulary appropiate ones for ancient labor team robots include:
    • Touchy transmog slot
    • Needs direction
    • A tendency to wander
    • No spare parts
  • Select skills/approaches as normal.
  • Write in a Transmog Slot as an Extra. 
    • Instead of selecting three Stunts, each of these robots has a single transmog slot. 
    • When a transmog is plugged into the slot, the robot temporarily acquires one specific transmog stunt. 
    • Transmog stunts represent physical, mental, or social skills; they can never be psionic in nature. 
    • A robot may not swap out their current transmog on their own. The swap always requires the assistance of another character. It takes one turn to make the swap. 
    • There's no hard and fast limit on the number of transmogs that a robot has in their possession, but 5 is a good starting number.
    • If a player is creating a transmog-capable robot, they may start play as soon as they have written one transmog stunt for the character. Other transmog stunts may be selected during play.

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