The War Against The Machines: New Enemy Type

Note: I recently watched Terminator 2 for the first time in a very long while, so this may be slightly infulenced by that.

Cataclysm is aptly named. There are so many apocalypses going on at once that it’s amazing the world hasn’t simply exploded as a way of excalating things. Things in the mines, fungal bloom, nuclear war, triffid invasion, not to mention the zombies. However, there is one doomsday scenario missing… Grey Goo/Robot War. There are robots in the game, but they seem to be pretty harmless unless you break into a police station/bank/pawn shop, at which point they arrest you/beat you to death. So, why not implement this angle of apocalypse? Here’s a few ideas to get it going.


Fungus has fungal bloom, zombies have cities, extradimensional beings have portals, etc. So where should the robots spawn? I propose a nanobot infested zone. Why? Because it’s a bit more creative then “robot factory”, and it could have the fun idea of a zone constantly expanding as time goes on, if that’s possible to implement. It would be an endless brown landscape (Due to the fact that the nanobots have consumed all vegetation in their hunger for energy), magma fissures (Due to nanobots going deep into the Earth in order to eat energy), and collapsed houses and piles of skeletons (due to nanobots eating them, etc etc). This would be filled with swarms of nanobots and should be generally avoided until you’re ready to wage the war against the machines.

Types of Robots

Nanobot Swarm: This is a grey cloud, consisting of billions of nanobots. They are attempting to strip down all forms of matter into more energy. This can include walls, vegetation, other creatures (if in-monster fighting is implemented), and you. Especially you. How do you stop these horrible monsters if you can’t bash them into pieces or shoot them to death? Well, simply set a fire and they’ll be drawn to it by their thermal imaging mistaking it for a living being, then get burnt alive! However, don’t stick around the flames too long because that might draw the attention of the less prone to dying from being set alight robots.Don’t have a lighter? You best run, they’re not hard to avoid.
Hunter-Killer: This is a large, flying drone which is able to fire missiles at you. Beware! This is a boss-level enemy and you should probably run if you don’t have access to explosives or extremely powerful firearms. It’s strafe-runs of missiles should be able to be noted in the log, with a message such as “The Hunter-Killer whirrs and angles slightly forward” with perhaps a perception roll to detect that it may be going in for a strafing run.
Terminator: This robot initially appears to be human, at a distance. Up-close, you can take a perception roll to get a message “[NPC NAME] doesn’t seem quite right. S/he looks vaguely artificial and is mechanical in his/her movements.”. When you attempt to talk to it, it will attempt to kill you using any weapon it has at it’s disposal, even it’s own fists. It’s very strong, so beware!
Hi-Speed Pursuit Vehicle (HSPV): This is an automated police car that has been reprogrammed to chase you down… and run you down, if need be. It will attempt to crash into you, shoot you with it’s machine guns, and generally attempt to destroy you even if it means the death of itself. It is the size of a regular car with no windows or doors. Inside would most likely be electronic parts.

That’s my ideas for now. Feel free to critique and add onto it!

I think this is a good idea. What about small drones that patrol the roads near the spawn at high speeds. They could be armed with something like turrets now, but be dangerous due to how fast they are.

Best part would be if you could manage to hit one with an EMP to disable it, and then with an electrohack and computer/eletcronics skill turn it into a drivable vehicle.

Also I think if you have a high skill in firearms, and (preferably)an automatic gun you could shoot down some or all of the Hunter/Killer missiles.

Hm… Well, the HSPVs kinda fill that role as they have turrets, though it could be a nice bodyguard for other, less combat-y robots such as the nanobots.

Assault Robot: Originaly made as scouts for military, but later they become more dangerous due to installed programs and weapons, they have some sort of AI and “intolerant” towards humans. They are to blame for machine rebellion. They must be very powerfull, but rare.
Rebellious tools: We are in future, aren’t we? So why not to use tools which have been programmed to do work for you? But it didn’t go as planned and all that scissors, lawnmovers, welders etc. rebelled and now want human blood.

I love this idea. We’ve already got Skynet survival in Defense mode, but it was always lacking something… That something being terminators. Finally would give us a target worthy of a LAW rocket.

Also needs a variation of terminators to be good.
and so on.

Ah, I see now. Somehow I completely missed that part of your post. Derp.

Anyways, some random ideas I had about this:
I like the idea of an enemy (aka nanobot swarm) that you cant outright kill and have to misdirect instead. But I think there should be some late game option to kill them. EMP grenade/bionic comes to mind.

Also “butchering” terminators for (possibly unique) bionics. Should use electronics skill instead of survival though. What about a new power system, similar to the battery system, but it uses plutonium cells instead?

And, of course, the finale. I think it should be a machine you can reprogram with computer skill to uninstall bionics. It could be like a terminator assembly plant or something. And since theres no other way to do it it would be worth fighting through robots to get to. Prob lots of bionics in there too.

On a slightly unrelated note, robots shouldnt need sight to be able to shoot you. Since most places theres robots theres no lights, NV goggles/bionic makes robots chump change. Surely in the future IR scanners would be commonplace. Just my 2 cents.

Mutation: Full Night Vision FTW. Even the NV trait at chargen makes labs quite safer.

IR-scanners would be interesting–problem is, how does the player counter them? I’d be afraid of the combat-bots shooting the player as soon as they had line/sight, which would make the war kinda lopsided.

Could the CBM:Electromagnet screw up a swarm in similar fashion to the EMP generator? (The whole “Electromagnetic” part of EMP…)

I didn’t think about balance. . .Im kind of drawing a blank on that one. Maybe robots with IR scanners would be too broken. It just feels like once you get NV robots arent really a threat. Maybe the only robot with an IR scanner is an automated spotlight or something. It takes a few turns to find you while making an audio cue, so if you cant kill it/run in time all the other robots could see you.

also i think electromagnetic unit should be pretty devastating against swarms (since its so useless otherwise)

So, some sort of Turret that fires a cone of light. Wouldn’t know how to code it but would certainly be useful for any security application (military outposts, etc). Or maybe something like the manhack, but with a light on so the firearm-bots can see you when it attacks.

Could work, and justify it as the military knows its AI isn’t always top-notch so left it mostly vision-dependent as a safeguard or something?

We’re going to be giving bots more methods for seeing you in the darkness, but we’ll definitely being avoiding bullshit ‘You can’t see them but they can see you’ shit.

And what about the terminators? Currently, playing against Skynet in Defense mode is entirely underwhelming. Just once, I’d like to see a mechanical man from the future emerge from one of those portals than the eldritch monstrosities that currently inhabit them.

Ever see Predator 2? When the Government agents try to catch it they seem to be using those suits that are rather fire resistent but also block their body heat. Being Hollywood not sure how accurate that is but something like that could work. Bulky suit limiting movement, perception and uncomfortable to hide/minimize detection for a bit. Although I’d think they’d have standard vision options to so they’ll still see you in normal light regardless.

It’s the future right isn’t it likely humanity was delegating other jobs to robots to. Like a sentient automatic trash compactor now thinking everything is trash including you and trying to crush. Or primitive construction robots with tools for arms although say stuck near their site due to inability to move their power source an external generator?

Sorry if grammar and spelling is a mess doing this from a mobile device.

Theoretically 1994-issue military gear is supposed to have some sort of treatment to reduce IR signatures. I’m not sure how much trust I’d place in a declassified training manual though, and bunker gear (the stuff firefighters wear) might indeed be better. Not sure about hazmat suits.