Paladin-model Robotic Mount

The Paladin-model robot was one of Startrodders more interesting design choices. Done in combination with the work of a particular Wyrmwerk scientist, the infamous Dr. Gram Gage, Wyrmwerks wanted to explore a more organic approach to robot design, while Startrodder agreed that a “robot-horse” might serve a certain portion of their public well. The theory behind the design, from Startrodder’s perspective, was that it would provide many Westerly on the far rim with a compromise between the speed and power of more advanced vehicles, but with the familiarity of riding one of their mounts, rather than driving a new vehicle. For their part, Wyrmwerks wanted more insight into designing a robot from the perspective of matching, and imitating, biology.

The Paladin-model was, largely, a commercial failure. Too expensive for the typical Westerly customer, and too niche for anyone else, thousands were made, but most went unsold, and the line was discontinued. Today, most Paladins are carefully maintained by the few who bought them, and given their ruggedness and resilience, have survived for quite some time. Since their creation, many have been upgraded with the neural architecture of other corporations, especially Redjack, though they remains compatible with Wyrmwerk architecture as well. They remain modestly popular in the Arkhaian Spiral, in the worlds controlled by the Cybernetic Union or polluted wastelands like Grist, where even the hardiest of Westerly mustangs would fail to thrive, and sometimes, one will find an old frontier marshal with an old, well-worn Paladin.

Paladins resemble horses and largely operate just as they would, only stronger, tougher, faster and smarter. While not nearly as clever as most robots, they are “pre-sapient” and more than capable of learning, or working out for themselves, the cleverest tricks that any horse could think to pull off. They have perfect navigation thanks to their internal compasses and their database of extensive facts and landmarks about all the explored worlds of the Galaxy; they have enough DR to deflect most small-arms fire, and the mass to shrug off what gets through. They can run up to 40 miles per hour, putting them on par with some of the fastest houses in the galaxy. They have two compartments in their rear rump that serve the function of saddle bags, allowing up to 40 lbs of items to be stored there. They cannot speak, but they can make intelligible sounds and can understand the spoken word very well, and can pick up radio transmissions, allowing one to be “called” from extremely long distances. Their personalities differ: classic Paladins bear the innocent heroism of the classic Startrodder architecture, but irascible Redjack architectures aren’t uncommon.

Startrodder Paladin-Model Robotic Mount Template

125 points
Cost: $125,000
Weight: 1000 lbs
Power Requirement: 4D/month

Attributes: ST 30 [0]; DX 10 [0]; IQ 6 [-120]; HT 12 [0].

Secondary Traits: Dmg 3d/5d+2; BL 180 lbs; HP 40 [0]; Basic Speed 6.0 [0]; Basic Move 10 [0]; Will 10 [20]; Per 12 [30]; FP NA [0]; SM +1 [0]

Advantages: Startrodder Paladin-Model Chassis [220]; Attribute Substitution (Area Knowledge on Perception, recognizing landmarks only) [1]; Attribute Substitution (Computer Operation on Will, forcing simple operations only) [1]; Attribute Substitution (Computer Security on Will, resisting intrusion/hacking only) [1]; Attribute Substitution (Law on Will, resisting illegal requests only) [1]; Computer-Brain (1 slot, 1 point, Area Knowledge only -50%) [5];

Disadvantages: Psi-Wars Volitional AI [-27]; Choose one -30 point lens below.

  • Redjack: Redjack Standard Programming [-18]; Choose -10 points in Redjack Architecture Disadvantages and -2 points in additional quirks.
  • Startrodder: Startrodder Standard Programming [-25]; Choose -5 points in Startrodder disadvantages,

Skills: Computer Operation (E) Will [1]-10; Expert Skill (Computer Security) (H) Will [4]-10; Law (Alliance Criminal) (H) Will [4]-10; Mount (A) DX+2 [8]-12; Jumping (E) DX+2 [4]-12; Running (A) HT [2]-12

Paladin Traits

Startrodder Paladin-Model Robotic Chassis

220 points
1000 lbs, $125,000, 4D/Week

Attribute Modifiers: +20 ST (No Fine Manipulators -40%; SM -10%) [50]; HT +2 [20]

Secondary Traits: HP +10 (No Fine Manipulators -40%; SM -10%) [10]; Basic Speed +0.5 [10]; Basic Move +4 [20];

Advantages: Absolute Direction [5]; Cable Jack [5]; Claws (Hooves) [2]; DR 80 (Can’t wear armor -40%) [48]; Doesn’t Breathe [20]; Enhanced Move 1 (Ground; speed 20) [20]; Machine [25]; Payload 2 (40 lbs) [2]; Peripheral Vision [15], Protected Senses (Hearing, Vision) [10], Reduced Consumption 3 [6]; Sealed [15]; Telecommunication (Comm System; 100 mile range +30%, Burst +30%, Secure +20%) [19]; Vacuum Support [5].

Perks: Accessories (Personal Computer) [1];

Disadvantages: Affected by Magnetism [-1]; Cannot Speak (Beep) [-15]; Electrical [-20]; Maintenance (one person, monthly) [-2]; No Taste/Smell [-5]; Quadruped [-35]; Restricted Diet (Very Common, power cells [-10];

Paladin Upgrades

Advanced Combat Efficiency

20 points
Hardware Upgrade
Cost: $4000
Prerequisite: Paladin Self-Defense Programming

For some Paladin-riders, the basic combat routines of Paladin Self-Defense Programming isn’t enough. This upgrade includes kinetic amplifiers in the legs to maximize the power of a sudden strike, which improves their kick from 3d+3 to 6d cr, and gives them the ability to “rear” in a fully upright stance, which allows them to “punch” up to reach 1 in front of them for 5d+2 cr. This also grants them a +2 to intimidation rolls, but they suffer a -2 to balance rolls while in this posture. Finally, they have counter-balance mechanisms that allow them to balance their attacks with the rider’s attack, eliminating the need for cavalry training: the rider and mount work in sync when attacking.

Advantages: Striking ST +10 [10];

Perks: Rearing* [1]; Rule Exception (-2 for attacking when mount attacks no longer applies) [1]

Skills: Intimidation (A) Will+2 [8]-12;

*Rearing allows the horse to be stable in a semi-upright posture; it can “punch” with its fore-hooves, and while upright, its greater height grants it a +2 on intimidation rolls. However, while upright like this, it is less stable than a naturally two-legged creature would be, and suffers a -2 to all DX rolls to retain its balance, including a roll for a missed kick.

Gyroscopic Balance

23 points
Hardware Upgrade
Cost: $5000

The original Paladin’s sought to cut costs, and top-tier gyroscopes were considered unnecessary as the programming and the rider himself would guide the robotic mount. Even so, some riders wanted even better performance from their mounts. This high-grade balancing system comes with additional kinesthetic programming, allowing the Paladin a far greater sense of its body and what it can do. The result is not only a mount that can balance effortlessly while walking across a tight-rope, but a robotic horse that can pirouette, flip and perform other astonishing tricks.

Advantages: Perfect Balance [15]

Skills: Acrobatics (H) DX+2* [8]-12;
*Improved with Perfect Balance

Integrated Weapon System

5 points
Hardware Upgrade
Cost: $2500

Some Paladin-riders wanted their mounts to assist them more directly in combat! By sacrificing some of the “saddlebag” storage space, the Paladin can be given a retractable weapon mount that can carry up to 10 lbs of weapon, which it can fire with quite some accuracy.

Advantages: Extra Arm (Weapon Mount -80%; Weak, 1/2 ST -25%) [2]

Disadvantages: Reduce Payload to (20 lbs) [1] for -1 point.

Skills: Beam Weapons (Pistol) (E) DX+2 [4]-12;

Paladin Self-Defense Programming

25 points
Software Upgrade
Cost: $1000

Many Paladin-riders expected their robotic mounts to be able to participate with them in combat and help take down their opponents. With their considerable strength, they should pack quite a whallop! This programming integrates unlocks some of the higher reaction time options and gives the robot a set of reliable combat routines that it can execute with its hooves, giving it a kick of 3d+3 cr with a reach of 1.

Advantages: Combat Reflexes [15]

Skills: Brawling DX+3 [8]-13;

Techniques: Kicking (H) Brawling+0 [2]-13

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