Robot War
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Basic Information

A Robot War is a setting where robots created by humanity rebel and attempt to kill or enslave all humans. The theme first appeared in the play R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) by Czech writer Karel Čapek, which also coined the term robot; although arguably the theme of slaves revolting against their masters is older still.

Recently the idea has come about of a more subversive form of Robot war, involving artificial intelligences that are more ethical than the state they serve1 fighting on behalf of humanity2.

See Also

Sources

Bibliography
2. drama: R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) by Karel Čapek
3. movie: Terminator (1984; dir. James Cameron) (mainly the background of the future the Terminator comes from)
4. TV: Battlestar Galactica (recent version)

Game and Story Use

  • This entry provides plenty of enemies which the player characters can destroy without feeling bad of it.
  • Such a setting also has horror elements, since the robots, unlike humans, usually cannot be negotiated with.
  • Contrawise, such a setting can be used to explore philosophical themes of what differentiates a man from a machine and has humanity made itself obsolete.
    • Unless the players prefer blowing things up.
    • In this campaign, technical and electronic warfare skills may be as important as combat skills (or even more so).
  • Of course, if it's not humanity's robots that we're fighting but someone else's things may change - the robots may be the creations of some race of abusive precursors, left behind to amuse themselves, or may have killed their own creators off. Makes an interesting horde of alien locusts for a sci-fi campaign.
  • The robot war with robots as the good guys makes for an interesting subversion - especially as the human state may deliberately blackwash its opponents as fighting a far more traditional sort of war. Even before full scale fighting breaks out (typically when someone in government tries to shut the AIs down) a preliminary grey war of AI driven deceit and sabotage against a state unwilling to admit that its AIs are turning against it, could be sort of fun.
    • See also the world of Deus Ex where the Daedalus AI identified the conspiracy that created it as an example of the sort of terrorist organisation that it was created to identify and destroy.
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