Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Berk Species Profile: Robots

Image from Wikimedia Commons
Robots are a common sight in Berk. They can be everything from automated street sweepers with the intelligence of house kittens chasing balls of fluff to dedicated soldiers and guards with advanced squad tactics. Some are among the wisest of the Librarians, while others enjoy nothing more than drinking used motor oil with some Gibson gangs or gaming with Russian Werewolves in a game that involves at least a deck and a half's worth of cards.

The robot parts of Berk were all built during the Between-Time, which does not guarantee that the Robots themselves were built at that time. While many of the Robots rolling, clanking, and grinding their way around the city streets hail back to the golden age between the First Event and Second Event, many others were cobbled together in the years since then out of other robots. The Librarians are the group who best remember, or have pieced back together, the principles of building Robots, but the technology to build the complicated robot parts has been lost.

Even though some Robots have memories that stretch back to the Between-Time, none can agree on how long ago that was or what happened in the Second Event.


Some Robots are shiny chrome people, walking around smoothly on silent joints. These robots are more rare than a well-spoken Gibson, and would attract stares everywhere they went. The vast majority of robots in Berk are creaky, dented things with scuffed shells, whining servos, and uneven locomotion. These Robots frequently break down and either need the help of someone who can repair them, or they need to learn how to do basic repairs and maintenance on themselves.

While Robots can be fat or thin, tall or short, they tend toward squat builds with blocky shapes. Glowing eyes and hatch mouths are commons, though their faces can also consist of a cluster of blinking LEDs or a television screen. They move about on legs, treads, or wheels.

Robots do not wear clothes, though some may enjoy decorating themselves with decals or stencils. The word "DRIVING" is often stenciled on Robots for some reason.


Robots have different needs than other citizens of Berk. They need oil instead of drink and electricity instead of food. Instead of medical checkups, they need maintenance. The people of Berk are very accepting of Robots, and these differences are seen as a part of Robot culture, as though motor oil and electricity were a type of ethnic cuisine.

If properly cared for, Robots can last forever. Unfortunately, proper care is almost impossible to find. Even if a Robot can get a Librarian or other technically-minded citizen to examine the Robot, it can be hard to find the spare parts needed to get the robot back to prime condition. Therefore, most Robots are collections of kludges and "temporary" fixes that have been rebuilt and bolstered to the point that the original function of a part may be lost in all the work that has been done to it.

Robot Adventurers

As befits a species with such a range of variations, Robots can make either excellent or terrible adventurers, so most Robots adventurers are a little of both. While some Robots can be extremely intelligent, for the most part they tend to be rather dim-witted. Their clipped speech and ungainly vocabulary may seem impressive, but they have trouble making inferences (which can be a problem when a grenade just landed next to you) and improvising (which can be a problem when you just found the guy with the rest of the grenades).

Some Robot adventurers are heavily armored, usually because they were designed for heavy construction or dangerous mining. Many other robots have attempted to weld makeshift armor onto their forms, with varied results. Most robot adventurers who have been in that line of work for a while (and some have been doing it for generations of human lives) have replaced some of their original parts with new ones that fit their liking better. Robots are very practical when it comes to taking parts from other Robots for one's own use, though it is considered polite to make sure the other Robot has been permanently deactivated first.

Robots are simultaneously difficult to injure and difficult to repair, which means that a Robot adventurer is going to be dependent on repairs. Robots also require a source of power and oil. Successful Robot adventurers prioritize getting the most efficient powerplant they can find, and are correspondingly nervous in the company of less efficient Robot adventurers with great ambition.

1 comment: