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Flexbots stretch the limits of robotics, both in terms of their physical construction and the ability of a morph to host a transhuman consciousness. This section provides new rules for constructing and playing characters in flexbot morphs.

Flexbot Terminology

A module is an individual flexbot component (or another synthmorph, robot, or vehicle with the modular construction enhancement). A flexbot morph is one or more interconnected modules controlled either by a single ego or a by group of egos acting together. Each flexbot is treated as a single entity for rules purposes, no matter how many modules combine together to create it. Modules that are not connected are not considered part of the flexbot morph.
The rules below apply not only to flexbot modules, but to all synthmorphs, bots, and vehicles with the modular design and shape adjusting enhancements.

Flexible Design

Unlike many synthmorphs, flexbots don’t inherently have humanoid body layouts, though most operators choose to configure them this way for ease of use. Much of a flexbot’s mass is composed of a reconfigurable lattice of microscopic structural components. Using the flexbot’s shape-adjusting augmentation, this lattice can be configured into gross structural features such as a torso, hands, head, appendages, and mobility systems, as well as mechanical features such as pistons, ball joints, and skeletal struts. The full capabilities of this feature are detailed under Shape Adjusting, below.

Flexbot Modules

Though each module is capable of acting as an independent flexbot morph, their modular design means they are intended to meld with other modules in various configurations. Individual modules are crafted with specific tasks and specialties in mind, so that each particular flexbot can be customized by adding and removing modules depending on the task at hand.
This section describes the various specialized flexbot modules that may be chosen as morphs at character creation or added on to an existing flexbot. Each module has a default configuration shape; unless otherwise specified, the module is assumed to be in this shape. The mobility systems given for each module are those present in its default configuration; these may be changed using the shape-adjusting augmentation (see Shape Adjusting).

Apiary

The apiary is a mini-swarmanoid that attaches to a flexbot.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, Skinlink, Swarm Composition
Modularized Gear: Laser Link, Nanodetector, Radio Booster
Mobility System: Walker (2/8), Hopper (4/20), Rotor (4/32)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 20
Wound Threshold: 4
Notes: Small Size trait, Swarm Composition, apiaries can only hold 2 egos
CP Cost: 10
Credit Cost: High (minimum 10,000)

Beekeeper

Beekeepers are modules used to deploy nanoswarms.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Medichines, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, Nanophages, Skinlink
Modularized Gear: 4 Specialized Hives of the player’s choice
Mobility System: Walker (4/16), Hover (8/16)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
Advantages: Armor 4/4, +5 COG, +5 INT, +5 to one other aptitude of the player’s choice
Notes: Small Size trait
CP Cost: 55
Credit Cost: Expensive (minimum 55,000)

Bouba

This soft, amorphous module consists of hard parts in a fluid matrix surrounded by a tough but flexible skin. Its design doesn’t allow for reshaping into new mobility systems, but it can slither along the ground or hover.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Bioweave Armor (Light), Cortical Stack, Chameleon Skin, Cyberbrain, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, Skinflex, Skinlink, Squishbot (below)
Mobility System: Hover (8/40), Snake (4/16)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 15
Wound Threshold: 3
Advantages: Armor 2/3
Notes: Small Size trait
CP Cost: 10
Credit Cost: High (minimum 10,000)

Crafter

The crafter module is specialized for construction and fabrication.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Fractal Digits, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, Nanoscopic Vision, Pneumatic Limbs, Shape Adjusting, T-Ray Emitter
Modularized Gear: Tool Kit, Specialized Hive (Engineer Swarm)
Mobility System: Walker (4/16), Hover (8/40)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 30
Wound Threshold: 6
Advantages: Armor 6/6, +5 COG, +5 SOM
Notes: Small Size trait
CP Cost: 40
Credit Cost: Expensive (minimum 40,000)

Fighter

Fighters are combat-oriented modules.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, Radar, T-Ray Emitter, 2 Weapon Mounts
Mobility System: Walker (4/16), Hover (8/16)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (35 SOM)
Durability: 30 (40)
Wound Threshold: 6 (8)
Advantages: Armor (8/8), Exceptional Aptitude (SOM) trait, Tough (Level 2) trait, +5 COO, +5 SOM
Notes: Small Size trait
CP Cost: 45
Credit Cost: Expensive (minimum 45,000)

Grimoire

Grimoires are an excellent complement to a wizard module.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Electrical Sense, Ghostrider Module, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, Multitasking, Shape Adjusting, Skinlink
Modularized Gear: Laser Link, Microwave Link
Mobility System: Walker (4/16), Hover (8/40)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 20
Wound Threshold: 4
Advantages: Armor 6/6, +5 WIL
Notes: Small Size trait
CP Cost: 20
Credit Cost: Expensive (minimum 25,000)

Longbow

Longbows provide a weapons platform.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Heavy Combat Armor, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, 2 Weapon Mounts (Articulated)
Modularized Gear: Laser Link
Mobility System: Walker (4/16), Hover (8/40)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 25
Wound Threshold: 5
Advantages: Armor 4/4 (20/20 with Heavy Combat Armor), REF +5
Notes: Small Size trait
CP Cost: 20
Credit Cost: Expensive

Picklock

Picklocks are an excellent complement to a rogue module. They are illegal or restricted in many habitats.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Chameleon Skin, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Grip Pads, Hidden Compartment, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, Radar Absorbent, Shape Adjusting, Wrist-Mounted Tools
Mobility System: Hopper (4/20), Walker (4/16)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 20
Wound Threshold: 4
Advantages: Armor 4/4, INT +5
Notes: Small Size trait
CP Cost: 20
Credit Cost: Expensive

Rogue

Rogue modules are optimized for stealth and infiltration. They are illegal or restricted in many habitats.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Chameleon Skin, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Enhanced Vision, Fractal Digits, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, Nanoscopic Vision, Radar Absorbent, Shape Adjusting, T-Ray Emitter, Weapon Mount
Mobility System: Hopper (4/20), Walker (4/16)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 30 (35)
Wound Threshold: 6 (7)
Advantages: Armor (6/6), +5 COO, +5 REF, Tough (Level 1) trait
Notes: Small Size trait
CP Cost: 35
Credit Cost: Expensive (minimum 35,000)

Sapper

Sappers are an engineering module specializing in deconstruction; they are often combined with crafter modules.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, Pneumatic Limbs, Shape Adjusting Modularized Gear: Disassembly Tools, Specialized Hive (Disassembler Nanoswarm)
Mobility System: Walker (4/16), Hover (8/40)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (35 SOM)
Durability: 20
Wound Threshold: 4
Advantages: Armor 4/4, Exceptional Aptitude (SOM)
Notes: Small Size trait
CP Cost: 15
Credit Cost: High (minimum 10,000)

Wizard

Specialized for infosec and communications tasks.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Mental Speed, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, Shape Adjusting
Modularized Gear: Radio Booster
Mobility System: Walker (4/16), Hover (8/40)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 25
Wound Threshold: 5
Advantages: Armor 4/4, +5 COG, +5 INT
Notes: Small Size trait
CP Cost: 35
Credit Cost: Expensive (minimum 35,000)

Yeoman

This is the basic flexbot module. It replaces the flexbot morph on Morphs.
Enhancements: Access Jacks, Basic Mesh Inserts, Cortical Stack, Cyberbrain, Fractal Digits, Mnemonic Augmentation, Modular Design, Nanoscopic Vision, Shape Adjusting
Mobility System: Walker (4/16), Hover (8/40)
Aptitude Maximum: 30 (25 SOM)
Durability: 25
Wound Threshold: 5
Advantages: Armor 4/4, +5 to one aptitude of the player’s choice
Notes: Small Size trait
CP Cost: 20
Credit Cost: Expensive

Adding/Removing Modules

Connecting or disconnecting a module from an operational flexbot takes a single Complex Action. Separating a module without damaging it from a flexbot that has taken damage equal to or greater than its Durability is a Hardware: Robotics Task Action with a timeframe of 5 minutes. Note that adding or removing modules can affect movement, wound penalties, and the size of the flexbot; these effects are described in their respective sections.

Integration

Any time an ego sleeves into a new flexbot morph, it must make the standard Integration, Alienation, and Continuity Tests. Flexbots are considered exotic morphs. Sleeving into a flexbot with four or more modules incurs additional modifiers to the Integration and Alienation Tests, as listed on the Flexbot Integration Modifiers table.
Whenever modules are added to or disconnected from an existing flexbot, the operating ego must make another Integration Test. These Integration Tests for adding/subtracting modules are subject to the bonuses and penalties listed on the Flexbot Integration Modifiers table, which are cumulative with the integration modifiers listed on the Integration and alienation modifiers table. In this case, however, the duration for effects listed on the Integration Test table, are measured in hours rather than days.
For example, a success on the Integration Test means the flexbot operator suffers −10 to all physical actions for 1 hour, rather than 1 day. A critical success on this test does not regain a point of Moxie, but it does allow the operator to skip the Integration Test when disconnecting that particular module. There are no Alienation or Continuity Tests required to add or remove a module.

Flexbot Integration Modifiers
Module Type Connected Modifier
New module with swarm composition −20
Module contains another ego −10; both egos must test
Fourth and subsequent modules added to the flexbot −10
Seventh and subsequent modules (not cumulative with −10 for fourth and subsequent) added to the flexbot −20

Connectivity

Modules that aren’t physically connected can’t be operated as if they were extensions of the occupant’s morph. If not touching the rest of the flexbot, they must be remotely controlled or jammed, operated by an AI, or put under the control of another occupying ego. Separated modules are assumed to communicate by radio unless a laser link is specified when the morph is purchased.
Standard capabilities for laser and radio device connectivity apply.

Flexbot Size

A flexbot’s size is determined by its combined Durability (see Flexbot Durability, below), less augmentations that add Durability, as noted on the Size and Maximum Durability/Somatics table.
A flexbot with a DUR of 30 or less is small, 31–80 is medium, 81–150 is large, and 151+ is very large. Apply the effects of the Small Size, Large Size, or Very Large Size traits as appropriate.

Movement

When multiple modules join, they must have a mobility system in common to move at full speed. If they don’t, the flexbot halves the speed for each module that currently lacks the mobility system; speed reductions are cumulative. A flexbot whose speed is lowered below half can’t hover or fly. Note that many modules can shape-adjust their form to accommodate a new mobility system.
Example: A flexbot is composed of two modules. One module possesses the walker and hopper mobility systems, the other is configured for walker and thrust vector. When walking, the flexbot moves at full speed. When hopping or using vectored thrust, it moves at half speed. The second module can reshape itself to also have a hopper mobility system, however, allowing it to hop at full speed.

Creating Massive Flexbots

Extremely large flexbots may be created, but the amount of fine control an individual ego has over the constituent modules diminishes.
A flexbot of 50 or more modules is treated as a habitat. At this size, individual cyberbrains can’t operate the flexbot. The cluster of modules must include a habitat cyberbrain, habitat ops server, or similar big iron to run the operating ego and coordinate all of the other modules.

Other Modular Devices

Other morphs, robots, and vehicles with the modular construction enhancement may also be snapped on to a flexbot. If the added shell lacks a cyberbrain or cortical stack, it can’t house an ego, nor can it grant aptitude bonuses. However, augmentations or gear that could normally be delegated to an auxiliary ego by the flexbot’s operator may be delegated to the shell’s AI instead.

Massive flexbot

Flexbot Characteristics

A flexbot’s characteristics are derived from its constituent modules as detailed below.

Aptitude Bonuses and Maximums

Individual modules use their own aptitude modifiers and maximums. A flexbot composed of multiple modules uses the highest bonus and maximum available for each aptitude. Multiple bonuses to the same aptitude from different modules don’t stack. Only the aptitude modifiers and maximums from physically attached modules are considered. Disconnected modules revert to their individual modifiers and maximums.

Robotic Enhancements and Traits

Individual modules have their own robotic enhancements and traits. If a flexbot incorporates a module with augmentations or traits that modify aptitudes, those aptitude modifiers are also considered when evaluating the highest bonus to apply to each aptitude. Enhancements and traits that impact other characteristics, such as Durability, Armor Value, and Speed are considered when calculating the flexbot’s overall characteristics as noted below.
As a general rule, the operating ego can always take advantage of enhancements and traits belonging to the particular module in which it is located. It can also make use of physical modifications through an attached module as well as sensor and mental enhancements through the slaved cyberbrains of other modules. For example, a flexbot’s ego can employ the enhanced vision provided by one module, the grip pads equipped with another, and the mental speed enabled in a third. Enhancements and traits that only have an effect when the whole morph is augmented, however, will not work. For example, a multi-module flexbot could not take advantage of chameleon skin or synthetic mask if only one module has it, but it could if all of the modules it was comprised of were augmented with it. Likewise, medichines can repair the specific module they inhabit, but will not repair the rest of the flexbot. Modifiers provided by an enhancement in one module cannot be stacked with modifiers from the same enhancement in a different module; however, modifiers from a different enhancement may apply. As always, the gamemaster should use common sense when deciding what is allowed and what isn’t.
Traits that don’t impact aptitudes or other characteristics only impact the flexbot as a whole if the controlling ego is currently located in that module.
Example: A flexbot is composed of two modules, a fighter and a rogue, both with some extra enhancements. The fighter has +5 SOM, +5 COO, hardened skeleton (+5 SOM), reflex boosters (+10 REF), mental speed, the Exceptional Aptitude (SOM) trait, and an aptitude maximum of 30 (SOM 35). The rogue has +5 COO, +5 REF, hardened skeleton (+5 SOM), and an aptitude maximum of 30 (SOM 25). An ego with COO 30, REF 15, and SOM 10 sleeves into the flexbot. The flexbot’s resulting stats are:

  • Aptitude Maximum: 30 (SOM 35)
  • COO 30 (30 from ego, +5 from either the fighter or rogue, but the maximum keeps it at 30)
  • REF 25 (15 from ego, +10 from the fighter’s reflex boosters, the bonus from the rogue doesn’t stack)
  • SOM 25 (10 from ego, +5 from the fighter, +5 from hardened skeleton)
  • +2 mental-only Complex Actions per Action Phase (from the fighter’s mental speed)

Speed

The flexbot uses the Speed of its slowest module. Augmentations that increase Speed do so only for the module in which they’re installed.

Armor

A flexbot’s Armor Value is equal to the average Armor Value of its component modules (round up). If the modules separate, individual pieces revert to their own Armor Value.
Example: A flexbot combining a fighter (AV 8/8), wizard (AV 4/4), and grimoire (AV 6/6) has an Armor Value of 6/6 (8 + 4 + 6 = 18; 18 ÷ 3 = 6). If the wizard is detached, the flexbot’s Armor Value changes to 7/7 (8 + 6 = 14; 14 ÷ 2 = 7).

Flexbot Durability

Flexbots have a single Durability score representing the combination of all of their modules. Calculate the flexbot’s Durability by taking the highest Durability among its modules and adding half the Durability (round up) of each additional module. Each particular module’s Durability may be modified by enhancements and traits specific to that module. Both Wound Threshold (Durability ÷ 5, round up) and Death Rating (Durability x 2) are calculated normally.
Example: In the fighter/rogue flexbot example above, the fighter has Durability 30 (40) with a Tough (Level 2) trait and the rogue has Durability 30 (35) with a Tough (Level 1) trait. The flexbot’s Durability equals 58 (the highest DUR of 40 plus half the other Dur of 35, rounded up) .

Flexbot Damage and Wounds

When a flexbot takes damage, the DV (minus armor) is applied to the combined Durability score. Wounds apply normally to the flexbot as a whole, and the flexbot will be disabled when damage reaches its Durability and destroyed when damage reaches its Death Rating.
If a module separates from a damaged flexbot, the current damage is divided evenly among the modules (round up), so that the module takes some of the flexbot’s damage with it. If the evenly divided damage equals or exceeds the flexbot’s (pre-detachment) Wound Threshold, the operator can choose to apply an existing wound to the detaching module. If the module’s damage equals or exceeds double the Wound Threshold, two wounds may be applied to the detaching module, and so on. It is possible that a module detached from a sufficiently damaged flexbot may be immediately disabled (if damage equals or exceeds the module’s Durability) or considered destroyed (if damage exceeds its Death Rating).
When a module separates, the flexbot’s Durability and Wound Threshold are recalculated per normal.
Example: A flexbot consisting of a sapper (DUR 20, WT 4), a grimoire (DUR 20, WT 4), and a crafter (DUR 30, WT 6) has a Durability of 50 (30 + (20 ÷ 2) + (20 ÷ 2)). This gives it a Wound Threshold of 10 (50 ÷ 5).
The flexbot takes three hits, inflicting 13, 10, and 7 points of damage (through its armor). It takes 30 points of damage overall and 2 wounds. If the sapper is detached, it takes an even share of the damage with it. In this case, it takes 10 (30 ÷ 3) points of damage with it. Since 10 points of damage equals or exceeds the flexbot’s (predetachment) Wound Threshold, the operator may also choose to give the sapper one of its wounds. This leaves the sapper with 10 points of damage and 1 wound. The flexbot now has 20 points of damage and also 1 wound, and its Durability has been lowered to 40 with a Wound Threshold of 8.
For flexbots containing modules with swarm composition, the player should keep track of the type of damage received (swarm-affecting vs. not). Hits that wouldn’t affect a morph with swarm composition are applied evenly, but the swarm module’s share is then reduced to 1 DV. For example, a standard non-swarm-affecting hit inflicting 9 DV on a flexbot with 3 modules, one of which is an apiary, would only inflict 7 damage to the flexbot (the apiary’s share of 3 damage would be reduced to 1).

Disablement and Destruction

When a flexbot is taken down, not all of its component modules are necessarily taken with it. Individual modules retain their own Durability and Death Rating when detached from a flexbot. It is possible that when a flexbot incurs enough damage to be disabled or destroyed, the individual modules that comprise it may not be. When the damage reaches the flexbot’s Durability or Death Rating, equally divide the damage among the modules and compare it to their individual Durability or Death Rating scores. Modules that are not disabled/destroyed are still in the game, though they are incapable of taking any physical actions until they detach from the flexbot. If the operating ego is located in a module that is not itself disabled or destroyed, it may still act normally, however the flexbot it controls has been reduced to that particular module (calling for an Integration Test). Other egos that survive in other modules may assume control of those modules, per normal rules. Surviving modules must take an appropriate number of wounds considering their current damage level and the flexbot’s previous Wound Threshold.
Example: The grimoire/crafter flexbot from the example above continues on, minus the sapper module. The flexbot takes another 22 points of damage, however, putting it at 42 damage total and increasing its wounds to 3. That exceeds its Durability of 40, so the flexbot is disabled. Evenly dividing that 42 damage among 2 modules means that each of the component modules has 21 points of damage. This exceeds the grimoire’s DUR of 20, so it is also disabled. The crafter, however, with a DUR of 30, is still functioning. Luckily the operating ego was located in that module, so they can continue to act. They must detach the crafter from the grimoire, which is now dead weight, before they can take any other physical actions. On top of that, 21 damage is more than double the flexbot’s Wound Threshold of 8, so they will be hampered by 2 wounds once they get free.

Targeting Modules

Individual modules in a flexbot may be specifically targeted with a called shot. In this circumstance, only that module’s own Armor Value is used to reduce the damage taken, and its Wound Threshold is used to determine if a wound is acquired. Damage and wounds inflicted on a specific module count towards the total damage and wounds taken by the flexbot as a whole, but they are not counted when dividing a flexbot’s damage and wounds among all of the modules. If a targeted module is disabled or destroyed, its aptitude bonuses and enhancements no longer apply to the flexbot. Apply a −30 modifier to all of the flexbot’s actions until that module is detached.

Flexbot Egos

Each flexbot module has its own cortical stack and cyberbrain. Thanks to the shape-adjusting augmentation, the location of these may vary from module to module. Some operators bury their stack and brain deep inside a torso-like center of mass, while others may place them in head- and neck-like appendages so that they’re easily retrievable by teammates.

Popping Stacks

Popping a stack buried deep in a flexbot’s mass takes from 1 to 10 minutes of additional time, depending upon whether the stack’s location is known, and requires tools capable of unfastening or cutting through the bot’s outer layers.

Multiple Cyberbrains

Flexbots containing more than one module must designate which one is currently in use by the ego. The ego is presumed to use the cyberbrain and cortical stack of that module. Switching from one module cyberbrain to another takes 1 Action Turn and does not require any tests for resleeving. The active cyberbrain may only back up to a cortical stack in the same module.
When switching from one cyberbrain to another, the player must specify whether the previously used cortical stack is being purged. Purging, if opted for, occurs simultaneously with transfer between cyberbrains. Otherwise, the cortical stack adjoining the abandoned cyberbrain retains a backup of the ego. Cyberbrains that are not occupied by an ego within the flexbot are slaved to the cyberbrain used by the controlling ego (see Slaving Devices, p. 248, EP). This means that in order for those unoccupied cyberbrains to be hacked, the master cyberbrain must be hacked first, or they must be physically accessed.

Forking

Rather than switching between cyberbrains, it’s also possible to leave an alpha fork running in an adjoining module. The usual tests for forking and merging apply. If the modules don’t separate after forking, one ego must be designated as the operator of the flexbot (see Multiple Egos, below). Creating on-the-fly beta forks to leave behind in a flexbot module isn’t possible, but a beta can be installed from cold backup with a single Complex Action.

Ghostrider Modules, Mesh Inserts, and Cortical Stacks

If the flexbot houses multiple egos, they may swap modules, but a free augmentation capable of acting as a buffer to run one of the egos must be available during the swap. Ghostrider modules, mesh inserts, or an extra cyberbrain may be used for this purpose, subject to the normal limit of one infomorph running per augmentation (i.e., mesh inserts may not be used as a buffer if they’re already running someone’s muse). An extra cortical stack may be used as a buffer when juggling egos within a flexbot, but if this is done, the buffered ego is treated as a backup and is subject to the usual rules for restoring from backup when moved from the stack to an augmentation on which it can actually run.
An ego in a ghostrider module may never take direct physical control of any of a flexbot’s systems while an ego is running in the flexbot’s cyberbrain, though they may remote control or jam modules that have been detached from the flexbot via the detached module’s puppet sock.

Multiple Egos

As noted above, it’s possible for two or more modules housing distinct egos to connect into one flexbot. It’s not possible to connect to another module unless the occupant is willing or its cyberbrain has been hacked and subverted, and only one ego may occupy each cyberbrain. When joining together, both egos must make Integration Tests. One ego, the operator, is designated as controlling the flexbot overall, including its mobility systems and body movement. Only the operator’s bonuses or penalties from the Integration Test affect movement. Additional egos, the auxiliaries, may be designated as controlling other systems, provided doing so does not require limb movement or control of mobility systems. The auxiliaries’ bonuses or penalties from the Integration Test only affect systems controlled by them.
Cyberbrains housing auxiliary egos are no longer slaved to the operating ego’s master cyberbrain. This means the operating ego no longer benefits from aptitude modifiers, enhancements, or traits belonging to the module occupied by the other ego; only the auxiliary ego gains the benefits from that module. The Durability and Armor Value of that occupied module still count towards the flexbot as a whole.
Examples of systems that may be controlled by auxiliaries:

  • Articulated weapon mounts and articulated gear mounts
  • Mesh inserts
  • Passive or non-directional sensors such as audio or chem sniffersExamples of systems that may not be controlled by operators:
  • Hand-held weapons or gear
  • Non-articulated weapon or gear mounts
  • Active or directional sensors such as enhanced vision or t-ray emitters
  • LimbsDead switches cannot be used by the occupant of one cyberbrain to flush another cortical stack in the flexbot unless the morph has been previously modified to allow this with a Hardware: Electronics Test.

Device AIs

Because flexbot modules are morphs, they don’t come with device AIs. However, a device AI may be installed in a flexbot’s cyberbrain.
Device AIs running in attached modules can’t assist the operating ego with physical skill tests (e.g., running or firing weapons), but they may perform mental actions. They may also perform physical actions on their own, provided they’re not precluded by what the operating ego is doing (e.g., a device AI could fire a weapon on an articulated mount if the operating ego isn’t currently controlling the weapon). Giving orders to device AIs is a Quick Action.
Device AIs have an aptitude maximum of 20, regardless of the aptitude bonuses of the shell in which they’re running.

Shape Adjusting

The following rules apply to the use of the shape adjusting robotic enhancement.

How Does it Work?

Morphs with the shape adjusting modification aren’t completely amorphous. While they can radically alter their structure, these transformations aren’t instantaneous. A quick change to a superficial characteristic such as the morph’s surface texture can be carried out in seconds, but changes that require major structural alterations may take much longer.

Mobility Systems

Flexbots can reshape themselves to possess any mobility system based on purely mechanical principles. This includes hopper, hover, roller, rotorcraft, snake, submarine, tracked, walker, wheeled, and winged. To form a mobility system based on thrust mass or non-mechanical principles (e.g., Ionic) requires that the flexbot have that mobility system installed in at least one module for every three modules making up the flexbot.
No module or flexbot may have more than two mobility systems shaped at a time.

Size Constraints

Flexbot modules are small. In a typical configuration, they’re the size of a large dog (roughly 75 centimeters high x 75 centimeters long x 25 centimeters wide) and weigh 35 kilograms without armor.
A flexbot or module can change its dimensions in the following ways:

  • Compress itself by 33% in any dimension with no ill effects, provided the additional mass is extended in another dimension.
  • Extend itself by up to 50% in any dimension at the cost of spreading thin its external surface. This reduces the module/bot’s armor by 25%.
  • Extend itself up to double its size along any dimension. This seriously spreads out armor, in some cases exposing weak spots. Reduce armor value by 50%. This may also make the module/flexbot more susceptible to electromagnetic radiation at the gamemaster’s discretion.
  • Extend itself by up to 50% along one dimension and up to double along another. Extending in two dimensions has a severe effect on armor protection; reduce armor by 75%. Internal systems are more susceptible to radiation, if any is present. A module extended in this fashion is no longer considered a small target in combat.

Speed of Changes

Changes in shape are fast but not instantaneous. A shape-adjusting bot couldn’t, for example, reshape its body out of the way of an incoming blow. The Shape-Changing Speed table provides sample timeframes for different changes, along with the type of action required.
Adjusting shape usually consumes a single Quick Action or Complex Action per Turn, but only one shape adjustment may be taken in a given Action Turn.
Flexbots with a Speed attribute higher than 1 don’t adjust shape more quickly, but they may use Speed to perform other actions while adjusting. Additional actions must be physically possible to perform while the adjustment is taking place. If the shape adjustment is to a limb, no other actions (e.g., running, shooting) may be taken with that limb during adjustment. Common durations for shape-adjusting tasks are listed in the Shape-Changing Speed table.

Shape-Changing Speed
Adjustment Timeframe Action Required (Per Turn)
Superficial Alteration (e.g., minor, non-structural alteration to surface texture) 1 Action Turn Quick Action
Extend in one dimension by 33% of volume 2 Action Turns Quick Action
Extend in one dimension by 50% of volume 5 Action Turns Quick Action
Extend in one dimension by 100% of volume 1 Minute Complex Action
Extrude Limb 1 Minute Complex Action
Disguise 5 Action Turns to 10 Minutes Complex Action
Mobility System, minor alteration (e.g., Walker to Roller, Walker to Snake) 1 Minute Complex Action
Mobility System, major alteration (e.g., Snake to Rotorcraft) 10 Minutes Complex Action


Shape-Adjusting Times for Large Flexbots
Number of Modules Timeframe Multiplier for Shape-Adjusting Tasks
4 or more x 2
7 or more x 3
11 or more x 4
21 or more x 5
51 or more x 10
101 or more x 20


Attenuation of Fine Control

Extremely large flexbots may be created, but the amount of fine control an individual ego has over the constituent modules diminishes the larger it gets. In particular, large flexbots lose the ability to rapidly reconfigure themselves with the shape adjusting enhancement.

Structural Integrity

Shape adjusting can’t duplicate any of the effects of swarm composition. A module can change shape radically, but it can’t split itself into more than one piece and remain operable.

Shape-Adjusting Tricks

The following list explores a few of the possibilities that flexbots can pursue by reshaping their configurations.
Disguise: The flexbot may alter its distinguishing features to avoid being recognized or even mimic the appearance of another bot type. The bot mimicked must have a similar form factor to the flexbot. Appearing as a servitor or automech bot is possible, but disguising oneself as a saucer bot or dwarf wouldn’t. If it’s being closely inspected, the flexbot must make a Disguise Test at +30 that is opposed by Perception. Success indicates a convincing disguise, though factors like gait might still give the character away if they fail an Impersonation Test. The time required to disguise oneself varies widely depending upon the bot being mimicked. The minimum time is 5 Action Turns, but it may be considerably longer at the gamemaster’s discretion.
Drag: The flexbot may slow its air or water speed. This is similar to streamlining, but the flexbot’s running movement rate is decreased by 50%. Dragging requires extending by 50% along a dimension perpendicular to the direction of travel.
Extend Limb: A flexbot can extend its limbs long enough to counter the reach advantage of an opponent one size larger without penalty. Similarly, a flexbot can extend far enough to gain a reach advantage against a same-sized opponent without penalty. Added limb length from the telescoping limbs modification is cumulative with an extension from shape adjusting. For each increment of length beyond 33% of volume that a limb is extended, add a −10 penalty to SOM-based tests using that limb, to a maximum of −30. These penalties are halved for flexbots with the telescoping limbs modification and ignored entirely by bots with pneumatic limbs.
Extrude Limb: Flexbots may extrude an arbitrary number of limbs, each ending in fractal digits, perhaps even to the point of becoming a ball of limbs ending in bush robot fingers. Extruding more than 10 limbs, however, limits the bot to a single mobility system of the walker, snake, or roller type.
Extrude Fins: The flexbot can extrude swim fins, increasing its swimming speed by 25%. This has no effect on bots moving under power; it only works if the bot is kicking with its limbs to swim. Note that flexbots aren’t buoyant in most fluid mediums, requiring some type of flotation device to avoid sinking continuously. This trick takes one Quick Action to initiate and one Action Turn to complete.
Glider: In low gravity or very dense atmospheres (such as Titan’s), the flexbot may flatten itself into a wing-like shape, giving it a gliding movement rate of 4/32. The flexbot can only descend, though it may make a Flight Test every Action Turn to maintain altitude. Failure means that it descends by the same amount of distance it traveled horizontally.
Flexbots that succeed on their Flight Test may descend voluntarily at a rate up to their glide speed. This trick doesn’t work on Mars, but it does work inside Lunar habitats and on Venus (at least until the flexbot hits the lower extent of the cloud deck and starts melting). This can be done without sacrificing the use of limbs. The flexbot must flatten, extending itself by 75% along one dimension and by 33% along another dimension.
Limb Articulation: Flexbot limbs may be constructed with a wide degree of articulation, enabling greater freedom of movement. This means that articulated legs paired with prehensile feet can perform fine manipulation tasks such as aiming a weapon.
Prehensile Feet and Tails: Flexbots can construct limbs with prehensile appendages, with the same effect as bioware prehensile feet and tails. Additionally, prehensile feet may be constructed so that the digits fold when not in use so as not to slow running movement.
Quadruped/Hexapod: A flexbot using the walker mobility system may extrude additional limbs to increase its movement rate to 8/32. At the gamemaster’s discretion, these extra limbs may also enable the flexbot to better overcome obstacles; apply a +10 modifier to Freerunning Tests.
Streamline: The flexbot may optimize its shape to increase top speed in atmosphere or while submerged. Running movement rate is increased by 25%, but the flexbot’s limbs merge into its hull and cannot be used. This trick can only be used by flyers, wheeled bots, or powered submersibles. Streamlining requires extending by 50% along the dimension that will point in the direction of travel.
Turtle Access Jacks: Shape adjusting can be used to conceal a flexbot’s vulnerable access jacks beneath a layer of hull material.

Sidebar: Fractal Digits and Nanoscopic Vision

Some non-obvious uses of fractal digits and nanoscopic vision are possible for flexbots, as well as for any morph with both of these modifications.
Nanoscale Forensics and Surgery: The fine manipulation capabilities of flexbots allow them to hold and manipulate nanoscale tools and to zoom their vision on individual cells. The health-care applications of this are limited—being able to pick away individual cancer cells is a neat trick, but better handled by a healing vat considering that an incision must still be made to get at the affected cells. For forensics, however, either in the field or at the autopsy table, it’s invaluable, allowing an investigator to spot and extract the tiniest pieces of physical evidence.
Nitpicking: Flexbots can not only see nanoswarms, they can grab them. Note that grabbing some types of robots with one’s fingers isn’t a very good idea.
Sweeping: Flexbots can spot and pick up nanoscale taggants, robots, and other materials. This is particularly useful if a person or object needs to be swept of unfriendly nanobots. A person or an object can be swept clean in 5–10 minutes. This technique is generally too time consuming to be used on locations; sweeping even a small room would take many hours.
Taking People Apart: The flip side of nanoscale surgery, fractal branching digits can inflict horrific damage on exposed flesh. This ability is useless in combat against a moving, dodging target. A helpless or completely immobilized target, though, can be slowly picked apart, inflicting agonizing pain and 1d10 DV damage per 5 minutes. This process is less effective against victims with bioweave armor, inflicting only half damage up to a maximum of half the morph’s DUR.

Modular Design Tricks

The flexbot’s modular design allows several modes of operation that are impossible with other morphs. None of these tricks may be attempted by a flexbot suffering the effects of a failed Integration Test.

Boomscatter

Flexbots can react instantly to concussive explosions, halving damage taken by allowing their components to scatter with the force of a blast. This trick breaks apart individual modules as well as the flexbot. Scattered components must crawl together and reform into their constituent modules, which takes 2d10 Action Turns (gamemaster discretion, based on the force of the blast). During this time, the modules cannot take any other physical actions, including dodging attacks. The operating ego is limited to mental actions and does not gain any aptitude bonuses or benefits from other enhancements.
Scattered components are especially vulnerable to attack; they receive no armor benefits, but count as very small or small targets until reformed. Once modules are reformed, they must reconnect to form the flexbot again. This trick only works against concussive and high-explosive blasts, it is not effective against frag, plasmaburst, or thermobaric explosions.

Serpent Mode

The flexbot links all of its modules together end to end, gaining the snake mobility system and allowing it to fit through any space large enough to accommodate its torso.

Flexbot Upgrades

Unless otherwise noted, the following augmentations are available only to flexbots or other morphs with the modular design and shape adjusting enhancements.

Advanced Internal Articulation

The design and arrangement of the flexbot’s rigid superstructure is bleeding edge. The timeframe for shape changing is reduced by half. It also suffers no SOM penalties for hyper-extending its limbs. This modification must be added when the morph is first acquired. [High]

Articulated Gear Mount

Similar to an articulated weapon mount, this mount allows a piece of modularized gear to be manipulated independent of the flexbot’s limbs. [Low]

Body Mass Converter

The flexbot is able to convert small bits of its own body mass into ammunition or fabricator feedstock if needed. The bot may convert 1 DUR into 10 rounds of kinetic or spray weapon ammunition or 1 kilogram of inorganic feedstock. [High]

Mass Transfer

The flexbot may transfer up to half of its Durability to another bot that also has the mass transfer enhancement. The donated mass may not cause the recipient bot to exceed its normal maximum Durability. Transferring mass doesn’t transfer armor or any augmentations to the recipient bot. Transferring mass may change the target size of the donor bot. Damaged mass may also simply be dumped, enabling the module to discard damage and also wounds, at the cost of lower Durability. [Moderate]

Modularized Gear

Allows any small-sized or smaller item of equipment to be directly integrated into the flexbot’s body. Modularized gear can’t be dropped, pickpocketed, or disarmed. A flexbot with the shape adjusting enhancement may retract modular gear into its body, making it extremely difficult to detect. Tests to find retracted modular gear using penetrative scans such as t-rays are at a −30. Such gear is impossible to detect via visual inspection alone. No more than three pieces of modular gear may be installed on a given appendage.
Devices requiring fine manipulation or aim, such as laser links and covert operation tools, must be installed on a limb with a full range of manipulative motion to be useful. [One Cost Category Higher Than Gear Cost]

Reconfigurable Proprioception

Flexbots with the reconfigurable proprioception enhancement can instantaneously reconfigure the location and degrees of freedom in their joints, allowing amazing feats of balance and movement. The flexbot receives a +20 modifier on all Escape Artist Tests, a +10 on Freerunning Tests, and a +10 on Fray Tests against melee attacks and thrown weapons. Flexbots with this mod can even use their multi-jointed limb structure to get around opponents’ guards in melee, like a flail. The bot gains a +10 on melee attacks and can ignore some physical obstacles (e.g., taking a swing at an opponent who’s ducked around a corner). This bonus applies only against opponents who are defending themselves. [Expensive]

Squishbot

The flexbot is of soft, flexible construction, consisting of reconfigurable parts in a liquid matrix with a soft outer skin. The flexbot must have the shape adjusting augmentation to take this augmentation. All shape-adjusting tasks take half the usual time. The flexbot may squeeze itself through holes as small as 10 centimeters in diameter, though doing so may require as long as a minute for the bot to extend itself into a long, narrow shape. Squishbots do not benefit from inherent synthmorph armor or from robotic armor, but they may have bioweave armor. [Expensive]