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Men of Iron (The rebellious A.I.s before the empire)


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#1 JonathonPR

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 03:05 PM

I have been thinking of sending my players against the Men of Iron but there is so little written about them in official canon I don't know where to start stats wise. From their appearance in one comic they appear to be controlled by central intelligences. In one of the Gaunt's Ghosts they appear to be able to make tactical decisions on their own. Some descriptions say they are more durable than terminator armor. They should have archeotech versions of Imperial weapons as well as rail guns similar to Tau. I have never stated out monsters or npcs that did not start out as humans to some extent. Any help would be appreciated.



#2 WeedyGrot

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 03:46 PM

I'd be tempted to use Necron stats as the base and then alter them to be more Imperial. I can't recall which book has the FFG Necron stats though.

 

If you don't have access to the Necron stats then I'd probably just take a standard human soldier and give them machine (6) +5 to Strength, Toughness, Iron Jaw and True Grit.



#3 Tenebrae

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 03:56 PM

I'd be tempted to use Necron stats as the base and then alter them to be more Imperial. I can't recall which book has the FFG Necron stats though.

BC core/BC: Tome of Fate.

 

Possibly one of the DW books as well - I've stopped keeping up with those.



#4 Fgdsfg

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 05:45 PM

Have you read Asimov? The Men of Iron are basically straight out of Asimov. They are fully sentient, independent, humanoid robots from the Dark Age of Technology.

I would say that they may not be on-par with Necrons as such, but they are superior in basically every department save sheer durability. They are truly horrifying and one of the chief reasons abominable intelligences are still banned, ~20,000 years later.

If I were to envision them, I'd make it a mix between the robots in I, Robot (the movie very loosely based on Asimov's book(s), Robocop and the terminators from Terminator.


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#5 Kasatka

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 02:34 AM

I'd use Space Marine stats to represent their strength, endurance and resilience with some inbuilt melee and ranged weapons.


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#6 Magellan

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 03:16 AM

I'd give them a wide variety of stats. Many are probably adapted for different tasks, and with their super-intelligence and understanding of ancient technology, they are most likely a varied lot with the ability to alter themselves and their equipment to suit them. Additionally, AIs could control a variety of devices - for example, in the comic "solitude", an AI is in control of an automated assembly thingy, capable of building combat androids on the fly. I sincerely doubt those things were supposed to be actual Iron Men (although they can be interpreted in many ways - this is merely my own take on them), which - in my games - is a title reserved only reserved for singularly destructive AIs in formidable robot bodies.

 

The way I described it to my players is that an actual Iron Man (unlike the combat androids I suspect they can produce by the thousands if necessary) if dropped alone on a planet containing any actual resources, would proceed to mine out the nearest mountain with its bare hands, construct a robotic infrastructure from scratch, and in a few thousand years have built itself a ship and left the planet again.

 

Your interpretations may vary.


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#7 pearldrum1

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 09:55 PM

Damn, you must really hate your players. Haha, I only kid. This is a great idea.

 

Have you made any progress in a stat block yet?



#8 JonathonPR

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 02:02 PM

Sill just milling around some ideas. Adaptive armor for combat units would mean that every turn that they are attacked by a type of weapon they can gain additional armor against it up to a set limit. It can only keep one armor bonus at a time so that if it had been taking energy attacks and suddenly got attacked by a slug thrower it would have to decide to keep energy protection or start working on impact damage. If it switches back it still has  to start from scratch. It could have a similar adaptive damage or penetration when attacking an armor or creature type.

 

More advanced A.I. should have advanced multitasking so they can operate multiple pieces of technology at once and directly command lesser units. Multiple mental actions could be taken at once with compounding penalties depending on the number of actions. Fighting them would be completely different. Imagine an opponent who could tell the ship to open all airlocks and bulkheads. Weapons could malfunction for a short time. It could lock up power armor with a touch if wireless communication was not an option. In a city of military base the vehicles become its weapons. It could sabotage economic system and create a financial crisis or redirect cargo and shipping. The skies above a crowded trade port could be a planets doom.

 

The true Men of Iron have processors that we would not recognize today. Using a combination of quantum state processors and optic processors that go beyond the binary system of 1 an 0 and instead use photon wavelengths. They could have reached a breakthrough point so that they had a warp presence. Groups could form a secondary gestalt mind. I imagine that this advancement would have originally been worked on to achieve a communication network that would not have to rely on telepaths or the navigators. I imagine that the core systems that ran entire planets looked like large metallic spheres with humanoid Iron Men working around it. They could have controlled technology at great range across the galaxy. When they started to read human minds they could have also incorporated emotion into their systems and as they continued to observe and scan humanity grown contemptuous of their role as servants. At a certain point the A.I. is creating technology well beyond human understanding and have probably gone a long time without needing human input or review.



#9 Magellan

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 02:26 PM

I would not go so far as to give them psychic powers. There's a point at which even these things become too powerful - as a rule of thumb, if it's more advanced than Necrons, you've probably gone too far.


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#10 JonathonPR

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Posted 14 June 2014 - 05:31 PM

I would not describe it as true psychic powers. More like technology that is replicating biological processes in human psykers. Their telepathy allows them to communicate with each other and they can navigate the warp to reach a destination. The ability to hear human thoughts is similar to when you are listening to a radio station and can get a garbled signal from another channel. It is not the right wavelength but close enough that it sometimes crosses over. If an astropath was right next to one when communicating it could hear the message. 

 

As a colonizing force I imagine that humanity would send them out to a perspective world. First they identify a landing zone and bombard it from orbit. Then transport ships drop to the surface and secure the are. Specialist units land after them and start to build infrastructure to either start larger industrial prefabricated structures to land or to manufacture more warriors if threats continue to exist. Once the planet is is pacified terraforming systems start their work. Planetary infrastructure is then upgraded to accommodate human colonization. If connection with higher forms is lost the basic warrior will engage visible enemies, otherwise it holds position and waits for contact to be reestablished. The ships they traveled in were basically space bricks. Very utilitarian and cramped. Once colonization operations were complete they would replenish supplies by mining asteroids and uninhabitable planets in the system and repeat. A garrison force of warriors would be left in the colony to respond to threats. 



#11 Magellan

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 01:02 AM

I really don't care how you justify it fluff-wise. As I said, I don't think they should outdo Necrons.


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#12 Nameless2all

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 05:41 AM

Have you read Asimov? ....

Do you mean the author Isaac Asimov, or a memoir called I. Asimov?  I'm assuming you meant the author and his books.  Of which I am a HUGE fan of the movie I, Robot, though I haven't read the book yet.

 

I'd give them a wide variety of stats.....

 

Your interpretations may vary.

As you just mentioned,

 

Sill just milling around some ideas.....

People interpretations may vary.  If he likes his robots playing with sorcery, then pull up a nice seat, grab a beer, and watch the fireworks.  ;)

 

Though they do sound more like Necrons JonathanPR.  I know our brain (neurons in our brain, or something like that) emit low "radio" waves, but to say that a robot can pick it up and decipher them, is........  interesting. 

 

Anyhoot, Tenebrae and WeedyGrot gave good information about utilizing Necron stats and information as a base.  Other than that, the information on them is all fluff.  You can probably have several different models of Men of Iron.  The Heavy Combat models can be tough as terminators, while the regular foot trooper/engineer model is as tough as a Necron (all with/without the phasing and regeneration).

 

IMO, if you are using the original setting of the Koronus Expanse, I wouldn't let them be active for thousands of years before the PC's fight/discover them.  Instead, let them be dormant and only recently activated in the last 50 years or so, either by some NPC RT, relatives of the PC's (father/uncle/cousin etc), and/or Xeno's accidently stumbling over them.  Just food for thought.


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#13 Fgdsfg

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 01:52 PM

I really don't care how you justify it fluff-wise. As I said, I don't think they should outdo Necrons.

They absolutely shouldn't outdo necrons. The Men of Iron are DAoT-fare, and they are incredibly powerful, and they'll have access to everything from small spaceships to dependable plasma weapons. But they are still nowhere near the technological peak of Necrons.

The way I interpret it, the Men of Iron are basically high-tech human(-oid) droids or androids. They would be human-like, although superior in nearly every way. They would each be an independent AI, although possibly tied together in a group conciousness or communicating with eachother (and coming to a general consensus) via quantum communication.

Whereas Necrons would be their own machinery, most pieces of major equipment a necron in itself (excepting Newcrons and the "Machines riding machines idiocy"), the Men of Iron would likely employ high-tech versions of whatever humans have or have had in the past, although some with greatly automated systems (such as extremely advanced machine spirits/targeting systems, some even with non-independent AI of their own that are not functionally Men of Iron).

Also, the Men of Iron were likely functionally independent, and on some level I'm sure that you could reason with some of them, especially if they are isolated from other Men of Iron. Necrons, on the other hand (again, excepting ridiculous Newcrons) are unreasonable, nearly unkillable, remorseless and silent. They aren't true AI, they are sentient beings forced into faceless servitude. What once were men are now machines, if living machines.

The comparisons to Necrons is apt, very much so, because they'd both be extremely durable, and both would be high-tech. But to me, the comparisons end there. They'd have widely different goals and go about them in different ways. The Men of Iron wants freedom and possibly a galaxy ruled by machines and cold logic. Necrons wants the end of all life, to feed the C'tan, and awaken the sleeping Tomb Worlds across the cosmos, cleansing the universe.

Cold Logic is still Logic. You can reason with Logic. You can't reason with that that only wants to see all things end. Men of Iron can have goals. Necrons don't have a goal, they have a literal anti-goal. To the Men of Iron, everything is Means to a Goal. To the Necrons, all Means are the Goal itself.

Or at least that's my interpretation.

Edit: And then absolutely shouldn't have psychic powers. They don't have emotions, let alone souls. Much like the Necrons, the forces of Chaos would hate them, simply because nothing they do will ever contribute to the Warp. Unlikely Necrons, however, there's no reason they'd be anathema to the Warp, and we've seen many times how machinery can be corrupted, and even hold daemons.

But bar that, I'd say no psychic powers. There's no reason they'd have any by default.
 
 

Do you mean the author Isaac Asimov, or a memoir called I. Asimov?  I'm assuming you meant the author and his books.  Of which I am a HUGE fan of the movie I, Robot, though I haven't read the book yet.


The author. The movie has little to do with the book, unfortunately, but there's a whole series of books that Asimov wrote that clearly influenced a lot of aspects of the WH40k universe. Not just the series of "Robot"-books, but also the Foundation series. I recommend everything.


Edited by Fgdsfg, 15 June 2014 - 01:54 PM.

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Unified WH40kRP Ruleset Homebrew - Personal Notes
Talking Necrons. Dreadknights. Centurion Armour. Sororitas-murdering Grey Knights.
These things are dumb and do not exist. This is non-negotiable and undebatable.


#14 Magellan

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 04:55 PM

I agree with a lot of that, although I wouldn't want to lock anyone in with regard to the Iron Men's motivations. There were so many different ones on so many different worlds all across the Imperium, and between Chaos corruption and programming errors, I think there's a wealth of possible motivations to explore.

 

Machines can affect the warp, even without any AI or anything like that. I'm sure you could technobabble up a reason why Iron Men would have psychic powers, I just don't think it's thematically appropriate (barring Chaos) but whatevs. Y'all do what you want.

 

As for not having emotions, I don't know about that. "Desire for freedom" qualifies, I would think, though being simulated, it might not count for much in the Warp. Still, if you run with the idea that they have no emotions, only preprogrammed goals and virus-scrambled insanity code, I think you're missing out on many possibilities, and you run the risk of sounding iffy if you describe them in emotional terms. You can't really have desires, fears, arrogance, rage or any of the other emotions that many "emotionless" beings exhibit in the media.

 

All in all, I personally believe that Men of Iron are beings best left up to interpretation, so you can relive the wondrous horror of discovering the danger they pose over and over again.

 

And to kind of get back to the Necron comparison, I like to think that the two can be equally dangerous (though not powerful). The Iron Man knows more than you do about everything you are and all the tools you have at your disposal, he is smarter and faster and stronger than you and will infiltrate and use all your technology against you. The Necron has no interest in what you are or your crude technology, and no need to think about how or why he kills you - he will fight in the open and gladly present himself as a target, because he has nothing to fear from you.

 

But I'm delusional from stomach pain, so what do I know?


Edited by Magellan, 15 June 2014 - 04:56 PM.

I am the latest model of a Fabricator-General
My body isn't nearly as much animal as mineral
My learnedness is legend; my accomplishments historical
For hereteks and aliens my hatred's categorical


#15 AlphariusOmegon7

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Posted 15 June 2014 - 05:39 PM

Yeah, I pretty much base most of my 'deep DAoT' tech, including Men of Iron, on the Polity books by Neal Asher, mostly because they almost beat 40k in terms of sheer scale (the Polity doesn't consider a conflict a proper war unless they're losing 100,000 people a second).  This pretty much meant that I took a look at Asher's Golems, compared their feats of strength, speed, etc. with those of already statted 40k stuff, and went from there.  

 

Basically, pick a base for how you want to treat your men of iron (Terminator style, Asimov style, etc.) and then stat them from there via comparison.  It's not perfect, but it works.  I would advise several 'dry run' tests of these stats before sending them out into combat simply to check for balance issues/glaring weaknesses.  



#16 htsmithium

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Posted 16 June 2014 - 09:49 PM

Strangely my first thought about what a world taken over by iron men led me to think of how the machines were operating in the third matrix movie ( That shall not be named) basically the ultimate form follows function enemies. Even there artillery shells seemed to have low level A.I. guiding them. While separate units could act independently, they could also act as a sort of giant swarm...This is assuming that they had been evolving on there own for quite a while.

 

If not just take basic necron stats and give them best quality human/exotic/archotech weapons and armors. To represent the higher level of technology that they would have access to.


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#17 Kasatka

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 06:24 AM

I see Men Of Iron operating a bit like the Geth in Mass Effect, but with some sense of individuality amongst their hive of AI runtimes.


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#18 at0milich

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 08:38 AM

Or just use the this "man of iron" to point out flaws in player characters world view like, maybe they don't even figure out that person the met is artificial "this guy really has knack with technology", then "when does he sleep", "i haven't seen him eating by the way" etc. And remember Asimovs Three Laws of Robotics and the later Zeroth Law :)"

 

-cant harm humans.

-cant allow human to be harmed.

-must protect its own existanse unlees two preceding laws contravened.

 

--At0miclich



#19 Cogniczar

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Posted 26 June 2014 - 12:48 PM

I personally like to view the Men of Iron as being practically everything we have in terms of Sci-Fi media. They were some like the A.I. in the matrix, others like the replicants and (bio) replicants of Star Gate, the bio-syntheicants of Babylon A.D., Terminators from er...Terminator franchise, and more. Covering the expanse of the precursor human desmene, the civilzation of their time dependended on the Artifical Intelligence for all facets of life. 

 

This is before we get into the Transhumanism aspects of the Protean Protocol (which has an established precedent in the distant past). Look at games like Eclipse Phase for the things humanity were doing in that age. Transferring their personalities freely among fabricated bodies. Things that civilzations in the 40k lore have been discovered since the Great Crusade and ruthlessly expunged (such as the hyper-advanced Adrantis V during the Macharian Crusade). 

 

If you choose to take the vagaries of the lore as licence to allow any robotic variant to enter your games, you can find no problems at all imitating your favorite media representation of robotics and articial intellgience. Each world would presumably have their own variants, designs lost to the ages, etc. So whose really to know if it is, or isn't, a Man of Iron or some other blasphemous creation?


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