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Murder Servitors

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So my players asked if they could bring their Murder Servitors on a mission.  My initial reaction was obviously, "that isn't what they're for!" But  I'm not a fan or arbitrary GMing, so I took some time to think about it. It is their property, and they can use it how they want.

The response I gave them was that while murder servitors are very good at what they do, they are programmed for a very specific task (infiltrating and wreaking havok in enemy ships) and are otherwise very dumb, and not good at subtley or taking orders (not slaughtering every life form they come across for instance).

I ended up allowing the Explorator take one (perhaps more as his skill increases) and command it with binary, but the servitor was still to dumb to do things like scout or report what it had seen.

Just wondering what other GMs think about using Murder Servitors in not boarding action situations?

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I like your solution and explanation. Murder servitors are very simple minded and single purpose. Bringing one with you runs the risk of it going crazy and trying to kill everyone. Only with someone trained in tech-use and capable of speaking in machine giving it orders will prevent this. Basically useless and a hassle unless in a combat situation where you can unleash it and enjoy the fun.

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I never tell my players that something is impossible unless it is really defying the laws of the universe. Of course, this means that if they make a stupid choice they'll have to live with it. Everyone usually thinks it's the best way to go though, as anything else is limiting your freedom for no logical reason.

My explorator always has at least two praetorian servitor bodyguards with him if the situation allows it. Saying "Stop", "Attack, "Follow me" or "Cease fire" and such simple commands in lingua-technis is more or less instant, so to be honest in some situations they are more reliable than real human soldiers. As for scouting, you can always make scout-drone servitors with video feeds.

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ExtremoPenguin said:

I like your solution and explanation.

 

Same here,

I told my crew that the servitors are very specialized and very ancient and if you would temper with them, e. g. by trying to make them more multitaskable, you would risk lowering their boarding effectivness...

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i think your solution works well.  I think you could also have the Tech-Priests who maintain them, to treat the request as a perversion of sacred technology.  Insisting that the hallowed killing vessel has been ordainted and blessed to destroy your shipborne foes -  to force the machine spirit to stray from its sacred duty would trouble the spirit greatly - and as a result the Tech-Priests are wary to anger it.

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If your players want to do this, have them feed it a list of characters it is not to shoot. Make this list very short, possibly too small to fit all the PCs. Any time it meets and NPC or PC that is not on the list it will shoot at them until they die or it is told to not shoot at him. As soon as he is no longer visible to the murder servitor, it will forget that it has been told not to shoot him.

 

Or just have it suddenly sprout some Khornite runes and start killing everything.

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Citizen Philip said:

i think your solution works well.  I think you could also have the Tech-Priests who maintain them, to treat the request as a perversion of sacred technology.  Insisting that the hallowed killing vessel has been ordainted and blessed to destroy your shipborne foes -  to force the machine spirit to stray from its sacred duty would trouble the spirit greatly - and as a result the Tech-Priests are wary to anger it.

Remember tho, the Explorator is almost always by far the most high-ranking agent of the Cult Mechanicus on the RT ship. Considering the RT is moving through the Koronus expanse, chances are he's even a Magos, as this is a rare opportunity for all Explorators. He is granted the benefit of interpretation. If he says it's okay, the Tech-Priests will obey. Who are they, the lowly mechanic Tech-priests, to question the will and the motives of the leader of this expedition in the Quest for Knowledge?

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A complexity that I would add myself is that the Murder Servitor only 'speaks' binary. If the Explorator ever ends up out of action and no other member of the group speaks it, the servitor would just continue on its previously given order(s) to whatever end. Essentially it is a walking or rolling bolter turret with the intellect of a dishwasher, so they'll just have to deal with that.

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 The most obvious problem with the Murder Servitors is indeed their overspecialization for hit&run actions on spaceships. Further, they're archeotech, so reprogramming them outside certain parameters might not be exactly simple.

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 The Murder Servitor to me is very much like an Eversor assassin or Arcoflagellant. The sort of thing you deploy by pod, teleport, or whathaveyou somewhere far away from anyone you want alive. It will simply murder anyone and everyone it can find, it has no IFF, no easily accessible 'off' command.

You do something like set a timer; after say, 30min of murderously rampaging throughout the enemy ship, it will return to its shuttle and shutdown. That is the extent of its controls. 

Maintenance is done very, very carefully to not wake them up, because if they do, they will go berzerk in your own ship.  you could even have a pretty gripping scene where the PCs have to shutdown a rogue Murder Servitor. especially if you want to emphisise how dangerous they are.

Make it clear that they're just not the kind of thing you play with, like nuclear bombs or bear traps. 

Ofter them Praetorian battle servitors if they want that kind of thing.

If they insist then let them use it; it works, is horribly effective and kills half the armsmen they took with them before it can be shut down.

 

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I think that this has been said before, but one might consider a Murder-servitor as a "Fire and Forget" kind of weapon. Useful if you can get it into a building/bunker since you can isolate yourself from it. On an open field, it might be more problematic.

I like the idea that only the Explorator has any hope of stopping it and depending on how hard you want to make it, you could force him to make eithe a Tech-Use test or command test to see if it works. You could also limit the use of them by requiring that the Explorator have the Forbidden Lore (Archeotech) skill.

 

 

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This a pretty huge bump, but my players have these and the discussion in this post does not jive with my vision of how these things work.

First of they are ancient skull faced machines that are stored in cyro-stasis until absolutely needed. This alone makes me think that nobody is going to thaw them out to take planet side as a bodyguard. I don't think however they work like a roomba either. They are clearly meant to be led by a character on hit and run actions. In my players' case this is the RT himself. I think it is appropriate for the Murder-Servitors to respond to his commands, not solely to binary chatter from a tech-priest. I basically see my player's RT striding through the enemy starship followed by a dozen of these silent killers, dispatching enemy resistance and crew, his cape is flowing magestically as he points at the location he wishes the explosive charges to be placed. You know kind of like Darth Vader's entrance in Star Wars.

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 There are stats for what I assume are Murder Servitors in the creatures section of the corebook.  It says very specifically they are notoriously unreliable, which I translated into a high probability of friendly fire incidents.

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Agmar_Strick said:

 The Murder Servitor to me is very much like an Eversor assassin or Arcoflagellant. The sort of thing you deploy by pod, teleport, or whathaveyou somewhere far away from anyone you want alive. It will simply murder anyone and everyone it can find, it has no IFF, no easily accessible 'off' command.

You do something like set a timer; after say, 30min of murderously rampaging throughout the enemy ship, it will return to its shuttle and shutdown. That is the extent of its controls. 

Maintenance is done very, very carefully to not wake them up, because if they do, they will go berzerk in your own ship.  you could even have a pretty gripping scene where the PCs have to shutdown a rogue Murder Servitor. especially if you want to emphisise how dangerous they are.

 

Make it clear that they're just not the kind of thing you play with, like nuclear bombs or bear traps. 

Ofter them Praetorian battle servitors if they want that kind of thing.

If they insist then let them use it; it works, is horribly effective and kills half the armsmen they took with them before it can be shut down.

 

Bingo.

To reference the core book: The ship possesses a stock of ancient, skull-faced killing machines. Sealed in cryo-stasis until absolutely required, a mere dozen can be successfully sent on hit and run raids to main and kill enemy vessels. 

I think the key words here are absolutely required.

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