Programming vs. Artificial Intelligence

Mechanical intelligence is extremely limited in the early stages of robotic technology. The best PL 5 robots have processors only as advanced as computers, and they are little better than remotes. If a situation falls outside the conditions for which the PL 5 robot was programmed, the robot doesn’t know what to do and sees no reason to take any actions at all.
At Progress Level 6, robots step closer to achieving true artificial intelligence with the invention of the first commercially viable neural networks: “learning” computers. Designed to mimic how an organic brain processes and stores information, the neural network allows the robot to analyze the data it receives from its sensors and make autonomous decisions based upon that data. In other words, a neural network allows a robot to think.
However, true artificial intelligence does not arrive until Progress Level 7. While neural networks allow robots to learn and think, artificial intelligence allows robots to plan and be creative. Further, the AI attaches appropriate significance to what it learns; not only can it create but also it can decide for itself whether doing so is a good idea. In effect, artificial intelligence allows a robot to simulate humanoid behavior (for better or for worse) without being programmed to do so. It learns by observation and deduction, not unlike a human child learns to behave as the adults he knows.
Heroic Droids with Skill Software or Feat Software

Players can choose to play biodroid and bioreplica characters. These heroic robots gain skills and feats by gaining experience and advancing in level, as organic characters do. At the GM’s discretion, a heroic robot may choose to receive skill software and feat software. However, a heroic droid installed with skill software of any kind loses all skills gained from class levels and can no longer gain skill points through level advancement. Similarly, a heroic robot installed with feat software loses all feats gained from class levels and class features and cannot gain new feats through level advancement.


ROBOTS - SKILL SOFTWARE

Like constructs, nonheroic robots do not gain skills. They must be programmed with software that gives them the ability or the knowledge to perform certain skills. Skill software (often called “skillware”) is embedded in the robot’s central processor or “brain” and can be saved after the robot is destroyed (see Robot Resurrection). This is not true of skill webs, however (see below).
To write skill software from scratch, a character must have an equal number of ranks in whatever skill the software is designed to emulate. The character obtains the necessary components by making a Wealth check against the software’s purchase DC. He must then succeed at a Computer Use check (DC 20 + number of skill ranks emulated by the software) after investing 12 hours in the software’s construction.
Class Skills: All skills programmed into a robot become class skills for the robot.
SKILL CHIP (PL 5)

A skill chip enables a robot to gain up to 8 ranks in any one of the following skills: Computer Use, Demolitions, Disable Device, Listen, Repair, Search, or Spot. A robot can have multiple skill chips. However, skill chips do not allow a robot to benefit from skill synergy.
A skill chip can be erased and reprogrammed with 12 hours of work and a successful Computer Use check (DC 20 + number of skill ranks emulated by the software).
A Techie or a Technosavant can reprogram a skill chip in 1 hour and can modify it to hold as many ranks as he has in the emulated skill.
Purchase DC: 4 × number of skill ranks.
LANGUAGE CHIP (PL 6)

This chip allows the robot the read, write, and speak one language as though it has the appropriate Read/Write Language and Speak Language skills.
Purchase DC: 12
SKILL PROGIT (PL 6)

Sophisticated emulation software encased in a thin but durable plastic casing, a skill progit enables a robot to gain ranks in a single skill. The number of ranks cannot exceed the programmer’s ranks in the skill being emulated. A factory-built progit typically holds 4, 8, or 12 ranks of a particular skill. A robot can have multiple skill progits. However, skill progits do not allow a robot to benefit from skill synergy.
A skill progit can be erased and reprogrammed with 12 hours of work and a successful Computer Use check (DC 20 + number of skill ranks emulated by the software).
Purchase DC: 3 × number of skill ranks.
SKILL NET (PL 7)

A skill net consists of a series of interlocking programs that allow the robot to acquire ranks in multiple skills. The number of ranks in any given skill cannot exceed the programmer’s ranks in the skill being emulated. A factory-built skill net typically holds 4, 8, or 12 ranks in as many as four different skills. A robot can have multiple skill nets. Skill nets allow a robot to benefit from skill synergy.
A skill net can be reprogrammed one skill at a time. Replacing one skill with another or increasing the number of ranks of an already existing skill requires 1 hour of work and a successful Computer Use check (DC 20 + number of skill ranks emulated by the software).
Purchase DC: 18 (four skills at 4 ranks each), 21 (four skills at 8 ranks each), or 23 (four skills at 12 ranks each).
SKILL WEB (PL 8)

A skill web allows a robot with ordinary class levels to gain skill points as normal for its class. The skill web expands as the robot advances in level. An integral component of the robot, it cannot be salvaged if the droid is destroyed. Skill webs allow a robot to benefit from skill synergy.
A skill web’s skills cannot be altered except through level advancement.
Purchase DC: One-half the base purchase DC of the robot’s frame.


ROBOTS - FEAT SOFTWARE

Nonheroic robots, like constructs, do not gain feats. However, at Progress Level 6 or higher, they can be programmed with software that enables them to emulate feats.
Feat software (often called “featware”) is usually embedded in the robot’s central processor or “brain” and can be salvaged after the robot is destroyed (see Robot Resurrection sidebar. This is not true of feat webs, however (see below).
To write feat software from scratch, a character must possess whatever feats the software is designed to emulate. The character obtains the necessary software components by making a Wealth check against the software’s purchase DC. He must then succeed at a Computer Use check (DC 30) after investing 12 hours in the software’s creation.
Feat Prerequisites: Regardless of the quality of its feat software, a robot cannot emulate a feat if it does not meet the feat’s prerequisites.
FEAT PROGIT (PL 6)

Sophisticated emulation software encased in a thin but durable plastic casing, a feat progit is installed in the robot’s central processing unit and enables the robot to gain a single feat.
A robot can have a number of feat progits equal to 1 + one-third its Hit Dice (rounded down).
A feat progit can be erased and reprogrammed with 12 hours of work and a successful Computer Use check (DC 30).
Purchase DC: 20
FEAT NET (PL 7)

A feat net consists of a series of interlocking programs that allow the robot to emulate multiple feats. A feat net holds as many as four feats.
A robot can have multiple feat nets, but the total number of feats a robot can have installed cannot exceed 1 + one-third the robot’s Hit Dice (rounded down).
The biggest advantage of the feat net over the feat progit is that you only make one Wealth check to purchase a feat net, whereas buying individual feat progits requires separate Wealth checks. A feat net can be reprogrammed one feat at a time. Replacing one feat with another requires 12 hours of work and a successful Computer Use check (DC 30).
Purchase DC: 15 (one feat), 17 (two feats), 19 (three feats), 20 (four feats).
FEAT WEB (PL 8)

A feat web allows a robot with ordinary class levels to gain feats as normal for its class. The feat web expands as the robot advances in level. An integral component of the robot, it cannot be salvaged if the droid is destroyed.
A feat web’s feats cannot be altered except through level advancement.
Purchase DC: 10 + one-half the base purchase DC of the robot’s frame.


ROBOTS - ABILITY UPGRADES

Heroic and nonheroic robots can receive structural and programming upgrades that increase their ability scores. (Heroic robots can also improve their mental ability scores by gaining levels, much as organic characters do; see Robots as Heroes for details.)
A robot can receive multiple upgrades to the same ability score. Robots with armature and biomorph frames have no Intelligence score and therefore cannot receive upgrades to Intelligence. No robot can receive an upgrade to Constitution, since robots do not have Constitution scores.
Upgrades to physical abilities (Strength and Dexterity) always entail a refit or reconstruction and require a factory, workshop, or other facility. Upgrades to mental abilities (Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma) are handled by using a computer to reprogram or add new subroutines to the robot’s brain, neural network, or central processing unit.
To perform a Strength or Dexterity upgrade from scratch, a character must have access to a workshop or other suitable facility. Acquiring the necessary components for the upgrade requires a Wealth check against the upgrade’s purchase DC. After 24 hours spent performing the upgrade, the character must succeed at a Craft (mechanical) check (DC 25). A character without a mechanical tool kit takes a –4 penalty on the skill check.
To perform an Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma upgrade, a character must first acquire the necessary system components with a successful Wealth check (against the upgrade’s purchase DC). The character must then succeed at a Computer Use check (DC 30) after 1 hour spent reprogramming the robot.
Purchase DC: The cost of the upgrade.
STRENGTH UPGRADE (PL 5)

Parts of the robot’s frame, including its joints and hydraulic components, are reinforced or replaced with similar components made of stronger materials. The upgrade provides a +2 bonus to Strength.
Purchase DC: 5 + one-half the base purchase DC of the robot’s frame + robot’s Strength modifier before the upgrade.
DEXTERITY UPGRADE (PL 6)

The robot receives replacement joints or ligaments that are more flexible, and the robot’s tactile sensors are modified to improve manual dexterity. The upgrade provides a +2 bonus to Dexterity.
Purchase DC: 5 + one-half the base purchase DC of the robot’s frame + robot’s Dexterity modifier before the upgrade.
INTELLIGENCE UPGRADE (PL 6)

Modifications to the robot’s artificial intelligence allow it to think more creatively. The upgrade provides a +2 bonus to Intelligence.
Purchase DC: 10 + one-half the base purchase DC of the robot’s frame + robot’s Intelligence modifier before the upgrade.
CHARISMA UPGRADE (PL 7)

The robot is programmed with character and personality subroutines that enable it to better interpret and simulate humanoid behavior patterns and emotions. The upgrade provides a +2 bonus to Charisma.
Purchase DC: 10 + one-half the base purchase DC of the robot’s frame + robot’s Charisma modifier before the upgrade.
WISDOM UPGRADE (PL 7)

Adjustments to the robot’s sensors improve its perception, while new software enables it to act more intuitively. The upgrade provides a +2 bonus to Wisdom.
Purchase DC: 10 + one-half the base purchase DC of the robot’s frame + robot’s Wisdom modifier before the upgrade.