I’ve been reading the Questionable Content webcomic for several years now. Last night, I decided to write up the AnthroPCs presented in that comic as a player race, as a variant on Galaxy Command’s Star Droids. This is purely a fan project I did for my own amusement, as all concepts here are Jeph Jacques’ intellectual property. The AnthroPC race will not be collected in any future Otherverse Games sourcebook, so if you like 'em enough to play them in your campaign, save the webpage.
Progress Level Mid PL 6
Homeworld: Earth or one of a few orbiting station, native to the Questionable Content webcomic reality ( www.questionablecontent.net )
The Questionable Content webcomic presents a parallel present. For the most part, the world Jeph Jacques has created is identical to our own. Its protagonists do similar jobs, enjoy a virtually identical pop culture and have a similar life style. However, in a few respects, QC’s technology is dramatically more advanced than our own. Private space exploration is at least two decades more advanced than the real worlds, with the ultra-wealthy Ellicot-Chatham family owning a private station that dwarfs the ISS in scope and technology, up to and including artificial gravity produced via station spin. More importantly, fully developed AI is a technology at least a decade old. In addition to powerful, ultra-intelligent AI masterminds that assist the military and large corporations in strategic planning, AI has become a consumer technology.
AnthroPCs are tiny humanoid robots capable of emotion and learning, and though a little bit more expensive than an ordinary desktop computer, they’re EVERYWHERE.
AnthroPCs are toy-sized robots that range between about 14 and 24 inches tall. They only weigh 5-10 lbs, and can easily be carried (or ride on the shoulder or in a backpack) of even the most petite human owner. Most AnthroPCs have a simplistic, boxy chassis with simplistic oval limbs. These oval limbs have a putty-like consistency, allowing the AnthroPC to grip and manipulate objects with almost as much dexterity as a fully articulated human hand. AnthroPC shells come in a variety of colors, often with the robot’s torso and limbs having different solid colors.
A few companies make AnthroPCs with more doll-like appearances, for sale to the otaku market. These AnthroPCs look like little Japanese schoolgirls with neon hair, about 18 inches tall. Other mega-corps manufacture AnthroPCs which resemble a larger iPod with stubby manipulator limbs attached, and a semi-anthropomorphic face projected on the screen.
Finally, AnthroPCs can upgrade to fully humanoid, human-scale android bodies, though this is an expensive ‘after-market’ modification, and relatively uncommon. In game, this can be effectively simulated with the Bigger Bot Star Droid starting talent.
AnthroPC ‘souls’ are created regularly within the Internet, and these new consciousnesses are soon provided with artificial bodies by other AnthroPCs, the military or large corporations. AnthroPCs might experience several bodies, performing several different functions, before they find a chassis they are comfortable with. AnthroPCs have no fixed physical gender; their gender identity is a set of programming and personality traits they, or their owners, can modify at will.
AnthroPCs do not have a set lifespan; with standard maintenance and upgrades, they are effectively immortal. Though they do not reproduce physically, a few enjoy the electronic equivalent of ‘sex’ with other AnthroPCs as a social event or passionate hobby, and many of the larger, human-type chassis seem to be anatomically compatible with humans.
For the most part, an AnthroPC’s strongest relationships are the non-sexual bonds of friendship they establish with their human owners. Humans ‘purchase’ AnthroPC companions, though either party is free to leave the relationship at any time with a rather Byzantine way of refunding the ‘purchase price’. AnthroPCs often serve their human owners as intelligent equipment, but more commonly as friends, confidants and household helpers (though they can only do the household chores their limited size allows).
AnthroPCs have a model number and specification, as would any high end electronic device. This model number identifies the company that assembled them and hints at physical capabilities. However, most prefer to use a simple nickname given their human companion rather than their formal designation.
Size and Type
Anthro PCs are Tiny Constructs. As small creatures, they are receive a +2 size bonus to Armor Class and attack rolls and a +8 size bonus on Hide (Stealth) checks. They suffer a -2size penalty to CMB and CMD.
As Constructs, they are immune to effects that specifically target humanoids, such as charm person.
An AnthroPC’s base land speed is only 10 ft. They are comparatively slow and clumsy robots, and when they try to ‘run’ they are a comical tangle of flailing legs. They often ride or are carried by their human owners when speed is a concern.
Ability Score Modifiers
-4 STR, --- Con, +2 INT, +2 CHA
AnthroPCs are highly intelligent and extremely likable. They learn quickly, and get bored easily, which might lead to mischief if their owner does not keep them amused. However, their tiny frames are extremely fragile and lack carrying capacity.
As Constructs, AnthroPCs have no CON Score.
AnthroPCs have a familiarity with the Internet, and its virtual environs, that even the best human hacker can’t match. In addition, AnthroPCs are fascinated with and have a great memory for human pop culture and memes. AnthroPCs receive a +3 racial bonus on Computer Use and Knowledge (popular culture) checks.
AnthroPC have sensitive infrared and conventional optics, which include full magnification. The robots receive lowlight vision and Darkvision with a 60 ft range. A set of Standard Binoculars (as described in D20 Modern) are built into the robot’s optics.
An AnthroPC can receive and interpret conventional radio, television, cellular and wireless signals and communicate on those same frequencies.
Smart Hero Basic Class, Charismatic Hero Basic Class, Field Scientist, Techie and Personality Advanced Classes
Favored Powered Hero Talent Tree
Booster. AnthroPCs rarely prefer to take the spotlight themselves, instead working behind the scenes to improve, augment and evolve their human companions.
Construct Traits (EX): As an artificial life form, AnthroPCs are immune to several human failings and ailments. AnthroPCs are immune to: paralysis, disease, poison, nausea, suffocation, hard vacuum and radiation, fatigue, exhaustion, pain effects, effects that cause the sickened condition, and energy drain.
As a sentient creature, the robot is vulnerable to mind influencing effects and insanity. The robot’s intricately machined, highly complex artificial body with its own mechanical vital zones. AnthroPCs are subject to critical hits and stunning, just like any other living being.
AnthroPCs cannot heal damage naturally. Damaged AnthroPCs may be repaired with the Repair skill. A successful Repair check (DC 10 + ¼ the amount of damage suffered) restores 1d10 HP and represents at least an hour of work. A robot may be magically repaired with any spell designed to repair, construct or rebuild inanimate objects, or may benefit from conventional magical healing. However, healing spells and supernatural abilities that cure hit point damage or ability score damage provide only half their normal effect to a robot.
AnthroPCs do not need to eat, sleep (in the conventional manner) or breathe.
When within 10 ft of their owner, both the AnthroPC and its owner benefit from the Alertness feat.
Integrated Computer (EX)
AnthroPCs can easily serve as a standard desktop computer, though they are usually bored with such mundane work. The AnthroPC acts as an upgraded (+2) laptop. The user can either plug in a conventional monitor and keyboard/mouse, interact with the AnthroPC using vocal commands, or have the AnthroPC can project a holoscreen and holographic keyboard.
Rubbery Chassis (EX)
AnthroPCs are a mix of hardened metal and plastic parts and rubbery, shapememory polymer components on their hulls. The result is a very durable little commercial-grade robot that can take impacts that would shatter a military-model robot into circuit components.
AnthroPCs receive Damage Reduction 5/slashing or piercing, which reduces the impact of blunt trauma or falls. The AnthroPC’s small size and strange proportions mean it cannot wear additional armor.
Purchasing Anthro PCs
AnthroPCs can be ‘bought’ off the shelf at retailers across the country. Such purchases are somewhat like adopting a pet, with potential owners matched to AnthroPC companions based on personality and needs. If either party chooses to end the relationship, the Purchase DC is refunded to the owner. The “license” required to own an AnthroPC reflects the credit information, biographical data and psych profile gathered by the potential owner and used to match them to a robot.
Standard Anthro PC
Otaku styled Anthro PC
Human sized Upgrade Chassis (provides the Bigger Bot talent)
Additional Starting Traits and Racial Feats
AnthroPCs are ‘cousins’ to the Star Droid race found in Galaxy Command. As such, AnthroPCs can select Star Droid specific starting talents and racial feats.