Robot: Zak from Reactor Maintenance (as Equipment)

If you don’t want to play Zak the robot, maybe you just want to buy him. (Or rent-to-own?)

An anonymous GURPS-loving person, referenced only as “a friend” by Jachra on the GURPS Forums, made a set of conversion rules to use the GURPS 3e Robots book to make robots for GURPS 4e. That’s useful because 3e Robots contains rules that allow you to specify robots as equipment instead of as a character.

I’m going to build Zak as a TL10 robot (one TL behind) as he is going to appear in the Deeps of Lyrae campaign on a backwater planet where robots are unknown. (I realize this is not the TL that I will use for the PC/NPC designs for Zak — each design is a little different as I am trying things out.

Important: The narrative description of this design (with a picture) is here.

Here we go:

Zak the Maintenance Robot

Sensor Suite:

  • Basic TL10 civilian robot sensor suite
  • Vision (head-mounted cameras)
  • Codereader
  • Acute Hearing
  • Ultrasonic Hearing
  • Thermograph
  • Millimeter-Wave Imaging RADAR

Brain — Standard Computer:

  • Complexity: 5 (Base: 5 ROM Slots), Extra ROM Slots (+2), Total ROM Slots (+7)
  • Storage: 1 mil tB (modified by new rules), $3750, LC: 4, Wt: 10, Volume .2
  • Also includes what I’m calling “firmware” (built-in software), see my table below. +$37500

Communications Suite:

  • Basic Voice and Radio Communications Suite
  • Disturbing Voice


  • 2 x Basic Arm Motors
  • ST 22 (x22 x22)
  • Integral tools: Engineer (both arms) (20 lbs. 0.4 cf $400)
  • Integral tools: Mechanical (both arms) (20 lbs. 0.4 cf $400)
  • Integral tools: Armoury (both arms) (4 lbs. 0.08 cf $800)
  • Integral tools: Electronics (both arms) (4 lbs. 0.08 cf $800)


  • 30 lbs. x 0.2KW (human-equivalent legs) per leg (x2)
  • Extra-small design


  • Cutting Torch (12 lbs. 0.24 cf $80)
  • Fire Extinguisher (8 lbs. 0.4 cf $100)
  • Spotlight


  • GPS (1 lb. .02 cf $200) – counts as absolute direction on civilized planets

Power Plant

  • Power demand: 0.87 KW
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell
    • Requires 0.09 gph of Hydrogen fuel to operate
    • draws Oxygen from atmosphere
  • Hydrogen Fuel Tank (5 gallons)
    • Per gallon: 5.5 lbs. 0.15 cf $10
    • Provides 55.5 hours of operation
  • Oxyacetylene Fuel Tank (1 gallon)
    • Provides 30 seconds of torch operation
  • Rechargeable Energy Bank –20 pts (does not breathe): 2 x rD (rechargeable) D cell (5 0.05 $500)
    • Provides 36k KWhours (12 hours) of operation
  • NOTE: Total Endurance 67.5 hours (battery + fuel cell)


  • Standard Frame (2 lb., $200)
  • Sealed Chassis ($40 20 points)
  • Radiation Shielding (1,000 PF)
  • Inconvenient Size (Large)
  • Metal armor (7 DR)

Body Design:

  • Two oversized and bulky arms ending in human-like hands
  • A Head/Torso Combination Shaped like a Trashcan / R2D2 “head” with Head mounted to a human-head-like rotating turret
  • Two spindly legs that appear undersized ending in flat metal feet


I had to be pretty creative with software as the system described in GURPS 3e Robots is based somewhat on advantages that no longer exist in GURPS 4e.


This is meant to represent unchangeable software. In GURPS 3e Robots these are called “involuntary” programs. We could call this something analogous to the Operating System and BIOS?

Trait C $
Language (Machine Code)
ADV: Absolute Timing
ADV: Enhanced Time Sense
ADV: Digital Mind
ADV: Mathematical Ability
ADV: Photographic Memory
ADV: Lightning Calculator
Language (Imperial Standard)
ADV: Telecommunication (Radio)
Voice: DIS: Disturbing Voice
FIRMWARE SUBTOTAL (included in brain above)   0

ROM Chips:

This is meant to represent unchangeable software. In GURPS 3e Robots these are called “involuntary” programs. Even if the robot can’t change its software, that doesn’t mean someone else can’t change the software.

I thought I would distinguish ROM from Firmware and divide them into “chips” because I foresee a scenario where the players might want to change some of this programming and perhaps it could be a minor puzzle for them to figure out how to do so. (Remember in my setting robots, and therefore knowledge about robots, is rare.)

Let’s give this stuff a cool name like “DDB40 Obedience Restrictors.”

Trait C $
DIS: Pacifism 2 5000
DIS: Reprogrammable 1 2500
DIS: Slave Mentality 2 5000
DIS: Duty (Owner) 2 5000
DIS: Sense of Duty (Humanity) 5 12500
DIS: Truthfulness 3 7500

Data Bank:

The data bank is intended as “voluntary” software under the Robots 3e definition. It also might be fun for the players to try to figure out how the robot works or how to modify it. I came up with some zany names for the software packages to add color.

Balance Modeling
ADV: Ambidexterity
2 5000
Pathfinder 7.0
ADV: 3D Spatial Sense
5 12500
Oxyacetylene Torch Manager 2.1
Innate Attack(Cutting Torch)
2 5000
Firefighter Pro
Innate Attack(Fire Extinguisher)
2 5000
High-Pass Filtering Suite
ADV: Ultrahearing
1 2500
Laser-Assisted Millimeter-Wave Radio Detection And Ranging
ADV: Para-Radar Code Reader
5 12500
Infrared Filter Pro
ADV: Infravision
2 5000
Client/Server Protocol Library
Computer Operation[4]
4 2000
Repair Algorithm Library
Electronics Repair(Computers)[1]
2 1000
Math API
2 1000
Robot-Aware Lite
2 1000
DDB40 Maintenance and Repair Specifications
Technique: Maintain Self:
Electronics Repair[4]
4 2000
DDB40 Mechanical Protocols Technique: Maintain Self:
4 2000
Datalink Free Edition
Utility: Datalink
1 800
TheVault™ Encryption
Utility: Encryption
5 2500
Superb Voiceprinter 4.5
Utility: Voiceprint Recog
2 1000
License and Digital Rights Management Server
Utility: Copy Protection
2 1000
Black Diamond Intrusion Countermeasures
Utility: ICE
2 1000
Data Bank Subtotal      62800

Hot-Swappable Slots

This is meant to represent programs that are intended to be added as necessary.

TraitC $
Skill[4] 4 2000
Skill[4] 4 2000
Skill[4] 4 2000
Skill[4] 4 2000
Software Pack Subtotal       8000

Total Cost:

$94,721 hardware + $70,800 software:

$165,521 GRAND TOTAL

Normal rental cost $270/day (with $165,521 deposit)

Addendum: House Rules

To make this design fit my imagined robot, I had to make these changes:

  • House Rule: (deviates from Robots 3e p. 29): The optimal number of arms with integral tools is not 4, it is 2.
  • House Rule: (deviates from Robots 3e): legs at TL10 are not required to be any proportion of the torso’s volume in order to support it. Advances in materials means that legs can be very small/thin.


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