by Victor Gijsbers
One of the new rogues in Kerkerkruip 10 will be Automatos. He is a giant made of steel by the priests of Nomos, and like that god he is committed to law and order. But Automatos takes his lawfulness a bit too far, into the realm of rigity. Instead of using the normal artificial intelligence routines of Kerkerkruip to decide what action is the best, Automatos follows a short predetermined action sequence. For instance, he might concentrate, dodge, attack, block, concentrate, and attack… and then start again at the beginning. This sequence is adhered to very strictly. Automatos will dodge even if nobody is attacking him, for instance; or will counter your attack with an attack of his own, if this is so scripted.
Without his rigidity, Automatos might be the most fearsome of all level 4 foes. He is tougher and deals more damage than his counterparts. But the rigidity is there, and once the player has found out which script he is following — the exact sequence will vary — she can take advantage of his predictability. Well-used brains will always defeat tons of mindless steel, right? Right?
To make things more interesting, Automatos will lose some of the parts of his cognitive machinery whenever he is struck by a particularly damaging blow. In practice, this means that one ore more actions will fall out of his sequence. So it is possible to have a damaged Automatos who attacks every turn; or, more pathetically, one who never attacks but just dodges and concentrates. Only a hard-hearted fiend like the player character could even contemplate killing such a helpless being.