I'm building a world with very advanced robotics/engineering such that all machines have Lightning Calculator.1 I'm having trouble figuring out how to represent this using advantages/disadvantages.

e.g. A restaurant dishwasher in this future world does one thing: wash the dishes put inside it. It cannot exceed it's natural programming (i.e. it has Cannot Learn). However, it is programmed to order more detergent for when it will be running low (e.g. using Lightning Calculator to solve differential equations, noticing public holidays, general weekly trends etc.)

What's the canonical way to stat machines with high 'intelligence' but no power to choose/grow?

  1. The machines need Lightning Calculator because instructions are giveb in human language with minimal input information (e.g., "Order more detergent when you are going to run low, here's the restaurant's past statistics." *inserts disk into machine*).
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you don't mind me asking, what kind of setting needs game statistics for kitchen appliances? Are these semi-AI dishwashers going rise up, rebel against their cruel and heartless masters, and… leave some of the setting's we-still-consume-food-off-plates inhabitants mildly inconvenienced? What's the game here, man? \$\endgroup\$ Sep 5, 2017 at 20:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ 1) it's GURPS so why not! 2) (more seriously) I'm trying to build a set of bot classes from dishwasher to basically sentient. The senteint end of the spectrum is fairly easy, but this end eludes me statswise. (Side note: a game where all minor appliances rise up against thier human overlords sounds amazing) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 5, 2017 at 20:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Building off HeyICanChan's comment, while I can imagine the need to have stats for machines (though perhaps not dishwashers specifically - I assume that was strictly an example), do they need to be statted as characters? What about as computers (which use a simple tier system) and/or vehicles? Actual sapience isn't required - I've worked on natural language processing, and trust me, the "intelligence" required is really artificial. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 5, 2017 at 20:29
  • \$\begingroup\$ This is true. I guess I'm trying to find the line. At what point is a robot dog not statted out? When it disobeys it's master (showing free will)? Or when it can learn new tricks by demonstration (i.e can learn). The dishwasher is admittedly an absurd example but I really like the idea of having proper stats all the way up the class system. And when you think about it, a dog that only knows one trick is not that far functionally from a dishwasher. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 5, 2017 at 20:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ (I should note that real dogs are infinitely more lovable than dishwashers!) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 5, 2017 at 20:49

2 Answers 2


You want the AI and Automaton meta-traits, both from p. 263 of the Basic Set, to represent its mind. That gives it Reprogrammable, No Sense of Humour and Slave Mentality. If you reduce its IQ to zero, but give it Accessory (Computer), that will let it run a program to track supplies and anticipate a need for more. That doesn't take real IQ. Lightning Calculator will make it good at that.

Its body will likely have the Machine meta-trait, from the same page, and the Electrical disadvantage, from p. 134.


I don't know of a canonical way, but the two disadvantages below are designed for this.

  • Cannot Learn (page 125)
  • Slave Mentality (page 154)

Also worth looking at is the Automation meta-trait on page 263.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm after the problem solving ability which lightning calculator provides. I've yet to find a satisfactory way to make the machine clever but without emotion. Slave mentality will cover no free will nicely though. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 5, 2017 at 20:31

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