ROM Cartridges

The advanced design of their positronic brains allowed many androids to survive the War’s tides of EMP with their cognition and sanity intact. It’s their very sentience that saved them, the unintentionally EMP-resistant lattice of precious and rare metals that comprise their heuristic processors. These processors allow androids to learn from experience, to build up skillsets and increase their capabilities beyond those programmed into them at the factory. However, these skills are developed with experience and over time. To allow androids to quickly adapt to new tasks, they are outfitted with at least one expansion slot capable of housing a ROM cartridge containing expertise on a certain pre-programmed skill.

When an android slots in a ROM cartridge, there is a brief period lasting from a few seconds to just over a minute during which interface subroutines integrate the contents of the cartridge with the android’s brain. The length of this process varies by the complexity of the data on the cartridge and the android’s own familiarity with the subject, but the process occurs in the android’s equivalent of a subconscious, allowing it to continue its affairs without having to stop and consciously chew on the new information. Once completed, the skill software allows the android to perform the role or task programmed into the cartridge, whether it’s computer repair, conflict resolution, building houses, or what have you.

A drawback to the ROM cartridges is that the taught skill is not seamlessly integrated into the android’s own experiences and heuristic learning methods. The level of competency programmed into the cartridge is fixed and cannot be added to by the android. An android may use the data on a cartridge to begin teaching itself the skills stored therein, but it is like learning the skill anew from a textbook. The skill as it exists in the ROM cartridge and as it exists in the android’s own experience-based learning system are distinct, a snarl within the android’s logical architecture keeping the two apart.

Though androids were developed by a variety of tech companies before the War, the specifics of the patents on positronic brains led to a certain amount of standardization in the systems relating directly to the heuristic processors, including the ROM cartridges. Any android with a working expansion slot can install most any ROM cartridge, regardless of the cartridge’s manufacturer. These compatibilities have allowed a number of communities to survive in the years after the War, with a scavenged library of ROM cartridges allowing their androids to become tin-skinned sages, practicing and teaching those essential skills that keep the wasteland at bay and allow life to continue.

Android ROM Cartridges Game Rules

Robot characters are assumed to have a expansion slot for receiving android ROM cartridges. Android ROM cartridges either come with a skill, such as Healing, and a die rating, such as d6, or with an Edge. When a robot first installs a ROM cartridge it hasn’t interfaced with before, it must wait a number of rounds equal to the ROM’s skill rating (6 rounds for a d6 skill, for example) before it can use the skill from the cartridge. During the waiting period, the robot suffers no penalties and can act normally. After the waiting period, the robot can use the skill on the cartridge at the rated strength as if it had the skill itself. Some ROM cartridges confer the bonuses of Edges instead of skills.

There is no waiting period for installing a ROM cartridge the android has interfaced with before; the benefit is received instantaneously. This applies only to the same physical cartridge, not similar cartridges with the same skill and rating. To help keep track, color your cartridges with details like the manufacturer and the official corporate or military title of the cartridge’s promised competency. For example, a ROM cartridge with Lockpicking d4 on it might be a Schlage Basic Countersecurity Trainer.

When a ROM cartridge is removed, access to the skill on the cartridge is lost. A robot character cannot improve the skill rating on the cartridge with advances, but it can count having the skill’s ROM cartridge installed as having access to a teacher for the purpose of learning it as a new skill. If a robot character has both learned a skill and has the same skill on a currently installed ROM cartridge, the character rolls the higher of the two die types.

New Hindrance

ROMless (Major)
You were built without an expansion slot for android ROM cartridges, or you were built with one but it has become damaged beyond repair. You cannot install android ROM cartridges. (Robots only.)

New Background Edge

Extra ROM Slot
Requirements: Novice, Robot race
You were built with a second expansion slot for android ROM cartridges, or you have had another one installed. You may have up to two different android ROM cartridges installed at a time, receiving the benefit for both. There is no additional benefit for installing two cartridges with the same skill on them.

ROM Cartridges

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