Mega-City One has a mixed relationship with robots. Whilst many citizens take them for granted, most don’t realise—or simply don’t care—that these menial machines are the reason for MC-1’s rampant levels of unemployment. From construction workers to wardroids, lawyers to law-enforcers, there is a robot for almost every role in Mega-City One.
By and large this relationship between man and machine goes smoothly as robots fulfil their roles with diligence and durability. Sometimes however, things go wrong…
Bad Bob Booth
In 2099 President ‘Bad Bob’ Booth—father of the Atomic War of 2070—unleashed wardroids against the Judges in an attempt to cling onto power.
In an act which would resonate through history, Booth also brought an end to almost all regulations on artificial intelligence. This one act would not only lead to the development of smarter robots, but also the continued evolution of their programmed personas.
Not all of those personalities were particularly pleasant. In 2099, for instance the rogue carpentry robot Call-Me-Kenneth incited the robots of Mega-City One to revolt. Backed by his army of robotic revolutionaries—including the hulking Heavy Metal kids—Call-Me-Kenneth ran amok across the city. His revolution was, however, stopped by Judge Dredd, but only after the loss of countless lives and colossal damage to Mega-City One.
The Phantom of the Shoppera
When a malfunctioning ex-construction droid kidnapped the love of its life—a trainee underwear salesman—Dredd intervened. Chasing the romantic robot to the top of a shopping dome, the Judge barely managed to save the salesman before shooting the Phantom. The heartbroken robot then plunged to its doom.
Nero Narcos and the Doomsday Scenario
Call-Me-Kenneth’s insurrection would not the last robotic rampage in MC-1. As part of his Doomsday Scenario, the cybernetic crimeboss Nero Narcos brought the Second Robot War to Mega-City One. With an army of assassin-droids under his command, Narcos launched a bold and bloody coup. His automated army was, however, neutralized when Judge Dredd—aided by a host of Narcos’ reprogrammed assassins—launched a bold counterattack.
Tiring of his lack of respect and gratitude from Dredd, the Judge’s robot servant Walter begins to regret helping Justice Department overthrow Call-Me-Kenneth. He concludes the only way to make amends—and to punish the ingrateful humans—is to organise his own robot revolt. He begins by shooting Judge Dredd…
Mechanismo (Judge Dredd Megazine (vol. 2) / Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files vol. 18)
Justice Department has suffered heavily during the calamities of Necropolis and Judgement Day. In a bid to combat escalating crime and to increase Justice Department’s presence on the on the streets, Chief Judge McGruder—against Dredd’s better judgement—authorises the use of robot Judges. Empowered to arrest, convict and even execute criminals, these mechanical Judges are soon unleashed upon the unsuspecting streets…
Extract from Dredd’s Comportment
‘Robots stop being labour-saving devices when we have to save their owners’ lives. Between Call-Me-Kenneth and Narcos’ assassin droids, this city has spent more time cleaning up after robots than robots have spent cleaning up after us.’
As expected, robots are a useful addition to any game. Whilst costs in Notoriety vary from a mere 3 for a UtilBot to 22 for a deadly WarBot, robots are a great way to round out a faction. The Mega-City Robots set contains one of each of the following, and every one of these robots has something to offer your faction. Whilst their Robot special rule means they can only generate normal Action chips and their Evade stats are either 1 or 0, their Resist stats—which are as high as 6 for War and DemoBotss—make them hard to kill.
These simple machines are designed for domestic chores and repetitive jobs that MC-1 citizens feel are beneath them. Their stats and improvised weapons are as underwhelming as you’d expect from a model with a Notoriety of 3, but they’re great for using in small numbers to block charges or LOS, or en masse to swamp an opponent.
For a mere 5 Notoriety, your faction can buy a MediBot. Whilst these mechanical medics are not as versatile as a Med Judge, they give players the chance to remove Injury or Stun markers courtesy of their Combat Medic skill. If needs be, MediBots can also give opponents a nasty cut with their surgical instruments.
SecBots are a cheap and more durable alternative to a flesh and blood security guard. They’re also more reliable and come with a Stun Prod and Electro-Zap Pistol. They also have the Perimeter Alert Special Rule, which allows them to be placed on Overwatch without spending an Action chip; combine this with the +3 modifier when firing their Electro-Zap pistols and your SecBot makes for a very effective sentry or point-man for your faction.
DemoBots are designed to knock down buildings and it’s too bad if any ‘fleshy ones’ are buried in the rubble. They are also incredibly slow, with their Ponderous Special Rule ensuring they cannot perform Sprint double actions. Not only that, but when using a DemoBot to charge an opponent, players must roll two D6 and add the lowest result to their Move stat.
This lack of speed can be offset by their Rivet Guns (maximum range 12”, Power 5, Aimed Fire only), but, with a +5 modifier on their Demolition Hammers and the Piercing and Rending special rules on their Power Drills, a DemoBot only truly shines in melee.
Now we’re getting serious. Combining Gunfighter, Robot and Self-Repair Sub-Routines with an inbuilt Rocket launcher and a Laser Rifle, WarBots are a valuable addition to your faction. This value only increases when you consider their rocket launchers allow WarBots to use the Incendiary, Hi-Ex, Seeker, Stumm Gas and Ricochet Armoury cards.
With a Notoriety of 22, WarBots are expensive, but they’re worth it. Who Knows? If a few of these bad boys had been on Call-Me-Kenneth’s side, the First Robot War might have had a very different ending…