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Bellbot

Bellbot

Written by Nathan J. Hill
Copyright 2015, Mystic Ages Publishing.

Download the PDF at RPGNow

You're a robotic bellboy in a gigantic, chaotic, mega-hotel.

The hotel you serve is built upon (and in) a massive asteroid hurtling through space. You assist a diverse client of space-faring humans, time-traveling wayfarers, undiscovered alien entities, and unhappy tourists. You must serve them well. You were built for this job, and you are a piece of the hotel-brain. If you do not function well, the hotel will begin to fail, and you will be fired (and we don't mean 'let go' -- no, you will be literally fired -- as in a very unpleasant and uncomfortable melting process).

So what's in it for you? If you do a good job, you can earn nice tips, upgrade your robotic capabilities, and someday become hotel manager. It is a dream all hotel Bellbots share.

Your Work Environment

The Galactic Dupazz Independent Hotel and Resort is one of a kind. Built by the legendary Dr. Alfred Dupazz, a bizarre techniophile inventor, the hotel was designed as a self-sustainable robotic hive. All of the services normally provided by inefficient humans have been replaced by expertly programmed, adaptable computer systems. From check-in to check-out, robots greet, assist, and serve all customers at the Dupazz Hotel & Resort.

Certainly, the Dupazz Hotel & Resort has its share of bugs. Artificial intelligences are notorious for interesting flaws which can irk many customers, and its labyrnthine layout is confusing even to the most attentative visitor. Regardless, the interstellar lodging is an amazing accomplishment, run with ruthless efficiency while maintaining its opulence, wide ranging service, and budget consciousness.

Robots make all of this possible, the worker ants in this incredible technological hive. Robots that are broken are carted off deep in the subterranean levels of the hotel to be fixed or reprogrammed. Truly flawed machines are "fired" and used as spare parts in other repair processes. The central brain, a vastly complex and secretive of overlapping algorithims, sends out daily ROM updates to improve the efficiency and operating capabilities of its robots. Furthermore, Dr. Dupazz created a ladder system where the most pleasant and helpful robots can move up the ranks, receiving upgrades to core systems and the honor of serving high profile clients. While there is no real tangible benefit to robots in the upper echelons of service, it is a badge of honor to be promoted. Robots, therefore, do everything they can to hit the big time in the hotel.

The hotel features over 4000 floors with hundreds of pools, saunas, exercise areas, restaurants, entertainment areas, and lounges. From cheap rooms for the budget conscious traveler to expansive penthouse suites for the debutante, the hotel is built to serve every traveler. Amenities from across the galaxy are also offered for bizarre, otherwordly guests. Because of this complexity and massive size, it is always rumored that many travelers have gotten lost permanently inside the byzantine complex. This may be why Bellbots are considered the most important service bot in the hotel.

The Bellbot's Job

Your job as a Bellbot is to be the jack-of-all-trades. You do pretty much what the customer wants, and if you do it well, you get a fat tip. Common errands for a Bellbot include tracking down lost possessions, delivering room service, escorting travelers to their room, carrying luggage, guiding travelers to check-in or check-out services, giving expansive tours of the hotel's services, protecting travelers from assassination, and assassinating guests who are trying to skip out on their bill.

As you can see, a Bellbot must be prepared to offer the widest range of services. There are numerous other robotic services in the hotel that can assist you -- from security to customer service. You may have to barter and deal with these other services, for they rarely will help another robot unless there is something in it for them. Each kind of robot has their own flaws which make the hotel a somewhat bizarre place to work and get things done. But the ultimate purpose is this -- you better get a tip. The more tips you get, the more quickly you can rise up in the ranks and become hotel manager.

Other Services

A regular customer of the Dupazz Hotel & Resort discovers that most robotic services have at least one critical flaw. This flaw can be frustrating or humorous.

Customer Service bots run the check-in, check-out, billing, reservation, and phone support services for the hotel. While usually polite, the fatal flaw of customer service bots is money -- they will scheme to no end to wring as much money out of a client as possible. Therefore, checking out of the hotel can be a frustrating task, arguing over bills, taxes, and assorted fees. Most clients just pay their bill and move on, but others have begun to send Bellbots in their place to prepare the bill. The Bellbots are forced to argue and haggle with customer service bots, often filling out extra forms and tracking down obscure readouts which detail and prove what the customer did and didn't pay for.

Room Service bots deliver food, clean rooms, provide extra amenities, and perform general maintenance. The fatal flaw of room service bots is their time deficiency. The more time you spend performing a customer's job, the higher fee or tip you should expect. For example, an average customer who orders a warm meal will receive it 30 minutes late and incorrectly prepared at least twice. Room service bots will keep an ongoing tally of the time spent on the order and charge a service fee based on the length of service in minutes or seconds. Eventually, the order will arrive correctly. Some room service bots have developed a nasty habit of "misplacing" items from a client's room and then asking for a "finder's fee" when stumbling upon said item. In place of this frustrating service, Bellbots are often asked to pick up food, beverages, extra towels, clean linens, replacement items, and so on in place of room service. This may require sneaking into room service supply closets and kitchens and bartering for these items. Room service bots enjoy a strangehold on their particular skills and do not take kindly to other bots fulfilling their obligations (at a cheaper price too).

Entertainment Service bots fill the rest of the extra loop holes for client satisfaction. They are the cooks, physical trainers, massagers, singers, comedians, jugglers, and babysitters of the hotel. Due to faulty programming, only a few entertainment bots are actually worth the rental fees, but the glut of entertainers available mean that these bots loiter in hallways and offer their services to passing clients, sometimes lining up in hundreds outside a room to audition for an open gig. Bellbots thus become casting agents, tracking down the best singers, cooks, or masseuses for customers, and haggling an appropriate contract. Because these entertainment bots have often formed networks and mob-like organizations, some of the best entertainers do not come alone and require the client to pay for a backing band, backup singers, managers, and groupies. Again, Bellbots must try to manage all of these demands and deliver what their customer wants.

Maintenance bots rarely deal with customers, and their thankless task is to clean up the hotel, fix broken pipes, upgrade systems, and generally make things safe. A Bellbot will be forced to interact with maintenance bots throughout the job. If your client's room is too hot, find a local maintenance bot to fix the problem. If you need access to a rival territory or want some information, the maintenance bots have it. This is what gives them an entirely positive outlook on their existence. Since they are everywhere and no one pays them much mind, maintenance bots pick up all kinds of sensitive data, goings on, and secret meetings in the hotel. What do maintenance bots want for this information? New mops, brooms, tools, and handy equipment are the best gifts in exchange for key information or access. And don't forget that maintenance bots are the best to fix broken ports, limbs, and robotic malfunctions.

Security bots tend to be the laziest of the bots in the hotel. They perform regular patrols, monitor private areas, and detain troublemakers (bot or human). The hotel generally tends to run itself, and few guests make any major trouble. Therefore, security bots like to hang out in highly visible areas, get into other people's business, and generally appear tougher than they are. If need be, security bots have an arsenal of shock weapons and anti-tank missiles to take down enemies and rowdy clients. On ocassion, especially during major holidays, they are prone to detaining guests from time to time for no reason, requiring bail fees to release the suspect. If a dangerous incident does arise in the hotel, security bots usually jetison the unwanted individual quietly before anything untoward takes place. Bellbots may have to negotiate with security bots for the release of their client or trick one into aiding the settlement of a tense security situation.

Creating Your Bellbot

  1. Your Name: Your Bellbot's name has got to be similar to a human name with some unexpected twist. A common name, for example, is "Danx". Another example is "Lauraz". Bellbots want names that connect them with humans but don't create awkward situations.

  2. Attitude: Bellbots differentiate themselves based on attitude -- is your Bellbot optimistic, hilarious, loving, nurturing, comforting, ambitious, keen, witty, or smart? Make up your own attitude for your Bellbot. Anytime you use your attitude in a really obnoxious way, you gain an extra die to roll in that action.

  3. Appearance: Your Bellbot's appearance can be sophisticated, savvy, or rudimentary. Really, let your imagination run wild here. Your bot can be sleek and smooth. Your bot can look like a charming, old clunker. Make sure your bot's appearance fits its attitude above. Anytime you use your physical appearance in a really obnoxious way, you gain an extra die to roll in that action.

  4. Attributes: Your Bellbot has four attributes. Suave is your Bellbot's ability to persuade, convince, impress, and encourage clients and other bots. Groveling is your Bellbot's ability to whine, plead, compliment, and suck up to clients and other bots. Speed is your Bellbot's quickness and moving ability, useful when racing other bots or trying to get through a closing door. Strength is your Bellbot's raw crushing power, used to intimidate other bots and carry heavy things. Each starts at 1, and you have 4 points to spend between them.

  5. Endurance: Your Bellbot's Endurance, which is a sort of a catch-all stat for how long it can operate before getting tired or falling apart, is your Strength + 8. You may reduce it by one at anytime and get an extra die to roll when doing something for a customer. Once it reaches zero, you have to get juiced up from a maintenance bot or recharge for about 8 hours to get back to peak capacity.

Playing the Game

Most Bellbots begin play by milling about in a lobby. There are multiple lobbies in the Galactic Dupazz Independent Hotel & Resort, each catering to slightly different levels of clientele, from mundane to alien, budget to sophisticated. Jobs may be assigned randomly by another service bot, or your bot may have to catch the attention of a random client.

The job could be anything -- find a missing personal article, show me the best place to eat, fetch my bill, guide me to my room, reserve a sauna, order a massage specialist, assassinate another hotel guest, find out what secret meeting is going down in room 1403B, or make me a drink. Anytime you perform an action where your intent is to impress your client (and increase your tip), you roll some dice. Roll a number of d6s equal to the attribute you are using. For example, if your customer asks you to fetch them a fresh martini, you could say -- "I speed down the corridors to the best martini bar in the hotel." You would roll a number of dice equal to your Speed attribute. Next, add up your dice result. For every point over 5, you gain that many dollars on to your eventual tip.

In the previous example, if the dice result was 16, my Bellbot would have racked up $11 from using his speed to get to the martini bar quickly.

Don't forget that if you can integrate your attitude and appearance in creative ways, you get an extra die to roll.

Bellbots will have to use their attributes to convince other customers or bots to help. In some situations, you may even need to outwit others or outright destroy them. In this instance, you roll against the other bots' related or opposite attribute. The highest score wins the bout or challenge. If you lose, you have to decrease your tip, because losing is definitely not impressing your client. You may try again or find another way to succeed at your action. Don't forget that you can use your Endurance to boost your chances.

Once you complete your action, add up all of your tips to figure out how much you get for a doing job well done. A fat tip is worth all the extra adventure, even if you explored deep depths of the hotel to find a missing watch. Your customer will be thankful for your services. Your tip can be saved up to purchase upgrades. Upgrading an attribute by 1 costs $100. Once your attributes reach at least 5 each, you are elevated into Upper Bellbot status and now serve VIPs and special clients. Your job gets harder too. Once you reach a level 10 in all attributes, you become a hotel manager... and really, no one knows what happens next. Some say you are cloned so the hotel will have other bots like you. Others say you get to relax and tell other bots what to do all day. Others say, you start over. Who knows? Go find out.

The Role of the Central Brain

Most roleplaying games have GMs. When playing Bellbot, we call this the Central Brain. You get to orchestrate some of the action, handing out assignments and jobs to Bellbots. Using the Bellbot character creation rules above, make other types of bots or customers. Craft engaging and fun storylines for the Bellbot to pursue as they try to please their clients in the quickest and funnest way possible. Here are a few ideas:

  • A client wants the meal his next door neighbor is having, like literally. Go steal it for a fat tip.
  • The next door neighbor hires your Bellbot to get her meal back.
  • An entertainer bot wants to drum up business for her ice sauna, so she pays a maintenance bot to increase the heat on the level. Your client wants the room cooler. Can you help?
  • Meanwhile, your original two clients (above), overcome by heat and resentment, start a pitched battle in the hallway, firing laser blasts from their recently acquired contraband weapons. Security bots storm in to take out the clients. Can your bot preserve their lives?
  • Room service bots take the opportunity to clean out both clients' belongings, assuming the customers will be ejected. After settling the fight, can your bot regain the stolen items?
  • For a final tip, your Bellbot is asked by both clients to arrange a relaxing, entertaining evening together. Can you create the right atmosphere with a mix of entertainer bots to insure this couple falls in love, forever transformed by their stay at the Dupazz Hotel & Resort?