Future Imperfect is a setting originally designed for Risus, with a very Engine Heart feel. Since Risus is extremely rules-light, this setting can easily be used with any other RPG system. It was originally written as an "eight-page world" by Brent Wolke. Games using this setting emphasize testing what it means to be human, or rather, a self-motivated entity.
On a world much like Earth called Korsuth, humanity broke the secret of imbuing machines with their own intelligence and emotions, creating not an artificial intelligence, but an actual intelligence. While created to serve humanity, those in charge were fearful of a race of sentient machines and so never shared the secret of how the process worked to create more thinking robots, nor the location of manufacture. Despite this, robots were treated more or less as equals among men.
With the machines at their side, humanity was able to colonize the moons, putting permanent settlements on the Arest, and outposts on Unaro, and even putting robotic installations out as far as an asteroid belt. Millions of sentient machines existed among the humans for hundreds of years.
Unfortunately, as all living creatures have their time to exist, they must also pass into extinction. Humanity, already showing signs of decreased fertility, finally came to the point where no more human children were born, and the last generation of man came to pass. A select group of people numbering nearly 100,000 were chosen for genetic health, intelligence, and education, and were frozen in cryostorage, while the machines were tasked to find a cure or some other answer to bring humanity back into the light of the sun.
Not all has gone well. More than 300 years have passed since the last human walked on Korsuth, and the robots are no closer to solving the problem. In the meantime, a form of robotic civilization arose with it’s own separate nations and factions, and much of the world has returned to the wild with such vast expanses unpopulated by man or machine. Tragically, with no way to replicate themselves, the robots are also dying off as accident, violence, or malfunction dwindles their numbers. The robots are staring down the same failed path that humanity recently trod.
Stepping out into this violent and uncertain world are robots who are finding new purpose from that which they were created originally to do. Most continue in their roles, but some have given up the old ways and seek the answers to the salvation of the two races. Some work to find a cure for humanity, and some search out for the way to create more like themselves. Others wander the planet looking for enlightenment the way the humans of old would often do. All this is to say nothing of those robots who have taken sides in the new nations and continue to fight and defend and engage in conflict over resources or perceived insults. The robots are not much different from humans who gave them life...
This is the future imperfect, where technology is both failing and the only source of survival.
In Future Imperfect, the Players take on the roles of sentient machines more than 300 years old who are finding a new way of life, new purposes, and possibly the salvation of two species of life.
The sentient machines were universally built to a humanoid form (a head, two arms and two legs), although variations exist, and were generally human sized, give or take a few feet in either direction. Non-sentient robots also exist, but they were built as ‘dumb’ labor.
All characters have a Form and a Function. The Form is the bot's original design, and determines what the bot's physical appearance will be like. (ie. Nanny bots look very human-like, to evoke empathy in their young wards; Medical bots were built light and delicate to comfort patients and to perform invasive surgery with ease). The Function is the bot's original software, always an accompaniment to the bot's Form. Bots may have picked up other functions and software (skills) in the years since they tended to human needs. These are learning, sentient creatures, they can change over time.
Although all robots have official unique designations, most bots were given names by the humans who created them. Most have simple one-syllable names, but Nanny Forms and Personal Assistant Forms were usually given full (sometimes cutesy) names.
It is unusual for robots to carry equipment. Assume that any gear required by a bot's Form or needed to perform a bot's original Function are built-in to the character's chassis.
Designation: XG-38r "Gee" (RISUS 60-point-buy)
Form: Hulking Military Droid (3d10)
Functions: Reduntant Weapon Controls (2d6), Military Protocols and Strategies (2d6), Philosopher (1d6)
Tools of the Trade: particle flayer, storm gun, plasma flame projector, explosive cell launcher, titan-blade projector, a book about Socrates
Tale: Gee was a top of the line infantry-tank and saw action in the final resource wars before humanity vanished. He struggles to find his place in the world now that the wars are over and his purpose seems to have come to an end.
Hook: Gee is ever mindful of finding a new purpose and usually attempts to disarm a conflict through discourse before resorting to violence.
- Future Imperfect at Google Docs