View Full Version : Nano-bot superhero

2013-07-02, 04:37 PM
So Iíve got an idea for a super hero.

Heís a scientist that has transferred his mind into a mass of nano-bots. In effect heís a techno-shape shifter. Iíll probably create him via Mutants and masterminds, so Iíll need to decide on what powers he actually has. Thatís where Iím kind of stuck on what exactly this character can and canít transform into.

So far, Iíve got this:
Transform arm into gun ala mega buster.

So if you were made out of an uncountable amount of nano-bots, what sort of powers can you come up with?

2013-07-02, 04:44 PM

A USB interface for hacking computers
A variety of weapons (knives, Gauss guns, etc.)
A flying, amorphous mass
A length of rope, handcuffs, etc.
A multipurpose sensor array

Edit: And probably your most important power: Consume Steel.

2013-07-02, 05:13 PM
he could carry things inside himself like ammo, he may not need gunpowder depending on the nanobots ability to throw projectiles, but you don't want to fire bits of yourself.

Outside of that, I'm thinking a mech version of Schlock more than liquid terminator. If you don't know it, the art gets better. (http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2000-06-12)

Now I want to play that character....

Back on topic, carry around some things, talk to DM, if you form a rope, how much pull can your form take before bots begin letting go of each other? How about some kind of barricade, what kind of strength can you withstand? Are you a tight nano cloud that can be walked through with a bit of effort, or are you a series of nano bots physically holding on to one another?

2013-07-02, 08:18 PM
If I had my mind transmitted into a swarm of nanobots, I'd probably build myself a strong and durable android body... then use my nanobots to build a whole bunch more. Maybe use the nanites to dismantle garbage and raw materials, then build it back into useable stuff to sell.


Android body with superhuman strength, durability, and immunity to disease and poison.

Ability to build multiple backup bodies or duplicates of myself (could have one copy being the superhero while another is my "civilian identity" to always give me an alibi. Other copies could work like the Superman Robots that superman has in some continuities, they handle situations that he can't handle personally.)

The nanites can recycle garbage into valuable items which can be sold, basically giving me a sizable income to buy more crimefighting equipment (or just build some with nanites) and of course money to bribe people or donate to charity.

Ideally, people would know as little about my powers as possible. To the average person, I'd just be a really strong or durable guy. To those who really examine the details, I'm some kind of android. If someone really looks, they might connect the android superhero with the (apparently still living) nanotech scientist.

Having someone figure out that both the living scientist and his robot superhero are just two copies of the same self-replicating android would be like Lex Luthor finding out Supermans secret identity.

Having a robot made of nanites use its bits to transform into stuff kind of bugs me on a scientific level. The smaller the device, the more vulnerable it would be to EMP interference or damage. Transforming like that would be really risky unless the robot wore something like a protective suit or outer shell. In which case, the robot would be more like a do-anything-robot.

Basically, they robots exterior would be solid while the interior would be filled with the nanotech 'goo' that turns into stuff. Like he could open up various compartments and pull out self-assembling tool like some kind of Inspector Gadget or the robot maid from The Jetsons.

Or... something like the Cybermen from Dr. Who. A recent episode Nightmare in Silver (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZTDqOs4QpI) gave them the ability to adapt on the fly to threats and gave them "cybermites", basically little robo-centipede things that could repair they cyberman, assimilate people (not heroic), inject a disabling venom (kind of heroic to take out bad guys), or do recon/hacking work. I think the cybermites are made up of nanotech but are at a larger size... so they are small enough to do a lot of nanotech stuff but still big enough to resist EMP radiation (and be big enough for people to actually see).

Anyway, just some ideas.

2013-07-03, 02:09 AM
I was thinking that these nano-bots would form a humanoid shape instead of an amorphous blob. The idea is that while he look like a humanoid he would in effect shape change at will into other stuff, form his limbs into tools and what not.

Iím thinking something like Sandman from the Spiderman comics. Heís made up billions of grains of sand he can shape and form at will. Only instead of sand, they are tiny machines that all share a collective consciousness.

2013-07-03, 03:12 AM
This is cool, I love unusual heroes, but why is it in Tabletop Games? Are you trying to create this idea in a particular system?

2013-07-03, 12:29 PM
This is cool, I love unusual heroes, but why is it in Tabletop Games? Are you trying to create this idea in a particular system?

Iíll probably build the character in Mutants and Masterminds. Right now Iím just collecting ideas for the heroesí power set.

2013-07-03, 06:46 PM
Its quite open ended really depending on what the nanobots are capable of ^^

He could heal allies wounds by either injecting them with nanites or laying on his hands if they can operate in smaller numbers/ can be willed(programmed) to do that?

He could put tracers on enemies (nanites that build a small transmitter on them).

Disable security systems by sending out enough nanites

2013-07-03, 07:04 PM
Its quite open ended really depending on what the nanobots are capable of ^^
Agreed. Are you thinking primarily shapeshifting powers, or primarily transmutive nanobot powers?

2013-07-04, 02:49 AM
One issue that always bugs me about fiction which uses nano-bots is that they usually appear to be endlessly and flawlessly self-replicating with no obvious power source. Obviously you're soliciting powers and not weaknesses, but I could imagine one interesting weakness might be a need to actively and painstakingly replace lost and damaged nanomachines, and your bots might need to process a great deal of energy or fall dormant.

One idea for a power that can actually come out of this idea though is Growth/Shrinking though... since you can contain your consciousness in only a few nanobots and operate on that nanoscale, or you could build more and more bots until you're a skyscraper sized swarm of bots.

You could send out your Nanobots into the cracks and crevices of damaged structures, items or electronics, and fuse themselves into the objects, thus repairing them, albeit at the loss of mass.

Obviously, you could get the lowest level intangibility power, which is practically defined as "Like Sandman"

If you're sufficiently in control of the structure of these nanobots, you could pretty flawlessly disguise yourself, having a sort of Mystique-like ability to impersonate others.

You would probably be able to see electromagnetic energy, or at least feel it the same way we feel the way our own bodies react to velocity and our balance.

You could alter your surface area to be able to walk on water, or even glide pretty easily.

That's all I've got for now.

EDIT: Actually, a fascinating supervillain could be a set of your own nanobots which you allowed to fall dormant for a time, and then were reawakened away from the collective. Thinking it was you, it journeyed out and had distinct experiences. When you found it, you wanted to assimilate it, but it was now a distinct person, and resisted. Now you have to wonder whenever you create a new nanobot, how much of it is you? How much are you changing as you 'perfect the design' and the part influences the whole? Is it Death whenever a single nanobot dies? Is it birth whenever you replace it? Are you going to be truly immortal now, even knowing that in 10 years of replacing and updating your nanotech, you will have become a wholly different web? If in that time your goals and motives all change, and so too does all your constituent parts, by what standard are "You" still "You"?

Okay, enough out of me.

2013-07-04, 03:04 AM
A mass of nanobots could break things apart on the molecular level and restructure it. Though it would take a lot of energy.
Depending on the density of a solid thing the nanobots could pass through, anything not airtight it could pass though.

A mass of nanobots would need to store energy somehow, either through the connection of nanobots or inside the nanobots, the connection option means that striking the mass would cause the nanobots to be randomly re-arranged and harmed, the inside would mean that the mass is virtually indestructible, it could re-shape itself no matter how much damage it sustained like the T-1000.

It wouldn't see, since it has no eyes, unless it can reshape itself into a transparent, depending on how the nanobots communicate with eachother it may be very limited in its perception.

Since the nanobots communication may mirror that of synapses the mass may think entirely like a giant brain, ie a normal person, albeit a smart one, it would therefore have to learn how to do everything and would come without instincts, though all memories from the human life could be transfered the nanobot mass would essentially be born anew when the transfer it complete.

2013-07-04, 07:18 AM
You might want to first answer some of the basic questions (or ask your DM how much he'll allow and with what downsides):

Decide how dense you want your nano-body to be:
solid crystal - e.g. replicators from SG1 http://images.wikia.com/stargate/images/7/75/HumanShapeReplicator.jpg

liquid - e.g. T1000

gaseus - foglets from Transmetropolitan (bottom of image)

And how "miraculous" will the nanites be:
- reassemble themselves only into a continuous solid form (T1000 - shape shifting + blades)
- reassemble themselves into moving parts/generate electric fields/interact with foreign matter (reshape to fire bullets or create a plasma gun)
- reassemble/penetrate into foreign matter and make slight adjustments - disintegrate or fix/heal things by touch
- matter compiler - assemble real objects out of thin air or provided base matter

Level of communication:
- can the nanite cloud/blob separate into smaller parts? (e.g. a flying eyeball spy)
- will those parts be autonomous or remotely controlled by the main body? (can you split into two fully functional smaller bodies?)
- what's the communication distance limit on separated parts?

What's the energy source for the nanites?

Are the nanites organic or metallic? Flammable? Magnetic? Dissolvable?

What are the shape/material strength limits?
Is the humanoid shape necessary?
Can you turn into a rolling ball, a 10m pole or a glider? Giant dog or spider?

2013-07-04, 09:03 PM
So Iíve been thinking about this and hereís the answers to the questions posted.

Iím leaning more towards transmutive nano-bot powers; however I do like a lot of the more shapeshift style powers.

I feel they should be able to reassemble themselves into moving parts. Although they shouldnít be able to create solid projectiles (limited to blaster type weapons).

I also feel they could reassemble/penetrate into foreign matter and make slight adjustments on things. However this may be difficult to do.

I imagine that this guy could break himself up into smaller parts, however, it would be difficult to control either due to proximity to the whole, or the whole of his being is greater than the individual pieces.

I imagine that the amount of nano-bots he has is equal to his original organic mass, producing more would be possible (machines building machines? How perverse), but difficult and time consuming.

I imagine that each individual nanite is solar powered, its clean and efficient and when heís fully formed he acts as a human sized solar battery.

I do not want him to be able to produce anything out of thin air. Thatís not really the direction Iím heading.

Iím fairly certain I donít want to go the T1000 route and be able to form melee weapons out of his body. Nano tech just seems too fragile for that sort of trauma. Itíd work for liquid metal, but for a ton of microscopic (or near microscopic) machines, it just doesnít feel right.

Iím figuring the nannies are like tiny bugs that can hold onto each other to take shape. I imagine the nanites modify themselves into specialized bots to create the effect the character wants.

I figure the humanoid shape is not necessary, but since the guy has a human mind, he would be most comfortable in it. besides it works for public relations to at least look mostly human.