7 Ways to Put a Robot in Your Fantasy Story

Robo from Chrono Trigger

Robo from Chrono Trigger

It isn’t easy putting tech into a fantasy setting.  Yet it can be done!  Sometimes even correctly.  Here are 7 methods that might or might not work.  Though looking at the ‘humor’ tag on this post, it’s probably a lot of tongue and cheek.

  1. Time travel!  Nothing goes wrong with having a robot time travel from a non-magical future to the magical past.  Except for changing history and risking a paradox.  The robot could make it that technology never evolves, so it was never created to go back in time to cause the . . . I really hate time travel.
  2. A quirky gnome decides to go as far as possible with golem creation.  This results in him or her realizing that you can’t depend entirely on magic.  So they add some armor and gears and steam and whatever else they can find along with spells.  Then the explosion happens, their creation wanders off, and the gnome is left with a single hair that is permanently smoking.
  3. Zombies with gears jammed into them.  Results vary from WTF!? to ‘Get the ale away from the nercromancer’.
  4. An ancient race decided to pursue the technological arts.  They thought it was the path to immortality and created mechanical bodies.  When the first one was done, a citizen was chosen to be killed and have their brain put inside.  Sadly, they thought it was a contest for a lifetime supply of chocolate and used their new body to turn society into rubble.  Rumor is that they remain there in misery because robots aren’t able to enjoy chocolate.
  5. Aliens crash landed on the planet and died because magic is toxic to them.  They left behind a robot that some hapless wanderer awakens.  It roams the countryside in search of its masters or maybe mindless destruction.  Really depends on what the aliens were looking for, but they’re dead and nobody speaks their language to solve the problem.  Except for the inevitable hybrid that makes no sense and can control the robot with her mind.
  6. Technology existed long before magic appeared.  Now it’s been uncovered and trying to make a comeback.  Robots will lead the way to face the wizards and dragons.  An army of metal and ancient programming that knows nothing more than destruction.  Unless they were programmed for hugs, which means the war might turn awkward.
  7. Lock a man in full body platemail and write ‘I Am A Robot’ on his chest.  How will he stay alive?  Eating food through a straw.  Bathroom?  Don’t ask such disgusting questions.  How do they know the term ‘robot’?  This conversation is over!

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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48 Responses to 7 Ways to Put a Robot in Your Fantasy Story

  1. I don’t write fantasy, but I’m waiting for my characters to walk into a McDonalds and be greeted by robots. As much as we are reading about the advanced technologies of ancient cultures, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a robot of some sort in a fantasy novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Any other ideas folks?
    Let Charles know 😃

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Awesome, Charles. I’m ready to take it on! Thanks for the creative spark. 🙂 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow. The wheels keep on turning. 😀 😀 I don’t do fantasy but this was most enjoyable reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    Charles Yallowitz with ways to put the tech into your fantasy setting.. Robots can be cute, menacing, obliging or a pain in the proverbial.. but a false bot will be noticed immediately… check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Liked number five. I think that one has legs. (All were clever)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jowensauthor says:

    Reblogged this on Jeanne Owens, author and commented:
    Hahaha! I love these!

    Actually, one of the stories in my fantasy collection, Chronicles of Riss, that has robots in it. And #2 reminds me of it a little 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oloriel says:

    Number 3 gave me quite a chuckle! I Imagined a rigid patron yelling the necromancer line 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. aldreaalien says:

    That last one… 😆 It’s sometimes best not to think of the mechanics.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. L. Marie says:

    Ha ha! Hilarious! I think all of these could work! You can definitely pull these off. I especially love number 3. I’m picturing them lumbering about making squeaky sounds.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I think you’re onto something, possibly your next series. I can loan you a robot girl as a consultant. She had to entertain the Dwarves and centaurs when I wrote TCOS.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really should sit down and consider if robots make sense in Windemere. Gnome technology is pretty far along, but that seems like a big jump due to the computer programming. Is it even possible to make a real robot without software? I mean, magic sentience is more for golems, so what would you do?

      Liked by 1 person

      • What would I do? I would create a side story, ala Ichabod. Then I would remember that Frankenstein was set as a unique tale in a real world. I’d look to all the difference engines in steampunk, research the antikythera mechanism. Make something up and write a stand alone story in the Windemere environment. As a character idea, there could be jealousy about a world with magic denied to the MC. He/she turns to technology to compensate for something. There are metaphors there and I’d use them, even as far as calling the robot a Corvette.

        Like

      • It would definitely have to be a standalone. I guess my thing is that I don’t feel like gnome tech has reached that point since there are no computers around. It’s one of those issues that stems from magic and tech being in the same world. Why design a robot when you can make a golem that is basically the same thing only without the microchips? So it might have to be a combination of those two concepts along with some necromancy thrown in.

        I guess another thing to consider is if it even works for the world. Putting a true robot in for the sake of having a robot could be a mistake if the world has advanced to that level. It would be like handing Legolas a sniper rifle during the final battle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I wouldn’t use the gnomes unless it was for opposition. I’d go stand alone ala Frankenstein. The lone gunman kind of guy, or an avenging hero type. “Go ahead, ask me about my giant robot.” Maybe for continuity sake, the hero wins, but the tech is lost.

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      • That’s the thing. As far as Windemere goes, gnomes are the only species that would even attempt it. None of the others would be curious unless they were connected to the gnomes too. The closest thing I have right now is a future character that was raised by gnomes and created a magi-tech combat suit. She might have a giant robot/golem that she can use too, but that’s closer to a Voltron thing than a sentient robot. The superhero stuff is where this would work like one guy whose mind is trapped in a golem’s body or something like that. Again, it doesn’t really work toward robots in the way we see them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m sure you’ll come up with something. Humans would be the most likely culprit. We’re capable of some crazy stuff. Jealousy is a powerful motivator. (Sibling with magic he doesn’t have, evil queen with magic she doesn’t have, etc.) Maybe a handicapped character develops it to help with daily needs. Plowing could be done by an oxen-like robot, when things go wrong it can be directed to other purposes. The thing with robots and giant robots is their unique nature. If there was one everywhere, it wouldn’t be as attractive. Check out the Iron Giant, he’s the only one. I’d start a note sheet. You have many stories ahead of you, and if it waits two years that’s okay.

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      • I’d agree with the humans thing if it was Earth-based, but this is where fantasy tends to deviate a bit. You have multiple ‘advanced species’ in the world instead of just the one, so the mentality that we typically give to humans isn’t only a human trait. With another race pushing technology, you could see humans invest their time in another field like medicine or agriculture. At least if the species are getting along and share their ideas, which is what happens in Windemere. The jealousy thing could work, but again it would have to involve the gnomes to some extent because the other races simply don’t have the experience in inventing. It would be like a me getting simply going out and whipping up a robot without asking professionals for insight.

        I think one issue I have with the giant robot is that I’m not 100% sold on it working in my world. It would need big enemies to make it worth having and that takes up a lot of space.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I keep a list of ideas. Some get written, some get merged with other ideas, and some will never get there. It has to grab me before it gets any serious consideration. Maybe you’re ready to write another stand alone outside the Windemere world.

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      • These are actually old ideas from the notebooks. I might take some time to organize them again and see if there are any additions to be made. Whether it stays in or goes out of Windemere is still being decided, but I had a lot of trouble juggling multiple worlds before. So I’m trying to see if I can piece everything together for a large, versatile world.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can tell the gears are turning. This is a good thing and usually happens to me when I step away for a day or two.

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      • Yes and no. Thinking of making a weekend post to explain more of Windemere, my thought process, and what-not. This isn’t the first time I’ve struggled to give a brief explanation of what I’m doing. The truth is that robots, aliens, and superheroes are all in Windemere’s future. I just have to figure out how to make them work within the rules of the world. The aliens are proving to be the most difficult.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I have faith that you’ll get there.

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      • Or go insane trying. Then again, that might be the only way. I used to post such ideas on my blog, but it got messy and frustrating with private messages.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. In an early draft of The Grimhold Wolf, the evil magicians were experimenting with making mechanical creatures and then putting souls in. One of them created a clockwork horse, but put in the soul of a lesser demon. It kept wrecking things and didn’t care if you whipped it, so eventually it had to be destroyed.

    This was taken out of later drafts as unnecessary clutter, but someday I may find a use for this evil, mechanical horse in a different story.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Pingback: 7 Ways to Put a Robot in Your Fantasy Story | If Mermaids Wore Suspenders

  14. That seventh idea is amazing. Now I want to make a D&D character with identity issues, always wearing full plate in an attempt to reconnect with his technological roots. Guess the world would require an ancient monastic civilization harboring technological secrets somewhere, and a very meta-lenient satiric DM. The possibilities are endless! Jokes aside, some really interesting points to get the wheels turning. Cool post!

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  15. Pingback: Top of 2016 #3: 7 Ways to Put a Robot in Your Fantasy Story | Legends of Windemere

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