Q&A re: Drones

  • Q: "Clarify whether physical (non-cyberspace) harm to a device/drone also causes harm to it’s operator if they are in VR or Hotsim VR."

A: Well first off.. any pain experienced through VR is going to be limited (to level-1 harm) unless you're in hot sim- so it won't be worse than that. But yeah it's actually not specified whether pain is sustained automatically or not. In the past this was done to allow me to see if players actually thought that should be true or not. I would ask them, in other words.

And I kinda think it should probably stay that way. I mean, whether or not that harm is dealt never really affected things that much for me: either way we can hold the players to the same truth. Over five of my playtest groups said "Yes harm gets passed on if they are in VR", but a few said "No only if they are jumped in," and like one said "No, that's lame anyways." But yea, if they say that breaking a drone transmits pain to an enemy operator in VR, then that is true for the rest of the world (so it can hurt the PCs too). Maybe you think I should just say it one way or the other! Speak up in the comments if so.

  • Q: "Under Using a Drone, the first sentence seems like you mean ‘quality’ rating (of the drone) instead of ‘action’ rating."

A: Action rating is correct. While the mechanics surrounding the use of drones once allowed them to roll dice (a la cohorts), I settled on drone use being handled just like any other item (they aren't characters, so they don't roll dice and you never need to pick edges or flaws). Roll the action rating for the PC using the drone, based on how they command it. You might roll Interface to direct it despite interference, or Finesse to navigate a tricky flight path, or Stalk to surveil a target at a distance, etc. IME the biggest benefit for using a drone is the position and effect of actions taken through it based on any relevant factors (which might include the quality of its features, but not necessarily). 

  • Q: "How can I get more features on my drone at the start of the game? What about later?"

A: Several methods exist. The one I like for character creation is to spend an additional special item choice on your drone, and use that to add a couple features (rather than boosting the drone's quality). Later, I have players perform modification rolls as needed to add those things (sometimes I just bypass that roll, especially when they have the appropriate work area and tools) but either way it costs them at least the 1 downtime activity (due to the Crafting roll) to improve a drone with work. They can also spend a special item choice gained from increasing their lifestyle to improve their drone. More extensive upgrades (like frame size changes, or retrofitting wrong size parts to a frame) should require a long-term project to finish. Don't forget that long-term projects could potentially replace any of the other methods described here, if they have the means of course.

So how about it: what other questions do you have about drones? I'll do my best to answer them here, and incorporate these answers as needed into the text.

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