Non-Combat Mechanic's Droid: What's the point?


General Discussion


No really, I'm having trouble wrapping my head around what to do with my Hover Droid.
It's skills are utter crap, it's intelligence is utter crap, it's attack bonus is marginal at best, it's weapon options are near the worst.
At first, I was excited to read some of the Mechanics' Tricks you could do with a Drone, just to find out after-the-fact that a lot of that stuff comes pretty easily (ie: Invisibility-Hampering Projector sounded legit awesome... until you find out that invisibility isn't actually all that hard to get around, and the whole party can easily be equipped to handle it long before you have access to 14th level Tricks... ).

What is the point of this thing? How is this supposed to help my character do anything?


Allright, here's a short list of some things the drone is good for from pretty much the start, in no particular order. Hope this helps you.

Access to flight at first level means it can easilly get into position to ignore cover.

It can fly over at high altitude and scout outdoor locations.

Its a machine, so it can go into places that'd be too dangerous for you to enter, like heavilly irradiated areas for example.

Sure, its weapon options don't start out great, but getting it access to longarms isn't hard to pull off and makes it entirely respectable in that regard. You can get it longarm proficiency by 3rd level and heavy weapons by 5th if that's your jam. And with its 16 dex, the hoverdrone is the best shot out of the lot of them.

Even if its own skills aren't great it can still roll aid another to help you. Depending on what skill it's helping with though, you might have to give it manipulator arms or a tool arm if you want to do that.

I'm sure there's more that I haven't thought of, but for now this'll get you started.


So it's a scout that can't be stealthy? For a core part of a class, that feels really weak, wouldn't you agree?

Even the Stealth Drone can do everything mentioned above (climb speed to get around cover or into positions for top-down views), but it can also be stealthy doing it.
(Granted, that's still about the ~only~ thing it can do, but at least it ~can~ do it, lol.)

I'm still having a hard time with the idea that I gave up the legit Exocortex option for what basically amounts to a toy, lol.
It's supposed to be the house for my powerful AI, and it's Int modifier is -3? How does that happen? It only has access to two skills, one pre-chosen by the chasis type? Super underwhelming. You can't even sub your own skill values when you take direct control of it with your Custom Rig; you're stuck using it's crappy stats, lol.

I admit, a lot of this is me venting, but I still feel like I have a point. ;P


Actually, I think I've just talked myself into rebuilding my drone into the Stealth chasis, lol.

The Hover Drone is useless as anything except a jetpack which you can't even do until 8th level Tricks become available.
The Combat Drone has such a low Dex score that even equipped for combat, it can't reliably hit anything.
So I keep coming back to what I said above - "At least it can do it's one job;" be stealthy and scout out hostile environments.

:P


In regards into general drone vs Exo:

The drone gives an additional target for enemies to hit, saving you and your party members damage.

Its attack capabilities are meant to be similar to a different character full attacking. You shoot and your drone shoots, while the bonuses aren't fantastic its similar if not better to a different class taking the -4 to do two attacks. The hover drone further helps this by flying above cover. (Also I'm not sure the rules but grenade bombing runs?)

The hover drone specifically, depending on the propulsion you pick is by far the best in Zero Gravity. Also has the best dex bonus.

Also: "Additionally, whenever you are directly controlling your drone, it can use any of your skill ranks if you wish, assuming it has the appropriate tools to do so (a drone without manipulator arms cannot use Engineering to disable a device, for example)."


Hijiggy wrote:
Also: "Additionally, whenever you are directly controlling your drone, it can use any of your skill ranks if you wish, assuming it has the appropriate tools to do so (a drone without manipulator arms cannot use Engineering to disable a device, for example)."

Good call.

I remembered reading something like this but couldn't find it at game time, lol.
That -2 Int penalty still really hurts tho. :/

Paizo Employee Managing Editor

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I'm playing a noncombat mechanic, and my stealth drone has been working out great—not only for scouting, but also for breaking into facilities and hacking systems while my underarmored and -armed character hides a safe distance away. The Int penalty hurts, but not as bad as my character's terrible Stealth would.


The hover drone is probably the best fast scout option if you are outdoors their ability even at low levels to give your group very good overwatch of your surroundings. They can get to areas that would otherwise be out of reach. They may not pack the biggest punch but their Dex is really good so they are accurate with their weaponry. Their size also may give them access to areas that other drones could not access.

The stealth drone is also a good job for scouting drone. In buildings/ships it is pretty close to flying drone for reaching things due to its strong climbing ability also good dex for shooting this one I believe is the more balanced stats of the three options.

Nice thing about engineers if your drone is not working like you want it to every level you can remake the drone into a different chassis easy enough.


Like Kaid said, the Hover chassis is best for scouting the outdoors and larger open areas. It's also good for quickly scouting places where the enemy might have a height elevation over the player such as an urban neighborhood with a lot of skyscrapers or other tall buildings. Ultimately it depends on what environments your GM sends you into.

Silver Crusade

And as noted, it has the best dex, and can get a longarm by level 3. That's my plan with my mechanic. Until then, I'm playing it with a combat drone at levels 1 and 2, since I can completely rebuild the drone every level.


Running a scout droid on my SFS mechanic now. She doubles down with Stealth as a class skill. The drone is more for fire support, using its climb speed to approach combat from interesting angles. It also works as a decent scout without putting the party at risk. Between the mechanic and the drone, one of them is going to eventually get Longarms, and the other will support them.

If I ever play one of those "fancy dinner party" adventures that tends to have PCs check their gear at the door, the drone could make for a great ace in the hole.


Don't you get to select an extra class skill for the drone - which can be stealth.

Um, can't the drone full attack if you feed it a move action? So with haste you get two full attacks?


Nicola The Necromancer wrote:

Don't you get to select an extra class skill for the drone - which can be stealth.

Um, can't the drone full attack if you feed it a move action? So with haste you get two full attacks?

Haste spell wrote:
When making a full attack, a hasted creature can also take a separate move action in order to move.

You don't have an extra move action you can give to your drone.

Silver Crusade

But you could take 3 attacks between the mechanic and drone, if you want. One of you full attacks, while the other attacks as a standard action. Given your lower chance to hit than some other classes, I wouldn't recommend it, though.


Look at it this way, it's a customizable ranger animal companion with a lot more potential utility, and that's pretty cool.

It's meant as a minor force multiplier (ally), not as a full-blown extra character.

I've not looked too closely at the class in detail, but it does make me wonder if one could build a med-bot drone.

Remote controlled mini-healer? Yes please.


I see it's advantage being heavily location dependent. The hover drone is the best one of the drones for quickly crossing a body of water or large canyon to scout. It's also the one least affected by difficult terrain.
And as a drone in general, it's immune to any 'affect living things' which seem to be showing up quite frequently in the modules (sorry for any spoiler), meaning it can administer medicine and the like without risk of having your mechanic get blinded or paralyzed.


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So I considering a single level of mechanic on an icon soldier to have an automated camera so he can live stream his firefights without having to worry about a weapon camera or shoulder/helmet mount that might miss the action.


For that, and the simple eye-in-the-sky utility aspect in general, you could just buy one, though.
Spy drone is not that expensive, you should be able to afford relatively quickly should you wish to. Not at very low levels, sure and specialized, but still. And yes, your average adventuring icon will probably want one at some point, indeed :)


For a single point of Bab and a SP+HP, I am getting a +2 to reflex, a custom kit that fills in for any engineering or computer task I could need, as well as being a personal comm unit, and a 6,550 credit drone that I can rebuild for free, and behaves better, with skills and a feat at levels 2-4, when the drone normally isn't available until 5. It's highly unlikely we would play to really high level so I am okay with it.


The hover drone is useful because you can send it places you can't easily get to, like atop a building to hack an antenna/security system/etc. We used it to get some grenades up to someone who was on top of a building. Sometimes the best things in roleplaying games are the things you do with your imagination.


Indeed. I tend to value the stealth or the hover's ability by far.

I personally tend to default more to the stealth with climb.. but that is because Hover implies it is fairly loud.

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