lets talk drones please.


General Discussion


Okay so a drone starts with certain mods. But when you get in a new level you're allowed to swap out those mods. So does that mean That you can change say hover drones weapon mouth or a tool arm at say level 2? I am not reading where it says you can't just swap it out. I am making a lvl 4 mechanic with a skill jockey hover drone and i do not see a good reason to have it shooting at people. When it could hide or scouting or disarming traps/locks and hacking while holding my tools.


The stuff a "level 0" drone comes with is part of the base frame and isn't considered a mod. The mods are the increasing number of optional attachments you get as you level up, as called out in the table.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
The stuff a "level 0" drone comes with is part of the base frame and isn't considered a mod. The mods are the increasing number of optional attachments you get as you level up, as called out in the table.

Although every level you can also switch which frame it is so practically speaking you can switch those mods as well although doing so changes what drone frame/stats it has. It is one nice thing about mechanics if you start with a flying drone and you find yourself not liking it you are not locked into that frame you can the next time you level basically rebuild the thing from ground up.


No it says it starts with said mods not part of the frame. Its not store bought, but homemade by the pc. And so those would be chosen. And it not like I am wanting to get rid of the flight systems. And i am not removing the weapon mount at level one but at 2nd-4th level.

-Combat Drone-
--->Initial Mods<--- reductive plating, weapon mount or melee weapon arm (up to 2 in any combination), weapon proficiency.

-Hover Drone-
Initial Mods flight system (×2, included in its speed), weapon mount.

-Stealth Drone-
Initial Mods climbing claws, reactive camouflage, weapon mount.

You can choose any of the mods on the basic mod list whenever your drone gains a new mod. Unless otherwise specified, you cannot install a single mod more than once.

In addition, every time you gain a mechanic level, you can rebuild your drone from scratch with the same amount of work, allowing you to change any or all of the choices you made for your drone (including ability scores, chassis, feats, mods, and skills).
Stuff taken from sfsrd which took from crb.

What table says you can not swap out the starting mods?


The rule you are missing is on page 74.

Quote:
Initial Mods: Each chassis comes with initial drone mods that are a part of the chassis itself. These are in addition to the mods a drone gains by level. You can’t change these mods when you gain levels or rebuild your drone unless you choose a new chassis.


Well darn i do not like that ruling. Its forcing something down your throat you do not want. Dont want the clanker to have a gun. And wont have one til 5th or 6th level. Its just taking up space that could be used for more important mods.


You can always work with your GM to create a new base chassis balanced against the three default options, one better suited to what you want. I imagine we're going to get new chassis options in a splatbook anyway.


Fuzzypaws wrote:
You can always work with your GM to create a new base chassis balanced against the three default options, one better suited to what you want. I imagine we're going to get new chassis options in a splatbook anyway.

It really does not break anything if a GM wanted to let people say swap hover jets for a stealth field mod so you have a sneaky drone with the ability template of the hover drone. I assume once the tech book comes out there are going to be a bunch of new chassis for engineers to pick from.


Its not the flight system i want to get rid of but the weapon mount.


Well you can't. You'll always have that weapon mount. You could have it hold a Pulsecaster or Needler pistol for utility. It gets free proficiency in your choice of Small Arms or Basic Melee after all. You are aware of that right? that you get a free weapon proficiency, not listed in the three Chassis descriptions?

At level 4 you can have Skill Subroutine and manipulator arms. Give it a backpack and it should be able to carry all the tools you need.

As for the 2 feats, Skill Synergy would allow it to gain a +3 class bonus to two skills whenever you take direct control, or get a +2 insight bonus to two of its 3 trained skills.

You can't take Skill subroutine more than once before 11th level anyway. I imagine the only other useful mods to you would be the camera or the improved senses? If you want to have the Chassis-specific level 1 stealth mod, you'll need to give up 16 dexterity and flight system.

Though if you did spend one of those feats on Weapon Focus: Small Arms, it would have a +7 to hit. 2d4+2 with a Corona Laser. Nothing to sneeze at.


The camera mod is among the ones that make the absolute least sense to me. How are we supposed to interpret how a drone works without the mod, given that taking direct control exists? Drones aren't blind that we know of, so what exactly is the camera mod actually adding? So weird. Whatever the explanation, should we be assuming Drones need a microphone mod to do the same thing with audio? What about other senses? They don't constantly fall over, so I'd hope they have an internal gyroscope, or at least some accelerometers, but do you need to spend a mod slot to do things like record the output of the device?


Pretty sure the camera mod is to add a record like feature, save it for later. Also, I can control an RC car that doesn't have a camera, I just have to physically see the object and the area that it will be traversing.
-Beta


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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
quindraco wrote:
The camera mod is among the ones that make the absolute least sense to me. How are we supposed to interpret how a drone works without the mod, given that taking direct control exists? Drones aren't blind that we know of, so what exactly is the camera mod actually adding? So weird. Whatever the explanation, should we be assuming Drones need a microphone mod to do the same thing with audio? What about other senses? They don't constantly fall over, so I'd hope they have an internal gyroscope, or at least some accelerometers, but do you need to spend a mod slot to do things like record the output of the device?

the camera mod is mostly for RP and for allowing the drone to scout and provide instantaneous reconnaissance back to the party.

our mechanic is a SpaceBook Live star, and his drone is not only an active stabber, but is his cameraman. When he was being devoured by a space monster, he was shouting "ARE YOU GETTING THIS!?" at his drone.

That being said, yes, you can't ditch the original stuff. It's right there in the book.


If you have the camera mod, then any of the party members can use their perception when looking through the feeds.


I figure that beore the Camera you see their data as an actual data stream. Ala Matrix.
yous ee all their sensor inputs.


What's really incomprehensible is that Camera takes up a mod slot. I can go to Amazon right now in 2018 and buy a hover drone that does live video streaming for $90. Maybe less if I really look for a deal. Camera should pretty much be /default/ in a scifi superdrone that is a character's main class feature. Or at least it should be a cheap addon for a few credits, instead of actually taking the place of something more abstract and complex like weapon proficiency, manipulator arms, or etc.

Hell, even under rules as written, why would I spend one of my drone's upgrade slots on a Camera when I could just strap a 7 credit cellphone ("comm unit") to the drone's chassis and use that as the camera, which I can then also speak through?


Because RAW, comm units haven't got cameras. Cameras aren't even available for sale in the CRB, full stop. Go read the rules on comm units again - they have microphones and speakers, but there's nothing there justifying the theory that they have cameras. Your GM has to house-rule in that your smartphone works like a smartphone.


Camera is listed as one of the simple items with real-world equivalents that you can purchase for 5 credits with GM approval. If you are playing in a campaign where the GM won't allow you to buy a 5 credit camera, you're better off ditching, rpgs don't work when so intractable and on-the-rails.

Furthermore, Control modules are stated specifically that they can link a computer to a camera.

Control Module, Range Upgrade, a Camera held by the drone, a Screen interface. That is all you need. By level 7, you can install the mods into your custom rig, and it will feature a recorder on its own.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
quindraco wrote:
Because RAW, comm units haven't got cameras. Cameras aren't even available for sale in the CRB, full stop. Go read the rules on comm units again - they have microphones and speakers, but there's nothing there justifying the theory that they have cameras. Your GM has to house-rule in that your smartphone works like a smartphone.

right. it's a star trek comm unit. a comm unit's got voice. that's about it.


Yakman wrote:
right. it's a star trek comm unit. a comm unit's got voice. that's about it.

No, a comm unit is a tier-0 computer that has audio and text based messaging, it also has a calculator, flashlight, and games and access to any local infospheres.

It's not just voice.

They wanted a comm unit to be a satellite cell phone basically, but they didn't include a camera. Though they is explicitly said to be purchased with 5 credits, I'd say it's an upgrade to the comm unit and costs 10 credits to miniaturize it.


pinkycatcher wrote:
Yakman wrote:
right. it's a star trek comm unit. a comm unit's got voice. that's about it.

No, a comm unit is a tier-0 computer that has audio and text based messaging, it also has a calculator, flashlight, and games and access to any local infospheres.

It's not just voice.

They wanted a comm unit to be a satellite cell phone basically, but they didn't include a camera. Though they is explicitly said to be purchased with 5 credits, I'd say it's an upgrade to the comm unit and costs 10 credits to miniaturize it.

Well again, even if you go this route and say Starfinder's culture developed such that cameras just aren't common on comm units for some reason... I buy my 7 credit cell phone, pay 15 credits to add a camera to it, and buy some straps for 1 credit to attach it to my drone. 23 credits to add something as mundane and low-powered as camera functionality to a drone still makes way more sense than an entire /upgrade slot/.


Honestly I can sort of see how a backlash to cameras being built into everything could happen. Eventually people get sick of every mistake they made from childhood till they die of old age living in the infosphere would get old after a while and maybe people figure hey maybe we don't need cameras on ever damn hand held item we make. If you want a camera its 5 credits which is pretty trivial.


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kaid wrote:
Honestly I can sort of see how a backlash to cameras being built into everything could happen. Eventually people get sick of every mistake they made from childhood till they die of old age living in the infosphere would get old after a while and maybe people figure hey maybe we don't need cameras on ever damn hand held item we make. If you want a camera its 5 credits which is pretty trivial.

New Gap theory: It's the result of someone getting really really serious about deleting their nude pics from 'The Cloud'.


As a GM I would still make you use an upgrade slot to put on your jerry-rigged device. The whole point of an upgrade slot is finding a place on the drone where the item would be able to fit E.G. an upgrade slot would still need to be used for your cellphone attachment.
-Beta


Upgrades are for stuff fit /into/ the drone and integrated into its systems. I've explained repeatedly how a camera is utterly trivial (the camera module in a modern cellphone is only about a cubic centimeter) and inexpensive. Cameras shouldn't take an upgrade slot, you should just have an option to have one or not and if it costs anything it should just be a few BP. Weighing a camera as an upgrade slot means you are considering a camera as significant as /weapon proficiency/ or /turning invisible/.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Yeah, my issue with the "camera takes a slot" is that:

1. Its a trivial feature

2. It really needs to be on the drone anyway for the drone to function as described

After all, if the drone has no way to feed back information, all the class abilities to deploy drones at greater than the initial range are absolutely useless. If the range upgrades are supposed to be reliant on choosing one specific upgrade, the writeup should say so explicitly.


quindraco wrote:
Because RAW, comm units haven't got cameras. Cameras aren't even available for sale in the CRB, full stop. Go read the rules on comm units again - they have microphones and speakers, but there's nothing there justifying the theory that they have cameras. Your GM has to house-rule in that your smartphone works like a smartphone.

-Comment deleted by user because of redundancy-

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