Mechanic Drones, Natural Attacks, and Wearable Items


Rules Questions


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

1. Can a Drone make an unarmed attack, using the standard unarmed attack rules? If so, is it considered proficient?

2. Can a Drone equip a wearable magic item?

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

As for #1:

"Your drone is proficient in your choice of small arms or basic melee weapons, and it gains specialization in that weapon type once you reach 3rd level."

Unarmed Strike is a Basic Melee Weapon with the archaic and nonlethal special qualities.

As for #2, I don't see anything calling out the ability to benefit from magic items.

I imagine this is regarding the Ring of Fangs?

Liberty's Edge

1) Yes

2) No, Drones cannot ever use/wear magic/hybrid items as they do not possess slots for them.


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Where does it say which magic item slots a drone has, or doesn't have? Or to put it differently, what is the rules cite for such?

Sczarni

Starfinder Charter Superscriber

In absence of anything described, you would need text to support the drone being able to equip magic items.

It's impossible to cite an absence of text.

Permissive game systems, and all that.


Nefreet wrote:

As for #1:

"Your drone is proficient in your choice of small arms or basic melee weapons, and it gains specialization in that weapon type once you reach 3rd level."

Unarmed Strike is a Basic Melee Weapon with the archaic and nonlethal special qualities.

Would that mean that if my drone is a gunner drone, and I gave it Small arms proficiency when creating the drone, the drone then CANNOT make an Unarmed Strike?


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guigoxford wrote:
Nefreet wrote:

As for #1:

"Your drone is proficient in your choice of small arms or basic melee weapons, and it gains specialization in that weapon type once you reach 3rd level."

Unarmed Strike is a Basic Melee Weapon with the archaic and nonlethal special qualities.

Would that mean that if my drone is a gunner drone, and I gave it Small arms proficiency when creating the drone, the drone then CANNOT make an Unarmed Strike?

It could. At a -4 penalty to the attack.


Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Your choice of proficiency would mean that the drone was not proficient with unarmed strikes. Whether it could make them at all would depend on whether you gave it arms to punch with (melee weapon arms, or manipulator arms which would suffer an additional -4 penalty).


Pogiforce wrote:
It could. At a -4 penalty to the attack.

Ah yes, always forget that a character can do something that it is not proficient in doing, but at a penalty. If it doesn't say I can do something, I generally assume I can't do it (I am relatively new to rpg).

Sczarni

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Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Indeed. That's what's referred to as a "permissive" rules system (rather than a "restrictive" rules system).

Restrictive game systems tell you what you can't do:

You have a mechanical drone. It can't do X, Y and Z.

Whereas Permissive game systems, like Starfinder, tell you what you can do:

You have a mechanical drone. It can do X, Y and Z.

Restrictive game systems are usually more narrative, with less rules crunch. If a player wants to do something crazy, like have their PC flap their arms and fly, the GM would be the arbiter of whether that could happen.

Permissive game systems are usually more technical and involve a lot of rules. In these systems, the common question you'll see on the boards is "Can I do X?", and you'll have people respond with rules citations explaining yes, or sometimes no, but the answer that doesn't work is "It doesn't say you can't".


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Pathfinder Lost Omens, Rulebook, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Obviously, games don't actually work like a Platonic Ideal of a permissive system. Players and NPCs will sometimed attempt things that are not thought of in the rules, and that are reasonable, plausible actions. What happens then ends up coming down to the GM at the table, and how they feel is the best way to fit the attempted action into the existing rules structure. But edge cases that require a ruling on the fly will happen regardless of system.


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Nefreet wrote:

Indeed. That's what's referred to as a "permissive" rules system (rather than a "restrictive" rules system).

Restrictive game systems tell you what you can't do [...] Whereas Permissive game systems, like Starfinder, tell you what you can do

... ah... did not know that.

Nefreet wrote:
[...] but the answer that doesn't work is "It doesn't say you can't".

... ah yes, the eternal answer of the miniature power-gamer. Many thanks for all the answers.

Sovereign Court

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I think Starfinder isn't strictly permissive or restrictive. It doesn't tell us we can go to the toilet. It also doesn't have to forbid common sense stuff: unless there's some circumstance (zero-G) or tool (force soles II), we know a human can't walk in the air.

Combat leans a bit more towards the permissive side: we get explicit specification about a lot of things that we can do and what the mechanical consequences are. But the rules can't cover all the things that we could plausibly (knowing what we know about the game world) try to do. That doesn't mean that we can't even propose trying. We can use the existing rules for comparison and make a field ruling.

When it comes to interpreting vague rules, or deciding whether the lack of a rule means that you can or can't do something, I tend to go by the Principle of Least Surprise. Would it be more surprising that people can or can't go to the toilet? Would it be more surprising that humans can or can't walk in the air unassisted?

Here we have some questions: can a drone make unarmed attacks without the proper mod? I'd say yes, it's less surprising if they can (by bumping into enemies) than that they can't. But they won't do a lot of damage and have bad accuracy. If the question is, can a drone without a gun mount fire a gun, that would be much more surprising if it could.

And can a drone use magic items? The core book doesn't really say what is necessary to use a magic item. An anacite or a security robot or an SRO could use a magic item. So why not a drone? There's nothing in the drone rules that says that unlike all other creatures, drones can't use magic items.

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