Mechanic: Making a ranged combat drone, possible?


Advice


Hi there,

I'm currently playing a drone mechanic (level 9) and have the idea of a "battle-mech & field-mechanic"-team (similar to this: https://paizo.com/image/content/Starfinder/PZO7105-MonsterCreation1.jpg).

The first idea was to got with a combat drone and push it towards ranged combat. Unfortunately after doing a little bit of math the stealth drone would be the far better ranged drone (higher AC, flying, more dex…).
Does anyone knows a way how you can create a good tank/ranged drone from the combat drone chassis?

My idea so far is:
Mods:
- Weapon Prof. (Heavy Weapon)
- Enh. Armor
- Manipulator Arms
- Reistance: Fire
- Armor Slot (for some Armor Mod tricks, e.g. a Jet Pack)
Feats:
- Deadly Aim (for more DMG)
- Lighning Reflexes (to counter the weak Ref Save)
- Versatile Specialization (to get the Level to the Heavy Weapon Damage)
- ???
Then grab a heavy weapon and attach a underbarrel granade launcher to it to get some serious firepower.

My only problem is that this drone still have less survivability and hit chance then a (combat) stealth drone :(

Does anyone has an idea/suggestion? (aside from "take a stealth drone" or "build a melee drone")


Why not just load it up with Explode weapons, it'll have no problem hitting an AC 5 grid intersection, and now you've got some sweet fire support form your robo-buddy on the hill.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

since the drone's to hit chance is dramatically lower than a same level combat character, i concur that going with explode / thrown weapons is a safer bet than using a laser or projectile weapon.


The combat chassis, with its low dex, is the least ranged friendly of the three.
Explode weapons is an option as said, since that's easy enough. Or you can just rebuild your drone with one of the other chassis, unless Combat as one specific thing you absolutely need. (Btw, combat drones flies just as well/badly as stealth drones, you might be thinking of hover drones?)

Deadly Aim is an issue of its own which I won't get into in depth (there's enough of that elsewhere in these forums), but I certainly would think twice before considering it on something that's already struggling for accuracy.

Survivability will be an issue regardless, but it's a range fighter, so careful positioning is your best bet.


Not good, not good…
Would love to play this battle-mech-engi-team…
The Exploding weapons have one big drawback, we have a melee fighter who could/would be in the explosion radius :(


If you only have one melee character in the group, it's pretty easy to target grid intersections that miss him and only hit the enemy.

I played an explode-only Envoy with other 2 melee characters (one real melee, the other a summon creature nut), and it was still doable - you only have a problem when there is only one target and the party wants to flank him.

And there are a bunch of 5 ft. or 10 ft. explode options available, making it even easier to target and miss.


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

I would also urge you to consider the Selective fusion, as a solution to your AoE targeting woes. Being able to ignore a single ally goes a long way.


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Dropping Deadly Aim for Weapon Focus would be a start, I think. Big damage that hits noone isn't much use, very slightly lower that connects would be lore valuable.
Similarly, you're going to have a hard enough time with multiple attacks that I'd look into unwieldy weapons. If you're only attacking once, might as well make it count.

Not sure what you're trying to do with that drone beyond those general things, but those'are the kind of adjustments I'd start with.


Stealth or Hover drone are good. (hover would e nicer if you're mostly outside,stealth for inside(climbing!))
As other said Explosive ones.

I have had luck however, with a Stealth SNiper Drone. It was astealth drone that picked up the Sniper line. I had it sit on the ship and provide cover and overwatch--and I could use it to get the ship going in emergencies. It wasn't amazing- as to hit isn't great regardless of what you do on a drone. But it was fun and had uses for sure.

Though ultimately I ended up doing the reverse on a later character. Stealth drone went in with folks and my mechanic hung out on top of the ship providing overwatch/emergency get aways. Using hacking/computer/engineer etc via his stealth drone (which also frequented the flamer line of weapons for the sake of bad aim)

So.. stealth drone with a sniper. Or hover with an explosive is how id' rock it I think. A hovering guy dropping bombs is pretty great and you could be pretty far up and still hit reliable while also being on the watch for flanks or surprise attacks. And just in general always above the group. Stealth done being stealthy behind could do similiar and provide overwatch-or dart around the sides etc.
You will lose drones though. but its not terrible to get back


I am of the mind that you could add armor slots and integrated weapons. This would allow you to have ranged weapons on top of your manipulator arms. you can even hold a defending weapon or a shield from the new book to boost AC. Then go with anything that could boost AC or hit chance with your guns. I'm not looking at a book right now, so I don't know how viable this option is. But you could do this with a combat chassis, like you proposed in your original post.


Nyerkh wrote:
The combat chassis, with its low dex, is the least ranged friendly of the three.

It's actually not true. Thanks to the use of Heavy Weapons, the combat drone is on par with the two others. It's in fact the Stealth drone who's the least efficient with ranged weaponry.

Combat drones are the best drones at very low level and they get excellent at very high level. You can easily build a hybrid range/melee combat drone with this chassis. But if you want to specialize only on ranged attacks, I think it's not the best of the 3.
The Hover drone is the basic range weapon drone.


Pathfinder Starfinder Society Subscriber
SuperBidi wrote:
Nyerkh wrote:
The combat chassis, with its low dex, is the least ranged friendly of the three.

It's actually not true. Thanks to the use of Heavy Weapons, the combat drone is on par with the two others. It's in fact the Stealth drone who's the least efficient with ranged weaponry.

Combat drones are the best drones at very low level and they get excellent at very high level. You can easily build a hybrid range/melee combat drone with this chassis. But if you want to specialize only on ranged attacks, I think it's not the best of the 3.
The Hover drone is the basic range weapon drone.

The issue isnt the damage, its the dexterity bonus to hit that makes the stealth drone the most effective. AC aside at level 1 the +1 it provides is a substancial bonus till a few levels where the combat drone makes that platform more usable.

Dataphiles

Also note, at every level a drone may be completely rebuilt.


racs333 wrote:
The issue isnt the damage, its the dexterity bonus to hit that makes the stealth drone the most effective. AC aside at level 1 the +1 it provides is a substancial bonus till a few levels where the combat drone makes that platform more usable.

When it comes to ranged combat, the order is Hover > Combat > Stealth.

Before level 3, it's Combat > Hover > Stealth. So the Stealth drone is always the worst.

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