Clarification: Drones and Mounted Combat Rules


Rules Questions

Paizo Employee Starfinder Lead Designer

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The rules published in Alien Archive 3 for creature companion mounts present some clarifications to the Ride a Creature task of Survival and mounted combat in general.

This has raised the question of whether drones use these rules, so let's clarify!

A mechanic's drone with the riding saddle mod follows the rules printed in Alien Archive 3 under the "Creature Companion Mounts" heading (pages 140-141), with the following exceptions.
• A drone is not considered a creature companion.
• The size requirements of the riding saddle mod override the size requirement for creature companions.
• The "Speed and Movement" section does not apply to drones. Instead, a drone-mounted creature replaces their own speeds with the drone's speeds. In addition, a creature mounted on a drone that uses an action that includes movement (including using abilities that allow the creature to move its speed) uses one of the drone's available move actions for the turn. In addtion, however it's controlled, each turn a drone can at most take a standard, move, and swift action, or take a full action.

In addition, the final sentence of the riding saddle mod (Starfinder Core Rulebook 77–78) should read:
"You no longer need to attempt the fight from a combat trained mount task of Survival when directing your drone mount in battle."


Joe Pasini wrote:
The "Speed and Movement" section does not apply to drones. Instead, a creature mounted on a drone that uses an action that includes movement (including using abilities that allow the creature to move its speed) uses one of the drone's available move actions for the turn. In addtion, however it's controlled, each turn a drone can at most take a standard, move, and swift action, or take a full action.

Just to make sure we're 100%. Does this mean that you use your own movement speed when using a drone as a mount, or does this mean that you' use the drone's movement speed when using it as a mount?

Thanks for the clarification!

Sovereign Court

Joe Pasini wrote:
• The "Speed and Movement" section does not apply to drones. Instead, a creature mounted on a drone that uses an action that includes movement (including using abilities that allow the creature to move its speed) uses one of the drone's available move actions for the turn. In addtion, however it's controlled, each turn a drone can at most take a standard, move, and swift action, or take a full action.

Please tell me if I understand this right -

If a multiclass operative/drone mechanic rides a drone and performs a trick attack, the drone gets to move because the rider used an action that allows movement. However, that does not count as spending a move action on Master Control, so unless you have another ability that gives your drone more actions (say, Expert AI), moving is all it does that turn.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Lead Designer

Sparrowhawk_92 wrote:
Joe Pasini wrote:
The "Speed and Movement" section does not apply to drones. Instead, a creature mounted on a drone that uses an action that includes movement (including using abilities that allow the creature to move its speed) uses one of the drone's available move actions for the turn. In addtion, however it's controlled, each turn a drone can at most take a standard, move, and swift action, or take a full action.
Just to make sure we're 100%. Does this mean that you use your own movement speed when using a drone as a mount, or does this mean that you' use the drone's movement speed when using it as a mount?

Yes! Thank you for asking; I've clarified the clarification.

Paizo Employee Starfinder Lead Designer

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Ascalaphus wrote:
Joe Pasini wrote:
• The "Speed and Movement" section does not apply to drones. Instead, a creature mounted on a drone that uses an action that includes movement (including using abilities that allow the creature to move its speed) uses one of the drone's available move actions for the turn. In addtion, however it's controlled, each turn a drone can at most take a standard, move, and swift action, or take a full action.

Please tell me if I understand this right -

If a multiclass operative/drone mechanic rides a drone and performs a trick attack, the drone gets to move because the rider used an action that allows movement. However, that does not count as spending a move action on Master Control, so unless you have another ability that gives your drone more actions (say, Expert AI), moving is all it does that turn.

That's correct.


Starfinder Superscriber

Thank you so much for the clarification.

Sovereign Court

Thanks for the Clarification!


Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Hmm, does this mean that, if you are somehow riding a drone that *doesn't* have the Riding Saddle mod, you do have to make Survival checks to fight from their back?


Ok so what about from the other direction. If I spend a move action to grant my drone mount a standard action on its turn per the Master Control rules, my drone can still use its move action to move and the Standard I gave it to fire. Whereas in the other scenario it wouldn't be able to move and fire if I spent my move action moving.

So then is there a point to moving your (the drone's) speed on your turn when you can just ready an action to fire after the drone has moved?

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