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Riggers and their drones

   
Riggers and their drones

Hi, everyone


While trying to build a Drone Rigger in a 4E Shadowrun game, I bounced into the following problem: the average drone, with Autosoft, has 6 dice in anything they do, 3 from the Pilot and 3 from the Autosoft, unless you upgrade its Response, System and Pilot and/or Autosoft. But this gets really expensive, really fast, and only goes up to 10 dice.
Now, AFAIK, a rule of thumb is that a shadowrunner needs to have 12 dice in their primary focus, and best a good deal more. Obviously, if your primary focus is drones and hence cannot go over 10, and even that at prohibitive - I get 28,500 Nuyen in upgrades alone, before any extra sensors, modifications, the drone itself, and possibly weapons- prices, then you have a problem.

So. Say, I have a budget of 150,000 Nuyen for Drones alone. What kind of drones can I acquire that, on one hand, have a chance of hitting the opponent in combat, or spotting them if they try to sneak past, or at least doing something halfway worthwhile, and on the other hand don't spend my time jumped into my one solitary 100,000 drone doing what the Street Sam could probably do better, albeit with slightly more risk for his survival and slightly less vulnerability to hackers?

Any advice concering cyber- and bioware and various other Rigger suggestions are also always immensely welcome. Thanks in advance.

First, software can be purchased once for all of your drones, so that saves some cash (unless you were already factoring that in).

Further than that, drones have an advantage that runners don't: numbers. You can have 4 Dalmatians with LMGs without too much difficulty, or a dozen of the drones with the little vibroblades, etc. Instead of LMGs, try fitting your Dalmatians/Steel Lynxes with grenade launchers. You now have a makeshift artillery battery to support you. Drone riggers should not be like "regular" riggers: focus on swarm tactics and having many drones, rather than rigging into your ultracool blinged out Nimrod (or whatever). When I play a drone rigger, I only rig into the drones very seldom, and only for the most delicate work (recon in tight quarters, for the most part). Cyber and bioware is the usual stuff, the INT enhancing bioware, the sleep regulator, PUSHED (or whatever camel case it is), etc. The math SPU can be handy, and if you can afford the money or the essence, the encephalon is kinda cool. Also make sure you have the best possible Signal and ECCM, to the point of having repeater drones and laser/microwave links if necessary - even Pilot 4 isn't so smart that you want it acting unsupervised.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minchandre View Post
First, software can be purchased once for all of your drones, so that saves some cash (unless you were already factoring that in).
Only if I crack the software, in which case that software decays over time. And I'd rather not have to re-buy all of my software every two months.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minchandre View Post
Further than that, drones have an advantage that runners don't: numbers. You can have 4 Dalmatians with LMGs without too much difficulty, or a dozen of the drones with the little vibroblades, etc. Instead of LMGs, try fitting your Dalmatians/Steel Lynxes with grenade launchers. You now have a makeshift artillery battery to support you. Drone riggers should not be like "regular" riggers: focus on swarm tactics and having many drones, rather than rigging into your ultracool blinged out Nimrod (or whatever).
Is the advantage of having four buckets of bolts firing slingshots at the enemy over having a single T-1000 blast at them really significant enough to provide an advantage, though, especially at the cost it requires? Four Lynxes with Ares Antiochs and each a single clip cost 100920 Nuyen, and will be firing with 9 dice each, probably at enemies who are built to withstand 15-die attacks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minchandre View Post
Cyber and bioware is the usual stuff, the INT enhancing bioware, the sleep regulator, PUSHED (or whatever camel case it is), etc. The math SPU can be handy, and if you can afford the money or the essence, the encephalon is kinda cool.
The INT, I presume, if mainly there for construction skills, right?

This assumes, of course, that the rigger is leaving the drones in autonomous mode at all times. If he's remotely controlling the drone, his attacks are Command + Gunnery. Command is easy enough to get up to 5, maybe six with a hot 'link, and Gunnery is a skill like any other.

If he actually jumps into the drone, he gets a +2 for hot sim bonuses, and the attack rolls are Sensor + Gunnery. I believe that Arsenal has rules on how to goose up your sensor ratings without it being too ridiculously expensive, and you're in a much better place.

I took the dice rolls from a summary table on page 247 of the SR4A rules.

It's still not perfect - you can only be jumped into a single drone, for example, but it does quickly allow one to get past the 6 or 10 dice limitations.

You might go the route of simply hijacking other drones. You don't have to front the cost for the drones and blowback/trace falls on the owner (likely the security agency you're up against). In that case, you're looking to rig up just the one drone with hijacking ability and range extending abilities. This drone doesn't go into the fight so it is less likely to get wiped out.

Drones are expensive. Are you getting paid enough from the run to cover the cost of even one lost drone?

Reading threads like this makes me wish I still had a Shadowrun group. I haven't played since 1e. *sigh*

A few things I've seen in this thread that I think people are missing.

1. Even if you just use the 6 dice-pool drones with SMGs, you can do two wide bursts per drone giving your opponent a -2 to reaction. Lets say the weapon has a base DV of 5 with AP -1, that's 6 damage they have to soak minimum. Add the fact that you can afford 2-3 of these drones, by the time your third drone is attacking, they've already lost 4 dice from their reaction pool due to cumulative dodge attempts. So the third drone fires a couple narrow bursts instead for +2 DV instead of -2 reaction penalty using improved ammo and maybe even an LMG mounted to it as the lead drone, making it an easily achieved 9-10 DV with AP -2 or -3.

Not all your drones have to be elite, it only takes one good hit in SR to kill even a prime runner with 500+ BP...

2. As a drone rigger, you can be jumped in to a lead drone and still spend a simple action to give commands to multiple drones/run a script that commands all subscribed drones with the same set of instructions. So using the previous example you could have a script like "provide fire-support against targets flagged by my smartgun link" and use your first pass to jump in and run the script (each a simple action). Then you get sensor+gunnery (no need to have multiple weapon skills) +2 from your control rig, +2 for hot sim, +1 from smartgun link. Your 3-4 sensor + 3-4 Gunnery dice pool just became 11-13 dice. Drill them down to weaken their reaction pool with the side drones and then do a full burst (mounted weapons suffer no recoil) and that 5-7 DV LMG attack just got an extra +9 DV...

3. Using multiple drones can also give you the option of using a BattleTac network. BattleTac can help remove penalties by linking your drones' sensors and allowing one to target for another. So you can equip an under-barrel grenade launcher and use a flying Microdrone with range finder to allow firing 'blind' around a barrier without penalties to your dice pool. Having multiple drones customized with different load-outs can also boost your effectiveness.

After all is said and done, when it comes right down to it, there's two types of Drone Riggers, ones that use multiple cheap drones as distractions from their team-mates getting shot at, and ones that have awesome Willpower and biofeedback filters so they can jump in to their one really wicked, nigh-invinsible killing machine and just own everything. The later is definitely the most fun but it's also really expensive and requires good knowledge of supplement books to make it work.

Hope this helps, Links - Dronomancer

I was going to make a reminder about multiple attacks and dice penalties, but I think Dronomancer here covered it.

- Logain

I've played a couple riggers though for the most part I've specialized in driving. One really fun thing I managed to pull of was custom build a few drones that were basically an RC helicopter strapped with explosives and nothing else. Without digging through all the source materials I can't really find exact prices but iirc it wasn't too much more expensive than grenades, but a whole lot better. We wound up using enough of these that the party started to help me pay for continually building them.

Some uses we had: Taking out a bridge. Mile range grenade. Breaking a hole in the wall to get out of an office. And just plain crash and boom at people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linksv2 View Post
1. Even if you just use the 6 dice-pool drones with SMGs, you can do two wide bursts per drone giving your opponent a -2 to reaction. Lets say the weapon has a base DV of 5 with AP -1, that's 6 damage they have to soak minimum.
Not quite. That 1 AP is only worth about 1/3 of a DV since armor only soaks damage on a successful roll, which happens about 1/3 of the time. It can be important for whether or not the damage dealt is lethal or stun however.

So to OP. Here's a quick "inexpensive" drone with a 12 dice attack.

Steel Lynx Combat Drone (5,000Y, 20th anniversary page 350)
Smartlink (500 Y
bought as a vision enhancement but works since drones can accept vision enhancements
also core rulebook page 333)
I'm assuming the GM is actually sane enough to cause non-vehicle sized drones to suffer recoil, otherwise I'd pick a Battle Rifle from the War supplement with High Powered Chambering, which results in a 9p -2ap for about half the price of a Barret, but is still more expensive than the White Knight
Ingram White Night with smart gun accessory (2,500 Y plus ammo, 20th anniversary page 321)
Pilot program rating 5 (12,500 Y, 20th anniversary page 330)
Targeting autosoft rating 4 (4,000 Y, 20th anniversary page 330)
Processor optimization for your targeting autosoft of choice, providing a +1 dice pool (500 Y, Unwired page 198)

Total price 25,000 for a Steel Lynx that has a 12 dice pool. For another 2,500 you could bump the Pilot program up to 6 and have a 13 dice attack on autonomous mode.

If you want to go bargain basement, then then take a stock Doberman, optimize the processor, install a smartlink, and grab a smartgunned AK97 for a grand total of 5,000 Y and a 9 dice pool to attack.


I played a rigger with a drone worth 138,000. It was a vehicle, but was able to do quite well on it's own.





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