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When does drone operation use Piloting?

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  • When does drone operation use Piloting?

    I am trying to figure out what situations the Piloting (Drone) skill is used.

    . Drone allies are extras. They have a Pace score as well as Athletics. Drone allies have 2 modes, Autonomous and Controlled
    In Autonomous Mode the Drone Ally executes commands to the best of its abilities. It does not have the Piloting skill, nor does it need to roll it. Pace and Athletics cover the movement like any other ally.(So no Piloting roll)

    Directly controlled Drone allies act on the controller?s Turn. Controlled drones use the Controllers skills and edges but it has its own pool of actions and MAP. My understanding is Controller takes MAP for one action. This gives the drone its full turn using the Controllers skills, and moving as directed( No Piloting roll,so far as I can tell)

    The Hacking command, Operate/Control Device states
    you can?t remotely fly a drone if you don?t have the Piloting skill with a Drone specialization
    but . as above, Drones have Pace and Athletics and movement, even under direct control, movement still uses the Pace of the drone.

    Personally I am fine with "no Pilot skill rolls for drones" . Most skill uses for Directly controlled drones are already two rolls(The Controllers roll and Drones roll for the Support action)

    What Drone situations do prompt a, Piloting (Drone), check? or is the skill rating simply meant to be a inhibitor for,roll the lowest of of two" skill checks?

    Hopefully my ramblings here make sense.


  • #2
    GM call, though any time the drone is directed to move in ways that are challenging, prone to failure, or otherwise not automatic. Such situations could include (but are not limited to):
    • Piloting the drone into a tight space while moving at high speeds. Dodging security by moving into a maintenance access tunnel, while flying at maximum pace, to name one likely occasion.
    • Moving through moving obstacles (people, other drones, vehicles, etc.) without collision.
    • Getting the drone to perform fancy maneuvers.
    When does the operator use Piloting (Drone)? When they'd have to use Driving or Piloting to control a vehicle.
    The drone does have an Autonomous mode, and an Athletics skill, to move itself around with coordination, but the drone is an Extra and its Athletics is going to be much less reliable than many operator's Piloting.


    • #3
      But shouldn't a drone, which automatically Supports the controllers skill checks, be able to Support in its own movement/operation? It seems like a important question is, are Drone creatures/extras(Athletics)? or are Drones unmanned vehicles(Pilot)? The answer certainly can be both. That raises the more complex questions. Why dont vehicles have drone stats?or even. Where is the line between drones and vehicles? If there is such a line then what marks the difference?


      • #4
        Drones are both creatures and remote vehicles.
        Flavor: They started as remote vehicles, but as automation routines got better and better, they became capable of independent - though extremely limited - operation.

        Remember, drones have Animal Smarts. They can't understand complex and intellectual tasks or ideas. If a drone needs to do something beyond the intellect of a well-trained guard dog then the operator needs to take control.
        Sometimes that means maneuvering the drone in ways it normally wouldn't.

        Vehicles carry passengers and crew, drones don't. That's the difference.
        Savage Worlds has clear rules for vehicles and the stats required for them. Interface Zero 3.0 tried to stick to the core rules as much as possible, so vehicles in IZ use vehicle stats.
        Drones were always conceived as filling a similar role to combat extras, so they have stats like combat extras*. The fact that drones can be enhanced by being directly controlled by a character just gives drones some additional abilities and a way to "upgrade" a drone without giving it new hardware.

        Does that help?

        *There was an early iteration were drones had vehicular stats but that made them unwieldy in combat, especially for the GM that might be controlling 30 or more.


        • #5
          Yes that is helpful. I am fine with the Drone /vehicle line. My thinking is about interface and the number of die rolls . It seems odd to me that a Hyper Reality interface between a Controller and an AI should have anything to do with parallel parking. Direct Control already has the player make 2 rolls per action (Skill check and Support Check) It seems a bit clunky to require a additional roll to move. Of course, this is a aesthetics opinion. Outlooks on what a direct, brain to brain interface with a AI would look like is completely subjective. The hyper Object interface could be entirely objective modeled literally on driving a stick shift. It could also be a abstraction/construct that builds new neural transmission pathways via artificially induced sinestesia. 'You taste the hard left as subtle, bitter flavors inform you of the drones shifting pitch and roll"


          • ValhallaGH
            ValhallaGH commented
            Editing a comment
            You don't have to roll for all movement, just movement that wouldn't be automatically successful. Parallel parking at 90 mph would certainly require a roll.
            Last edited by ValhallaGH; 12-21-2019, 12:39 AM.