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Tyro
What drones do you use, what do you equip them with (Arsenal vehicle modifications, hardware, and software), and why?
Malachi
Wow, huge question that is entirely dependent on purpose. As a general rule, all drones get a Firewall upgrade and run an Analyze program to help prevent hijacking. My main node runs a strong Encrypt program and every drone in the network is Slaved to the main node (my Commlink). From there, every drone has a job. Combat drones get heavy weapons (they usually don't need armor upgrades), where surveillance ones often get upgraded sensors or sometimes other specialized equipment. Do you have some roles that you see this Rigger fulfilling in the group? If you list some I can give you equipment recommendations.
Fix-it
spider drones with toxin-enhanced blades are fun....

evil. but fun.

dont forget: drones are expendable. don't spend too much money on them. and always have a self-destruct option.
Ryu
MCT rotordrones - enhanced armor, improved sensor suite, weapon. Response is upgraded by default, but would suffer from a system load modifier if we used those rules.

MCT Flyspy - these can be used out of the box.
Tyro
QUOTE (Malachi @ Dec 11 2008, 08:20 AM) *
Do you have some roles that you see this Rigger fulfilling in the group? If you list some I can give you equipment recommendations.

I'm building a jack of all trades; someone with 4 in pilot ground craft (remote operations), pilot aircraft (remote operations), and infiltration (vehicle). He's a hacker-rigger hybrid who mostly works in the captain's chair, only jumping in when he has to infiltrate with a FlySpy or something. He has the adept power Multitasking, and since he's never directly in combat when in captain's chair, he gets those extra free actions all the time - great for painting targets through the tactical computer.

I'd like examples of different drones for different uses. What drones are best for combat, surveillance, multipurpose, etc. and why. I generally give all my drones satlinks to avoid being tracked and to get around wifi inhibiting paint (satlinks have a very high signal).
Fortune
QUOTE (Tyro @ Dec 12 2008, 07:33 AM) *
He has the adept power Multitasking, and since he's never directly in combat when in captain's chair, he gets those extra free actions all the time ...


That definitely wouldn't float in my games.
Cain
Okay, a lot of this is YMMV, but here's my reccomendations:

Every drone: Get the best Pilot you can, scads of autosofts, Firewall and Analyze to keep them from getting hijacked. You can crack the programs and share them among your drones. Pilot is restricted by type, but you can share it among all your aircraft, your ground craft, etc. The rest are freely shareable, so Clearsight is a good investment.

Combat: Get yourself a Steel Lynx or Doberman. Arm your heavy drone with an LMG packing EX-EX. For more versatility at the cost of heavier firepower, arm drones with Ares Alphas and make full use of their grenade launcher.

Smaller Drones: If you can arm them, load them with hold-outs packing stick-n-shock. It gives them good bang for the buck.

Spy Drones: I swear by the Renraku Stormcloud, the mini-blimp. With chameleon paint, it's nearly impossible to see against the sky, it can drift there forever, and makes an excellent aerial spotter. Spider drones used to be my favorite, but Emotitoys with the drone option are also inconspicuous. Upgrade the sensor package and add Clearsight, and you're good to go.

But my all-around favorite has to be the Dragonfly. It's cheap, it flies, and it's armed. The sensor package is a tad weak, but you can upgrade that without a problem. And while the weapon might be weak, there's a lot of uses for it if you're careful-- cutting straps, that sort of thing. Since it's only about three inches across, it can get into a lot of tight spots, and sit and observe. If you need more offensive firepower, you can always modify your Dragonfly to inject poison, or blow up with the force of a HE grenade if needed. Still, even without that, the dragonfly remains an excellent utility drone.

And don't forget your C&C van! There's only two real choices: the Hermes or the Bulldog. Both are common sights on the streets, and a little chameleon paint goes a long ways in covering you. The Hermes comes with a drone rack for micro or mini drones, which makes it an early favorite; but it doesn't help you with medium or larger drones, so you'd have to add that in separately. The Bulldog has the advantage of heavier armor and handling, so it may make for a better escape vehicle. (Speed does not factor into Chase Combat.)
gtjormungand
QUOTE (Cain @ Dec 11 2008, 05:09 PM) *
The Hermes comes with a drone rack for micro or mini drones, which makes it an early favorite; but it doesn't help you with medium or larger drones, so you'd have to add that in separately.


Unless I'm remembering incorrectly, the Hermes has two small drone landing rack, but that's enough for a medium sized drone.
kigmatzomat
I try to keep in mind the expendability of the drones, meaning you go for cost effective. Even with heavy armor, most drones are fairly easy to pop. No point going overboard on something that's going to get trashed.

Go for cracked software. Don't sweat the degradation rules, odds are the drones will get trashed before the software fails. Some stuff is universal, like Clearsight. Others are device specific, like maneuver and defense. Try to standardize on a couple of models, at least for the most common tasks.

For drones that you expect to survive because they aren't in the direct line of fire, splurge on an improved Response so you can run more programs. Having clearsight, defense, maneuver, Battletac, encrypt, scan, stealth, and targeting running is good. And pay attention to the rules on "Information Guided Targeting." One drone can make a Sensor or Gunnery test to lock onto a target and feed the information to other people. If the roll is good enough, it makes up for the penalty. Plus it allows other drones to fire without needing to spend the action on making a sensor lock. If you're loading drones with grenade launches, close twice a round may be better than on target once.

For offensive drones I like the LEBD 1 instead of the normal rotordrone. It's security grade, has a weapon mount, and a mechanical arm for weird stuff. The classic doberman is a cost-effective ground pounder.

The cheapest way to upgrade the potency of combat drones are decent sensors (lower case). A blind drone can't shoot. My standard load on a medium drone is a pair of cameras, one with mag/IR/ve3/fc, another with IR/mag/smart/fc, add an UWB radar R4 for seeing through light structures and brush, the motion sensor because it's useful in operation even if its explanation is ludicrous.

I also toss on an R6 laserlink on most drones. You can't count on the laserlink to work during a firefight since there's a good chance of some form of smoke grenade being used, but it lets you position them without any detectable transmission. Encryption is, of course, a must.

Don't forget Databomb. You can load it on any stand alone device and the only way around it is defuse. It restricts attacking hackers to either jamming or spoofing your network; they can't access the drone directly without taking some damage and alerting your network that something is breaking in.

For scouting I like the offensive iBall drone (the SR4 BBB version, not the semi-immobile Arsenal variant). Give it gecko tape and it can schlep along walls and ceilings in urban environments. The offensive version takes the place of a smoke grenade on our sammy's combat harness with no real loss of benefit. Oh, it's expensive for a grenade but since it is self propelled, can make Sensor tests to notice baddies, and can fire the flashpak automatically or from a signal:0 wifi command it is worth it.

I use Bust-A-Move drones as mobile relays. Give them gecko tape and a pair of laser links and use a plausible stuffed animal shell (cats, squirrels, rabbits, devil rats) and they can extend your communication and surveillance range.
Malachi
Combat: For ground combat, nothing beats the Steel Lynx. It's only knock is that its an obvious combat drone. For aerial combat, the Nimrod provides 2 built-in weapon mounts which makes it very attractive, but you're going to be paying a high price for it. As an alternate the Dalmatian can be well equipped. The Modified GMC Chariot is also fun for a surprise. The GTS Tower has a real package of features to it: it has a Retrans unit to extend the range of your network, it can stay up in the air for a long time (lighter than air), it has a mutidrone rack, and comes with a weapon mount. Mount that guy with a sniper rifle and a bunch of Dragonfly hunter-killer drones, and you've got yourself a silent-but-deadly weapon platform.

Surveillance: For "global" passive surveillance, the Stormcloud is definitely the way to go. If you give it an Additional Fuel Tank or Improved Economy you'll be able to leave it in position for weeks. It wouldn't be a bad idea to improve the Sensor Suite and make sure you've got every kind of vision or sensor in the book on it, just in case. The MCT Fly-Spy is also a good choice for "close" surveillance for an aerial drone and the AZT Crawler with the Gecko Tips mod to allow it to climb up walls and anywhere else you need it to go.

Make sure each drone has an upgraded Firewall and an Analyze program along with all the Autosofts for the tasks you anticipate that it will be doing. Be sure to tell your GM that you are Slaving all of your drones to your Commlink (if you can) and run an Encrypt program on all those connections.
Tyro
The response on this thread has been fantastic. Thank you all so much.

What are your opinions on tactical rigging (i.e. using the captain's chair almost exclusively, not getting a vcr)?
(Edit: practically a necessity if you make a hybrid hacker/rigger, which I am coming to believe is the best route, especially since you can then use Electronic Warfare in an active role and hijack enemy communications/combat their attempts to hijack yours)
On the necessity of getting piloting skills if you go that route?
On the usefulness of the Black Market Pipeline: Vehicles quality?
Of using a satlink to a retrans unit to hide where you're giving the orders from?
[Edit]: Of being on scene with the team vs. on scene in the getaway vehicle vs. off site communicating by satlink (Matrix connections are too easy to block)? You could always just remotely rig the getaway vehicle if necessary smile.gif
Ryu
Tactical rigging is great. If you want to do it, learn your mechanics/dicepools, and spend good money on resonance/software. Resonance 5, + Clearsight, Defense, Weaponsoft, Maneuver, ECCM, + Agent, Analyse, Armor, Attack.

You only need one or two good piloting skills for jumped-in combat, a VCR will cover the rest.

The Black Market pipeline depends. Games that pay good money will usually also have good gear anyway, games that don´t won´t enable you to pay for the goods.
Tyro
QUOTE (Ryu @ Dec 11 2008, 09:37 PM) *
You only need one or two good piloting skills for jumped-in combat, a VCR will cover the rest.

I use cybered adepts, so I try to save Essence wherever I can. How necessary is it?

Also, how good is a simsense booster/synaptic booster for a hacker/tactical rigger?
Fortune
Since you didn't respond to my previous comment, what makes you think a character qualifies as being 'out of combat' while he is fighting in 'captain's chair' mode?

I know I wouldn't allow the Multitask adept Power to be utilized in this fashion, just as I wouldn't allow Neo-Cortical whatever Nanites to grant their bonus while the character was in the same situation.
Tyro
QUOTE (Fortune @ Dec 11 2008, 10:21 PM) *
Since you didn't respond to my previous comment, what makes you think a character qualifies as being 'out of combat' while he is fighting in 'captain's chair' mode?

I know I wouldn't allow the Multitask adept Power to be utilized in this fashion, just as I wouldn't allow Neo-Cortical whatever Nanites to grant their bonus while the character was in the same situation.

You make a good point; I generally support RAI, and I honestly would have to agree with your opinion. In fact, now that I've thought about it, I would insist on that interpretation even if it was to my own detriment.
Jaid
not sure if he means captain's chair as "issuing orders", but that's usually what i consider to be captain's chair. if he means actively remote controlling the drone, then i agree that would count as combat though...

anyways, for using command programs (which is what i'm assuming you're doing if you've specialised in 'remote operation') you want to pick up the positive quality codeslinger(control device). it will pay off if you spend a lot of time using remote control. (that is, non-rigging remote controlling).
Tyro
QUOTE (Jaid @ Dec 11 2008, 10:30 PM) *
not sure if he means captain's chair as "issuing orders", but that's usually what i consider to be captain's chair. if he means actively remote controlling the drone, then i agree that would count as combat though...

anyways, for using command programs (which is what i'm assuming you're doing if you've specialised in 'remote operation') you want to pick up the positive quality codeslinger(control device). it will pay off if you spend a lot of time using remote control. (that is, non-rigging remote controlling).

By Captain's Chair I'm referring to issuing orders without rigging. That's a very good point about Codeslinger.
Malachi
Also keep in mind that you can control drones in full-VR without actually being "jumped into" any of them. In this fashion you can ditch the Adept part of your build and just go with a "tradition" Full-VR Hot Sim rigger. That will get you to 3 IP's faster (and can get you to 4 and 5 IP's cheaper than a Magical build). You'll get you +2 to all of your drone tests for being Hot Sim, and you can still easily respond to intruders on your network as well as attempt to subvert other drones from this mode. If you take Codeslinger for issuing Commands you get another bonus on top of the Hot-Sim one (I believe that will total +4?).

Sat links to hinder Traces is a nice idea, but it depends on how much of a "bugger" your GM is. Sat links are supposed to be adversely affected by weather, so it really depends on how much he wants to mess you up in that respect.

Even a Rigger that is planning on mostly issuing commands to his drones should still get Piloting skills. Riggers are the most skill-demanding build (IMO), so you might have to look at getting Skillwires to fill out the need. On the list of skills a Rigger has a good chance of needing: Pilot Ground Craft, Pilot Aircraft, Pilot Anthroform (you need that one for a Doberman because it uses Walker Mode!), Automatics, Gunnery, Heavy Weapons, Infiltration (you use this skill when trying to "hide" while piloting a drone!), Navigation, Shadowing (again, this you use this skill when trying to pilot a drone to follow someone!), Armorer, Computer, Cybercombat, Electronic Warfare, and Hacking. That's a lot of skills to have to cover and be "competent." Even if you're not planning on "jumping into" your drones that often, your group will still expect you to know how to pilot any of the vehicles they may encounter/need. You may be the hero of the group if they need to make a quick water-based getaway and you've got Pilot Watercraft!

One of (if not the best) improvement in SR4 was to allow Matrix specialists to stay with the team, don't ignore this ability (although late SR3 did introduce a Remote Control Rig for the rigger). I would definitely say, at least drive the team to the job and stay in the van. However, in that case always send at least one drone in with the team, probably several (a CrashCart Autodoc can save someone's life if on site!). However, this really depends on what role(s) your team needs you to fill. If you they need for the Hacking stuff a lot, I would say you have to physically go with them so you can Hack door locks or whatever directly instead of going through some beefy chokepoint system. If they just need you for Fire Support and Transportation, then you can probably get away with staying in the van and being the "wheel man." Overall however: discuss this with your group. I view the Rigger as very much a "support" character, so you definitely should tailor your build to whatever "support" needs your team has.
Tyro
QUOTE (Malachi @ Dec 12 2008, 07:53 AM) *
Also keep in mind that you can control drones in full-VR without actually being "jumped into" any of them. In this fashion you can ditch the Adept part of your build and just go with a "tradition" Full-VR Hot Sim rigger. That will get you to 3 IP's faster (and can get you to 4 and 5 IP's cheaper than a Magical build). You'll get you +2 to all of your drone tests for being Hot Sim, and you can still easily respond to intruders on your network as well as attempt to subvert other drones from this mode. If you take Codeslinger for issuing Commands you get another bonus on top of the Hot-Sim one (I believe that will total +4?).


I made him an Adept for the Improved Technical Skill, Sustenance, Multi-Tasking and Eidetic Sense Memory powers. I'm looking at 3 of the following 4 Qualities (all are 10 bp/20 Karma), plus Adept for 5 bp/10 Karma: Erased (24 hours), Biocompatibility (Cyber), Codeslinger (Command), Black Market Pipeline (Vehicles or Wares)
kigmatzomat
QUOTE
Pilot Anthroform (you need that one for a Doberman because it uses Walker Mode!)


IIRC Arsenal has some verbage about Walker Mode including long-throw suspensions, independent bogeys and other non-biomorphic* modes of travel.

I think of those rock crawler trucks that can climb nearly vertical rock piles because their wheels have ~4ft of independent vertical movement.

*Language rant: anthroform means "human form." "To anthropomorphize" is to assign human traits to nonhuman things. Quadrupeds are not anthroforms, only bipeds and specifically humanoids can be anthroform. The correct generic term is bioform or biomorph. Pilot Bioform should be the "general" skill with anthroform/biped, multiped, sepentine, and piscine as specializations.
Ryu
Instead of building a rigger adept, I´d look into a mundane rigger with the "More than Metahuman" quality, consequentially using jumped-in mode quite a bit. You can send commands to your other drones while jumped into the command/control/communications drone.

Your adept won´t be able to do many things that a mundane can´t, and if you also forego the jumped-in mode, won´t be much of a rigger. The dicepools of drone pilots can be made useable, but a true jumped-in rigger will rip them apart in combat.
Heath Robinson
QUOTE (Ryu @ Dec 13 2008, 07:34 AM) *
Instead of building a rigger adept, I´d look into a mundane rigger with the "More than Metahuman" quality, consequentially using jumped-in mode quite a bit. You can send commands to your other drones while jumped into the command/control/communications drone.

Your adept won´t be able to do many things that a mundane can´t, and if you also forego the jumped-in mode, won´t be much of a rigger. The dicepools of drone pilots can be made useable, but a true jumped-in rigger will rip them apart in combat.

I disagree. Read Unwired 105, the table at the top "Common Rigger/Drone Tests". Note that a Remote Control Rigger uses Command for almost everything except Soak and Perception. Meanwhile, Jumped In Riggers use Sensor and Response. Response is far more expensive than Command.

You get fewer dice in the end, but until you build up the cash to splash on Response 6 and sensor upgrades for every drone you might as well thrown down Command 6 and start with more drones. You can fit a pair of reasonable combat drones in the 7000 difference in price between running Response 6 and Command 6 on a Response 3/System 3 commlink.

As for Drones with Autosofts; yeah, they'll always be bottom of the barrel but quantity has a quality all of its own.
Ryu
Command replaces Response, and in one case (that does not make sense, at all) Sensor. You forego the two dice from the VCR to save some money. Note that Sensor 3 (be glad if you get it stock) makes detection of anything -except large vehicles- iffy at best. You can´t shoot it if you can´t see it.
Fortune
QUOTE (Jaid @ Dec 12 2008, 05:30 PM) *
not sure if he means captain's chair as "issuing orders", but that's usually what i consider to be captain's chair. if he means actively remote controlling the drone, then i agree that would count as combat though...


I understand the difference, but think the distinction is immaterial in this instance. Issuing orders via Captain's Chair while in battle still counts as being 'in combat', at least as far as I am concerned.
Tyro
QUOTE (Ryu @ Dec 13 2008, 02:44 AM) *
Command replaces Response, and in one case (that does not make sense, at all) Sensor. You forego the two dice from the VCR to save some money. Note that Sensor 3 (be glad if you get it stock) makes detection of anything -except large vehicles- iffy at best. You cant shoot it if you cant see it.

What are other people's opinions on this?

I'm basically trying to make a hacker/rigger hybrid who can be really good at hacking and pretty good at rigging (using a spotter drone or drones with high Sensor to make lock-on tests for the others). Autosofts can do all right if you splurge on a decent Pilot, and Pilots can be copied to other drones of the same type.

[Edit]: Is it worth the expense to upgrade a Doberman's armor?
Ryu
Upgrade the armor so that weak attacks bounce. Once your drone armor is penetrated, damage will usually be high. 9 dice against a DV of 7 are not sufficient, and a DV of 7 isn´t high.We had a series of incomming DV 8-10 attacks today (Collecting ears for Harlequin).

(There is the great houserule idea of hardened armor = half armor rating rolled, half armor rating auto-hits. Smoothes results quite a bit, without removing the need for armor.)
Tyro
QUOTE (Ryu @ Dec 13 2008, 01:37 PM) *
(There is the great houserule idea of hardened armor = half armor rating rolled, half armor rating auto-hits. Smoothes results quite a bit, without removing the need for armor.)

I like that idea very much. Kudos to whoever thought of it first.
Heath Robinson
QUOTE (Ryu @ Dec 13 2008, 10:44 AM) *
Command replaces Response, and in one case (that does not make sense, at all) Sensor. You forego the two dice from the VCR to save some money. Note that Sensor 3 (be glad if you get it stock) makes detection of anything -except large vehicles- iffy at best. You can´t shoot it if you can´t see it.

Sensor 3 + Perception 3 + Attention Co-processor 3 + Actively Looking 3 for a DP of 12 (E(x) = 4) against a Threshold of 2 for a metahuman target. The Threshold 3 option is for a contact lens. A freaking contact lens. That is not the Threshold for spotting an armed metahuman.
Ryu
Sensor 3 + Perception 3

+ Attention Co-processor 3 (if present) + Actively Looking 3 (if already doing so)

-3 Metahuman target

= dp 9 to detect a metahuman, opposed by Agility+Infiltration if the opponent uses stealth, with a threshold of 2.
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