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My Rigger and my Mage want to combine their forces and build a drone which will serve as a homunculus focus for the Mage's Ally Spirit which is Force 4. This will make for quite a powerful extra 'character' in the game, with very high Int and Wil, Computer skills and Sorcery. The drone will have melee / missile weapons, data jacks, knowsoft ports, etc plus spells.

Do you think such a chimera would be acheivable? I am thinking of allowing them to build the drone and Summon the Ally into it and then have the Spirit become free at the earliest possible convenience. Harnessing such powers should be difficult on their own, I feel, but combined... should be almost unmanagable. I think it would make for a good NPC. Interesting kind of blend.

Coincidentally, if someone chants three times the True Name of a Free Spirit... and it is bound to a physical host body... does it ignore the summons? Or does it teleport itself + physical body to the chanter's location?


Herald of Verjigorm
I don't think a spirit inhabiting a drone could use its guns and internal hardware.
It would still get the armor, be able to use any robotic arms, and move according to the drone's natural movement type.

Whether the spirit prevents the rigger from being able to direct the drone to use its guns while the spirit inhabits it is a GM call.

Rating 5 robot pilot with all the tweaks controlling the onboard HMG while the spirit has fun with sorcery and the robotic arm that has the monowhip attached...
Yes... that was another thing - what happens when the Rigger and the Mage have diffrent things they want the drone to do? And when the Ally grows it will have its own choice too. I am guessing it would get severelly annoyed if it wanted to head off and do something, and Rigger was driving its body elsewhere.

Would it get two independant initiatives - one for the Spirit to cast stuff and one for the Rigger to control stuff? They want 3D Movement with it so that the Spirit can move the drone when the Rigger is 'out'. They argue that since a Spirit can bend steel around in a steel homonculus, making and breaking electrical contacts to fire a gun in this drone should not be too hard.

Do you think the Spirit would get benefit from knowsofts and skillsofts inside the drone?

And what about the True Name calling of the Spirit?

Herald of Verjigorm
Spirits in iron bodies don't have 3D movement. They move according to the animate spell: in the most natural way for the object. A statue has the "natural" movement potential of what it is a statue of, a rotodrone has the blades.

I would say that the spirit has the final word about what the drone does, but I would also rule that the spirit has to expend the karma to learn gunnery before it can use any drone mounted weapons. Since it is still vulnerable to normal spirit weaknesses, spending karma on gunnery would be a waste compared to improving its force, spirit energy, sorcery, etc.

As for the software, no. For the same reason that a light elemental cannot do any meaningful data manipulation on the matrix. If they ask what those reasons are, hit them.
Okay, simply creating such a thing should be no harder than summoning any ally, or making a drone into a focus. A drone is a highly proccesed object, and so the enchanting TN's for turning it into a homoniculi will be painful enough as is.

As for the conflicts between the drone brain and the spirit-- the spirit will have the ability to fully control the drone body, so if a gun is integral to it-- such as a turret mount-- then it can control it. You could make a big deal about the triggers, but then they'll just add a manual control onto the gun, and the spirit can press the buttons to fire. However, I do agree with Herald that you should require the spirit to possess a Gunnery skill to fire effectively. Without it, the spirit can default to the skill, at the standard penalty.

The thing to remember is, the spirit will not be able to recieve or send info over the rigger's drone network. And if the drone's pilot were sent one command, while the mage sent the spirit another... ouch. In all fairness, however, the drone pilot would probably lose out-- they're not described as being particularily clever. The drone pilot would probably become confused and stop responding properly.
Large Mike

I figure that from a story-plot angle, it'd be hella fun, and not extremely broken (especially if the GM was controlling it), so I'd allow it full use of all drone capabilities.
For my 2 cents....

You could do the enchanting - but it would require a _lot_ of work and cash. In many ways enchanting a drone would be a waste. Why?

What makes up a drone?

1) Chassis/ Framework - Fair enough - moderate tech, definately enchantable with work.

2) Vehicle Armor - I can see why you'd want some - may raise the TN for enchanting some more (High tech vehicle armor is fancy stuff).

3) Motors/ engine/ actuators - Of no use to the Spirit, but raises TN for enchanting

4) Computers, electronics, sensors, communications - Of no use to the Spirit, but raises TN for Enchanting

5) Guns - I can see why you may want some - I'd require Gunnery to use them - Spirits are not by nature particularly in-tune with the physical world or its artifacts. Note this would not be _sensor-enhanced_ gunnery, as the spirit doesn't use the sensors.

I would rule that a drone inhabited by a spirit could possibly still be used by a rigger for the sensors, but he'd have no real control, and the drone is controlled at a lower level by the spirit - The rigger can control the electrical signals going to the actuators, but the spirit controls the metal that makes up the actuators. A rigger could probably annoy the spirit with control attempts. Also, use of the sensors would probably get messed up if the spirit was moving the body. It's an old stand-by of fiction that possesed or haunted equipment never works quite right.

That said, you could get the same overal effects by welding a gun to an armored coffee table and enchanting _that_.
So the question becomes:

Why didn't the humunculous rules take into account the possibility of attaching vehicle armor to a humunculous? My guess is the designers didn't think anybody'd bother, as most people want their focuses easier to enchant. (Also, they were designing the _magic_ book, not the Rigger book, and didn't think very many mages would be riggers - too much essense in a VCR.

All that said, I'd have to worry about the mind-set that my ally was going to develop if I crammed it into a device for killing people....

Have I just created a monster?
Darkest Angel
I don't think the idea of putting an ally spirit in a drone, or any other vehicle is a particularly new one. I'd say it was doable, but very difficult - hense the high target numbers for enchanting - and I certainly wouldn't allow the rigger to jack into the drone or have any real control over it - however, I would allow it to be used in the same way as the 'Snake Eyes' system, so it would still retain it's sensor functions. Fuel would be uneccesary too.

If the spirit had the relevant computers and electronic skills I wouldn't see any problems with it using any on board gear related to that, provided the equipment retained it's output interfaces (LCD displays etc), so in the same way that Spirits of Man in offices tend to have some understanding in the use of computers, the ally could use that equipment, such as jammers, scanners, RCD (for electronic warfare and controlling other drones in captains chair mode but not for completely 'jacking in'), cyberterminals with radio or satalite uplinks for matrix use (in tortorse mode), and so on. And as has been mentioned, the gunnery skill would be necessary for using any built in weaponry.

As for the knowsofts, I'd say no chance, but it could understand raw data output (text/images) provided it had the computer skill and necessary output device, such as a cyberterminal.

Also, if you wanted the change the weapons outfit, or electronics outfit of the drone, I'd require a ritual of change, since you're changing the homunculus - ammo wouldn't count, since it's not a part of the drone.

Oh, and when it went free I figure it would probably seek out the worlds trouble spots... or make one.
You might all hate this, but I would leave it entirely up to the GM. Even if the rules actually cover some of it, I'd say something that weird always needs to pass GM judgement. And I personally would say ok to all of it. A spirit inhabiting a drone and taking advantage of skillsofts and the like that are wired into it? Sounds like loads of fun! I WOULD attach a few strings to it, though. I'd require astral quests, maybe some side runs to get oricalchum actuators or some such nonsense. And if any disputes came up over who controlled the thing at the end of the day (rigger, mage, or spirit), I'd probably settle it a different way every time, just to keep them on their toes. Of course, I'm a lunatic...
I like CircuitBoyBlue's way of doing it grinbig.gif
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