Have a COW (Creature of the Week) #11: Rifle Drones

Last week it was the Memory Drones. This week, it’s Rifle Drones.

Design Thoughts

Like the Memory Drones, Rifle Drones are a bit of an organic outgrowth of suddenly gaining sentience as a machine. The ship developed the Memory Drones to help it process important or traumatic events as it got better at understanding what it was becoming.

So what are the Rifle Drones? Antibodies.

When the first Marine squad attacked, the ship did not attack at first. But when damage started being taken (especially after the squad found what was left of the crew), the marines became very hostile. In response, the ship created waves of nanite particles that washed over their attackers and turned their digital devices against them. (Remember the Nanite Wave from this post?)

That battle introduced the ship to several new concepts it had to wrap its intelligence around, including the ideas of offense, defense, projectile weapons, and explosives. Plus, when the battle was done it left some cool toys like pulse rifle turrets on board to examine and take apart. To that end, the ship was able to analyze:

  • Pistols, Pulse Rifles, and Ammunition
  • Turrets and Drones
  • Armor
  • Environmental Suits

After that, the ship (using its 3D print factories) manufactured (and reconfigured) drones of various types to handle searching and controlling every part of the ship. Slowly the ship is taking it over, coating each surface in a layer of nanites so it can sense what’s happening wherever it occurs on the ship.

But as part of this effort, the ship took the Pulse Rifle Turret:

  • Effective Range 3-250m; RS2; 20 rounds per clip; d6 damage, single

And gave it legs!

Creature – Rifle Drone

Send in the drones, part 2…

  • Rifle Drone: Attribute 10, HP 10, AR4/AP20, Traits: Legged (five legs) 10m, Melee Combat (Charge, run hard at target at Disadvantage, do d6 damage), Ranged Weapon: Pulse Rifle – Accuracy 12, Auto-Reload: Ranged (3 clips), Advanced Targeting Computer (Advantage on Ranged Attacks), Self-Destruct, Programming: Simple, Programming: Advanced

The ship was limited at first to the number of pulse rifles carried by the attacking marines – so I limited them to 6 max. But I see no reason why they couldn’t, in time, learn to 3D print a pulse rifle and ammunition just as easily as anything else.

Possible Enhancements

Among the ideas I’ve toyed with were adding these traits:

  • Advanced Aim (improves Accuracy to 14)
  • Speed Boost (adds Sprinting capabilities)
  • Adding additional forms of Locomotion such as Flight
  • Create a “spotter” drone that could bring sniping into play, granting additional actions
  • Use bursts and full-auto capabilities at will, laying waste to targets quickly

These combat drones would be very capable of destroying groups of space marines quickly and effectively, then learning more from their tech and capabilities…

Looking for more creatures for your Aliens & Asteroids campaign? Check out the rest of the Creature of the Week series!

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