Send in the Drones, Part 2

In the last post, I briefly went over some of the methods of locomotion that a drone can be built to employ in Aliens & Asteroids. I didn’t even cover the possibility of anti-gravity or adopting alien technologies into a drone, but I’m still fascinated by the idea of a drone with spider legs because it is creepy and I’m wondering how much of drone design is meant as a way of intimidating your enemy vs. simply ending up with a functional design.

Functional drones are cool in and of themselves. I can see some great ideas to explore from the world around us, including:

  • mine sweeping
  • mapping
  • sample collection
  • item transportation

Then there’s the question of how they manipulate the world around them. Do they use robotic arms? Sensor lasers? Vacuums? Drills?

That doesn’t even bring up some of the crazy ideas for combat, which I’ll cover in the next post!

Yes, drone design is going to become one of those things that many folks may spend as much (if not more) time on as their characters. And nothing says that a drone can’t be torn down and rebuilt on a regular basis. Nothing says that a PC can’t have more than one of them. Only that they can only CONTROL one of them at a time during a round of combat. And some of that may get muddied down the line once the idea of programming gets introduced to the mix.

Can you imagine a drone with some simple programming? A technician could send it down the hall to execute a pre-programmed set of steps:

  1. Find target.
  2. Shoot target.
  3. Move.
  4. Repeat.

And that brings up all sorts of interesting questions. What if there are innocents? Is there a “Friend or Foe” identifier? Is there a kill switch that the operator can simply hit to deactivate the drone before it destroys a bunch of friendlies?


There will be just as many unique types of drones as there are characters, and I think that’s part of the fun.

I’m even wondering if a non-technician should be able to purchase a drone, but have some limitations in their use. Why not have something like a portable workbench that floats along near you and holds your stuff?

What is your craziest idea for a drone that would be useful to a PC in a futuristic world? Let me know in the comments!

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