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[SR6] Controlling Drones without Rigger Command Console - Control Device Action

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Robert

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« on: <12-29-20/0312:07> »
Typically a rigger would use a RCC (Rigger Command Console) to control his drones.

Assuming someone wants to control only one drone, he probably can use his commlink or cyberdeck to send commands to the autopilot of the drone, which would execute them with the autosofts, which can run on the drone itself.

However there is also the matrix action "Control Device" (CRB page 180).
  • This states "A  Control  Device action  versus  a  device  currently “jumped  into” by a rigger automatically fails.", which means this action can be used on Drones.
  • It also states "While you have control, you can use the device as if you were the owner using a standard skill test"

Does this mean, when using a "Control Device" action in AR/VR, a character would use "Piloting + Reaction/Intuition" for maneuvers and "Engineering + Logic" to fire weapons?

If that is the case, why would anyone spend essence on a vehicle control rig (VCR)? Because the simple matrix command "Control Device" gives you the same personal control of the drone as the vehicle control rig.

To expand that idea, a character may use a RCC to control several drones and then use a commlink to "jump into" a specific drone, which he then controls as if he had a VCR, but without the essence cost. So you CAN be a rigger without a VCR, clearly contradicting the statement "In order to jump into a vehicle, drone, or other supported device, a rigger must have an implanted vehicle control rig (VCR), or the appropriate technomancer complex form" (CRB page 197).

Could you clarify?

Thanks.

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #1 on: <12-29-20/1141:58> »
Typically a rigger would use a RCC (Rigger Command Console) to control his drones.

Assuming someone wants to control only one drone, he probably can use his commlink or cyberdeck to send commands to the autopilot of the drone, which would execute them with the autosofts, which can run on the drone itself.

Yes, that's correct.  But there's a bit I'll add for clarification: RCCs don't make controlling numerous drones POSSIBLE, it just makes it easier/better.  If you want to command 10 drones from your commlink, you can still do so... just not simultaneously.

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However there is also the matrix action "Control Device" (CRB page 180).
  • This states "A  Control  Device action  versus  a  device  currently “jumped  into” by a rigger automatically fails.", which means this action can be used on Drones.
  • It also states "While you have control, you can use the device as if you were the owner using a standard skill test"

Does this mean, when using a "Control Device" action in AR/VR, a character would use "Piloting + Reaction/Intuition" for maneuvers and "Engineering + Logic" to fire weapons?

Yes, that's exactly what it means.  If you're actively in control of a drone (and you can only ever be actively in control of one drone at a time... even with a RCC) then you're rolling your attribute and your skill for any task you're doing remotely via the drone.

On the other hand when you're simply giving orders to your drone (via RCC, Commlink, or even your voice) the drone's autopilot is in "control", so to speak.  The drone acts kind of like a spirit, where dice pools are generated from its own stats rather than yours.  Usually, Pilot + Autosoft.

So, yes in practical terms:  If you want a drone to navigate through a tangled mess you can either assume direct control of that drone and roll your own Piloting + Reaction (or Piloting + Intuition if you're in VR... and note that you can be in VR and controlling a drone without being Jumped In!).  Alternately you can command the drone (or any or even ALL of your drones simultaneously!) to try to pick through the navigational challenge on their own to the best of their ability.  In this case they'd roll Pilot + Maneuvering Autosoft. Since you're not spending YOUR actions, you're still free to do other actions (fight, hack, try to pick up that hot elf at the bar, etc).

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If that is the case, why would anyone spend essence on a vehicle control rig (VCR)? Because the simple matrix command "Control Device" gives you the same personal control of the drone as the vehicle control rig.

There's two reasons.

1) Control Hierarchy. (you quoted text above that implicitly references this concept) If you're Jumped In, no hackers can hijack your drone via Control Device.

2) Control Rigs offer benefits while you're Jumped In: 
2a) You get bonus dice.
2b) You get a bonus point of edge every time you make a related test.  Edge for piloting tests.  Edge for gunnery tests. Edge for dodging attacks on the Jumped In drone.  Etc!
2c) Control Rigs offer threshold reductions to handling tests. (post errata, at any rate)

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To expand that idea, a character may use a RCC to control several drones and then use a commlink to "jump into" a specific drone, which he then controls as if he had a VCR, but without the essence cost. So you CAN be a rigger without a VCR, clearly contradicting the statement "In order to jump into a vehicle, drone, or other supported device, a rigger must have an implanted vehicle control rig (VCR), or the appropriate technomancer complex form" (CRB page 197).

Could you clarify?

Thanks.

Ok easiest part first:  You cannot jump in without a Control Rig (or being a Technomancer with a power that replicates a Control Rig).  No Control Rig, you're not a Rigger. QED.  Anyone CAN be in VR while in direct control of a drone via Control Device, but that's not the same thing as being Jumped In.

2nd Clarification: Your PAN can only have one master device at a time.  (important due to Matrix Persona/hacking rules implictation)

3rd: Control Hierarchy is a concept that, alas, was a casualty of cutting the CRB down by 200 pages for this edition.  It still exists, kind of... but without familiarity with 5e it's hard to suss out.
Jumped In: Only possible via Control Rig (or TM equivalent)
Remote Control: Direct control via Matrix command
Manual Control: physically sitting at the controls and manually manipulating them.  Not applicable to drones, but very relevant for vehicles
Autopilot: The vehicle/drone recognizes you as the operator, but it's currently directing its own activities

In 5e, each tier of the Control Hierarchy trumped the lower one, and you can't assume a tier that someone else is already using.  So if you're driving your Americar and a hacker assumes remote control, it no longer matters what you're doing with the wheel and brakes... they're being ignored while the hacker drives your car.  This is not explicitly called out in 6e... all that is explicitly perpetuated is that Jumped In is higher than Remote Control.  The Rigger book for this edition is in development, so hopefully this is something that will be redefined clearly.  In the meantime, my personal suggestion is to just continue this hierarchy.  It doesn't do for multiple characters to all control the same drone multiple times per round.  It'll break your head.
« Last Edit: <12-29-20/1153:11> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Xenon

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« Reply #2 on: <12-30-20/0954:35> »
...send commands to the autopilot of the drone, which would execute them with the autosofts, which can run on the drone itself.
Yes.

When you "send an instruction to the on-board autopilot", the on-board autopilot will use its initiative, rating and any autosofts it have access to.

There are several advantages of doing this via a RCC (higher slave limit, multiple channels, autosoft sharing, ...) which is why drone operator riggers often access the matrix via a RCC instead of a commlink or cyberdeck, but a RCC is not required.


Does this mean, when using a "Control Device" action in AR/VR, a character would use "Piloting + Reaction/Intuition" for maneuvers and "Engineering + Logic" to fire weapons?
Yes.

When you "remote control" (via AR, VR or "jumped in"), you use your own initiative, skills and attributes.

There are advantages of doing this via a RCC (such as noise reduction), but a RCC is not required.

There are also advantages to "remote control" while "jumped in" (such as positive dice pool modifier and edge on vehicle related skill tests), but in order to "jump in" you must have a control rig implant (or using living persona with correct echo).


why would anyone spend essence on a vehicle control rig (VCR)?
To get the option to "jump in".

SR6 p. 283 Control Rig
When you’re jumped into a vehicle or drone, the control rig provides its rating as a dice pool bonus on all vehicle skill tests and a bonus point of Edge.


Because the simple matrix command "Control Device" gives you the same personal control of the drone as the vehicle control rig.
If you don't care about the positive dice pool modifier or the free Edge then you should probably not invest into a control rig.


To expand that idea, a character may use a RCC to control several drones and then use a commlink to "jump into" a specific drone, which he then controls as if he had a VCR, but without the essence cost.
A character may access the matrix via a RCC (in which case he can send the same "instruction" to multiple drones at once as one action) or he may access the matrix via a commlink or cyberdeck (in which case he can only send the "instruction" to one drone).

No matter if the character is accessing the matrix via a RCC, commlink or cyberdeck he also have the option to "remote control" one drone directly. Either from AR or from VR. Using his own skills and attributes.

No matter if the character is accessing the matrix via a RCC, commlink or cyberdeck he also have the option to "jump into" one drone. Getting positive dice pool modifier and edge on all vehicle related tests (think of it as "super VR" where you actually "become" the drone). However, this can only be done if he have a control rig implant.


So you CAN be a rigger without a VCR
If you don't have a control rig implant then you will no longer have the option to "jump in".
(which mean you don't get a positive dice pool modifier and you also don't get free Edge on all vehicle related skill tests).

But yes, you don't need a control rig implant (nor a RCC) to "send an instruction" to the on-board autopilot of a drone.
And yes, you also don't need a control rig implant (nor a RCC) to "remote control" the drone yourself via AR or VR.

So yes, you can be a rigger without a control rig implant.

But if your character is focused on controlling drones and vehicles (which is kinda the trademark of a rigger) then you probably want both a control rig and a RCC...
...so that you may control them more efficiently.



On the other hand when you're simply giving orders to your drone (... or even your voice)
Voice? Is this really supported....?

And in that case would you say that it is also possible to instruct someone else's drone (without having User or Admin access on the network it is connected to) by simply impersonating the voice of its owner?

This could use some clarification I think.


Control Hierarchy
This used to be a thing in SR5, agreed.
But are you sure this is is still a thing in SR6?

This could use some clarification I think.


Control Rigs offer threshold reductions to handling tests. (post errata, at any rate)
This also used to be a thing in SR5, agreed.
But are you sure this is the intention also for SR6?

This could use some clarification I think.
« Last Edit: <12-30-20/0956:56> by Xenon »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #3 on: <12-30-20/1123:41> »
...
Quote from: Xenon
On the other hand when you're simply giving orders to your drone (... or even your voice)
Voice? Is this really supported....?

And in that case would you say that it is also possible to instruct someone else's drone (without having User or Admin access on the network it is connected to) by simply impersonating the voice of its owner?

This could use some clarification I think.

Well admittedly, commanding vehicles and drones via voice was only explicitly covered in 5th edition as of the Rigger expansion, that wasn't in the CRB either.  But it's (imo) a fair expectation that you can verbally tell your car what address you'd like it to take you to, and it'd therefore be puzzling why you cannot verbally tell a drone similar kinds of commands.

Likewise, verbal command would be about the only way you COULD direct your drone when you have it toggled to wireless-off.  You could very reasonably want your drone wireless-off for security (so it can't be remotely hacked) or enhanced stealth (its signal cannot be perceived since it doesn't exist).

Even under the R5.0 rules, there was no allowance given for impersonating the owner when issuing voice commands. GM would have to make something up for that.  for starters, you'd have to know WHO the current operator is, and personally I'd treat it as defeating a form of voiceprint scanner.  probably need a voice modulator or magical equivalent to even make the attempt, or such.  YMMV.


Quote
Control Hierarchy
This used to be a thing in SR5, agreed.
But are you sure this is is still a thing in SR6?

This could use some clarification I think.

As I said, it's not explicit.  But we have an implicit clue that the concept is still valid in the statement:
Quote from: SR6 CRB, Control Device. pg. 180
A Control Device
action versus a device currently “jumped into”
by a rigger automatically fails.

So, either there still is the concept, or we just have Control Device failing when someone's already Jumped In.  I strongly suggest carrying through the concept, as without it any number of people can simultaneously control the same drone. 

Consider the example of a team of shadowrunners or a squad of Corp Sec that has a Steel Lynx accompanying for fire-support.

Under a control hierarchy, the drone will only act once per combat turn, and on the initiative score of that controlling agent.
If there is no control hierarchy, then every member of the team or squad could use Control Device, on each of their turns, to make gunnery checks with the drone's on-board weaponry.  (assuming, of course, they all have User access.  And why wouldn't they?)  Best of all, the drone will get to go too on it's own initiative, for yet another attack!

Of course, that doesn't even go into the nightmare of trying to figure out what happens when different people are all trying to drive the same car.

There simply is a requirement for some sort of hierarchy that limits a drone to one controller at a time.


Quote
Control Rigs offer threshold reductions to handling tests. (post errata, at any rate)
This also used to be a thing in SR5, agreed.
But are you sure this is the intention also for SR6?

This could use some clarification I think.

I think you don't have the errata. It's explicit:

Quote from: Control Rig, SR6 Corrected Jan 2020 printing, pg. 283
When you’re jumped in it provides its rating as
a dice pool bonus on and reduction in threshold to
all tests involving the operation of vehicle
, and a
bonus point of Edge.

Bolded for emphasis.
« Last Edit: <12-30-20/1148:43> by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Xenon

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« Reply #4 on: <12-30-20/1326:48> »
....as without it any number of people can simultaneously control the same drone. 
Vehicles and drones can only have one driver/controller.

SR6 p. 196 The Basics
Vehicles and drones can only have one driver/controller at a time, regardless of method.

This can be read as if a vehicle or drone already have a driver/controller (regardless of method) then you can't jump in to override them.

But since book mention that you cannot remote control if someone is jumped in and also that you can't jump in if someone else is jumped in it can also be read as if you can jump in to override both manual control and remote control, but not jumped in control (as you are saying - and also how it was in SR5).

Robert

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« Reply #5 on: <12-30-20/1334:05> »
Thank you for the detailed clarification. Looking forward to the SR6 rigger book.  :)

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #6 on: <12-30-20/1544:24> »
....as without it any number of people can simultaneously control the same drone. 
Vehicles and drones can only have one driver/controller.

SR6 p. 196 The Basics
Vehicles and drones can only have one driver/controller at a time, regardless of method.

This can be read as if a vehicle or drone already have a driver/controller (regardless of method) then you can't jump in to override them.

But since book mention that you cannot remote control if someone is jumped in and also that you can't jump in if someone else is jumped in it can also be read as if you can jump in to override both manual control and remote control, but not jumped in control (as you are saying - and also how it was in SR5).

Yes, it could be read that way.  But since it only explicitly says one controller at a time, that doesn't rule out someone trying to say various characters each going on different initiative numbers are sequential, rather than simultaneous.  It also doesn't say what happens if you try to exert control when someone else has control.  Do you fail, or do they cease having control?

As I said, my belief is the best practice is to just keep the SR5 control hierarchy.  Only one at  time, and you can only usurp control by jumping to the next higher tier.  Since nothing is higher than Jumped In, then nothing trumps Jumped In.

Thank you for the detailed clarification. Looking forward to the SR6 rigger book.  :)

You're welcome.  And me too, man.  Me too!
RPG mechanics exist to give structure and consistency to the game world, true, but at the end of the day, you’re fighting dragons with algebra and random number generators.

Xenon

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« Reply #7 on: <12-31-20/0630:32> »
But since it only explicitly says one controller at a time, that doesn't rule out someone trying to...
With the first reading (where there is no 'control order' and no way to 'override' in SR6, no matter method - even by jumping in) I don't see this as an issue (as all attempts to control a vehicle that already have a driver/operator will automatically fail).

However, with the second reading (where SR6 use a similar 'control order' as we had in SR5) this is perhaps something that need to be considered ;-)

(for example; what if the on-board autopilot of a vehicle acted first in a combat turn, guy in the driver seat act later and use manual control to have the vehicle act a second time, a hacker is acting later in the combat turn by remote controlling the vehicle a third time in the same combat turn and last in the combat turn the owner jumps in and control the vehicle a fourth time in the same combat turn).



Do you fail, or do they cease having control?
What is clear (with both readings) is that you cannot override if someone is already jumped in.
- You can't use Control Device if someone else is jumped in.
- You can't Jump In if someone else is already jumped in.

If someone else is jumped in then your attempt to control will automatically fail. This we know.


What is less clear is what happen if someone is just using manual control or regular remote control (nobody else is jumped in).
  • Drone already have a driver/operator so any attempt (no matter method, even jumping in) to override control / take over the control will fail.
  • Drone already have a driver/operator so any attempt to override control / take over the control will fail, except if you jump in (jump in > all).
  • Drone already have a driver/operator so any attempt to override control / take over the control will fail, unless you use a control method of a higher 'control order' (jump in > remote control > manual control, as it used to work in SR5).