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Drones and Teamwork in SRM

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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« on: (13:36:54/06-26-18) »
Sooo... let's say a Rigger has a drone with a mechanical arm and an appropriate Technical Skill software package (say, Automotive Mechanics).  That drone cannot assist the Rigger on Automotive Mechanics (based on the first sentence) or it can assist the Rigger (based on the second sentence)?

Or is the Rigger forced to assist a Drone on a technical task rather than it working the other way around?

Cases like this are odd.  In a home game, I would allow it.  The committee agrees that instead of a teamwork test, and appropriate assistant drone should give a dice pool modifier, GMs discretion.  That, of course, has some implications that may get touched on later.  feel free to open a thread to discuss it.


So, I'm of a mind that there are certain kinds of tasks where Drones assisting a metahuman is pretty much a no brainer.  A literal "assistbot" akin to Tony Stark's cute robot friend "Butterfingers" is more or less directly ported into Shadowrun via the Proletarian drone in Rigger 5.0.  And what's the reason for even having rules governing giving skillset software for things like Medicine and Automotive Mechanics if not to assist a Surgeon or Mechanic in performing such technical tasks?  The provisional SRM ruling that Drones may not assist metahumans puts this into awkward territory.  Either the Drone must perform things like surgery and repair work without involvement of a metahuman, or the metahuman must assist the Drone rather than the Drone assisting the metahuman.  The former is silly from an in-universe point of view, and the latter is just ridiculous that it only works one way from a rules mechanic point of view.

OTOH, I recognize that there's presumably a concern about the implications of flatly allowing drones to make as full use of the teamwork test rules as a player character.


Since Jayde invited me to start a new thread, I'd like to throw out a proposal to incorporate what I see as a major fault with the proposed SRM ruling without asking for that ruling to be re-evaluated/overturned.

What if (for SRM purposes) drones were allowed to take part in teamwork tests only for downtime related activities?  Or another way to define it: any time you're required to buy hits, a drone (with the physical ability and software necessary for the task at hand) may assist?  Or a third way: Drones may only assist on extended tasks involving a technical skill?
« Last Edit: (15:20:22/06-26-18) by Stainless Steel Devil Rat »
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Marcus

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« Reply #1 on: (13:47:41/06-26-18) »
Or a third way: Drones may only assist on extended tasks involving a technical skill?

This I don't have an issue with.

Pretty much everything else make me some what nervous, to some degree, though in general i'm not super worked up over most down time thing. There is still potential for abuse, but most of those would they would be common sense for GMs to spot and stop.
« Last Edit: (14:01:50/06-26-18) by Marcus »
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Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #2 on: (17:24:37/06-26-18) »
Another possible angle is in Jayde Moon saying the team feels Drones should be able to help people (perhaps if only in a technical task context) but not via the teamwork rules and instead by adding bonus dice.

For argument's sake, how would/should that idea work?  Bonus dice is afterall the result of a teamwork test so perhaps giving a flat calculated bonus pool saves time and could be appropriate for the case of Drones helping a metahuman doing something.

What would/should be the way to calculate how big the bonus dice pool should be?  Because afterall, ratings of the pilot program and skillset software ought to matter.  Or else a cheap rating 1 is giving the same assistance as very expensive rating 6s.  Again for comparison's sake, the teamwork test would involve the drone rolling pilot+skillset and give a bonus die pool equal to those hits to the metahuman PC.  Is there a better way to come to figuring out how big a dice pool bonus there should be than the existing teamwork rules?

Maybe just have assisting Drones work like the First Aid Kit mechanics?  Take the lower of Pilot/Skillset and give that rating value as a flat dice pool bonus, even if that ends up being mathematically better/bigger bonus than the probable outcome of having used the teamwork rules instead?
« Last Edit: (17:28:43/06-26-18) 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.

Streetsam_Crunch

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« Reply #3 on: (01:29:43/06-27-18) »
Maybe just have assisting Drones work like the First Aid Kit mechanics?  Take the lower of Pilot/Skillset and give that rating value as a flat dice pool bonus, even if that ends up being mathematically better/bigger bonus than the probable outcome of having used the teamwork rules instead?

That's exactly what I was thinking when I mentioned the Medkit in my first post (because as far as I can tell, a Medkit has a drone-brain built to assist the user, or even perform the task itself if wireless) so it's the closest thing we have to an example on how it might work.

Though personally, I wouldn't go with the full pilot/skillset bonus myself. I'd recommend half the Skillsoft alone, rounded up under normal circumstances. Medkits are specifically designed and programmed to assist someone at X rating. Drone AI's are not specifically designed/programmed to do so (unless they specifically are programmed to, then yeah, the full Skill would apply like a Medkit rating). I would also recommend differentiating a drone having X skill, and having X "assist" skill. They could have both, but they're separate programs, because of how the drone would implement them.

In my opinion, that seems reasonable, without being overpowered. These are just my thoughts though, and I'm open to alternatives. I'm not locked into any of these. :)

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« Last Edit: (01:31:15/06-27-18) by Streetsam_Crunch »

Stainless Steel Devil Rat

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« Reply #4 on: (10:18:27/06-27-18) »
The Medkit paradigm for dice pool bonuses has some interesting implications.

Pilot+Skillset can be expressed as X+Y, but in all practical probability it's going to be X+X.  Using the teamwork rules the dice pool bonus for the performing PC would therefore be (on average) X+X/3.  Whereas instead using either Pilot or Skillset it would be exactly X, which is greater than the average result of X+X/3.  Furthermore when we start to consider assisting on extended tests, the lesser teamwork bonus will also erode until it eventually disappears.  Using the Medkit paradigm X does not diminish each roll, and therefore remains intact no matter how many rolls the extended test takes.  As the Drone is not rolling its own pool and instead is adding a bonus to the performing PC, it means the rules mechanics allow the PC to make more attempts to finish the extended tests than possible under the teamwork rules.  Attrib+Skill+X won't run out of dice as fast as Attrib+Skill.

This approach makes Drone technical support hands-down superior to a teammate using teamwork rules.  Which might be reasonable, as Drones don't get distracted or tired or otherwise lose focus.  But I think if one is to use this approach in place of teamwork one needs to be aware of this superior mechanical effect.
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.