Designer Diary: Droning On!
by Audrey Jaeger on Feb 02, 2024
By Mack Martin
Many of you know me as the Combat Zone guy, but I also run a weekly Cyberpunk RED campaign. One of the recurring themes I keep going back to in my campaign is the media and their place in the dystopian corporate landscape. Part truth-teller, part propaganda mouthpiece, the future’s newspeople are a microcosm of all things Cyberpunk.
If you’ve got your Danger Gal Dossier handy, I’ll be talking about Stringer, who is represented in Combat Zone by the Media Drone Pilot model. In my home game, one of my players is a media person named Carla Weathers (no relation). When the Danger Gal Dossier came out, she was hired by an old friend (Stringer) to secretly become the new Fiona Hayes. It was quite the challenge to replace the corporate stooge without anyone knowing, but my players managed to pull it off (mostly).
In Cyberpunk RED: Combat Zone, the Media Drone Pilot is what I like to call a “Droneslinger.” He comes stock with the Media Drone Controller program, so he’s able to deploy a drone every turn. In Combat Zone, we define drones as remotely controlled machines that are deployed via a program. It’s assumed that the drones themselves aren’t expensive or heavy, so if necessary, a controller can redeploy them as needed (by using the program again).
Managing your drones can be tricky, so let’s follow the quick order of play so we’re all on the same page. First, the Media Drone Controller program must be successfully activated. It’s a Green program, and the Media Drone Pilot (MDP) has a +2 Tech, so the odds are in his favor. Once activated, he places the Media Drone model within Green (12”) of himself, which is quite a bit of coverage. He doesn’t need a Path of Attack to the point he deploys the drone, it just has to be in range.
While the program is active, whenever the MDP moves, the drone can move, too. There are no restrictions on where it moves, so it doesn’t have to stay in range of the MDP, it can scoot about the board (dealing with terrain as normal). All friendly models can draw their Path of Attack from the Drone, but the range is still determined from the acting model. This means attacks can avoid those pesky obstacles and barriers if the drone has a clean line of sight. It also means you’re able to issue commands and even heal targets through the drone. It’s a lot of flexibility!
However, once you Inspire Your Team, the program flips back over. This ends the visibility and movement boosting effects until the program is activated again, which also re-deploys the drone! That thing really zips around! If your opponent does destroy the drone, you can just re-deploy it when you activate the program again, so it won’t be going away forever.
For only 10 Eddies, the Media Drone Pilot (and his accompanying drone) is a great way for a team to overcome the challenges of a Battlespace with dense terrain. If you’re struggling to find a firing line with those big Arasaka guns, or you just want your sniper to ignore some cover, give the Media Drone Pilot a look. He just might be the answer you’re looking for!