Re-add station drones with a massive barrier to entry?

I’ve noticed as of late that most of the ghost roles either have zero interaction with the station (most lavaland and space spawners), outright have a negative impact on the station (midrounds) or are at a high risk of flip-flopping (Silicon/Xenobio).

Drones, while yes having a massive capacity for shittery, can also be a benefit to the station if handled correctly (it’s a player issue not role).
(It may be my lobotomy talking but I enjoyed just chilling out while repairing minor things around the station.)

How I think whitelisting should be done?
Lock drone behind a role timer that requires hours in drone itself (thinking around 6).
NO ONE can access drone at first without admin intervention. This means that anyone who asks for said role can be vetted based on the individuals record (bans/notes/hours etc).

If the admin(s) deem(s) them suitable/trustworthy enough, they are dragged into a drone and the timer counts up, this would require on average a minimum of 3 admin spawns before someone would pass the threshold and be allowed to access drones at will. Blacklisting would still be in effect if someone for some reason built up a good rapport just so they could burn it on ruining 1 round as a drone.

If you want to be more extreme, having any active job bans also stops you playing drone. Extending it to antag/midrounds might be a bit much as a lot are optional.

Why its good for the game?
Lets trusted observers or round ended players help out by fixing the station/machinery (AND NOTHING ELSE), helps out (non-existent) engineers during stressful (explosion filled) shifts and fills the gap between engineer and cyborg;
former has hands but no acess, latter has acess but no hands.
Drone in this triangle has both but no words (or even meaningful interaction with crew)

Thank you for reading crazy outlandish idea #2. Feedback is welcome.

#3 is probably going to be why we should add Pre-SM Donut station to rotation.


Because Miners always destroy it.


  • Free loot


  • Free loot

Lavaland Syndie

  • You guessed it


  • Security and miners decide to finally work together and commit genocide

So you tell me who’s fault is it really


While I agree with your points that mining (and crew in general) take advantage of ghost spawners, I would consider this to be off topic… however I may actually cover this if I ever make a post about escalation towards ghost roles as a whole, that I have ideas for.

The point I was raising is that no ghost role BENEFITS the station without massive in game risks attached (AI being subverted or malf / xenobiologist being antagonist)
Drones would fill this niche for people who actually want to be nice for no personal gain (Should such a mythical creature exist).


I 1000% support this.

I love the few times I’ve gotten to play the drones. Be it station drone or Russian Drones.
It’s very fun to learn more efficient ways to fix the station and being helpful to crew while silent.
I like that the AI can still talk to you guys

(Favorite interaction was the AI messaging in botspeak something like “Hey Drones. I see you guys. Thanks and keep it up”. It was real cute)

I like that you really can just focus in and do your job without worrying too much about getting murdered. Or yelled at or whatever. And while you can’t interact with the crew it is funny to see them interact with you. Either following you around. Or throwing hats at you. What have you. And not being able to understand them is actually kinda fun. Like being a Roomba or a cat.

What do these big people want. Are they talking about me? Oh well there’s a spill I should go get a mop since everything seems to be fixed.


Have been pushing to get approval for a drone dispenser on station for ages, without any sort of special requirement on them, aside from the ability to ban players from the role. If we do want a barrier to entry I think it will require special coding since there’s not a way to bar players from ghost roles with pre-requisites curretly, but 10h of play should be plenty of barrier.

Drones are too powerful and abusable

  • Cyborgs already have AA as a ghost role
  • Cyborgs start with a lot more tools than a toolbelt, regardless of module (although drones do have the ability to us almost any item they can find)
  • Drone laws are much stricter than cyborg laws, leaving no room for lawyering in shittery. Drone bans will be about as binary as their laws.
  • Drones are much easier to kill than borgs, sporting only 40 HP and a slow movespeed.
  • Drones do not have ranged interfacing with machinery like cyborgs do
  • Like all ghost roles, there’s a cooldown on how quickly you can accept drones so someone can’t just spam drone for grief without a wait between them.
  • In the event drones need to be disabled for IC (or OOC reason, such as grief) dispensers can be destroyed but never rebuilt (currently at least)

I was worried I was the only person who found the lack of communication to actually be part of the fun of drone.

You should try foreigner sometime as one of the service roles like Janitor. Your PDA messenger will “auto translate” messages for you, but outside of that it’s an interesting experience to be without basic communication; Only the silicons, other foreigners and folks with the bilingual quirk can understand you. Bonus points if you’re set to random-name.



I’d love it, the goofy stuff drones get up to are really cute and wholesome. You’re kind of like a mime with a secret handshake that only other drones know.

One shift the drone collective was adamant that we are the stewards of the places that one doth not go. We rather derpily would drop everything we were doing to:

  • Reinforce every floor tile in the dorms.

  • Light every maintenance tunnel.

  • PROCURE. BEST. HAT. Share your fashion at the hat-and-tell at arrivals every 20 minutes.

I was a part of this and can confirm, most times, drones are just funky little dudes

If you do this, allow emagging drones as well.

I would literally be up to just porting /tg/ drones if people wanted

They’ve made a lot of necessary improvements, para drones are implemented well too imo. In any case… code changes will be necessary for this. Drones are kind of messed up, they can shotgun you for one.

I’d just gate it behind silicon and general hours unless higher ups ask for something else, I don’t want to have to manually sort people into drones for the few times I think they’re fit to add into the round, and I don’t want people to beg for me to spawn drones all the time either. I’d wager the other admins think the same thing.

Design-wise, I think you should fairly limited because drone laws are absolutely a pain to chase and enforce, which is one of my issues with drones. The other issue is that they’re so beneficial while being “free” as well, without the risk borgs have. I think the other main difference with drones and borgs is that borgs are just generally more visible, and people more readily ahelp them. And that’s if they aren’t just being mild pests without violating their laws.

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I do enjoy not being able to understand the crew if I’m doing a non crew role, some of the most fun rounds have been like that. Also it is pretty nice listening to the AI and borgs thanking drones for helping out where they cant them self.

Now that you mention it, I never noticed there weren’t requirements on certain ghost roles, I believe goon had such a system implemented to borrow take inspiration from.

I need to make a list of all the things drones are able to do but not necessarily allowed… even things that borgs can’t. making that public without admin notice may be a bad idea in the short term.
One thing I will point out is that drones have their own tab on the RD console, If you think the drones are out of control, there is a detonate option (no explosion, they are just dusted, dropping all gear in the process).

That’s kinda fair Frost, I didn’t think drones would have gotten in without such a barrier to entry, locking it behind silicon would be the step down as if they can make it through X hours as borg without using AA to grief, they would probably be fine.
Honestly, I’m surprised they don’t have the pacifist trait… Killing a rat who is trying to eat a wire or a carp eating a window technically breaks law 1 and 2 if you take the wording to its logical end. Would restrict it a little to pacifist level shenanigans at most.

I need to make a list of all the things drones are able to do but not necessarily allowed…

Here’s a few ideas:

  • Drones are not PAIs, and should not interact or speak with people
  • Drones need to maintain the station, and are not allowed to damage/deconstruct key facilities
  • Drones are not allowed to take items or steal items from crew or armory
  • Drones should not do jobs (bartender, chef, nanites, medical) that put them in interaction with the crew
  • Drones are impartial and are not allowed to intervene/help people in a conflict
  • Drones are not allowed to carry weapons, flashes or defensive items of any kind
  • Drones cannot defend themselves when attacked, fight back, call out criminals or antags

Drones should play like background characters: You do not care about the crew, you do not care about events or what is happening, you only care about repairing the station.
None of the crew interacts with you.

It would make a perfect role for people who want to play the game without having to actively be there all the time.
That is something the game might need: a role for people that can not play 30-60 minutes on end without interruptions due to IRL.

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Drones are already forced to follow these guidelines under their default laws:
(top to bottom: 1, 3, 1&2, 1, 1&2, 2, 2) (Drones cannot speak any language but drone, however can understand binary (silicon))

What I was meaning is that they still have the ability to disregard if the player so chooses to and grief in a devastating way, some ways which may surprise.

Remove the drones option to interact with players and give drones some way to protect themselves from damage so they can keep on droning and repairing.
Maybe automatic self-repair? I fear players just griefing drones for no reason except for the lulz because they can’t and don’t want to fight back.

I’m thinking of something similar to the bar customer drones TG has now with their gigantic HP to prevent shittery.

We have rule 2 for a reason. If someone, as a non-antag, is smashing drones just because they’re drones, admins should be getting involved.

Drones can reboot other drones for free (using hands on a dead drone. This is also the only method to reboot. This is why keeping tabs on each other is vital)
Help intent screwdriver is used to heal damage of self or other (takes around the same time as swarmer repair)

I do however agree with drones being pacifistic to stop even accidental interactions (miss clicking etc) or malicious interactions.

Also if someone walks up and just smashes you for no apparent reason then yeah, that should probably be brought up to staff

Also if someone walks up and just smashes you for no apparent reason then yeah, that should probably be brought up to staff

IMO should have IC consequences. No need to make admins interfere for smashing a pacifist mob.

True… it could probably be considered a 307 or 407 (Sabotage/Grand Sabotage respectfully) as destruction of station property. Actually getting caught for such a crime is an issue tho.

Disagree, this forces drones into a nothing burger, Its basically a spectater tool where people act like shitters and kill drones for taking metal out of a prolathe to replenish their built in RCD

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