An alternative to magically summoning beings for your use, you can instead carry them on your person to deploy and recall them as needed. This is common in science fiction with vehicles or robots, though some magical examples or even natural examples such as some real life mutualism.
Methods of storage are:
- Carried on or inside the deployer's body or armor.
- Carried in a capsule or similar container.
The roles these drones can play for the deployer are:
- Attack Drone: Assisting the deploying in attacking enemies.
- Surveillance Drone: Searches the area and immediately alerting the deployer the presence of an intruder or enemy. They can be taken out stealthily if possible.
- Mook Medic: Constantly healing and/or shielding the deployer, requiring that the drones be taken out first before attacking the deployer.
Drones are often Transforming Mecha
or Size Shifters
to help conserve space and store more of them.
See also Detachment Combat
, Enemy Summoner
, Mook Maker
, The Minion Master
, and The Turretmaster
- X-Men had the Master Mold, a giant Sentinel production plant shaped like a Sentinel. Master Mold also has the ability to summon and control Sentinels from anywhere, which made it a bad thing that it went kill-crazy against mankind AND mutantkind.
- Star Wars: many vehicles and starships of the Separatist Confederacy carry loads of battle droids that can be deployed when needed.
- Syndrome's search drone from The Incredibles.
- Transformers has Skorponok, who is constantly on Blackout's back until he is needed, upon which the former detaches.
- One of the predators from the film, um, Predators has a detachable hawk like device he uses to track prey.
- Dungeons & Dragons has had many types of these over the years.
- Chess: Fextree's and Marbol's Chess Games and the Chessmen of Ultham-Urre. All of whose pieces could turn into monsters that fought for the owner.
- Crystal Warriors. Could turn into characters that fought for the owner.
- Figurines of Wondrous Power. Depending on the type, could turn into creatures such as elephants, tracking dogs or giant goats that performed tasks (including fighting).
- The Bag of Tricks. The owner could reach in and pull out a small fuzzy object. When tossed to the ground, it would become a randomly chosen animal that would fight for the user, anything from a rat to a tiger.
- Star Fleet Battles, Captain's Log #40: The Space Manta monster is infested with parasites that it can launch at targets. The parasites pursue the targets as if they were seeking weapons and attack the targets when they hit them.
- Star Fleet Battles: all of the major interstellar nations had ships that carried fighters or PF ships, and almost all major ships carried armed shuttlecraft.
- Starfire: the major star fleets had carriers that carried armed fighters.
- Classic Traveller: the Imperial fleet had several carrier types which carried various amounts of fighters, including the Skimkish class light carrier and the Wind class strike carrier (both 80 fighters) and the Antiama class fleet carrier (300 fighters). Other major ships could also carry fighters, such as the Tigress class dreadnaught (300 fighters).
- Transformers: many incarnations of Soundwave have him carrying cassettes that transform into robots, such as Laserbeak.
- Blaster, Soundwave's Autobot counterpart.
- Hero Factory: Stormer XL carries Scout Drones on himself.
- Sword of the Stars: A Murder of Crows has drone carrier ships in all three size categories. They're a particular specialty of the Morrigi.
- The Protoss Carrier and Reaver from Starcraft. The first fires Interceptors that return for repairs after a while, the other stores what are essentially seeking ground torpedoes. The sequel keeps only the Carrier, improving it by allowing automatic production of Interceptors.
- The Arbiter, which can instantly summon a group of units to its location.
- One illustration for Golden Sun shows that Djinn are kept this way, each shrinks down to a point of light on the user's body.
- In Team Fortress 2, the Engineer can pick up and redeploy any buildings he constructs, though this does have the disadvantage of keeping the engineer from defending himself until he drops his load, as well as slowing him down.
- Dawn of War: This is how the Tau's Drone Harbinger unit works, it automatically produces small drones that then attack-move towards the targeted destination. However, it must be watched carefully to make sure it doesn't die or rapidly drains your energy ressource.
- Solatorobo: Many ships produce drones, and are defeated by throwing the drones back with great force. The Tiamat mech produces up to four that are basically flying buzzsaws.
- In Awesomenauts, Voltar the Omniscient has this as one of his special abilities. Depending on your upgrade loadout, it may be his only method of attack.
- The Heretic Leader uses holographic assault drones in Halo 2.
- Pokémon: trainers often carry their Pokemon in their Pokeballs.
- Ace Combat 5 features the Ark Bird and Hrimfaxi, the latter of which is a giant submarine. Both launch UAV drones to defend themselves.
- NPC freighters in the X-Universe series frequently carry a small number of fighter drones to fend off attackers. The Sector Trader and Bonus Pack trading scripts will make player-owned freighters buy them for the same purpose.
- In EVE Online, most ships cruiser-class and larger can deploy drones, which can fight or mine on that ship's behalf. The Gallente in particular specialize in drone combat.
- In FTL: Faster Than Light, drones are one of the primary tactics of the Engi, and non-Engi ships can also use them if they acquire a drone system.
- In the Borderlands series, the Soldier and Commando classes utilize sentry turrets as a form of offense or defense depending on the skill tree paths taken.
- In DC Universe Online, Brainiac and his minions uses this heavily.
- Aircraft Carriers
- The Switchblade man-portable drone has been purchased by the U.S. army. It's launched from a small tube, and can fly autonomously or piloted. Soldiers can see a video feed from the drone, and can pick a target seen in the feed for the drone to go kamikaze against.