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. They may also be Equippable Allies
See also Detachment Combat
, Combining Mecha
, Enemy Summoner
, Mook Maker
, The Minion Master
, and The Turretmaster
Anime and Manga
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam: the Gundam Rose deploys Rose Bits to support it in battle.
- From the UC Gundam continuity, the Qubeley series of Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ carry funnels; the Elmeth of Mobile Suit Gundam had bits; and the Sazabi and Nu Gundam of Mobile Suit Gundam: Char's Counterattack had Fin Funnels and bits, respectively.
- Gundam SEED has the Providence Gundam, which carries DRAGOONs, which are basically bits by another name.
- Gundam SEED Destiny has the Chaos Gundam that uses 2 attack drones and the Strike Freedom Gundam which deploys the DRAGOONs once again (ironic because the first Freedom Gundam defeated the Providence). And then there's the Legend which is based on the Providence.
- Mobile Suit Gundam 00 has various mobile suits that use Fangs and Bits, including the Throne Zwei, Cherudim, Arche, and Reborns Gundams.
- In Area88, an aircraft carrier is modified to move on land and even under sand and launches computer-controlled F/A-18 Hornets.
- 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.
- Minor Spider-Man enemy Armada wears a suit of armor carrying many little flying robots he can send out to do his bidding. The interesting thing is that he cares about their welfare, and freaks out when they inevitably get destroyed by heroes who assume they are just machines. Note that it's never clear whether the little robots actually are self-aware, or if Armada is just crazy.
Film — Animated
- Star Wars: many vehicles and starships of the Separatist Confederacy carry loads of battle droids that can be deployed when needed.
Film — Live-Action
- Syndrome's search drone from The Incredibles, which appears to be part of his outfit until he deploys it.
- 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.
- Minority Report: the Spyder drones which provide surveillance and have a taser like effect while fitting neatly into a police utility belt.
- Adamist ships in The Night's Dawn Trilogy supplement their firepower with advanced war drones called "combat wasps". Wasps carry X-ray lasers, fusion torch engines, electronic warfare packages, and often their own sub-drones.
- Honor Harrington novels, too. From Honor Among Enemies on, some ships carried a squadron of Light Attack Craft - their Space Fighter equivalent, with a very small crew compared to other ships. It got better from then on. Bigger carriers can launch up to 200 LACs.
- The jerengjen in Ghostweight by Yoon Ha Lee, that take the form of origami shapes that unfold into the required weaponry.
- 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.
- 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).
- Warhammer 40,000: most Tau vehicles have drones that can pop free of their weapon mounts.
- Riggers in Shadowrun mostly command drones using their Brain–Computer Interface, and the smaller ones they can carry on their person.
- Transformers: many incarnations of Soundwave have him carrying cassettes that transform into robots, such as Laserbeak.
- Blaster, Soundwave's Autobot counterpart.
- Metroplex, Trypticon, and the other Cityformers tend have normal-sized Cybertronians who serve as internal defenders. Their autonomy and intelligence varies from one continuity to another.
- Optimus Prime himself can transform his trailer into a small command center, and dispatch a little semi-autonomous car named Roller. In most adaptations, he doesn't make as much use of these remote extensions of himself as one might expect.
- Omega Supreme similarly transforms into three separate components, which all recombine to form his robot body.
- Then there's Reflector, whose camera mode splits into three separate robots. In the cartoon, these three bodies appeared to share a single consciousness.
- LEGO Exo-Force: The Deep Jungle sets have deployable mini robots.
- 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, whose Command ships and other classes carry drones as well.
- The Protoss Carrier and Reaver, the latter unique to StarCraft I. 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, also unique to the first game, which can instantly summon a group of units to its location.
- Story-wise the Terran battlecruiser is a Battlestar that carries Wraith fighters in addition to its own armament. However this is not true in gameplay.
- StarCraft II has the Terran Raven, a replacement for the science vessel that can launch a defensive drone. The protoss get the carrier again, while the zerg acquire a unit that manufactures and deploys Infested Terrans in a similar manner to the Reaver.
- 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 him 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 drain your energy resources.
- 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 in Halo 2 uses holographic attack drones.
- 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.
- X-Universe series:
- The series has had M1 carriers since the first game in the series, lightly armed capital ships that use fighters as their primary weapon. X3: Terran Conflict adds other carriers:
- Most M7 frigates carry a small number of fighters. The Panther takes this to an extreme, with 32 berths (most frigates carry six, full-size carriers have 50-60). Albion Prelude introduced a complete line-up of "carrier" frigates (originally from Xtended Terran Conflict) to compliment the Panther.
- The M6 Hyperion corvette carries a pair of fighters on external clamps.
- TM military transports remove most of a freighter's cargo bay in exchange for four fighter berths, letting them carry their own backup.
- NPC freighters 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. Xtended Terran Conflict introduces drone-carrier frigates, which are capable of manufacturing advanced drones on-the-move which are deployed and retrieved them from exterior docking clamps.
- X Rebirth's player ship carries various types of remotely operated and unmanned drones in lieu of space fighters. Capital ships now have URV Launchers instead of docking ports, which launch attack drones that are significantly easier to maintain and cheaper to buy than the fighters of previous games which were a massive logistical nightmare.
- 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, Roland the Soldier and Axton the Commando utilize sentry turrets as a form of offense or defense depending on the skill tree paths taken. Wilhelm the Enforcer of the Pre-Sequel deploys two flying drones, one of which attacks while the other one heals him.
- In DC Universe Online, Brainiac and his minions uses this heavily. A Gadget-using character can deploy turrets that fly around and shoot at your enemies for you.
- Half-Life 2 has Combine soldiers carrying manhacks/viscerators.
- Hellgate: London features a character class dedicated to this concept.
- The BFT Carrier from Bubble Tanks 2 fits this trope to a T. It can carry up to six invulnerable drones that can be deployed to attack anything near your mouse cursor.
- Homeworld's Kushan Puppeteer-class Drone Frigate manufactures, fields and maintains 24 stationary turrets which are locked in orbit of the parent frigate. The Drone Frigate is unarmed so it must rely on the Drones to do the fighting.
- Homeworld: Cataclysm's Somtaaw Hive-class Advanced Drone Frigate builds six essential Attack Drones which, while autonomous and versatile, take up more space than their predecessors. When things get too dicey to bear, the Hive Frigate's two self-defense guns will add just a bit more firepower at the risk of exposing the frigate to the fight.
- Sans the implementation of a Game Mod, Homeworld 2 scrapped drone warfare in skirmish and multiplayer matches. However, the Progenitor Keepers in the singleplayer campaign could construct Keeper Drones which were just as formidable as the Keepers themselves. The closest thing in the player's hands is the Pride of Hiigara with a construction facility for producing up to ten reverse-engineered Progenitor Mover corvettes.
- In addition to the Gundam examples, Super Robot Wars has a number of "Banpresto Original" mechs that deploy drones: the Ashsaber, Dis Astragant, Cybuster, and others. Many also appear in the Super Robot Wars Original Generation subseries.
- Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 the Allies Aircraft Carrier which deploys skynight attack drones.
- Star Trek Online features several carriers, ranging from the Klingon Vo'Quv to the Voth Bastion flight-deck cruiser. The game breaks them into full carriers (two hangar bays, fewer bridge officer slots) and hybrids (more capable on their own, one hangar bay). Also the Odyssey-class and Bortasqu'-class feature unique consoles that allow them to separate a section of their geometry that acts independently and is also available as a ship on its own (respectively the Aquarius-class destroyer and HoH'SuS-class bird of prey).
- One enemy in Bionic Commando's sixth area attacks with remote-controlled helicopter drones.
- 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.
- Several species of Acacia tree have a symbiotic relationship with ants, which they attract with sap-filled pods and hollows ideal for build a nest in. The ants swarm on any animal attempting to eat the tree, and strip the leaves from nearby plants competing for light, water, and nutrients.