Two forms of warfare dominated the battlefields in the early years of the 21st century.
Drones – remotely piloted vehicles – commoditized the battlefield. Guided by operators hundreds or even thousands of kilometers away, these drones removed the risk of death from battle, while still accomplishing the objectives set by their military – or, later, corporate – superiors.
Insurgents – small bands of irregular but highly trained fighters – could blend into the civilian population, using cities as cover, vanishing into the crowds. With limited numbers and firepower, insurgencies quickly learned to do whatever was necessary to win an asymmetric war – including sacrificing themselves in suicide attacks. By the middle of the century, a synthesis of these two forms emerged.
Human drones. Corpses, reanimated and augmented by cybernetic implants, and guided by elite teams of remote operators. Anyone could be killed and turned into the perfect weapon, a bespoke killing machine optimized for a particular situation, a particular target.
Ideal, disposable weapons for the shadowy corporate conflicts and geopolitical chaos of the mid-21st century. The operators of these drones reminded themselves that however human their tools seemed, they were just meat machines.
In drone, one player plays the drone – a cybernetically reanimated corpse, memory erased, designed for the mission at hand.
Three other players are the operators – remote console jockeys, there to guide the drone through its assignment, and keep it under control. Both sets of players draw their actions from the same pool of dice, forcing them to work together – and as the game progresses, the dice pool gets tighter and the hostile Gamemaster gets more firepower to throw at them. It’s a collaborative cyberpunk dystopian psychodrama – with lots of guns.