posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Dragonmech: Steam Warriors is a book on character options. It starts off with feats, then new classes, then new steam powers, then new spells, then some expanded other rules. The feats, of course, are mostly boring. Some high points:

Aerial Operation (Dex 13, Mech Pilot 5): You do not get a -4 penalty when piloting flying mechs. Guess what there's only single digits of in the entire world!
Ageless (At least +7 points worth of artificial parts): You do not age, but still die when your lifespan runs out.
Coupling (At least +2 points worth of artificial parts): You can combine with other steamborgs with this feat to share senses, preventing flanking and physically merging. You get a bonus to all attacks based on the number of merged members, but you lose 10 feet of movement and must all remain in contact, and you get a penalty to your next loss-of-self check.
Hazard Master (Gearstride Feat): You can make a (melee or ranged) touch attack at AC 10 in a gear forest to produce an environmental hazard at the spot you hit, and if you do so from hiding it takes a DC 20 Knowledge or Craft check to tell someone caused it in the first place.
High-Grade Steel: Any time you gain an artificial part, you can pay an extra 100 gp to gain 1 max HP, with a cap of 'your HP if you rolled max on all your hit dice.' You can take this multiple times.

They are all pretty bad, too - stuff like '+1 to a bunch of skills while in a specific city-mech' or '+2 to two specific skills' or 'slightly improve your ability to do something, plus a feat tree that is three feats long.' Anyway. We move on to classes. First up, prestige classes, because...because.

The Chainmuscle is a prestige class for steamborgs that seek physical power over all else. To become one, you need Str 10+, Dex 10+ and Con 10+, plus 8 ranks of Craft (mechcraft) and 4 of Knowledge (steam engines). Further, you must have the Power Source feat or steam engine class ability (to have a steam engine in you, yeah, btw, that's a feat now, the steamborg class can be done by just taking feats and it still sucks) and +2 points worth of artificial parts. For this, you get a d10 hit die. Your class skills are Balance, Climb, Craft (mechcraft), Jump, Knowledge (steam engines), Profession (engineer) and Swim. You gain proficiency with all simple weapons and any 4 steam-powered weapons of your choice, along with all armor (including hydraulic armor) but no shields. You get good BAB (but not multiple attacks, for some reason), good Fort and good Ref.

At levels 1, 4, 7 and 10, you get a +1 inherent bonus to one of Strength, Dexterity or Constitution, with a note that inherent bonuses cap at +5, from steam-powered upgrades. If your power source or all of steam powers break, your stat bonus goes away until they're fixed. You can also get some free points for artificial parts, starting at level 4. At level 3, you get DR 1/-, upgrading to 2/- at 6 and 3/- at 9. That's the entire prestige class.

The Cogmorph is a prestige class for steamborgs that want to have hidden tools and multi-use implants - essentially, they get to rearrange their power selections, at the cost of losing use of parts of their body temporarily. To become one, you need a BAB of +2 or more, 8 ranks in Craft (mechcraft), 8 in Knowledge (steam engines) and 8 in Profession (engineer). You also need to have the Power Source feat or class ability, and must have built at least 2 different steam powers unaided, and must have helped build a mech. You get a d8 hit die and your class skills are Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft, Disable Device, Heal, Jump, Knowledge (architecture and engineering), Knowledge (steam engines), Listen, Profession and Use Magic Device. You get no new proficiencies, half-decent BAB, and good Ref.

At level 1, you get the Combined Parts ability - you can combine and decombine two of your artificial parts as a standard action. You pick ahead of time two of your artificial parts (right arm and left arm, say) and how the steam powers installed in them will work together, and you can alter the bonuses the artificial parts provide. So say you have a right arm that gives +1 Str and has a flame nozzle attached, and a left arm that gives +1 Dex and has the amplifier and light generator steam powers. When you combine them, you can make it a combined location that gives +2 Strength and has the amplifier boost the flame nozzle's damage dice. At 3rd, 5th and 7th levels, you can choose a new combination of 2 parts that you can do, or add a part to a pre-existing combination. Obviously, a part can't be used simultaneously in two different combinations. Any time you change or replace your artificial parts and their associated powers and attachments, you can rework any combinations they were part of. Oh, and you must remove all armor to initiate a combination.

At 9th level, you can combine or decombine as a free action once per round. At 10th level, you get a new combination of every artificial part and steam power attached to your body, adding to it any new powers or parts you gain in the future. Oh, and you also slowly gain more points to spend on artificial parts and steam powers, at a worse rate than the Chainmuscle.

Next time: Cogworms. I'm actually ending this early because Cogworms deserve to be a post topper.

The robot talks to me, see.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Dragonmech: Steam Warriors: The robot talks to me, see.

The Cogworm of the Great Walkers takes its name from the specialized worm gears they're known to use to redistribute power within the gear forests of a citymech. They are, at the moment, all cogling mechanics who operate in a clandestine, unauthorized manner. They do chat with each other, but each is focused on their own home citymech, and they almost never leave. To them, there is very little of interest outside their home. Any cogworm would die if it would make the citymech operate longer and would suffer terrible torture before revealing any secrets. See, the cogworms hold that the citymechs are sentient, and they work to perform the will of their citymech. Most other engineers find this to be an insane statement, but some do wonder, if they have experience with large, complex systems or with chatterboxes. Just about every citymech has between three and eight cogworms in it somewhere, hidden in secret chambers in the gear forest...with the exception of Tannanliel, which has never reported any at all. Yet, that is. The coglings that tend to become cogworms are usually less xenophobic and paranoid than other coglings and try to get taken seriously by otusiders. They often help the criminals and workers on a citymech in exchange for service in removing threats to the mech itself or a promise to avoid certain areas. Many workers talk about them as if they are magical beings that come to help the unfortunate, and certainly it's true that cogworms want their citymechs to be inhabited by happy people. As a result, any effort by leaders to get rid of cogworms tends to run into a lot of resistance, and even the Legion has been unable to capture and remove the little guys. Cogworms also see themselves as the protectors and go-betweens for cogling families and clans and the outside world, trying to keep them safe and healthy.

So, what does it take to be a cogworm? You don't need to be a cogling - just, all current cogworms are. You need Int 15+, 10 ranks in Craft (mechcraft), 12 in Knowledge (mechs) and 10 in Knowledge (local). You must have the Craft Steam Gear feat. And last: you must have been born on a citymech, and must have lived and worked aboard your current citymech for at least two years. If you ever permanently leave, you can no longer take cogworm levels until you move aboard a new citymech. Oh, and the other cogworms on your citymech must approve of and accept you. In the past that's been all coglings but if you've got useful skills, that's relaxed - especially if you know about magic, an area that th current cogworms are quite interested in. A cogworm has a d4 hit die and their class skills are Climb, Craft (blacksmithing), Craft (mechcraft), Disable Device, Hide, Knowledge (local), Knowledge (mechs), Knowledge (steam engines), Open Lock and Search. They have bad BAB and good Will, and get a (somewhat slow) access to steam powers. They also get proficiency with clubs, daggers, darts, slings, and one steam-powered weapon of their choice per point of Int bonus.

At level 1, the cogworm can create a cogworm gear. (A cog gear is the typical thing you think of when you hear 'gear' while a worm gear is a screw that turns as cog gears push the cogs along the screw thread. They're useful for redirecting force, so long as the thread is sized right.) A cogworm gear is a worm gear in which the threads are made of cogs of various sizes that can be twisted into place to fit any gear. The cogworm gear is a steam power that only cogworms can get, which can be used to replace a steam engine. It requires no fuel - you just attach the cogworm gear to any citymech wall and it provides all the power you need, with power equivalent to two boilers. It takes a full round to attach a cogworm gear, but it can be detached as a free action, and any normal coglayer trying to use it cannot attach it without destroying any and all steam powers attached to it. However, once the gear is hooked up, anyone can use it (and its attached powers) as a standard action...but they can't move even a five foot step away without dropping the steam power, because it's attached to the wall.

At level 2, a cogworm may disguise a steam power as another steam power or piece of equipment, requiring a Spot check to tell the truth. This is helpful because cogworms tend to leave their stuff plugged in and unattended, which means anyone can use it if they realize what it is. At level 3, a cogworm may add steam powers to existing machinery easier, including to large citymech mechanisms, even while the machines are operating. This is typically used to do things like add a discriminator so that only the cogworm and their friends can use something - for example, cutting off an elevator's access to a certain floor to everyone else - but can also be used to trap doors or supercharge mounted weapons. However, while these mods are part of the citymech, without a cogworm gear or cable, they do not get the automatic effect of two amplifiers that most steam powers built into citymechs do.

At level 5, the cogworm can actually communicate with their citymech for one round per level of cogworm, as per the spell commune. Citymechs are not gods, however, and are very close to their cogworms. Questions aren't limited to yes-or-no answers...but citymechs know very little about anything not related to their work. They know what their crew does, where they've been, and what goes on inside them. That's about it. Further, the personality of the citymech will color what answers they give - for example, Rebirth is very childlike and often unhelpful, while Durgan-lok is often cryptic and distracted by scholarship.

At level 6, the cogworm gets +4 to Diplomacy, Intimidation, Gather Information and Handle Animal checks against residents of their citymech. At level 7, they get the cogworm cable steam power - it works exactly as per cogworm gear, except that it allows movement within 15 feet of the location you tapped into because of the cable. Anyone that attacks the cable or steps over it takes 2d6 damage if they fail a Reflex save, as it's very taut and dangerous. At level 8, the cogworm can summon a trak trak once per day. However, unlike normal trak traks, if the cogworm fails a Wis check to control it, these trak traks are automatically hostile and violent towards anyone neabry. If under control, they obey verbal instructions but can do little more than attack foes or move objects around. They dissolve back into the pile of junk they were born from in 1d10+1 rounds, and you need sufficient junk to be present to summon one.

At level 9, a cogworm may now attach a steam power to any point within a citymech and have it affect something on any other part of the citymech, rather than attaching it directly. This makes the DC of attachment higher, but gives a bonus to disguising the device. At level 10, the cogworm can use Clockwork Intimacy once per day to perform a search that takes one hour of crawling through ducts, talking to people or sometimes just standing around in meditation in an engine room. This allows the cogworm to know the location of any person on the citymech to within 25 feet. The cogworm must either name a specific person or a person with a specified talent or ability to search for. Further, the cogworm can spend a day to find the location (to within 25 feet) of any non-unique, non-magical item on board valued up to 500 gp, which must weigh 50 pounds or less. The citymech may or may not be finding the things for the cogworm, but magic spells that block scrying do not block this ability. Note: the cogworm is not teleported anywhere, they just know where the person or object is.

We also get a sidebar on citymech personalities! Durgan-lok knows quite a lot about the world and its history, being the eldest of the citymechs and possibly tapped into the spirit of the First Age of Walkers. However, it is frustratingly prone to answering questions with riddles and it often has trouble telling the present from the past. Nedderpik is grim, efficient and wants to destroy any threat to the Stenian Confederacy as quickly as possible. It isn't a sadist but it does believe in sacrifices being made for the greater good, and is more than willing to ask cogworms to risk their lives. In its early years it was much friendlier and chattier, but its nature has shifted as the population of Nedderpik became more dominated by wealth. Lokag is a quiet, taciturn citymech that often refuses to give complex responses. When it does speak at length, it usually is not answering the question it was asked, but will be very informative and very urgent. It considers most topics not super urgent to be unworthy of its attention and has hinted that it spends most of its time pondering something at great length. It talks most often about magic and its desire to learn more about magic, though it is unclear why. Thuron claims that its fleet of support mechs are its children and talk to it, though they do not speak to cogworms. It is very protective and hates risking its fleet, though it understands the necessity. Thuron often sets its cogworms to repairing the fleet rather than itself, and it is not uncommon for mechs to just get mysteriously repaired in the night by cogworms after a battle. Goria is a mix of gossip and social scientist, engaging heavily with the groups that live aboard it and often sets its cogworms to playing the various sides off each other as it sees fit. The cogworms see this as maintaining a social balance so Goria can examine the results of the conflict, and it often tries to learn how to get people to work together or how to drive them apart. Rebirth is heavily flawed and has the personality of a child - it is more guided by its cogworms than vice versa. More on that in a moment. Haven is exceptionally arrogant and believes itself the greatest citymech ever built despite any evidence to the contrary. It is especially contemptuous of Tannanliel for some reason, and it often orders its cogworms to push its machinery past the intended and recommended levels to 'unlock its true potential.'

So, on Rebirth. Everyone knows it has problems, especially its cogworms. They describe it as juvenile and inconsistent, requiring protection and care rather than reverence. They often believe it can't even understand its own needs. However, there is hope. Rebirth often talks about the One Flaw, a single, critical error in its design that causes all the other problems. While the cogworms originally believed this was another oversimplification, they have since become convinced that it is true, as they got to know the layout better. Now, they are obsessed with finding and repairing the One Flaw in order to allow Rebirth to mature. Shar Thizdic is aware of their presence and does not like them, but his original efforts to wipe them out all failed. Eventually he heard about the One Flaw, and decided to leave the cogworms alone for now, because it all made sense - his dwarf slaves had sabotaged his grand machine, and once the One Flaw is fixed, it will be the perfect engine he envisioned. He has ordered the cogworms be left alone for now...but once the One Flaw is fixed, he plans to invite them all to his chambers as thanks, then kill every last one of them. The cogworms do not trust the Legion at all, but are willing to make use of its resources to fix the One Flaw as long as their security remains intact - and for now, Shar is allowing his men to cooperate with them.

Next time: Saboteurs and machine druids.


posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Dragonmech: Steam Warriors: I EAT GUNDAM

The Gear Eater believes mechs are evil and bad and a representation of all that has gone wron with the world. All steam engines, they believe, must be destroyed - but especially mechs. They get unique, magical abilities to help them do this, but no one is sure where - possibly the old gods, possibly the lunar gods, or possibly both, or neither. Something is giving them powers, though. Gear sneak onto mechs and break them from the inside, especially citymechs. There's a bounty on them in most places, and some, like the Irontooth Clans, will kill them without even a trial. Their abilities, as a note, specifically do not work on animated or necromantic mechs. They have a d8 Hit Die and to become one, you must have any Chaotic alignment, Wis 12+, 8 ranks of Disable Device and the Wrecker feat. Their class skills are Appraise, Concentration, Disable Device, Gather Information, Knowledge (any), Listen, Move Silently, Profession (any except engineer), Search, Sense Motive, Spot and Use Rope. They can't gain further ranks in Craft (mechcraft), Knowledge (steam engines), Mech Pilot or Profession (engineer).

In fact, they actually get a penalty on all skill checks related to steam powers, clockwork, steam engines or other complex machines equal to their Gear Eater level and can never become proficient in any steam or clockwork weapons. They also get a penalty to using those. However, at level 1, they get Greater Wrecker, which lets them add their Wis bonus to any roll to sabotage or wreck a machine and makes any repairs take twice as long. At level 2, they can sabotage a machine without even needing to make a skill roll, given enough uninterrupted time to work and a Wis check that ranges from DC 6 (for Fine machines) to DC 20 (for Colossal V) and never takes more than 1d4+2 hours (for the biggest machine). However, this power can't be used on mechs in total - just a specific system within them. It can, however, render a sentient machine unconscious (but not dead). This is usable once per day, plus one more at levels 5 and 9. At level 3, the Gear Eater can now cause crits against steam-powered constructs and other machines normally immune to them, and get +1 crit range against them at level 7.

At level 4, a Gear Eater may use rusting grasp once a day as if they were a druid of their total level. At 8th level, they get an extra use per day. At 6th level, they can deactivate steam powers with a touch attack, knocking out (Wis bonus) powers for one minute or one power for (Wis bonus) minutes, as often as they like. At 10th level, a Gear Eater can generate a wave of anti-machine hate once per day which is so powerful that it interferes with mechs, making a Wisdom check with DC based on size of the mech to stall the mech's movement and render its limbs useless for as long as the Gear Eater concentrates and makes another Wis check each round, which gets progressively harder. Gear Eaters can work together to stall a mech, giving a bonus to the Wis check and using the highest Wis bonus among them. (This is...theoretically good, as the DC ranges from 15 to 30.)

The Ghostgear is a rogue-focused class that focuses on stealth, climbing and swimming to better steal and murder. They are steamborgs, but far more out of utility than any desire to improve themselves as people. They have a d6 HD, and to become one, you need a BAB of +4 or better, 4 ranks in Climb, 4 in Craft (mechcraft), 4 in Hide, 4 in Listen, 4 in Move Silently and 4 in Spot. Also, you need the Power Soruce feat or steam engine class ability. Your class skills are Balance, Bluff, Climb, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disguise, Escape Artist, Forgery, Gather Information, Hide, Jump, Knowledge (steam engines), Listen, Move Silently, Perform, Profession, Search, Sense Motive, Sleight of Hand, Spot, Tumble and Use Rope. You gain proficiency with all simple weapons, the kukri, the rapier, the shortbow, the short sword, the shuriken and all light armor. You also slowly gain implant bonuses to spend and steam powers as you level.

At 1st level, you can sit still for as long as your body will hold out. While you do, you get +5 to Hide and Move Silently checks. You can also shut off your smokestack for up to ten minutes before you start suffocating. At level 3, 6 and 9, you get +1d6 sneak attack damage, which stacks with any other sneak attack ability you have. At level 4, your implants are now very quiet, giving +4 to Move Silently checks at all times. That's it! That's the class. The entire class.

The Grease Prophet has no art. They are mysterious people, divine spellcasters who forsook their holy magic for mastery over technology. They are able to make steam powers from essentially nothing, use constructor magic and even turn themselves into constructs. As yet, only four are known to exist - two on Nedderpik, one on Durgan-lok and one stowed away on Haven. All four are dwarves, and it's believed that the coglings may have a few of their own. Each of the four known ones used to be a druid that got interested in technology in secret, and grease prophets resemble druids of machinery. However, they lose their ability to cast divine spells entirely - that power is now used only to create spontaneous steam powers from scrap. All of the old gods reject them, and only Dotrak finds them worthy, though they see Dotrak as just one name for the mystical aspects of technology as a whole. They get a d8 HD, and must be Neutral in some way, as well as having 8 ranks of Knowledge (nature), 5 of Knowledge (religion) and 8 of Knowledge (steam engines). They must also have the Craft Steam Gear feat and the ability to cast at least 3rd level divine spells. Their class skills are Concentration, Craft, Handle Animal, Heal, Knowledge (mechs), Knowledge (steam engines), Listen, Mech Pilot, Profession, Spot and Survival. They gain proficiency with all steam weapons and armor, and may use any steam power weapons with full proficiency.

Grease Prophets can no longer cast divine spells or use any spellcasting-related class abilities, but need to track spell slots anyway, and gain caster levels every time they level up. This is because their spell levels fuel their spontaneous steam powers. They decide what they want to make, then sacrifice a spell slot to make it. They can use as many power components as the spell slot they sacrificed has levels, and it lasts for (Grease Prophet level) rounds. To regain spell levels each day, you need to spend an hour meditating on technology, but you get them back without the usual divine caster Wis check. You still need shit to make your powers out of, but on any Colossal or larger steam mech you are assumed to have anything you'd need. Otherwise, it's a DC 15 Search check on smaller mechs, so you should probably carry random machinery. Only the creator can use these spontaneous powers - they stop working for anyone else and crumble to scrap, and they can't be combined with other devices by any means. Creating one is the same sort of action as casting a spell. Also, if you had cleric levels and the Engine or Knowledge domains, you may still cast domain spells, but do not gain any new ones as you level. You can, however, trade your domain slots to create steam powers, as above.

Grease Prophets may use Handle Animal on constructs and clockwork devices, just as clockwork rangers do. If you have the Animal Companion class feature, however, you are limited to dire rats, grease lizards, Medium or Large monstrous centipedes, Medium monstrous spiders, and Small or Medium vipers. Any other companions leave immediately, but familiars do not. However, for Animal Companions that qualify, add the Grease Prophet class levels to those of the original class to determine the companion's abilities. Further, Grease Prophets add their class level to all Knowledge (mechs) or (steam engines) checks starting at level 2. Also at level 2, they may use Sludgestep, which is identical to the druid Trackless Step ability, except it works only in gear forests, engine rooms and other highly steam-driven areas. Also, they get the Gearstride feat free, even if they don't meet the prereqs.

Starting at level 3, a Grease Prophet can use Clockwork Shell and take on the form of any Small or Medium steam or clockwork construct once per day, as per the polymorph spell, except it lasts (Grease Prophet levels) hours or until willingly ended, and doesn't provoke AoOs. You must be familiar with the form you take on, and while in that form, can speak only Mekanik, the native language of the tik'tok race. You also can't use your other Grease Prophet powers. Your HD cannot exceed your Grease Prophet level. At level 4, you may become a Large construct, a Tiny one at 5, and a Huge one at 8. At level 6 you can transform twice a day, and at 9 you can transform three times. At level 10, you can become a Gargantuan construct...or a mech, as long as you obey all other limits of the power. If becomign a mech, you instead cannot have PU that exceed your level. You also count as one member of your own crew but take up no space aboard yourself. You can see as if you had an optical orb/imagemaker combo in a location of your choice and can hear anything inside your hull or within 50 feet of you. When you return to your natural form, you take damage proportional to any damage you suffered as a mech, but will heal normally (though more exotic crit effects may take magical healing). Anyone inside you when you turn back is automatically put on the ground harmlessly where you were standing as a mech. Anyway! At level 4, a Grease Prophet automatically passes any Reflex save to avoid gear forest hazards. At level 7, you may sacrifice two spell slots at once to create a larger device that uses components equal to the total levels sacrificed.

Druids who become Grease Prophets lose most of their druid powers, but get a bunch of extra powers in exchange based on how many Druid levels they have. (You get all you qualify for, they stack.) For 1: You can take an animal companion from the approved list. For 2: 1/day you may smite or repair an engine-powered construct with a touch attack, causing or healing 2d6 damage per grease prophet level. For 3-4: You may use your 1st and 2nd level spell slots to spontaneously cast equivalent level constructor spells (1+Wis mod) times per day. For 5-6: Your steam power creations last twice as long as normal. For 7-8: You can spontaneously cast 3rd and 4th level constructor spells, too. For 9-10: You can maintain two different steam power combos at once, under the normal restrictions. For 11+: You may trade in any number of druid levels to immediately gain that many Grease Prophet levels, with the caveat that at the end of this you will only have whatever powers off this list you qualify for with your remaining Druid levels.

Oh yeah - and if you ever want to stop being a grease prophet? You can't take any full divine caster classes still unless you undergo atonement as if you were a fallen paladin in order to regain divine casting, plus any other conditions the GM sees fit to apply. Further, if you do regain your casting, you lose all abilities except your bonus to Knowledge checks and your animal companion, if you had one.



posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

DragonMech: Steam Warriors: Su...per...maaaan...

The Hissing Psiborg is a psionic cyborg. Psionics apparently handle machinery better than magic does most of the time, and the psiborg continues to pursue psionic power while also seeking steamborg implants. However, as most of their flesh is replaced, they are forced to store some of their psionic energies in their water reservoir rather htan their body. Because only a small amount of water holds the energy, the loss to steam isn't actually a problem, but it means that as powers are used, the water is etherealized and hisses through the body - hence the name. The heat also tends to make them glow red around the edges of their metal. You get a d8 HD and must have a BAB of +3 or better, Craft (mechcraft) 5 ranks, Psicraft 5, and Knowledge (steam engines) 5, along with the ability to manifest at least 1st level powers and either the Power Sourc e feat or the steam engine class ability. Your class skills are Autohypnosis, Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft (mechcraft), Disable Device, Heal, Jump, Knowledge (psionics), Knowledge (steam engines), Listen, Profession (engineer) and Psicraft. Also, good Fort and half decent BAB.

At each level, you get new psi powers and power points as if you'd gained a level in Psychic Warrior, but no other benefits of that class whatsoever. You also (very slowly) gain new artificial part bonuses and steam powers. At level 3, you get the Attune Artificial Part psi power for free. That's it!

The Iron Giantkiller is an anti-mech specialist. They are the peak of anti-mech infantry, trained by the Guild of Footmen in the weaknesses of mechs on the field. They are cheaper than mechs, and take less to train than mechs do to build. This plus their incredible talent mean they're worth as much as a small mech - which they're usually equipped to take on. They have a d10 HD, and to become one you need BAB +6, Dex 13+, 4 ranks in Climb, 8 in Craft (mechcraft) and 4 in Disable Device. You also need proficiency in heavy and hydraulic armor, and the Boarding and Mech Adversary feats (with any adversary). Your class skills are Balance, Climb, Craft (mechcraft), Disable Device, Jump, Knowledsge, Profession, Ride, Search, Spot, Survival, Tumble and Use Rope. You gain proficiency with giantkiller armor, good BAB and good Ref.

An Iron Giantkiller adds their Iron Giantkiller level to any check to pull down or trip a mech as well as when using any special equipment like a toppler, as long as they aren't using mech-mounted weapons to do it. They also increase the bonus from the Boarding feat to +4 and can climb mechs at their full normal speed. At level 2, they get a +2 dodge bonus to AC against attacks from Huge or larger weapons - including mech unarmed attacks. This applies only in medium armor or lighter. At level 3, they treat heavy armor as medium armor for purposes of run speed and encumbrance. At level 4, they may adjust their crits against mechs by up to (Iron Giantkiller level+Int Bonus)*2, as long as they're not using a mech-mounted weapon. At level 5, they increase their critical multiplier by 1 against mechs when using personal-scale weapons, and at 10th level this increases to 2. At level 6, they add their Dex bonus to damage against mechs solely for the purpose of overcoming Hardness. At level 7, they treat weapons as one size smaller than they actually are. At level 8, they double their crit range against any mech they have the Mech Adversary feat for, as long as they aren't using a mech-mounted weapon. At level 10, they improve the normal max Dex bonus and reduce the Armor Check Penalty of heavy armor by 2, and increase their movement speed in hydraulic armor by 5 feet.

You may be wondering what the Guild of Footmen is - it's a five-year-old organization founded in Glatek that now exists in most major cities and some citymechs. They are highly protective of their techniques and only ever invite people to join - they accept no applications. They will also kill people who ask too many questions. They have no particular interest at present besides selling their mech-killing services to anyone that can afford them, but some claim their upper ranks have a mysterious agenda. However, for now, they just kill mechs for hire, even if that means facing each other in battle, though they'll usually try to avoid directly attacking each other. They have an intense rivalry with anklebiters, but generally do not encounter them often.

The Irontooth Flea is the fastest type of mech pilot. The mech devils are knwon for agility and speed in battle - but they can't match the acrobatics of the Fleas, because that's all a Flea cares about. They don't fight so well, but they work hard to get as much speed as they can out of their mechs. They are exclusively Irontooth, usually people who wanted to be mech devils before getting addicted to speed. They often race each other, and races can last days or even weeks, testing both mech speed and pilot skill through dangerous areas. Even competing is an honor, and only those that fail to finish a race are truly defeated...and usually dead. They have a d6 HD, and must have Dex 18+, Int 16+ and 6 ranks in Mech Pilot. They also must have the Mechwalker, Mechidextrous, Mech Dancer, Mech Fu, Natural Pilot and Speed Freak feats, and the Fast Movement ability, either on mech or personal scale. Further, they must either be an Irontooth clan member already or earn membership in an Irontooth clan. Their class skills are Balance, Climb, Craft (mechcraft), Hide, Jump, Knowledge (steam engines), Knowledge (mechs), Listen, Mech Pilot, Move Silently, Spot and Tumble. They have half decent BAB and mech BAB, and good Ref.

Any mech piloted by an Irontooth Flea gains 10 feet of movement speed per Irontooth Flea level - which isn't supernatural at all, it's just maximizing the inherent ability of the mech. This does stack with any fast movement traits and the Speed Freak feat. At level 1, they get Agile Mech +1, increasing by +1 at level 3 and 5. They add this bonus to the Ref save of their mech as long as it is Colossal III or smaller. At second level, they may also use half of their own Hide and Move Silently skills while in a mech, though they get a penalty based on the mech's size. At level 4, they use their total Hide and Move Silently skill instead, and treat their mech as one size smaller for purposes of the penalty.

Next time: Space cyborgs.


posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

DragonMech: Steam Warriors: LOGIC

The Irontooth Ronin is another type of Irontooth noble warrior, not as famous as the mech devils. They are mech pilots that serve as wandering guardians and meditative masters of combat - specifically, mech combat. They strive first to protect all members of the Irontooth Clans, second to be honorable and respected members of the Clan, and third, to embody the lifestyle and virtues of the Clans. They travel constantly, always seeking new ways to serve these three goals. They are almost exclusively dwarven, with other races becoming ronins only if raised among the clans or otherwise intimately and permanently tied to them. They have a d8 HD. To become one, you must be lawful, have Dex 18 and Int 16, and have 13 ranks in Mech Pilot. You also need the feats Mechwalker, Mechidextrous, Mech Dancer, Mech Fu and Natural Pilot, and you must have the extraordinary pilot special ability and at least one of the special mech skill uses granted by some classes. Also, obviously, you must be an Irontooth. You get good BAB and mech BAB, and good Ref and Will.

Irontooth Ronins get unarmed mech damage as if they were mech devils, in all ways. However, their melee mech attacks also channel ki, and so are considered magical weapons with enhancement bonus equal to your Ronin level for purposes of getting past DR (and nothing else). Further, any successful melee attack deals +5 damage, increasing to +10 at 3rd and +15 at 5th level. At level 2, they get the Agile Mech bonus from the Flea, increasing to +2 at level 4. That's the total class.

The Logician is another cyborg class. This one wants to replace their brain with a machine in order to upgrade it. They think of themselves as naturally superior because of their augmented minds. They have a d4 HD. To become one, you must have Int 13, 8 ranks in Craft (mechcraft) and 8 in Knowledge (steam engines). Also, you need the Power Source feat or steam engine class ability, and you also need +2 worth of artificial parts. Class skills are Appraise, Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Forgery, Heal, Knowledge, Listen and Profession. They have half decent BAB and good Will, and slowly gain more artificial parts and steam powers.

At 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th level, the Logician gets a +1 inherent bonus to Int, Wis or Cha, with any single inherent bonus being capped at +5. At 4th level, they also get a bonus equal to half their class level, rounded down, to all Will saves. That's it!0

The Lunarborg is a person who is super driven and has decided to get that power by using the dangerous material moonstone, which is also addictive. It's harmful, but they've decided it's worth the risk. They suffer the longterm effects of it, and can easily be told by their greenish steam, pale skin, horrible smell and vacant expression. Over time, they tend to become corrupted and evil due to the addictive moonstone. They slowly transform into lunar creatures, and other lunar beings tend to leave them alone. Fortunately, there are not many of them. They get a d10 HD. To become one, you must have Con 15 and Wis no higher than 13, and you need +5 points worth of artificial parts. On top of this, you must have taken at least 5 points worth of Con damage from use of moonstone or be addicted to moonstone gas. Also, you need GM permission. Class skills are Balance, Climb, Craft (mechcraft), Disable Device, Hide, Knowledge (steam engines), Move Silently, Profession (engineer) and Spot. They have half decent BAB and good Fort, and slowly gain new parts.

Whenever a Lunarborg gains a level, they must make a Will save of DC (15+class level) to take a level in any class but Lunarborg until they hit level 10 in the class. If they fail the save, they are also addicted to using moonstone until they make their next level check. Further, every time they gain a level of Lunarborg, they must make a DC (10+class level) Will save to avoid shifting one alignment step towards Chaotic Evil. If a Lunarborg is currently addicted to moonstone, they must only use moonstone to power their engine if they want to avoid penalties, and that shit's expensive - 5 gp per day, basically, and you can't find it in most places. As long as they are running on moonstone, however, they get a +4 bonus to Str and Con instead of the normal +2, and they get +4 to Spot and Listen. Further, they no longer produce visible external gases unless they use their noxious blast power, so they never have to worry about choking on fumes underwater or so on. However, when running on anything but moonstone while addicted, they get -4 Str and Dex and -10 speed.

What's the noxious blast? Well, see, Lunarborgs bottle up their gases in an external container which must be vented once per day to avoid a Fort save. Failing the save causes 1d6 Con damage. The gas can be released harmlessly or as an offensive weapon once per day. This causes a cone of gas that is (5*class level) feet long and forces a Fort save to avoid 1d6 Con damage and instantly kills any normal plants. (Plant monsters suffer double Con damage.) Lunarborgs are also immune to Con damage from moonstone gas. At 4th level, the Lunarborg can also corrupt other fuels by spraying the noxious blast over wood, coal or fuelstone, turning (class level) pounds per day of any other fuel into moonstone as a full action. At 6th level, the Lunarborg has begun transforming. Lunar creatures will not be hostile towards them unless provoked, and the Lunarborg can make a Wis check to forecast the lunar rain for 24 hours in the future. They also get +4 to all saves against mind-affected stuff, psionic attacks and any attempt to detect thoughts, read minds and so on. They are immune to lycanthropy as well, but can now be detected as a lunar creature by paladins or clerics, albeit at DC 20. At level 7, the lunarborg can expend five pounds of moonstone (enough to run for 5 days), once a day, to get +2 Str and Con for (3+Con mod) rounds. During this time, they can also use a noxious blast once without counting it as a daily use. For an hour after using the moonstone burn, however, the Lunarborg emits noxious fumes, filling all adjacent squares with moonstone gas and causing the Lunarborg to be fatigued. At 10th level, the Lunarborg is fully lunar after a 24-hour painful transformation during which no action is possible. They now get +10 vs mind-affecting powers, psionic attacks, etc. They also take half damage from air-, fire- and water-based attacks (or none on save) and double from earth-based effects and attacks. They no longer need to eat or drink, either. The DC to detect them is now 15.

Next time: Slaving, naked cyborg ladies and robopaladins.

Okay, so plug me into the robot all over my right side, but not my left arm.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

DragonMech: Steam Warriors: Okay, so plug me into the robot all over my right side, but not my left arm.

The Mech Slaver is a specialist in getting the most out of a man-powered mech. They are found primarily in the Legion and among the orcs, and they're also experts in slave trading, shockingly. They're kind of a loose brotherhood of pilots who teach each other how to be mech slavers and argue over which races and nationalities are the best slaves. The Legion and orc slavers hate each other and fight a lot. They all wield whips, but Legion slavers prefer black leather and orcs prefer white leather, and revealing your whip to another slaver of the other faction is seen as a duel challenge. Mech Slavers have a d8 hit die. To become one, you must be evil, have a BAB of +4, a mech BAB of +4, Char 13, 6 ranks of Mech Pilot and 6 of Intimidate. Also, you must have worked at least six months on a man-powered mech, either as worker or pilot. Your class skills are Balance, bluff, Climb, Diplomacy, Heal, Intimidate, Jump, Listen, Mech Pilot, Sense Motive, Spot and Use Rope. They have half decent BAB and good mech BAB, and good Ref and Fort.

At 1st level, Mech Slavers get proficiency with rope. At 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th, they also get proficiency with one mech weapon of their choice. At 1st level, they can also rally the workers powering their mech. At 1st level, just once per day, increasing to twice at 4 and three times at 8. While using this ability, their mech gets +4 Str and Dex and +10 speed, cumulative with any other abilities. This lasts for (3+Cha mod) rounds, and after that, the workers are stunned for one round, and you need to make a Diplomacy or Intimidate check to get them working again as a standard action. (Failure means they're still stunned and you need to make another check next round, to a max of 10 rounds.) At 6th level, the bonus becomes +8 to Str and Dex and +20 to speed. At 2nd level, the mech slaver can operate their man-powered mech at max efficiency. If they have the same crew for more than a month, the mech gets +2 Str and Dex as long as the crew is intact, and all crewmembers get +1 to all saves and +2 to Mech Pilot and Craft (mechcraft) checks while inside the mech. If anyone new is added or anyone is lost, however, it takes a month to get the bonuses back.

At 3rd level, you can rearrange the crew and vital systems to minimize damage to critical parts. The critical thresholds for any mech you get a crew bonus on are decreased by 5%, increased to 10% at level 7. Also at 3rd level, you no longer take any penalty for dealing subdual damage with a weapon that normall doesn't. At 5th level, when your mech gets the crew bonus, the crew can also work for 12 hours per day without fatigue or exhaustion rather than 8. At 9th level, while your mech gets the crew bonus, you can operate it normally (including all weapons) with only 40% crew...but you can only do that for 12 hours before you have to replace the entire crew. At level 10, you can keep the rally bonus going for longer, at the cost of the workers. For each round you extend your rally, all workers on the mech take 1 lethal damage. Assume workers have 5 HP and any worker that hits 0 will die unless special precautions for medical care are made.

The Mech Symbiote is a class seen as insane even by Assimilated standards. Rather than learning to pilot and augment their mechs, they try to become their mech by modifying their body biologically, until eventually their nerves are spread throughout the machine and it is part of their body. The less dedicated are just crazy guys with implanted mech controls, but the best and most insane are basically a brain in a mech. They are rarely found among humanoids, and more often among "abominations, extraplanar creatures, and lunar invaders." They require an arterial node - essentially, a biological connection to your mech that you take a feat for that lets you have intimate knowledge of the mech that is also implanted with your matching node. They have a d6 HD. To become a Mech Symbiote, you need to be Chaotic, have 12 ranks of Craft (mechcraft), 8 in Heal, 8 in Knowledge (mechs) and 8 in Mech Pilot. You also need the Arterial Node, Great Fortitude, Iron Will and Natural Pilot feats, and you must own a mech that shares an arterial node with you. Your class skills are Concentration, Craft (mechcraft), Heal, Knowledge (steam engines), Knowledge (mechs), Listen, Mech Pilot nad Spot. They have bad BAB but amazing mech BAB, and good Fort. They also get automatic proficiency with any weapons on their mech.

At level 1, while connected to their arterial node, the Mech Symbiote adds twice their Mech Symbiote levels to all Mech Pilot checks. At level 2, their muscle and blood vessels start to weave into the pipes, and they get double the benefits of rest when doing so while plugged into the arterial node. Also, while attached, they get +2 to Fort saves against disease and poison, going up to +4 at level 4. At 4rd level, their flesh and circulatory system are attuned to the mech and spread through it, allowing them to communicate with the mech telepathically, though they still need eyes to pilot if the mech doesn't have an optical interface. To disconnect, they now need a full action, and it deals 2d6 damage to both the symbiote and the mech each time. Reconnecting is harmless but a full action. At level 3, the Mech Symbiote also can't heal unless connected. At level 4, the Mech Symbiote has total knowledge at all times of the mech's physical condition, receiving direct feedback from any sensory devices in its hull and feeling all damage it takes. This also allows them to push the envelope, as per the mech jockey power, 5 times per day, stacking with any normal uses of that ability they have.

At 5th level, the Mech Symbiote becomes an Aberration if they weren't already and is no longer a Humanoid. They also gain darkvision out to 60 feet. Their flesh has now pervaded the mech, creating flesh cysts throughout the machine. Using these cysts, the Mech Symbiote may effectively teleport to any point on the mech by absorbing their body into a cyst and emerging from another as a pair of consecutive full actions. No matter where they are on the mech, they are considered connected, but can only pilot from the bridge. Finally, at 5th level, the Mech Symbiote is considered to be truly symbiotic with the mech, their soul pervading its entire form and allowing the mech to be targeted by necromancy, death effects, psionics and so on. For every hour they are not connected, they need a DC 20 Fort save or they take 1d6 damage, with the DC going up by +1 per hour of disconnection. While connected, however, the Mech Symbiote's HP are added to the mech's as a single pool, and killing the body while connected only removes that amount of HP but leaves the consciousness in the mech itself. Disconnecting still works and does damage as standard as well as removing the HP of the body from the mech's HP. A symbiote whose body dies while connected cannot disconnect for one month, during which their body regenerates from inside the mech.

The Mech Templar is a class first formed two decades ago in the Righteous Lancers Clan of the Irontooths, after a bunch of the clan's paladins and warriors had a dream that showed them how to fight evil with mechs. That's what Mech Templars do - they fight evil and protect the weak, with mechs. They are no longer limited to the Irontooths, either. They have a d10 HD. To become one, you need to be good, have a BAB of +5, 8 ranks in Mech Pilot and fhe Mech Walker and Improved Initiative feats. Your class skills are Balance, Climb, Craft (mechcraft), Jump, Listen, Sense Motive, Spot and Swim. They get good BAB and Fort, and gain proficiency with four mech weapons "if desired."

At 1st level they get the Mechanized Combat Practice feat free. They also get the power to smite evil once per day as a melee mech attack, adding their Mech Templar level to the attack and damage rolls. At 3rd level and every 3 levels after, they can do it one more time per day. Those who have Paladin levels and are still Lawful Good can add their Cha bonus to attack rolls and Paladin levels to damage, too, and can use their Paladin smite as this instead. At 2nd level, they choose a single mech weapon to focus on, getting +1 competence bonus to attacks with it. At 4th and 8th they get this with an additional weapon, or can improve their bonus to +2 (or +3, even!), which stacks with any other weapon bonuses. At 5th level, they can encase a mech of no bigger than Huge size in a magical shield that grants DR 10/- for (2+mech templar levels) rounds, once per day. At level 10, it becomes DR 15/- and twice a day. You must be piloting the mech to do it and can't do it when not piloting. At level 7, they get +2 to initiative and can reroll if they'd otherwise be surprised once per day per point of Wis bonus, but only once per encounter. This works even outside a mech. At 10th level, when piloting a Huge or smaller mech, the Mech Templar can add their saves to those of the mech, and may use any special powers or feats they have with the mech (at the GM's discretion), essentially treating their mech as their body while piloting.

Side note: Mech Templars basically must not do evil and must help those they need, or they will fall. However, they can disobey laws, lie, etc. just fine. If they cease to be good or willfully do evil, however, they lose all of their abilities and have to atone the same way paladins would.


I'm glad Robo found modeling work.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

DragonMech: Steam Warriors: I'm glad Robo found modeling work.

The Steel-Bound Soul is basically a super-steamborg. They're the guys who try to upgrade themselves way too fast and with way too many parts, so that they can become pure machine. They tend to be incredibly impatient and impulsive. Most are humans, as longer-lived races tend to be in less of a rush or less willing to sacrifice their personalities to the altar of steamborg self-loss. They have a d8 HD. To become one you need 7 ranks of Craft (mechcraft) and 7 ranks of Knowledge (steam engines), plus either the Power Source feat or the steam engine class ability, the lose self class ability and at least +3 points of artificial parts. Class skills are Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft (mechcraft), Disable Device, Heal, Jump, Knowledge (steam engines), Knowledge (the planes), Listen and Profession (engineer). They get half decent BAB, good Fort and Will, and get quite a few artificial parts and steam powers as they level.

At 5th level, they are more machine than man and no longer age as long as they have access to materials and tools. At 8th level, they must make a DC 20 Fort save. Failure means they die as their parts become unable to sustain their body. (This check must be tried again if they are raised from the dead after failing it.) Success just avoids death - no benefits beyond that. At level 9, their brain is replaced with machinery, giving them a bonus to Will saves equal to half their class level (rounding down). At level 10, their soul is replaced by machinery. They can no longer be effected by spells such as trap the soul or most death magic. As long as their form can be repaired, they are functionally immortal. If their HP hits zero, they lose a level and are considered dead but can be resurrected by repair. If their HP hits -(character level), however, their body is utterly destroyed and they cannot be resurrected by any means whatsoever.

The Unborg is, quote, "a soul redeemed from steam." They're people who want to remove their artificial parts and regrow what they lost. So, obviously, they need to spend class levels on this. They remove their parts slowly and do divine rituals to regenerate the flesh, and many also become highly spiritual druids afterwards. They have a d8 HD. To become one, you need Knowledge (religion) at 5 ranks, a Will save of +5 or higher and must have at least one artificial part and the desire to remove your parts. Class skills are Concentration, Craft, Diplomacy, Disable Device, Handle Animal, Heal, Knowledge (nature), Knowledge (religion), Listen, Profession, Ride, Spellcraft, Spot, Survival and Swim. They have good BAB, Fort and Ref. Also, they gain proficiency with clubs, daggers, darts, quarterstaffs, scimitars, sickles, shortspears, slings, spears, light armor and shields, as they are usually trained by druids, but not have to obey druidic armor and weapon restrictions.

At 1st level and every level after, they remove one steam power or artificial part of their choice and all components needed for it. Further, whenever they gain a level in any class, they can remove a steam power or artificial part. However, a part cannot be removed until all steam powers associated with it are first. Lost limbs and organs are still lost, so parts needed to survive cannot yet be removed until later abilities are gained. Every time a part or steam power is removed, you get 1 point that enters a pool you can spend to gain druidic abilities. You can spend the points at any time and get the ability within 24 hours, but once selected, they can't be removed. The abilities are as follows.

Starting at level 2, you regenerate lost limbs and organs when your parts are removed. You must worship a deity or divine force to use this, and must perform a ceremony lasting 10 minutes (and costs 100 gp in incense) immediately after the part is removed, then sleep for 24 hours. Even if the part was needed for survival, however, its absence will not kill you during that period. Only the organ or limb the part replaced is regenerated, however, even if you are missing other parts. However, you can perform this ritual for parts you removed before gaining this ability. The new limb takes -4 to all related checks until you are hit by one of the spells Lesser Restoration, Restoration, Greater Restoration, Regenerate or Heal. (Related checks - Spot for eyes, Listen for ears, attack rolls and Str checks for arms, Ref checks for legs, Con checks for a heart, etc.) At 4th level, as long as you don't use a steam power at all during a day, you don't have to make a lose self check for that day. Once you have removed all of your parts and powers, you don't need to make lose self checks any more. This ability is negated if you ever add artificial parts to yourself again.

The Steamborg Mark II is actually a new core class, rather than a prestige class. It's the second generation of steamborg tech, which standardizes the construction more and is more planned ahead of time. It ends up with fewer total powers and parts than the standard steamborg, but is much more flexible in what those can do, and can tailor the progression to favor parts or powers or feats. It is believed by the Stenians that the Legion is making these guys, while the Legion believes they're Stenian spies, but they are in fact the creation of Egwerd Turnscrew, the inventor of the Mother mech, who found the haphazard construction of Irontooth steamborgs appalling and made plans for a 'better' version. His notes got copied and smuggled to Edge by rivals, and are now widely available. They are one of the few steamborg types more likely to be Lawful than Chaotic, and are almost all dwarves or humans. They get half-decent BAB, good Fort and good Will. They have a d8 HD, and class skills are Balance, Climb, Concentration, Craft (mechcraft), Disable Device, Heal, Jump, Knowledge (steam engines), Listen and Profession (engineer). They are proficient with simple weapons, buzzaxes, buzzsaws, chatterswords, flame nozzles, lobster claws, steambreathers and steam guns, as well as light and medium armors and all shields except the tower shield.

At first level, you get a power source of your choice. A steam engine is the standard one and is the same as the normal Steamborg class. A necrotic engine is made of undead body matter, and it can only support someone with as many HD as the undead that'd be made by the Animate Dead spell cast on it, so it can often need replacing as you get stronger. It deals 1 permanent Con damage every week until death, at which point you get resurrected as an intelligent zombie (unless you spend levels to come back as a specific undead type) and gain the Undead type. It still needs water, but uses it to charge the undead energies. Every 24 hours it effectively casts a harm spell on itself, dealing damage equal to the HD or level of the thing it's powering. This can be disabled by the wearer, but will heal undead ones, so that's nice. Also, it detects as evil to Detect Evil abilities. A blood engine is a modded steam or necrotic engine that runs on blood. You get an extra pool of blood HP equal to your character levle, which is lost first when you take Con damage or damage from wounding weapons. No other damage can touch this HP, but they heal as normal. Also you can use the blood to stay alive if needed. If you also have an artificial liver, it heals 2 extra Con damage per day rather than 1. A Kinetic Engine uses your own body movements to provide the power, so it's cheap and effective but puts a terrible strain on the body. You need four more hours of sleep per steam power you used that day and another day's worth of food per steam power you used that day. Further, it can only support a total number of parts and powers equal to your Con bonus before it needs to be replaced due to lack of power. However, if you start the game with a kinetic engine, you get a bonus feat related to steamborging somehow, until you take the Power Source feat to replace it. Exception: this class, which can take it at first level and get one ability, see below, on top of the power source, but must spend an ability later or take the Power Source feat to replace the engine eventually.

At level 2 and every even level thereafter, you get an ability. This can be a new power source, a new point worth of artificial parts, a steam power or a bonus feat related to steamborgs. However, starting at level 2, you must also make lose self checks.

Next time: New toys.

Except none of this shit has bonuses so it's actually unusable.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

DragonMech: Steam Warriors: Except none of this shit has bonuses so it's actually unusable.

We get a bunch of new weapons now! I'll cover some of the more interesting ones. The Blunderbuss is a cheap version of the steam gun that can fire anything you shove into it. It does the most damage when loaded with sling bullets, but can fire rocks, shrapnel or whatever...for shitty damage. Like 1d6 or 1d4 damage. If loaded with 10+ rocks or whatever, though, it fires a cone, so that's nice. Oh, and you can't attach anything to the barrel because it's too wide. Dotrak's Tooth, AKA a steamspear, is a spearpoint on the end of a hollow shaft, connected to a steam generator on your back. When you hit a button, steam fills the shift, causing the point to hit harder - giving the wielder an effective Str of 18 for that attack and dealing 1d4 to anyone standing direclty behind you, because steam. You can only use the steam stab every other round, though. Also, you can't throw the spear because it's attached to your back.

The Frost Launcher was developed by a group of clerics as an anti-steam weapon. It uses alchemical compounds and a clockwork firing mechanism about the size of a handheld battering ram, and the ammo's 50 gp for five shots. It's basically used like a shoulder-fire weapon, and what it does is fire a cone of cold when triggered, hitting anything in a cone 30 feet long. A Ref save gives half damage...but any steam engine caught in the blast has to make a Fort save to resist being rendered entirely inoperative for 1d4 rounds, and unattended items always fail their save - so the save's only for folks holding items. Of course, Huge stuff or bigger can't be easily hit by this - so for a mech, you're going to have to get inside it, and mechs bigger than Gargantuan still can't be fully stopped, but will take -2 Str and Dex on a failed save rather than being immobilized.

This ridiculous thing is the piston staff - a hydraulic staff. The heads are tiny anvils, as you see, and the shaft can extend in either direction with pneumatic pressure. The center of the shaft houses a steam engine, and so the entire thing is heavy enough that you need Str 13+ to wield it. If you extend it, each side qualifies as reach while extended, and you can fire off the extension to deal 2d6 to someone not expecting it. Both ends can be extended at once, or one at a time, but you can only use it single-headed at each range if only one is extended. You can also use the thing to shove people back as if you had the Improved Bull Rush feat and a +4 Str bonus. Retracting the staff is harder - it takes DC 20 Str check to force it back down.

The shredder is pretty great - basically, it's a clockwork machine gun. It uses steam pressure to build up enough force to fire, but has a toothed gear that pulls balls out of a large canister full of them and basically just hurls them into the firing chamber very quickly, causing the thing to fire a hell of a lot of shots at once, albeit not as strong as a normal steam gun. (Not, mind you, that it's especially strong.)

The toolblade is a variant sword found most often among Irontooths and rust riders. Basically, half of it is a sowrd, and half of it is covered in tools that you can unscrew from the weapon. Somehow. This means you can use Craft (mechcraft) checks without penalty. It also gets +2 to disarming foes. Downside? It's an exotic weapon and it's not actually any better than a normal sword. Just carry a damn toolbox.

The buzz shield is what happens when soneone decides to stick an airplane propellor onto a shield. It's attached to a water reservoir on your back, which you can activate as a free action to make the propellor start spinning. When inactive, it's a normal shield, and when active, it's an exoticm elee weapon that deals 1d6 damage and x3 crit. However, it can only run for ten rounds before it needs more water, and if you don't have the proficiency for it you need to make a DC 15 check each round to not hit yourself with it, because this is an entirely stupid weapon.

We get some variants on hydraulic armor and shields, but the funniest armor I can find is the orcish vendetta suit. It is a really, really shitty set of leather armor with overlapping plates of scrap metal on it and a shitty helmet. Its purpose is simple: suicide bombing. Step one, the orc eats a warflame mushroom, which makes them very suggestible for 5d4 minutes, then removes all sense of self-preservation for 20 minutes after that, and then causes nausea for 2d4 hours after that. At this point, the orc wearing the thing is sent to charge at a target. Once there, they detonate the 15 pound pressure bomb on the armor's back, causing 6d6 damage to anything within 10 feet. Including the wearer. Orcish fireballs!

Gnomish Utility Goggles are designed for many purposes. You can swap lenses to either eye easily! However, using two lenses of different types at once gives -2 to all skill checks that rely on sight, unless they're just color filters. Also you're going to need a Craft (alchemy) check to use the gaze resistance, revealing or illusion breaker lenses. The left eye has lenses for: Darkvision 30, low-light vision, illusion breaker (+2 to see through magical/psychic illusions per lens used), magnifying (+4 to Disable Device, Open Lock, Search and Spot on stuff within 2 feet), gaze resistant (+2 vs gaze effects per lens used), flare resistant (+2 vs blinding and light effects and -1 to Spot checks per lens used; also negates light blindness and light sensitivity and grants saves even against non-savable effects), microscopic (8x, 12x, 24x or 48x magnification) and a blue filter. The right eye has lenses for: Darkvision, low-light vision, revealing (gives the effects of the See Invisibility spell), illusion breaker, telescopic (identical to a spyglass), gaze resistant, flare resistant, and red and yellow filters.

Oh, and then there's moonstone. It's a rock that burns at very high temperatures, so any steam-powered mech run on it gets +4 Str and Dex and increases speed by 10, but that takes a ton of moonstone per day and each ton is 10,000 gp. STeam weapons running on moonstone get +1 damage per die rolled, requiring usually 5 pounds of moonstone for a Medoum weapon (at 5 gp/pound). Steamborgs who run off it get Str and Dex +2, but it only lasts one hour per pound of moonstone. Oh, and there's side effects. The smoke is a noxious poison that forces anyone in the same square as the device or inside a mech powered by it to make a Fort save each round or take 1 Con damage (though a steamborg powered by it only makes the check once per hour). Any non-mobile plants in the gas die in minutes, and animals avoid the gas because it smells awful. Anyone who takes more than 1 Con damage from the gas without recovering also has to make a Fort save to not become addicted. Addicts must be exposed to the gas at least one round per day or they have to make a Fort save to not take 1d4 Con damage. Good news: while addicted, the gas itself causes no damage to you. You can cure addiction by going 5 days without moonstone gas. Use of moonstone is illegal in the Stenian Confederacy and the Legion.

Oh, and one final note: water powder. It is literally powdered water, halving the space an amount of water takes up (but not changing its weight). It's made of little crystals that absorb water until exposed to heat, when they shatter and release it all. This lets steambreathers fire twice as much on a single tank if you use them, incidentally, and costs 1 gp per pound of water absorbed. The crystals, obviously, are single-use.

Next time: New steam powers and magic.


posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post


So, new steam powers. This has taken a while because of my new job, and also because it's...well, a lot of entries. Some can be kind of neat, though, so let's see if I can't at least summarize my way through:


Summon Lesser Equipment

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Dragonmech: Steam Warriors: Summon Lesser Equipment

So, we're into magic and spells. Some notes - Create Parts is a level 2 Wizard spell that literally just summons a pile of like 100-300gp of gears that vanishes after an hour. Create Tools, on the other hand, is a level 1 Wizard spell that is that, except instead of random gears it's any of the toolkits in the PHB equipment list. This makes sense. There's also a level 1 Wizard spell, Feast of Machines, that lets you eat coal or wood to live. Some of these spells are incredibly silly. But so are the magic items!

Construct Armor is power armor except powered by magic. It is very rare, has to be built to fit, and gives a +10 AC by itself, +2 AC from enhancement, and has only a 15% spell failure chance. Oh, and it gives +4 to Strength, darkvision 60, immunizes you to gas attacks, gives you infinite breathable air, lets you make slam attacks with your fists and gives you DR 5/cold iron or silver. So that's cool.

Figurine of Wondrous Power, Gremlin is a newly invented magic item that turns into a Tiny man that will obey orders. It lives for six hours each day and is really good at helping with machinery.

L'Arile Tree Armor was invented by the elves, using fragments of their forest homes to make personal suits of armor suited to the new world. They are mostly used by sapling guardians. They are +6 AC armor with a +2 bonus 10% spell failure and +4 to Hide and Climb checks in forests or elven mechs. Also? +4 Str and Dex.

A Staff of Gears is an exceptionally rare item, prized by steam mages and made of literally a stack of gears wrapped in leather. It casts a bunch of the machine-related spells in this book.

Let's see, optional rules. Optionally, any device can be redlined, not just mechs, possibly gated by a feat. Doing this increases the die category of anything the machine does, or gives +4 to skill checks, or increases speed by 20, or gives +4 to an attribute, or otherwise increases effectiveness by about 25%. Redlining lasts 1d4+Int mod rounds, and once it's over, the machine doesn't work for 1d4 rounds. Redlining takes a skill check with DC based on complexity and size.

But I promised robobrains. Crystal Circuit Brains. These are based on ancient manuals, mixed with some necromantic knowledge to keep people alive during the brain transplant. The subject's brain is chopped into 16 pieces, which then get dissolved in a crystal solution, which solidifies into solid crystal of the same shape. Then you rebuild the brain with the crystals. They require only a small static charge to allow thought, so you also install a small spark generator. Then you attach it to the nervous system, which can be natural or cybernetic. Early versions of the crystal circuit brain prevented formation of new memories, until a new steam-heated needle system was invented to allow new neural pathways to be written. However, strong knocks to the head still cause a Fort save to avoid the memory recorder being disabled for 1d10 rounds. In all other respects, the brain functions as a normal brain, but with hardness 10 and 2 hp per crystal. You need a feat to be able to have one of these brains, and takes 24 hours to install...and 8 weeks to recover. Then you need to make a Fort save or you just die. A brain can only have one circuit made of it, since the brain is destroyed in the process, and you will only ever work with your own brain. However, a mech with the right interface can be operated mentally...requiring a complete rebuild to install the interface. So why do it? Well, a brain can be installed in a mech or device to let the brain operate that...? There are no other benefits to having a crystal brain - it just lets you give an AI to things, except the AI is someone whose brain you cut out and destroyed to make into an AI. Oh, and brain operation of a mech is only worth a +4 bonus to piloting checks - and every interface is designed for a specific brain.

Robobrains: not worth even a bit of your time.

Next time: Races.


posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Dragonmech: Steam Warriors: FERAL HALFLINGS

So, first up, we have Coglings. They are halflings who have adapted to life inside mechs, and while they've only been around a few generations, they'rea already a distinct subrace, quicker than normal halflings and well attuned to the gear forests. They are almost all stowaways that hide aboard citymechs and protect their gear forests against intrusion. They are paranoid, fearful little guys, always on guard against anyone spotting them and the dangers of their hmes. Their paranoia is easily the biggest difference between them and their halfling cousins, and most lack the halfling fear resistance. They tend to be rather cowardly, relying on stealth to survive. They are curious, but their curiosity focuses on engines, and they are innately talented with steamtech. They see them as alive, part of a gearwork ecology, thanks to their tendency to live inside giant robots. They see the steam engine as a living environment, and are commonly clockwork rangers.

Coglings are about three feet tall and usually between 30 and 35 pounds. Unlike halflings, they tend to be pale, almost albino, and can go entire generations without seeing the sun. They tend to have short hair and no facial hair, for fear of getting caught in gears. Their armor tends to be made of discarded scrap metal and rarely possess much in the way of cloth, favoring clothes of beetle and spider hide or grease lizard leather. They also are almost always coated in grease and sludge due to their homes being giant engines. By nature, they attempt to avoid contact with others, to avoid being evicted. They do, however, often become friendly with the other inhabitants of the gear forests - usually hermits who have retreated to the engines for solitude. They dislike fellow stowaways, however, who do not respect the gear forest or try to damage the mech. They tend toward neutrality, leaning slightly toward chaos.

Coglings abandoned the faith of the old halflings, and their religions vary wildly depending on what their tribe developed into. The tribes do not communicate with each other, after all. However, almost all believe that spirits control the gear forests, or 'great engines.' They are often animist, worshipping the engine-soul itself. This is not the same as belief in Dotrak - no Dotraki will talk about the spirits of the gear forests, and instead view them as microcosms of the great universal engine. Coglings, however, are highly animist, and worship gear forest spirits...which do exist, because cogling clerics, rare as they are, do get spells. Oddly, they seem capable of constructing their own gods - mechanical sculptures imbued with life via the Awaken Construct spell. Coglings speak Common, an old dialect of Halfling, and two languages of their own. First, they speak Cogling Signing, a form of sign language adapted for the noisy gear forests, and Colging Engine Talk, a form of mechanical sculpture that allows meaning to be transmitted by arrangements of spare parts. (However, they do not get Cogling Engine Talk free - it's a bonus language, alongside Dwarven and Gnome.)

Coglings get +2 Dex and -2 Str, and are Small. They have a base speed of 20 feet, and get +2 to Climb, Jump and Move Silently checks, and another +2 to Hide checks in gear forests. They also get a +1 racial bonus to Fort and Will, and +2 to Ref. They get a +1 racial bonus to all attacks with thrown weapons and slings, and they get the Gearstride feat for free. They have low-light vision, and their favored class is clockwork ranger. Coglings, uniquely, may take one of two new ranger combat styles instead of archery or two-weapon combat if they want. First is Hazard Master, which gives them the Hazard Master feat free at level 2, Hazard Lord at 6, and Hazard Killer at 11. Lizard Master is the other style, granting Lizard Fighter at 2, Lizard Warrior at 6 and Lizard Lord at 11.

So where did these things come from? It is believed that the first halfling migration to a citymech was led by the clan leader Alton Nightswallow, whose clan were con artists and thieves. They were in Duerok when the rains became terrible, and were forced out for their crimes. They knew they wouldn't survive the surface, so they hid in the mines. For years, they survived there, and the clan shrank. Alton heard about the construction of the first citymech, and he worked out a way to sneak aboard. He and the 16 remaining members of his clan broke in via the mining tunnels, evading the sentries and slipping aboard the components as they were put together. They had no real understanding of the technology, but they got on board. Alton told other halflings about his 'new scam', and soon, other halflings followed suit. They found the only real place to hide aboard the highly militarized mech was in the gear forest, and the Nightswallows began learning it as best they could. Eventually, they and the other halflings that moved to citymechs became coglings.

Like halflings, coglings rely a lot on small family groups, which effectively serve them as clans, though they are much smaller than most halfling clans. These groups are all related, hate outsiders, and tend to be loosely organized. Technical and religious skill are what grant leadership roles, usually, and coglings do not reproduce quickly. They just don't have the ofod or space to do so, and each new kid is a chance to be detected. Their food is primarily either mushrooms grown on grease, hunted beetles and insects, farmed grese lizards or stolen food from other areas. Despite their paranoia, they do have a playful side, typically exercised in the running of obstacle courses through the gear forests. They may even occasionally reconstruct parts of the gear forest to make particularly difficult courses, and this might become a sport of the coglings in general if they were ever to actually meet and organize. It's hardly safe, but it's why all coglings that survive to adulthood have the Gearstride feat. Coglings also tend to turn animal pets into cyborgs, to better adapt them to life in the gear forests. Only Int 2 or less beasts can be so modified, and it's not easy - DC 20 Craft (mechcraft) check, only doable if you have Knowledge (steam engines) 10 and Heal 5, plus 100 gp in materials for Small critters, or more for bigger ones. This turns the creature into a construct with a d10 HD, though it no longer heals naturally and must instead be repaired, as other constructs do.

Next time: Tik'toks. Yes.

The Tick Tock Man

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Dragonmech: Steam Warriors: The Tick Tock Man

Before we get to clockwork PCs, we should discuss the religion of the coglings. The Great Engine they worship requires them to be LN, N or CN, and gives them access to the domains of Engine and Spirit. They work like normal clerics, but also get access to a bunch of spirit-focused spells that clerics normally don't. Their favored weapon is a hammer of any kind, and they have no really consistent symbol. They construct the Talking Gods - essentially, a way to tap into the spirits of the gear forest. They use the spell Awaken Construct to build a god, though these gods aren't always very bright, and their persona is more tied to the cleric's personality than the spirit they are meant to it's an open question if the clerics make the god or just allow it to express itself. Still, the clerics believe in it, and consult with their gods on all kinds of issues. The gods are Tiny mechanical sculptures worth at least 100 gp - or more, if you want a bigger one. It takes several days to make, and must be shaped by use of Cogling Engine Talk as well. Once made, it must then be turned into a construct, then have Awaken construct cast on it. The spell is a level 7 one for cogling clerics, a level 6 one for constructors and a level 5 for Shintaiji spirit stealers, who aren't in this book. It gets Int 3d6+(1/5 caster levels), plus at least one language you know.

The Talking God, once made, is part of the gear forest, and identifies as such. It can sense what the rest of the gear forest perceives, insofar as it can perceive anything. For example, if a crumble bug infestation happens, it can direct them to the source of pain for the engine. Not all of these communications are clear or easily interpreted, however, as the Talking Gods are stationary, blind and not humanoid. They spend a lot of time chatting with their clerics, so often know many of the tribe's secrets and, if they live long enough, become a communal library of sorts. No cogling will ever knowingly harm a Talking God, though it isn't exactly easy for an outsider to tell one even exists beyond being a pile of random parts. More recently, coglings have begun working on what they call 'elder engines' - the spirit of a deceased cogling cleric put into a Talking God by use of the Rebuild Soul spell, which lets you shove a soul into a construct. It's a practice that honors great clerics, and while it imprisons the soul in what is basically a useless body, the dead cleric is technically revived and can communicate. Elder Engines, as these are called, have two minds - that of the god and that of the cleric. They are rare, and only two are known to exist. The first is aboard Durgan-lok, and the other is hidden aboard an Irontooth kabuto mech named White Swan. It is believed that there may be a sentient tract of gear forest in the citymech Goria, but the coglings that live there believe this to be false. So far, no Talking God has ever had more than a single soul put in it, and it's unclear what would happen if a second casting of Rebuild Soul occurred. It might force the old soul out, trigger a battle, or it might put both of them in the same machine.

Anyway, tik'toks, AKA Gearmen. No one is really sure where they came from, but they first showed up around 50 years ago, and even they claim not to know from where. There are a few theories. Some believe they're the result of magical experiments in granting life to constructs, perhaps as a side effect of the first attempts to make animated mechs. Some believe they are the harbingers of Dotrak, to ready the world for the merging of flesh and metal. Some say they're an unintended side effect of the creation of animated or undead mechs, caused by arcane 'bleed.' Some believe they are reincarnated souls, given a new form due to the very recent adoption of steam engines (on a historical timescale, anyway). Some say that they are the divinely gifted children of steamborgs, a new race able to procreate on their own now. Some believe they are the result of a cosmic need for order and balance, an adaptation to represent the social and technological shift of mechs and steamtech. And, of course, some believe that they are the trapped souls of the dead or perhaps living sacrifices, kept from their rightful home in the afterlife.

Tik'toks lack gender entirely, with their shape, appearance and size based on the whims of their 'parents'. Some may appear or sound gendered, but they possess no physical sex whatsoever and usually do not identify as any particular gender. This is often confusing and unsettling for other races, but to the tik'toks it is normal. Their society is meritocratic, with the idea that each must earn their place in the community. They have no concept of family beyond that required to rear a child long enough for it to survive on its own, though some parents do take pride (or shame) in their child's actions. Once a tik'tok has found their place, however, they have as much weight in tik'tok society as any other, regardless of age.

Tik'toks tend to be quiet, reclusive and even-tempered, but graceful and inquisitive. They view logic in the way many other races view faith, and approach everything with a goal of being logical in their methods. They are mainly inventors and explorers, especially towards technology. They are cold, calculating and controlled, rather than passionate and instinctive. Most have no desire for wealth or influence, and while they can feel emotions such as friendship or fear, these emotions are often suppressed and controlled. Most tik'toks are around 3 feet tall and between 50 and 70 pounds, made of gears, hydraulics and engines. Unlike most constructs, they are vulnerable to critical hits as most of their inner workings are exposed to air, and they are quite delicate for machines of their size. They are pacifistic by inclination and try to get along with others when possible, even if it means moving away from people that won't work with them. Peace and survival matter more to them than land. However, they do know that others will try to exploit them and their skills, so they try to maintain a certain distance from others. They also know that, like steamborgs, they are sometimes feared and seen as alien and monstrous. Their aversion to most religions doesn't help matters there. Orcs have taken, lately, to trying to capture and enslave tik'toks as weaponsmiths and engineers, which has a tendency to drive the quiet machines mad. Other tik'toks will generally kill these when they meet them, as a mercy towards the incurably mad.

Tik'toks tend to be neutral and interested in studying the world. They mostly live in mountainous regions to get at the minerals there, especially as they have no need to grow food. They are not born, after all, but created. Reproduction, for the tik'tok, is seen as a matter of rational thought as much as instinct, and a parent will construct their child when they feel the need - a need that usually comes in later years, though they can survive for upwards of 600 to a thousand years before winding down. Most never build more than two offspring, though that's not a hard and fast rule. They will raise their children for a few years, then send them on their way. The design of a child is entirely in the hands of the parent, who usually spends months carefully selecting every piece of their prospective offspring with care. If they receive help from another in any wy, the attempt at creation fails automatically. Once the baby is assembled, the parent, quote, "mysteriously imparts a portion of its essence into the child, bringing it to life." Most of these attempts do not work, and a parent that fails at constructing a child may grieve for decades before trying again.

Tik'toks have trouble understanding religious belief and extreme difficulty in bridging the gap that is required to believe in something unseen and unproven. Even divine magic, to them, is merely an example of arcane magic with belief overlaid on it. This also prevents them from understanding the philosophies of druids...but they do believe in one thing: Dotrak. Tik'toks do not believe Dotrak is a god, however, but use the name to refer to the universal force that allows machinery and science to function in a regular fashion. Divinity, they claim, is fickle and irregular, but Dotrak is a constant. Among themselves, tik'toks speak Mekanik, a language of whistles, clicks and gear buzzing. It can be learned by other languages, but it is extremely difficult (and costs twice as many skill points as usual). Tik'toks often have trouble with normal language, and often mix up grammatical order and tense, which can make conversing with them a chore.

Tik'toks get -2 Str, -2 Cha, +2 Int and +2 Wis. They are Small, have a base speed of 30 feet and use a d10 HD regardless of class. They lack a Constitution score entirely, and get no HP modifiers from it as a result beyond the initial +10 HP for being Small constructs. They do, however, get a +2 natural armor bonus to AC, +2 to Profession (engineer) checks, +2 to any skill checks related to clockwork, gears or steamtech, +2 to all saves against magic except those that are intended for use on machines, metal or inanimate objects, and +2 to all saves against emotional effects (which stacks with the magic bonus if it's a magical fear effect, say). They get -2 on Bluff, Diplomacy, Disguise and Handle Animal, however. As living constructs, tik'toks are susceptible to mind-affecting and morale effects, but not paralysis, stunning, disease or necromancy. They are also immune to subdual damage, massive damage saves, ability drain and energy drain, but not crits. They die immediatel at 0 HP and cannot be raised short of a Wish or Miracle. They also cannot improve their stats with magical manuals, though temporary boosts work fine, as do Wish spells. Tik'toks begin play with a free steam poweri ntegrated with their body, worth no more GP than the sum total of all their attributes. They cannot use the Gearhead feat to get more steam powers in their bodies, but may spend a feat to integrate a new power into their body if they are able to meet all its requirements and costs. They can swap integrated powers out by paying for them, no more feats needed. Getting rid of a part doesn't give the feat slot back, though. Tik'toks do not heal over time or from normal healing magic - they require repairs instead or use of the spell Mending, which heals 1d6 damage. They can be harmed by rust effects, and can resist them with Will. They have an innate 15% arcane spell failure chance that cannot be reduced except by Wish. They may not become clerics, druids, paladins, sorcerers or steamborgs. They have a +2 LA, and their favored class is Coglayer. They do not age in the same way as most races, but they use the same rules as their systems are not free of entropy and do slowly wind down over time.

Next time: Chatterboxes.

I made a flamethrower and now it won't stop talking.

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Dragonmech: Steam Warriors: I made a flamethrower and now it won't stop talking.

Chatterbox is a template applied to certain assemblages of steam powers. See, sometimes, coglayers treat these machines as if they're alive. Eccentric, maybe. But sometimes, they're right - and the thing is not only alive, it can think. In large combinations, these machines can show signs of thought and personaltiy even when they have no apparent source of this intellect or animator. These mechanisms are usually given names by their owners, and eventually, they may begin to speak. These are 'chatterboxes,' and some say they are a sign of Dotrak's presence, while others say that coglayers make them deliberately. Some wonder if this means the citymechs themselves are alive - which you'll recall, Cogworms believe they are. Combinations of more than five steam powers can develop signs of personality, but that few is not enough to speak. However, if kept intact long enough, it may begin to feel gendered or to have a name assigned to it. If the device gets up to more than eight powers, its moods may become clear to the owner.

However, if such an object is damaged or rebuilt from the ground up, its personality can be destroyed, while a device that starts out very large may jump straight to being a full chatterbox. Other large devices never become chatterboxes; it tends to happen only to beloved creations. Many wonder what the motives of these things are, and if they are predestined to exist or not. They tend to be inquisitive and curious, and also tend to take on the alignment of their owner as well as being loyal to them. Often, trak traks appear before a chatterbox is generated, usually docile and harmless. Some believe that chatterboxes are actually trak trak spirits in a more structured home, while others believe they are a mediator between Dotrak's presence and the creator's affection. Others believe chatterboxes are something new and different. Chatterboxes al claim to remember nothing before they begin speaking.

To be a full chatterbox, a device must have at least 11 steam powers and must not be animated by spirits or necromantic energy, and must not be a mech. The assembly becomes a Construct-type creature, with one d10 HD per steam power over the 10th. The chatterbox can trigger any of its own functions at will, but cannot aim or move unless it was built to be specifically able to do so. It can also choose not to function even if triggered. If it has an animator, it can fight as if it had the Two Weapon Fighgting ffeat, and use up to four weapons in a full attack with a -4 penalty. With two, it takes no penalty for using two weapons in an attack, can attack with four at -4, and can do a full attack with six at -4. This continues for each animator on it.

In addition to whatever it could do with its parts, the chatterbox gets low-light vision, darkvision 60, may semi-telepathically communicate (that is, as long as you can hear its engine, you can understand what it says if it wants you to), the ability to hear even if it couldn't before (via the same semi-telepathic method), immunity to all mind-affecting effects, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, disease, death effects and necromancy, an inability to heal damage but often an ability to be healed by certain effects or craftwork, immunity to crits, subdual damage, ability damage, ability drain, fatigue, exhaustion and energy drain, immunity to anything requiring a Fort save unless it works on objects, immunity to massive damage, inability to be raised or resurrected by any means, and a one-time bonus to HP based on its size. It also gets Int, Wis and Cha based on its HD, and has the same Str and Dex it had as a machine - which may well be 'none'. You can theoretically play one, and they have a Level Adjustment of +1 per 2 Hit Dice they have.

We also get a story about two chatterboxes made by two rival dwarves, several generations ago. The first was made by an old woman named Glippa who was greedy and cruel and nasty, and the other made by a pious man named Shentrip who was uncompromising in his morals, exceptionally strict and very judgmental. The two were rival shopkeeps, remembered as Glip and Trip, and made fun of by everyone else. They hated each other, and their apprentices often defected between their workshops. Because of this, none can say which first came up with the idea of making a machine to maintain their other machines. When each learned of the other's work, they decided to try and beat each other in a race to finish the devices. As it turned out, they finished on the same day and got in a fight over who won the race, which almost grew into a street fight before the mayor said he'd pick judges to see which machine was better. The next morning, however, neither mechanic showed up, and it is believed that the two machines had absorbed the hatred of their creators and had each murdered the other creator, as their bodies were found covered in holes made by an oilcan spout.

Refugees claimed to have seen the devices leaving town together. Now, the two rogue devices maintain each other, and have taken on the names of their creators. The only difference between them is that Glip is Chaotic Evil and Trip is Lawful Good. Should they meet a group that has no members of those two alignments, they may be friendly and ask to buy some spare parts. However, Glip instantly attacks anyone that is LG except Trip, and Trip does likewise for anyone but Glip that is CE. They stay out of each others' way and cannot be convinced to harm each other. They are also not especially dangerous, really, so it's kind of more a side diversion, though they are worth quite a bit of money - around 6000gp each.

We get some side rules on repairing and sabotaging devices with Craft (blacksmith) and Disable Device, and detecting devices with Listen checks or piloting mechs underwater with Mech Pilot. (Spoilers: it's a bad idea.) We also get some new magical materials. First: organic steel, developed by elves to allow elders who have become allergic to magic to survive via cybernetics. Organic steel is full of a special mold that eats it and takes on its properties, though it cannot really be reshaped once the mold is introduced. It heals 1 HP per day per level (or HD), just as a normal person would. Healing and repair spells both work on it, as it is both construct and alive. It is vulnerable to poison and is treated as a plant by spells and other effects, and it can survive to -10 HP. If killed, it rusts over a day and crumbles in a week. It will not increase the healing of a steamborg whose parts are made of it, but they also don't need special tools for repairs. It costs 10 times as much as normal steel. Also, steamborgs made entirely from organic steel parts cannot lose themselves and mixed borgs do not treat organic steel as parts for lose self checks. However, you need someone that can cast 5th level druid spells to make the stuff, so that's not so eas. It resembles tree bark of varying colors (green, blue and brown are common, changing to yellow, orange, red or purple in the latter half of the year). In winter, it gives -2 to Str, but gets a +2 to Str in summer.

A construct made entirely of organic steel is considered a plant-construct, with d10 HD, BAB as a cleric, no good sves, not many skill points, a Con score, otherwise normal construct traits, but also a need to breathe or eat. Also, it can be hit by mind-affecting, disease, death and necromancy effects, can surffer crits, subdual damage, ability damage and drain, fatigue, energy drain, Fort-save effects, massive damage and can be resurrected from death.


apparently metal can be evil

posted by Mors Rattus Original SA post

Dragonmech: Steam Warriors: apparently metal can be evil

Necrotic steel is the necromantic versio nof organic steel. It's evil. So evil you can detect it it with detect evil. Making it is evil, done either via horrific ritual or by necromantic reanimation of recently dead organic steel. Despite the fact that it's undead mold, it has faces and bones embedded in it, somehow. It also bleeds. Necrotic steel, unlike organic steel, cannot heal itself, but can be repaired with mending or harming spells, because it's both a construct and undead. It is damaged by holy water and steams upon entering holy ground. Steamborgs with necrotic steel implants are considered evil for the purposes of magic as well as their actual alignment. They can also be turned as if they werre undead.

In direct sunlight, anything with necrotic steel in it gets -4 Str, and -2 in indirect sunlight. In natural darkness, however, they get +2 Str. Steamborgs made entirely from necrotic steel implants do not make normal lose self checks, but must make one once a month or else move one step on the alignment chart toward Chaotic Evil. Partially necrotic steel borgs also make this check, but only count their necrotic parts, and do not count their necrotic parts towards normal lose self checks. Necrotic steel also costs 3 times the cost of steel, rather than ten times, because reasons.

Undead-constructs (made with necrotic steel) function as normal constructs, but get d12 HD instead, can be healed by negative energy, and can be restored to their state in life (if a creature) via true resurrection or resurrection. However, this will not revert necrotic steel to organic steel.

Then we get some side materials. Coglayers can work in teams, combining their ability to support steam powers to produce machines with more than either could handle alone. In fact, anyone, not just coglayers, can do that. They can pool their powers all together as much as they want. However, the danger of this is that if someone leaves the team, the entire thing has to be scrapped and built all over again. The larger the team, the more likely such a conflict will happen, so only in really structured societies do you really get teams of more than three.

So, you ask, how does a mech balance? It's a nightmare in our modern world to get something to balance on two legs. Well, the answer is that a device was invented called the dwarven level. It's more advanced than anything in our modern world, but looks pretty simple and helps the mech balance. The reason it exists is magic and necromancy. See, dwarves were able to remove the balance center from the brain of a dead dwarf and study it, keeping it 'alive' with necromancy. Gradually, they learned how to replicate it mechanically, developing the dwarven level. The details of all this are long forgotten, which is probably good, because it's believed that living sujects were used to test the level during development. All that remains is the plan, which is a duplicate of the dwarven balance center in the brain. It's pretty easy to construct from the plans or by reverse engineering a working level.

How do steam engines manage to control such massive machines? Well, the power of steam engines were limited in our world because they could not contain the heat and pressure as well as the modern combustion engine. The dwarven steam engine is able to, however, and more besides. They have magical metals to use, after all, and techniques refined over millenia. Plus, they desperately need it to work, so all their ingenuity is turned towards it.

Heat radiation was and is still a problem, however. Early steamborgs had huge problems with radiant heat from the engine, until a steam-powered refrigeration system was made and built into all current steamborg engines to prevent too much heat from damaging the body. Optionally, this can be turned down to remain warm even in freezing temperatures, but it makes the user fatigued while doing this.

Now, pressure could be a problem still, if it weren't for the dwarven pressure tank, a small metal sphere at the heart of the engine. Its design is carefully kept secret by the dwarves, but it can hold immense amounts of heat and pressure, allowing the engine to store power efficiently and use it easily. It's very strong...but if it is damaged, the results are usually disastrous and explosive, so it's also protected by layers of metal armor around it. Many believe that it's just a tank reinforced with mithril or other magical materials.

So, with all these technologies, why not internal combustion? Firstly, steam power works well enough right now. Second, making new tech is more costly than using what exists. Third, decades of damage to the surface has rendered oil mining and refinement essentially impossible. Any facility that could process crude oil would have been destroyed long ago. Plus, there's not that much crude oil easily minable, as underground creatures have been burning it as lamp fuel for centuries, and a number of underground monsters eat it. Because of this, crude oil is hard to find and getting it isn't worth the effort. But wait, you say, how do clockwork and man-powered mechs work? Well, they work in similar ways - efficient use of flywheels, weights, counterbalances and springs to make use of energy as effectively as possible. Each action helps start the next. Clockwork mechs use gigantic springs to store the required energy, while man-powered mechs need tons of people in constant motion to do it.

The End