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LuiCypher
Apr 24, 2010

Today I'm... amped up!

Davin Valkri posted:

That one looks silly, but this one actually saw combat.

So did this one, and America fielded it.

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darthbob88
Oct 13, 2011

YOSPOS

Cythereal posted:

One little note before I leave for work: American tanks were actually quite well regarded during the war, just for reasons that aren't sexy: American tanks were reliable, fuel-efficient, and comfortable to drive and fight in. They didn't have the best armor or hardest-hitting gun, but more than any other nation's armor you could count on American tanks to actually get where they needed to be, and they were easy to keep running. One of the biggest problems for Soviet and especially German tanks was their mechanical unreliability. Having the biggest gun and thickest armor doesn't do you much good if the tank can't be relied on to move for more than thirty minutes at a time before something breaks and needs to be replaced.
As long as we're defending the honor of Allied armor, unreliability was actually, not a design goal, but a known compromise for the Soviets. Having a transmission that could survive 3000km would be nice, but it'd also increase the cost of the tank 2000 rubles, reducing the number of tanks they could field, and why bother when the hull's going to be a flaming wreck inside 2000km? Better explained in this lecture.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


Deptfordx posted:

10,000 man hours to build a Sherman.

30,000 man hours to build a T34

300,000 man hours to build a Tiger.

This is what really won the war. I talked about the Soviets using DFM, but they had nothing on the US.

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
SHOOT ME IN THE GODDAMNED FACE
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!

wiegieman posted:

This is what really won the war. I talked about the Soviets using DFM, but they had nothing on the US.

Eh...I'd put it more like "the war was won with Soviet rifles and tanks, brought to the front on US trucks and rolling stock." Remember that the supermajority of all military casualties occurred on the Russian front.

Covok
May 27, 2013

Yet where is that woman now? Tell me, in what heave does she reside? None of them. Because no God bothered to listen or care. If that is what you think it means to be a God, then you and all your teachings are welcome to do as that poor women did. And vanish from these realms forever.

gradenko_2000 posted:



I thought that the Judges Guild Ready Ref Sheets were impressive from a technical perspective from the same reason that they were basically a bunch of DMG-esque random generation tables, but had to have been laid out by hand.

That being said, that table in the lower-right corner (and many other parts of this work) is very much a product of its time.


From Dragon Magazine #3, October 1976



(that's one 8-sided die + one 6-sided die)





The writer of these article likely cannot lift more than 20 pounds and doesn't know how to pronounce the world "gym."

Hunt11
Jul 24, 2013

Grimey Drawer

Davin Valkri posted:

Eh...I'd put it more like "the war was won with Soviet rifles and tanks, brought to the front on US trucks and rolling stock." Remember that the supermajority of all military casualties occurred on the Russian front.

That quote still has the Russians as able to put out a new tank at 1/10th of the time it would take the Germans.

Green Intern
Dec 29, 2008

Loon, Crazy and Laughable

"Bringing the Distaff Gamer into D&D" is probably the nerdiest possible way of stating things.

slap me and kiss me
Apr 1, 2008

You best protect ya neck

Covok posted:

The writer of these article likely cannot lift more than 20 pounds and doesn't know how to pronounce the world "gym."

jai-im?

Halloween Jack
Sep 12, 2003

La morte non ha sesso
I maintain that RPGs, English literature, the act of writing, and the world would be better if using the phrase "dear reader" was punishable by death.

Selachian
Oct 9, 2012

Covok posted:

The writer of these article likely cannot lift more than 20 pounds and doesn't know how to pronounce the world "gym."

golden bubble
Jun 3, 2011

yospos

LuiCypher posted:

So did this one, and America fielded it.

To be fair, that occurred because the Brits weren't willing to wait two years for Sherman production to begin. So they rushed out a thing with a 75mm cannon from zero to mass production in 9 months without using any of the serious facilities earmarked for Sherman manufacturing.

Also, what the hell are "spells: special for beautiful women"?

Barudak
May 7, 2007

A genuine old master of what?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!

golden bubble posted:

Also, what the hell are "spells: special for beautiful women"?

Under those rules women get access to special seduction spells like charm person if their "beauty" (their replacement for charisma) is sufficient enough to qualify. On men only, as if you had to ask with rules like these. Witches get a spell that can frighten people, but it's more effective the uglier they are.

Dragon Magazine #3 posted:

A fighter needs a score of 13 or higher to be saved (That is NOT laid - is that being saved???)

:rolleyes:

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009

I love the potoo,
and the potoo loves you.

Night10194 posted:

Most tanks didn't actually fight tanks.

This is a VERY important thing for newbies to WW2 history to understand. Tank on tank battles did happen, but they were rare and isolated events. It's also why the perceived shortcomings of the Sherman wouldn't have registered with the WW2 American army as a problem: the solution to German tanks is some combination of artillery, air support, and non-vehicle-mounted anti-tank weapons like bazookas or towed guns.

There's an old joke that goes like this: you are a soldier in WW2 Western Europe and find a position held by infantry, but you're unsure which nation is holding it. Safely fire a few rounds up in the air and observe the response:

If the position responds with disciplined and accurate rifle fire, they're British.

If the position responds with disciplined fusillades of machine gun fire, they're German.

If the position responds with wild spraying of machine gun fire, they're Italian.

If the position does not return fire but five minutes later an artillery strike blankets the area, they're American.

Deptfordx
Dec 23, 2013

Well if you're going to tell that one, I'm going to tell the other famous WW2 joke.

'Popular', amongst late war Western Front German soldiers.

Hans, how can you tell if a plane is a friendly?

That's easy Siegfried, just take a good look at it.

If it's white, it's American.

If it's black, it's British.

If it's not there, it's the Luftwaffe.

HerraS
Apr 15, 2012

Looking professional when committing genocide is essential. This is mostly achieved by using a beret.

Olive drab colour ensures the genocider will remain hidden from his prey until it's too late for them to do anything.



When the RAF shows up, the germans duck.

When the Luftwaffe shows up, the allies duck.

When the USAAF shows up, everyone ducks.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



I love Dragonmech. It is the best, stupidest RPG setting in 3.5, bar none. It was produced largely by Justin Goodman via Sword and Sorcery - a White Wolf-owned d20 press, though it also received development from White Wolf alum C. A. Suleiman. It is an extremely fun setting with extraordinarily bad rules - bad even for a d20 supplement. So, what is Dragonmech?

It's D&D where giant robots exist and are fighting evil alien dragons from the moon. Once upon a time, the entire surface world was under siege, because the alien monsters were literally faliing out of the sky from the moon and rampaging all over, and they resisted most normal magic. Plus, even if you won against the lunar monsters, the next wave showed up only days later. The surface races were being pushed to their limits and forced underground. The dwarves, in their ancient underground stronghold Duerok, were in the best position, safe from monsters - but not from refugees or those who would invade it to claim its safety. All hope seemed lost until the arrival of the dwarf Parilus, who claimed to be eldest of the Master Gearwrights. The Gearwrights Guild had been an ancient organization, forgotten even by most dwarves, who were said to have risen in the Age of Walkers, long since forgotten.

Parilus taught the dwarves how to make immense machines - walkers, powered by steam. He showed them the power of ten tons of metal that walked like a man and could face a lunar dragon by itself. He helped the dwarves in the construction of the first citymech, a thousand feet tall and able to face many dragons. Then he left, forever. Now, it's a century later. It is the Second Age of Walkers. Five dwarven city-mechs house thousands of people and patrol the surface near Duerok. They face off against the lunar rain with weapons enough to take down nearly anything, and even then, they are need of constant maintenance and repair. These five citymechs are known as the Stenian Confederacy, and they are the center of surface life in the world of Highpoint. Their safe haven is where trade is centered, and while the lunar rain is slowing now, they are the center of society. Trader-mechs travel between settlements, and explorer-mechs are sent to the ruins of old cities to pick through them.

However, all is not peaceful. Resource disputes between the Confederacy and its neighbors are beginning, now that the human nomad tribes have united under the demagogue Shar Thizdic and have built a citymech of their own. Now, Shar's Legion heads into regular fights against the Stenians, and mercenaries are used on both sides. Besides, not everyone likes the Confederacy's harsh rules. Its order and peace are enforced by martial law, and vigilantes are on the rise to fight it. Many priests believe the Confederacy is shortsighted, as well, and that nothing has been done to understand and stop the lunar rain. Some clerics and paladins plan to invade the moon itself, but the Confederacy cares only for territory.

Most old customs and societies were lost to the rain, and almost all of the old gods are forgotten, replaced by new faiths. The newest of these is the machine-god Dotrak, who whispers to prophets, but it is not the only one. The lunar gods recruit in secret, hiding behind masks, as well. Old kingdoms are forgotten, replaced by the power of mechs. The Gearwrights now outpower some nations of old, commanding entire citymechs. They push the limits of technology and hunt for ruins of the First Age of Walkers.

The elves are the old guard - they remember before the lunar rains began, and they resent the new order of mechs and gearwrights over magic and history. They use magical mechs made from living trees, hunting down their lost and stolen treasures. The orcs of the south, meanwhile, have grown to love mechs and the power they represent, and have begun to raid for parts more and more often. Thieves profit now, so much that even the Stenians pay certain concessions to thieves' guilds, using them to keep the lower levels of the citymechs in line.

The heroes of this world are the mech jockeys, who pilot warmechs into battle in search of resources to keep the citymechs alive or to face the lunar hordes. They are smugglers, traders, glory-seekers. The most famous of them are the Irontooth Clans, a network of families who owe no loyalty to any but themselves and who practice the art of mech fu, merging ancient tradition and modern technology. Their greatest pilots, the mech devils, are feared by anyone with sense.

Next time: But what can I play?

Tasoth
Dec 13, 2011
If your example mech is not named Cernunnos Alpha, I will be sad.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Rifts Index & Adventures Volume 1, Part 5: “How would one assign an alignment value to a force of nature?”

More importantly, what alignment am I? Let's start with the good alignments. A principled character will “Always keep his word.” Nope, not me. A scrupulous character will “Keep his word to any other good person.” Do I know any good people? Hm. Well, I think I’ve broken my word to decent people, at least. So that’s out.

I drop down into selfish alignment at this point. An unscrupulous character will “Keep his word of honor.”, so that’s out. So, I look at anarchist, who will “Keep his word, but only if it suits or pleases him.” Ding! Okay! Let’s move on. An anarchist will “Lie and cheat if he feels it necessary.” I’ve played Illuminati, sure.“Not be likely to kill an unarmed foe, but certainly kill knock out, attack, or beat up once.” I’ve gotten in a few fist-fights. “Never kill an innocent, although his rash or self-serving actions may injure or kill bystanders by accident.” I hit a raccoon once and felt really bad about it. “Use torture to extract information…” Nope. Bzzt. Anarchist is out.

Time to look at evil. Aberrant… word of honor, lie and cheat… may or may not kill an unnamed foe… that’s all vague enough I can work with. “... may harm, harass, or kidnap.” Well, that’s out. Miscreant will “Lie and cheat indiscriminately.”, so I’m disqualified there. Diabolic will “Lie and cheat anyone.” No.

Well, I just found out I qualify for no Palladium alignments. I’m left with the only possible option left… neutral. Which Siembieda tells us is “humanly impossible", but I'm obviously not so sure. Feel free to work out what alignment you might fall under! I'm betting it's neutral.

I forgot to note in the audio review that The Rifter™ is ™, so just imagine me shouting “TRADEMARK!” every time I mention the term. Usual issues about my audio amateurishness still apply.

Here’s part 5 of the review! It’s not worth any experience points.

And here’s the visual companion:


This is supposed to be a The Rifter™, but doesn’t resemble the one in the adventure at all. Probably just leftover art for a psychic.

Next: Terminator Team-Up Two-in-One

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Dragonmech: Off to the Races

All of the standard D&D races are around still. Humans have, typically, been nomads on the plains of Highpoint. They were protected on all sides by the natural barriers around the plains and largely fought each other, with kingdoms rising and falling constantly, or with the orcs that also lived there. The few non-nomadic human cultures built impregnable fortresses to protect themselves from the nomad tribes. However, the lunar rain has reduced all these human cities to ruin. Many have been turned into lairs by the lunar dragons. However, some humans do still survive in the tunnels and smaller areas in the ruins, where the dragons can't reach - hundreds or even thousands of refugees with nowhere else to go. The nomads did better than the city-dwellers, as the dragons mostly ignored them, but the lunar rain forced them into refuge in caves, mountains and forests - sometimes hundreds of miles away, with many dying en route. The humans that were more friendly with the dwarves did better than others. Older humans tend to be cynical refugees, having been constantly fighting or running or both for fifty years or more. They've never known peace, and they see mechs as just the latest in a string of temporary refuges. Younger humans take mechs for granted, having known nothing else. Human groups are described in more detail much later, but there are a few groups that give special abilities and weaknesses.

E: Specifically:
There's a tribe of mounted people, the Stavians, who argue over whether horses or giant bugs are better mounts. They get Ride as a class skill and +2 to all Ride checks, but no matter what class they take they lose all proficiency with any weapon that can't be used on horseback, which includes all Large weapons. To get it back they need to spend feats.
There's also a tribe of sneaky people, the Wisps, who get Hide and Move Silently as class skills and +1 to Spot checks, but don't get the +4 skill points at first level (though they get the +1 skill point per level after that like all other humans).

Dwarves are the dominant species of Highpoint, insofar as anyone can be called dominant against the lunar hordes. Their underground homes were safe from the lunar rain, and the dragons too big to fit in their tunnels. However, the other peoples of Highpoint sought refuge with them and often used force to do it, laying siege to the dwarven kingdoms. As aresult, they've been at war for nearly a century, though the violence has lessened recently. Most of the invaders are dead now, and refugees are turning to mechs. During the Years of Blood Rain, as the dwarves refer to the invasions, nearly two thirds of the entire dwarven nations were killed, and some dwarven cities were lost to humans, elves or orcs. Dwarves tend to be stoic and weary defenders, distrustful of outsiders, who see their mechs as a mixed blessing - they're great, but they mean leaving behind the traditions of stone and dwarfdom.

The dwarven bonus to Craft checks with metal applies to mechcrafting. However, dwarves raised in mechs do not get the dwarf stonecunning ability - instead, they get +2 to Mech Pilot checks. (That's a new skill.) Also, the bonuses to fighting giants, orcs and goblinoids do not apply to fighting orc mechs - it's for personal combat, not mech combat.

The elves were protected for a time by the forests they lived in, but eventually, the lunar rain wore them down. The elves, with their long lifespans, suffered hard. Humans were shortlived and adapted well as a result, and dwarves at least kept their culture in their former realms. The elves have lost all their woodland realm. Tens of thousands of years of civilization are ruined except for a few portable libraries and half-forgotten songs. Barely half a generation has passed for the elves since the rain began, and every living elf is fully aware of what has been lost. Worse, they now have to live in cramped spaces, and they're not good at it. Elves are a deeply sad race. However, they welcome mechs - a tall, mobile mech is far preferable to living underground. The most advanced mechs today are made by elf magic, built from the partially destoryed ancestral trees that had been the center of elven fvillages, crafted into still-living mechs. These wooden mechs must root in the ground for an hour a day, but are still extremely potent, and carry the traditions of the elf villages. Elves tend to be sad and distant, but also hopeful. They live for seven centuries - that's plenty of time to fight off the lunar rain and its creatures and reestablish the elven culture.

Gnomes suffered much the same fate as dwarves, with their underground burrows raided by others. However, they lacked the defenses of the dwarf lands and did much, much worse, despite their illusion powers. Most gnome villages are wastelands now. Gnomes, however, have been the builders of many of the mechs of the world. Dwarves invented them, humans developed the craft, but the gnomes built them and were welcomed for it. They aren't so useful with elven mechs, but most anyone else will welcome a gnome technician and their clan. Besides, gnomes are fun. They like jokes and pranks, and any laugh is a good one in a place like Highpoint.

Half-elves have always had trouble - elves and humans in Highpoint don't really get along. Elves are stable, humans nomadic. Most half-elves never really belonged in either, but they were accepted. Most identified with one side or the other, but now, they have a chance to define themselves. Half-elves find the societies that have sprung up in the lunar rain easier to fit into and love mechs, working in human and elven crews alike.

Half-orcs are born from one of the most despised races in Highpoint, and they are liked only slightly more than full orcs. They are not accepted anywhere, and orcs see them as weaklings. They are typically found on mechs only when they pay for the privilege, or as slaves on an orc mech. They tend to be crude and coarse, having never known another way. They also tend to be blase about the lunar rains - it's not as though they made life any worse for half-orcs. They tend to be quite well-adjusted to the new world, in fact, having had little pride to lose.

The halflings of Highpoint never really controlled any land - they were hangers on to other civilizations. They've adapted well to the new world, having escaped the dragons by being small and easy to hide. They didn't have to fight to find hiding places, and they've always been good at seieng opportunity. Many are now traders, scouts or technicians. Often they are known on mechs as coglings, able to fit into tight spaces to perform complex repairs better than anyone else. Many halfling communities live entirely inside mechs, serving as the labor that keeps the engines running. Often, these communities are stowaways, even feral tribes that live in the gears without anyone knowing. They tend to be cynical but not jaded. The new world has brought htem new opportunity, after all.

Next time: Classes in Dragonmech, and why being a cleric is the worst.

Mors Rattus fucked around with this message at 03:44 on Apr 8, 2017

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
I can't wait to see how the mechanics screw up the rad premise of wizard mecha fighting moon dragons.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Dragonmech: You Have No Class

Your standard classes mostly work fine. Barbarians are especially common in the ruins of the surface, outside the mechs. Bards are rare but welcomed anywhere they go, as people are desperate for entertainment. But clerics, now...clerics have a hard time. People wonder why the gods allowed all this to happen, see. Either the gods don't care, or they were too weak to stop the disaster. The truth is, the old gods are fighting the lunar gods. The lunar gods have a strong foothold on Highpoint now, and the old gods are battling back as best they can on other planes, but they're not winning. Thus, clerics receive spells only when their deities have the strength to spare. Ever day, a cleric has to make a DC 6 Wisdom check after the hour of prayer to get spells. A 1 always fails, too. The DC can also be modified. For every day that you don't get spells, the DC goes up by 2. So if you fail once, it's gonna get harder. However, if on the previous day, you helped defeat the forces of the lunar gods or their allies and agents, the DC gets -2. Further, if on the previous day you otherwise helped your god in some major way, like making temple, founding a sect, beating an enemy cleric or other stuff, you get -1 to the DC.

Every cleric has to roll the check, even if they're of the same faith, because "it dpeends not just on the deity's ability but also the cleric's piety and the deity's power on that day." However, clerics can also tap into the power of the gods to fight the lunar horde. On any day in which a cleric gets their spells, they may attempt to channel divine energy into a spontaneous spell, as long as they are opposing a lundar creature or effect, which can include protecting or healing someone from the lunar rain or damage caused by lunar beings. To do that, you just try to cast any spell you could normally cast, even if you didn't memorize it, and make a Wisdom check. Succeed and you cast the spell without losing a spell slot. Fail, and nothing happens. The DC is 20, modified the same way the check to get spells, but the DC goes up by +4 cumulatively after each attempt to get a free spell, success or failure. Oh, and clerics and paladins serving terrestrial gods can automatically sense if a creature they face is Lunar by making a Wisdom check against DC 15, rolled by the DM.

Druids are exceptionally rare these days. The natural world has mostly been devastated by the lunar rains, and those few that remain are fanatics. "A player must explain how his druid character has come to such a profession in the world of Highpoint." Helpfully, examples are provided - apprenticed to an older druid who predated the rain, a refugee hidden in a burrow and raised with knowledge only of the postapocalyptic world, and so on.

Fighters are common in underground areas, largely from the cities of Chemak and Duerok. Monks are rare, but no rarer than they were before the rain, and are commonly found in the Irontooth Clans, learning the ways of the mech devils. Paladins are out there as champions of the faith, though they suffer the same limitations on spellcasting as clerics. Their other abilities are not affected. Rangers are pretty rare these days, and there is a new core class that is a ranger variant, the clockwork ranger. Rogues are really, really common. Sorcerers have shown up in increasing nmber with the lunar rain, touched by the power of the moon, and their spells tend to manifest in moon-themed ways, which can make them hated in some places. Many find it irritating that their powers are not respected more than those of mech jockeys or machinists. Wizards are exceptionally rare outside of elf territories, as most places of learning have been destroyed entirely and the world is mostly turning to machines instead.

So, the clockwork ranger. They tend to live in 'gear forests' - the vast, chaotic engine rooms that are within the citymechs. They are in many ways quite like normal rangers - they study the beasts of the gear forests and those that invade them. They tend to be loners. However, they have an instinctive understanding of engineering rather than nature. They are identical to normal rangers, except that they get Knowledge (Steam Engines) as a class skill, their spellcasting is off a more mechanically-oriented spell list, their Track ability treats the grimy floors of the gear forests as firm ground and really sludgy areas as soft ground, and their animal companion must be native to the gear forests. The list they are given is, specifically: dire rat, grease lizard, Medium or Large centipede, Medium spider or Small or Medium snake.

The coglayer is another new base class. They tend to be neutral or chaotic, caring far more about knowledge and technology than loyalty. They are often shy and retiring except when showing off their inventions. They rarely worship any god except Dotrak, and even then, mostly not. They are usually trained by the Gearwrights Guild or a similar group, though their trianing is quite informal. They are often gnomes or dwarves, followed by humans or half-orcs; elves prefer magic and halflings tend to be less interested in building mechs. They are mostly craftsmen, focusing on Intelligence and Dexterity to build the powerful weapons and mechs that they use. In fact, they're basically this game's wizards, in a way. They have d4 hit dice and their class skills are Craft (Blacksmith), Craft (Mechcraft), Disable Device, all Knowledges, Listen and Mech Pilot. They get 8 base skill points and are naturally prificient with clubs, dagters, heavy and light crossbows, quarterstaffs, all shields except the tower shield, and padded, leather, studded leather, pilot's, chain shirt, scale mail, gearmail and chainmail armor. They have wizard BAB progression and a good Will save.

At first level (and every level divisible by four) a coglayer gets a free exotic weapon proficiency from the list of: buzzaxe, buzzsaw, chattersword, flame nozzle, lobster claw, steambreather and steam gun. Further, they get the Machine Empathy ability which lets them add their level to all Craft (Mechcraft), Knowledge (Mechs) and Knowledge (Steam Engines) checks and gives them the Craft Steam Gear feat free. At second, fifth, ninth, 13th and 16th level, they gain proficiency with any single mech weapon. They also get a number of Steam powers - 2+Int mod at 1st level and gaining more as they level up, to a max of 16+Int mod. Any powers you have at 1st level are considered already built and part of your equipment, but any new ones must be built and paid for as per the rules for that, found later. The powers you have are what you are able to maintain, and you don't have to specify which powers you have in your slots until you actually build a device that uses that power, as long as you never exceed your limit. If a device is destroyed, that slot is freed up again and can have any power put into it. Each morning, the coglayer has to spend an hour maintaining their steam powers, doing maintenance and so on, and must be able to concentrate in that time. For every day in which this doesn't happen, the coglayer loses one power. All powers are restored after a full hour of maintenance.

At third level and every four levels after that, a coglayer may integrate two steam powers built into the same device into a single unit, which weighs as much as the smaller of the two did before combining. (This is because coglayers are usually low-Strength and have encumbrance problems.) It doesn't matter how much sense this makes, because, quote, "this is fantasy engineering!" Lastly, at 12th level or higher, a coglayer may take the That Piece Is Important ability of the Stalker class rather than a normal feat, and if they do, they may identify stalker sabotage in half the usual time. No, we haven't seen the Stalker class yet.

Next time: Constructors, Mech Jockeys, Stalkers and Steamborgs

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
I'm going to guess it's the usual culprit: scaling is hard.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion


I get the feeling that most d20 designers either have a sacred cow for (or simply don't see as a issue) the free scaling of casters versus non-casters. Why, exactly, should fireball do a d6 per level? Why shouldn't it do, like, 4d6?

slap me and kiss me
Apr 1, 2008

You best protect ya neck
Wizards need new toys when they level up. If the fireball doesn't hurt more, what's the point of earning that xp?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 5, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!
New spells, being able to cast more spells, better spells - there are a lot of levers you can use. The big issue with spellcasting classes is that they usually use all of them.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Dragonmech: My Boyfriend Is A Pilot

The constructor is a wizard variant that specializes in making constructs. They've only been around ofr a few decades and mostly are organized into the College of Constructors, who work to expand the science of constructs beyond golems. They focus on spells that mimic construct triats and work to match the machines of the coglayers. All constructors must be members of the College of Constructors, but they accept anyone that wants to join. Their spell list includes all wizard spells, plus a few divine spells they've adapted and several variant spells focused on affecting constructs instead of the old targets. These restricted, constructor-only spells are regulated by the College nad may never be taught to nonmembers, and so can only be leanred by membership or stealing a member's spellbook. All constructors are specialist wizards, as per the PHB, and must ban one school. It's almost always necromancy, as the special constructor spells contain spells from all the other schools. Constructors can also build a clockwork familiar rather than getting a normal familiar. More on that later in the magic section.

The mech jockey is a pilot. It's been clear since mechs were made that making and piloting them were not the same skills, and mech jockeys are chosen for piloting skill, not technical skill. They are the heroes of the new world, and they love their job. Most are cocky and self-assured, but for good reason. Their talent is exceptionally useful now, far more than the old days when they might have just raced buggies or chariots. While their main skill is piloting, most are amateur technicians to better maintain their machines or juicing them up. While they aren't as atheistic as coglayers, they still tend to focus on machines over gods, and most follow Dotrak to a greater or lesser extent. They are usually human, as humans seem to love the thrill of piloting. Other races have mech jockeys, but not so many as humans and rarely with as little disregard for their own safety. Dwarves, especially, tend to have coglayers as pilots.

Mech Jockeys favor high Dex and Int. They have a d6 HD and have Balance, Climb, Craft (Mechcraft), Jump, Knowledge (Mechs), Knowledge (Steam Engines), Listen, Mech Pilot and Spot as class skills. They get 4 base skill points and are proficient with all simple weapons, rapiers, short swords, all crossbows, steam guns, light and medium armor, pilot's armor and gearmail, but no shields. They are proficient with all mech weapons automatically. They have midrange BAB outside a mech and full BAB in one, and good Reflex. They add their mech jockey level to all Mech Pilot checks, and get Quick Draw and Weapon Finesse for free, even if they don't meet the prereqs, due to their excellent reflexes, hand speed and coordination. At levels 2, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16 and 19, they get a bonus feat off a special list focusing on mech feats. At level 2, they can do patchwork repairs once per day as a full round action, repairing the effects of a single critical hit but not healing any HP damage to the mech. These repairs last 1d6+(half mech jockey levels) hours.

At third level, a mech jockey can "push the envelope" once per day, giving their mech +2 to attack and damage rolls, +2 to saves and +10 feet to move speed. This lasts for (3+Int mod) rounds, and when that ends, the mech is overheated for 1d4 rounds and gets -2 to attack and damage rolls. An extra use of this per day is gained every 3 levels, and at 12 th level, the bonuses double. At 18th level, there is no more overheating period. Pushing the envelope is a free action and can be done at any point, even when it's not your turn. At 5th level, a mech jockey treats crits as if they were one critical threshold less dangerous, to a minimum of green. At level 11, two increments. At level 20, three increments. (This matters for mech combat; we'll get to it later.) At 6th level, a mech jockey may use the Dodge, Expertise, Cleave, Great Cleave, Improved Trip, Power Attack and Whirlwind Attack feats during mech combat, if they have any. (Improved Critical, Improvited Initiative and Improved Sunder already work in mech combat, while Shot on the Run and Spring Attack are usable if you have the Mechwalker feat.)

The stalker is a rogue variant. They are essnetially sabotage and infiltration specialists. They get Knowledge (Mechs), Knowledge (Steam Engines), Craft (Mechcraft) and Mech Pilot as class skills on top of the normal Rogue list, but lose Appraise, Forgery, Perform and Swim. At 10th level and every 3 levels after that, they get a special ability. 10th level must be Contortionist and 13th must be That Piece Is Important, but the rest can be chosen from the usual rogue list. Contortionist lets you dislocate any joint at will, giving +5 to Escape Artist checks, which stacks with the Agile feat, and allows you to squeeze into just about any opening. That Piece Is Important lets you study a mech's engines for at least an hour (on a small mech of merely Large size) and up to six months (for the largest citymechs). After that, you can make a Disable Device check but may not take 10 or 20 on it. The DC is 16 on the Large mech and up to 42 on the largest citymech, size City-mech F. If you succeed, the entire mech is forced to a grinding halt within 2d6 minutes, with all systems tied to the central engines failing. The mech takes no damage but must be repaired as if it was dropped by 15% of its normal HP, and this takes at least half as long as you spent studying the mech. If you fail, you must wait a week to make another check, and must make a Bluff check against the same DC to avoid your work being detected. This power cannot be used on necromantic or magically animated mechs. Also, any rogue or stalker can freely multiclass as the other as if it were their race's favored class.


The other class art has been boring, but this guy?

The steamborg is someone who's taken their engineering to a dangerous level, turning themselves into a steampunk cyborg. They were born of rising technology meeting postapocalyptic nihilism. People needed artificial limbs, and the engineers began to experiment - and found they could make artificial limbs better than the originals. The experiments of the first steamborg, a dwarf named Darius, formed a group of obsessive dwarven engineers, and it wasn't long before they dispensed with the polite fiction of helping the disabled in favor of voluntarily doing surgery on each other until they were more steam engine than dwarf. Steamborgs tend to Neutral or Chaotic, as they must breach all kinds of cultural boundaries and are rarely especially disciplined. Instead, they embrace risk. They have no respect for the old gods, with power coming from machines. If they have any religion at all, it is towards Dotrak, but evne that is rare. Almost all of them are dwarves,though gnomes are the second most common, followed by humans. Most people, however, of any race or background, find them incredibly disturbing. (Except orcs, who respect physical strength in any form.)

Steamborgs favor Constitution above all else, followed by Intelligence (to understand the tech) and Charisma (to retain their personhood). They have a d8 hit die and have Balance, Climb, Concentration, Carft (Mechcraft), Disable Device, Heal, Jump, Knowledge (Steam Engines), Listen and Profession (Engineer) as class skills, and get 4 base skill points. They are proficient with simple weapons, buzzaxes, buzzsaws, chatterswords, flame nozzles, lobster claws, steambreathers, steam guns, light and medium armor, and all shields except the tower shield. They have midrange BAB and good Will and Fort. At 1st level, all they get is the steam engine implant, usually in the chest cavity but it could really go anywhere. It's protected but always quite abovious thanks to the gauges and pipes that are visible and the smokestack that spews exhaust, giving -4 to all Hide checks. This penalty can be removed for up to 5 minutes by disabling the exhaust, but after 5 minutes the exhaust must be turned back on or you start to suffocate. The steam engine is protected from exposure, except for total submersion. It will cease functioning if submerged for more than 30 minutes, losing all of its special abilities until repaired (as if it had lost 20% of its HP, which is a minor repair) - but note that if you have two artificial arms you can't fix it yourself because they won't be working. The engine draws water from the steamborg's body, requiring them to drink three times as much as a normal person to avoid malfunctions. At first level, the thing doesn't actually do anything, though.

At second level and every even level after that, you get a new artificial part bonus. You can redistribute what these do, as long as your total effects are no more than your total bonus. You may replace any body part except your head, and what you replace should at least be tangentially related to the effect of your new body part. Each part does something for you, with a related cost - usually +1, but extra hit dice cost +2 bonus and extra attacks cost +3. You can get +1 Strength, +1 Dex, +1 to attack rolls, +1 to Str-based attack damage, +1 AC, +1 to Fort save, +1 to Ref saves, +5 feet of movement, increase the damage die of a natural weapon or unarmed attack by one step, get +1 HD or get an extra attack (to a max of two extra attacks) at your lowest attack bonus. You can take a bonus more than once, too. If your steam engine breaks down, so do all the bonuses you get - and any side stuff that mechanical part did, such as 'be an arm.' And yes, if you get an artificial heart, you die if the engine breaks down. Also, your total bonus can never be more than twice your Con mod, even if the class lets you go higher. Also, each time you change your abilities, it costs 1000 GP per point of bonus changed, though it costs nothing to just add a new part.

On top of all this...you add your maximum bonus to all Craft (Mechcraft), Disable Device and Knowledge (Steam Engines) checks. If you have an artificial arm, you can use it as a club for 1d6 damage, or can buy weapons and staple them to your arm, preventing it from ever being disarmed. However, you are now weak to rust attacks, though you can always make a Fort save to resist, though with your current total bonus as a penalty to the check. You also gain steam powers as you level, starting at 3rd level, and maxing out at 5+Int mod powers, which are associated with your parts and cannot be changed unless you change out those parts. At 5th level, you get +2 to AC as a natural armor bonus stacking with other armor (including the natural armor you get from your parts, if you have any), but it costs 2000 GP to get these implants and a DC 25 craft check, though you can do it on yourself fine. The operation takes a day of work and two weeks of convalescence. At 9th level you can remove your skeleton and replace it with metal, getting +2 Con and +2 to Fort saves (on top of the increased Constitution), though the Fort bonus is built into the class's chart. This costs 5000 GP and a DC 30 check, but you can't do it to yourself this time. It takes 5 days of work and 4 weeks of rest after. At 19th level, you cease to age for as long as you have the tools to maintain your body.

However, starting at 3rd level, a steamborg must make a Cha check each morning at a DC of 10+(total current artificial parts bonus). Fail and for the rest of the day, your aligment is True Neutral and you think like a machine, ignoring emotion entirely in favor of utility and suffering -4 to all Cha-based checks. You may also, at the DM's whim, become overly logical or repetitive, or some other 'mechanical' trait, as long as it disrupts your normal interactions with people without making you unplayable.

Next time: Prestige classes!

Cease to Hope
Dec 12, 2011


13th Age part 10: I haven't had the occasion to practice this one.

Fighters and rogues are original 13th Age creations, insofar as any retread of those two hoary D&D standbys can be original. Rather than using a basic attack and stacking bonuses on it, as barbarians and rangers do, or having a set schedule for powers chosen from a list, as spellcasters, their powers are situational. They can only be used when the conditions are right.

Rogues are loosely inspired by Psionic Focus, a concept first introduced in Expanded Psionics Handbook, the D&D 3.5e psi book. Rogues choose their powers from a list and can change those powers at level-up, similar to 4e rogues. However, instead of managing power slot usage like spellcasters, they can only use some of their powers while they have Momentum. All but one power can be used as long as the conditions are right, addressing the common 4e criticism that there's no good reason why martial characters should be limited to using their powers once per day.

Fighters are also designed with this criticism of 4e in mind. However, instead of having a resource to manage, fighter attacks are Flexible. A flexible attack (which more or less means "an attack the fighter makes on their turn") has a chance to trigger a fighter Maneuver, based on the raw unmodified d20 roll. Maneuvers tend to have conditions like "Any natural odd miss" or "Any natural 16+ hit", and you can only use one maneuver per attack.

Bards also have maneuvers, on top of their songs, which are special spells that do not technically count as spells but do take up spell slots, and regular old spells. In keeping with their reinvention for D&D 3e, they do a little bit of everything, but are mostly spellcasters. I've just lumped them in here with the fighter and rogue because maneuvers are the fighter's signature shtick; they're just borrowing them.

I'll get into the specifics with each class, but rogues and fighters don't work. Rogues don't feel like sneaky ambushers because momentum is dumb, and fighters don't feel like tacticians or martial artists because maneuvers are too random and have relatively little impact. Both classes have more to do in combat than their 3e counterparts, but those things are unreliable and underwhelming even when they do work.

This is what I call Character Level Three.

Rogues are in a tough place. Their traditional niches of "open locks and spring traps" and "miscellaneous skill-user" are completely subsumed into the Background system, available to characters from any class. 13th Age makes the good decision that sneakiness is its own kind of magic with the Prince of Shadows, but that idea is barely touched. Even the niche 3e carved out for the rogue - stabbing people - is overshadowed by 13A's 4e-inspired ranger. 13th Age tries to expand that shrinking niche by making rogues supernaturally tricky, but it gets precious little support.

Rogues are still stabby. They have Sneak Attack, extra dice of damage on melee attacks against an enemy engaged with an ally. (There's no flanking in 13A's abstract combat system.) With feats or power selections, this can be applied to enemies who are surprised or otherwise disadvantaged, but it can't reliably be used on ranged attacks until higher levels. Rogues have to deal with all sorts of conditional triggers when it comes to sniping people or throwing daggers.

Their talents mostly make them better at stabbing, or give them extra Backgrounds or points for Backgrounds. One notable exception is Shadow Walk, a talent which grants a power that is basically Ninja Vanish. A rogue can use basically their whole turn to Shadow Walk. If it succeeds, they disappear until their next turn, reappearing somewhere they could have moved in the interim, and do double damage on their next attack to make up for burning a turn. This is not only a very useful ability almost all rogues will want because of how Momentum works, it's an evocative ability that doesn't get bogged down in what is "realistic" or not. (Because Shadow Walk counts as an attack, so it generates Momentum. In fact, it's guaranteed Momentum for whatever it is that you're planning to do next turn, because you are disappeared for the interim.)

Every rogue will want some strategy to avoid getting stuck in melee because many rogue powers require Momentum. Rogues gain Momentum when they hit an enemy with an attack, and lose Momentum when they are hit by an attack or spend their Momentum on a power. Momentum isn't very interesting or fun. Momentum powers are wimpy and situational, and mostly involve avoiding or cushioning the effect of being hit by an attack. A ninth-level power, True Targeting, lets a rogue prevent an ambush from an unseen or invisible attacker, but only if that rogue spends their momentum, presumably earned from already fighting someone else in the same ongoing fight. Momentum powers also don't make rogues feel like ambushers: they're all dead weight at the beginning of a fight. Momentum powers can also make rogue players feel unfairly picked on by the GM when enemies target the rogue over someone else - this not only does damage, but also shuts down a chunk of the rogue's tricks.

The one well-designed use for Momentum is Swashbuckling, a rogue talent and the best of the freeform improv talents. Rogues with Swashbuckling can expend their momentum to automatically do something outrageous and exciting, like stunting off of the environment or making up some sort of situational advantage on the fly. There are specific examples with game effects included, and the text even reminds us that while anyone can do these things with a Background check, this talent gives the rogue the ability to do them and automatically succeed. The only bad part of this talent is that momentum hangs around its neck like an anchor, so swashbuckling isn't something you can do out of combat or at the start of a combat or in many perfectly reasonable combat situations.

Rogue powers that aren't based on momentum are almost all deathly dull. Almost all of them are at-will powers that are nothing more than minor variations on basic melee attacks, adding a bleed or extra damage on a miss or your STR mod to your to-hit roll (against enemies under half health only, of course). 13th Age's abstract combat means that there's just not very much to put after "Stab a guy and…" Inexplicably, there's one single daily rogue power, but without its corresponding feat it's so bad that there's little reason to ever bother with it at the level you get it. The one interesting standout is Thief's Strike, a "stab and…" at-will power that lets you steal things from people you've stabbed. With an additional talent and feats, this turns into a freeform, improvisational power. At high levels, you can "steal something with a successful thief’s strike that you would ordinarily not be able to steal, but the Prince of Shadows could," like a memory or an opportunity.

The idea that "being sneaky" is a character role that is actually on par with "studying magic" is the sole good idea in the 13th Age rogue. Heinsoo and Tweet do their best to give rogues the "shadow dancer" or "arcane trickster" theme by default, instead of every rogue just being a talented but mundane acrobat. This concept mostly doesn't translate mechanically, however: most of the class is a mess of conditional combat modifiers, boring abilities, and the terrible idea that is the Momentum system. 13A rogues definitely have enough conceptual and thematic juice to carry a class, but it isn't this class.

Next: It's more of a gesture

Cease to Hope fucked around with this message at 21:10 on Apr 8, 2017

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




The more 13A updates I read the more doubts I have about the system and the less willing I feel like using it for whenever I can convince myself to actually run the Warcraft campaign.
Which is further confounded by the fact that the three current player character concepts are a Warrior, a Paladin and possibly a Druid.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.
Every Rogue boils down to Bleeding Strike.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Night10194 posted:

Every Rogue boils down to Bleeding Strike.

Yeah I got some good usage out of that one alongside Sure Cut. Although in hindsight I must've gotten it wrong because I usually went with Shadow walk as my opening move and then attacked from that with Sure Cut, which can't be done since it requires momentum from making damage. I think both me and the GM forgot about that after a while. :v
Bleeding strike I usually saved for major enemies.
But going through my character sheet I realize I barely even used half the attacks I've got written down. Just outright stopped using some of them.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

Night10194 posted:

I can't wait to see how the mechanics screw up the rad premise of wizard mecha fighting moon dragons.

They better watch out for Sailor Tiamat and the Sailor Chromatics.

Cooked Auto posted:

The more 13A updates I read the more doubts I have about the system and the less willing I feel like using it for whenever I can convince myself to actually run the Warcraft campaign.
Which is further confounded by the fact that the three current player character concepts are a Warrior, a Paladin and possibly a Druid.

I think something like Exemplars & Eidolons works better for this kind of high-powered cartoon fantasy stuff.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 14:59 on Apr 8, 2017

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Dragonmech: Anklebiters. Really.

So since the steamborg is a lot of text, I'm just going to note: it sucks. It is awful. It is extremely overcomplicated, and most of that complication is downside. Its actual class powers are super underwhelming, and they cost money to get. At first level it gets literally nothing useful, and their steam implants are all far, far less useful than the game thinks they are. Steamborgs are fuckin' awful. Also, mech jockeys are better at mech piloting than anyone else and will automatically win any mech fight against a non-mech jockey, so that's fun. Mech fights are weird and we'll get to how they work eventually. They don't even get many steam powers, which are interesting if ultimately also really underwhelming. (So hey, coglayers aren't great either.) Now, let's look at prestige classes.



The anklebiter - yes, really - are specialists in taking down mechs while on foot. They run at mechs, jump or climb onto them, then make their way up and/or into the mech, get to the cockpit and kill the pilot. Becoming one isn't that hard - there's a ton of people who know the techniques and they're widely used by anyone that has to fight mechs regularly, so it's not locked behind any organization. To become an anklebiter, you need 5 ranks in Balance, Climb and Jump, a Reflex save of +4 or higher, and a BAB of +3 or higher. You get a d10 hit die, and your class skills are Balance, Climb, Jump, Knowledge (Mechs), Listen and Spot. You gain proficiency with all simple and martial weapons, plus the net, whip, and all armor and shields except the tower shield. You also get the Mech Rider feat free, even if you don't meet its prereqs. You get good BAB progression, good Ref and a half-decent Fort save.

On top of that, anklebiters get a set of masterwork tools. These give a +4 bonus to prying open doors, chests and mech portholes. However, they also have another use - they can be used slowly and methodically to reduce the DC to do any of those things. By taking a standard action, you can clip bolts and bands and so on. For each round you do this, the DC to break open the door/chest/porthole goes down by 1, to a maximum reduction of 5. If you fail, the DC goes back up, but you can reduce it again if you want. At level 2, you get the connections to get up to 1d4 pressure bombs per day. At level 3, you can also get up to 1d4 magnet bombs per week, and at level 4 you can get up to 1d4 rust bombs per month. And by 'get' I mean 'buy' because apparently you still have to pay for those. At second level, you also get a +1 bonus to Climb checks made to climb a mech's legs, ranged touch attacks to hook a mech with grappling hooks and Jump checks to grab onto mechs. This goes up by +1 every even level. At 3rd level, anklebiters may choose, before trying to break open a porthole or entrance (or a chest), to make a 'bloody invasion' and make a Fort save as a free action at DC 10. If they succeed, for every point by which the save exceeds 10, they get +1 to their STrength roll to break open the entrance, but take 1 subdual damage. So if you roll a 14, you get +4 to the Strength roll and take 4 subdual damage. You can do this once per round but as often you like other than that. At level 5, you get evasion, but only against mech tramples. At 7 and 9, you get a bonus feat off the fighter list.

The anklebiter is...well, underwhelming. It's a neat concept, but its bonuses are small and its abilities are pretty limited. I mean, it gets really good at breaking doors open, but that's really it. It doesn't get any tools to actually be better at, say, killing the guy inside the mech. (Also, for some reason, its BAB goes up to +10 but doesn't split into multiple attacks. I don't know why.)



The assimilated is insane even by steamborg standards. They're what happens when someone becomes so attached to their mech that they decide to literally attach themselves to it, hardwiring themselves into the mech until, eventually, they're basically a torso stuck, immobile, in the cockpit. Only a handful actually exist and are seen as insane by everyone else. They tend to believe normal people are insane, and that being a mech loving owns. To become an assimilated, you need to, first, not have a Lawful alignment. Second, you need a Constitution of at least 18. Third, you must have 10 ranks of Craft (Mechcraft) and 15 of Knowledge (Mechs), Knowledge (Steam Engines) and Mech Pilot. You need the Mech Dancer, Mechidextrous and Mech Walker feats. You need to have lost your sense of humanity - mostly, this means you fail the steamborg daily Charisma check five times in a row, but the DM can rule that something else counts, like a deep personal tragedy, as long as it's extreme. Last, you need to have a level 10 or higher coglayer or steamborg to help you and, of course, you need a mech to assimilate with. It is also suggested you get enough steam power abilities to create clockwork puppets to serve as your hands on a personal level, but this is not strictly required. Just, by the time you're done you will be unable to move your human body at all.

The assimilated gets a d4 hit die and has Concentration, Craft (Mechcraft), Disable Device, Knowledge (Mechs), Knowledge (Steam Engines), Listen, Mech Pilot and Spot as class skills. They gain proficiency with any weapons ever mounted on their mech. Their BAB actually goes down at every level - at level 1, it's -2, and at 2, it's -4. After that they become incapable of actually attacking personally. Their mech BAB goes up in leaps and bounds, however. They have no good saves. Further. they add double their assimilated class levels to all Mech Pilot checks, and gain the Mech Fu feat if they didn't have it already.

At level 2, the assimilated's legs are physically locked into the mech. Their upper body and hands remain mobile, but from the waist down, nothing is moving. They can detach themselves, but require a wheelchair or similar to move about, and they may no longer take any additional ranks in skills affected by this limited mobility. In exchange, they may now communicate with their mech telepathically, operating it without need for movement or speech, though they sitll need to use their eyes to pilot unless the mech has sufficient optical interface. At level 3, the assimilated is permanently installed in the mech, immobilizing them entirely from the neck down. They can no longer be removed from the cockpit. They also gain one of the Gearhead, Natural Pilot or Speed Freak feats, provided they meet the prereqs. At level 4, they get another feat off that list, and also have perfect knowledge at all times of their mech's physical condition and damage, receiving direct input from any sensory devices built into the mech and feeling any damage to it or its engine, essentially treating it as his 'real' body. This also grants the ability to 'push the envelope' per the mech jockey class five times a day, which stacks with any uses of that ability from mech jockey levels. At 5th level, they get the third feat off that list, but are now incapable of moving even their mouth and eyes - their brain is wired directly into the mech. They are now actually the mehc. Their soul is contained in the entirety of the mech and can now be targeted with necromantic effects and death effects aimed at the mech, as well as psionic attack and spells like 'detect thoughts'. They are a living construct, basically. If you remove the human body inside, it is destroyed, but the character remains alive in the mech. Their HP is added to the mechs as a shared pool, though removing the human body removes the human body's HP from the pool.

Oh, and assimilated can only take levels in other classes if their physical limitations do not get in the way - so you're not really going to be a fighter after level 3. In fact, the only real classes that are able to work with the assimilated are mech jockey, coglayer and steamborg, though the DM may allow caster classes as long as the character has Still Spell or otherwise uses only spells with no somatic components and is not required to use an actual, physical spellbook. The weird thing about this class: if you want to be a mech pilot it's actually really, really good, though the fifth level's sudden weakness to certain spells in your mech is irritating. But like, these guys have the mech jockey problem of 'automatically wins against non-mech jockeys' but worse. Also, they can't actually interact with normal party-scale stuff after a while unless you want to get balls deep in the steam powers poo poo and make a robot puppet to be their mouthpiece.

Next time: MECH DEVILS

lifg
Dec 4, 2000
<this tag left blank>
Muldoon

Cease to Hope posted:

Fighters and rogues are original 13th Age creations, insofar as any retread of those two hoary D&D standbys can be original. Rather than using a basic attack and stacking bonuses on it, as barbarians and rangers do, or having a set schedule for powers chosen from a list, as spellcasters, their powers are situational. They can only be used when the conditions are right.

This is a really nice and succinct way to describe how different classes are built.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Dragonmech: mech devils (and also mechanics)



Gearwrights are the best of the best when it comes to steam engineering. They are members of the Gearwrights Guild and have access to information dating back to the first Age of Walkers, plus the superior resources offered by the Guild. However, they're quite exclusive. To become a gearwright you must, first, be a dwarf, gnome or human...and if you are a human, well, assume any numbers listed in this paragraph are 20% higher. You must have a Neutral alignment, Dexterity 16+, Intelligence 18+, and 10 ranks in Craft (Mechcraft), Knowledge (Mechs), Knowledge (Steam Engines) and Mech Pilot. You must also pay 500 gp per year in dues and be sponsored by an existing gearwright, and you have to swear loyalty to the Guild over everything else, even your family and friends, and pledge to devote all your efforts to expanding knowledge.

Gearwrights get a d4 hit die and Craft (Blacksmith), Craft (Mechcraft), Disable Device, all Knowledge skills, Listen, Mech Pilot and Spot as class skills. They get no proficiencies, but at level 2, 5, 8 and 11, they get proficiency with any one mech weapon of their choice. They get bad BAB and good Will saves. They also get access to steam powers, which stack with any steam powers they got previously, and add their gearwright levels to all Craft (Mechcraft), Knowledge (mechs) and Knowledge (steam engines) rolls, until 6th level. After 6th level, you get a different bonus - the first +6 to those rolls stays, but further levels depend on how you specialize. If you choose to be a repositor (academic), you get +2 per level past 6th to all Knowledge checks. If you are a maintenor (mechanical engineer), you get +2 to every level past 6th to Craft (mechcraft) and Craft (engineering) checks. If you are a cogulor (researcher), you get to just keep adding +1 per level to those rolls from before. Also, at level 1, you are considered to be an apprentice.

At level 3, and every 3 levels after, you can integrate two steam powers as per the coglayer ability. You also get the Craft Powered Mech feat if you didn't have it. At level 4, you are qualified for the rank of Journeyman, though you need to be actually promoted via RP. At level 7, you are qualified for the rank of full Gearwright and choose your specialization. You are also granted limited access to the Master Repository, and for each week you spend researching there, you get +1 to a Knowledge check, to a max of +5. At level 10, you are qualified for the rank of Junior Officer (though theire are never more than 20 per specialization at any time). Further, any time you could take 20 on a skill check related to mechs or steam engines, you may take 30 times the normal time rather than 20 times to take 30 instead. At level 12, you qualify for Senior Officer (of which there are never more than 10 per specialization) and at level 13 you are qualified to be a Master Gearwright, but there's only three of those total, and you only get the job if all three agree you should have it because one of them is retiring, which only happens about once every three centuries.

Honestly? The only real reason to take this class is if you're a coglayer that wants more steam powers, or the take 30 ability.



Mech devils are the most feared pilots, found only among the Irontooth Clans. Any attempts by outsiders to develop similar techniques have failed, and many claim they have some kind of supernatural or infernal influence - hence the name, though it's not true. The Irontooths have just claimed the name as a term of honor. Just about every mech jockey wants to become one, and at heart, most don't blame the ones who forsake their loyalties to join the Irontooth Clans to become one. To become a mech devil, you must have Dexterity 18 and Intelligence 16, 13 ranks of Mech Pilot, and all of the Mech Dancer, Mech Fu, Mechidextrous, Mechwalker and Natural Pilot feats. You must also be a member of an Irontooth clan, which you can join by beating a skilled Irontooth mech jockey in a ritual joust and then formally forswearing all loyalties to other nations. You must also find a master mech devil to train you, which you must pay for - about 2000 gp per year, minimum. You can't have any assimilated levels, because the Irontooths consider those guys to be bugfuck crazy. However, there is one way around some of the requirements. Monks of at least level 5 are automatically accepted into any Irontooth clan they want to join, and provided they meet the attribute requirements and take Mech Dancer and Mech Fu as soon as they can, they will be accepted as mech devils regardless of other prereqs, though they must reach them as soon as possible. These monks may also freely multiclass as mech jockeys.

Mech devils get a d10 hit die and Blanace, Bluff, Climb, Craft (Mechcraft), Escape Artist, Jump, Knowledge (Mechs), Knowledge (Steam Engines), Listen, Mech Pilot, Sense Motive, Spot and Tumble as class skills. They get half decent BAB on foot and good BAB in a mech, plus good Ref saves. They gain no proficiencies, but their 'unarmed' mech attacks deal bonus damage - +1d6 at 1st level and going up by 1d6 at 3, 5, 7, 9 and 10. This bonus applies only if the mech's hand has no weapon in it. Monks who join the class can also use their flurry of blows as an attack bonus for their mech at no penalty, which normal monks cannot do at all. Further, mech devils get new uses for their skills. For every 4 full ranks of Balance, they get +2 to resist enemy trip attempts (both on foot and in mechs). They may make a Bluff check against enemy pilots to remove any bonus to the mech's AC from the pilot's Dex (which is only gained from the Mech Dancer feat to begin with). They get +2 to climbing a mech if they have at least 4 ranks in Climb. They may use Escape Artist at half their normal skill ranks and with the mech's Dexterity to allow their mech to escape being trapped by weapons like hooked axes or barbed blades. They may use their Tumble skill to tumble between opponents in their mech (as long as it has Good or better maneuverability) as if they were on foot, except that the distance moved is half the mech's normal speed rather than 20 feet. Oh, and they add their mech devil level to all Mech Pilot rolls.

At level 2, they may use their knowledge of mechs and their function to stun enemy mechs with attacks to the joints, loose panels, the cockpit or other such areas. Once per day per mech devil level, they can make an unarmed stunning attack against a mech within 2 size categories of their mech, which must be declared in advance. If they deal damage, the enemy mech must make a Fort save of DC 10+(mech devil levels) or be stunned for around. The crew and passengers can act, but the mech itself can't no matter what they do, and it loses any Dex bonus to AC. Anyone attacking it gets +2 to their attack roll. At level 3, any mech the mech devil pilots that has Average or better maneuverability gets +1 to Reflex saves, which goes up by +1 every at 6 and 9. At 4, any mech they pilot gets their speed improved by 10 feet due to the mech devil's natural sense for terrain and mech movement, which stacks with the Speed Freak feat and any other boosts. At 6th level, the mech devil gets the benefits of the Improved Trip feat when making trip attacks with their mech, even if they don't meet the prereqs. At level 7, the mech devil gets the Deflect Arrows feat regardless of prereqs and may use it while in a mech, as long as the mech has a free hand or you're okay with damaging your mech's weapon. This works as normal except it's based on the mech's Reflex save. Further, they can learn Snatch Arrows with a feat choice without meeting any prereqs, and if they do, it works in their mech. At 8th level, any mech they pilot gets a +2 dodge bonus to AC.

Again: mech devils are just Better at mech piloting, to the extent that they're going to win against anyone not similarly superskilled.

Next time: Inexplicably, planeswalkers.

Doresh
Jan 7, 2015
And Green Ronin keeps doing it:

Hero High posted:

Tired of being under the yolk of older heroes who
just don’t get it, the young heroes do the impossible
and branch out on their own with new identities.

Tasoth
Dec 13, 2011
DragonMech sounds like tabletop Titanfall with all the complexity of D20. Which doesn't sound fun at all.

RandallODim
Dec 30, 2010

Another 1? Aww man...
DragonMech is a game that gives you the perfect prestige class for being Robocop, except then you can't because they can't be Lawful, and that makes me especially sad.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018

Dragonmech: Some guys who can probably just leave, really



The riftwalker dates back to the early days of the lunar rain. Most people tried to hide in castles, then underground, and so on. That led them to eventually make mechs. Others, however, found another wy: planar travel. Some mages just left, others teleported with nightfall to the other side of the world. Most, however, established temporary beachheads on other planes, blinking their homes there when the moon rose and coming back at sunrise. Riftwalkers are those who specialize in this - mostly wizards and sorcerers, but a few others, too. The first known major riftwalker was Fasil of the Aurora Plains, who had been playing with the idea even before the rians began. He taught many students at a small school he named the School of the Aurora Walkers, but one day, neither his tower nor his school - or anyone in the - reappeared. Those that left carried on the tradition, at least, but Fasil's tower has never been seen again. Some say they went to another plane, wqhile others say they were found and destroyed by some extraplanar being. To become a riftwalker, you must have 5 ranks in Knowledge (The Planes), Search, Spot and Survival, and you must either be able to cast second level spells or use ki strike (magic).

Riftwalkers have a d6 hit die and get Concentration, Craft, Decipher Script, Diplomacy, Knowledge (arcana), Knowledge (the planes), Listen, Profession, Search, Spellcraft and Spot as class skills. They get no proficiencies, but do get access to a (rather limited) spell listthat goes up to 8th level and never gives them that many spells per day. Their main use for this is to channel their spell slots into opening dimensional rifts rather than casting spells, but they do get some wizard spells and a spellbook. They have half-decent BAB and good Will. Also, they have the supernatural ability to search for planar rifts. Planes are defined here as material, transitive, inner and outer, in that order, and the DC is 20 to find a rift between one-step planes, 25 for two steps and 30 for three. If you want to go between planes in the same group, like astral to ethereal or shadow, that's DC 20. This doesn't let you use the rift, mind, just detect that it exists. It takes one minute per five feet searched, and you can't retry or take 10 or 20. However, it's safe to assume a rift exists if you pass the check, as they are common (just hard to locate or use).

At level 2, a riftwalker can, once they have found a rift, expend spell slots to pass through it. A single-step switch requires two spell levels, two steps twakes four and three steps takes eight. You must sacrifice that amount of spell levels - so two level two spells is 4 spent, for example. At this point, stepping through a rift is a combination of standard action to sacrifice the spells and move action to pass through, and you can't bring anyone with you. You seem to just vanish through an invisible door. You have a 1% chance (at least non-cunulative) per riftwalk to arrive in an unexpectedly dangerous area, such as inside a solid object, in a lava flow or inside something's stomach. If this happens, you take 1d6 damage per step down the chain and are shunted back to the material. At level 4, you can now open the rifts big enough to have others go with you. You must spend as many spell levels as it took to open the rift in the first place, but if you do, one person up t Medium size can also go through. Double that for a Large creature, quadruple for Huge, and so on. The rift closes when you go through, so you have to go last. It takes a move action for someone else to pass through the portal, but you can move the portal itself with a Concentration check per round, moving it up to 20 feet per round. Doing this, you can actually envelop entire buildings.

At 5th level, it now only takes you one round tosearch a five foot square for a rift, and if you beat the Search DC by 5 or more, you find it fast enough to pass through it on the same round. At 7, you can now semi-shift yourself at any time, making a Spot check as a free action to find rifts that will let you walk through solid objects, at the same DC as the Search check for rift sensing. If you succeed, you may expend a single spell level to move up to ten times your usual speed in a single move action, and pass through any solid objects in the way as you do, as long as you can see your end point. You may charge at up to 20 times usual speed. You appear to flicker in and out of existence as you move, moving a great distance between flickers. You must physically touch at least one fourth of the distance for real, though you can use this to bypass threatened squares to avoid attacks of opportunity and so on. Also, you now halve the spell level cost to open rifts for yourself and others. At 8th level, you gain the rogue's Evasion ability, but as a supernatural power, as you subconsciously flicker into rifts as you get hit. You also get a constant +2 dodge bonus to AC for the same reason, which applies at any time you are conscious, even if you're flatfooted. If you fight defensively, the dodge bonus rises to +4 AC on top of the normal benefits. At 10th level, your evasion becomes improved evasion. Overall, it's neat but definitely very limited in what it can actually...do, so it isn't really any good. Especially if you got in via the ki strike option and have fewer spell levels to sacrifice.



A steam mage is that rare person who studies both magic and coglaying. They aren't common, but they are able to learn how to synergize these two entirely seperate disciplines, mixing magic and machinery. They are, thus, much more dangerous to constructs and mechs than a wizard of the same power...but the cost is high to learn how to do magic through steampunk machines. You need Intelligence 16, Charisma 16, 8 ranks of Knowledge (steam engines), the Craft Steam Gear feat and the ability to cast 2nd level arcane spells. For this, you get a d4 hit die, bad BAB and a good Will save, a few steam powers as you level, and increases in your spellcasting every odd level. Also, at first level and every four levels after that, you get a free Item Creation feat. You may also make yourself a clockwork familiar, though as steam mages are not constructors, they don't have the College of Constructors' support and so it costs them a week and 500 gp to make it.

At level 2, steam mages gain the power to mix magic items and steam power devices, allowing them to augment their magical items with steam powers. (This makes steam powers much more formidable, as magic items actually have base effects worth a drat.) This takes the cost and construction time of both things and doubles them, and the end result is permanently fused, and can be modified only by being entirely destroyed and remade. At level 4, the steam mage can expend a 1st level spell slot to keep any steam-powered device fnctioning for a day, though each device requires a new spell slot. This can only be used to power steam powers, not regular steam engines. At 10th level, this power allows them to convert raw magical energies into heat, light and motion. This allows them to make magical engines of any kind via the Craft Wondrous Item feat, and also allows them to spend spell slots to power any engine, even a mech's. The bigger a mech is, the more spell levels it takes, with 5 at Medium and 5000 at City-mech F. Zero-level spells count as half a spell level. At least 20% of the cost must be paid up front, but the rest can be spent over the course of the rest of the day. (There's also a magic item, the spell furnace, that lets any caster do this.)

On the whole, the steam mage is...decent, but really there's no reason to stick with it after you hit level 2, when you get the actual good thing of the class: the ability to augment magic items with the steam power buffs that would let you, say, make an amplified wand of fireball that targets and fires itself independently.

Next time: A prestige class that decides by itself when you get to level it.

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Doresh
Jan 7, 2015

RandallODim posted:

DragonMech is a game that gives you the perfect prestige class for being Robocop, except then you can't because they can't be Lawful, and that makes me especially sad.

Serve the Lawful.
Protect the Good.
Uphold the Code of Conduct.

Yeah, that alignment restriction is weird, especially when you consider Planescape and the Modrons.

Though I'm glad that Shadow of the Demon Lord finally gave us the option to play as a Clockwork Paladin with a pistol.

Doresh fucked around with this message at 19:02 on Apr 8, 2017

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