# Automatons using major and minor abilities

In Axioms 6 Alex mentioned that constructs in the future would use the major and minor abilities from Lairs and Encounters. This is something i was toying with as most automatons come off very costly and some choices like weight cost more than the cost of a hit dice.

So, what would the build power look like if converted? Below I have a crack at it sorted by - core powers, core negatives, and some of my house rule abilities.

Next i will post some conversions of some of my template vehicles (not posting basic puchy hit dice stuff as its easy to make).

Im going to make a google doc version eventually, but feedback first!

## Core powers

In order of listing in text-

(By default I have started by assuming they are all * unless I find something on the special abilities table in lairs. Then i adjust down based on utility)

AC bonus (##) - Similar to tough with 1d4 = 2.5 = 2 without ramp up condition. So it’s effectively ## per +2. Alternatively # per plus 1.

Immunity (*) - I threat this as mandatory and it is just immunity 5 in the L&E listing being - sleep, charm, hold, and poison. Still worth a full *

Other immunities (##) - as special ability in L&E - fire##; lightning##; cold##; acid##; fear##; blunt weapons ##; edged weapons ##; piercing weapons ##;

(Removing all nonmagical weapon*, some of the others may need to be removed as well.)

Double move (####, *, *) - Similar to Swift in the L&E table. 30’ is ## on a base of 120 so a quarter is two.

Starting at base 60 to 120, each 30’ costs ## - therefore 120’ ####;

120 to 240, again can keep ## per 30’. 240 cost and additional *;

240 to 480, here the increment ramps up, making it 60’ per ## - to 480’ cost an additional *

Other move (# to ####)- If fly is two then they could all be two, but climb has less utility than fly. Burrow ##, climb #, fly - moving ##, fly - hover ####, swim ##.

Passenger (#) - At its core this is just the seat, cargo capacity is under weight below. Generally a passenger weighs 7-15 pound and up to 20 with gear. As its really just representing the function of being able to carry and not the weitht i am allocating a cost of #.

Protected compartment (####) - this actually provides a combat benefit. But I don’t feel it’s a full star. Use a half star #### given it’s admiring a number of people.

Attacks (as special) - count directly as special abilities.

Ranged attack (##) - this doesn’t seem like a major ability as it’s not adding damage. So like bonus attack it’s not increasing anything, therefore the cost of ## seems reasonable and in line with the other abilities converted.

Change weight (##) - weight is both a blessing and a curse. It gives cargo but makes a thing bigger. It’s not a combat effect (directly) so it’s tempting to land it on a one hash, but interestingly all the previous not attack abilities have been two hashes, so I’m going with that ## it is.

## Core restrictions

These are negative powers.

No move (-*) - very severe, full increments reduction *

No attack (-*) - is severe and warrants a *

Requires operator (-*) - This is a bit unique, without this the construct comes with a brain, so removing this is representing that loss. Leave it as a full special.

## House rule abilities

These are used in some of the next posts.

Restricted movement (-####) - The automatons movement mode is severely restricted in a common environmental condition. Eg Uncontrollable in strong winds (guarantee crash, must be tied down). If no move is a * then half can be half. So restricted environmental conditions could be ####. This could be extended to quarter or three quarter.

Stationary hover (###) - This is a version of fly/hover that cannot move up or down without moving forward, but can hover in place. So it is halfway between the two at ###.

Vulnerability (-##) - pretty much the opposite of immunity above.

Proficiency (#) - The autonomous automaton is programmed or designed to perform a common task an gains a proficiency to reflect its capability. This is generally restricted to art, craft, labor or profession proficiencies. As class powers/ proficiencies in L&E. Each proficiency costs #.

Object (-) - Treat the automaton as an object or item, effectively ignoring its hit point points and targetability. The object is now subject to sunder. The wielder must have a relevant proficiency (sword to sword, plate to heavy armor etc.)

For weapons and items the weight should be two stone or less. For armour The items can be heavy but generally should be no more than 2 hit dice. This is generally for making a sword or armor suit, and not having it treated seperately to current items, i am monitoring this as in not sure how abusable it is.

Requires ammunition (-# to -####) - The automatons primary form of damage requires ammunition. It must account for both the cost of this ammunition and the weight, though the automaton itself may not have to bear the weight. The weapon should benchmark the cost and weight of it ammunition against a similar like item such as arrows, ballista stones, etc to find a reasonable value for the given weapon. The judge may allow a tradeoff of cost versus weight by using the product of the two as the means of balance.
For instance, a medium ballista does 3d6 damage; each shot costs 2gp and weighs 3lb. 2x3=6. You might say that for an automaton weapon doing 3d6 damage, each shot costs 6gp and weighs 1lb, costs 12gp and weighs 1/2lb, costs 1gp and weighs 6lb, etc. 6x1, 12x1/2, 1x6, 2x3, all equal 6.

Notes: Currently automatons have infinite ammo. So in prolonged combat they have an advantage. And in terms of campaign costs they have an advantage too. Requiring ammo takes this away but in the short term it has no combat impact. Where the required ammo is for all the damage output of the vehicle it’s a big impact but not worthy of a star, so let’s say #### being half. Where it’s for a minor damage element, say less than half the damage, it would only be #.

Carrying Capacity (####) - Weight comes with Carry capacity but can be a bit of a curse, so is carry capacity without weight better? Yes it is, as in some cases it allows objects to be carried. Double seems reasonable to discourage this kind of miniaturisation but still allow it. It’s therefore costing around a hit dice anyway.

Following are four ‘standard’ vehicles I have built to act as benchmarks. Generally i give a version under the old rules then the new rules.

## Mechanical carriage

Making a basic car? Visitor version from BCK sets the bar at 4HD with a 50 pund trunk and speed of 210’. I tried to make it 3HD under the main rules but had to go to 4HD for weight.

Mechanical Carriage (Main)
4HD (20 hp), AC 2, Move 240’(80’), Weight 160 (1 ton), carry 80, 4 passengers.
Positive: Immunities +1, Move +2, 4 Passengers +3.
Negative: Requires Operator -1, No damage -1
Net abilities: 4
Cost: 8,000 + 20,000 = 28,000

Mechanical Carriage (revised)
3HD (15 hp), AC 2, Move 180’(60’), Weight 180 (1.26 ton), carry 90, 4 passengers.
Positive: Immunities *, Move *, 4 Passengers ###, double weight ##
Negative: Requires Operator *, No damage *
Net abilities: #### #
Cost: 6,000 + 3,125 = 9,125

The advantage of the revised approach was more tools to play with without the cost escalating like crazy. Also i could slow the vehicle down with more granular move options. Also weight shift doesn't cost 5,000 anymore making it more viable.

## Tank

Ok, again i have a visitor benchmark. Im shooting for 8HD, with ammo being a thing and looking to weight in around a WWI tank. Using gun conversion from GoW.

Giant Slayer Tank (Main)
8 HD (40 hp), AC 6, Move 60’(20’), Weight 1,280 (9 ton), carry 640. 4 protected crew. 3 pound gun (3d10 damage, 5’x20’ AOE, ROF ⅙), crossbow (1d8).
Positive: Immunities +1, Weight +1, Ranged (gun) +2, Armor +1, Protected passengers +4.
Negative: Requires Operator -1
Net abilities: 8
Cost: 56,000 (Requires ammo would reduce it by 5,000)

Giant Slayer Tank (revised)
8 HD (40 hp), AC 6, Move 60’(20’), Weight 1,280 (9 ton), carry 640. 4 protected crew. 3 pound gun (3d10 damage, 5’x20’ AOE, ROF ⅙), crossbow (1d8).
Positive: Immunities *, Weight ##, Ranged (gun) ####, Armor ##, Protected passengers ###+####.
Negative: Requires Operator *, Requires Ammo ####
Net abilities: ** ###
Cost: 16,000+11,875= 27,875

## Autogyros

Not a helicopter, an unpowered rotor craft. I am modeling these off the early spanish prototype. If a horse does 25 to 30 mph and a gyrocopter does around 100 that’s three times a horse at least. So this needs maximum speed. Needs to be max speed to fit in that’s about twice a fast horse. This is why i made the stationary hover ability.

Autogyro Sparrow (main)
2HD (10 hp), AC1, Move 480’(160’), Weight 40, carry 20, 1 passenger.
Net abilities: 5
Positive: Immunities +1, Fly +1, Stationary Hover +1, Move +3, 1 Passenger +1.
Negative: Requires Operator -1, No damage -1
Cost: 4,000 + 25,000 =29,000

Autogyro Sparrow (revised)
2HD (10 hp), AC1, Move 480’(160’), Weight 40, carry 20, 1 passenger.
Positive: Immunities *, Fly - Stationary Hover ###, Move #### **, 1 Passenger #.
Negative: Requires Operator*, No damage *
Net abilities: **** - ** = **
Cost: 4,000 + 10,000 =14,000

Heavy Autogyro Eagle (main)
3HD (15 hp), AC 1, Move 480’(160’), Weight 90, carry 45, 2 passengers.
Net abilities: 5
Positive: Immunities +1, Fly +1, Stationary Hover +1, Move +3, 2 Passenger +2.
Negative: Requires Operator -1, No damage -1
Cost: 6,000 +30,000 =36,000

Heavy Autogyro Eagle (revised)
3HD (15 hp), AC 1, Move 480’(160’), Weight 90, carry 45, 2 passengers.
Positive: Immunities *, Fly - Stationary Hover ###, Move #### **, 2 Passenger ##.
Negative: Requires Operator *, No damage *
Net abilities: **** # - ** = ** #
Cost: 6,000 + 10,625 =16,625

New ability - stationary hover, cannot gain or lose altitude in hover. As +1.

## Airship

Here I am targeting something close to an early 20th century zeppelin style blimp. It’s hard to find weight stats for them (not inflated) so I’m also using the goodyear blimp as reference.

Need 12 HD, 1440 stone frame weight, 720 carry weight. 22.5 stone per passenger.

That’s about the same base weight as the current goodyear blimp (this is 10 ton, gyb is 9.5), This carries more people though, but I want it to have a reason to exist. It is slower though.

AC is too high, leather and light metals, need to allow the AC add power to be reversed.

The most excellent gnome blimp (Main)
12 HD (60 hp), AC 2, Move 240’(80’), Weight 1,440 (10 ton), Carry 720. 32 protected crew (2 operators). Net abilities: 6
Positive: Flight +1, Hover +2, Immunities +1, Move +2, Protected passengers +6.
Negative: Requires Operator -1, Uncontrollable in strong winds -1, No damage -1, Vulnerable to fire -1, Reduced armor -2.
Cost: 24,000 + 30,000 = 54,000

The most excellent gnome blimp (revised)
12 HD (60 hp), AC 2, Move 240’(80’), Weight 1,440 (10 ton), Carry 720 (640 for passengers) 32 protected passengers (2 are operators).
Positive: Flight - Hover ####, Immunities *, Move #### *, Protected passengers #### # + ####.
Negative: Requires Operator *, Uncontrollable in strong winds ####, No damage *, Vulnerable to fire ##, Reduced armor ####.
Net abilities: **** # - *** ## = #### ###
Cost: 24,000 + 4375 = 28,375

Sorry about the formatting, pasting from google docs on my phone is not the easiest.

Anyway, overall the revision brings the price down quite a bit. Mostly because the previous cost driver was the full specials used under the current version. Next I will post some of my ‘objects’.

## Object and weapon experiments

Under the old rules these items cost a fortune to make carryable. This was because the hit dice to get damage fights the weight reduction. That said the firearms with attack delays work beautifully.

The following all used the revised rules (with original cost in brackets if i had them).

## Bolt throwers

Clockwork hand ballista

Mounted on the arm, this autoloading balista launcher requires a round to load. Use the attack throw of its operator.

HD 3 (Object), AC 1, Weight 1 stone, Damage 3d6 fire rate 1/2
Positive: Immunity *, 6x Reduce weight * #### (90 stone to 1.4 = 1), Ranged ## (180’), Object
Negative: Requires operator *, Requires ammo #### (each shot must be loaded,uses ballista bolts as ammo), Cannot move *
Net Abilities: ** #### ## - ** #### = ##
Cost: 6000 + 1250 = 7,250

Considering the base version clocked in at around 31,000 this is more reasonable, maybe even usable for a second level character with the right proficiency.

Rapid fire crossbow

Fires a burst of four bolts. Is hand held.

HD 7 (Object), AC 1, Weight 1 stone (1 heavy item, excluding two items for clip), Damage (21) 1d4 bolts hit doing 1d6 damage each (one round reload 7/8 fire rate).
(Clip of 28, can fire for 7 rounds, before needing one round to load another clip - longer if one is not handy. Clip costs 1 gp and counts as a separate item to the bolts with 28 counting as another item, making a loaded lip count as two items.)
Positive: Immunity *, 9x Reduce weight ** ## (490 stone to 0.96 = 1), Ranged ## (240’), Object (Requires arbelast)
Negative: Requires operator *, Requires ammo #### (clip), Cannot move *
Net Abilities:  *** #### - ** #### = *
Cost: 14,000 + 5000 = 19,000

Original would have been over 60k from reduced weight alone. A wand of fireballs cost a bit more, but not twice as much.

Cost 1 sp per bolt, so 28 sp per clip reload, 1 gp for a clip.

## Prototype firearm

I'm using firearms from GoW in my games, but what if a mechanist built a prototype? Let's assume this is a rifle, some kind of mechanical loader assist. Use the attack throw of its operator.

(Flintlock musket smoothbore, 1d8, 6 round reload, No area effect, Damage per round 8/6 = 1.33, HD = 1.33/3 = 0.44 = ½ HD)

Prototype firearm
HD ½ (Object), AC 0, Weight 2 stone, Damage 1d8 fire rate 1/6.
Positive: Immunity *, Reduce weight ##, 2x Ranged #### (160’), Special attack (-5 AC to targets armor as gun ####), Object
Negative: Requires operator *, Requires ammo #### (each shot must be loaded,uses ballista bolts as ammo), Cannot move *
Net Abilities:  ** ## - ** #### = not positive
Cost: 1000

Good to know in case you want to add them to a machine.

## Powered Rotor Backpack

Having a crack at a powered rotor pack, because these seem popular.

Weighs the same as a heavy backpack. Shouldn’t be so light weight that itis hand held. So the weight is deliberate. This needs the extra carry capacity power i added. How would it build?

½HD (object), AC0, Move 120’(40’), Weight 5, Carry 20, 1 passenger.
Positive: Immunities *, Fly - Hover ####, Move ####, 1 Passenger #, Carry capacity doubled twice *, Object +0
Negative: Requires Operator *, No damage *
Net abilities: *** # - ** = * #
Cost: 1,000 + 5,625 = 6,625

This allows you to fly but chews through encumbrance making you slow on the ground.

## Bronze Gnome Armored Suit

A powered suit designed to provide maximum armor protection and strength enhancements. Think iron man suit, but without innate weapons, comparable to a weak version of the visitor power suit from BCK (without sealed function). Operator must wear an under suit only when operating with wear joints to stop chafing.

Bronze Gnome Armored Suit
HD 2 (for weight and capacity, Object, requires plate proficiency), AC 7 (think of it as bulky masterwork interlocking plate), Move as 60’(20’), Weight 40, Carry 20,
Positive: Immunities *, +6 Armor #### ##, Passenger #, Protected passengers ####, Special - ogre power 18 STR **
Negative:
Requires Operator *, Operator carries minimal equipment and cannot have innate armor (snug fit) ####, Minimal damage (½ - close to no damage, punch 1d3) ####
Net: **** ### - ** = ** ###
Cost: 4000 + 11,875 = 15,875

Can use hand held weapons, but can still punch for 1d3. Based on visitor Powered Suit, this is worn as armor suit (operator takes all damage directly - so fireball hits operator not automaton).

Comes in at about a third of the price of gauntlets of ogre power. Can only be used by those with plate already and they are likely to have good strength anyway. It is big and bulky and lacks the cargo capacity boost. Also it’s a metal object it would be subject to grey ooze attacks etc. so is it too cheap?

This looks like a much better system - I think I could give this to a non-mathy player and they would actually be able to do it on their own. And the lower prices work out better for things that aren't just Mr. Punch-Robot. I would definitely try this out next time I run a game.

Chimera, this is remarkably good. I'd love to have you write this up as an Axioms article. You'd be saving me a lot of work to re-construct what you've achieved here. Email me at alex@autarch.co if you're interested.

Thanks for the positive feedback. So far my conversion seems to have hit the mark. So next step was that I was wanting to build a list of vehicle templates so I could have automaton plans as treasure that can be found.

So what vehicles am I missing? I will add 3-4 standard combat automatons (useful to have as monsters anyway). But are there any gadgets or objects I should add/make?

Boats!

Ok, large galley.

It’s in ACKS core, let’s break it down.

100 SHP - so I’m going to need 20 HD (5 HP per HD).

250 Passengers - double until you get 256.

Needs 4000 cargo and (250x20) 5000 for passengers.

Need weight for this, 20HD give 28 ton and 2,000.

How much do they really weigh… Olympias trireme clocks in at 47 tons.

So a simple double weight and double carry would cut it here.

I need catapults...150/300 range, 18 damage over 5’.

Maths

AOE = 5^2 * 3.14 = 78.5

Targets = 78.5 /25 = 3.14

⅕ fire rate with max crew.

Damage = 18 * 3.14 * ⅕ = 11.3

Two take up 22 damage out of 60.

Ram.

This is hard as ram is 110 shp or 36 hp

Let’s give it a minute to dislodge and a minute to speed up. That’s 24.

110/24 = 5

36/24=1

I’m just going to say half the damage max down to 30 and use the remaining 8 for the ram.

Speed 120 under row, swap land surface for water surface at no cost.

Reduce the armor to 2.

Galley

20 HD (100 hp), AC 2, Move 120’(40’), Weight (56 ton), carry 8000. 256 protected crew.

2 light catapults (3d6 damage, 5’ radius AOE, ROF ⅕, 150 min, 330 max, can’t shoot in min), Ram (as core).

Positive: Immunities *, Carry double ####, Weight double ##, Move to 120’ ####, Ranged (catapults) ##, Passengers 256 * #, Protected passengers ####, Swim (surface only, replaces land) -

Negative: Requires Operator*, reduced AC -8 *, requires ammunition ####, reduced damage (half) ####

Net abilities: ****# - **#### ####  = * #

Cost: 40,000 + 5,625 = 45,625

Ok why bother with this, because it’s a good benchmark. Interestingly this custom made beast is comparable in cost to the mass produced model of 30,000.

Also, it enables me to put the armor on, reduce the crew and automate the rowers, but a brain back in it and make it fit for a marauding band of players… (my players would install cannons or plasma weaponry I’m assuming).

War Forged Galley

20 HD (100 hp), AC10, Move 120’(40’), Weight (56 ton), carry 4,000. 64 protected crew.

2 light catapults (3d6 damage, 5’ radius AOE, ROF ⅕, 150 min, 330 max, can’t shoot in min), Ram (as core).

Positive: Immunities *, Weight double ##, Move to 120’ ####, Ranged (catapults) ##, Passengers 64 #### ##, Protected passengers ####, Swim (surface only, replaces land) -

Negative: requires ammunition ####, reduced damage (half) ####

Net abilities: ***## - * = ** ##

Cost: 40,000 + 11,250 = 51,250

Not much more expensive. It’s a big ship too!

Oh, and most of my stuff is typed on the phone on the train so sorry for any weird autocorrect, will fix them up later.