I haven’t had a chance to actually playtest it yet, but the Dwarven Machinist is a fun read. I’ve always been a big fan of Tinker Gnomes, Goblin Engineers, and fantasy clockpunk stuff in general, so this class is right up my alley. Got a few issues though:
- Maybe the Machinist should have club or mace added to his weapon list so he can whack enemies with a large wrench and the like.
- What are the limitation on “special abilities” that can be built into an automaton? Can it use any of the special abilities listed in the monster section of the core book? Can it imitate spell effects?
- Automatons as vehicles are fun, but they don’t seem to offer protection to the operator or passengers. Perhaps the automaton could offer partial cover to its passengers for +1 special ability, and full cover for +2?
- Since making automatons is the Machinist’s big-cool thing, it would be really nice if a fresh new Machinist could start the game with just a little one. A single automaton with a design cost of 6000gp that he helped build while training with his master, perhaps.
Here are some possibilities:
This automaton resembles a small dog made out of steel and brass. It will protect its master or fearlessly attack a designated target, nipping painfully at the target’s ankles and shins
Abilities: Immune to poison, gas, charm, hold, sleep (+1)(+1 total)
Weight: 2.5 stone
Carrying Capacity: 1 stone
CLOCKWORK KOBOLD CLONKER
This automated Dwarven weapon system resembles a small backpack covered with spinning gears, humming springs, and topped with short brass tube on a swiveling turret. It’s automated targeting system and spring-powered sling mechanism lets it fire small lead pellets at enemies up to 10’ away (Useful against very-low HD monsters or for disrupting spellcasters.)
Abilities: Immune to poison, gas, charm, hold, sleep (+1), Cannot Move under its own power (-1), Ranged attack (+1) (+1 Total)
Weight: 2.5 stone
Carrying Capacity: 1 stone
I really like your idea for the dwarven mechanist to already start play with a stalwart companion to defend him. Maybe it could be a scaling (i.e. you can pick it multiple times for a stronger companion each time) proficiency specific for the mechanic class, so that he has something to tinker with when he earns money towards it?
Another idea, if I may be so bold, it would be nice if Dwarven Mechinists were allowed to upgrade their automatons (i.e. increase the HD and add more special abilities)? So what starts as a vicious, yappy dog at 1st level, ends up looking more like a mechanical bear by 10th?
Also, I need to re-read the portion on traps to see if this is possible, but how about a proficiency that allows Dwarven Mechinists to construct mechanical traps? After all, someone has to cater to the mad wizard with a dungeon crowd.
I just searched through the ACKs manual, and there are no guidelines for creation of traps outside the Trapping proficiency, which covers simple, outdoor traps - and explicitly excludes mechanical dungeon traps.
Someone must be building all those dungeon traps.
The Dwarven Mechinist carries on the glorious traditions of fallen Boatmurdered.
Update: Passengers are assumed to be carried in the open, as if mounted on an animal. The automaton may carry its passengers in a protected compartment, but this counts as an additional special ability. Characters in a protected compartment receive the AC of the automaton, or a +4 bonus to their own AC, whichever is better.
Update: Machinists may wear chain mail or lighter armor, but wield only a small range of weapons, including the arbalest, crossbow, dagger, hand axe, mace, and war hammer.
Update: New proficiency
Personal Automaton: The character acquires an automaton for his personal use. The personal automaton may be of any design the character is eligible to create, up to 7,000gp in value plus an additional 7,000gp per level of the character. If the personal automaton is destroyed, the character may design and build a new one. When designing and building a personal automaton, the character will be automatically successful on the required proficiency throws, but must still spend the requisite time and money. However, a personal automaton is always of haphazard and makeshift construction. If the character does not personally maintain the automaton for at least 1 turn (10 minutes) every day, it will cease to function. Their highly custom, makeshift construction is evident on inspection, so personal automatons cannot be sold for more than the price of scrap (1/100th value).
Just to clarify, that 7000gp + 7000gp per level is for the DESIGN cost, not construction, yes?
Design and construction costs are identical. Maybe I didn’t understand your question?
Nope, just me misunderstanding the design/build rules.
Ok I like the prof for a starter construct though I’m concerned it’s a bit of a must have.
So to make sure I understand it right, at first level you start with 14k and each level you improve it by another 7k for free. But if it dies you have to rebuild it at full cost.
Is that right?
No, that wasn’t my intent. I’ll have to polish up the language! I was very unclear.
The intent was:
- If you take the proficiency at first level, you start with 7K
- If you take the proficiency at a higher level, you start with an additional 7K per level
- If it is destroyed you can rebuild it at full cost without having to roll.
- There is no “free upgrade” between levels.
EXAMPLE: Grimgear, a 1st level dwarven machinist, selects Personal Automaton at level 1. He begins play with a personal automaton worth 7,000gp. Over the course of many adventurers, he advances to level 2, and then again to level 3. His personal automaton is still worth 7,000gp. During his most recent adventure the automaton was destroyed. Meanwhile, he advanced to level 4. At the end of the adventure, he decides to rebuild his automaton. At this time, he could do one of several things. He could re-build his old automaton. This would cost 3,500gp (7,000gp to build, reduced by half because he has a sample). He could design a new personal automaton, at a cost of 7,000gp to 28,000gp. If he designs a new automaton, he’ll then have to build it, at a cost of 7,000 to 28,000gp. Either way, he doesn’t have to roll.
So the benefit is not nearly so great as what you thought. I hope it’s not a “must have”; if it is, I may need to adjust.
I mislike the 7k/level thing as it introduces a “should I take it now because it’s awesome, or wait at least till lvl 2 so it’s twice as good” question. Very minmaxy.
OK. Perhaps it should just be a flat 7K, then. Good but not Ah-mah-zing.
Being able to upgrade it would be nice, though.
So if the third level machinist has 3k to spare, they could upgrade their automaton to a 10k version?