Dwarven Machinist Feedback

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luftmensch
Player's Companion Backer
Joined: 2012-02-10 14:21
Dwarven Machinist Feedback

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:
1) 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.
2) 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?
3) 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?
4) 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:
MECHANICAL TERRIER
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)
AC: 0
HD: 1/2
Move: 60
#Att: 1
Damage: 1
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)
AC: 0
HD: 1/2
Move: none
#Att: 1
Damage: 1
Weight: 2.5 stone
Carrying Capacity: 1 stone

MichaelPfaff
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Joined: 2011-07-17 01:55

Does the Fly special ability assume the ability to hover, or is that an additional ability?

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Chicory: Machinist’s tools are required to make proficiency throws to design, build, and repair automatons. Machinist’s tools weigh one stone.
This has been updated in the rules.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

If an automaton can hover while flying, it counts as 2 special abilities.
This has been updated in the rules.

chicory
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Joined: 2012-02-16 02:22

What do y'all think about automaton "seeing" or "scrying" to a lens or orb or something what it sees and hears. How would you handle that. I'm thinking about a tiny spiderbot or hummingbirdbot kinda thing and trying to get it under 7k for a personal

Baron Opal
Joined: 2011-12-16 22:55

One thing that has come across in my game is that the machinist has no interest in building automatons. Rather, he is building tools for the party. Right now my game is pursuing a sea theme (Against the Sahauguin! as it were). After gathering up some poisoned sea urchin quills, the machinist made some javalins to pass around. Seeing how fast the foes swim, he cut off some fins from the dead sahauguin and made swim fins for the party.
I've been running this as kind of impromptu magic item creation; the items work for one use then fall appart.

prototype00
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Joined: 2012-02-10 19:38

Hey Luftmensh,
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?
prototype00

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

1) 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.
APM: I'll take a second look at the weapon selections. We'd have to drop something to add that, because of the strict class-building rules we use.
2) 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?
APM: Judge's discretion.
3) 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?
APM: Right - at present they are presented as just mounts. Perhaps, as a special ability, the automaton's AC can be used in place of the passengers. I'll work something up for next version.
4) 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.
APM: This is a great idea. I love Prototype's suggestion of making it a proficiency - it's equivalent to Familiar proficiency for the Mage. AWESOME. This is going in for sure.

James S
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Joined: 2011-07-29 12:36

That is utterly awesome.

sean wills
Joined: 2011-07-07 19:39

Bubo !

luftmensch
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Joined: 2012-02-10 14:21

Huzzah!

prototype00
Player's Companion BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara Backer
Joined: 2012-02-10 19:38

Yay!
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.
prototype00

demoss
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Joined: 2012-02-04 10:44

+1 for trap building.

Virgil
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Joined: 2011-07-08 04:09

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.

prototype00
Player's Companion BackerSinister Stone of Sakkara Backer
Joined: 2012-02-10 19:38

The Dwarven Mechinist carries on the glorious traditions of fallen Boatmurdered.
prototype00

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

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.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

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).

luftmensch
Player's Companion Backer
Joined: 2012-02-10 14:21

Neat!
Just to clarify, that 7000gp + 7000gp per level is for the DESIGN cost, not construction, yes?

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Design and construction costs are identical. Maybe I didn't understand your question?

luftmensch
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Joined: 2012-02-10 14:21

Nope, just me misunderstanding the design/build rules.

Tywyll
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Joined: 2012-02-06 14:12

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?

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

No, that wasn't my intent. I'll have to polish up the language! I was very unclear.
The intent was:
1) If you take the proficiency at first level, you start with 7K
2) If you take the proficiency at a higher level, you start with an additional 7K per level
3) If it is destroyed you can rebuild it at full cost without having to roll.
4) 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.

demoss
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Joined: 2012-02-04 10:44

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.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

OK. Perhaps it should just be a flat 7K, then. Good but not Ah-mah-zing.

demoss
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Joined: 2012-02-04 10:44

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?

James S
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Joined: 2011-07-29 12:36

If you take a proficiency at L1 it should provide some continuing benefit all the way up to max level. All this proficiency does (from what I can see) is allow you to begin play with a 'pet' automaton worth 7k, and have a sample in the event of a destruction. The extra 7k per level is not attractive because of treasure acquisition.
That may well be worth it at Level 1, because it's like having a 'free' henchman to do stuff. However, as you advance in levels and start to acquire filthy filthy lucre, I'm losing the sense that the proficiency is worth having. You can build and design your own automata, and downtime exists for other classes anyway, so why not you..
I could easily be wrong, but what's the practical long term benefit?

prototype00
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Joined: 2012-02-10 19:38

Y'know James, I have to agree with you. The automaton is nice for shoring up the low level mechinist, but at higher levels, he/she is probably building something nicer. Now something that shores up low level characters is not in anyway a bad thing, so I see the niche that this proficiency has.
prototype00

prototype00
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Joined: 2012-02-10 19:38

Re:Demoss and upgrading.
Yeah I was asking about this a couple of posts back. It would be really nice to have the ability to upgrade existing automatons (maybe by just adding the requisite amount of money into the construction). That would make the personal automaton so much more flavorful.
prototype00

demoss
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Joined: 2012-02-04 10:44

Also: since it's /supposed/ to be constantly tinkered with, being able to switch special abilities with a week of work (?) might be neat.

Virgil
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Joined: 2011-07-08 04:09

I would suggest that by taking the proficiency, the character may create personal automatons, with the following conditions:

The character may only have one personal automaton at a time.
Rolls to design and build personal automatons are always successful.
Personal automatons may only be sold at scrap value, and may not be controlled by anyone other than the creator.
Designs for personal automatons cost 7,000gp less, with the equivalent reductions in design time and library needs. As a consequence, the finished design can only be used by the creator, and only to build a personal automaton. This represents the character making incomplete and undocumented designs for personal use.
Build times and workshop requirements for a personal automaton are calculated as if they were 7,000gp less. As a consequence, the personal automaton requires daily maintenance of at least 1 turn per day, to represent the constantly unfinished state. If the maintenance is not performed, the automaton is nonfunctional until 3d6 turns are spent returning it to working order.
The character may disassemble their personal automaton for up to 50% of the unadjusted build cost in materials. This takes 1 day per 1,000gp of returned value. These materials may only be used in the construction of another personal automaton.
When the proficiency is first taken, the character immediately gains a personal automaton of their own design worth 7,000gp.

Taken together, these benefits don't provide a greater benefit if the proficiency is taken later, and they provide an "upgrade" path by slightly repurposing the mechanic of getting a reduction for having a sample. Unlike having a sample, the reduced cost does not speed up build time. At higher levels, the reduced cost bonuses still provide a 1 week reduction in both design and build time, and reduce the library/workshop needs (which make it easier to get more time reductions, if desired). I don't think it would be so good that it would be a requirement, but for an adventuring Machinist (as opposed to a more mercantile one), it would let them build newer and slightly better automatons more often.

demoss
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Joined: 2012-02-04 10:44

This sounds like a decent take.

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

Virgil, that's brilliant. Thanks for the insight - I think that's the path to go!

chicory
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Joined: 2012-02-16 02:22

Am I missing a stone weight on the machinists tools. With the list it would weigh more than thieves tools. But would it replace theives tools for the throws as the fiddly bits to repair an construct would be interchangeable to pick locks. Are the machinists tools needed to repair the construct on adventure.

chicory
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Joined: 2012-02-16 02:22

a question about the dwarf machinist template, was Personal automaton added after the templates where built, i would see a nice spot for that prof. to be added to the 17-18 Articifer maybe in place of magical engineer or collegiate wizardry.