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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:04 am 
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double post

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Last edited by MagusRogue on Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:06 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:04 am 
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well, constant d10s is decent, i guess, though it hinders Barbarian tik'toks (i could see this. *G*). Having no Con is actually a bit of a problem, as you fail all Constitution checks that don't normally work on objects, and you'll never gain a bonus to Fort saves without it. The construct immunities take a bit out of that, but it's still a hindrance, like other non-abilities. The negative abilities here plays a key as well, as tik'toks may get a massive boost in the beginning, but will be quickly outshined by others later on. a tik'tok'll never match a dwarf or just about any other strong-Con race without feats in the long run, outpaced in two or three levels. In fact, with a LA of +2, the +10 hp actually only serves to keep it even with others in the beginning, not make it better. A level 1 tik'tok'll have the same hp as a level 3 human of most warrior classes, but when we start taking levels of 10 or above, the tik'tok'll fall severely behind, especially with the LA. Furthermore, they're now subject to sneak attacks, which combined with an average lower hp at higher levels makes them very brittle. a tik'tok'll never match any other ECL-equivalent race, as it'll always be severely behind. This is more a problem with the ECL system than tik'toks, but I digress.
The skill bonuses are nice and all, but when you think of it, most of the races other than humans have quite a few relevant skill bonuses. Halflings, Elves, and Half-elves are always very perceptive (and halflings to the boot have their luck bonus to saves, which is VERY useful no matter what). Dwarves gain a bonus in crafting all mechanical things as well. the steam power is actually equivalent to gnomish innate spells, also. And, racial feats honestly don't mean much, as all races have their own racial feats in their respective books (the Races of books), even humans. If an arguement that those are just supplement books, well Steam Warriors is a supplement book as well.

I can see +1, but not +2. They have too many flaws to balance the neat bonuses they get to be a +2 race. Compare them to the drow and duergar or other +2 LA races, whose only hindrance is a sensitivity to light (which can be negated with a feat anyhow), but in trade get some pretty generous abilities, like usefull spell-like abilities and SR.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 11:09 am 
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and, again, comparing them to the other Living Construct template, they're actually much weaker in comparison. WotC's living constructs don't gain the construct bonus hp but do gain Con, which in the longer run gives them more hp and makes them sturdier than constructs without it. plus, they can last to -10 hp (oh and they auto-stabilize, btw, and never loose hp for performing acts at 0 or less), not simply destroyed at 0 hp. THAT does make a difference. again, having no Con is more a hindrance than a bonus at higher levels.

just my two cents, though. feel free to ignore all ranting.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 12:23 pm 
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Hey, you're welcome to your opinion, and you make a reasonable case. If you want to make tik'tok characters +1 or +0 or what-have-you in your own games, go for it. Balancing new races is one of the trickiest d20 tasks, so tinker with it until it fits the way you like.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:49 pm 
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just engaging in some polite questioning. 8) In fact, it's making me think harder on it, and i thank ya for it :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:03 pm 
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here's another big one for messing up mechs :twisted:

Quench (druid spell, level 3, last spell on page 267 PHB)

among other things relating to magic flame and flame creatures, quench has this nice ability to extinguish all non magical flames within a 20' cube per level (that's 5 20' cubes when you can first cat it at level 5)

what sort of effect would it have on a steam powered mech if it's boilers were quenched?

how hard would it be to quench larger mechs?

what sort of effect would this have on smaller steam engines, like those used by coglayers, steam borgs, steam guns, steam armor, and so on

rusting grasp (druid spell, level 4, last spell on page 273 PHB)

lasts for caster level in rounds, one touch attack per round
a number of effects with this one(all with successful melee touch attack):

rust out a 3' radius sphere of metal (knee-caping mechs, yeah :twisted: )
lower metal armor's AC bonus by 1d6 (not really aplicable)
destroy a weapon touched (though maybe not an entire mech weapon)
3d6+caster level damage to metal opponents (yeah, vanila damage, bleh)

considering the nature of mechs, which of the above would be the most appropriate effect if used against a mech?

i'm inclined to use the first, but against smaller mechs, this would mean the capability to completely destroy an arm or leg, or remove the section with the controls

the last one (direct damage) seems appropriate, but, against larger mechs, the only real damage would be dealt to armor if the touch comes from outside

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 3:39 am 
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I put up a thread a few days ago about mechs and CR and was directed to this one. Conveniently, I not only found that answer in here but plenty of others and even some that I didn't think of like the boilers/amplifiers for steam guns. I'm getting ready for a DragonMech game in a few weeks (still writing it) and a friend has a coglayer already made up who wields a pair of steam pistols (which I made with some ad-hoc scaling down of standard steam guns; 1d6 damage and 50 foot range) and a boiler on each would let him make full use of his two weapon fighting feat as well as making him simply appear more dangerous (the character concept is largely based around a desire to soup up just about anything he can and has a reputation for "unstable" experiments, so with a pair of "rapid fire" guns he becomes a little scary). Boilers may weigh a lot but I figured he could carry those in a backpack and connect them to the guns (which he keeps in spring loaded sleeve holsters) with hoses running under his jacket; he won't be able to effectively loan the weapons to allies on short notice but he's a bit selfish with most of his toys anyways (the player has really thought out the character quite well).

In general I must say that this thread and Joseph's active participation in it is a wonderful thing and shows to me that he's comitted to supporting Dragonmech, which I think is an awesome setting (even though I've had the main book for a year now and am just finally now getting to an actual campaign using it).

Anyways, I have another question. Is there any information on continents other than Highpoint? I only have Dragonmech and the Mech Manual (currently Second Age of Walkers is at the top of my to buy list) and the only map I've seen, in the main book, has no information on other continents. I recall reading someplace that there are other continents but, lacking mechs, they're pretty much overrun by the lunar invasion. Actually, the western edge of highpoint on that map looks like it might connect to another large landmass by that narrow and mountainous isthmus, but I really have no clue.

The reason I ask is that I'm writing my campaign (still in the crude outline stage right now) that some particularly valuable resource is discovered on one of these "fallen" continents and the PCs are part of the group sent by the Stenian Confederacy to lay claim to it. I'm not yet exactly sure what the resource is (any suggestions?) but the "discovery" was probably made by a very small group of explorers using some type of teleportation magic who returned and reported it. Since then the Legion has also managed to learn of it (or maybe they found it first and a Stenian spy got the info from them, I'm still working on it) and now both nations are racing to launch expeditions to establish a base of operations on the "foreign" continent and begin exploiting this yet to be determined valuable resource (perhaps large deposits of mithril or adamantine?). The PCs will be a small "cross trained scout team" equipped with one or two small mechs and expected to be trailblazers while the rather small force of heavier mechs remains back to defend the new settlement. Which brings me to the issue of how they get there in the first place...

Another question: exactly how dangerous is the ocean in the world of Dragonmech? I've been toying with putting in steamships as a "new developement" since the technology level is definitely there for them. I figure that a small fleet of such ships should be able to carry the small mech force and other supplies, though the few really big mechs (namely a War Smith and a Scale Hunter) should be taken apart in several large pieces and put aboard several ships due to their massiveness. I also plan to have them get attacked at least once en route; smaller mechs like Juggernauts might be simply marched onto the deck of a ship and therefore be able to at least contribute their steam cannons to the defense against any attackers, but would the larger mechs heavy ranged weapons be able to be detached and somehow rigged up into turrets of some sort on the ships' decks during the trip? I'm also wondering about what threats to send after them at sea, I'm thinking maybe a swarm of skelths and/or a kraken but I'm unsure of what other dangers might be lurking out there.

Would there be any terrestrial civilization left on this other continent? How common would lunar creatures be? I thought of lunar skinstealers controlling humanoids subjugating normal members of the same races, but I'm not sure how well that would work with lunar dragons and giants wandering around in the same area...


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 5:51 am 
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There is no information about other continents except for the brief mention that there are other continents. I'd say the answers to these questions are entirely up to you.

My personal feeling is that the oceans would be incredibly dangerous, though. In addition to the usual oceanic threats, there are intelligent races like the slathem and aquatic versions of the land races which could easily be more dangerous than any monster. Whether or not there are lunar creatures adapted to living in the water remains to be seen, but in my campaign there would be. >:)

Due to Highpoint's wacky rising and falling water, you could probably strand the characters on dry land in the middle of nowhere, too.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2005 11:38 pm 
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A few more questions occurred to me today.

Exactly how common are lunar dragons? The intro chapter of Dragonmech almost makes it sound as if the entire planet was swarming with them, but that wouldn't really make sense since that many of them wouldn't have left many people alive at all and would have soon died out of starvation by eating everything. On the other hand they'd have to be fairly numerous since they did defeat any military forces on the surface and, presumably, the dragons of Highpoint would have been able to put a sizeable dent in their population by attacking the small ones and ganging up on the big ones (I don't think that even evil terrestrial dragons are particularly fond of their lunar counterparts). With the advent of mechs (especially city mechs) the dragons would mostly either die fighting or retreat to less accessable areas like mountain ranges, but then they'd be in competition with themselves. So just how likely is one to encounter a lunar dragon (and of what size/age) in the various parts of Highpoint (endless plains, wet desert, mountains, forests, etc)? What about a "fallen" continent like I mentioned in my above post?

Also, in general, what should the ratio be for encounters with terrestrial opponents to lunar creatures? Which are more common? Lunar giants? Ygapmpo? Skinstealers? Dragons?


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 10:16 am 
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i would hazzard they are about as common as regular dragons (chromatic and metalic) and have a similar aversion to defensible and settled places

defensible and settled meaning city mech patrol routes and the few cities that have survived the coming of the lunar rain, of course

i imagine that the dragons should be as rare as you want them to be in your campaign, and possibly even non-existant... maybe check out the random encounter tables in the DMG, i would suggest replacing any entry for a dragon with a 50/50 entry for that dragon or a lunar dragon.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 1:17 pm 
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Flushmaster wrote:
Also, in general, what should the ratio be for encounters with terrestrial opponents to lunar creatures? Which are more common? Lunar giants? Ygapmpo? Skinstealers? Dragons?


The impression I get from The Shardsfall Quest is that the skinstealers are the dominant form of intelligent life on the moon, or at least the only ones with any sort of civilization as we know it. On the moon I'd say they're most common, but they also seem more fragile than the average lunar creature so probably survive the trip to Highpoint a lot less often. My guess is that the dragons would be one of the more common lunar creatures on Highpoint, based on the fact that they are both intelligent and really tough, but as Reese said they probably avoid heavily populated areas as much as terrestrial dragons.

As far as ratio of terrestrial encounters to lunar encounters, I'd say it's entirely up to you and your players. If your players decide they want to destroy all lunar creatures, they'll probably encounter them a bit more often. :) On the surface I think lunar encounters might actually be slightly more common than terrestrial encounters (if we're just talking monsters and not mechs/intelligent races). Many of the non-intelligent creatures have likely been killed or driven underground by the lunar rains. Once you get underground, I'd make terrestrial encounters more common, and throw in some creatures you wouldn't normally expect to see underground.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 8:33 pm 
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mythfish wrote:
Once you get underground, I'd make terrestrial encounters more common, and throw in some creatures you wouldn't normally expect to see underground.


I like that idea a lot. I'll use it, thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 30, 2005 3:29 pm 
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got you some more questions

i was hoping on getting some expanded rulings on much armor like the orcish dire armor fr the mech manual

can the pilot of a dire armor use his feats without being a level 7+ mech jockey (since the mech follows and enhances the pilot's own movements instead of taking direction via control sticks) or does it work just like a regular mech with reguards to feats

also, what sort of armor does a mech count as with reguards to armor-hampered abilities like evasion, fast movement, and ranger 2-weapon feats, does it block them entierly, or does it count as light/medium/ heavy/no armor?

--edit--

while i'm on the subject; i'm trying to design a mech for my barbarian wo use, pretty much a mech armor, and i was wondering what the bases stats for the large and huge mech armors are so i can mess around with incremental increases

(and, i can't remember, can a large mech get 2 points from extra weapon mounts even though that's 66% of thier base PU?)

-- son of edit --

looks like my edit-question was answered on the first page of this thread, oops

maybe my DM will let me have the extra PU, though... (just wanted to mount a huge sword blade to a huge mech armor... )

ah well, i suppose just using a 2h sword will have to suffice :p

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 5:44 pm 
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Reese wrote:
can the pilot of a dire armor use his feats without being a level 7+ mech jockey (since the mech follows and enhances the pilot's own movements instead of taking direction via control sticks) or does it work just like a regular mech with reguards to feats


Treat it as a regular mech. We want to keep a distinction between mech armor (which is a smaller-than-usual mech you pilot) and things like hydraulic armor (which is a suit of armor with steam-driven powers).

Quote:
also, what sort of armor does a mech count as with reguards to armor-hampered abilities like evasion, fast movement, and ranger 2-weapon feats, does it block them entierly, or does it count as light/medium/ heavy/no armor?


Standard mech armor uses the game statistics given in the Mech Manual, and it augments the wearer's abilities (including things like Fast Movement). As a GM, I'd rule that it prohibits the use of things like Evasion and other abilities that depend on Dexterity, but since the book doesn't say that, the default is that all character abilities still function. two-weapon fighting would only work if the mech was equipped with two weapons, which requires it to have enough PUs. If it does, you can do it.

For default stats, start with the orcish Dire Armor and work from there.

...remind me to tell Wes Schneider, creator of mech armor, how much joy he's spread...

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2005 9:53 pm 
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walrusjester wrote:
...remind me to tell Wes Schneider, creator of mech armor, how much joy he's spread...


sure thing

(hey, don't forget to thank Wes Schneider!)

my barbarian/frenzied berserker will definently be spreading the love with his combined +16 strength enhancement(mech, frenzy, and rage... gotta love unnamed bonuses :twisted: ) coupled with the speed, hardness, and huge sword blade of the dire armor MWAHAhaha...

not that i'll be able to do any of that untill i'm level 16+ ...

i'll just miss the opportunity to rip through heavily armored mechs using power attack (nice mech, i get a +3 to hit and damage and 10 hardness, but sacrifice the ability to take a -5 to-hit penalty to gain +10 damage and cleave to the next poor sap who is within my reach... and i will have an AC of 10 -4 -4 -2 -4 = -4 while wearing the mech armor (the combined AC and dex penalty >_< make the first two -4s, and the rage and frenzy make the other two)

i wonder, maybe, if the -8 dex is a little excesive, even if the armor is an orcish design...

actually, i think i should just re-armor an ashigaru in steel or iron, it's the same strength bonus, a larger speed boost (was the +30' intentional or a typo?) and half the penalties to both dex and AC... except than i can't use more than a 2h sword, even with extra weapon mounts

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2005 1:25 am 
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It says under the Grease Prophet entry in Steam Warriors that "All grease prophets lose the ability to cast some, if not all, divine spells." How does this apply to magic items that can cast spells like that? For example, a 5th level druid/1st level coglayer/1st level grease prophet has a leftover wand of cure light wounds. Does he get to use it? Is it effectively a pointy stick for him now? Does the same ruling hold true for scrolls, staves, rods, and other items that rely on having the spell on your spell list?

Also, do grease prophets count as having the constructor spells on their spell list for the purposes of things like the staff of gears or staff of mechbane? Or wands of various constructor spells? Can they use Craft Wand, Craft Staff, and Scribe Scroll to create magic items that use these spells?

Just curious. I'm going to be playing a grease prophet soon. Yay!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2005 9:45 pm 
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Sword Guy wrote:
It says under the Grease Prophet entry in Steam Warriors that "All grease prophets lose the ability to cast some, if not all, divine spells." How does this apply to magic items that can cast spells like that? For example, a 5th level druid/1st level coglayer/1st level grease prophet has a leftover wand of cure light wounds. Does he get to use it? Is it effectively a pointy stick for him now? Does the same ruling hold true for scrolls, staves, rods, and other items that rely on having the spell on your spell list?

Also, do grease prophets count as having the constructor spells on their spell list for the purposes of things like the staff of gears or staff of mechbane? Or wands of various constructor spells? Can they use Craft Wand, Craft Staff, and Scribe Scroll to create magic items that use these spells?


Congratulations on your transition to grease prophet. :)

I would rule that a grease prophet can no longer cast divine spells as a divine caster, with the exception of those of the Engine and Knowledge domains (as noted in the Spell Limits entry, page 30, Steam Warriors). They could still use a wand of cure light wounds (or similar magic item) in the same way other non-divine casters use them -- e.g., making a Use Magic Device check. Magic items like the staff of gears would be subject to the same conditions (although when you get into the steam-related magic gear, the spells of the Engine domain might come into play more often).

One optional rule could be to allow the grease prophet to make untrained Use Magic Device checks relating to divine gear (and only relating to divine gear; normally it's a trained skill). Perhaps they also gain a bonus equal to their divine class level. That's just thinking off the top of my head... but it seems like a way to allow the divine connection to persevere, although tenuously.

Hope that helps!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:15 pm 
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So, assuming I'm a first-level coglayer, so I have a total of 7 steam powers (gearhead, 3+2). And I build an automaton out of two clockwork puppets. So I've got something about the size of a cat (Tiny, since clockwork puppets I assume still follow weapon sizes), but it just sits there. So I add an animator, discriminator, and voice command. Now it's got the ability to do stuff, but I've added all this extra machinery. So technically it's now the size of a person . . .

What kinds of weapons can it wield? How big is it? Are the stats in the book affected by the increase in mass? Do I have a cat with a cogling-sized backpack? Do I have a person-sized robot? How does this affect things like movement speed? Is it counted as encumbered?

It's a bit confusing.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2005 7:23 pm 
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Sword Guy wrote:
So, assuming I'm a first-level coglayer, so I have a total of 7 steam powers (gearhead, 3+2). And I build an automaton out of two clockwork puppets. So I've got something about the size of a cat (Tiny, since clockwork puppets I assume still follow weapon sizes), but it just sits there. So I add an animator, discriminator, and voice command. Now it's got the ability to do stuff, but I've added all this extra machinery. So technically it's now the size of a person . . .

What kinds of weapons can it wield? How big is it? Are the stats in the book affected by the increase in mass? Do I have a cat with a cogling-sized backpack? Do I have a person-sized robot? How does this affect things like movement speed? Is it counted as encumbered?

It's a bit confusing.


There's a lot of leeway in the "build-your-own-buddy" aspect of clockwork puppets, so I can see how it gets confusing.

A basic clockwork puppet is size Tiny and has the stats on page 57 of DragonMech; by combining two, you could make one of size Small. You can build it to look like whatever you want: a cat; a miniature person; R2-D2; whatever.

The stats don't change by the addition of extra weight or extra steam powers (except insofar as the steam powers affect specific stats.) Though if you really added a LOT of extra weight I could see maybe slowing down the speed somewhat. I never had anyone try that so I didn't come up with rules for it. If you want to use encumbrance rules for a clockwork puppet, treat a clockwork puppet as carrying a light load at up to 1/3 of its base weight; medium load at 2/3 of its base weight; and heavy load at up to its base weight in added encumbrance. No stats would be affected except those associated with normal encumbrance rules (basically movement speed and a couple skill bonuses; see page 162 of the PHB).

The clockwork puppet can "wield" whatever weapons you build into it (within reason, as judged by your DM). If I were the DM, I'd say a Small sized clockwork puppet could realistically carry a weapon of size Medium or smaller. So let's just say you build a Medium longsword into the clockwork puppet. Since you have an animator and discriminator and voice command, it's smart enough to take orders to attack. If it's size Small, it would attack using the stats on page 57 of DragonMech: a sword attack at +1 melee, with an effective Str of 10.

That's the overview. I hope that helps... let me know if you still have questions!

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 4:23 pm 
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mmm....just going over the mechs in the main book and i was struck with something...odd.

the Janzeter Mk 2 Mobile Cannon has zeppelins. i mean, i knew that before, but it's only just now struck me.

zeppelins.

powered flight...

do any of the DragonMech books that've come out since the main book go into more detail on them? the few stats provided for them in the Janzeter entry are good enough to work with (good enough that i can answer logically why they aren't -everywhere- if a PC asks) but...

the real problem i see with them is the lunar rain, obviously, as they'd be super vulnerable to it....but they'd be a fantastic daytime reconnaisance craft for city mechs and for towns that could shelter them during the night.

anyone else used them in your games?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 10:05 pm 
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That is a nice idea, but don't forget that these things are probably quite expensive, as well as being quite slow and extremely vulnerable. I don't have my book with me at the moment, but if I recall correctly a belligerent eagle would have a chance of bringing one down, let alone a lunar dragon, skelth, or any other significant flying creature. There's also ground fire from mechs with ranged weapons, infantry with longbows and steam guns, and spellcasters using ranged attack spells. You could put some archers or steam gunners aboard to deter assailants, but a prepared attacker would only need to land one or two solid hits to bring the zeppelin down. Keep in mind that Janzeeter's design is a mobile artillery platform and would preferably not be engaged in direct fact-to-face combat, keeping it's Zeppelins safe from attackers.

As it is, it would probably be cheaper, faster, and much more reliable to hire a sorceror who can cast fly, a gryphon rider, a metallic dragon, or other creature capable of natural or magical flight to do such scouting.

The Mech Manual includes a clockwork mech (Raptor, IIRC) that is basically a mechanical bird made mainly from of wood and canvas. It isn't the most graceful thing and is only minimally armed but it is capable of powered flight. The description says there is only one prototype so far (built and operated by the Legion) but work is continuing and new test pilots are being sought out in hopes to form a corp of scouts and perhaps even attack pilots. I would imagine that it shouldn't be overly difficult to replace the ballista with a couple oversized frag grenades and create a bomber.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:25 pm 
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Location: Zanesville, OH
So I'm back to the drawing board with a new campaign concept (this time with a much better chance of it getting off the ground) and am looking for some advice to fill in some details.

Large parts of this campaign focus around the crew of a modified Talon mech that makes long hauling trips from their base of operations (which isn't really much more worth mentioning than a couple of small apartments and a few business contacts) in Edge. Their primary ports of call are Chemak and Glatek, but they have to make several refueling stops along the way and do smaller amounts of trading at those times and frequently stop for a day or two in/near Stilt City. From the character backgrounds they have their mech, their gear, a few business contacts in Edge, just enough money to start out and just about nothing else; they're all outcasts of one type or another and only one comes from a wealthy background but he spent all of his money on the mech so if it doesn't pay off he's just as screwed as the rest of the crew.

What I'm wondering is if anybody can help me, officially or unofficially, with the actual working of independent traders. I've picked up from the books I own (DM and the Mech Manual) that they exist, but I know little beyond that. Are they mainly operated by large merchant firms, are there many independent owner/operators like this party, or what? Also, what are the most common cargos? So far we're thinking of Stenian manufactured goods (specifically steam gear components) and some imported stuff from the underdark coming from Edge and being sold on the way to and at Chemak where large quantities of foodstuffs are picked up (from grain to fresh fruits and vegetables to fine wine and liquor), then going to Glatek where I'm not entirely sure what comes from there. For a bit of a boost to the operation they'll also be carrying smaller quantities (mainly in a few smuggleresque hidden compartments) of a mild narcotic fungus found in the underdark and cultivated by drow for recreational use which we're just calling "spice" (yes, we've been watching the Dune miniseries on DVD a lot lately); already a plethora of manners to sell the stuff have been proposed including a delicacy food item, mixing it into various beverages and bakery goodies and, yes, rolling it up and smoking it. While this stuff isn't specifically illegal, it is expensive and the idea is that they're barely breaking even so far so until the regular business picks up this is their main profit source and none of the PCs or NPC crew members are fond of any sort of taxes, so they do a bit of smuggling and "gray market" business. The gnome's inventions will probably fall into the same category since anything resembling a regulatory comission would cringe at most of his work if they don't flinch at his name first (he has a bit of less than smooth relations with the Gearwrights' Guild in his backstory).

So what I really need to know is what kind of prices can be expected (both wholesale and retail) in Edge, Chemak, and Glatek for things like steam gear components, foodstuffs, and anything that could be considered a "rare item" (of which I see as including more than a few formerly "mundane" goods as a result of the lunar rain and resulting fallouts). I don't intend to get overly technical with this stuff (it is a motivation and plot hook, not the adventure itself; that comes from actually getting the stuff from point A to Point B and through the numerous surprises and twists that I come up with), but I've never been very sure of how macroeconomics function in a D&D world and want to make sure there aren't holes in my system big enough to drive a city mech through. When DMing a traditional D&D game all I really need to worry about on that end is how much treasure/rewards/loot/etc the party gets and keep it balanced with their level; DragonMech gets a little complicated, especially when the PCs are roughly a cross between the cast of Firefly and steampunk truckers and make their living from dealing directly with the large scale economy.

Also, where specifically should what antogonists be found? For the first session or two (at least) any combat encounters will either be in urban areas -be it against criminals, law enforcement, or both- which I can handle just fine (been there, done that) or out on their runs in or near their mech (haven't done that yet, not beyond a few mechanical test runs with no attempt to work the encounter into a followable plot). I know that their main adversaries in the latter encounters will most logically be lunar monsters, bandits (with or without mechs), Irontooth raiders, orc raiders, and maybe a few belligerent Legion security patrols. I know that the Second Age of Walkers would probably be a great help but I can't really afford it right now and all I know of where to put any of those groups is that the Legion is focused someplace on the Endless Plains and, from its history, that there are probably at least some orc bands in the northeast due to Chemak's historical emnity with them (though I do like the thought of Chemak authorities offering an open bounty on evidence brought back proving the destruction of an orc mech). I have no idea where to put the Irontooths nor what lunar creatures should be where and in what numbers. I also plan to, after a session or two, introduce building tension between the Stenians and Legion along a similar lines to my original campaign plot (that one will still be occuring, even if the characters don't know about it yet - top secret and stuff) and while one of the PCs and a pair of the NPC crew members that he brought along with him aren't particularly fond of the Stenians they all dislike the Legion (only the mech jockey is a human), so they will get drawn into some Confederacy sponsored smuggling, information gathering, and eventually straight up covert gunrunning into and through Legion territory (big rewards but big risk). This tension will eventually likely erupt into open warfare which will throw the rest of civilization off balance if not into outright chaos. So far there are only a pair of PCs and three NPC crew members: the PCs are a cavalier, flamboyant (as the mech's paint job demonstrates very well) over the top former "rich kid" mech jockey (insists on being referred to as "Captain") and his business partner the gnome coglayer who considers himself an ingenious inventor and his partner considers an explosion waiting to happen, while the NPCs are a half-orc boiler attendant who is quite happy with shoveling coal, intimidating potential troublemakers while the bosses do the talking, and spending every last cent of his pay when he gets to hit the bars and brothels in either Glatek or Edge (the captain actually found him in a dive bar), then the young, somewhat twitchy, foulmouthed assistant mechanic cogling that followed the gnome after getting displaced from a Stenian city mech and prefers to sleep in the engine level of the mech (reminds him of "home") along with his kid sister for whom he is the only official caretaker and she earns her keep as a "cabin boy" (keeping the hold clean, running messages between the crew, carrying tools, etc). The little girl is already the unofficial mascot of the crew, even though nobody's come up with a name for her yet...but she does already have a pet baby grease lizard (think chihuaha with delusions of being a pit bull, but scaly and flammable) that was a gift from the half orc.

I can't wait to get this show on the road (and hopefully bringing in a few extra PCs), but first I need to figure out that stuff about the economy (goods, prices, competition, etc) and the locations of various "occupational hazards" that have to be dealt with. Any suggestions for those?


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 Post subject: Long answer
PostPosted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 2:55 pm 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer

Joined: Tue Jun 22, 2004 11:02 am
Posts: 150
Location: Surrounded by corn
If you've got room for another player, I'm interested... *grin*

Anyway, I'd be remiss in my duties if I didn't point out that the answers to your questions can be found throughout the existing DragonMech books. "2nd Age of Walkers" and the forthcoming "Almanac of the Endless Traders" are great resources for worldbuilding. "Steam Warriors" is full of equipment that they could smuggle, sell, and use. But of all of them, "The Last City" is the one that might have the most ideas that you can grab and go with. It's the Edge sourcebook, sure, but its got all kinds of amazing stuff -- Edge is the commercial hub of the worlds above and below -- and an entire chapter of lists that you can easily cannibalize for any campaign in the setting. Plus it costs a little less than 2nd Age.

Sales pitch off.

Flushmaster wrote:

What I'm wondering is if anybody can help me, officially or unofficially, with the actual working of independent traders. I've picked up from the books I own (DM and the Mech Manual) that they exist, but I know little beyond that. Are they mainly operated by large merchant firms, are there many independent owner/operators like this party, or what?


We deliberately kept that loose, since DragonMech allows a lot of play styles. My own default is that a handful of big firms/guilds handle trading for individual city-mechs, but the bulk of trade is handled by independent operators and small combines. Trade on the surface of Highpoint is more fragmented than below, since lunar rain is more of a problem for them, so the profit margins are thinner but the freedom is greater.

Flushmaster wrote:
Also, what are the most common cargos?

You've got a good handle on that already. I like the ideas you're batting around for the spice, also. Don't overlook the market for beauty -- blooming flowers, fresh produce, things that remind Highpoint of the pre-lunar-rain lifestyle. Also, if you've got a strong anti-Legion bent, smuggling live cargo away from its prison-mechs could pay quite handsomely.

For prices, I gotta refer you to the sourcebooks; I can't remember them anyway. Macroeconomics in a d20 setting are always goofy as heck.

Flushmaster wrote:
Also, where specifically should what antogonists be found?


The key thing for me is that Highpoint is nomadic, especially now. Put 'em where you want 'em. If that's too vague, here's how I do it. The Legion is anchored between the two major rivers of the Endless Plains. Orcs roam freely across said plains, with the L'arile Nation slooowly starting to creep south out of the forests. My Irontooth hang out in the southern portion of the Endless Plains and the Flatlands, with the Stenians dominating a widening circle of the latter. Nobody sane goes to the Roughlands. Nobody goes to the Wet Desert and comes back.

Again, "Almanac of the Endless Traders" will flesh out a lot of the places in between, since the ETs go everywhere.

Anyway, I hope that helps!

_________________
DragonMech line developer, freelance writer, tall guy named Matt.


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 Post subject: Re: Long answer
PostPosted: Sat Mar 04, 2006 5:25 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:20 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Zanesville, OH
walrusjester wrote:
If you've got room for another player, I'm interested... *grin*


Actually, I am looking for more players but, unfortunately, I doubt you're in the neighborhood :P

walrusjester wrote:
I'd be remiss in my duties if I didn't point out that the answers to your questions can be found throughout the existing DragonMech books.


Yeah, I really want The Second Age of Walkers, Steam Warriors, and The Last City but I'm in the unfortunate situation of being pretty close to flat broke at the current time. They are on my list though, for whenever I can get around to them.

walrusjester wrote:
I like the ideas you're batting around for the spice, also.


It started out as the gnome's player's idea, to be honest, so I'll relay the compliment. I'm sure he'll appreciate it.

walrusjester wrote:
Don't overlook the market for beauty -- blooming flowers, fresh produce, things that remind Highpoint of the pre-lunar-rain lifestyle.


I've thought about the fresh produce part, but where would those be found, and in what quantities? Would Stilt City or some of the Gur possibly be a good idea? I remember reading something about gnome tinkerers and hydroponics, could some type of steam powers produce proper light for underground farming, at least on a small scale, for things like tomatoes, beans, corn, etc?

walrusjester wrote:
Also, if you've got a strong anti-Legion bent, smuggling live cargo away from its prison-mechs could pay quite handsomely.


AWESOME!!! Until you mentioned it, I had somehow forgotten about Legion prison mechs like the Just Retribution (even though I flipped past it last night while looking up stats on other legion machines in the MM). This crew definitely aren't fans of the Legion; heck, they very well might consider "rescuing" the "crew" of such a mech just to make themselves a pain in Shar Thizdic's butt (albeit a rather small and anonymous one) just on general principle if they think they can get away with it. On top of that, once I manage to start building up Stenian/Legion tensions a "jailbreak" mission would be an excellent idea for one of the covert missions the PCs get approached with.


walrusjester wrote:
Macroeconomics in a d20 setting are always goofy as heck.


I completely agree. That was kind of why I asked, but if all else fails I can always use the established "plan B" of DMing: undoing my belt so I can reach back and pull an something out of the usual place *grin*

walrusjester wrote:
The Legion is anchored between the two major rivers of the Endless Plains. Orcs roam freely across said plains, with the L'arile Nation slooowly starting to creep south out of the forests. My Irontooth hang out in the southern portion of the Endless Plains and the Flatlands, with the Stenians dominating a widening circle of the latter.


I was thinking it would be something like that, but the confirmation is greatly appreciated.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:38 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:20 pm
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Location: Zanesville, OH
Something that just occured to me. A Talon mech is listed as having a 15'/15' space and a 15' reach, which seems on par for a colossal mech. But the picture shows that the body of it is quite long, sticking out noticiably forward of the legs and notably more so in the back. This body type makes sense for a mech designed for transporting passengers and/or large amounts of cargo, but it confuses me a bit. Is the 15'/15' just the ground area taken up by its feet or the "airspace" occuppied by the elevated body? The body is obviously elongated rather than square, and from the picture it would be extremely narrow (no more than 5' wide) if that were the case, which just doesn't make sense from both a visual and mechanical point of view.

Also, I'd think it would be difficult to cram in as much as 14 tons (28 PU available at 1,000 lbs a pop) of anything except dense metal into a 15' x 5' space, even if it were 10' high. In drawing up a floor plan, would it be better to make the body interior something like 12' x 35' (including the cockpit, I was figuring 15' x 40' minus some edge room for armor, hydraulic lines, etc in the bulkheads and control panels in the cockpit)? Since a medium or small character occuppies a 5x5 square and 1 PU is given as the space required for a single crew member that a PU's worth of storage would be roughly a 5' cube. That would make my 12' x 35' idea have about the appropriate amount of cargo space if the hold is 10' high. The mech in my campaign has been altered and looses a bit of payload for a top mounted steam cannon, so it'll have lowered ceilings in at least part of the back to compensate, but the idea still stands.

Also, is the 15' reach for arm mounted weapons measured from the legs (which the arms are directly above) or in front of the cockpit? If it is the latter then the cockpit and pilot would be within the reach of weapons with less than a 15' reach at the same time or possibly even before they can attack with their own melee weapons.

So, what is it?


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