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 Post subject: Necrotic (and organic) steel
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:41 pm 
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I thought I'd migrate this into a new thread, in case there was any discussion to be had on it.

Arek wrote:
Now, necrotic steel might be onto something if you could make a mech of it and then cover the mech in magical darkness so you can have the Str bonus even during the day. But as it stands, it's got more penalties than it does advantages, and I question the pricing. In fact, I have a lot of questions for any designers who see this.

-what is this 'terrible ritual' involved in making necrotic steel that makes it automatically Evil (TM)? Do I bleed a bunch of creatures dry and quench the properly-enchanted steel in the accumulated blood? I assume there's some sort of malicious sacrifice going on.


That's a fine evil ritual idea. The intent was to not have The One True Ritual, but rather to let players and (especially) GMs run wild with their own notions here. In a book with limited space, and as much ground to cover as Steam Warriors does, we had to prioritize which things got extensive descriptions and which ones didn't. If necrotic steel was/is on the way to becoming a core element of the setting, it would/will be more fleshed out. Pun intended.

Arek wrote:
-what effects does it have if I make weapons and armor out of this stuff? If I had to ad hoc it, I'd say necrotic steel wants to be a weapon, and gives some necromantic goodness to slashing/piercing weapons, while organic steel makes incredible armor--probably easier to wear, lighter, and very accomodating--possibly as accomodating as only a living creature can be.


As it stands, both necrotic and organic steel need to be bonded to a living being to remain viable for any length of time. They draw nourishment from living beings (in different ways, as you can imagine). Any gear that you made from them would only last a short while. More research is needed to develop viable long-term uses for them.

But we can speculate. The Strength bonuses and penalties are a given, although they wouldn't be cumulative. And you could certainly take things in the direction you outline. It fits with the traditional "evil attacks, good defends" paradigm.

Another option would be to have organic steel items take on some plant-like properties: camouflage, poison, thorns, even spores. You could come up with a host of neat armors, weapons, even miscellaneous items. If every organic steel weapon automatically did +1 piercing damage due to spines, gave the wielder a +2 Fort Save vs. poison, and allowed a +2 bonus to Hide checks, what would you have? An elf-style weapon that would also be a boon to assassins.

Ditto for necromantic steel. It could grant a +2 to all saves vs. death, along with doing +1 negative energy damage on a successful critical. Perhaps you could even feed your own HP into the weapon to raise the crit damage.

Really, you could do all kinds of cool stuff with this, particularly once you get into making magic items or steam power combinations.

Arek wrote:
-why are these substances so expensive? The bonuses they give aren't that spectacular. They're very cool materials, yes, but last time I checked, 'cool' didn't add onto the price tag, and there's not really much of a way to use them.


Consider that they're in limited supply. Scarcity always drives up price; you should see what fresh tomatoes sell for in Edge.

Also, remember that these special metals grant steamborgs a bonus on their Lose Self checks. Admittedly, necrotic steel has its own penalties, but not everyone will consider those a problem. If your party wants to make life a little easier for their near-robotic steamborg tank, they'll probably be glad to pony up the gold for organic steel. If the nefarious cleric you crossed wants revenge, maybe she'll pay to have necrotic parts installed the next time you go in for an upgrade. They might be worth the cost in story value alone.

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 Post subject: Re: Necrotic (and organic) steel
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:02 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:05 pm
Posts: 189
walrusjester wrote:
I thought I'd migrate this into a new thread, in case there was any discussion to be had on it.

Arek wrote:
Now, necrotic steel might be onto something if you could make a mech of it and then cover the mech in magical darkness so you can have the Str bonus even during the day. But as it stands, it's got more penalties than it does advantages, and I question the pricing. In fact, I have a lot of questions for any designers who see this.

-what is this 'terrible ritual' involved in making necrotic steel that makes it automatically Evil (TM)? Do I bleed a bunch of creatures dry and quench the properly-enchanted steel in the accumulated blood? I assume there's some sort of malicious sacrifice going on.


That's a fine evil ritual idea. The intent was to not have The One True Ritual, but rather to let players and (especially) GMs run wild with their own notions here. In a book with limited space, and as much ground to cover as Steam Warriors does, we had to prioritize which things got extensive descriptions and which ones didn't. If necrotic steel was/is on the way to becoming a core element of the setting, it would/will be more fleshed out. Pun intended.

Arek wrote:
-what effects does it have if I make weapons and armor out of this stuff? If I had to ad hoc it, I'd say necrotic steel wants to be a weapon, and gives some necromantic goodness to slashing/piercing weapons, while organic steel makes incredible armor--probably easier to wear, lighter, and very accomodating--possibly as accomodating as only a living creature can be.


As it stands, both necrotic and organic steel need to be bonded to a living being to remain viable for any length of time. They draw nourishment from living beings (in different ways, as you can imagine). Any gear that you made from them would only last a short while. More research is needed to develop viable long-term uses for them.

But we can speculate. The Strength bonuses and penalties are a given, although they wouldn't be cumulative. And you could certainly take things in the direction you outline. It fits with the traditional "evil attacks, good defends" paradigm.

Another option would be to have organic steel items take on some plant-like properties: camouflage, poison, thorns, even spores. You could come up with a host of neat armors, weapons, even miscellaneous items. If every organic steel weapon automatically did +1 piercing damage due to spines, gave the wielder a +2 Fort Save vs. poison, and allowed a +2 bonus to Hide checks, what would you have? An elf-style weapon that would also be a boon to assassins.

Ditto for necromantic steel. It could grant a +2 to all saves vs. death, along with doing +1 negative energy damage on a successful critical. Perhaps you could even feed your own HP into the weapon to raise the crit damage.

Really, you could do all kinds of cool stuff with this, particularly once you get into making magic items or steam power combinations.

Arek wrote:
-why are these substances so expensive? The bonuses they give aren't that spectacular. They're very cool materials, yes, but last time I checked, 'cool' didn't add onto the price tag, and there's not really much of a way to use them.


Consider that they're in limited supply. Scarcity always drives up price; you should see what fresh tomatoes sell for in Edge.

Also, remember that these special metals grant steamborgs a bonus on their Lose Self checks. Admittedly, necrotic steel has its own penalties, but not everyone will consider those a problem. If your party wants to make life a little easier for their near-robotic steamborg tank, they'll probably be glad to pony up the gold for organic steel. If the nefarious cleric you crossed wants revenge, maybe she'll pay to have necrotic parts installed the next time you go in for an upgrade. They might be worth the cost in story value alone.


Hey, thanks for the rundowns!

After my earlier post, I actually sat down and contemplated an artifact pair of organic steel and necromantic steel--a set of organic steel full plate that was bothliving and sentient and bonds to a large degree with it wearer, and a gauntlet from that same suit that had been corrupted into Necrotic steel and grafts itself onto its wearer's hand and forearm, at great pain but rewarding it by being a morphable weapon that inflicts horrible wounds. Think sort of a touch-activated inflict light wounds, from a weapon that can turn into a spiked gauntlet, or a dagger, or even a rapier and do damage accordingly.


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 Post subject: Re: Necrotic (and organic) steel
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 5:31 pm 
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walrusjester wrote:
Perhaps you could even feed your own HP into the weapon to raise the crit damage.


Ooh, that's cool. I vote for that. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Necrotic (and organic) steel
PostPosted: Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:59 pm 
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mythfish wrote:
walrusjester wrote:
Perhaps you could even feed your own HP into the weapon to raise the crit damage.


Ooh, that's cool. I vote for that. :)


Perhaps the neatest underused weapon type in the SRD is vicious. It offers a very interesting tactical choice...

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 Post subject: Re: Necrotic (and organic) steel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 2:14 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:05 pm
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walrusjester wrote:
mythfish wrote:
walrusjester wrote:
Perhaps you could even feed your own HP into the weapon to raise the crit damage.


Ooh, that's cool. I vote for that. :)


Perhaps the neatest underused weapon type in the SRD is vicious. It offers a very interesting tactical choice...


[rant]

I don't see it as a tactical choice, I see it as a choice of values--Is that extra damage worth the skin it takes from my back?

I can't speak for others, but I can say that I avoid vicious weapons for the same reason I avoid the wilder psionic class--

I don't want to be forced to punch myself in the face, every single time I do something.

In the case of vicious, that 1d6 I'm taking is worth a lot more than that extra 2d6 I'm inflicting. I'm an adventurer, there's no telling when my day will end, so I'm going to horde my HP as much as I can during the day and not willingly let a point of it go unless I'm sure I'm getting a useful reward out of it.

You don't want to use a vicious weapon on ordinary enemies, because ordinary enemies still take stabbing and that wears you down and forces you to top up your hit points, which takes up spells and other resources, whereas enemy hit points are dirt cheap--after you've deprived a the bunch of hobgoblins of their hit points, guess what?

There's still more of them, and they have their own hit points, whereas there's only so many hit points that belong to you.

And you don't want to use a vicious weapon against a boss, because he could lay a hurting on you if he gets a good hit, and you want as much HP as you can have to absorb those hits.

I'd be content with that +1d6 from Flaming or Freeze or Shocking, or maybe get a Bane weapon if I want that 2d6 for a specific enemy type I know I'll be facing.

As this relates to Necrotic steel weapon, I'd be happy to pay a decent hit point cost once a day or something for the abilities it gives, but not if I'm forced to do so every time--I'd like to be able to turn it on and off as the situation demands.

And if I'm using my hit points to augment something, it might indeed be worth it to expand my threat range by a point for every hit point I spend--it can be super-effective, but doing so every strike will really eat into your HP quickly. It might even be nice to have that stack with the effects of keen or Improved Critical. But I'd like to be able to choose when and if I use it.

I mean, it works out great if you've managed to score 84 hit points at level 8 through a combination of high Con modifier and good HP rolls, but a lot of characters *don't* have those kinds of reserves to let them lightly throw away hit points.

[/rant]


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 Post subject: Re: Necrotic (and organic) steel
PostPosted: Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:42 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:47 pm
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Arek wrote:
I don't see it as a tactical choice, I see it as a choice of values--Is that extra damage worth the skin it takes from my back?


Whether or not it's a good tactical choice, it's still a tactical choice. :)

Yes, it's certainly not something you would want to use in every fight against every enemy. That'd be idiotic from a number-crunching standpoint. From a tactical numbers-oriented approach to the game, there aren't a lot of situations where using it would absolutely be the best thing to do (though I can think of a few), but from a character and story point of view there are certainly good reasons to use it.

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