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 Post subject: Dragonmech; Firefly?
PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 5:27 pm 
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Gritty world, tough life, Stenian Confederacy trying to subjugate everyone, and independent vehicles with tight-knit crews. Lots of dirty work to be done, and nobody grateful to the do-ers.

War torn environment, never getting any breaks, orc hordes pressing in around the edges, maintaining your mech becomes among the most important of tasks. Plenty of chances for a virtuous opportunist.

Making your own way in the world takes more effort than you'd imagined.

Everyone's favourite show fits perfectly into the DragonMech setting! What do you think? How could the two be better combined? Which aspects work best?

And, of course: What classes would you give the crew?

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Last edited by Laughingcarp on Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2008 8:20 pm 
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Ha! Great topic! Let me see:

Mal: Fighter 3/Rogue 2/Anklebiter 2
Zoe: Fighter 6/Rogue 1
Wash: Mech Jockey 6
Inara: Rogue 5/Aristocrat 1 (originally I was going to give her just 2 levels of Rogue, but the Companions are supposed to highly trained)
Jayne: Barbarian 4/Rogue 1
Kaylee: Coglayer 5/Mech Jockey 1
Shepherd Book: Stalker 2/Cleric 2/Monk 1 (definitely some stalker or rogue knowledge in his secret past)
Simon: Expert 5/Bard 1
River: Psion (seer) 3/Steamborg 3/Hissing Psiborg 2 (yes, I know this gives her more levels than anyone else, but hell, based on Serenity, she's at least one level higher)

How's that look? By the way, this is a great idea for a Firefly campaign. Thanks!

--Ken

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DCC #52: Chronicle of the Fiend

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 3:46 pm 
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Wild-Eyed Zealot

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You are most welcome :D
I'm curious as to your reasoning for some of your class layout. How do you figure Mal as an anklebiter? Also, someone once suggested having him as an ex-paladin: What do you think about that?

Personally, I'd use ranger rather than fighter for Zoe. The extra skills help fill her out; she does take over for / help Simon on several occasions. She has a kind of grace I don't see represented by fighter, and I think the lighter armor and weapon specialization works too.

How about bard, rather than rogue, for Inara? The nearly supernatural influence she has over people, due to her Companion training.

As for Book, I think he needs more levels. I definitely think he was in a high position before. Maybe even an operative himself? Something like Stalker 3/Crusader 3 (/Monk 1?) Stalker is the scholarly/educated robes along with his subtlety over the inner steel of Crusader. Crusader is devotion to a cause, and has skills like diplomacy, intimidate, and knowledge (religion) while at the same time playing up his martial training. That last monk level could represent his new almost ascetic, peaceful bent.

Could you explain the bard level for Simon? And even though I most likely would have done the same thing, I don't like the NPC levels. There must be something that works.

I haven't been able to get Steam Warriors yet, so I'm not sure about the Hissing Psiborg, but steamborg definitely works great for River. And if anything, I'd tag on more levels too.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 9:45 pm 
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Funny, most of your comments actually went through my head as I was typing these yesterday. I gave serious thought to Mal as an ex-paladin, because of the passion that he had for the rebels' cause and for his dedication to those ideals. So, OK, let's go back to that. As for anklebiter, I figure he knows a lot of the ins and outs of disabling enemy equipment and messing up enemy tactics, and there's no one better than that in the DragonMech setting than the anklebiter.

Good point about Zoe as ranger. She certainly has enough skills to warrant those extra skill points, and she's a good tracker and spotter. Let's replace the Fighter levels with Clockwork Ranger.

I went back and forth on Inara as rogue vs. bard, but yeah, let's go for bard for the persuasive abilities.

As for Book, I'm happy to give him more levels! He definitely has a rich past. I'm not that familiar with the Crusader class, though. What about it makes it suitable for Book?

Simon: I chose Bard because of his own persuasive talent (he's a good liar, even if his skills with the fairer sex are lousy) and because bards do have some healing talent. Maybe more bard levels to pad out his ranks in Bluff, max out Heal as a cross-class skill, and give him the Self-Sufficient and/or Skill Focus (Heal) feats, maybe along with the Magical Aptitude feat and a high Use Magic Device score?

The Hissing Psiborg PrC combines a +1 increase in psychic warrior with an increase in steamborg parts. Consider River's fighting skills in the movie, we can boost her level in the prestige class.

How's that?

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DCC #52: Chronicle of the Fiend

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:38 am 
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You guys are geeks. :P

Ken Hart wrote:
As for anklebiter, I figure he knows a lot of the ins and outs of disabling enemy equipment and messing up enemy tactics, and there's no one better than that in the DragonMech setting than the anklebiter.


Yeah, I probably would have given a couple levels of anklebiter too. He doesn't do anything obviously anklebitery that I can recall, but he does really seem like that's the sort of tactics he use. In the first episode, he shot down that big flying whatsamajig himself (okay, he used artillery, but still).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:19 pm 
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Charging a mech on foot is just the kind of thing Mal would do, too, especially during his service. I'm more or less convinced.

Crusader is from Tome of Battle: Book of Nine Swords. An upgrade, of sorts, for martial characters (focusing on melee) Crusaders are (arguably) the game's best core "tanking" class. They really don't die. They are the new paladin, in a way. Not as zealous, and with no need to be lawful they can champion any cause. Full Bab, fortitude strong, with some nice class abilties and 4 skill points/level. That is why I see it as great for Book. He could definitely hold his own in combat, (taking out the fed in the first episode? Kneecaps? Shooting down that alliance gunship in Serenity?) while at the same time put points into diplomacy, intimidate, and knowledge(religion). The best part is, crusaders can switch causes without any worry about alignment or atonement. As you may have guessed from my rambling, they are my favourite martial class, to boot.

I never thought of UMD through the bard class for Simon. That works! And I believe there is a Bard substitution ability in one of the books that uses bardic music to increases natural healing or somesuch... I'll see if I can find it.

Can River meet the prereqs for Hissing Psiborg through Psion(seer)?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:31 pm 
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Laughingcarp wrote:
They are the new paladin, in a way. Not as zealous, and with no need to be lawful they can champion any cause. Full Bab, fortitude strong, with some nice class abilties and 4 skill points/level. That is why I see it as great for Book. He could definitely hold his own in combat, (taking out the fed in the first episode? Kneecaps? Shooting down that alliance gunship in Serenity?) while at the same time put points into diplomacy, intimidate, and knowledge(religion).

Okay, that works for me. I'll have to flip through Book of Nine Swords when I get a chance.

Laughingcarp wrote:
I never thought of UMD through the bard class for Simon. That works! And I believe there is a Bard substitution ability in one of the books that uses bardic music to increases natural healing or somesuch... I'll see if I can find it.

Actually the bardic sage variant in the SRD may fit the bill nicely. It's based on Intelligence, not Charisma, and offers extra divination spells at the cost of shortening the bardic music abilities (I wasn't planning on giving Simon many ranks in Perform anyway). :)

Laughingcarp wrote:
Can River meet the prereqs for Hissing Psiborg through Psion(seer)?

Easily. The psi requirements are the ability to manifest 1st-level powers and 5 ranks of Psicraft, so no problem.

I'll edit my earlier post tomorrow with the new info.

Woo hoo! Go, Geeks! 8)

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Writer: "Madness at the Mutilated Oak," DCC #48: The Adventure Continues;
DCC #52: Chronicle of the Fiend

"It really is the height of pessimism to have a hat lined with chain mail." --Mrs. Peel


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:33 pm 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer

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Ken Hart wrote:
Laughingcarp wrote:
They are the new paladin, in a way. Not as zealous, and with no need to be lawful they can champion any cause. Full Bab, fortitude strong, with some nice class abilties and 4 skill points/level. That is why I see it as great for Book. He could definitely hold his own in combat, (taking out the fed in the first episode? Kneecaps? Shooting down that alliance gunship in Serenity?) while at the same time put points into diplomacy, intimidate, and knowledge(religion).

Okay, that works for me. I'll have to flip through Book of Nine Swords when I get a chance.

Laughingcarp wrote:
I never thought of UMD through the bard class for Simon. That works! And I believe there is a Bard substitution ability in one of the books that uses bardic music to increases natural healing or somesuch... I'll see if I can find it.

Actually the bardic sage variant in the SRD may fit the bill nicely. It's based on Intelligence, not Charisma, and offers extra divination spells at the cost of shortening the bardic music abilities (I wasn't planning on giving Simon many ranks in Perform anyway). :)

Laughingcarp wrote:
Can River meet the prereqs for Hissing Psiborg through Psion(seer)?

Easily. The psi requirements are the ability to manifest 1st-level powers and 5 ranks of Psicraft, so no problem.

I'll edit my earlier post tomorrow with the new info.

Woo hoo! Go, Geeks! 8)


Hold on...doesn't the Hissing Psiborg only give Psychic warrior levels?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:34 pm 
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You beat me to it! Ok, that intelligence-bardic-sage thing sounds cool. I was just about to edit and say we could give him ranks in perform(bedside manner) :lol:

And good to know about the Psiborg.

Edit: And Arek beat me by seconds too. I noticed you said the Psiborg increases psychic warrior levels earlier, Ken, just figured it was a typo. Maybe not?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:47 pm 
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Laughingcarp wrote:
You beat me to it! Ok, that intelligence-bardic-sage thing sounds cool. I was just about to edit and say we could give him ranks in perform(bedside manner) :lol:

And good to know about the Psiborg.

Edit: And Arek beat me by seconds too. I noticed you said the Psiborg increases psychic warrior levels earlier, Ken, just figured it was a typo. Maybe not?


Okay, yeah. As written, it grants you new powers and power points as if you'd gained levels in Psychic warrior.

But I doubt Joseph Goodman will wax wroth and descend from on high to punish thee for thy perfidy should you change that so it works with Psion, too, for use in your campaign.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:50 pm 
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Arek wrote:
But I doubt Joseph Goodman will wax wroth and descend from on high to punish thee for thy perfidy should you change that so it works with Psion, too, for use in your campaign.


You never know... Either way, with only a few levels, there really isn't any way for River to read minds, is there? In which case, psychic warrior (or possibly wilder could work fine). Unless I'm wrong.

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Last edited by Laughingcarp on Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 9:51 pm 
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Laughingcarp wrote:
Arek wrote:
But I doubt Joseph Goodman will wax wroth and descend from on high to punish thee for thy perfidy should you change that so it works with Psion, too, for use in your campaign.


You never know... Either way, with only a few levels, there really isn't any way for River to read minds, is there? In which case, psychic warrior or possibly wilder could work fine.


Hm. Isn't that the Telepath discipline?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 10:19 pm 
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Yep.
So, I screwed up. See, I was under the impression Read Thoughts was a mid-level power, beyond the reach of a 5th-ish level psion. Definitely wrong. It is a 2nd level power, achievable by psion (telepath) 3. If we play her as a telepath, thats fine. If she is a seer, then Read Thoughts would have to wait until she obtained 5th level manifesting (3rd level powers) and use the feat Expanded Knowledge to gain access to Read Thoughts.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:23 pm 
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Acutally, the hissing psiborg doesn't require Psychic Warrior levels to get started, just some psi ability. Even a wild talent would do. If the PC doesn't have any levels in Psychic Warrior at the start, then they gain powers as a 1st-level PsiWar when they first take the PrC.

As for River, yeah, good point -- I'll bump her up to 5th-level seer and give her the Expanded Knowledge feat for read thoughts. The other option is make her a 5th-level telepath and use the feat to get sensitivity to psychic impressions, but I like her better as a clairvoyant than a mind-reader/telepath.

--Ken

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Writer: "Madness at the Mutilated Oak," DCC #48: The Adventure Continues;
DCC #52: Chronicle of the Fiend

"It really is the height of pessimism to have a hat lined with chain mail." --Mrs. Peel


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:52 pm 
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Ken Hart wrote:
Acutally, the hissing psiborg doesn't require Psychic Warrior levels to get started, just some psi ability. Even a wild talent would do. If the PC doesn't have any levels in Psychic Warrior at the start, then they gain powers as a 1st-level PsiWar when they first take the PrC.

As for River, yeah, good point -- I'll bump her up to 5th-level seer and give her the Expanded Knowledge feat for read thoughts. The other option is make her a 5th-level telepath and use the feat to get sensitivity to psychic impressions, but I like her better as a clairvoyant than a mind-reader/telepath.

--Ken


But it only granting powers from the Psychic warrior list is kinda defeating its purpose as a gish class for this particular character concept. In this case, I'd strongly recommend it building on whatever psionic class you have levels in, because your psionic abilities are already lagging behind because you took at least one level in steamborg.

I mean, Psychic warrior has some sexy powers early on (Skate comes to mind), but they don't get all that many powers, and their power points start off at a trickle. I'd much rather take a solid, though lagging, progression in one class's powers that fit the character than what looks like 4 levels of Steamborg (for the BAB), 1 level of Psion (for the powers, and the psychic skill), and then going into Hissing Psiborg and gaining Psychic warrior powers. if you're going to do that, why not just take a level of Psychic warrior to begin with, and just be that much further ahead?

This is a case where the rules as written can't fit the actual situation, so I'd just edit the Hissing Psiborg so it works with, and adds onto, any psionic manifesting class. If you think about it, it makes it a more attractive class for psionicists in general, rather than just Psychic warriors, and saves the trouble of having to come up with something for them (for now).


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 8:25 am 
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Hrmmm. True, from the perspective of maximizing her psi potential and getting the most use out of her power points, it might be best to ditch the Hissing Psiborg Prc and its built-in PsiWar levels (as cool as that sounds) and just go with an Psion/Steamborg build ... unless, as you point out, you use a house rule so that Hissing Psiborg adds +1 level to any manifesting class. Good thoughts. Thanks.

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DCC #52: Chronicle of the Fiend

"It really is the height of pessimism to have a hat lined with chain mail." --Mrs. Peel


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 12:09 pm 
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I don't see a reason why it shouldn't be +1 to any manifester. 'Course, that could be because I haven't got the book

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 09, 2008 1:51 pm 
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Laughingcarp wrote:
I don't see a reason why it shouldn't be +1 to any manifester. 'Course, that could be because I haven't got the book

I don't see why either, since spellcasting PrCs usually don't have such a class-specific limitation, but I'm sure we had a good reason for it when we put the book together... :? Anyway, what we're talking about is as "non-canon" as you can get, so let's roll with it here.

--Ken

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DCC #52: Chronicle of the Fiend

"It really is the height of pessimism to have a hat lined with chain mail." --Mrs. Peel


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 7:12 pm 
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Ah, memory. Such a bummer when things don't follow through later, no? And yeah, sounds good. How about Serenity? Anything in the Mech Manual about flying mechs?

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:22 pm 
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Actually, yes. The Legion has a Huge-sized mech called the Falcon, but it's a one-man mech, its flights are short, and you need a top-notch mech pilot to have a prayer of landing intact. From a size and crew perspective, a mech the size of Serenity wouldn't, well, fly. :wink: But in terms of doing a DragonMech "Firefly" campaign, a basic cargo mech would serve the same function on Highpoint.

(I will update the character classes when I get a spare half-hour! 8) )

--Ken

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DCC #52: Chronicle of the Fiend

"It really is the height of pessimism to have a hat lined with chain mail." --Mrs. Peel


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 4:11 pm 
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Mal: Ex-paladin 3/Rogue 2/Anklebiter 2
Zoe: Clockwork Ranger 6/Rogue 1
Wash: Mech Jockey 6
Inara: Bard 6
Jayne: Barbarian 4/Rogue 1
Kaylee: Coglayer 5/Mech Jockey 1
Shepherd Book: Crusader 3/Stalker 3/ Monk 1
Simon: Bardic Sage 6
River: Psion (seer) 3/Steamborg 3/Hissing Psiborg 4

Is that right? Still unsure about Simon and River. Should Simon be straight Bardic Sage, or do we want the expert levels? And as for River, I think she could be another couple of levels higher than the rest of everybody no problem.

Is the (coughmilleniumcough) Falcon in the Mech Manual? And yeah, a cargo mech should work fine, I was just thinking about actually trying to stat out Serenity. Working out of the core DragonMech book (the only one I own) I'd suggest either a Dignitary (p.101) or a Talon (p.117). The Talon feels better, but I think it is too heavily armed, which brings up another point.

What do you think about the Serenity not having anything in the way of armament? Should that stick for a DMech campaign version, should the mechs be left as-is, or should they get the bare-minimum to survive?

Edit: 2 more levels of hissing psiborg to River

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Last edited by Laughingcarp on Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:36 pm 
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The stats look good! Yeah, let's give Simon the six levels of Bardic Sage, and yes, let's definitely give River two more levels of Hissing Psiborg to reflect her butt-kicking prowess in the movie.

The Falcon is indeed in Mech Manual. As for what type of mech to base Serenity on, I'd go with the Talon. Yes, its buzzsaws can be devastating, but as weaponry, they're more "incidental" than lethal by design (if that makes sense). And on Highpoint, a cargo mech that didn't appear to have any armament would fit itself constantly targeted by Irontooth clans, rust riders, orcs, killer clowns, etc.

--Ken

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Writer: "Madness at the Mutilated Oak," DCC #48: The Adventure Continues;
DCC #52: Chronicle of the Fiend

"It really is the height of pessimism to have a hat lined with chain mail." --Mrs. Peel


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 12, 2008 10:01 pm 
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Sweet!

Quote:
on Highpoint, a cargo mech that didn't appear to have any armament would fit itself constantly targeted by Irontooth clans, rust riders, orcs, killer clowns, etc.


That is what I was thinking. But 2 buzzsaws? I think any players would get peeved rather quickly about the free potshots most other mechs (and giants) will be taking at them before they close to range. Doesn't help that you can't exactly sneak close to someone in a mech.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 8:53 pm 
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Oh, I agree -- for our "Serenity" Talon, I'd rely on Wash and Kaylee to find inventive ways of customizing the mech and replacing one of the buzzsaws with a steam cannon or, with the right amount of money, a magic missile turret. In fact, the quest to come up with the right amount of money to customize a used Talon sounds like a great first adventure for the crew....

--Ken

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DCC #52: Chronicle of the Fiend

"It really is the height of pessimism to have a hat lined with chain mail." --Mrs. Peel


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2008 9:13 pm 
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Ken Hart wrote:
Oh, I agree -- for our "Serenity" Talon, I'd rely on Wash and Kaylee to find inventive ways of customizing the mech and replacing one of the buzzsaws with a steam cannon or, with the right amount of money, a magic missile turret. In fact, the quest to come up with the right amount of money to customize a used Talon sounds like a great first adventure for the crew....

--Ken


I haven't seen Firefly. But I *do* know stories. And putting the party in just enough money to live on and sometimes pay for an upgrade is a very slick trick for an episodic structure.

Picture this scene:

"Uh, we'd better get some work soon, unless someone wants to learn magic for that spell that lets you eat coal and drink oil."
Then, immediately after that:
"Hey, guys, we're short on coal. I think we have enough for a week."
And then a third person comes up:
"Hey, do we have any more oil? The engine's just screaming in there"
"*sigh*"[/i]


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