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 Post subject: DragonMech Questions
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 7:27 pm 
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This is a copy of an e-mail I recently received with questions about DragonMech, along with some answers. Hopefully these will help other DragonMech gamers. Feel free to add additional questions to this thread as they come up...

> 1. I assume there is a power source behind the Steam powers, I gathered that
> they NEED to run off a Steam engine, but how does the Coglayer build the
> steam engine? How much does it weigh? How big is it? What is the fuel
> source? I assume that is why you can buy coal and the like... heh.

It's assumed the coglayer starts off with a basic steam engine (in the same way a wizard starts off with a spellbook). I always treated it as incorporated into the weight of his steam powers; as long as you track the weight of his steam powers, there's no need to track the steam engine separately.

As for fuel source, I don't track it for *personal* (i.e., non-mech) steam engines except in unusual situations. For example, PCs traveling across a desert need a source of water, and those away from wood or coal sources for long periods need a source of fuel. In those cases, I generally just told them "you have 48 hours till you run out -- figure something out." =) For *mech* steam engines, you can find details on fuel requirements on pages 87 and 139 of DragonMech.

> 2. When it comes to Steam Powers is there some sort of standard when it
> comes to using them. Like the elemental energy, is it a ranged touch attack?
> Or do they specify? I haven't actually read all of the parts, but I am just
> curious if there is a baseline for the powers.

It varies by steam power. Some steam powers change the attack method for others -- for example, a pump generally changes a melee attack into a ranged attack. Hopefully they're all clear; let me know if you have any questions.

> 3. I am pretty sure on this one, because of the Coglayer description. BUT,
> does the book mean that it is the number of Steam devices they can maintain
> at once INCLUDING duplicates? As in if you have Pump as one of your current
> steam powers you can actually have like 50 pumps built? (theoretically).

Duplicates count toward the total. For example, a 1st level coglayer with an 18 Int would have 2+4=6 steam powers. If he built 6 pumps, that would count as all 6 of his steam powers. He can't build a 7th pump until he gains the ability to maintain more steam powers.

> 4. Can a Mech weild a magic item without it being integrated like the
> animated mechs? What about a psionic item? I have a player being a sorcerer
> mix who is interested in maybe also being a pilot of a mech later in the
> campaign. Obviously the player can't cast spells from within the cockpit and
> shoot it from the mech's fingers, but, can they give the mech an item to
> weild? Like a psionic staff or a magic missle wand, ect. And if so, who
> makes the use item check(if there is one).

Yes, a mech can wield a magic or psionic item without it being integrated into the mech. The Mech Manual, which will be out in November, will have examples of mechs that do this.

The magic item should be built separately according to the usual rules. Any checks to use the magic item depend on the magic item and how it's built into the mech. For a sword or other weapon, no check is required (just as if a fighter picked up a +2 sword). For wands or other such items, you may encounter a situation where the pilot needs the Mech Pilot skill to physically aim the mech's arm (or otherwise manipulate the item the mech holds), and then also needs Use Magic Device to actually activate the item. Obviously, this is a situation where a wizard pilot is useful!

> 5. Are there any sort of rules behind magic being used with Steam powers or
> is that entirely up to the DM. I was wondering what would happen if a player
> decided to attach say, a magic missle wand, to an animator or some such.

There are some rules on this mixed in there, but they're not pulled out into a separate section. Specifically:

- In general, steam powers don't amplify or modify magical energy. The amplifier (page 55) discusses this.

- The exception is a special ability of the steam mage class (page 36).

> 6. Can Mechs be psionicly animated?

Yes... but there's nothing official on this yet. There will be eventually. As your campaign progresses, please feel free to post ideas on this subject on our forums.

> This is more like a request. Are there any existing Epic resources for the
> classes described in the book, Or should I just go off standard rules? Not
> really an issue, but might as well ask.

Nothing yet, but I'll keep the request in mind!

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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sun Aug 15, 2004 9:27 pm 
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Bwhahahah, that would be my e-mail. I get to be a guest until my account activates.

I just thought of two more questions and I wanted to post something else specificly. Maybe other people could find it of use.

Firstly, before I got the answer to this e-mail I developed steam engine fuel specs for personal sized engines. This one being medium, using the large Steam Powered Mech's as reference and the Steamborg. Anyone may use, tell me what you think:

Medium Steam Engine, for use with Coglayers and Others(Medium Mech?)
30 Rounds of use = 1 lb. Coal(3 lb's of wood)
30 Rounds of use = 4 lb. Water(1 Waterskin full)
(4 lb of water is half a gallon).

This gives my Coglayer's sort of a limit to any super Steam powers they make, now! On to my questions. Although I think I'll use Goodman's idea, its a lot easier.

1. I had another Coglayer question, what are the components needed to make elemental energy shoot out other then Fire and Electricity(Pilot Light and Spark Generator)? This might be a stupid question... haha.

2. And even... ANOTHER Coglayer question. If someone turns a beam of energy into a line or a cone, do they have to make a touch attack on each target in the beam or is it like a Dragon's breath weapon(all reflex saves for half)?

Oh, and while I am thinking of it, the Psionic Mech's wouldn't be hard to incorporate. Using the standard Magic rules for making animated Mech's and the Psionic handbook rules where "Magic is Like Psionics". Basically if you don't mix the two you gain "Psionic" and "Magic" animated mechs, anyway. Using the standard rules f or making animated Mechs you replace the mages with Psionics, and the mechs are then run by Psionic energy and Psionic items. I can imagine an Animated mech having psi-crystals swirling around its head. Changing a few of the checks for items and psi-powers, but making Dispel Magic still powerful.

Just some things! Thanks for DragonMech!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 3:54 am 
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More good questions!

1. Components for elemental energy: Well, let me see if I'm reading this right. Do you want different kinds of elemental energy (like water or air) or do you mean how do you combine the parts to make stuff happen? I think you're asking the latter.

One of the guys in my campaign used a taser-like device, so I'll use that as an example. He started with a regular spark generator. That did 1d4 nonlethal damage with a melee touch attack. He then added a pump, which gave it a range of 5 feet. He then added an amplifier, which made it 10 ft. range/1d4 lethal damage. He then continued to stack amplifiers on it, increasing it to 20 ft. range/2d4 damage, then 30 ft. range/3d4 damage, and so on.

Hopefully that helps. There are some other examples of steam power combinations on page 62, under the title "Some Fun Combinations."

I should warn you that you'll probably have to do some adjudication on your player's choices. I found out that steam powers were like Magic cards... the players were always trying to find ways to combine them to break the rules. :) They found a couple loopholes, which are fixed in the published version of DragonMech, but there's always the chance some cunning player will find a hole we missed.

2. Line or cone attack method: I always used a touch attack against each creature in the area, just to keep it a consistent attack mechanism. However, the dragons-breath idea is a good one, and steam powers are supposed to be versatile. I'd give your player the option to make it either way -- either a touch attack, OR a Reflex save like a dragon. Once they build it, they can't change it without scrapping it and rebuilding the part, so it's a permanent decision. But that way at least they have the choice. (Incidentally, I'd make the save DC for the dragons-breath option 10 plus 1/2 the character's coglayer level.)

A psionic mech with psi-crystals orbiting it would be pretty cool.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 8:58 am 
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Wow! Thanks, I have a better idea about how the Steam Powers work, and you are also correct(With the Magic Card example); I'd hate to have one of my players ask me about some sort of combination that just... makes havok(haha).

I had a player ask me how to make Water, Earth, And Air elemental energy with the Steam Powers, I suppose I could throw that question out there. In other words yes, different kinds of elemental energy as wel(lol).

Thanks for the Line or Cone attack method! Thats a very good way of setting it up, I will impliment that immediatly. I was thinking about the DC, maybe 10 + A paticular Stat modifier, but nothing really works well, except maybe Dex or Intelligence, but that'd be too easy to make powerful, since it technically always hits(unless you are shooting a rogue with Evasion). 10 plus 1/2 Coglayer level is perfect.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 4:29 pm 
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Snake wrote:
I had a player ask me how to make Water, Earth, And Air elemental energy with the Steam Powers, I suppose I could throw that question out there. In other words yes, different kinds of elemental energy as wel(lol).


I'm packing for Gen Con so I'll defer answering this in detail until I get back... but in general, I think it would be easy to come up with "elemental generators" using the pilot light and spark generator as baseline examples. A water generator could be based off the reverse of the dehumidifier -- it could be some sort of humidifier that pulls ambient moisture from the atmosphere. As for air, I guess that'd be a wind generator (aka a low-powered fan), and earth... what would earth be? I guess it could create small amounts of matter that could then be shaped by other steam powers. Anyway, I'll try to get back to you with something more detailed in a week or two, after Gen Con is over and I've had time to think again!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2004 11:29 pm 
No problem, thank you for your imput, I look forward to more. Have fun at Gen Con.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 17, 2004 6:59 am 
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goodmangames wrote:
As for air, I guess that'd be a wind generator (aka a low-powered fan), and earth... what would earth be? I guess it could create small amounts of matter that could then be shaped by other steam powers

Hmmm, how about something like a sandblaster? Using a powerful fan, it would shoot out a high-velocity jet of dirt or sand at a target. (For damage, you could say that it does less damage than a flamethrower but a Reflex save is needed to avoid being blinded by the particles.)

Carrying out bags of sand for ammo would certainly be heavy, however, so I'd suggest instead an intake tube that snakes out the back and picks up dirt and rocks from the ground. It would be like a reverse-leafblower. :) You could still carry a bag or two of sand as emergency ammo if no dirt is readily available, say 10 pounds = 1 attack?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 11:00 am 
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goodmangames wrote:
One of the guys in my campaign used a taser-like device, so I'll use that as an example. He started with a regular spark generator. That did 1d4 nonlethal damage with a melee touch attack. He then added a pump, which gave it a range of 5 feet. He then added an amplifier, which made it 10 ft. range/1d4 lethal damage. He then continued to stack amplifiers on it, increasing it to 20 ft. range/2d4 damage, then 30 ft. range/3d4 damage, and so on.


Wouldn't the range progression be either 5/10/15/20 (using arithmetic progression, like most of the steam powers) or 5/10/20/40 (using regular exponential progression)? I'd assumed it was the former, and was disappointed that it wasn't possible to get decent range out of a spark generator without an unreasonable number of amplifiers.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 20, 2004 1:53 am 
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i got the book a couple days ago, and i can't seem to find any mention of this...

when you make a combination of steam powers that performs automatic attacks, what attack bonus, if any, does it use?

for instance, if i used the repeating crossbow + automator + targetor + discriminator + voice command example from the book...

is it using a straight +0 or the attack bonus of the creator/owner?

and, can a ranger be used to give it a +1 (it looks like it would, but can the rest of the apparatus even manipulate the ranger?)

also, with the force generator steam power

does the force shield regenerate when damaged by an atempt to penetrate it? and, if so, how often or at what rate?

and, is it possible to reinforce the HP or hardness of the force effect generated, or only the increase in surface area caused by amplifying it?
(come to that, generally, how opaque or transparent is a force effect, anyway?)

the reason i ask is, i had an idea for a mech with a 100% secured cockpit that used multiple optical orbs protected by force generators to feed a 360 degree view of the battle field to the pilot via a larger size image maker
(something of the GundamWing-style wrap-around monitor)

and, while i'm at it, about how big is the image produced by a standard image maker, and how does the image area progress as the scale increases?

in some of the official WoTC suplements, there are arcane spells for repairing constructs (the "repair damage" spell line in the "tome and blood" book), how would spells designed for repairing magical constructs function as applied to mechs? for the most part mechs are technological in nature instead of being magical constructs, so i was kind of curious
(though, considering the spells repair the same amount of d8 worth of damage as thier cure spell counterparts heal wounds, it would take more than a few of them to fix a broken mech :lol: )

last question; can steam power users trade devices back and forth, so long as they have free steampowers to support a device, or can they only maintain the devices that they themselves construct?

BTW, i really like what i see so far, and i can't wait to see more books in this line, though sometimes certain pieces of information seem to be left out (the attack bonus thing, for example)

anyway, thanks for any reply, i can't wait to try out this setting :D

--edit--

thought of a couple more:

extra weapon mounts increases the mech's PU by 2, but a couple mechs have a base PU that's an odd number (or 50% of the base PU is an odd number)... could extra weapon mounts be designed onto a mech but used to only add one PU instead of 2?

for instance, large mechs have a PU of 3... could i add extra weaponmounts to increase it to 4 (since 150% of PU would be 4.5, and an increse of 2 would put the PU at 5, which is more than half again the base PU)

do smaller steam power devices use up a minimum of one PU when thier size can be defined as small or tiny or diminutive, or do they only use up PU on a mech when they start becoming larger?

for instance, could i make a huge mech with an animators and discriminators combined using the integrated parts ability to run it (wihch would make the animator + discriminator combinations all tiny)and then use all 5 PU for weapons?

or, would i take the combined size of all steam powers used and determine the size (and, thus, PU usage) as a single entity?
(this one makes more sence to me, now that i think of it)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:04 pm 
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got another one...

i was starting to design a mech, and filling in the stat block using the mech examples to arange the stats...

the mechs seem to have unusually small face/reach entires for thier size... large normally is 10 feet x 10 feet, but the large mechs in the book are 5x5. similarly, the gargantuan size has 20 x 20 in the PHB, but the gargantuan mechs in the book are at 10 x 10... that's half the space of a regular gargantuan creature or construct

is this a massive misprint, or is it intentional?

and, if intentional, is the smaller space supposed to reflect the physical dimentions of the mech, as opposed to the minimum space needed to fight effetively, or is it supposed to represent that mechs don't actually move around a lot while fighting the way normal creatures do in combat?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Aug 24, 2004 4:43 pm 
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Phasma Felis wrote:
goodmangames wrote:
One of the guys in my campaign used a taser-like device, so I'll use that as an example. He started with a regular spark generator. That did 1d4 nonlethal damage with a melee touch attack. He then added a pump, which gave it a range of 5 feet. He then added an amplifier, which made it 10 ft. range/1d4 lethal damage. He then continued to stack amplifiers on it, increasing it to 20 ft. range/2d4 damage, then 30 ft. range/3d4 damage, and so on.


Wouldn't the range progression be either 5/10/15/20 (using arithmetic progression, like most of the steam powers) or 5/10/20/40 (using regular exponential progression)? I'd assumed it was the former, and was disappointed that it wasn't possible to get decent range out of a spark generator without an unreasonable number of amplifiers.


I've thought about this before, you could use my idea if you so choose. I normally take Steam Powers at face value and basically ask the DM(useually myself) for a ruling when things get confusing. Anyway...

It depends on where the pump and amplifier is connected. I have a Coglayer in my party that has a spark genorator, a pump, and 2 amplifiers. If they connect the two amplifiers to the spark genorator directly, then connect the pump, the spark genorator does 2d8 and has a 5 foot range(one target) using a ranged touch attack. If they connect the pump, the the amplifiers to the pump, its range becomes 10ft then doubles for each extra amplifer(5 x 2 = 10 for the first amplifier, then 20 for the next, ect). Unfortantly, connected this way, the weapon only does 4d4. 2d4 damage with the pump and 1d4 extra for each amplifier(I added 1d4 with the pump mostly because I thought it should get some kick from the pump). So, in the end, the weapon is a 20 ft range tazer that does 4d4. The Coglayer then attached nozzle, lobber, and a bellows to the pump in order to make it do a cone, line, or an area of effect. All touch attacks when doing so. After this, the Coglayer attached a targetter and a discriminator to the Spark Genorator which I ruled gave a +2 Circumstance bonus to touch hits with it. Pretty nice in the end.

I hope this helps you.

Oh, and Reese, I just used standard sizes for mechs, unless you are running tokens on a grid a little differently. Seems to work fine.

While im thinking of it Reese... your other question, about the auto crossbow example. Aside from weighing alot, I'd say this object has nothing that would give it a base attack bonus. Since the Coglayer is not actually controlling its ability to hit things, you'd run it like a ranged attack. Base Attack + Dex Mod. This would probobly be +0 for the crossbow, or maybe +1 with an automator. Or maybe even -1 or -2 considering. Up to you.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 25, 2004 4:27 pm 
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heh, that's what i figured i'd end up doing, but i always like to get the official word on somehting (especailly since i'm not usually the DM)
(now to work out what the face entries for the larger than collosal mechs would be under the WotC system...)

anyway, to go on top of the question of what steam cannon ammuntion costs (said ammunitoin entries being missing from the equipmetn tables...)

the weapon tables list the huge steam cannon as requiring two crew to opperate, the entries for some mechs (specifically, the viper) have the huge steam cannon at two operators... which is right? (or, if both are right, does that mean there's an automator built in to the ones on mechs to make it one man operable?)

and, on the question of crew... the largest standard bore puncher has a crew requirement of 3... the viper fang, which is apparently one size catagory larger(based on PU) has a crew of 1... is that right?

is the minimum crew to opperate a mech based on modified or un-modified PU? (i assume that the percentage of crew is rounded up, so 2.5 on a gargantuan steam mech comes out as 3)

the wording of the question of crew seems to indicate modified PU, but a few of the Mech entries seem to indicate teh opposite

are there any large sized weapon varients of the weapons, that would take up 2 PU on a mech, and what stats would they have?

(like i said, i prefer official word when i can get it)
personally, i'd like to be able to equip a large sized mech with something more than personal scale weapons (though, not nessesarily full mech sized ones)

--edit--

just tacking this on to the end...

while statistically improbable, it is possible that a character can become a Vessel of Dotrak at 8th level, and gain levels in VoD up to the point where the character is no longer allowed to advance in any other class without gaining any other class levels... which would leave them stranded at 17th level, if the text of the prestige class was followed ot the letter

would it be allowable to gain levels in anotehr class after gaining all possible levels in VoD? (and, if the campaign went into epic levels, would the character then be allowed to progress in a epic VoD class levels after having taken levels in another class... epic levels not normally being aquirable befoer first gaining character level 20)

(dang, i just keep coming up with these quesitons... sorry 'bout that ^_^' )


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 Post subject: re: Reese
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 12:20 pm 
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despite the fact you said the viper says it requires 2 crew to operate the cannon not 1, your question's still valid, i'd like to know that answer too, it's possibly a typo or means with only 1 person it'll fire every other round.

I assume the viper fang has a crew 1 to operate it, and the normal bore puncher has a crew 1 to operate, 2 to board since that's there purpose and the viper fang specifically says they have no room for boarder as their built for damage.

crew is dependant on size and type of mech, there's a chart in the book, and i'll put money it'd only make sense for that to be the base (unmodified) PU.

same stats as usual for large weapons, just up the damage 1 die size.

your other questions, i'll let Mr. Goodman handle em :wink:

also i'll dig in the book but i *swear* i saw the answer to the steam power base attack question...i'll post again when i find it

Found it, the Iron arm uses the coglayer's BAB and it's own str or dex, so i assume that an automator would use only the coglayer's BAB

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 1:18 pm 
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actually, the viper's entry says that it requires two crew to activate ALL weapons on board, which means both the cannon and the sword, in one round

on page 113 there's a rundown of weapons and weapon crew requirements for the last four mechs in the mech stats section, including the viper, and it lists the steam cannon and the sword each as requiring one crew member to fire, with a total crew to fire all listed at 2 as well


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 26, 2004 11:38 pm 
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i know, i saw, i thought i'd clearly translated that though. *shrug* guess not. but yeah, i know exactly what your saying, it has me wondering too

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:15 am 
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Holy smokes, lots of questions! I'll try to answer them all...

Reese wrote:
when you make a combination of steam powers that performs automatic attacks, what attack bonus, if any, does it use?

for instance, if i used the repeating crossbow + automator + targetor + discriminator + voice command example from the book...

is it using a straight +0 or the attack bonus of the creator/owner?


Sorry, this should have been in the book. I always used the BAB of the coglayer who built the device. That represents his skill in combat, which is transferred via his technical abilities when the device is built. If the coglayer is a PC, I assumed he could continue to tinker with the device as his combat abilities got better, so its attack bonuses increases along with his.

Reese wrote:
and, can a ranger be used to give it a +1 (it looks like it would, but can the rest of the apparatus even manipulate the ranger?)

I'd say that as long as you have the targeter, yes, the ranger could be combined with the rest of the device. The targeter would be the "eye" whose aim is improved by the ranger.

Reese wrote:
also, with the force generator steam power

does the force shield regenerate when damaged by an atempt to penetrate it? and, if so, how often or at what rate?

and, is it possible to reinforce the HP or hardness of the force effect generated, or only the increase in surface area caused by amplifying it?
(come to that, generally, how opaque or transparent is a force effect, anyway?)


In my early games, the force generator produced a true force effect, like a wall of force spell, that was pretty much invulnerable. However, the coglayer player found a number of ways to turn that to an unreasonable advantage, so it had to be changed. :) If used as a shield, don't bother to track hp damage to the field. The stats are there just in case the coglayer decides to throw it up in front of his mech's cockpit, and it actually matters whether a steam cannon shot can pierce it or not. But note that the stats for it are just to PUNCTURE it, not to destroy it. So if a steam cannon shot did 34 points of damage (enough to puncture the force generator's 10 hardness and 20 hp to puncture), it would make a hole, but wouldn't actually destroy it. I'd rule that the force shield then closes back up, like the muscular action that closes the guts of a T-rex when the heroes fight their way out of its stomach (see the MM description of pretty much any creature with the Swallow Whole ability). It's practically impossible to destroy the force field (though the mechanical device that generates it is another story).

Reese wrote:
the reason i ask is, i had an idea for a mech with a 100% secured cockpit that used multiple optical orbs protected by force generators to feed a 360 degree view of the battle field to the pilot via a larger size image maker
(something of the GundamWing-style wrap-around monitor)


That's a cool idea. And this is exactly why I added those stats. :) Basically, the optical orbs would be immune to any attack that didn't do 31+ points of damage. Any attack that did at least 31 points would pass everything past the 30th point to the optical orbs.

Reese wrote:
and, while i'm at it, about how big is the image produced by a standard image maker, and how does the image area progress as the scale increases?


This never came up in my games. I'd treat it like a regular overhead project (remember from 4th grade?).

Reese wrote:
in some of the official WoTC suplements, there are arcane spells for repairing constructs (the "repair damage" spell line in the "tome and blood" book), how would spells designed for repairing magical constructs function as applied to mechs? for the most part mechs are technological in nature instead of being magical constructs, so i was kind of curious (though, considering the spells repair the same amount of d8 worth of damage as thier cure spell counterparts heal wounds, it would take more than a few of them to fix a broken mech :lol: )


Yes, this is a very good question. I had ideas for "repair mech" spells. But the problem was it would reduce the role of coglayers in the world. The reason for their rise to prominence is that they can build these massive constructs capable of protecting entire civilizations... but if spell casters discover a way to do the same thing for comparable cost, who needs the coglayers? Additionally, there's the game balance implication: as it stands right now, it takes a lot of time and energy to repair a mech. Aside from the mech jockey's patchwork repairs ability, you generally have to stop a mech and spend a long time working on it to actually repair it. If spellcasters can use a standard action to cast a spell, you suddenly have a much, much faster way of repairing mechs -- and, potentially, a radical shift in mech combat, because mechs will be repaired in motion while in the middle of combat.

Based on that, I'd treat the spells that affect magical constructs as being limited to magical constructs. Thus, they might work on some of the magically animated mechs, but no others. I'd also question the motives of any mage who used them. In DragonMech, one of the major bones of contention is the fact that the mages -- who used to be powerful heroes -- are now becoming less important in the face of coglayers and others who use steam technology. Any mage with a normal ego would sneer at a coglayer who needed his help... it would be unlikely that he'd assist someone who is a rival in a larger sense and quite possibly in a more personal sense as well.

Reese wrote:
last question; can steam power users trade devices back and forth, so long as they have free steampowers to support a device, or can they only maintain the devices that they themselves construct?


The last paragraph on page 17 of DragonMech, under the "Steam Powers (Ex)" entry, begins "Each morning..." That paragraph covers the above question in a roundabout way. Coglayers (and other steam power users) are welcome to trade devices back and forth, provided the number of devices maintained by a given coglayer doesn't exceed his normal limit, and provided he has an hour to maintain the devices each morning. Basically, I see that hour in the morning as his "tinkering time" where he makes the traded steam powers his own, becomes acquainted with how they work, and so on. In my game, I'd rule that he couldn't modify traded steam powers until he'd spent an hour tinkering with them. He could USE the traded steam powers, but couldn't build on to them, modify them, customize them, etc. until he spends that hour examining them.

Reese wrote:
BTW, i really like what i see so far, and i can't wait to see more books in this line, though sometimes certain pieces of information seem to be left out (the attack bonus thing, for example)


Glad you like it. Personally, I'm glad there's as little missing as there is. It seems like it would be really easy to translate a campaign setting into book format, but apparently it's easy to leave stuff out. :)

Reese wrote:
extra weapon mounts increases the mech's PU by 2, but a couple mechs have a base PU that's an odd number (or 50% of the base PU is an odd number)... could extra weapon mounts be designed onto a mech but used to only add one PU instead of 2?


I'd say yes, just halve the cost.

Some mechs also have the heavy payload trait, that raises PU but only for the purpose of cargo (see page 81). One of my early scenarios had the PCs escorting a "dump truck mech" to a mensite mine, which is how that trait came about.

Reese wrote:
for instance, large mechs have a PU of 3... could i add extra weaponmounts to increase it to 4 (since 150% of PU would be 4.5, and an increse of 2 would put the PU at 5, which is more than half again the base PU)


Yes, this is fine. Note that "extra weapon mounts" and "heavy payload" are two different things even though the game effects are similar. Extra weapon mounts represent places to actually mount turrets, guns, extra arms, etc. Just as you can't put a VW pop-top on a Beetle (but you CAN on a VW van), there's no room for a whole bunch of turrets on a small mech. Heavy payload is like heavy-duty suspension, extra shocks, and that sort of thing. It's more about the internal structure of the mech than what can be attached to the infrastructure. So, basically, what I'm saying is, don't abuse the combination of these two effects... they're similar in game effect but intended to represent two totally separate effects! :)

Reese wrote:
do smaller steam power devices use up a minimum of one PU when thier size can be defined as small or tiny or diminutive, or do they only use up PU on a mech when they start becoming larger?


I'd treat this on a case-by-case basis, depending on what the items are. I don't count encumbrance when my PCs pick up silly little things... if the steam powers are reasonably small, I'd count it as 0. But if they started adding up, they should count. In short, ask your DM. :)

Reese wrote:
for instance, could i make a huge mech with an animators and discriminators combined using the integrated parts ability to run it (wihch would make the animator + discriminator combinations all tiny)and then use all 5 PU for weapons?


In this case, the animator + discriminator combination counts as a size value of 6. Per the table on page 54, that's Tiny. I'd say it counts as 0 PU. If you started adding this combo to every weapon on the mech, they'd count as 1 PU once they hit a size sum of 17 (which basically means you'd need 4 of them).

Reese wrote:
or, would i take the combined size of all steam powers used and determine the size (and, thus, PU usage) as a single entity?
(this one makes more sence to me, now that i think of it)


Yep, that's what I'd do (as above).

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:24 am 
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Reese wrote:
the mechs seem to have unusually small face/reach entires for thier size... large normally is 10 feet x 10 feet, but the large mechs in the book are 5x5. similarly, the gargantuan size has 20 x 20 in the PHB, but the gargantuan mechs in the book are at 10 x 10... that's half the space of a regular gargantuan creature or construct

is this a massive misprint, or is it intentional?

and, if intentional, is the smaller space supposed to reflect the physical dimentions of the mech, as opposed to the minimum space needed to fight effetively, or is it supposed to represent that mechs don't actually move around a lot while fighting the way normal creatures do in combat?


I started writing these rules back in 2002, long before 3.5 came about. Personally, I dislike the 3.5 facing rules. So I kept the mechs at unusual dimensions. For example, the scorpion mech (page 113) should obviously not have a square shape. The same goes for monsters; the giant worms (page 204) should be rectangular. I managed to argue this past the developer and editor... but at the very last approval stage, White Wolf wanted the spacing changed to be more 3.5-ish (as in, square). This is a reasonable decision, given that 3.5 is now the standard. But of course, it happened at the very, very end of the process, after the layout was finished, and there wasn't a lot of time to focus on it. :)

So, in answer to your question, the mech faces are like that because I still run 3.0 facing in my campaign. With some of the taller mechs it makes sense (most of their bulk is vertical, not horizontal), but not with all of them. If you're a stickler for these kinds of things, I'd just change to the standard dimensions. For me, I still use non-square facings, so I'm probably not the best person to ask on this subject. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:46 am 
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Reese wrote:
anyway, to go on top of the question of what steam cannon ammuntion costs (said ammunitoin entries being missing from the equipmetn tables...)


Hmmm, steam cannon ammunition... I can't actually find anything in my notes on this. I probably made it up on the spot one too many times. :) According to the PHB, one pound of iron is 1 sp. Including labor needed to forge the cannonball, I'd say you charge 2 sp per point of max damage. So a single Huge steam cannonball (with max damage 2d10 = 20 points) costs 20x2 sp = 40 sp = 4 gp. Gargantuan would be 3d10 = 30 points x 2 sp = 60 sp = 6 gp. And so on. That's per shot, of course.

Reese wrote:
the weapon tables list the huge steam cannon as requiring two crew to opperate, the entries for some mechs (specifically, the viper) have the huge steam cannon at two operators... which is right? (or, if both are right, does that mean there's an automator built in to the ones on mechs to make it one man operable?)


You mean how the Viper lists only 1 crew for the Huge steam cannon, right? Well, here in the highly technical world of RPG publishing, we have a specific term for that, which is "typo." D'oh! The Viper mech should list a crew requirement of 2 for the Huge steam cannon.

This means a Viper mech with only one crew member can do the following:

- If he has Mechwalker, he can move + fire one round, then move + reload the next round, then more + fire the following round.
- If he does not have Mechwalker, he has to choose whether to move, fire, or reload each round.

Reese wrote:
and, on the question of crew... the largest standard bore puncher has a crew requirement of 3... the viper fang, which is apparently one size catagory larger(based on PU) has a crew of 1... is that right?


Yes, the Viper Fang is a unique weapon, built by a super-talented coglayer. Basically, I think unique weapons should have exceptional abilities, since they have to be custom-built. If you wanted to actually put this weapon on your mech, you'd have to follow the guidelines on the 2nd paragraph under "Weapons" on page 123: "Weapons larger than Colossal III are not built on a regular basis. Such weapons are considered unique, requiring an exotic weapon proficiency all of their own. Unique weapons cannot be acquired on the open market; they must be custom-built. Players can build their own version of a unique weapon only by acquiring the plans, studying the original, or devoting substantial research time to researching the design."

Reese wrote:
is the minimum crew to opperate a mech based on modified or un-modified PU? (i assume that the percentage of crew is rounded up, so 2.5 on a gargantuan steam mech comes out as 3)


The minimum crew requirement is based on unmodified PU, according to the mech's type (steam, clockwork, animated, man-powered, or necromantic). However, that said, additional PU from extra weapon mounts may require additional gunners to fire those extra weapons, of course.

Reese wrote:
are there any large sized weapon varients of the weapons, that would take up 2 PU on a mech, and what stats would they have?


It would depend on the weapons in question. You can't do a Large javelin rack, but you could maybe build a Large buzzsaw. However, I'd leave this up to individual DMs to decide.

Reese wrote:
while statistically improbable, it is possible that a character can become a Vessel of Dotrak at 8th level, and gain levels in VoD up to the point where the character is no longer allowed to advance in any other class without gaining any other class levels... which would leave them stranded at 17th level, if the text of the prestige class was followed ot the letter

would it be allowable to gain levels in anotehr class after gaining all possible levels in VoD? (and, if the campaign went into epic levels, would the character then be allowed to progress in a epic VoD class levels after having taken levels in another class... epic levels not normally being aquirable befoer first gaining character level 20)


The Vessel of Dotrak class is supposed to represent a change in the world's religions that is slowly becoming apparent. It's a game mechanics repsentation of a background story. As such, it's largely controlled by the DM. No PC should ever become a Vessel unless the DM wants them to, regardless of the dice rolls. So, yes, if a PC were so exceptional that he became a Vessel at 8th level, and then went straight to 17th as a Vessel, then if I were the DM I'd make some allowances. Remembers, Vessels are hand-picked by a quasi-sentient nascent god, so such an exceptional character has a powerful NPC in his corner. I couldn't say exactly what, but I'd come up with something. :)

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 1:47 pm 
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Woah! Tons of questions answered, thats cool! I think I may have to print this page, haha.

I actually had two more questions myself, might as well spew em out.

One of my players wanted to know if Magical Immunity on animated mechs made them immune to dispel magic(hence, they have no weakness). I thought it did, but I wasn't so sure, so I thought I'd ask.

The Steam Mage's abilities get a little confusing when compared to other abilities they interact with. More or less I've answered most of these with questions I came up with in game. For the Power ability the Steam Mage gets(Inside Arcane Channeling), it says that the Steam Mage can power his Steam powers using arcane energy, ect. But it doesn't say anywhere else in the book(other then my method in my earlier post) what fuel steam powers run on. Is this feature in place just in case we get to a very dry coal less area?

I was also wondering if once a spell furnace is made does it need to be recharged as normal(by a steam mage) or is it always outputting energy? For example, if by some ungodly power someone made a Spell Furnace for a City-Mech A, does that city mech run off its Spell Furnace forever or until a bunch of mages recharge it again?

Two more small questions:

Does Rapid Shot effect the reloading time of Steam Cannons and the like?

Is there a PU amount that magical items take up in Animated Mechs? One of my players is saving money to build an Animated Mech with 5 very small wands of fireball in each finger. I don't know if there is a limit.

Oh, and this is more of a question of opinion. You state that wands can be recharged in a couple places in the book. I looked through my 3.5 DMG and it doesn't say they can. I think they should be able to, do you rule that they recharge over time or it takes more XP?

Thanks again!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 2:50 pm 
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Reese wrote:
is the minimum crew to opperate a mech based on modified or un-modified PU? (i assume that the percentage of crew is rounded up, so 2.5 on a gargantuan steam mech comes out as 3)

Unmodified, as Mr. Goodman said, plus I think you round down if the fraction is less than .5--the Barbagula (size Huge) has a base PU of 5, modified to 7 with extra weapon mounts, and is still a one-man mech (5 * 25% = 1.25, round down to 1).


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 2:52 pm 
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the rapid shot feat requires an attack method that is reloaded as a free action (like a bow) which is why you can't normally use it with a crossbow... and it only allows you to fire one extra time a round

there is a feat that's mainly applied to crossbows that's called rapid reload, however... (reduces reload time by one step; full round > move > free) that could be applied to mech weapons... though it's intended use is personal weapons like crossbows... i can't remember what source book it's in, though

i probably wouldn't allow it, though, since the steam cannon is properly a seige weapon anyway(not unless all crew members operating the weapon had the rapid reload feat, anyway)


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:06 pm 
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Snake wrote:
One of my players wanted to know if Magical Immunity on animated mechs made them immune to dispel magic(hence, they have no weakness). I thought it did, but I wasn't so sure, so I thought I'd ask.


Yes, magical immunity makes an animated mech immune to dispel magic. See page 96 of DragonMech. But note that magical immunity also inihibits the creator's ability to imbue the mech with other magical effects. See page 85 of DragonMech.

Snake wrote:
The Steam Mage's abilities get a little confusing when compared to other abilities they interact with. More or less I've answered most of these with questions I came up with in game. For the Power ability the Steam Mage gets(Inside Arcane Channeling), it says that the Steam Mage can power his Steam powers using arcane energy, ect. But it doesn't say anywhere else in the book(other then my method in my earlier post) what fuel steam powers run on. Is this feature in place just in case we get to a very dry coal less area?


My main interest in the steam mage PrC was explaining how spell furnaces come to be, and opening up the possibility of mechs powered by a cadre of spellcasters channeling their energy to power the mech. (My original idea was a bunch of mind flayers who captured elven mages, encased them in iron manacles, and then leeched them dry of arcane energy to power their mind flayer mechs. But mind flayers aren't in the SRD so this couldn't go in the DragonMech book.) The arcane channeling (power) ability is there mostly as a step toward the arcane channeling (synergy) ability. You're right that it won't matter much unless you're the kind of DM who carefully tracks fuel usage, or if your PCs end up in a desert with no water for their steam engines.

Snake wrote:
I was also wondering if once a spell furnace is made does it need to be recharged as normal(by a steam mage) or is it always outputting energy? For example, if by some ungodly power someone made a Spell Furnace for a City-Mech A, does that city mech run off its Spell Furnace forever or until a bunch of mages recharge it again?


The spell furnace definitely has to be recharged! This is noted in the spell furnace description ("each day" at the end of the 2nd sentence).

Snake wrote:
Does Rapid Shot effect the reloading time of Steam Cannons and the like?


You mean Rapid Reload for reloading time, right? Good question. Steam cannon reload time is like that of ballistae or catapults, in that it requires a crew. See pages 99-100 of the DMG for more than you ever wanted to know about reloading siege weapons. Since siege engines are so cumbersome to load, I'd say that Rapid Reload doesn't apply to steam cannons unless the cannon is of a size that the character taking the feat can use it as a personal weapon, which basically limits it to giants. (In other words, the feat represents quick, practiced actions in a set sequence, as opposed to running from a pile of cannonballs to a barrel, stuffing the barrel, running back to pump the steam engine, and doing other actions that really take a long time no matter how skilled you are.)

Snake wrote:
Is there a PU amount that magical items take up in Animated Mechs? One of my players is saving money to build an Animated Mech with 5 very small wands of fireball in each finger. I don't know if there is a limit.


Magic items take up the same PU they would if they were weapons. A Medium weapon takes up 1 PU, etc. See page 123 of DragonMech. I believe wands are light weapons (? -- I'm guessing here), which would put them at size Small for a typical user. I'd say that those 5 wands would then take up 2.5 PU, rounded up to 3. Note that the Rodwalker mech intentionally makes the wands big so they can be used as stout clubs. If your player's mech fights in melee with unarmed attacks, you might want to force him to make some sort of Fort save or damage check for the wands whenever they strike something, as normal size wands aren't usually designed for use as clubs, especially with the strength of a mech behind them.

Snake wrote:
Oh, and this is more of a question of opinion. You state that wands can be recharged in a couple places in the book. I looked through my 3.5 DMG and it doesn't say they can. I think they should be able to, do you rule that they recharge over time or it takes more XP?


I believe recharging wands is probably another hangover from 3.0. In the world of DragonMech, I'd say they can still be; otherwise, building wands into a mech is a dumb idea! Whenever I dig out my 3.0 DMG I'll look through it and see if I can find the rules for recharging wands.

Hope that helps!

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:23 pm 
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Quote:
(My original idea was a bunch of mind flayers who captured elven mages, encased them in iron manacles, and then leeched them dry of arcane energy to power their mind flayer mechs. But mind flayers aren't in the SRD so this couldn't go in the DragonMech book.) \


What's the SRD? :?:


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 7:34 pm 
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LVSUBARU wrote:
What's the SRD? :?:


"Standard Reference Document" -- it's a pared-down version of the D&D rules that reflects what material can be used in a d20 supplement. 90% of the D&D core books (PHB, DMG, MM) can be used, but certain monsters are off-limits, including mind flayers.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 27, 2004 8:04 pm 
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and slaadi dammit....they're loads of fun and would LOVE highpoint.....or at least the moon as a fun place to play

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