While not getting into the pros and cons of DragonMech vs. IK (both great settings, no question), I'll try to list a few reasons why you should try DragonMech. (And yes, I'm biased.
) For instance, I love the sheer variety of adventures:
-- Want to do military combat? Skilled mech jockeys and gearwrights are needed to pilot and repair the mighty mechs that will defend your homeland or your clan's honor against your enemies. Anti-mech magic spells and combat tactics are always developing, too: "Hey, did they just fire a black pudding at us?"
-- How about alien horror? Don't let a lunar skinstealer get its hooks in you. Foil the schemes of the aboleths, now awakened and ready to dominate this new, steam-powered world in their crab-like brine worm mechs.
-- Espionage or political intrigue? Be a spy for one of the mechdoms. (Shar Thizdic wants you!
) A talented wizard or rogue can make a lot of money by stealing mech-building secrets.
-- City-based adventures? Look no further than the cliffside city of Edge (described in detail in The Last City
), where drow and dwarves share an uneasy truce for the sake of commerce, and where trained giant spiders and levitation
spells take the place of elevators. For a wild twist on city adventures, try a story set on one of the skyscraper-sized city-mechs!
-- Wild West-style exploration? Sure! With the threat of the lunar rains finally reducing, why not go into the corners of the Stenian Confederacy or the Endless Plains and fight the odds by trying to build a settlement? Of course, even if you get past the politics and bureaucracy, the rust riders or Irontooth Clans might be a problem, to say nothing of a lunar dragon...
-- How about a good old dungeon crawl? Huge chunks of the moon lie across the surface of Highpoint, some still unexplored. Who knows what valuable treasures (or terrors) might reside in the ruined lunar temples?
-- Action, romance, competition, bug-hunting ... pretty much any type of story is possible in DragonMech
Did I mention the city-mechs?
You can practically base an entire campaign around life in one of these mechanical, walking juggernauts. Thousands of people live within each city-mech (some much more comfortably than others). Others, like the coglings, have rejected "civilization," choosing instead to create a hidden society within the city-mech's gigantic gear forests. It's even led to a new type of ranger: the clockwork ranger.
While the standard D&D classes exist, the new technology has spawned new classes, such as the steamborg and mech jockey. If you're a fan of Battletech, then you'll enjoy the opportunity to build a mech of your own or customize one of the many existing models in the core book and the supplements. You'll also find easy-to-grasp rules for mech-vs.-mech and mech-vs.-infantry combat. (If you have any questions, you can also come back to these forums and ask.)
As for your not getting into the D&D 3.5 rules, I think if you find the setting interesting, you'll be able to adjust to the rules. You can find the standard SRD freely available on sites like the Hypertext d20 SRD
I hope this helps! Give DragonMech
a shot and don't hesitate to ask more questions.