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 Post subject: House rules for the masses!
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 10:30 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:13 am
Posts: 29
hey folks! sorry i've been gone for so long, but it's been a busy busy winter.

anyways, i'm getting ready to kick off a Dragonmech campaign this weekend and i was wondering what sort of snazzy house rules are floating around out there. *grin* this is basically a "i'll show you mine if you show me yours" sort of thread, so i'll kick it off...with one disclaimer: so far, i only own the first DragonMech book, so if this has already been covered in one of the newer manuals...*grin* sue me.


the book hits very lightly on the idea that it can take a while for a steam-powered mech to get up to full uh...steam...but it doesn't really give any hard and fast rules for doing so. *grin* i can definitely see this being a problem during ambushes or when trying to scramble lighter mechs out of a city mech to answer a threat. (bear in mind that i'm talking about starting from full-blown shut down, meaning the furnace/boiler is cold)

with that in mind, i present to you:


House Rule: Powering up a Steam Mech

There are two ways to start a mech...the right way, and the fast way.

The right way is called "cold starting" and is a relatively simple process. As long as the minimum number of crew required to keep the engine running are on board and in position, the mech can be brought to full power in a number of rounds equal to its PU. Thus, a mech with 40 PU would take 40 rounds (4 minutes) to cold start.

The fast way is called "flash starting" and is just as simple as cold starting...but it's a lot harder on the engines. The crew requirements for flash starting are the same as for cold starting. The difference is that by bypassing safeties, overstoking furnaces, and just generally exceeding the accepted safety limits of the mech the crew can bring the engines to full power in 1/10 the time it would've taken to cold start (round up to the nearest round, minimum of 1 round). A mech with 40 PU can be flash started in only 4 rounds! The strain of starting this way requires the mech to make a Fort save with a DC of (1/2 cold start time - flash start time). Passing the save inflicts 1d2% of the mech's maximum hitpoints in damage (ignoring hardness) to its internal systems. Failing the save inflicts (1d6+4)% of the mech's maximum hitpoints in damage (ignoring hardness) to its internal systems. Pass or fail, the mech is brought to full power and is ready to go.

Example:
Our 40 ton mech is flash started, taking only 4 rounds to come to full power. The mech must make a Fort save with a DC of 16 (1/2 of 40 rounds - 4 rounds). If it passes, the mech suffers 1-2% damage. If it fails, the mech suffers 5-10% damage. In either case, the mech is now fully operational.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Feb 16, 2006 5:11 pm 
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Chaos-Summoning Sorcerer
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Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 3:47 pm
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Location: Lexington, KY
My house rule for starting up mechs is this: It takes as long as is dramatically appropriate. :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2006 2:34 pm 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:13 am
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oy! yarr. *grin* don't everyone respond at once or anything.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2006 11:16 am 
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Ill-Fated Peasant
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To be honest, I'm a huge fan of Airships. Constructing an Airship is similar to constructing a mech of any kind of equal size, except that it must have A have the specialized trait "Heavy Payload" equal to its PU. This represents the Airship's lifting mechanism (Be it Hydrogen Balloons, Propellers, or large sealed off containers containing a vacuum). In addition, any Airship gains the ability to hover regardless of its manoeuvrability.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 9:48 pm 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer

Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:28 am
Posts: 121
Couple of house rules from my campaign:

Anyone with more than one artificial part automatically gains the lose self class ability. This was pointed out to me after someone showed me their coglayer/steamborg/steel-bound soul character concept that made a steamborg without the lose self ability, and that never had to risk dying from the steel-bound soul class.

Anyone taking levels in steel-bound soul must take all 10 levels before classing into anything else. This is to prevent them going to one level below the risky level, and then multiclassing away from it.

I house-ruled the Tik'Tok level adjust down to 0. Not that it had any effect, considering my entire party is made up of humans . . .

I did some quick ruling that if comprehend languages is used on lunar writing, the caster gets a really bad headache and is treated as sickened for the rounds they view the writing and a subsequent number of rounds equal to the number of rounds they viewed the writing.

More when I actually get around to remembering what they are . . .

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 2:35 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:20 pm
Posts: 30
Location: Zanesville, OH
I'm still in the process of making up proper rules for the "masterpiece" of the coglayer character in my still upcoming (but hopefully soon) campaign. Until he comes up with a better name it is simply known as "Astro's Mystery Liquid." It it extremely flammable in it's original form, but with minor "adjustments" in the form of a few key chemicals can gain numerous other properties so it can function as a lubricant, a corrosive, and Dotrak only knows what else. And its creator, the "illustrious" gnome Astro (or as his human mech jockey partner refers to him, "the runt greaseball") carries a flask of it around and drinks it. I've just gotta figure out the appropriate alchemy checks required to "unlock" new uses of the stuff. As it is, the only uses it has so far are as a fire accellerant (think molotov cocktails) and perhaps an engine cleaner.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:20 am 
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Far-Sighted Wanderer

Joined: Mon Oct 18, 2004 1:13 am
Posts: 29
so!

in a previous campaign, i really wanted to do something with language and the language barrier...but the game's mechanics on this are pretty unfriendly to that sort of thing. spend a skillpoint or two and you know a new language...assuming you ever want to bother learning one, since characters receive 1 bonus language per point of INT modifier.

the solution?

Language ________ (INT, trained only)

The language skill is unlike other skills in that it only has 5 ranks. Higher ranks indicate greater degrees of fluency as shown below:

Rank 1: Bare essentials - A character with this level of proficiency could ask simple, halting questions and communicate vague, general ideas. Examples would include ordering food (though probably not a very specific type), asking for directions to local landmarks, and finding the nearest restroom. When listening to a conversation in this language, the character probably catches about one word in five; enough to get a vague feel for the direction of the conversation, but not much more.

Rank 2: Scraping along - At this level, a character is able to communicate much more accurately and can convey more complex concepts (like love or hate) with some difficulty. Subtle nuances of the language in question are still largely beyond the character's understanding. When listening to a conversation in this language, the character catches maybe two words in three; enough to get a solid grasp of the topic, but subtle nuances or sarcasm will still cause problems.

Rank 3: Fluency - Although the character still has a marked accent, he or she is now fully fluent in the language in question. Nuance and sarcasm are not lost on the character, though more obscure cultural references or subtle sarcasm may need to be explained.

Rank 4: Natural speaker - No part of the language is beyond the character's grasp. Though they still speak with an accent, it can be hidden or suppressed with some effort. This is the level of fluency most native speakers possess.

Rank 5: Studied linguist - The character no longer has an accent, and can even mimic regional accents and dialects with minimal effort. A character with this level of skill gains a +2 bonus to Innuendo checks made using the language in question.

Literacy is assumed to be roughly in line with speaking ability, and costs no extra skill points. (Except for Barbarians, who must still spend 1 skill point to be literate in a given language.)

Characters start with their racial language(s) at 4 ranks (each). Rather than receiving 1 additional language per point of intelligence modifier, characters begin play with (2x INT modifier) ranks to be distributed amongst their bonus languages as they see fit. (An INT 14 character starts with 4 extra ranks to use for languages. They could start with two different languages each at rank 2, or one at 3 and one at 1, or any other combination of the points.)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2006 2:09 am 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse
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Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 8:12 pm
Posts: 222
Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Quote:
Anyone with more than one artificial part automatically gains the lose self class ability. This was pointed out to me after someone showed me their coglayer/steamborg/steel-bound soul character concept that made a steamborg without the lose self ability, and that never had to risk dying from the steel-bound soul class.

Anyone taking levels in steel-bound soul must take all 10 levels before classing into anything else. This is to prevent them going to one level below the risky level, and then multiclassing away from it.


Lose self is a prerequisite for the steel-bound soul prestige class so the character should have had it. Your lose self rule isn't a bad one. Perhaps the Artificial part feats should have it as a prerequisite. I never liked the lose-self ability because it detracts a little from the coolness of cybernetics but it is a balancing feature.

The Test the Soul ability was meant as a deciding point for the Steel Bound soul. He must decided if he is going to go "all the way" or stop there. It is also the cost, a risk, for the next two abilities which effectively turn the character into a machine. I would approve stopping before the "risky level". If they don't take the risk, they don't get the the next abilities. I had hoped the abilities were good enough to encourage taking the risk.

From a role-playing perspective, a character who reaches Steel Bound Soul 7, and then takes more artificial parts, should probably have to risk it. The magic number is +8. That is the minimum number of Artifical Parts a character has at Steel Bound Soul. level 7. That might be usable as a guide for the "cross over" to mostly mechanical.

When I was working on Steam Warriors, I submitted 3 new steamborg Classes. This would have opened up a whole host of options for getting artificial parts but they all got lose self pretty quickly. They were rejected but then, to my surprise, the Steamborg Mark II appeared in the book - and it gets lose self at 2nd level.

Mark Charke

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 Post subject: Steamborg thoughts
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:03 am 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer

Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:28 am
Posts: 121
You're right about the lose self prerequisite. Should've looked that up.

The main problem I see with going seven levels in Steel-Bound Soul and then multiclassing away is that it makes the original steamborg class seem less like a real, potential class, and more like "Steel-Bound Soul, but worse." I had the same problem with using Artificial Part as a feat. In both cases, I felt like it detracted from the steamborg class, since I feel like the base steamborg class should be a baseline which the other classes build off of.

I also felt like the lose self ability should be determined by the things that the character does to him- or herself, rather than by a level-based requirement which could be bypassed.

Currently, it seems like the basic steamborg ("Castor" Robar, for example) is to be pitied for the levels he wasted in getting the original class, when he could've gone into Steel-Bound Soul and gotten a bunch more parts for less levels. As things stood, it just seemed a bit like a PC could go "hey, lookit me, I took the extra artificial parts without pursuing the goal of the class!"

I like the idea of changing the whole "completely mechanical" concept from a level-based to an artificial parts-based, by the way.

Paul Vorvick

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Owner of all DragonMech books, Etherscope core book, and DCC 12.5: Iron Crypt of the Heretics.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 3:52 am 
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Deft-Handed Cutpurse
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Location: Vancouver BC Canada
Quote:
I also felt like the lose self ability should be determined by the things that the character does to him- or herself, rather than by a level-based requirement which could be bypassed.


I like the idea that any artificial part creates Lose Self but I'm not a big fan of the ability. I agree it's a good idea to have but I would min/max my character to make that save as much as I could.

Quote:
Currently, it seems like the basic steamborg ("Castor" Robar, for example) is to be pitied for the levels he wasted in getting the original class, when he could've gone into Steel-Bound Soul and gotten a bunch more parts for less levels. As things stood, it just seemed a bit like a PC could go "hey, lookit me, I took the extra artificial parts without pursuing the goal of the class!"


The Steel Bound Soul and Steamborg are very similar. They have the same hit points, saves and skills. Lets compare a multiclass Steamborg 6/Steel Bound Soul 7 to a straight Steamborg 13.

The SB6/SBS7 has artificial parts +7, steam powers 3+Int and the ageless ability.
The SB13 has artificial parts +6, steam powers 3+Int and the steel skeleton ability.

You are right. Steel bound soul IS better, but only by +1 artificial parts. I could point at the requirements but they are easy. I don't like crappy-feat requirements like Toughness, Dodge or Combat Casting.

The most generous levels for SBS are the last 3. If you take all 10 levels, you get +2 extra artificial parts and 1 extra steam power you wouldn't get as a steamborg. But then you run the risk of death. I ran these numbers when I made the class. I thought about an extra restiction or requirement but just wanted the "I turn myself into a machine" class to be effective (cough, cool). I didn't think it was for everyone.

Your argument is justified but perhaps an in-game restriction would be more palitable. There aren't very many steel bound souls. You should need to find one to become one. There is also the mentality of the steel bound soul, but it isn't much of a step from basic steamborg.

If you want to min/max a bit you can take Steel Bound Soul starting at 5th level, by taking the Artificial Part feat once or twice. I worded the feat that way deliberately but kept the skills from allowing you to take it at 2nd level. If you take the Steamborg Mark II, you get the lose self ability at 2nd and you can spend 2 levels in other classes - although you can pick up another steam power by sticking with steamborg. It gives the prestige class a little flexibility and rewards players who want to spend feats to get it sooner.

I'm not entirely sure that solved the problem but now you know the background and thinking for the steal bound soul.

Mark Charke

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Thinking Outside the Box
It's Here: www.BrokenSolaris.Com
Experience www.Goodman-Games.com, www.TheLeGames.com, www.DarkFuries.com and www.GreyHavenHobbies.com


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:14 am 
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Hard-Bitten Adventurer

Joined: Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:28 am
Posts: 121
Actually, knowing the thoughts and logic behind the classes is very helpful. I can see why you made the Steel-Bound Soul the way you did, and that plus the comparison between the two similarly-leveled characters finally got the idea I'd been missing into my head.

I think you and I will just have to agree to disagree on the comparitive coolness of the lose self ability. I personally think it's a wonderful method of showing the way steamborg replacement parts affect a person's sense of self (particularly because of a plot I'm running with that).

I also tend to think of it as one of the few tradeoffs you have to make to become a steamborg. A case could very easily be made that you already sacrifice enough by not taking other classes. But I partially like it because it's a balance built into the class, like monk and paladin multiclass restrictions or the reliance of the constructor of the goodwill of the College.

Anyway, my two cents. Thanks for giving me some of your thoughts on how these classes were supposed to work together. And I may be asking you questions about various things in Steam Warriors, now that I know you wrote part of the book!

Paul

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DragonMech DM soon, with any luck.

Owner of all DragonMech books, Etherscope core book, and DCC 12.5: Iron Crypt of the Heretics.


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