The catch is that unless a feat specifically says "You can take this feat more than once", you can only take it once. That means you can only take the Artificial Parts feat once and get an extra part once, period. In a non-E6 game I'd probably house-rule that feat to allow people to take it multiple times, but only being able to take it once seems very much in line with the other class feats in an E6 game.
ok, if that is the case it certainly resolves the problem of abusability of piston rage, but it leaves me with another problem of balancing spellcasters against non-spellcasters
, which has always been a concern of mine in D&D in general. i addressed the issue earlier with regards to coglayers/steamborgs and steam powers, but i think it gost lost in the shuffle, i'll quote below to reference
i do, however, have some concerns as it pertains to dragonmech.
spellcaster types will, under normal circumstances, have access to feats that allow them to learn additional spells and even gain additional spell slots (see complete arcane). coglayers, (and to a lesser extend, steamborgs) at this point, have only the "gearhead" feat with regards to steam powers (this is working from just the basic dragonmech book); logically they SHOULD be able to learn more steam powers over time as the spellcasting types could, but this also poses some problems from a balance standpoint.
see, a second level spell will still always be a second level spell, there are limits to how powerful it can become in terms of damage and effect even with a metamagic feat applied. steampowers on the other hand, hand be stacked over and over for increasing effect, referring most specifically to boilers and amplifiers. in order to prevent coglayers from being able to individually construct steam powers with ridiculous damage while spellcasters are restricted to the upper limits of their 2nd and 3rd level spells, some sort of artifical limit would need to be applied to any capstone feat which would allow access to more steam powers.
my suggestion would look something like this:
Additional Steam-Gadget [General]
Prerequisites: knowledge (steam engines) 9 ranks
Benefit: you gain one additional steam power
limitation: no steam-powered device you create may have more individual parts than the maximum # of steam powers you could maintain before you first acquired this feat
example: say at 6th level you could maintain a maximum of 10 steam power (just pulled a number out of the air). then you gained additional steam gadget. you could now maintain 11 steam powers but the maximum # of parts in any steam device would be 10. this would effectively limit the upper damage range of steam devices, hopefully keeping them in line with spellcasters of the same level in an e6 setting but still allowing expansion of the coglayer's abilities.
what do you think? we may need to amend this as it pertains to multiple coglayers working together... perhaps limiting their contribution to the overall steam power to the aformentioned upper limit?
that was my attempt to allow coglayers the continue to expand their abilities without overbalancing them. since casters will have access to additional spells with:
Expanded Knowledge (General) (PoeticJustice)
Prerequisite: Character Level 6th
Benefit: Choose a spellcasting class in which you have levels. You gain an additional spell known at any level you can cast from that class's spell list.
Expanded Casting (General) (PoeticJustice)
Prerequisite: Character Level 6th
Benefit: Choose a spellcasting class in which you have levels. You gain an additional spell slot at any level you can already cast.
... as well as the feats from complete arcane
which may be taken more than once.
my question then becomes: "Since artificial parts are the hallmark of the steam borg, how can I allow him to continue to expand his abilities beyond 6th level without allowing something like piston-rage
to overbalance things over time?
some thoughts/options for perusal:
1) beyond 6th character level, allow for additional artificial parts feats to be taken, but limit the number of times they may be applied to any one category of ability, thus forcing the steamborg to diversify his abilities. Example: no more than 2 additional artificial parts applies to any one class of ability beyond 6th (max of +2 str, +2 Dex, etc) with the minmum of that required for the basic ability of course, since some require for than 2 parts. it's a thought that mey need some refining
2) keep things written as is and simply have the additional feats given at post 6th represent additional steam-type abilities for flavor purposes. Since many of the abilities granted by a steam borg could be simulated with the numerous variety of feats out there, this may be way to go. this train of thought still leaves me with the spellcaster balance issue concern, but when i look at it it may not be an issue overally.
a spellcaster can gain 1 new spell/day as a feat, or a martial type like a fighter or steamborg gains a feat that may be used infinite times per day (pow attack, or weapon focus or whatever) so it may balance out.
steam powers are still a concern, as my coglayer fears the e6 nerf bat.