|Max Device Grade
- "I'm gonna need a few things. Cup of coffee, some bolts, a battery, and... that guy's prosthetic leg."
Necessity is the mother of invention, or so it is said; sometimes, however, curiosity takes necessity's place. For as long as the world has been peopled, curiosity has driven many to explore further than their peers. Over time, this curiosity evolved from "what" and "where" to "why" and "how," and soon enough craftsmen appear in most societies. From there, it is only a short leap before individuals begin discovering the laws of physics: the very rules that govern all of reality itself. While some find these rules and scoff at them, preferring to simply work around them than obey, others find them fascinating, and begin to puzzle out ways to manipulate them to their own ends: for at the end of the day, any set of rules can be abused, if one looks hard enough.
Enter the engineer, a student of nature and physics, who builds contraptions to take advantage of the rules of reality. Using math and her own intellect, she can assemble gadgets that have astounding effects. However, technology is a fickle mistress, and such devices are not always the most reliable, though as an engineer's knowledge of reality grows, she can produce devices that are significantly more reliable, provided they aren't on the bleeding edge of her abilities. On the other hand, the engineer's toil at constantly working with mathematics and other scientific fields hones her mind to a razor edge, and she is sometimes able to make sudden leaps of ingenuity when in a difficult situation that can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
The study of technology is a rather unforgiving lot. While magicians can make use of their spells after resting and manifesters can use their abilities seemingly whenever they feel it appropriate, engineers must contend with the fact that they must construct devices to take advantage of physics, and such devices are subject to the passage of time. Wear and tear can cause even the most robust device to rust, the most well-sealed flasks to gradually lose their contents to evaporation, and - for the adventuring engineer - the constant bumps and dings taken from being on the road can make short work of all but the sturdiest of devices. As such, while an engineer can build as many devices as her pocketbook will allow, she can only maintain so many at a time: as she gains experience, she can keep more in fully operational condition.
Engineers can often come across as terrifying individuals: while mages are quite capable of producing lightning with just a few words, engineers instead walk about with rather-large cannons with glowing bits that might emit steam seemingly at random. While most of their devices are safe when operated by someone who knows what they're doing, engineers are well aware that most common folk who haven't grown up around technology are sometimes more frightened of them than those who wield magic or invoke the power of the Saints, simply by virtue of the fact that their power is held in physical objects, rather than in fancy words or trapped in their brain.
Game Rule Information
Engineers have the following game statistics.
Force Alignment: Technology.
Force Resistances: SR 5 + level, PR 5 + level.
Abilities: Intelligence is the most important ability for an engineer, as it modifies her ability to use devices. However, many fields of research benefit from a secondary ability.
Hit Points at 1st Level: 5 + Con score.
Hit Points at Each Additional Level: 5 + Con modifier.
Healing Surges: 6 + Con modifier.
Defenses: Fort +0; Ref +2; Will +4; Det +2.
Starting Age: Moderate.
All of the following are class features of the engineer.
Weapons: Choose three.
Armor: Cloth, leather.
Engineers are students, which means that they make use of devices, technological contraptions that generally have a single function. As students, engineers can construct as many devices as they desire, but are limited in how many they can have maintained at any one time. With a long rest, the engineer can change her device selection. A device always takes up one device slot.
|Harnessing the powers of physics to the fullest, atomical devices are often inherently dangerous simply by existing, but are capable of extraordinary things.
|Interacting with humanoid (and other) physiologies, biomedical devices can restore health and vigor, or improve existing abilities.
|Investigating the properties of the natural world, chemical devices take advantage of the interactions between the fundamental elements of reality.
|Working within the realm of information, differential devices are conceptual extensions of analytical engines, with unparalleled information processing power.
|Operating on the principles of electricity and magnetism, electrical devices produce astounding effects through manipulation of these two forces.
|Favoring physical effects such as levers and hydraulics, mechanical devices can get a great deal of work done very quickly and effectively.
Technology is not a guarantee, and devices do not always work. An engineer's devices have an error rate, similar to the error for skill checks. Whenever the engineer activates a device, she must roll a technological device malfunction check (TDM, for short); if the result is less than or equal to the device's error rate, the device fails to activate and will not function until the engineer spends time to investigate the problem and repair the device (in short: she must take a long rest and prepare her devices; repairing all malfunctioning devices is considered part of this process).
- Special: If a device requires you make a technological attack, that roll is used to determine if the device has an error.
A device's error rate is based upon the device's grade, as per the table to the right.
Devices Stats by Grade
|Minimum Secondary Ability
|Construction Cost (tp)
Devices come in four grades. Prototype devices are those that the engineer has just recently come to an understanding of, and are - essentially - experimental. Refined devices are those that she has studied in somewhat more detail, and has learned how to make them slightly more effective. Improved devices typically have expanded functionality, while perfected devices are those that the engineer understands to the best degree that modern science can explain.
The engineer gains bonus device slots from a high Intelligence. If she has an Intelligence bonus, she gains a bonus device slot at every third level (3rd, 6th, 9th, etc), until she has gained bonus device slots equal to her Intelligence modifier. To use devices, an engineer must have an Intelligence score of at least 10, and usually higher to use devices of higher grades; to use a device of a particular field, she must have at least a 10 in the field's associated ability.
The engineer begins with four "devices known" slots. A device known has two possible uses: she can gain knowledge of a new device of any field she can access, as a prototype; or, she can improve her understanding of a device she already knows, and improve its grade by one (from prototype to refined, to improved, to augmented). She gains knowledge of additional devices each level, as per the class table, above. At fourth level and every four levels after, she can trade out up to two prototype devices she knows (or reduce the grade of a device she knows) for either new devices, or to improve the grade of devices she already knows.
Unlike most other Forces, engineers must construct their devices; not measured in common currencies, the construction costs for devices are measured in technology pieces, which are an abstract currency that various technological bits - conduits, bolts, and the like - can be translated into. Such tp can be purchased in most civilized locations, and objects can be scrapped to turn into tp. The cost to construct a device depends on its grade.
The engineer's key ability for her technological attacks is her Intelligence; if her secondary ability score for the device's field is greater than her Intelligence, she can use that instead (for instance, if you have a 16 Int and an 18 Dex, you can use your Dexterity for technological attacks made with Electrical devices).
In addition to their standard uses, engineers - through their knowledge of their own work - can temporarily improve the function of a device, by activating its clutch. This is not necessarily a literal clutch, but is a process by which the engineer can temporarily make a device function better, at the expense of it being guaranteed to fail shortly. You can activate a device's clutch as part of its activation; once the duration of the clutch ends, the device immediately malfunctions. However, the clutch has one additional benefit: when you use it, for that particular activation of the device, you ignore the device's error rate. If a device has multiple clutches, you can only choose one when you activate the clutch.
The engineer trades in technology, which means that she is well-versed in the construction of items and the more complex - but not quite Technological - objects that can be crafted through normal means. This knowledge gives her an unconscious awareness of her surroundings, and she is able to pick out details or discrepancies that others would miss.
So long as you are able to perceive your surroundings, you automatically detect non-Force traps within 30 feet.
As a standard action, you can examine an object or structure. If you do, you automatically determine the material it is made of, its hit points, hardness, and its break DC.
You can spend a swift action to gain libra for 5 rounds; this status is only effective against Constructs. (A creature with libra knows the current hit points, weaknesses and resistances, and Force alignment of any creature they look at within 60 feet.)
These are all Technological effects.
Part of being an engineer is the study of technology and natural forces, and part of it is studying how Technology itself functions as a whole. As an engineer progresses in her training, she learns a number of tricks of the trade: some are words of wisdom from her teachers, some were learned the hard way in the lab, while others are simply leaps of logic and intuition that she happened to have in the course of working with engineering.
At each of the levels indicated on the class table, you can choose one of the following abilities. Unless otherwise specified, each ability can only be taken once.
▶ Flip all the Switches
When you activate a clutch, you can choose to activate an additional clutch. The device gains the benefit of both effects, but the device's duration is reduced to the shortest among the selected clutches.
Note that some clutches can be redundant with each other; such clutches do not stack.
You can take this ability multiple times. Each time you do, you can choose to activate an additional clutch.
▶ Percussive Maintenance
Sometimes all a malfunctioning device needs is a swift kick to the important parts.
During a short rest, you can restore one malfunctioned device to operational status. Until your next long rest, the device's error rate increases, based upon its grade:
- Prototype: 10
- Refined: 8
- Improved: 6
- Augmented: 4
Once a device you use this ability on malfunctions, it cannot be repaired until your next long rest. Devices you use this ability on cannot benefit from a clutch. You cannot use this ability on perfected devices.
Engineer Fields and Devices
The device index can be found here.
|Device shoots a green ray that disintegrates creatures and objects.
|Device deals potency 4 cosmic damage as an immediate action, but you must fire it on your turn or suffer temporal backlash.
|Device can detect creatures and objects with unusual properties.
|Device can restore malfunctioned Atomical devices to working order.
|Device can generate a number of unusual temporal effects.
|Create a bubble of energy that prevents instantaneous or planar travel.
|Atomical energy allows you to create a pathway between disjoint points in space.
|Device deals potency 2 radiation damage to Undead, ethereal, and insubstantial creatures; may also slow.
|Device attempts to convert a creature into glass.
|Device can shrink creatures, or enlarge objects.
|Device deals potency 4 radiation damage, can also cause variety of status ailments.
|Device can revive the recently deceased.
|Device can restore malfunctioned Biomedical devices to working order.
|Combination of drugs and herbs can remove various status ailments.
|Device gives target control over their form, allowing them to mutate for a short period.
|Device heals a living target of potency 3 damage, halved if no healing surge is spent.
|Chemical sensor grants you scent.
|Device shoots a beam of ice, can potentially freeze targets.
|Device shoots flames, can set things on fire, causes burning.
|Dangerous chemical deals potency 6 acid damage against creatures or objects.
|Chemical neutralizes fire.
|Creatures within a 20-foot radius become slowed, immobilized, unconscious, then dead.
|Creatures you interact with are more friendly.
|Energy has difficulty penetrating gas, grants those inside it resistance to energy, eventually reflects.
|Chemical can transmute one material into another.
|Device can restore malfunctioned Chemical devices to working order.
|Rapidly copy, indefinitely store, and quickly recreate written documents and images.
|Device can predict the future.
|Device can store the personality of a creature.
|Device can restore malfunctioned Differential devices to working order.
|Device can store a backup of your brain, improving your mental defenses.
|Device can generate and crack codes and translate languages.
|With sufficient data, device can generate most likely answers.
|Device can generate and project holographic images.
|Records everything in a 20-foot radius for later playback.
|Magnetosonic Pulse Generator
|Energy waves scan terrain around you, translate into readable data.
|You can take control of Constructs.
|Scan and analyze creatures and objects, giving you an idea of their capabilities.
|Wearable device can cloak you for a short period.
|Device can restore malfunctioned Electrical devices to working order.
|Device converts surrounding environment into a breathable substance.
|Device disrupts Technological effects.
|Device can project images with a variety of uses.
|Device emits loud noises, can deafen, destroy stone or other material through harmonics, or deal sonic damage.
|Device can create areas of light or darkness.
|Device emits a bright flash of light that causes creatures to lose memories for a short time, amnesia.
|Device that can control the weather.
|Device generates a shield that absorbs damage and other effects.
|Places an electronic "tag" on a creature, making them easier to hit.
|Device shoots electricity, dealing potency 4 lightning damage.
|Electrical gauntlet deals potency 2 lightning damage, can stun or otherwise debilitate creatures, enhances your grappling ability.
|Device allows you to see through walls, in darkness, and can penetrate illusions.
|Automated tiny devices make the battlefield hazardous.
|Device becomes a weapon that deals potency 3 piercing damage in a cone.
|Create a mechanical minion that fights for you.
|Device becomes a weapon that deals penetrating potency 4 slashing damage.
|Handheld device shoots a chain that you can use for a variety of purposes.
|Device can push or bull rush creatures.
|Retractable armor can provide protect, other bonuses.
|Device can restore malfunctioned Mechanical devices to working order.
|Wearable device makes you resistant to falling damage, can improve your movement speeds and jumping ability.
|Retractable glider allows you to fly.
|Device creates a trap, dealing potency 3 slashing damage and potentially entrapping creatures in an area.
|Device can be used to open locks, disable traps, activate devices, and other uses.
|Create a temporary construct that causes malice in your enemies, drawing them to attack it.
The following are a selection of feats that are relevant to engineers.
|Student or no, you have an innate grasp of technology, and take to the usage of devices with ease.
|Prerequisites: Lore (Technology) - 1 rank.
|Benefit: You can attune to devices, as though they were Force items. When you attune to a device, it becomes locked to that attunement slot, and if you lose your attunement to that device (willingly, forcefully, or otherwise), the attunement slot is not freed until after your next long rest.
|When a device to which you are attuned malfunctions, you can repair it to functioning order with 5 minutes of work.
UNLOCK PERFECTED [Epic, Technology]
|You have unlocked the secrets of a device, transcending mortal understanding of its physics.
|Prerequisites: Student, ability to shape at construct at least one augmented device, 21st+ level.
|Benefit: You can upgrade one augmented device you know of your choice to perfected. You can take this feat multiple times; each time, you can select a new augmented device to upgrade to perfected.
As much as Steamworks was fun to work on, it's time to acknowledge that what I wrote was... mostly full of fail.
Given that, this class is a mostly different approach to technology, building on the legacy of Steamworks and bringing the tech caster in line with the other classes in terms of power level.
Our primary goal is to reduce accounting. The original Technologist class was chock full of stupid accounting problems; basically it was a massive pain to deal with, which is why I think we've never seen one at the table. If we reduce the maths required to play an engineer, we might actually see this class get played.And because we're having so much fun, this class will be the first written with our new HP rules, defense rules, and skill system! So... that'll be fun!