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Old 05-15-2023, 01:05 PM   #1
Shostak
 
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Default Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

It's a twofer this week, with Mechanician and Master Mechanician on the program.

Mechanicians are the MacGyvers of the TFT world, building cool devices and thwarting mechanical obstacles. The talent clocks in at two talent points and with an IQ 11 prerequisite, though it only costs half as much to a character who already knows Remove Traps, since it confers that ability. The Master level is also two points, but with no discount available.

You might think that the description for Master Mechanician on ITL p. 42 would tell you that someone with that talent rolls one die fewer when removing a trap, but that essential information is unhelpfully tucked away on p. 72, instead--one of those pesky bits of organization that would make a revised Legacy Edition a godsend. In addition to removing traps, Mechanicians can design and build new ones, taking one hour (30 min for Master Mechanician) for each die of difficulty for each aspect of a trap (Spot/Avoid/Remove). Mechanicians can attempt to determine the function of mechanical devices, including those made with advanced technology, at one fewer dice than others (two fewer dice for Master Mechanicians). Mechanicians can work with crossbows and siege engines as though they were armourers, and this range of applicability is expanded to gunpowder weapons and "etc." for Masters, leaving one to wonder what "etc." might mean. A chainsaw glaive? A reciprocating spear? A compound bow? A mechanician might also make musical instruments like pipe organ, hurdy-gurdy, accordion, and yaybahar (start watching at about 2:09).

Despite its descriptions of the distrust between wizards and mechanicians, ITL suggests that there are some synergies to be found between the magical and mechanical. Close Vision can benefit a Mechanician working on tiny parts; Repair can instantly mend a gear, cog, pawl, pin, or housing (so long as all the pieces are at hand); and Restore Device can quickly fix a whole gadget. Conceal can make a trap designed to be difficult to spot trap nigh impossible to detect, and Reveal might help a Mechanician locate pieces that have broken off of important parts. And, of course, Aid could buff up a gearhead's IQ or DX when needed. And who knows what cool devices might be able to be powered by a manastone? In my game world, there is a thaumamechanical being--sort of a ghost in a shell, which only a Wizardly Master Mechanician Goldsmith can make.

Because of the time requirements involved in making traps, I've not often seen characters choose this talent, much more often instead opting for Remove Traps. It was a talent chosen in one of my games for an assassin character who went by "The Falcon." On a particularly difficult assignment to kill a powerful and prominent general, he put Mechanician to use building a booby-trapped box for an antique chess set (something the target would be especially interested in). Alas, we never saw how that plan played out; although he was nearly done with it, the trap was taking so long to make that the other PCs wound up having second thoughts about the mission. They wound up turning their backs on The Falcon and saving the target from a horrible death, thus indebting him to them. Now The Falcon has gone on to become an NPC, last observed asking a black market chemist if he or any of his associates have seen the PCs recently.

Conversation starters
  • How might Mechanician interact with Mathematician?
  • In your games, how often do players choose Mechanician for their characters?
  • How often do those who GM give Mechanician to NPCs?
  • How often do you/does your GM throw mechanical obstacles at the PCs?
  • How often do PCs look for mechanical solutions to problems in the games you play?
  • If Mechanician been ever been the decisive factor in a session, tell us how!
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Old 05-15-2023, 04:28 PM   #2
hcobb
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

  1. Does Woodsman give any ability to create or deal with improvised traps?
  2. Do any of the Remove Traps talents work through Summon Myrmidon?
  3. Which siege weapons are covered by Engineer instead of Mechanician?
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Old 05-15-2023, 06:26 PM   #3
timm meyers
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

Mechanician like other noncombat talents are more relevant to background and character traits and not very useful for in game play. Scholars, armorers, architects and the like can have good effect between games but seldom gain glory during play sessions.

I have only ever had a secondary character with the Mech talent. He tagged along on a few outings and fired a crossbow once in a while. I tried working up inventions like grenade quarrels or a repeating crossbow, but I think turning his skill towards combat gadgets was probably too much world changing for the GM.
Then of course there is the time aspect involved in everything from research to construction/invention. Can the average campaign accommodate the years realistically needed to utilize the skill? I want to take mechanician and shipbuilder to design and build a paddleboat, submarine or magic assisted airship! Thats a hard ask for any GM (and other players) to accommodate.
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Old 05-16-2023, 01:13 AM   #4
EricS
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

The players in the current Four Corners campaign have several mechanicians. They are almost a requirement for success, as there is a Clockwork/Steampunk element in the game. Both the good guys and the bad guys use clockwork devices heavily, from small mechanical familiars and body mods all the way up to giant airships, with lethal clockwork automatons in between.

The story arc would be less interesting without the mechanicians.
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Old 05-16-2023, 04:53 AM   #5
Chris Rice
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

If you’re playing in more of a “Sword and Planet” type of Cidri, then Mechanician will be a lot more useable as you’ll have Sky Galleons and other exotic transports, advanced weapons and perhaps robots and “thinking machines” all of which will require this Talent to make use of and understand.
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Old 05-16-2023, 07:22 AM   #6
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

Why not make all the secret doors 10/IQ to spot, as this only takes a Master Mechanician 5 hours to install if prefabbed?
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Old 05-16-2023, 09:19 AM   #7
Shostak
 
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

Quote:
Originally Posted by hcobb View Post
Does Woodsman give any ability to create or deal with improvised traps?
Other than things like a propped-box bird trap and a pit covered with rushes, no. To make a spring trap or have-a-heart style trap would require Mechanician.
Quote:
Do any of the Remove Traps talents work through Summon Myrmidon?
If I understand correctly, you're talking about a Mechanician who casts Summon Myrmidon to bring a proxy body through which to act, yes? In that instance, I'd rule against it, since the Myrmidon is a sapient being that does one's bidding, not a puppet. This interpretation is supported by the fact that Myrmidons act with their own DX and IQ, not those of their summoners.

Quote:
Which siege weapons are covered by Engineer instead of Mechanician?[/LIST]
None by my reading. But a Mechanician can only build and repair, not use with skill in a battle.
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Old 05-16-2023, 05:55 PM   #8
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
....
If I understand correctly, you're talking about a Mechanician who casts Summon Myrmidon to bring a proxy body through which to act, yes? In that instance, I'd rule against it, since the Myrmidon is a sapient being that does one's bidding, not a puppet. This interpretation is supported by the fact that Myrmidons act with their own DX and IQ, not those of their summoners.
...
.
I would go the other way. Hard to imagine that being summoned to detect/remove traps would be that much different threat wise then being summoned to fight a Long Langkin. Plus the mention in ITL, page 137, paragraph 2 under Summoned Creatures that a summoned being has no will of its own. Without will, how could a Myrmidon resist the command to Detect/Remove traps?

A Trap Myrmidon might be ST 8, DX 14, IQ 10, MA 12. Talents: Running(2), Detect Traps(2), Remove Trap(1), Unarmed Combat 1(1). 4pts not allocated.

OTOH, spell cost would be a limiting factor. 2 ST/Fatigue pts to summon. From page 70, to attempt to detect a trap takes 6 turns = 6 pts. To attempt removal takes 12 turns = 12pts. Minimum total to summon and deploy a trap optimized Myrmidon for one trap is 20pts. More points if the first attempt to detect is negative and you move on to the next location to start detecting again.
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Old 05-16-2023, 09:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeadParrot View Post
I would go the other way. Hard to imagine that being summoned to detect/remove traps would be that much different threat wise then being summoned to fight a Long Langkin. Plus the mention in ITL, page 137, paragraph 2 under Summoned Creatures that a summoned being has no will of its own. Without will, how could a Myrmidon resist the command to Detect/Remove traps?
But we are not talking about a summoned Myrmidon the Remove Traps talent. If I understand Henry correctly, he is asking if the Remove Traps capability of a Mechanician who summoned a Myrmidon would be able to be used through the Myrmidon as though it were a tele-operated shell. You could direct the Myrmidon to remove traps, but it will only be able to do so with its own abilities, not the summoner's.
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Old 05-16-2023, 11:19 PM   #10
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Default Re: Talent/Spell of the Week: Mechanician

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shostak View Post
But we are not talking about a summoned Myrmidon the Remove Traps talent. If I understand Henry correctly, he is asking if the Remove Traps capability of a Mechanician who summoned a Myrmidon would be able to be used through the Myrmidon as though it were a tele-operated shell. You could direct the Myrmidon to remove traps, but it will only be able to do so with its own abilities, not the summoner's.
I agree with this. I don't think the caster's abilities propagate to the summoned critter. Except for Mage Sight specifically mentioned on p137 where it mentions the wizard can see thru the eyes of the summoned critter.

But even if the trap abilities did propagate, there is still the number of turns required for each attempt and the appropriate fatigue point costs. Plus possibly longer time frames due to the issues of remote control vs being there in person. Unless the caster has a LOT of points available, I don't see a summon as a viable way to avoid having to do it yourself or hiring a thief type to do the trap find and removal.

Now if the Mech character creates a 'trap finding robot', that is a different matter. Of course, if the Thieves Guild notices a drop in employment for its members, very possible such a character might find a knife in its back.
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