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The moon has come so close to the world that parts of it rain down, destroying surface settlements and farmland. Monsters from the moon can now reach the world, making the mosnters that were here before seem as nothing before their might. Huge steampunk mecha and their pilots are the new wave of heroes in a fantasy world in a constant state of war.

Dragonmech is an apocalyptic steampunk fantasy setting using the d20 rules set (which of course means it needs the D&D 3.x core rules to play it). This game is sweet, there’s a reason it made it onto my Cool Games From the d20 Bubble lists. This is the point when Goodman Games picked up the production values of their books – releasing both DragonMech and Etherscope.

Making a character for DragonMech is basically the same as for most other d20 D&D games. There are a few changes in the character classes, as well as a few new ones. Most of the changes are a bunch of steampunky prestige classes, and of course the mechs. Mechs can be as cheap as 3,000 gp, making them affordable for any party beyond 1st level – it wouldn’t be a stretch to have two or three “light” mechs in a level 2-3 party.

Looking at the new character classes, one of them is basically a steampunk cyborg. I love it. Steamborg’s require a high Constitution, and can only be human, dwarf or gnome. And unless you are a member of the Gnome Addicts Annonymous, you know that Dwarf is the way to go. Moruth Ironbeard I’ll call him, and I’ll use the Elite Array stat generation method from the DMG for ability score generation.

As a level 1 steamborg, he’s got proficiency in a selection of unusual exotic steampunk weapons like the chattersword, and he gets a steam engine implant. It can be implanted anywhere, usually in the chest. For Moruth, I’m going to have it mounted on his shoulders and up the back of his neck, replacing his shoulderblades and protecting his spine at his neck. The exhaust vent on his right shoulder gives him a -4 penalty on hide checks when it is unsealed. He can seal it for up to 5 minutes, but then begins to suffocate. Since it draws moisture from his body, he also has to drink three times as much as a normal person, err, dwarf… that’s a lot of beer! Unfortunately, he doesn’t get any cool steam cybernetics at level 1, having to reach level 2 to get his first one. A very disappointing design element in the game (I think I’ll have to roll up another Steamborg later, at level 12 or so).

As a level 1 character he gets one feat, and he also gets 16 skill points to spend on a pretty skinny list of class skills. Not wanting him to be a total “borg”, he grabs 2 ranks in Diplomacy (a non class skill) to reflect the fact that he has a moderately high Charisma, for a dwarf.

Finally, Moruth gets 6d4x10 gp for starting equipment. Some lucky dice make this a pleasant 210gp. Out of the weapons he has a special proficiency, the two that are affordable are the Buzzaxe and the Chattersword. The chattersword is a greatsword that looks and acts like a chainsword from WH40k. It deals normal greatsword damage, for for the next ten rounds if the victim of a blow tries to do anything strenuous he has to make a Fort save to avoid an additional 1d3 damage from the wounds ripping open. Nice, but a lot of book-keeping. The Buzzaxe is simpler, it’s a greataxe that deals even more damage. 2d8 damage? Yes please. While a steamgun would be a nice addition to his arsenal, it costs too much for a starting character. With the rest of his cash he picks up scale mail, a crossbow and some adventuring equipment.

Moruth Ironbeard
Race: Dwarf
Class: Steamborg
Level: 1
Alignment: Neutral Good

Strength: 14 (+2)
Dexterity: 12 (+1)
Constitution: 17 (+3)
Intelligence: 10
Wisdom: 8 (-1)
Charisma: 11

Hit Points: 11

Armor Class: 15

Base Attack Bonus: +0
Fort Save: +5
Ref Save: +1
Will Save: +1

Special Abilities
Darkvision 60′ (See in absolute darkness in black and white)
Stonecunning (+2 racial bonus on search checks involving stonework, can detect stonework traps like a rogue, can search for secret doors in stonework automatically by walking within 10 feet)
Weapon Familiarity – Urgrosh & Dwarven Waraxe (treated as martial weapons instead of exotic)
Stability (+4 racial bonus to avoid bullrush & trip attempts)
Poison Resistant (+2 racial bonus on saves vs poison)
Spell Resistant (+2 racial bonus on saves vs spells)
Orc Fighting (+1 racial bonus on attack rolls vs orcs & goblinoids)
Giant Defense (+4 dodge bonus to AC vs Giants)
Skill Bonuses (+2 racial bonus to craft & appraise checks related to stone or metal works)
Steam Engine (-4 on hide checks unless sealed, can only be sealed for 5 minutes, triples fluid consumption)

Armour Proficiencies: Light, Medium, Shield
Weapon Proficiencies: Simple, Buzzaxe, Buzzsaw, Chattersword, Flame Nozzle, Lobster Claw, Steambreather, Steam Gun

Common, Dwarven

Climb +4 (2 ranks, +2 Str)
Craft (mech-craft) +4 (4 ranks)
Diplomacy +2 (2 ranks)
Disable Device +4 (4 ranks)
Profession (engineer) + (2 ranks)

Buzzaxe (Large Melee Weapon, +2 to hit, 2d8+3 damage, crit: 20/x3)
Scale Mail (+4 AC, -3 Armor Check Penalty)
Spiked Gauntlet (Light Melee Weapon, +2 to hit, 1d4+2 damage, crit 20/x2)
Heavy Crossbow (Large Missile Weapon, +1 to hit, 1d10 damage, crit 19-20/x2)
20 bolts
23 gp