This pdf is 6 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 4 pages of content, so let’s take a look, shall we?
So, this is the much-anticipated installment of Tinker-expansions Bradley Crouch has promised should ever 200 Tinker-pdfs be sold – The SMUMFYUMAOOF-(said that out loud – surprisingly fun!)-expansion that provides us the Mechgineer, a 10-level PrC that gets 3/4 BAB-progression, medium ref-save and full invention-progression as well as d8 and 4+Int skills per level. The requirements for this particular PrC are rather steep, requiring ten ranks in Ride and Knowledge (engineering), the endurance-feat, the option to install 4th level inventions as well as the Megadroid greater innovation.
At 1st level of the PrC, the Mechgineer gains the cockpit innovation and may install it in blueprints, even if the Mechgineer’s level would otherwise not be high enough to install them. Also at first level, all of the Mechgineer’s blueprints automatically have the Megadroid greater innovation added – and yes, this includes any future blueprints – the ability isn’t called “Go Big or Go Home” for nothing. Note, however, that this does not extend to the Alpha. As written, this does not retroactively decrease the number of automatons, so yeah, a rather powerful ability that adds +50% build point limits for all automatons sans the innovation’s usual downside.
At 2nd level and every 2 levels thereafter, the Mechgineer increases the HD by +1. At 3rd level, we get the ability “Powers Combined” – insert your favorite Captain Planet, Power Rangers , or imho, even better, Saber Rider-reference here. But how does the ability work? Essentially, at 3rd level, a Mechgineer may combine his Alpha with a deployed Megadroid to form a Super Ultra Mega Mecha, or SMUM. This is a full-round action that provokes AoOs and requires the Tinker to be in the cockpit of his Alpha. This combination consumes one use of the infuse automaton class feature. Per se cool and concisely-worded, though I think a caveat for the non-alpha megadroid to be required to be adjacent to the Alpha for the transformation would be prudent. When automatons combine, their maximum and current HP are added together for the new maximum, while the ability scores of the automaton with the most HD are used, thus meaning that usually, the Alpha will be the determining factor. It should be noted that size increase (for the SMUM is +1 size larger than its largest component) bonus HP are also depending on the size of the “dominant” construct, meaning e.g. a huge SMUM formed from a medium and a large automaton would get +20 HP if the medium automaton is the one with more HD and only +10 HP due to size increase if the large one is the one with more HD. A handy table summarizes the amount of bonus hp for size-increase, btw. – a smart move, since not many players out there will be familiar with this particular rule. It should also be noted that how daily uses of inventions, stacking of bonuses etc. is addressed.
On another note unrelated to this pdf’s content: Sadistic DMs out there, take heed: An organic creature combined via these rules would get a whopping +80 bonus HP – keep that in mind for the next mad alchemist/fleshwarping beast…
Another thing you should be well aware of, is that automata need to be one size larger than their riders to have them in a cockpit, hence the medium Alpha of the example can only house a small Tinker, since the Tinker NEEDS to be in the Alpha’s cockpit in order to combine into a SMUM. Medium Tinkers better increase the size of their Alpha as well…
Disassembling a SMUM once again costs a full-round action that provokes AoOs and sees the remaining hit points evenly distributed among participating automata. Excess hit points of single automata instead are added to other component automata. Inventions of the combined automata stack, as do bonuses and daily uses of duplicate inventions if applicable, though duplicate inventions per se do not. While Tinker, Alpha and Megadroid essentially form into a SMUM, the SMUM/Tinker only get one array of actions, essentially a balancing factor for the power-gain the SMUM offers.
At 4th, 7th and 9th level, the Mechgineer gets to choose from a list of 14 Super Mega Ultra Subroutines, which include massive barrages of all electro-related inventions, alchemical barrages (Full Mental Alchemist – nice nod to one of my all-time favorite anime…), the option to put allies into one of its cockpits (thus potentially saving them from being swarmed), the power to activate inventions that are already expended by tapping into the daily uses of other inventions, always having greenblood oil ready for poison-manufacturing inventions, dealing +twice BAB as damage as a standard action, as an AoO keeping foes from moving through threatened squares or the use of an activated invention as a swift action, which consumes all its daily uses, though, – all of these are possible via this PrC. Said latter invention needs to have at least two uses left, though.
At 5th level, the Mechgineer gains the Gigadroid greater innovation and may take it multiple times, while at 6th level, Alpha, Megadroids and Gigadroids ALL get free cockpits (and at 6 BP, that’s a lot of free space to fill with gadgets and weaponry…). Finally at 10th level, the Mechgineer gets an epiphany, which can be used 1/SMUM-deployment, i.e. upon disassembly and recombination with another automaton, the ability is refreshed – and each and every selection here will bring broad smiles to the faces of otakus out there: From long disintegrator-rays (Saber Rider!!!) to coup-de-grace-damage dealing slices, kamikaze-attacks that leave the SMUM (relatively) intact to automatic ejector seats to the ability of the SMUM to interpose itself and catch attacks that would kill allies to repair subroutines that prevent destruction to the options to go into a defensive stance or even punch foes in orbit (or an adjacent height), these capstones ROCK. HARD.
Editing and formatting are top-notch, I didn’t notice any glitches. Layout adheres to Interjection Games’ two-column b/w-standard and the pdf comes sans bookmarks, but needs none at this length.
Let’s you things out of the way: Number 1: I absolutely adore the concept of this class – it caters to some of my unfulfilled nerdy sensibilities in roleplaying and I so want to go all Saber Rider (listen to this kick-ass theme music) on adversaries and blast them to shreds. Secondly, if you get this pdf, you should be thoroughly familiar with the Tinker class – not cursory, but really, intimately familiar with it. The concept is so complex that you’ll require some book-switching unless you’re very familiar with the class. This is by far the most complex Tinker-PrC released so far and it also doubles as perhaps the best: building your own mech and going toe-to-toe with the biggest of monsters, this pdf offers you an AWESOME take on being able to pilot mecha that does not compromise your ability to undertake regular dungeon exploration. Furthermore, the sheer coolness of the abilities more than make up for the loss of flexibility that results from combining automata.
This pdf took me longer to review than most 20+-page supplements out there: This class is complex and requires you to take a look at things you probably haven’t seen before – bonus hit points for bigger construct-sizes, for example, but once you get behind it, it also is cool, rewarding and offers something no other class even has attempted. unique signature abilities, solid rules. How to rate this? All right, I’ll get one thing out of the way: This is one of my all-time favorite PrCs. Seriously. I love it to death. Hence, my final verdict would be a gleefully giggling, mecha-name-shouting, orbital-punching 5 stars + seal of approval, while also being a candidate for my top-ten-list of 2013, of course!
If you haven’t check it out yet, here’s a bundle of all Tinker-supplements so far on OBS!