Long ago, people relied on mythology and mysticism to bring structure and order to the universe. Matters such as, “Why does the moon wax and wane each month?” were the purview of the priest or the mage, preaching godly might or incanting magic. The Era of Enlightenment ushers in something new: reliable answers that can be tested and proved to explain known phenomena. And it is the gearhead who maintains the greatest appetite for this scientific understanding, incorporating continual technical innovation into daily life.
The gearhead specializes in applied science and uses esoteric formulas and theories developed in laboratories to create extraordinary devices. While some gearheads are the stereotypical absentminded, myopic masterminds covered in trial-by-error stains and scorch marks, others have evolved a highly polished erudite pragmatism and maintain immaculate appearances. The ultimate capabilities of the gearhead are as high as the moon given that the trade constantly surpasses itself in inventiveness and aptitude, limited only by his access to the latest schematics, tools, time, and funding. Many gearheads become adventurers not only to right wrongs or fight for country, but also to gather the necessary funding to continue their research and tinkering.
Role: Gearheads are engineers and scientists able to develop contraptions that harness the elements, enable flight, manipulate time, and many other possibilities that were once only possible through magic. These contraptions are hand held devices and apparel that can be used by anyone with some knowledge of engineering, but are the most potent in the hands of a gearhead. Unlike spells, a contraption’s parameters are not fixed; the gearhead’s arsenal of contraptions, and the effects produced by each contraption, can be customized each day to meet the gearhead’s needs.
Hit Die: d6.
The gearhead’s class skills are Appraise (Int), Craft (any) (Int), Disable Device (Dex), Fly (Dex), Knowledge (engineering) (Int), Perception (Wis), Profession (Wis), Sleight of Hand (Dex), Use Magic Device (Cha).
Skill Ranks per Level: 4 + Int modifier.
|Level||Base Attack Bonus||Fort Save||Ref Save||Will Save||Special||Contraptions per Day|
|1st||+0||+0||+2||+2||Engineering, gadgets, scientific specialty||3||1||—||—||—||—||—||—||—||—|
The following are the class features of the gearhead.
Gearheads are proficient with light armor, but not with shields. They are proficient with all simple weapons, firearms, the double crossbow, the hand crossbow, the heavy repeating crossbow, and the light repeating crossbow. Furthermore, a gearhead becomes proficient with any weapon he personally crafts.
Not only masters of building mundane machinery and mechanical devices, gearheads are capable of utilizing an arrangement of special blueprints, called schematics, in combination with various clockwork cogs, gears, pistons, springs, lenses and other mechanical components to create ingeniously complex mechanical devices, known as contraptions, that produce extraordinary effects. Schematics are drawn from the gearhead schematic list. A gearhead stores his known schematics in a special book known as a draft book. He must refer to this book whenever he constructs or maintains a contraption, but not when he activates it (see Contraptions and Schematics: Constructing a Contraption, for more details).
A gearhead begins play knowing all target schematics, all 0-level effect schematics, and a number of 1st-level effect schematics equal to 3 + the gearhead’s Intelligence modifier. These schematics are learned as part of a gearhead’s basic training. These schematics do not have a cost to scribe and take up one page each in the gearhead’s draft book. Otherwise, effect schematics of 2nd level or above take up a number of pages in a draft book equal to the schematic’s level.
A gearhead learns new schematics through constant research and experimentation, but can also be taught new schematics at scientific universities. At each new gearhead level, he adds 2 additional effect schematics to his draft book of any schematic level less than or equal to the highest level of contraption he can create. For example, a gearhead that has just attained 3rd level can add any 2 effect schematics of 2nd level or lower to his draft book. A gearhead can add new effect schematics to his draft book at any time for the same time and cost as it would take a wizard to add a spell of the same level to a spellbook. To learn a schematic and use it in the construction of contraptions, a gearhead must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the schematic’s level.
A gearhead can only create and maintain a certain number of contraptions of each level per day (as given on the table above). A gearhead begins play with three 0-level prebuilt contraptions (known as gadgets, see below), and at least one 1st-level prebuilt contraption. If a gearhead passes a contraption to an ally, or otherwise loses a contraption, that contraption continues to occupy one of the gearhead’s daily contraption slots for that contraption level for as long as the contraption remains functional. To build and activate a contraption, a gearhead must have an Intelligence score equal to at least 10 + the contraption’s level.
A gearhead’s contraptions harness energy generated through mechanical means. Some are given life by the kinetic energy found in the tension of clockwork springs or perpetual motion gyroscopes. Others feed on the electromagnetic energy given off by friction motors or magnets. And others still work by the thermodynamic energy obtained from steam-pneumatic mechanisms, or some combination of these three scholarly methods. No known energy source is self-sustaining, however, and a gearhead’s ability to power his contraptions is limited. As a gearhead progresses, he discovers new and more efficient ways to create and use energy, and the number of activations of each contraption level per day increases, as displayed in the table above. If the gearhead has a high Intelligence score, the energy he produces is used more efficiently, rewarding more activations of certain contraption levels per day than normal, in the same way a wizard receives bonus spells per day.
Allocating a daily activation charge to one of the gearhead’s built contraptions is done at the time the contraption is activated, as part of the same action (see Science: Activating a Contraption, for more details). For example, a 2nd level gearhead is able to build up to at least two 1st-level contraptions each day and his power source has enough supply to power four 1st-level contraption activations each day (assuming an Intelligence score of 11). Each time the gearhead activates either of his 1st level contraptions, he allocates one of those four daily activation charges to the activated contraption. This can be done in any combination he chooses each day; three activation charges in one contraption and one activation charge in the other, two activation charges in each contraption, or all four activation charges in one contraption.
Due to their unique complexity, contraptions can normally only be activated by the gearhead that built them, unless the activator already has a working knowledge of mechanical devices. Any creature activating a gearhead’s contraption must succeed at a Knowledge (engineering) skill check with a DC equal to 15 + twice the contraption’s level. Failure to activate the contraption consumes one of its charges, but produces no effects. A gearhead does not need to make a check to activate his own contraptions.
If a gearhead passes a contraption to one of his allies, he must decide how many of his daily activation charges to allocate to that contraption at the time it is passed. The contraption is then considered to have a number of temporary charges equal to the number of daily activation charges allocated to it; each activation consuming one temporary charge. These temporary charges dissipate after 8 hours.
A gearhead’s power source replenishes (regains its daily activation charges) at the beginning of each day, after the gearhead has received 8 hours of rest and has performed a 1-hour period of maintenance. During this maintenance period, a gearhead constructs new contraptions, salvages old contraptions to free up slots, services existing contraptions, and repairs damaged contraptions. Once a contraption is constructed, it remains intact, functional, and able to have power allocated to it for as long as the contraption receives its daily maintenance or until the gearhead salvages the contraption. If 24 hours have passed since a contraption has received maintenance from the gearhead that constructed it, the contraption ceases to function and must be salvaged.
When making a Knowledge (engineering) check, a Disable Device check, or any Craft skill check, the gearhead gains a competence bonus equal to one-half his class level on the check (minimum of 1). Furthermore, the gearhead can make Knowledge (engineering) and Disable Device checks untrained. In addition, a gearhead can use Knowledge (engineering) to identify revolutionary technological items as if using detect magic or the Spellcraft skill. He must hold and examine the item for 1 minute to make such a check.
Gearheads usually possess several 0-level contraptions, known as gadgets, at any one time. These contraptions are constructed, activated, and require maintenance just like any other contraption, but they contain unlimited activation charges. Gadgets can be constructed as either a worn item sized for the gearhead or a one-handed item sized for the gearhead (requiring only one hand to activate). A gadget weighs 2.5 lbs. and requires 5 minutes of work to construct.
A gearhead can specialize in one field of science, gaining additional contraptions and abilities based on that field. This choice must be made at 1st level, and once made, it cannot be changed. A gearhead that does not select a scientific field receives the physicist specialty instead. A gearhead’s chosen field of science determines which scientific sources he specializes in. Specialist gearheads receive an additional contraption slot of each contraption level he can construct, from 1st on up. Each day, a gearhead can construct and maintain a contraption composed entirely of schematics from his specialty sources, known as a specialty contraption, in that slot. These schematics must be in the gearhead’s draft-book. A gearhead can select a specialty contraption modified by a calibration feat to occupy his specialty slot, but it uses up a higher-level contraption slot. Gearheads with the physicist specialty do not receive a specialty contraption slot.
Unfortunately, a specialist gearhead must also select two scientific sources as his opposition sources, representing research and knowledge sacrificed in one area of science to gain mastery in another. A gearhead who constructs a contraption with a schematic from his opposition source, even if the contraption also contains one or more schematics from his specialty source, must use two contraption slots of that level to construct and maintain the contraption. A physicist gearhead can construct contraptions from any scientific source without restriction.
At 2nd level, the gearhead gains Field Repair as a bonus feat, even if he does not meet the feat’s prerequisites. In addition, the gearhead can make temporary repairs to broken technology on the fly. Jury-rigging a broken object (including a vehicle’s driving devices or engines) has a Craft DC equal to the Disable Device DC to disable a device of the same complexity, and requires the same amount of time; the Craft skill for this check must be relevant to the object being jury-rigged. If the check is successful, the object is relieved of the broken condition for up to 5 minutes. If a jury-rigged object takes any damage, it regains the broken condition. A jury-rigged object cannot benefit from this ability again until it has been repaired.
Starting at 2nd level, the gearhead can salvage mechanical devices and other items for scrap, which can then be used to pay raw material costs when crafting mundane and technological items, or when making repairs.
To salvage a mundane or technological item, a gearhead must possess the skills and crafting feats normally required to craft the item. The salvaging process requires 1 hour of dedicated work for every $1,000 of the item’s market value (minimum 1 hour). After this time, the salvaged item is destroyed, but yields scrap with a value equal to one-third of the item’s market price. If the item had the broken condition when it was salvaged, the scrap is valued only at one-fifth the item’s market value. This salvaged scrap is then used to cover the costs of crafting or repairing mundane or technological items.
If the gearhead wishes to salvage an item that he normally couldn’t craft, he can still attempt to salvage that item, but there is a chance that he may render the scrap unsuitable for crafting. After spending the normal amount of time required to salvage the item, the gearhead must make a DC 10 Intelligence check, with a bonus to the check equal to one-half his level. This DC increases by +5 for every requirement the gearhead currently lacks to normally craft the item. If the check succeeds, the gearhead salvages the item successfully. If the check fails, the gearhead fails to yield any scrap and the item is destroyed in the process. Magic items cannot be salvaged.
Starting at 4th level, the gearhead can create, salvage, dismantle, and repair mechanical objects faster than normal. The time required for a gearhead to craft or repair a mundane or technological item is reduced by half (when determining progress, treat the item’s cost as 50% less than normal). Likewise, the time required for a gearhead to salvage a mundane or technological item is also reduced by half (when determining the time required, treat the item’s market value as 50% less than normal). Furthermore, the gearhead can perform any Disable Device check in half the normal amount of time: Simple devices require a standard action, Tricky devices require 1d2 rounds, Difficult and Extreme devices require 1d3+1 rounds.
At 5th level, and then again every five levels thereafter, a gearhead makes a technological innovation, improving upon his contraptions and engineering expertise. Unless otherwise noted, a gearhead cannot select an individual innovation more than once.
Simplified Contraptions: While most contraptions normally feature confusingly numerous amounts of buttons, dials, and readouts that only he can comprehend, the gearhead has discovered a way to simplify his contraptions so that anyone can use them. The gearhead’s contraptions can now be activated with either an Intelligence check or a Knowledge (engineering) check. In addition, a creature trained in Knowledge (engineering) may take 10 on its checks to activate the contraption, even if threatened or under duress.
Miniaturized Contraptions: The gearhead has discovered new ways to make his contraptions more portable and compact without sacrificing efficiency. When constructing a contraption, the gearhead may decide whether to make it miniaturized or not. Miniaturized hand-held contraptions are one-handed devices sized for the gearhead. A one-handed contraption weighs half as much as normal, requires only one hand to activate it, and can be activated while grappled or swallowed whole, but has hardness 5 and 5 hit points. Miniaturized hand-held gadgets are more easily concealed, granting the gearhead a +2 bonus on Sleight of Hand checks made to conceal the gadget on his body.
Miniaturized worn contraptions also weigh half as much as normal and only occupy 1/2 of a body slot, allowing two miniaturized contraptions, or one miniaturized contraption and one technological or magic device, to occupy the same body slot. A gearhead must be at least 10th level before selecting this innovation.
Ectoplasmic-Frequency Contraptions (Su): The gearhead’s contraptions become tuned to both the physical and spiritual realms of reality, allowing their effects to manifest in both realities simultaneously. Incorporeal creatures now take half damage (50%) from the gearhead’s contraptions; effects that do not cause damage now have a 50% chance of affecting incorporeal creatures. If the gearhead is trained in Knowledge (religion), his contraptions instead have full effect on any incorporeal creature whose HD is equal to or less than the number of ranks in Knowledge (religion) the gearhead possesses. This functionality of a contraption is supernatural in nature. While within an area that suppresses or negates magic, or if subjected to a similar effect, the gearhead’s contraptions cannot harm or affect incorporeal creatures. In addition, while subjected to antimagic effects, the gearhead’s contraptions deal only half damage (50%) to corporeal creatures and effects that do not cause damage only have a 50% chance of affecting corporeal creatures. Whenever a gearhead constructs a contraption, he can choose whether that contraption is an ectoplasmic-frequency contraption or a normal contraption.
Power Diversion: As a full-round action, the gearhead can “split” an unspent activation charge of any contraption level he knows to gain two activation charges of a contraption level that is two levels lower than the activation charge split. For example, a 5th level gearhead can split an unspent 3rd level contraption activation charge to gain two 1st level activation charges. An activation charge gained through splitting cannot be split itself. An activation charge must be of at least 3rd level to be split. These split charges last for 24 hours, or until the gearhead’s power source has been refreshed through maintenance. This ability can be used a number of times per day equal to the gearhead’s Intelligence modifier.
Calibration Feat: A gearhead that selects this innovation gains a bonus calibration feat (see Feats). He must meet the prerequisites of this feat as normal. This innovation may be taken multiple times.
At 18th level, the gearhead can construct or dismantle mechanical devices with inhuman efficiency. The time required for a gearhead to craft or repair a mundane or technological item is reduced by three-fourths (when determining progress, treat the item’s cost as 75% less than normal). Likewise, the time required for a gearhead to salvage a mundane or technological item is also reduced by three-fourths (when determining the time required, treat the item’s market value as 75% less than normal). Furthermore, he can perform any Disable Device check with almost supernatural speed: Simple devices require a swift action, Tricky devices require a standard action, Difficult and Extreme devices require 1d2 rounds.
Gearheads gain access to a variety of schematics.
0th-Level Gearhead Effect Schematics—beacon, chemical burn, chill, hydrate, illuminate, lift, scald, soak, spark
1st-Level Gearhead Effect Schematics—acid burn, alacrity, attraction, burn, dehydrate, detect constructs, detect fauna and flora, detect humanoids, detect undead, electromagnetic deflection, fade, glide, hydrant, scare, shock, simple order, tracker
2nd-Level Gearhead Effect Schematics—accelerate, corrosive acid, disappear, decelerate, detect anomalistic creatures, detect mystical creatures, discordant note, energy resistance, frigid cold, hover, kinetic burst, reveal hidden, sense thoughts, shatter
3rd-Level Gearhead Effect Schematics—blaze, complex order, dimensional hop, heat lightning, radiance, soar, suppress, time lapse
4th-Level Gearhead Effect Schematics—caustic acid, clinging ice, sonic blast, terrify
5th-Level Gearhead Effect Schematics—concealment field, crush will, dimensional jump, kinetic blast
6th-Level Gearhead Effect Schematics—amped lightning, energy immunity, negation field, unfetter
7th-Level Gearhead Effect Schematics—bio-hazardous cloud, destructive acoustics, dimensional shift, horrify
8th-Level Gearhead Effect Schematics—incinerate, thunder strike
9th-Level Gearhead Effect Schematics—halt time, repulse
The following descriptions detail each scientific specialty and its corresponding abilities.
Few things are more awe-inspiring than the unbridled power of water, as people come from all around to view crashing waterfalls and surging rivers. The pneumatic engineer simply takes that observation and awed respect to its natural conclusion, finding ways to use heated water and the energy it produces in marvelous ways.
Specialty Schematic Sources: Combustion and hydrology.
Starting at 1st level, whenever the gearhead constructs a contraption that has the fire descriptor, he can alter the contraption so that all fire effects instead manifest as superheated steam. This alteration persists until the contraption is dismantled. The altered contraption is treated as if it had the water descriptor, in addition to its other descriptors, and works normally underwater. Unlike fire, the steam cannot ignite objects or set creatures on fire. As the contraption still deals fire damage, fire resistance or immunity still applies to the contraption’s effects. In addition, whenever the gearhead uses a contraption that deals damage with steam, he deals additional fire damage equal to 1/2 his gearhead’s level (minimum of +1). This bonus damage is not increased by calibration feats or similar effects, and applies only once per contraption activation, not once per effect schematic.
At 1st level, as a standard action that provokes an attack of opportunity, the gearhead may expel steam from his contraptions and power source. The gearhead can “lose” a daily activation charge of any contraption level of at least 1st to shroud himself in a steamy mist for 1 round per level of the activation charge lost. This steamy mist fills the gearhead’s space, granting him partial concealment (20%), and remains centered on the gearhead as he moves. Whenever the gearhead spends at least 1 round in the same square, or only takes a 5-foot step from his previous turn’s square, this ability creates a cloud of mist, similar to the obscuring mist spell, that persists while the gearhead is bleeding steam, and for 1 minute after. If a strong wind disperses the cloud of mist, it reforms again at the next viable opportunity. While underwater, this cloud of mist cannot form, and the gearhead only gains partial concealment while he remains stationary.
This bled steam can also help propel the gearhead during a jump, while in mid-air, or while under water. While jumping, flying, or swimming, and while he continues to bleed steam, a gearhead’s speed increases by 5 feet per level of the activation charge lost, and he gains a +2 competence bonus per level of the activation charge lost when making the appropriate Acrobatics, Fly, or Swim skill checks.
At 3rd level, the gearhead’s constant tinkering yields him a free suit of pneumatically powered armor (see the table below). This pneumatic armor usually has an appearance similar to banded mail; made up of overlapping strips of metal, fastened to a leather backing. The gearhead is considered to be proficient with this suit of armor. While the gearhead wears his pneumatic armor, the armor is powered by the gearhead’s power source, yielding the statistical attributes listed below. If another individual wears a gearhead’s pneumatic armor without a proper power source, the armor functions as a normal suit of banded mail armor, without any pneumatic enhancements. Starting at 3rd level, the armor provides its wearer with a +1 enhancement bonus to one physical ability score (Strength, Dexterity, or Constitution) of the gearhead’s choice. At 6th level, and then every three levels thereafter, the gearhead may choose to have the pneumatic armor either grant a +1 enhancement bonus to a different physical ability score, or to increase an existing enhancement bonus granted by the pneumatic armor by +1, to a maximum of +6. Once a selection is made, it cannot be changed unless the gearhead spends at least one week modifying his armor. At 20th level, all ability score enhancement bonuses provided by the armor increase by +2, up to the maximum of +6.
A suit of pneumatic armor also features a pair of gauntlets (so the gearhead is always considered armed), and both the suit of armor and the pair of gauntlets are always of masterwork quality. These gauntlets can be upgraded to masterwork spiked gauntlets by paying the difference in cost and making the appropriate Craft skill checks. A suit of pneumatic armor may be upgraded (with enhancement bonuses or other gadgetry) or reforged (to be constructed of a different material) like any other suit of armor, using the same rules and processes.
Due to the constant hissing of steam and firing of pneumatic pistons, pneumatic armor imposes a -5 penalty to Stealth checks on top of the armor’s existing armor check penalty.
|Armor||Cost||Armor/Shield Bonus||Maximum Dex Bonus||Armor Check Penalty||Arcane Spell Failure Chance||Speed||Weight1||Source|
|30 ft.||20 ft.|
|Pneumatic Armor||800 gp||+7||+3||-3||35%||30 ft.||20 ft.||35 lbs.||PSCS|
* Includes modifiers for masterwork quality. This cost is listed only for the purposes of upgrading, repairing, or reforging a suit of pneumatic armor. If a suit of pneumatic armor is ever sold off, it base value is considered to be 400 gp, or the cost of masterwork banded mail.
Some say, when the first child shocked its sibling after creating friction with its foot across a rough floor, the first electrical engineer was born. These pioneers in the use of electricity are no mere children, however, but savvy and confident builders intent on pushing the bounds between positive and negative charges.
Specialty Schematic Sources: Electromagnetic and kinetic.
Whenever the gearhead uses a contraption or weapon (that he personally crafted) that deals electricity or force damage, he deals additional damage of the same type equal to 1/2 his gearhead’s level (minimum of +1). This bonus damage is not increased by calibration feats or similar effects, and applies only once per contraption activation, not once per effect schematic. In addition, whenever an enemy confirms a critical hit against the gearhead or sunders one of his contraptions, and the enemy did so with a melee weapon composed mostly of metal, an unarmed attack, its body, or a natural melee weapon, that enemy takes electricity damage equal to 1/2 the gearhead’s level + his Intelligence modifier. This damage cannot be dealt to the same creature more than once per round.
A gearhead’s contraptions absorb and diffuse electrical energy throughout the gearhead’s power source. Each time the gearhead would receive electricity damage, that damage is reduced by a number of points equal to twice the gearhead’s level before being applied to his hit points or his equipment.
If this absorption would reduce the electricity damage taken to 0 or below, the gearhead suffers no ill side effects that accompanies the electricity damage and the gearhead regains one previously expended contraption activation charge of any contraption level he knows. This activation charge is regained only after the electricity attack or effect is resolved. If one of the gearhead’s contraptions was the cause of the electricity attack or effect, this ability has no effect. The gearhead cannot regain more than one activation charge per encounter through this ability.
Starting at 6th level, as a swift action, the gearhead can “lose” an unspent activation charge of any contraption level he knows to temporarily increase his effective constructor level by an amount equal to the activation charge lost. This temporary increase in constructor level lasts until the gearhead activates a contraption, or until the end of his next turn, whichever happens first.
Unfettered by squabbles between competing engineers over which energy source is the best, physicists adopt a more holistic approach to the problems of their craft. Their homes, when they can even remember where to find them, are covered in impossible to decipher formulae and the newest prototypes fresh off the workbench.
Anytime the gearhead uses a contraption or weapon (that he personally crafted) that deals energy damage, he deals an additional amount of energy damage of the same type equal to his Intelligence modifier. This bonus damage is not increased by calibration feats or similar effects, and applies only once per contraption activation, not once per effect schematic. At 3rd level, whenever the gearhead applies a calibration feat to a contraption, increase the contraption’s DC by +1. This bonus does not stack with itself and does not apply to contraptions modified by the Intensified Contraption feat.
At 8th level, the gearhead can apply any one calibration feat that he knows to a contraption that he is about to either build or activate. This does not alter the level of the contraption or the activation time. The gearhead can use this ability once per day at 8th level and one additional time per day for every two gearhead levels he possesses beyond 8th. Any time the gearhead uses this ability to apply a calibration feat that increases the contraption level by more than 1, he must use an additional daily usage for each level above 1 that the feat adds to the contraption. Even though this ability does not modify the contraption’s actual level, he cannot use this ability to build or activate a contraption whose modified contraption level would be above the level of the highest-level contraption that he is capable of building.
Pure Steam Campaign Setting. Copyright 2012 ICOSA Entertainment, LLC; Author(s): Brennan Ashby.