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Paperback
2012-12-30, 02:26 AM
Author's Notes

Hello Playground, a bit of background of what I'm trying to accomplish with this class.

For my first campaign that I am DM-ing ever, which starts in just a couple weeks, I have set it in a post-apocalyptic world that was inspired in part from Studio Ghibli's Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind, and also with elements pulled from the Fallout series. In essence; a world where technology was once common has had an apocalypse, and now a thousand years later technology is rare and by the common people frowned upon. However, people do still pursue it.

So what about those that realize the near-limitless potentials of technology, and use it to improve their own form? I looked around the web for a class that did this, but found none that satisfied me, so I created my own.

What I desired was a 'build-your-own' sort of prestige class, where just about any class can improve from taking it, and walk away with different benefits. Whether or not I succeeded is up to the reader, but I do intend to use this prestige class for many important NPC's that my players will more than likely encounter.

NOTE: If you have any ideas for Augmentations, please feel free to post them in the comments. If you desire to use this prestige class in your own campaign, you are more than free to modify it however you wish and do so.

Without further ado, I present...

The Mechanical Ascendant

"When they made me this way, I was not given a choice. I was taken from jail and put on the slab, and 'upgraded' as you see me now. I was told to go and kill our enemies, and I did. The raw power I wielded was incredible... Then they shut down the project, and froze me, deeming me a menace to society. They were right- because here I am nine-hundred and fifty years later, with a whole new world to take as my own! If I had to go back now and choose between becoming this or serving the rest of my time, I would not hesitate to go through it all again." -Deus, Mechanical Ascendant and one of the Top Ten of The Reapers.

There are some people who think evolution has made them soft. Some who think that the body is flawed. Some who think that they can improve it. Such radical thinkers are the Mechanical Ascendants, and they believe that the true way to power is through the machine. Such extremists are extraordinarily rare, but over the past thousand years a few dozen have been reportedly spotted- although an exact number is indeterminable, since such beings' nature allow them to live far longer than their normal lifespan.

The rumors of the Mechanical Ascendant date back a thousand years ago to just before the Days of Fire, where snippets of history remain with the Loremasters that less than a year before the apocalypse happened, beings that were more machine than man began appearing on the battlefield, wreaking destructive power through sheer physical strength and powerful augmentations. Where they came from and what happened to them remain an unsolved mystery, although a select few throughout the years have unraveled the art of the machine for themselves.

Those who wish to undertake the path of the Mechanical Ascendant never do so without great conviction, for there is no returning to a whole body once the first augmentations are made. Generally a more lawful mindset is required to follow the disciplines of science used in the class, but exceptions always occur. In the early stages of transformation, your augmentations might be easy to conceal, but later on you will most likely be unable to hide your new form without the use of magic, and will meet discrimination if not outright violence.

Requirements
To qualify to become a Mechanical Ascendant, a character must fill the following criteria.
Feats: Toughness (Without Toughness, risks are a 50% chance of death during attainment of 1st level)
Skills: Knowledge (Engineering) 7 ranks, Heal 7 ranks

Special: You may ignore the skill requirements listed above if someone who already has these skills and levels in Mechanical Ascendant are performing the augmentations for you. However, you will never be able to level up your Mechanical Ascendant level again until you acquire the necessary skill levels, or have the assistance of a Mechanical Ascendant that does have those skills.

Class Skills
The Mechanical Ascendant's class skills (and key ability for each skill) are as follows: Craft (Any) (Int), Disable Device (Dex), Heal (Wis), Intimidate (Cha), Knowledge (Dungeoneering) (Int), Knowledge (Engineering) (Int), Perception (Wis), Use Magic Device (Cha)
Skill Ranks at Each Level: 4 + Intelligence Modifier
Hit Die: d8

Mechanical Ascendant
{table=head]Level|Base Attack Bonus|Fort Save|Ref Save|Will Save|Special

1st|
+1|
+1|
+0|
+0|Begin Transformation, Of Body and Bionics

2nd|
+2|
+1|
+1|
+1|Augmentation, Uncanny -1

3rd|
+3|
+2|
+1|
+1|Repair

4th|
+4|
+2|
+1|
+1|Augmentation, Uncanny -2

5th|
+5|
+3|
+2|
+2|Man of Metal

6th|
+6|
+3|
+2|
+2|Augmentation, Uncanny -3

7th|
+7|
+4|
+2|
+2|Clockwork Heart, Repair/2

8th|
+8|
+4|
+3|
+3|Augmentation, Uncanny -4

9th|
+9|
+5|
+3|
+3|-

10th|
+10|
+5|
+3|
+3|Mechanical Ascension, Repair/3 Uncanny -5 [/table]

Class Features

Weapon and Armor Proficiency: Mechanical Ascendants gain no proficiency with any weapons or armor.

Begin Transformation: Before any major additions can be made to the form of life, the Mechanical Ascendant must adapt for the dangerous surgeries and experimentation he will perform on his own body. He chooses one of the following Augmentations.
-Servo-Muscles: You improve upon your muscular structure, making you stronger in the form of a permanent +2 bonus to Strength. This bonus increases by +2 at levels four, six, and eight to a maximum of +8.
-Improved Synapses: An overlay of your nervous system improves your response time, granting you a permanent +2 bonus to Dexterity. This bonus increases by +2 at levels four, six, and eight to a maximum of +8.
-Reinforced Structure: Your body is augmented with a better bone structure and artificial organs , granting you a permanent +2 bonus to Constitution. This bonus increases by +2 at levels four, six, and eight to a maximum of +8.

Of Body and Bionics: The Mechanical Ascendant's familiarity with technology and anatomy is unparalleled. He adds of his Mechanical Ascendant level to Heal and Knowledge (Engineering) checks.

Augmentation: As the Mechanical Ascendant grows in power and knowledge he makes more and more modifications to his physical form. The augmentations listed below can differ in their shape and implementation- as agreed by the GM and Player upon attaining one- but their usefulness remains constant. The Mechanical Ascendant adds a new Augmentation at 2nd level and every even level afterward until level 10. Augmentations under the same body part category do not stack unless otherwise specified.

EYE AUGMENTATIONS
-Unerring Accuracy: You upgrade yourself with a pair of eyes specially designed to follow and track movement. Gain a +2 competence bonus to attacks made with ranged weapons, and ignore all but total concealment and cover, as if you had Improved Precise Shot.
-Night Watcher: This augmentation provides a set of eyes that are designed to see in the dark and notice the little details. You gain low-light vision, Darkvision of 60 feet, and your eyes zoom to give you a +4 racial bonus on Perception checks in low-light areas or brighter.
-Piercing Gaze: Your new eyes are made to counter magic, and pierce through illusions and enchantments that would confound normal humans. You ignore magical blur and displacement effects, and see invisible creatures or objects normally within 60 feet. You also ignore sight-reliant illusion spells, and magical darkness.
BRAIN AUGMENTATIONS
-Memory Core: Through careful augmentation, you dare upgrade your most important and irreplaceable organ with drives that improve your memory recollection, granting you a permanent bonus of +2 to both Intelligence and Wisdom.
-Logic Drive: Embrace not just the body of a machine, but the mind of one too. Your Logic Drive overrides such conditions in the brain such as fear; protecting you from being panicked, frightened, or shaken. You also gain a +5 racial bonus to will saves against enchantments or illusion effects.
-Hyperprocessor: Your lightning-fast mental reaction times prevent you from being caught off your guard. You gain Uncanny Dodge as a class feature. If you already have Uncanny Dodge from another class, you gain Improved Uncanny Dodge instead, and use your Mechanical Ascendant level plus the class levels of where you already have Uncanny dodge to determine what level a rogue needs to be to flank you.
BODY AUGMENTATIONS
-Improve Skin: The Mechanical Ascendant uses metal of superior hardness when constructing his body. He gains a +4 Natural Armor bonus to AC.
-Resistant Materials: The materials used in upgrading the Mechanical Ascendant's body are of a hardy metal, resistant to the elements. He gains a +10 Resistance to Fire, Cold, Acid, and Electricity.
-Magical Negation: Certain metal alloys are repugnant to magical effects, and the Mechanical Ascendant makes full use of this in his designs. He gains Spell Resistance 19.
ARM AUGMENTATIONS
-Integrated Weapon: With this augmentation, The Mechanical Ascendant can modify his arms so that they contain a weapon within them. Any one handed melee or ranged weapon or almost any gun (DM's discretion) may be modified in this way, although you have to pay the purchasing price for the weapon (It can be magical). A weapon hidden this way gains a +20 circumstance bonus to sleight of hand checks to hide a weapon, and can be revealed as a move action. You also cannot be disarmed from this weapon. Taking this Augmentation again lets you hide weapons in both arms, but you still need Two Weapon Fighting to avoid taking any penalties.
-Rocket Grab: A Mechanical Ascendant with this augmentation can shoot his hands from his arm to latch onto something up to 50 feet away. You can use your Rocket Grab to latch onto the side of a high building or structure (provided there is something to grab onto) and pull yourself up at 30 ft a round. You can also grab something and pull it towards you. Grabbing an object is a ranged touch attack using your base attack bonus, and it takes a full found for your arms to withdraw. Grabbing a person up to a size category larger uses your base attack bonus against their Touch AC, where you roll a grapple check against them if you succeed. Next round, if you continue the grapple, you can pull them ten feet closer to you for every five that you beat their CMD by.
LEG AUGMENTATIONS
-Springs and Shocks: You upgrade your legs with a system of springs and shock absorbers, giving you a +5 bonus to Acrobatics, and all falls are treated as thirty feet shorter for the purposes of taking damage, provided you land on your feet.
-Fleet: Speed is what matters to you. You improve your legs to specialize in efficiency in movement, granting you a +20 bonus to your movement speed. This does not stack with any class-based movement speed bonuses, like Monks or Barbarians.
-Hydraulically Balanced: Your new legs stay balanced and do not falter, to better ensure your success in combat. You gain a +4 competence bonus against Trip, Bull Rush, and Overrun checks made against you, as well as any other effects that attempt to knock you prone.
MISCELLANEOUS AUGMENTATIONS (All Misc. Augmentations may stack with eachother unless specified otherwise)
-Flight: A dream of men since the dawn of time, you have unlocked the power of flight. Using your augmentations of wings or boosters (Decide with your DM), you may fly at a speed of 60 ft for ten minutes per day x your Mechanical Ascendant level. These minutes do not need to be consecutive. This augmentation may be taken twice, upon taking it a second time you may fly at will without a time limit. Any method of flight is generally bulky and hard to conceal, so a character takes a -2 penalty to Disguise checks to hide their mechanical nature.
-Lubricated Hinges: Your body is equipped with sound dampeners so that it runs silently, as well as being well oiled, helping you squeeze out of some tight situations. You gain a +4 Racial Bonus to Sneak and Escape Artist.
-Solid Limbs: Your fists, elbows, knees, and feet are plated with a solid and durable metal, perfect for scoring punches and kicks in close combat. You can fight unarmed, as if you had the Improved Unarmed Strike feat, with a damage die of 1d6. If a character would have higher damage from unarmed attacks (ie; levels in Monk), then instead raise their damage dice by one. (1d8 becomes 1d10 becomes 2d6 etc.)
-Automated Reconstruction: Sometimes you cannot wait until after the battle to repair your wounds. By taking this augmentation, the Mechanical Ascendant places automatic repair protocols inside of his body. Once per day, as a swift action, he can use up one of his repair ability for the day. Roll for Repair as normal, and the Mechanical Ascendant heals that amount over four turns, beginning the turn that it was activated. He must be 4th level before he can take this Augmentation. Automated Reconstruction cannot be taken if the Mechanical Ascendant has the Overclock augmentation.
-Haywire: The Mechanical Ascendant can transmit short-wave signals that disrupt the function of nearby technology. A number of times per day equal to 3 + His intelligence modifier, he can do this to Constructs as if he were a cleric using Turn Undead. All Constructs within 60 feet become Confused, as the spell, for one minute. The DC against Haywire is 10 + Mechanical Ascendant level + Int modifier. Sentient Constructs may make a new save each round that they are affected by Haywire.
Synthetic Skin: Despite their nature and ideals of ascension, the Mechanical Ascendant has no wish to be cut off from common society. He uses a synthetic polymer that effectively looks like skin, granting a +5 bonus to Disguise checks to pass off as a normal creature. This skin does not change form at will, and does not stack with spells like Disguise Self.
Modifiable Form: The Mechanical Ascendant improves upon their Synthetic Skin- which is a prerequisite to this augmentation- to become adept at shifting their form. He can now change himself as if using Disguise Self at will, except his gear remains unchanged and he gains the added bonus of being able to change his voice. Spending five minutes studying a voice pattern grants an additional +2 circumstance bonus to pass off as a specific person or blend into a local population.
Overclock: Implants within the Mechanical Ascendant's body allow him to push himself beyond what he would normally be capable of doing. As a swift action, he can activate these implants to grant him a +4 bonus to Strength and a +10 ft bonus to movement speed. He takes 1d6 damage each round that he uses Overlock, and after 5 rounds of using it in a single encounter must make a DC 15 Fortitude save or become fatigued and Overclock ends (Even if the Mechanical Ascendant is 7th level or over). The DC increases by 2 for each round he Overclocks afterwards. The fatigue can be removed by normal means or by use of the Repair ability. Overclock cannot be taken with the Automated Reconstruction augmentation.
Uncanny: There's something not quite normal about you... and everyone around you can notice it. At 2nd level of Mechanical Ascendant, you start taking a -1 penalty to Diplomacy checks, which increases every even level by another -1, to -5 at level 10. This penalty can be overcome with a successful Disguise check, but your Disguise skill also takes a penalty equal to your Uncanny modifier. At seventh level, it becomes impossible to disguise yourself without the aid of magic or the Synthetic Skin augmentation.

Repair: The Mechanical Ascendant knows how to repair such parts of his body that cannot be affected by healing magic. Once per day outside of combat, he may heal himself for Xd8+X where X is his Mechanical Ascendant level. At 7th level, he gains an additional use of this ability per day, and at 10th level he may use it 3 times per day.

Man of Metal: The Mechanical Ascendant is almost as much machine as flesh now, and his normal biology is bolstered by the technology within him. The Mechanical ascendant is now immune to poison, disease, becoming nauseated, and sickened, but only receives half the amount of healing from positive energy spells and potions. He is also immune to all combat drugs.

Clockwork Heart: The glory of becoming a full machine is now within reach for the Mechanical Ascendant. His body now generates its own power, so he no longer suffers from sleep, fatigue, or exhaustion, nor does he need to eat or drink to survive. He can also recirculate air within his lungs, so he can hold his breath indefinitely. He also no longer accrues aging penalties, but will still die of old age.

Mechanical Ascension: Upon reaching 10th level, the Mechanical Ascendant's journey is complete. His original race is nearly unrecognizable, and any pieces of flesh that remain are a necessary evil for the machine to keep functioning. He is from now on treated as a construct for all spells and effects, with the exception that he can still be raised from the dead, and he can still take ability damage and drain. In addition, he receives a +2 bonus to his three physical ability scores. He receives one more augmentation chosen from above, and also chooses from one of the below final augmentations.
ASCENDED FORM AUGMENTATIONS
-Ultimate Bulwark: The Mechanical Ascendant reaches for nigh invulnerability in his ascended form, so that his perfect body will last him for the rest of time. He gains DR 10/-, as well as +2 Natural Armor and +10 Resistance to Fire, Cold, Acid, and Electricity, which does stack with the bonuses from body augmentations.
-Gadgeteer: Whoever is the most prepared, succeeds. The Mechanical Ascendant takes two more regular augmentations from the list above. In addition, he keeps tools for any variety of tasks that he think he might run into. He has kits and accessories stored within his person that grant him a +2 circumstance bonus to the following skills: Climb, Disable Device, Disguise, Heal, Survival, Swim. The exact nature and content of these kits may be decided between DM and player agreement, but for simplicity assume that these tools cover most situations that arise. This augmentation does not stack with kits from other sources, such as Masterwork Thieves Tools.

I still require at least one or two more Ascended Form Augmentations before I call this class complete. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to drop them in the comments

Paperback
2012-12-31, 09:59 PM
Sample Mechanical Ascendant


Deus, The Mechareaper.
One of the Ten, the strongest fighters in the Reapers.

A clunking echoed across the floor of the Seeker's outpost as a shadow fell over the hunched figure of Professor Trimdon sobbing in the corner. Mere moments ago the room had been full of scientists- Professor Trimdon's friends and colleagues- who now lay splattered across the walls and floor. There had barely been enough time to react as the metal man broke through the door, decimating everything.

Professor Trimdon felt the deathly chill of the thing in front of him, the radiating aura of unfeeling malice that fell over him like a cloak. He trembled, for he knew that his end would be coming swiftly from the monster that he had heard only rumors about. He dared to look up at his murderer, the towering monstrosity that might have been once called a man.

A seven foot tower of metal loomed in front of him, glaring at him with pure hatred from glowing eye sockets. The already impenetrable figure wore a suit of armor that covered whatever flesh may remain beneath, a grisly death mask adorned his face. The thing's right arm pointed downwards at him, the instrument of destruction that had killed all of the other researchers.

Yet, before his eyes, the arm began to change, shifting and revolving it's pieces to form a hand. The hand grabbed him by his shirt, lifted him up and placed him in a chair, neither roughly nor gently. The being took to a knee, placing himself at eye level with the Professor. He spoke then, the grating voice of a machine issued forth from metal lips.

"So you are Professor Trimdon? My name is Deus. I have been told that you are the top scholar of technology and history. I have only one question for you. Where can I find the platinum key?"

Race: Human Male
Level 7 Fighter/Level 8 Mechanical Ascendant
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
Abilitie Scores
STR 18(22), DEX 16(20), CON 24, INT 8, WIS 10, CHA 10

Saves:
Fort= 21 (Base 9, +7 Con mod, +5 Magic mod)
Ref= 14 (Base 5, +4 Dex mod, +5 Magic mod)
Will= 10 (Base 5, +0 Wis mod, +5 Magic mod)

Base Attack Bonus: +15/10/5
Combat Maneuver Bonus: +21 (+15 BAB, +6 Str mod)
Combat Maneuver Defense: +35 (10, +15 BAB, +6 Str Mod, +4 Dex mod)

Hit Dice: 7d10(49) + 8d8(41) + 127 = 217 HP
Initiative: +9 (+5 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative)
Armor Class: 28 =(10 + 11(+2 Full Plate) + 4 Dex + 3 Deflection)
Flat Footed: 24
Touch Armor Class: 16 =(10 + 4 Dex + 3 Deflection)

Skills: +14 Climb, +14 Heal, +18 Intimidate, +6 Knowledge(Dungeoneering), +9 Knowledge(Engineering), +13 Perception, +8 Survival

Feats: Toughness, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (Greatsword), Weapon Specialization (Greatsword), Point Blank Shot, Far Shot, Deadly Aim, Weapon Focus (Rifle), Rapid Reload, Cornugon Smash, Bloody Assault, Improved Critical (Greatsword)

Weapons
+1 Grenade Launcher: +23 (1d8+1 and 5d6 fire/x4), Range increment 20 feet
A target who gets hit by the Grenade Launcher takes 1d8 Bludgeoning damage from the impact of the grenade, and 5d6 fire and piercing damage from the subsequent explosion. Anyone within 10 feet of the struck character must make a DC 15 Reflex save for half damage from the explosion.
+3 Shocking Greatsword: +25/20/15(+21/16/11) (2d6+15(27) and 1d6 Lightning/17-20)

Augmentations:
-Reinforced Structure: At 8th level, +8 to Constitution. Included above.
-Unerring Accuracy: +2 to Ranged attacks, Improved Precise Shot
-Resistant Materials: Energy Resist 10 to Fire, Cold, Acid, Electricity
-Integrated Weapon: Grenade Launcher
-Automated Reconstruction: Use repair in combat once per day.

Other Gear:
+2 Heavy Power Armor (Modified Full Plate, Max Dex bonus +2 and -4 AC check penalty. Might give some other stuff later if bored.)
+4 Belt of Physical Might (STR and DEX. Included in Parenthesis above)
+5 Cloak of Resistance
+3 Ring of Deflection

JoshuaZ
2013-01-01, 02:14 PM
I'm a little worried about all the bonuses being untyped, in that they could combine effectively with say wish spells. But there are so many ways to get high bonuses to ability scores, that it probably doesn't make much of a difference (especially because they aren't to mental ability scores).

Regarding the miscellaneous augmentations- maybe one should be able to furl/stow or unfurl/unstow the wings so it isn't obvious one has them?

Regarding more ascended form augmentations: I'm not completely sure, but one thing that might make sense would be some sort of crystaline resonator that gives one psionic abilities- actually that might make more sense as a misc. There was not too long ago a PrC contest with a steampunk theme here (http://www.giantitp.com/forums/showthread.php?t=208114). You may be able to get good ideas for ascended form augmentations from that. One obvious thing would be allowing someone to substitute two normal aguments instead of the ascended form augment.

Overall, I like this. Both the mechanics and fluff seem well done.

Paperback
2013-01-01, 10:08 PM
Regarding the miscellaneous augmentations- maybe one should be able to furl/stow or unfurl/unstow the wings so it isn't obvious one has them?
Thank you for pointing this out, I'll add in a note saying that such flight devices can be hidden in the Flight augmentation, rather than making them take another one.

Regarding more ascended form augmentations: I'm not completely sure, but one thing that might make sense would be some sort of crystaline resonator that gives one psionic abilities- actually that might make more sense as a misc.
I'm actually not at all familiar with the rules for Psionics, although now I'm going to have to go give them a look :smallbiggrin:

Also, thank you for the link to that thread of steampunk classes, those do indeed give me more ideas which I'll flesh out and add all together to the lists sometime tomorrow or the day after.

Paperback
2013-01-02, 08:07 PM
Updates as of 2nd of January, 2013.

-Added a sample Mechanical Ascendant, Deus the Mechareaper.
-Modified the Flight Augmentation by adding the following. Any method of flight is generally bulky and hard to conceal, so a character takes a -2 penalty to Disguise checks to hide their mechanical nature.
-Added two new Miscellaneous Augmentations; Synthetic Skin and Modifiable Form. The former is a prerequisite to the latter.
-Added a third Miscellaneous Augmentation: Overclock, which does not stack with the Automated Reconstruction augmentation.

JoshuaZ
2013-01-03, 08:10 AM
Despite their nature and ideals of ascension, the Mechanical Ascendant has no wish to be cut off from common society. He uses a synthetic polymer that effectively looks like skin, granting a +5 bonus to Disguise checks to pass off as a normal creature. This skin does not change form at will, but does not stack with spells like Disguise Self.

Should the last "but" be "and"?

Paperback
2013-01-03, 02:00 PM
Should the last "but" be "and"?

Yes, yes it should. Thank you for spotting my grammar errors which I undoubtedly made while under the influence of lack of sleep.

-Fixed Grammar error
-Noted in Automated Reconstruction that it doesn't stack with Overclock

AttilaTheGeek
2013-01-03, 05:43 PM
I've been really busy recently, and it's looking to stay that way for the next couple days weeks (:smallfrown:), so I haven't gotten to write a full critique of the class, and I might not get to for a while.

That being said, I've looked it over, and it looks awesome. Like "I would build my character entirely around this prestige class" levels of awesome. Fantastic concept. You've got some great ideas going; keep up the great work. :smallsmile:

Paperback
2013-01-08, 12:13 AM
That being said, I've looked it over, and it looks awesome. Like "I would build my character entirely around this prestige class" levels of awesome. Fantastic concept. You've got some great ideas going; keep up the great work. :smallsmile:

Thank you for the encouragement. Making my first homebrew in conjecture with my first campaign is making me incredibly nervous and all the support helps.

Changes made on 7th of January, 2013

-Removed Acrobatics as a class skill, and replaced it with Disable Device, which fits more in my opinion.
-Tentatively added the Gadgeteer Ascended Form augmentation.

Jormengand
2013-08-04, 06:16 AM
I... I want a Mechanical Warrior/Mechanical Ascendant now. Oh, and it has to be a warforged.

(The fact that this is a terrible idea is here irrelevant.)

Anyway, a good idea for a class. Stick something in ninth level to stop it being a dead level. As for the ascended form, you could have one of them just be that you get the good bits of being a construct (like the immunity to everything) but not the bad bits (like not being healable properly).