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    Default Being a Steampunk Magitek Cyborg: A Renegade Mastermaker Handbook



    Basics and Party Role

    Just think upon this concept. Steampunk magitek cyborg. Steampunk magitek cyborg! If that combination of words doesn't just draw you right in already, your life must be barren and devoid of joy.

    Renegade Mastermaker is an Eberron-based prestige class found in Magic of Eberron, intended for artificers but enterable by just about any spellcaster. Eberron is all about magitek pulp, and you don’t get much magitek-pulpier than this.

    Renegade Mastermaker is not generally considered a powerful class, simply because you enter as a spellcaster, but it gives up two spellcasting levels and what class features it has are mostly geared towards mêlée combat, making it potentially half-decent for a mêléeficer or a gish. It requires two magic item crafting feats, so you’re probably going to be some manner of crafter, but Renegade Mastermaker doesn’t actually advance your crafting other than by advancing spellcasting. You get half-decent class skills, so you might be able to fill in for the rogue in a pinch. Other than that, your rôle is basically going to be whatever you started out as, most commonly some variety of artificer.

    Still, this class faces the fundamental problem that its primary class feature is “you’re a Warforged except not really” and its capstone is “now you’re a Warforged for realsies!” Common wisdom is “if you want to play a Warforged, just play a Warforged” – starting out as a Warforged gets you most of the benefits of Renegade Mastermaker, and you don’t need to take ten levels in a subpar prestige class.

    So if you’re playing a Renegade Mastermaker, you’re not doing it because it’s optimal. You’re doing it because it lets you be a steampunk magitek cyborg, and that’s frickin’ awesome. Still, there are some choices that are more optimal than others, and I shall endeavor to guide you in those choices.




    Entering Races
    In general, your choice of race will depend on what’s most optimal for your choice of entry class (see the next section). So I will not go into very much detail on this topic, as I do not have very much to say.

    Requirements: You must have the Humanoid type.

    Human: This is the natural choice, because it lets you be a member of house Cannith, who invented the Warforged in the first place. Also, it is common knowledge that Humans are good for everything, and this is no exception.

    Gnome: This would also seem to be a natural choice, but bear in mind that Eberron’s gnomes are not Dragonlance’s Tinker Gnomes.

    Any other Dragonmarked race: On the one hand, Dragonmarks are neat, and if you’re a Dragonmarked race, you can pick them as feats. On the other hand, they’re not very optimal as feats. See the Feats section later on.

    Whisper Gnome (Races of Stone), Lesser Planetouched (Player's Guide to Faerun): These, along with Warforged and possibly Human, are among the most powerful LA+0 races, which makes them boring but practical.

    Mechanatrix (Fiend Folio): This race is a planetouched descended from Inevitables or other robot-like Constructs or Outsiders. A Mechanatrix might therefore go into Renegade Mastermaker in order to get more in touch with their construct ancestry. Mechanatrix doesn't natively qualify for Renegade Mastermaker, but using Lesser Planetouched (Player's Guide to Faerun) or the Human Heritage feat (Races of Destiny) lets you be Humanoid. Of the two, I recommend Lesser Planetouched if your DM allows it, because it chops the level adjustment off and doesn't waste a precious feat, and because Human Heritage could have a strange undesired interaction with the Construct Exemplar capstone of Renegade Mastermaker. Your DM might permit retraining Human Heritage into some other feat once you get into the prestige class and no longer need to qualify -- there's no RAW against it (Renegade Mastermaker is up there with Dragon Disciple and Ur-Priest as a self-disqualifying class if you try to apply the Complete Warrior language about losing class features if you stop qualifying for a prestige class) but the idea makes me itchy anyway.




    Entering Classes
    Requirements: Craft(armorsmithing, blacksmithing, gemcutting, or sculpting) 8 ranks – to get in at level 6, you’ll need Craft on your class list. Luckily, most classes have Craft on their class list. Additionally, you need Craft Wondrous Items, which you can pick up for your 3rd level feat, and Craft Magic Arms and Armor, which requires level 5. This means that you either need to pick a class that gets it as a bonus feat at level 5 to enter Renegade Mastermaker at 6, or take it as your regular level 6 feat and enter Renegade Mastermaker at level 7.

    Level 6 Entry
    Artificer: This class was designed for the Artificer. Artificer gets the feats as automatic bonus feats so the taxes on entry are minimal; it’s easy, it’s simple, it’s straightforward.

    Wizard: Wizard is the other obvious entry, using the level 5 bonus feat to pick up Craft Magic Arms and Armor and entering at level 6.

    Psion: Yes, I know, Renegade Mastermaker requires and advances casting, not manifesting. But it’s really a very straightforward port: Craft Psionic Arms and Armor for Craft Magic Arms and Armor, Craft Universal Item for Craft Wondrous Item, Manifesting for Spellcasting, Use Psionic Device for Use Magic Device, Knowledge(psionics) for Knowledge(arcana), and you’re done. Psion gets the equivalent level 5 bonus feat as Wizard, so you can enter at level 6. The obvious synergizing discipline is Shaper, but any other can work, too.

    Level 7 Entry
    Cleric: A Cleric of the Becoming God is a very flavorful choice here. Or a Cleric of the Lord of Blades. Or a Cleric of the ideals of machinery, transhumanism, technology, science, any of these.

    Druid: Are you some sort of madman, to enter the cyborgization prestige class as a technology-hating hippie Druid? Crunch-wise, it’s more plausible than you think! You don’t really wind up wearing metal armor, though you do gain DR/adamantine by sticking bits of adamantine under your skin. You can take Ironwood Body as your capstone feat. Aside from the adamantine, you could even say you’re just a wooden cyborg (you could ask your DM if you can swap out DR/adamantine for DR/slashing). Still, you might get side-eye from a DM who could plausibly wonder how becoming a cyborg is in line with revering nature.

    Archivist: Flavorful! You seek the secrets of religion and transhumanism simultaneously! Especially good because I see the traditional follower of the Becoming God as an Archivist, not a Cleric -- collecting religious knowledge is the main schtick of the Archivist and collecting religious relics is the main schtick of the followers of the Becoming God, so there's conceptual synergy.

    Favored Soul: I could see a Favored Soul of the Becoming God working out okay, assuming your DM is okay with the direct divine intervention the Favored Soul class implies, in low-divine-intervention Eberron -- and moreover is okay with the Becoming God in particular intervening directly in the affairs of somebody who isn't already Warforged.

    Warlock: Warlocks are often held up as plausible discount artificers. Renegade Mastermaker is one of the few prestige classes that advances spellcasting without directly requiring spellcasting, so it advances your Warlock abilities just fine. Not a whole lot of conceptual or mechanical synergy that I can see, but maybe you can come up with something. If nothing else, with eldritch blast pewpews plus battlefist you could pull off a decent approximation of Samus or Megaman.

    Dread Necromancer: Could be interesting, focusing on both undead and constructs. Too bad you'd have to give up your superior lichdom capstone for Renegade Mastermaker's construct capstone a few levels earlier.

    Any other spellcaster: This is a bunch of options, about which I don't have much to say.




    Class Features
    Base Attack Bonus: 2/3rds BAB is probably on par with or better than what you’re entering with. You won’t be the worst gish in the world with this BAB, but you definitely won’t be the best.

    Saves: Two good saves, nothing much to write home about. If you’re trying to be a backup rogue (see skills), your poor reflex save will hurt against traps, which mostly target reflex.

    Hit Die: If you’re entering via artificer, the Renegade Mastermaker’s d6 hit die is is on par; if you’re entering via almost anything else, it’s slightly better than the d4 you were getting before. Still, if you’re trying to be a gish, a medium-crappy d6 hit die is not an auspicious start.

    Skill Points: You’re most likely entering as a class that needs a strong intelligence, so you may have spare skill points to throw around, despite the mediocre 4+int. And you have a couple decent skills to spend it on!

    Class Skills:
    • Appraise, Knowledge(architecture & engineering), Profession: Garbage.
    • Concentration, Knowledge(arcana and the planes), Spellcraft: You’re a spellcaster, these are good stuff.
    • Craft: You’ll have some ranks in one of these as a requirement. Potentially useful if there are warforged in the party – see Eberron Campaign Setting page 46, which allows you to spend eight hours repairing a Warforged to the tune of your Craft check minus 15 in hit points. If your DM decides you gain the ability to repair yourself using one of these Craft skills as a Warforged sooner rather than later, this can be a useful source of downtime healing for yourself, too. Plus, you get your Renegade Mastermaker level to Craft.
    • Disable Device, Open Lock, Search, Use Magic Device: Whaa? Are we a rogue now? Maybe, though we don’t natively have the Trapfinding necessary to find traps with a DC higher than 20, nor can we disable magical traps (though we might have Dispel Magic on our spell list, depending on entry). These skills make perfect sense thematically, they’re just a little weird crunch-wise.


    Spellcasting: 8 levels of advancement in whatever spellcasting class you entered with – most likely a high-tier class – is nothing to sneeze at. You’re not going to be as strong as a single-classed tier 1 caster, but you’ll probably get 9th level spells anyway (unless you throw away more than just the two caster levels), making you still pretty far up there, power-wise. Still, bear in mind the First Commandment of Optimization: Thou Shalt Not Give Up Caster Levels.

    Battlefist: This is your main class feature, such as it is. At your first Renegade Mastermaker level, you get a slam! Just like a real Warforged has had since level one! Except your slam is better: you do a d6 instead of a d4, you can get iterative attacks from your battlefist with high BAB, your battlefist automagically gains an enhancement bonus at 2nd, 5th, and 9th level, you can apply spells and infusions to your battlefist, and you can use your Craft Magic Arms and Armor (which you have as a requirement of the class) to improve it further. So it’s really more comparable to the 2,600gp warforged component of the same name (Eberron Campaign Setting p268). Is this an amazing class feature worth losing caster levels over? No. It’s comparable to the soulknife’s Mind Blade or the Oriental Adventures Samurai’s Ancestral Daisho, which are both widely held to be garbage class features on garbage classes. Still, now at least you’re always armed, so you can flank with the rogue if you find yourself in mêlée.

    Fun enhancements to stick on your battlefist: Throwing and Returning, for great rocket fist justice.

    Craft Master: You gain your Renegade Mastermaker level to Craft checks. If you’re making lots of Craft checks (to repair yourself and others, for example), this isn’t a terrible class feature.

    Self-Repair: At 2nd level, you can spend spell slots or infusions to heal yourself as a full-round action to the tune of 1d6 per spell level. On the one hand, this is strictly inferior to simply preparing cure wounds or (at later Renegade Mastermaker levels) repair damage. On the other hand, it’s a spontaneous conversion, so it could be useful in a pinch.

    Supporting Construction: At 3rd level, you can be targeted by repair damage spells and infusions, for half healing – this is good and useful. At 6th level, you gain the full benefit of such spells, but you can also be targeted by spells that target constructs, such as disable construct – this is part good and useful, part bad. But hey, unlike a real Warforged, you’re still organic enough that you take full healing from cure spells (until level 10, anyway)!

    The RAW don’t explicitly support it, but this is the point at which I would say you should become able to heal yourself through Craft checks like a Warforged. Perhaps for half healing at 3rd level, increasing to full healing at 6th.

    Damage Reduction: You gain DR 1/adamantine at 4th level, DR 2/adamantine at 8th level. Nothing to sneeze at, you’d think, but by the time this DR comes online, you’re already at least level 9, and scraping a point or two off every hit isn’t going to make much of a dent.

    Embed Component: Ah, now this is cyborgosity! At 7th level, you can embed or attach warforged components, and each one gives you a bonus hit point. This is one area where shenanigans are possible: convert all your items to components (Eberron Campaign Setting p268: “any warforged character capable of using a magic item can use the same item as a warforged component”) and reap literally tens of free hit points!

    Construct Exemplar: Now you’re a real Warforged! I figure this is the point at which you’re more than 51% robot, but others might have differing interpretations. As your capstone, you get to be the same as you could have been if you started out Warforged in the first place, which is naturally the rockingest capstone the game has to offer.

    At this point, you should be able to use your Craft skills to repair yourself for sure if your DM didn’t allow it when you got Supporting Construction – you count as a real Warforged now. A really obnoxious stickler of a DM might say you only count as a Warforged “for the purpose of meeting any requirements or prerequisites”, and Craft healing isn’t a requirement or a prerequisite, but you can tell such DMs I disapprove of their stickling.

    Also, you get a free Warforged feat! More on your choice of feat in the last section.

    “Your type changes to living construct” requires some DM adjudication – Living Construct is, of course, a subtype, not a type. I think the intended interpretation is probably that your type changes to Construct, you gain the Living Construct subtype, and you lose your other subtypes. Both parts of this can of course be argued – you could wind up something strange like Humanoid[Living Construct, Human]. Also, because of the line in the Augmented subtype that "A creature receives this subtype whenever something happens to change its original type", you probably also gain the Augmented Humanoid subtype even though the class feature doesn't say so. Ask your DM.

    A stickler of a DM might say that, because you apparently lose your Human (or whatever) subtype, you no longer qualify for Dragonmark feats, and thus lose them (a generous such DM might allow you to retrain Dragonmark feats lost in this fashion). Fie upon such DMs. I would rule that, because you’re still made of ≈49% organic meat, and would probably have taken care not to cut off the limb with your dragonmark on it, you keep it. Still, you might want to ask your DM if they subscribe to this interpretation before taking any Dragonmark feats.

    Living Construct traits:
    • You retain your Constitution score, you do not gain low-light vision or darkvision, you don’t become immune to mind-affecting spells or abilities. You don’t gain immunity to critical hits, nonlethal damage, stunning, ability damage, ability drain, death effects, or necromancy. When I think “fun traits”, I think of long lists of stuff you don’t get.
    • You gain a slew of immunities! Poison, sleep, paralysis, disease, nausea, fatigue, exhaustion, sickened, and energy drain! All things your Necropolitan buddy has been rocking since level 2, but never mind that.
    • You can no longer heal lethal damage naturally. Bummer. But hey, you should be able to spend the eight hours that you would otherwise be resting Crafting yourself repaired now. Except you still need eight hours of rest because you’re a spellcaster, so that’s sixteen hours of downtime a day. Double bummer.
    • At this point, the usefulness of [Healing] spells such as the cure wounds line drops to half. That’s okay, you’re still fully affected by repair damage spells!
    • You’re now vulnerable to rusting effects and spells that affect metal or wood.
    • You automatically stabilize at negative hit points. This is good at first level, but at 16th+ level, the amounts of raw damage and save-or-dies getting thrown around makes this close to meaningless.
    • Good news: you can still be raised or resurrected if you die! (Except if you retain your 50% immunity to spells of the Healing subschool while a corpse, you might be somehow 50% unrezzable.)
    • You no longer need to eat, sleep, or breathe, but you can still quaff potions and stuff, so that’s neat. You still need to rest to prepare your spells.




    Feats
    Artificer feats (Eberron Campaign Setting): You know the ones. The ones that give you 25% off XP costs, 25% off gold costs, 25% off crafting time, and so on. If you’re an artificer who crafts magic items, these are as good for you as they are for a regular artificer. Consult an artificer handbook.

    Aberrant, Least, Lesser, Greater Dragonmark (Eberron Campaign Setting): If you’re Human, the Mark of Making is useful, especially if you don’t have native access to repair damage spells. Otherwise, dragonmarks tend to be somewhat underpowered feats. If you’re not an artificer or something else that gets bonus item crafting feats, you’ve already spent two feats on the taxes to get into Renegade Mastermaker, you probably want more bang from your other feats than Dragonmark feats give you. Still, if you’re as into Eberron’s flavor as you need to be to even consider Renegade Mastermaker, maybe you want to dip into the flavor of the Dragonmarked houses, too. If that’s so, you may also consider Favored In House. If, on the other hand, your DM is one that rules you stop qualifying for Dragonmark feats once you gain the Construct Exemplar class feature at level 10, probably best to stay away from Dragonmark feats altogether.

    Various Dragonmark improvements (Dragonmarked): Dragonmarked has a ton of feats that give you bonuses to your Dragonmarked feats. Like Dragonmarked feats in general, these mostly don’t seem to be worth it, though I do like…

    Cannith Forgecraft (Dragonmarked): If you take the Dragonmark feats for the Mark of Making, do strongly consider this feat. It reduces the time to heal with a Craft check from 8 hours to 2 hours, you can reroll a Craft check 1/week, and if you have the Lesser or Greater Mark of Making, it increases the amount healed by a Craft check by 5 and then 5 again.




    Level 10 and Beyond
    Feats
    What do you want to take for your bonus Warforged feat, and subsequent level-up feats?

    Adamantine Body (Eberron Campaign Setting): Probably a bad idea. Sure, it gives you a free +8 armor bonus, but it also gives you 35% arcane spell failure, and, even worse, the feat’s DR 2/adamantine doesn’t stack with the DR 2/adamantine you already have since Renegade Mastermaker level 8. If you got in as a divine caster, maybe consider it, but, unlike a real Warforged, you can wear regular armor that's almost as good before enhancement. Plus, it's widely held that, at such a high level, AC is no longer much of a factor.

    Cold Iron Tracery/Silver Tracery (Races of Eberron): Meh. Unless you’re facing tons of enemies with DR/cold iron or DR/silver, not worth it. The exception is if you want to enter the Spellcarved Soldier prestige class (see next section), in which case Silver Tracery is a prerequisite.

    Construct Lock (Races of Eberron): This is an interesting feat if you find yourself facing a lot of constructs. +2 damage is a little useful, but it also lets you use a critical hit to attempt to render a construct helpless. I don't generally tend to favor feats that do things on critical hits, as they're only useful 1/20th of the time, but if you've got a weapon with an expanded critical range, or if you've put an expanded critical range on your battlefist, or you're otherwise crit-fishing, this could be good.

    Jaws of Death/Second Slam (Races of Eberron): If you're focusing on your battlefist, you might consider these feats. Jaws of Death is the inferior of the two, because it gives you a new natural attack that needs to be enhanced separately from your battlefist; Second Slam gives you an additional attack with your already-enhanced (to the tune of the base +3 plus whatever you've stacked on it beyond that) battlefist. You already get iteratives from BAB on your battlefist slam, but it appears to me that Second Slam interacts favorably with your iteratives -- you get your regular iteratives, and then you get an additional slam at your highest attack bonus minus 5.

    The one use I can see for Jaws of Death is if you've elected to wield a two-handed reach weapon and the DM says that means you can't use your battlefist, but you still want to attack within 5' and don't want to wear armor with spikes, perhaps because it would interfere with your casting. I do not recommend getting into this situation -- reach is good, but your battlefist is also good.

    Improved Damage Reduction (Eberron Campaign Setting): Not worth it, at this level, it’s only a third hit point off every incoming attack.

    Improved Fortification (Eberron Campaign Setting): You qualify for this even though you don’t have regular fortification (which is a Warforged racial trait, not a trait of the Living Construct subtype). It makes you immune to cure wounds spells, but it also makes you immune to sneak attacks and critical hits. Quite possibly worth it, especially if you face lots of rogues or crit-fishers.

    Ironwood Body (Races of Eberron): This is interesting. Are you some sort of madman who got into Renegade Mastermaker as a Druid? If so, you may consider this option! Especially if you want to grow plants on your new body and be a plant cyborg as a Landforged Walker.

    Mithral Body (Eberron Campaign Setting): Slightly less bad than Adamantine Body, but still pretty bad, what with the arcane spell failure. But if you have the ability to cast without ASF in light armor, or you got in as a cleric or something, maybe worth it.

    Psiforged Body (Magic of Eberron): If you got into a psionic adaptation of Renegade Mastermaker via Psion, or you’re gestalting Psion, or anything along those lines, this is a neat and interesting feat. Free cognizance crystal that auto-upgrades as you level up! I’ve never had much use for cognizance crystals, but I hear they can be powerful, so do consider this feat.

    Spiked Body (Races of Eberron): If you like to grapple, this is an option. The usual use for armor spikes appears to be the old "I have a reach weapon but want to hit things 5' away too" business, but you may be able to use your battlefist slam for that purpose (if your DM rules that you cannot, because your battlefist is busy holding your reach weapon, then the Jaws of Death feat works for that purpose), and besides Spiked Body doesn't give you an additional attack like armor spikes do.

    Unarmored Body (Races of Eberron): You don't have plating, so this feat does nothing for you. Take Skill Focus(Speak Language) instead, it's the classic among feats that do nothing.


    Prestige Classes
    Fleshwarper (Lords of Madness): More synergy than you might think! Both classes involve transhumanist crafting yourself into something you’re not. Unfortunately, Fleshwarper is a 10-level prestige class, so unless you’re gestalt and can convince your DM to ignore the restriction on taking two prestige classes at once, you can’t complete both it and Renegade Mastermaker before 20. Also unfortunately, the Fleshwarper Aberrant Apotheosis capstone conflicts with the Renegade Mastermaker Construct Exemplar capstone, unless your DM allows you to wind up an Aberration[Living Construct].

    Landforged Walker (Secrets of Xen'drik): If you got into Renegade Mastermaker as a druid or other divine caster, this is an interesting option: get covered in plants! Sadly it doesn't actually give you the Plant type, but it's fun anyway.

    Reforged (Races of Eberron): What. What!? Why. You just spent ten levels becoming more Warforged, why would you spend three more levels becoming less Warforged while not advancing casting? You don’t even have an armored body, the Final Reforging capstone does nothing for you. Utter foolishness.

    Spellcarved Soldier (Races of Eberron): A class that requires spellcasting (so you qualify easily) but does not advance it. Except two of the runes you get are useful to spellcasters (Extension and the Archmage), and at Spellcarved Soldier level 4 you can have two runes active, so it's not quite as bad as it sounds. You won't get the level 5 capstone before level 20, but that's okay, because DR5/magic is not very useful at this rarefied level when most of your foes are likely to have magic items or natural weapons that count as magic or 9th-level spells.

    Warforged Juggernaut (Eberron Campaign Setting): Having become a Warforged, maybe you now wish to become the Warforgediest Warforged ever to be Forged for War? This prestige class doesn’t advance spellcasting, so it’s way suboptimal, and you won’t even get the capstone because it’s 5 levels long and you’re at least level 16, but it’s definitely flavorful.




    Other Methods of Being a Cyborg
    If Renegade Mastermaker on its own is not enough for you, or if you want to consider other methods of being a cyborg that don't involve this admittedly subpar prestige class, here are some other options.

    Warforged: As people are wont to say when you consider entering Renegade Mastermaker, "why not just start out as a Warforged?" This is a possibility. You're not a cyborg by default, but a construct who seeks to become fleshy is an interesting take on cyborgism, one with hallowed roots that include Isaac Asimov's Bicentennial Man. In particular, consider pairing a Warforged base with aberration or fiend grafts, or, even better, a Warforged Fleshwarper (Lords of Madness). The Reforged prestige class (Races of Eberron) is also a possibility, but all it really does is give you Unarmored Body, which you could just start with. The Incarnate Construct template (Savage Species) is another possibility, for Warforged or (better) some Construct with LA to reduce, such as Maug (Fiend Folio). Heck, you could even play an Incarnate Construct who enters Renegade Mastermaker to try to regain his original Constructness (not at all optimal, but potentially interesting).

    Grafts: Grafts are where you replace your bits with new and different bits, one at a time. Mostly these bits come from aberrations or undead or fiends or whatnot, but construct and maug grafts are among your options. A graft handbook can say more about this than I can in this space. Consider the Fleshwarper prestige class (Lords of Madness) if you wish to optimize for grafts.

    Half-Golem (Monster Manual II): No, this is not the product of reproduction between a golem and a human. Like Half-Illithid (Fiend Folio), this is the result of a different process altogether. This is a bit of a weird template. There are two parts to it: replacing your limbs with golem parts, and taking the template. Replacement limbs don't do anything on their own other than now you have construct parts, but each one calls for a Will save. If you fail one of the Will saves, you gain the Half-Golem template and become an Evil Construct. If you pass the saves as many times as you have replacement limbs, you gain the Half-Golem template but don't become a construct or change alignment.

    Green Star Adept (Complete Arcane): In this prestige class, broadly similar to Renegade Mastermaker, you gradually transform yourself into a construct made of starmetal. Green Star Adept is inferior to Renegade Mastermaker in that it only offers a 5/10 spellcasting progression and requires money to progress each level, but it is superior in that it gives you more of the benefits of being a construct, such as critical hit immunity, extra hit points for size, and DR10/adamantine instead of DR2/adamantine.
    Last edited by Malimar; 2017-03-20 at 09:00 PM.