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New Skills for Iron Kingdoms

Several new skills are useful when constructing or using jacks. The following skills are presented for anyone who uses Role Master to play in the Iron Kingdoms.

Craft: Steamjack; sub skills might be

  • Craft: Steamjack Skeleton,
  • Craft: Steamjack Joint,
  • Craft: Motion Servos,
  • and Craft: Steamjack Skin.

Craft: Steamjack can be used to design specific weapons or tools for a steamjack. It can also be used for any other steamjack skill, with an additional penalty applied to the task being attempted.
All these skills allow a bonus to the design, manufacture, maintenance and repair of steamjacks. The applicable stat for this skill is Intelligence.

Technical: Steamjack Handler. Steamjack cortex’s are good, but not that good and getting them to do what you want (as opposed to what it though you asked for) is tricky – and they’re all individuals. For instance, in order to operate safely, the SWU requires handlers to have 5 skill ranks to command steamjacks in basic tasks, 7 ranks to command them in advanced tasks, and 10 ranks to command warjacks. Commanding a steamjack is a 100% action. The applicable stat for this skill is Intuition.

Magical: Detect Cortex. The warcaster (military ‘warjack’ handler) pushes out his magical senses to detect the cortex of any ‘jack within range. Adjustments are +10 for each level the ‘jack has (ie more powerful ones are bigger and easier to sense). And –1 for each meter away from the warcaster that the ‘jack is. Non-military ‘jacks (steamjacks) are comparatively easy to locate, +20. A warjack who has been instructed to hide or evade will also be trying to do the same in a metaphysical sense. Again the adjustment is based on the relative power of the warjack and attempts to locate are at –5 per level. The applicable stat for this skill is Presence.

Magical: Attune to cortex. A cortex is unlike any other magical artefact that a FRPG character might come across. Certain magical items might have intelligence or a personality but this is usually the result of the binding of some being to the object. A cortex is a deliberately made, arcanely activated artificial intelligence. Thus attuning to one is a skill that must be developed separately.

Taking over a cortex (attuning to it, getting it to accept you as its controller and take the ‘caster’s orders) is essentially done by a will vs will contest between the ‘caster and the ‘jack. Warjacks are by no means intellectual, their IG and IT scores will be between 25 and 50. They have an inherent PR of 0, however, being what they are gives them a PR bonus of +30. Warjacks are also naturally defensive and will get a bonus to avoiding take over depending on their model and current status (stunned, fighting, out of fuel, evading etc).

Using this abillity to take over a steam jack is comparatively easy. Steamjacks are not as intellectually gifted as their warmongering cousins, they have IG and IT scores will be between 20 and 40. They have an inherent PR of 0, however, being what they are gives them a PR bonus of +25. They are also created with the express purpose of obeying reasonable orders. So having them beamed directly to their cortex instead of having to be clearly audible actually gives the ‘caster a bonus to his attempt (+20 at up to 5m, +15 out to 40m, +10 to 60m and +5 out to 100m)

If the warjack is already under the control of another warcaster, then the ‘jack uses it’s ‘caster’s attributes plus it’s own for the will vs will contest.

The applicable stat for this skill is Presence.

Arc Nodes: are devices that enable a ‘caster to cast a spell from a node which is attached to a ‘jack which he or she is attuned to. It is a shorthand phrase for ‘arcane node’. Thus the skill for accessing an arc(ane) node in the first place is attunement. The skill required to use a ‘node to remotely cast a spell is power projection. Reference should be made to the RM Arcane Companion regarding ESF in these circumstances.

Offensive Bonus: Side arm. This is the skill of firing a forgelock or magelock firearm with the intention of causing harm or injury. It must developed separately for each category of sidearm – military pistols, duelling (“normal sized”) pistol, small (derringer sized) pistols and concealed ‘funnies’ including pistol bracers, pistol canes et al. The applicable stat for these skills is Agility.

Offensive Bonus: Long arm. This is the skill of firing a forgelock or magelock firearm with the intention of causing harm or injury. It must developed separately for each category of longarm – military longarms, muzzle loaders, blunderbusses and other carbines and rifles et al. The applicable stat for these skills is Agility/strength. Bayonet use is as per other pole arms.

Craft: Side arm: This is the applicable skill for the repair, maintenance and loading of sidearms. Without a fully equipped armourer’s workshop, only minor repairs (broken retaining pins, loose parts etc) may be effected, not material alterations (additional barrels, straightening etc). DMs should apply the follow criteria to actions, interpolating as required:

Reloading Routine in good weather
De-coke Easy with a table, good light and an hour for each weapon weather
powder Light with a table, good light and no wind (2 mins/charge) weather
Twist paper and ball Medium with a table, good light and no wind (2 mins/cartridge) weather
Casting bullets Medium with good lead and proper moulds (4hrs min)

The applicable stat for this skill would be patience. Oh well.

Craft: Long arm: This is the applicable skill for the repair, maintenance and loading of Longarms. Without a fully equipped armourer’s workshop, only minor repairs (broken retaining pins, loose parts etc) may be effected, not material alterations (additional barrels, straightening etc). DMs should apply the follow criteria to actions, interpolating as required:

Reloading Routine in good weather
De-coke Easy with a table, good light and an hour for each weapon
Measure powder Light with a table, good light and no wind (2 mins/charge)
Twist paper and ball Medium with a table, good light and no wind (2 mins/charge)
Zeroing Rifle Hard. Needs 30m, targets, 10rds and 2hrs.

The applicable stat for this skill would be patience. Oh well.

The two Craft: Firearms skills are similar but are not the same, there are fundamental differences (mostly of scale) in the two weapon systems. Each can execute acts in the alternative weapon system at ¼ of their normal efficacy.

Both skills include the practice of casting bullets.

Magical: Witch Hound is not so much a skill as an ability. Learned by the assassins of the Retribution of Scyrah, it enables one to determine whether a creature is or has recently been in contact with a non-divine magic using Human, regardless of any physical disguise. This applies whether the disguise is mundane or a glamour. This ability can be effectively countered through use of spells like non-detection, mind blank and so on (learned the hard way). This ability will not confer the knowledge of the precise power level of the creature(s) or its abilities. The PC should use his own common sense for that.

The applicable statistic for bonus purposes is Presence. This is a magical skill for the purposes of applying level bonuses.

On a successful check he determines the nature of the creature or its connection to magic.

In the presence of a Human Wizard (inc Warcaster) +100
In the presence of a Human Sorcerer (inc Gunmage) +100
Each mile away -1

In the presence of victim of a non-divine spell cast by a human +33
In the presence of a non-divine spell cast by a human +10/lvl

In the presence of charmed or otherwise enthralled live creature +25
In the presence of undead thrall +45
Live creature who has recently been in the presence of a human magic user +24
(requires conversation with the subject creature. Decreases by 1% per hour until the taint has evaporated.)

Magical: Hound of Scyrah is not so much a skill as an ability. The user can determine whether a creature is or has recently been in contact with an Eldrich or its minions, regardless of any physical disguise. This applies whether the disguise is mundane or a glamour. This ability can be effectively countered through use of spells like non-detection, mind blank and so on. This ability will not confer the knowledge of the precise power level of the creature(s) or its abilities. The PC should use his own common sense for that.

The applicable statistic for bonus purposes is Presence. This is a magical skill for the purposes of applying level bonuses.

On a successful check he determines the nature of the creature or its connection to the Eldrich (ie it is Eldrich, Sythyss, an enthralled live person, an undead thrall or just recently been in contact with the Eldrich).

‘Hound of Scyrah’ replicates the Witch Hound detection feats of the Retribution of Scyrah’s Mage Hunters, but detects Evil Undead Elves and their minions rather than human magic users and sub-classes.

In the presence of Eldrich +100
Each mile away -1
In the presence of Sythyss +50 each
Sythyss within 10 miles +10 each
Sythyss within 1 mile +25 each
In the presence of Eldrich victim +66
In the presence of Sythyss victim +33

In the presence of charmed or otherwise enthralled live creature +25
In the presence of undead thrall +45
(that is not say that the PC doesn’t recognise a zombie when he sees one – rather that he detects the vile signature of the Eldrich in the zombies he encounters)
Live creature who has recently been in the presence of an Eldrich +24
(requires conversation with the subject creature. Decreases by 1% per hour until the taint has evaporated.)

Magical, Technical: Craft Necrotech sub skills might be

  • Craft Necrotech Skeleton,
  • Craft Necrotech Joint,
  • Craft Necrotech Motion Servos,
  • Craft Necrotic special weapon,
  • and Craft: Necrotech Skin.

These skills can be used to design hybrid undead constructs powered by Necrolite or accumulators. They can also be used for any similar skill attempts, with an additional penalty applied to the task being attempted.
All these skills allow a bonus to the design, manufacture, maintenance and repair of Necrolite powered undead. The applicable stat for this skill is Intelligence.

Technical, Magical: Bodging. Bodging is essentially the art of getting mechanical or mechanickal systems to function from a position of ignorance and no resources or tools. Tools can be bodged to assist with bodging attempts. Success indicates that the system has been repaired (although perhaps not to 100% efficacy) for the time being. Bodges tend to last for between 1% and 10% of the time (running time of the system) of a professionally done repair, performed by a properly resourced mechanic or mechanik. Bodgers are largely self taught throughout their careers. The first ten ranks of Bodging are a technical skill, for which the applicable stat is IT.

At it’s very highest levels, bodging does involve some element of the supernatural. ‘Givin’ it a kick.’ ‘Thumpin’ et in tha right spot’ and so on are all methods used by long practised bodgers. Even thrown hammers and wrenches can effect such repairs. Every rank of Bodger beyond eleventh is a magical skill, for which the applicable stat is PR.

Social: Pack-hunting This skill can only be bought if the PC is operating in an environment where these methods are practised. It is applied as a bonus to any attempt to perform certain skills while working solely with other members of the same organisation or association. It has to be practised collaboratively; one cannot pack hunt by one’s self.

For example, if four extortionists with +15 pack-hunting are trying to Intimidate a shopkeeper, they get to add (total of pack hunting skill bonus for the group, divided by the number of persons in that group) on top of that. So their collective bonus for ‘pack hunting’ is +15, to be added as a modifier to the intimidation attempt by their erstwhile leader.
For example, if three Streetwalkers with pack-hunting totals of +20, +15 & +30 are trying to beguile a passer-by, they get to add (total of pack hunting skill bonus for the group, divided by the number of persons in that group) on top of that. So their collective bonus for ‘pack hunting’ is +22, to be added as a modifier to the persuasion attempt by their main seductress.

This then provides a bonus to attempts to: Bluff, Hide, Intimidate, Search, Look out or Tail as well as any other situational awareness skill. What it means is that the ‘pack’ pack hunter bonus becomes a modifier for a skill that might only be being practised by one or two of the ‘pack’ members. However, through mimicry, posturing and body language the others are backing up the skill practitioner and hence adding their collective pack hunter adjustment as a bonus.

This isn’t a skill a person can come and train in a few times a week to pick-up. It can only be taught by an existing practitioner, and requires living with and becoming comrades with the other beings you will be working with (even if you don’t like them).

If someone who doesn’t possess this skill tries to ‘help’ a group to “pack hunt” it will cancel out the effect for the whole group – and piss them right off!


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