Full Steam Ahead
The primary technology behind airships is the ‘Lorentz Lattice’. A grid of energy that produces a lifting effect to whatever it is attached to. The process, once created, is self-sustaining, so even a heavily damaged vessel can remain afloat. The lattices require large unbroken surfaces to work, and do not provide propulsion, so despite being airborne, airships still largely resemble ships of the age of sail, with thick bottom hulls (to protect the lattice inside, and large masted sails to catch the wind. Mechanically, speed and movement statistics for sailing ships may still be used for airships. Recently there have been experiments with propeller technology producing faster airships, and metal hulls, for prototypes such as these, use the rules for more modern warships and dirigibles.
Outside the WR fleet, there have been valiant attempts at copying the Lorentz Lattice, but with little comparative success. The best non-WR airships have been able to do is negate most of the weight of the vessel, but not quite lift it off the ground – instead using large dirigibles to provide the lift. These mimics are nearly peers of the WR in armor and armament, but they have the one glaring weakness of a large, easily punctured balloon, and the inability to stay airborne if it is ruptured.
A technological leap for the Soviets that many claim was stolen from labs in east Germany. Little is known about them, they don’t seem to use Lorentz technology as even light damage sends them hurtling back to the earth, but there is nothing on earth that can match their speed, estimated at near 100 miles per hour! And they can easily swarm and pick apart a slower airship in minutes. The only defense put forward has been to install multiple gatling guns around the ship’s castle in hopes of taking them out first. They’ve been nicknamed ‘banshees’ for their droning howl, which drives fear into the heart of any airship captain unlucky enough be caught in their sites.
Some would argue this as the pinnacle of personal steam technology. Dampfentrupe armor looks like a full suit of geared plate-mail, but is in fact so much more. The assisted moment allows troopers a bounding gait of up to 30mph, the thick protective plating grants a +5 armor save, and the enhanced strength gives a +2 bonus to all strength checks and allows the use of small heavy weapons. Furthermore the helmet incorporates nightlamp eyes allowing them to see in the dark and multiple redundant systems allows the pilot to survive in almost any situation (after the armor has taken 3 wounds, the pilot is considered still alive within, with one wound remaining). While not recommended by engineers, the redundant broilers allows the Dampfentruper to exhaust steam offensively, use the cone blast template with 2D6 damage.
Dampfentrupe armor is very difficult to pilot, requiring the operator constantly manage an array of switches and dials, difficult with even years of practice. Though few would argue the superhuman abilities and high social status granted a Dampfentruper is not worth the long period of study and training.
Originally developed by the Soviets, this is the science of grafting steam-powered and electric devices directly to one’s body.
A Mechanaut can have as many torso augmentations as they like, but can only have one augmentation per limb. For each augmentation, the Mechanaut suffers a cumulative -2 to their Charisma score. This penalty reflects both their unnatural appearance and their gradual slide away from humanity. Multiple torso augmentations do not incur additional Charisma penalties; only the first Torso augmentation counts.
If a character manages to have their torso and all five limbs augmented (both arms, both legs and head) they essentially become a robot. They still possess their human mind (and can continue to be played as a character) but have become so divorced from their humanity that they no longer recognize the sanctity of biological life (and should be role-played accordingly). Fully augmented Mechanauts gain Construct traits: +2 to recover from being Shaken, never suffer penalties from Wound modifiers, immune to poison and disease and immune to extra damage from called shots. A full augment Mechanaut cannot be killed in the conventional sense. If the Mechanaut sustains mortal damage it becomes inert until a skilled Mechanautic surgeon can resuscitate them. Disintegration, smelting and surgery can permanently destroy a full augment Mechanaut.
There are very few surgeons in the world who possess the knowledge and the resources to surgically graft Mechanautic components. Generally, only high ranking military doctors fit this profile, but there are a few surgeons known as “Tinkers” that will graft Mechanautics for a fee. These Tinkers usually operate out of barely legal clinics under the auspices of some criminal authority. A Mechanaut who is affiliated with the military can receive permission to purchase additional upgrades if their commanding officer is able to justify the procedure.
If a character wishes to learn how to become a Mechanautic Surgeon they must take the Graft Specialist edge. This advanced edge requires the character to have expert medical skills and only imparts the knowledge to perform Mechanautic surgery – it does not endow the character with the materials and surgical tools to do the work.
In addition to imparting people with superhuman abilities, mechanautic enhancements also make the Mechanaut physically tough. Any time a Mechanaut would be Shaken or Wounded in combat they can try to “take it on the plating” by using their artificial limbs as shields. This maneuver works just like a soak roll except the Mechanaut must make an Agility check instead of a Vigor check to try and soak the damage and it doesn’t cost a Benny. For each additional augmentation beyond the first, the Mechanaut gains a +1 bonus to their soak roll. Multiple Torso augmentations do not impart additional bonuses; only the first augmentation counts. The Mechanaut cannot attempt this maneuver if they are flat-footed (i.e. if their opponent has The Drop on them). A Mechanaut cannot avoid called shots in this manner.
A successful called shot against a Mechanaut’s limb will cause any enhancements in that region to become unusable until Repaired. Called shots do not affect Torso enhancements. A limb can only be destroyed permanently via surgical removal.
The equipment of of the Tesla Rangers is among the most advanced in the world. Though is has been captured and studied once or twice, the secrets to its construction remains a mystery.
A bladeless hilt that, when activated, sprouts a crackling line of electricity 36-42 inches long. Incredibly powerful, this uses the stats for lasersword found in the main book. The blade is powered by the Tesla-turbine in the Ranger’s belt and must remain connected by the power cord. If the blade is detached, it looses power and deactivates in 30 seconds.
A protective glowing field of energy that surrounds the Ranger, granting him a +2 armor bonus with no armor penalties. Though the glow is only faint, it is enough for anyone to instantly recognize what the Ranger is, as well as negate the benefits of any shadows he may be hiding in.
It is a time of scientific miracles, Gadgeteers create wondrous inventions, and it seems every day brings a new breakthrough. Weird science items are fairly commonplace, and anyone above the station of commoner or worker is expected to have a gageteered item as a symbol of their station, even if it is as simple as a machine to tell the time, or weather, or the current location of their cheating husband. Mostly these are passed as family heirlooms, as the gadgets are extraordinarily expensive. A person with a multitude is either very skilled in gadgetry, very rich or very dangerous – and these traits often run together.