Thursday, September 1, 2016

All cities are beautiful, but the beauty is grim

What mad devices might be found in our strange city? Art by: Quique Alcatena

Born as mechanisms for unknown uses, children made strange by the union of disparate natures. They are Apparati, being suited for an increasingly mechanical world, yet unsuited for the society that mechanisms serve. Wanted for their prowess, and nothing more, their existence is marked by isolation within polite society. In the fringes homes can be founded, family chosen, and friends made all at the cost of prosperity. Their choice is binary, comfort or companionship. 

Oh, the sad masses that roam these lonely streets.
 
I've always been an outsider, a displaced person. - Siobhan Fahey
While dalliances have occurred between the Breksta and other races, they are frowned upon due to the possibility of progeny resulting from such unions. Breksta who do not wish to be abandoned and shamed by their kind, purposely end 'monstrous' pregnancies. Those who are born of taboo unions are called Fracti, and are shunned more so than their parents.

It is impossible to determine what 'kind' of Fracti will come from a particular union of Breksta and other. Race and gender of the Breksta in the union seems to bear no known influence. Of the Fracti, only the Chemi have more difficulty integrating into society, our Apparati at least serving an exploitable purpose. Apparati are engine-smiths and machine-whispers, capable of working mechanical miracles on machines believed to be beyond repair. They can hear the complaints and needs of a machine simply by listening to its noises, and there are even a few who can give a machine enough spirit to act as if alive.

Physically, the Apparati possess many of the physical characteristics of the other Fracti: they have an average height of 6 feet and 1 inch / 1.85 meters (average human is 5 feet 4 inches / 1.63 meters), they have an average lifespan of 192 years (average human is 64), and they possess heads of inanimate objects. In the case of Apparati their heads take the form of complex machines constantly in motion. As with their other Fracti brethren, their skin tones vary among the normal colors of humanity. Male or female, their voices have the strange quality as if the speaker is speaking into a whirling fan. Apparati have difficulty integrating into society due to their difficulty in understanding the subtlety of social interactions. 

An Apparati member of a militia's engineers. Picture Mangling by: Me
 
OSR / AD&D / LotFP
+ 1 Strength (7 / 18)
+ 1 Dexterity (3 / 18)
+ 1 Constitution (3 / 18)
+ 2 Intelligence (8 / 18)
+/- 0 Wisdom (8 / 18)
- 3 Charisma (3 / 18)

The Apparati are known to be able to work out solutions to difficult problems with ease, however, they find great difficulty in social interactions. Due to being larger than average humans and have the reflexes of a hair-trigger, they are physically superior to humans in almost all ways.

Apparati possess 360 degree vision and are immune to gaze attacks. Due to the constant whiling and clicking of their machine heads, they take a penalty to all rolls involving stealth: -1 (X out of 6 system), -3 (D20 skill roll system), or -17% (Rogue percentile skills). They require +5% more experience to level up as compared to other races.

An Apparati may diagnose the exact malfunction inhibiting the functionality of a machine by spending 10 minutes examining it. This ability does not require a roll of any kind.

An Apparati does not suffer any ill effects, outside of an automatic miss, from rolling a 1 on an attack roll using a mechanically complex weapon. Examples of mechanically complex weapons are: firearms, repeating crossbows, and chainsaw-swords.

Additional Abilities

Lock Whisper: The character may spend ten minutes whispering, and listening to the words of a non-magical lock. After the ten minutes, the character may make a roll to see if the lock unlocks itself as if the character had made a successful roll to pick it. If the roll succeeds, the lock unlocks itself, if the roll fails then the standard method for lock picking must be used. The roll used depends on the system:

X out of 6: The character has a 'skill' called Lock Whisper that increases as the character advances in level. This skill begins at a rating of 3 out of 6, and is not penalized for the quality or state of the lock. The skill increases by 1 for every 3 levels after the 1st. Skill points may not be used to increase the rating of the skill.

Percentile Skill System: The character has a 'skill' called Lock Whisper that increases as the character advances in level. This skill begins at a rating of 25%, and is not penalized for the quality of state of the lock. The skill increases by 5% per level. Points may not be spent to increase the rating of the skill.

Requires 5% extra experience to level up.

Sense Machines: This ability allows the character to sense all mechanical devices, including traps, with the same range and capability of the Find Traps spell. The character may use this ability a number of times per day equal to their level. Requires 5% extra experience to level up.

An example of the many machines of the city that an Apparati might be called on to repair.

Machine Healer: This ability allows the character to repair any mechanical device simply by spending 10 minutes, without distraction, touching it. At the end of the 10 minutes, the device is completely repaired and functions as if it were new again. The character may use this ability at will. Requires 5% extra experience to level up.

Hand Cannon: This ability allows the character to toss bullets with a speed an power equal to a small pistol. The 'bullet' may be anything from a lead ball to a small rock. This ability allows for the same number attacks per round as throwing knives.

Damage: 1D6
Range -
Short: 25 Feet / 7.62 Meters
Medium: 50 Feet / 15.24 Meters
Long: 100 Feet / 30.48 Meters
Notes: Due to the speed and power of this ability, targets wearing armor of any kind are at a +/- 2 penalty to AC.

Requires 5% extra experience to level up.

Machine Anima: This ability allows the character to give a semblance of life to a machine as if they cast Animate Object upon it. This ability only works on complex machines with multiple moving parts. The character may use this ability once per day at first level, the number increases by 1 for every 6 levels after the first. The caster level for the spell is equal to the character's level. Requires 10% extra experience to level up.