Ptolus exists in a world that has a slightly more advanced knowledge of mechanics and engineering than the typical Pathfinder game. This allows for some interesting differences to the environment and culture of the world. For example, the printing press has dramatically altered how people get information, and has become almost-common to the point that a laborer on the dock could actually afford to own a book – most likely to be the holy text of his religion, but some might have a minor collection of “mass” produced tomes on history or a how-to manual related to their jobs. And then there are the guns…

 

Although “technology” is a broad term, these pages deals specifically with the various creations of the Grailwarden dwarves that extend beyond what is normally found in a fantasy campaign: steam-powered engines, clockwork mechanisms, firearms, and more.

 

Skills and Feats

Knowledge (Machines) – this is the base skill for understanding how technology works. It is potentially available to any character, but does require a story reason to have it. Meaning I am not going to make it a class skill only (though classes that get all knowledges DO get the bonus if they put a rank in it), but you need to explain in your character’s story why they have it at all (they trained under a member of the Shuul, or are a dwarf, or they have been reading the book they found in the enemy leader’s room). Note this does not help you actually build the items, just to understand the principles at work (think Know: Architecture vs. Craft: Woodworking).

Knowledge (Firearms) – this lets you understand how the chemistry of black powder works, and how it is used in various applications. Again, you must have a story reason for this skill.

Craft (machines) is used to actually create something like a clock, a steampowered construct, or a mechanically controlled door. Some complex devices might force a character to make multiple checks. Note that only simple items can be made without the use of tools, and even then at a -4 penalty.

Craft (Firearms) is used to make guns and explosives. Note that only simple items can be made without the use of tools (like a simple bomb), and even then at a -4 penalty.

 

The standard DC’s are listed below:

Technological Item

Craft

DC

Simple tech item (compass, thermometer)

Machines

15

Complex, small tech item (pocketwatch)

Machines

20

Firearm (single-shot)

Firearms

20

Firearm (repeating, double, or multi-use)

Firearms

24

Large machine (drawbridge mechanism)

Machines

25 × 2

Large complex machine (construct)

Machines

25 × 4

Extremely complex device (steam armor)

Machines

30 × 4

 

Disable Device takes on a new meaning in a setting with technology. Characters with this skill could make a dragon rifle inoperable or set a magnetic compass to point in the wrong direction.

Profession (engineer) might be appropriate for one who designs entirely new machinery.

 

Maintaining Technoloy

To keep a technological item functioning, whether it is a firearm or a steam-powered mechanical elevator, a character must make a maintenance check once per month. The character can use either the appropriate Craft or Knowledge skill. The Difficulty Class is 10, unless the overall price of the device exceeds 1,000 gp. In such a case, the Difficulty Class is the price divided by 100. Without this check, the machine breaks down and Craft (machines or firearms) must be used to repair it, using the standard repair rules.

 

Firearms

The dwarves are responsible for introducing the world to the power of tiny pieces of metal being blasted out of metal tubes, hurtling towards another being and ripping into their flesh… all without any need for magical talent or training. Anyone can potentially pickup a gun and use it – which is a slight equalizing force, and part of why the Edicts of Deviltry were even possible during the dark days of Lothainites’ past.

Now, using them with SKILL is another matter, entirely…

 

Using Firearms

Please note that the following are the ONLY rules for guns in Ptolus – this means that nothing from the PF ruleset that mentions guns (class abilities, feats, spells, whatever) will be used. Down the line as I see how these rules interact with Pathfinder, I might slowly add some spells and magic item effects, but that will be at my sole discretion.

 

Using firearms requires the Exotic Weapon Proficiency (firearms) feat. This feat covers not only firing the weapon, but loading it and caring for it. You must also apply for a permit to carry a gun – go to the Administration Building in Oldtown to file the request. At any time a guard can see you with a gun and require you to show this proof, or they will impound the weapon and arrest you.

 

The following are at least in theory available in the city – odds are the more powerful are likely to require special ordering through the few people who openly trade in guns (mostly the Smoke Shop and the Foundry), and may take some time to be made (of course, added money can make the wheels of commerce move faster…)

Standard Weapons

Price

Type

Damage (S)

Damage (M)

Critical

Range

Weight

Guns

Dragon pistol

250 gp

P

1d10

1d12

×3

50

2 lbs.

Double pistol

300 gp

P

1d8

1d10

×3

40

3 lbs.

Hand cannon

900 gp

P

2d6

3d6

×3

60

5 lbs.

Sting (pistol)

120 gp

P

1d6

1d8

×3

30

1 lb.

Dragon rifle

500 gp

P

2d6

2d8

×3

150

5 lbs.

Spyglass rifle

700 gp

P

2d6

2d8

×3

150

6 lbs.

Hydra rifle

1,200 gp

P

1d10

1d12

×3

120

7 lbs.

Repeater rifle

2,000 gp

P

1d10

1d12

×3

100

6 lbs.

Flame Weapons

Chimera rifle

1,200 gp

varies

varies

varies

varies

varies

10 lbs.

Hellsbreath gun

1,000 gp

fire

2d4**

2d6**

N/A

*

7 lbs.

Bombs

Powder bomb

150 gp

*

2d6***

3d6***

N/A

10

1 lb.

Smokebomb

30 gp

*

N/A

N/A

N/A

10

1 lb.

 

  

Chimera Rifle: This strange deviation of the hydra rifle (see next page) has three barrels. One is a standard rifle barrel, one launches a small dart (usually drugged or poisoned), and one emits a very short-range blast of alchemist’s fire. The dart inflicts only 1d4 points of damage and has a moderate range (it is purposely not very powerful so as not to unduly harm a target to be drugged and captured). The blast of alchemist’s fire has a range of only ten feet but, as with a hellsbreath gun (see below), it fires in a line, damaging all within the affected area with alchemist’s fire unless they succeed at a Reflex saving throw (DC 15). Those who successfully save still suffer 1 point of fire damage. (Unlike the hellsbreath gun, the smaller amount of alchemist’s fire stored within the chimera rifle and the smaller powder charge—and thus the shorter range—make it relatively safe to use.)

A chimera rifle, unlike a hydra rifle, cannot be fitted with a master trigger. It takes a full round to load the standard rifle and the dart launcher and two full rounds to load the alchemist’s fire blaster.

A person needs two hands to load and fire a chimera rifle. However, for a cost of 100 gp, it can be refitted with a larger trigger mechanism that allows a character one size bigger than the weapon’s normal size to fire it in one hand at a –2 penalty (+2 to the targets’ saves against the alchemist’s fire blast). Such a character could even fire one chimera rifle in each hand, using the rules for two-weapon fighting as if attacking with two one-handed weapons. The penalty for doing so stacks with the penalty for firing the rifle in one hand.

Double Pistol: This pistol has two barrels, so it can be fired twice before reloading (one move action for each barrel). A double pistol requires two hands to load, but only one hand to fire.

Dragon Pistol: The most common firearm in Ptolus, this weapon has an iron dragon’s head around its muzzle so that its shot comes from the dragon’s mouth. Reloading the pistol takes a move action. A dragon pistol requires two hands to load, but only one hand to fire.

Dragon Rifle: This firearm is a larger, longerbarreled version of the dragon pistol with better range and greater damage. Reloading the rifle takes a full-round action.

A dragon rifle requires two hands to load and fire. A person could attempt to fire, but not load, the weapon in one hand at a –4 penalty. Such a character could even fire one dragon rifle in each hand, using the rules for two-weapon fighting as if attacking with two one-handed weapons. The penalty for doing so stacks with the penalty for firing the rifle in one hand.

For a cost of 100 gp, a dragon rifle can be refitted with a larger trigger mechanism that allows a character one size bigger than the weapon’s normal size to fire it in one hand at no penalty.

Hand Cannon: This short, wide pistol is a Large weapon, so despite its shape—unless used by an ogre or similar creature—a person needs both hands to use it. It has a very short range but packs an amazing punch. Adventurers often use hand cannons to blast down doors or through wooden walls. Reloading the weapon takes a move action.

A hand cannon requires two hands to load and fire. However, for a cost of 100 gp, it can be refitted with a larger trigger mechanism that allows a character one size bigger than the weapon’s normal size to fire it in one hand at a –2 penalty. Such

A character could even fire one hand cannon in each hand, using the rules for two-weapon fighting as if attacking with two one-handed weapons. The penalty for doing so stacks with the penalty for firing the hand cannon in one hand.

Hellsbreath Gun: This device consists of a powerful pump activated by a blast of powder that sprays a reservoir of alchemist’s  fire in a line up to twenty feet long. Anyone in the line must make a Reflex saving throw (DC 15) or suffer damage as if struck by a flask. Even after a successful save, the attack still inflicts 1 point of fire damage.

Those with no skill at firearms tend to favor this weapon. However, it is dangerous to use. Each time someone fires the weapon, roll a d20. On a roll of 1, the reservoir of alchemist’s fire within the weapon ignites and explodes, destroying the gun and inflicting 2d6 points of fire damage on the user (Reflex save, DC 20, for half damage).

A hellsbreath gun requires two full rounds to reload. One must use two hands to load and fire it.

Hydra Rifle: This variant dragon rifle gets its name from the fact that it has three barrels. Each barrel has a separate trigger and thus one can fire the weapon three times without loading—it’s like carrying three loaded rifles at once. However, for an extra 250 gp, a weaponsmith can fit it with a master trigger to allow the user to fire all three at once. A character must roll all three attacks independently, and all three must share the same target.

It is not possible to fire only two barrels at once; you either fire one or all three when the weapon is fitted with a master trigger. Each barrel must be loaded separately, taking a full round per barrel.

A person needs two hands to load and fire a hydra rifle. One could attempt to fire, but not load, the weapon in one hand at a –4 penalty. Such a character could even fire one hydra rifle in each hand, using the rules for two-weapon fighting as if attacking with two one-handed weapons. The penalty for doing so stacks with the penalty for firing the rifle in one hand.

For a cost of 100 gp, the hydra rifle can be refitted with a larger trigger mechanism that allows a character one size bigger than the weapon’s normal size to fire it in one hand at no penalty.

Repeater Rifle: This weapon can fire six rounds before requiring a reload. Reloading is a full-round action. Repeater rifles are fairly uncommon.

A repeater rifle requires two hands to load and fire. One could attempt to fire, but not load, the weapon in one hand at a –4 penalty. Such a character could even fire a repeater rifle in each hand, using the rules for two-weapon fighting as if attacking with two one-handed weapons. The penalty for doing so stacks with the penalty for firing the rifle in one hand.

For a cost of 100 gp, the repeater rifle can be refitted with a larger trigger mechanism that allows a character one size bigger than the weapon’s normal size to fire it in one hand at no penalty.

Powder Bomb: This gunpowder explosive has a blast radius of five feet. The user lights the fuse as a move action, then throws the bomb as a standard action. Alternatively, it can be fitted with a match cord fuse to use as a set charge.

Smokebomb: This nondamaging explosive creates a cloud of smoke in a twenty-foot radius. The cloud persists in still conditions for 1d3+6 rounds and in windy conditions for only 1d3+1 rounds. Visibility within the smoke is limited to two feet. Everything within has 90 percent concealment.

Spyglass Rifle: As a dragon rifle, except with a spyglass mounted atop it to help at range. Because this weapon ignores its first range increment, penalties for range begin at three hundred feet.

Sting: This small and concealable pistol requires a move action to reload. One needs to use two hands to load a sting pistol, but only one hand to fire it.

Ammunition

Ammunition includes both bullets (often called “rounds” or “shot” in Ptolus) and powder. A bullet affects a single target; scattershot affects a radius of ten feet but inflicts only half damage. No attack roll is needed for scattershot fire, but a Reflex saving throw (DC 15) reduces its damage by half. The maximum range of scattershot fire is a single range increment of the weapon that fired it.

It is possible to double-load a nonrepeating firearm—essentially loading it with twice the normal shot and powder. This increases the firearm’s damage die type by one size, but on a roll of a natural 1 the gun bursts, ruining it and inflicting normal damage for the weapon upon the firer.

Ammunition

Volume

Price

Shot and powder

1 load

15 sp

Scattershot and powder

1 load

2 gp

Powder horn

10 shots

10 gp

Ammunition pouch

10 shots

5 gp

 

Other Weapons and Armor

For the technologist warrior, there are more weapons to choose from than simply firearms. A few of the most interesting are described below.

Bayonet: The wielder can use this blade as a dagger or affix it to any rifle, allowing the rifle to be used as a shortspear that cannot be thrown. Price 3 gp.

Blast Axe (Pistol Axe): This strange weapon is like a long-barreled dragon pistol. Its reinforced barrel ends in an axeblade. One can fire it like a regular pistol, then use it as a handaxe. Price 300 gp.

Pistol Shield: This heavy shield has a built-in dragon pistol, with the barrel facing straight out. The wielder can fire the pistol and then draw a melee weapon and charge into a fight. Price 300 gp.

Powered Bows: Powered longbows are engine-assisted mighty bows that do not require high strength to use. As with mighty bows, the bonus applies only to damage. The bonus does not stack with the archer’s normal Strength bonus. Powered bows weigh three times as much as normal bows and their price varies, as shown below.

Powered Mighty Longbow Price
(+1 Strength bonus)  400 gp
(+2 Strength bonus)  600 gp
(+3 Strength bonus)  800 gp
(+4 Strength bonus)  1,000 gp
 

Steam Armor: Steam-powered armor protects a wearer as plate armor and adds a +4 enhancement bonus to Strength due to its built-in strength-augmenting mechanisms. It requires firestone. Price 18,000 gp (at least).

Transportation

In a big place like Ptolus, characters need a reliable and fast way to get where they need to be. These are just some of the options characters have to use technology to help them get around.

Battle Cart: This massive vehicle looks like a wagon without horses. It measures ten feet long and about six feet wide (size Large). Its sides are armor plated with small slits for archers or riflemen. The cart has a hardness of 10 and 200 hp. A battle cart is steam-powered (it requires firestone and can travel up to twenty miles per hour over flat, smooth, terrain. The carts are usually outfitted with a ram or a spiked plate for running down foes on foot (inflicting 3d6 points of damage at full speed; a Reflex save, DC 15, negates the damage). One character must drive the cart. While it is moving, controlling the cart is a full-round action. A Dexterity check (DC 15) is required to avoid obstacles when moving at full speed. Price 15,000 gp.

Glider Wings: A Medium creature can strap on these aerodynamic wings to glide through the air. A character can take ranks in Ride (glider wings) to use them even better. On a still or relatively calm day, the glider travels in a straight line for twice as far as it drops, so a character wearing the wings and jumping from a forty-foot-tall tower can travel eighty feet laterally before landing.  On a very windy day, a character can travel much farther (almost indefinitely) if she makes a Ride check (DC 15) every ten minutes. Landing safely requires another check (DC 12). Failure results in 1d6 points of damage to both the character and the wings, assuming the wearer dropped at least ten feet. Made of light wood and canvas, the wings have a hardness of 3 and 10 hit points. Their wingspan measures fifteen feet. Price 1,400 gp.

Hot-Air Balloon: With a powerful furnace beneath it, a large balloon can carry aloft up to 2,000 lbs. A single character can operate the balloon, controlling its altitude and direction. The latter, of course, depends greatly on the wind’s direction and speed. The balloon itself measures about forty feet across and sixty feet high. The basket below is about eight feet in diameter. A hot-air balloon has a hardness of 1 and 5 hit points. The basket has a hardness of 3 and 30 hit points. Price (with furnace) 3,500 gp.

Steamboat: A steamboat is a keelboat (fifty- to seventy-five-foot-long vessel) that does not require wind or oar to move. A powerful steam engine fuels its massive paddlewheel. While these boats can’t operate in the King’s River (too many waterfalls), they are sometimes seen out in the Bay of Ptolus. Price 18,000 gp.

Steam Cart, Large: This vehicle resembles a battle cart, but it is not armored or fitted with spikes, ram plates, or the like. With it, a person can haul up to 1,500 lbs. of cargo or passengers. Its top speed is only ten miles per hour. A driver operates it just like a battle cart, and it likewise requires firestone to use (see “Maintenance and Fuel,” page 565). Price 8,000 gp.

Steam Cart, Medium: This wheeled chair has a steam motor and room enough for equipment or a passenger up to 250 lbs. Controlling the cart in motion is a full-round action. It can move five miles per hour but requires firestone. Price 5,000 gp.

Steam Cart, Small: This is basically a wheeled chair with a steam motor. Controlling the cart in motion is a full-round action. It can move up to five miles per hour and requires firestone to use. Price 3,000 gp.

 

Miscellaneous Gear

Below are just some of the most basic technological devices delvers might encounter in Ptolus. Such items would be found among the Shuul, in Dwarvenhearth, or at the Smoke Shop.

Item  Price Weight
Barometer  300 gp  2 lbs.
Bell alarm  50 gp  3 lbs.
Clock, wall or mantle  50 gp  5 lbs.
Clock, grandfather  150 gp  90 lbs.
Magnetic compass  450 gp  1 lb.
Match cord (50 feet)  5 gp  1 lb.
Mercury thermometer  350 gp  1 lb.
Pill  varies  *
Pocketwatch  30 gp  1 lb.
Pressurized launcher  420 gp  5 lbs.
Printing press  1,200 gp 1,000 lbs.
Paper (2 sheets)  1 cp  *
Protective goggles  5 gp  1/2 lb.
Sextant  150 gp  3 lbs.
Spectacles  15 gp  *
Spyglass  200 gp  1 lb.
Syringe  50 gp  1/2 lb.

Barometer: A handy weather-predicting device.

Bell Alarm: The user can set this alarm to go off at a specified time.

Clocks: These timepieces are often ornate and beautiful. They require daily winding.

Magnetic Compass: This device proves extremely valuable in determining direction and keeping a traveler on the right path, whether he is making his way through the woods or across the sea on a ship.

Mercury Thermometer: A handy device for determining the temperature.

Pill: Potions can be distilled into tablet form for easy storage. Most ingested poisons also can be made into pills. The effects and cost remain the same but the weight is negligible.

Pocketwatch: This small timepiece requires daily winding.

Pressurized Launcher: This device can project an object with great force. Although one could use it as a weapon, this is not the standard use, as firearms are far more efficient. Instead, adventurers employ it most often to fire grapnels with attached ropes up to one hundred feet with great force and accuracy, even anchoring them into a stone wall. If it does not need to embed itself, the grapnel can travel up to two hundred feet. If used as a weapon, it inflicts 2d6 points of damage to a single foe up to one hundred feet away (apply a –2 penalty to attack rolls made with it).

Printing Press: This machine, which can mass-produce the printed word, makes broadsheets possible and has allowed books and pamphlets to become common. Paper for the press can be purchased at very reasonable prices.

Protective Goggles: This eyewear protects eyes from flying debris and provides a +1 resistance bonus on saving throws against blinding or eye-damaging effects.

Sextant: This device aids navigation. The user gains a +4 bonus on Survival checks to determine position, assuming she spends at least five minutes using the device.

Spyglass: Objects viewed through a spyglass are twice their normal size.

Syringe: This is an easy way to inject a potion directly into a creature. If the syringe is in hand and full, injecting is only a move action.

Fuel 

Steam-powered items burn wood or coal to produce steam, or they use a special magical substance called firestone. Wood is cheap but takes a very large burner. Coal is more expensive—about 5 gp worth of coal powers an item for only one day. Because firestone requires the least amount of space, it is required for steam armor and other fantastic tech items. However, each stone costs 10 gp and lasts about one day. Firestone can be created only via spell; it does not occur naturally. It is not dangerous to handle until lit, and users can light it as they would any flammable item. For more on firestone, see its section under Special Materials page.

 

Some clockwork items, like pocketwatches, are spring-driven and require no fuel but must be wound or cranked manually.

 

Aelectricity

Aelectricity is the pinnacle of science reached in the world of Praemal. Experts create this energy—which scholars express as “nonmagical artificially produced lightning”—using powerful steam engines or special static chargers. It is almost unheard of in Ptolus today, and even the dwarves of Dwarvenhearth had not mastered it. At the height of the Empire, however, aelectrical lights illuminated the Imperial Palace in Tarsis.  Aelectricity powered experimental devices such as constructs, lightning weapons, and even charged barriers that shocked an intruder when touched were being developed and refined. One could smell the scent of ozone when such devices were operating and, unless muffled by magic, they made a great deal of noise.

One is likely to find only a couple different aelectrical implements in Ptolus today. Such items are relics, no longer produced in modern times. Virtually no one knows how to create or even repair them:

• A generator-powered aelectrical light or system of lights might still exist in an older home; they are not portable, however. Shever Manor is the largest installation of this in the city, and the entire estate is lit by it. Price (including the generator) 1,000 gp.

• A static gun fires a charged line up to fifty feet that inflicts 4d6 points of electricity damage. It is fueled not by a steam-powered generator but by a hand-cranked one that builds up a static charge. The gun requires 5 rounds of cranking (a full-round action each round) to build up the needed charge. Price 15,000 gp.