Steampunk

Steampunk faeRATIONALE: Most Changeling Arts are archaic in tone, but Unseelie Fae have no reason to fear technology and the Steampunk approach to machinery is as wildly imaginative as witchcraft and alchemy. Many of the powers in this Art already exist as applications of other Arts using the Prop Realm (eg Willow Whisper to talk to machines, Dictum to command them, Elder-Form to shapechange them) but this Art brings these powers together and extends them as well as making them less dependent on the Prop Realm. Other powers are adapted from the dubious Infusion Art introduced in Kithbook: Nockers

The Steampunk Art is not restricted to Unseelie Fae, although it is more popular with the Unseelie because they embrace technological progress. Seelie Fae can learn and use the Art and do not gain Banality for relying on Steampunk technology.

Steampunk is about controlling and creating devices. A device is anything that has been altered from a natural state by having something added to it to serve a purpose. This includes doors and shoelaces as well as clocks and guns but not, for example, paving stones. The general principle is that a device combines together at least two distinct things to make a working whole, so the definition also excludes concrete and other chemicals, where the components are not distinct.

Although the Prop Realm is useful for most applications of this Art, the other Realms take on special meanings when used with Steampunk cantrips:

  • Actor – Describes the person who owns the device (so long as the device has a legal owner or designated user or someone who has named the device or inscribed it with their name)
  • Fae – Describes the Fae creature who owns the device or the Fae nature of the device (●●● for chimerical machines, ●●●●● for treasures)
  • Nature – Describes the way the device is powered (● for steam-powered, ●● for animal-drawn, ●●●● for devices powered by internal combustion, wind, solar, etc; ●●●●● for electrical devices)
  • Prop – Describes the complexity of any device that doesn’t have a single named owner (Prop can affect publicly owned devices or devices owned by companies or the state as well as any item that has been lost, abandoned or discarded)
  • Scene – can be used as a Modifier Realm to affect multiple targets or to describe a building

Sometimes several different Realms will apply to a device (for example, someone’s car could be described using Actor or Nature; a streetlight could be described using Prop or Nature). In these cases, additional Realms can be used as Secondary Realms.

Attribute: Intelligence


● Forge Whisper

The changeling can communicate with devices. Devices will only communicate their purpose, or what they have experienced in fulfilling their purpose; perhaps some details about their creator. A door, for example, will describe who has passed through it, but not people who merely passed by it. A sword will describe people it has killed or people who have wielded it, but not where it has been.

System: The power of communication lasts for one turn per success, although the Time Realm can be used as a Modifier Realm to extend the duration for a Scene, a Story or a Chronicle or beyond.

Type: Chimerical


●● Tinkering (or Gremlinize)

The Changeling can improve the efficacy of a device, within its normal parameters. This cantrip can make swords sharper, cars faster, everything gets better at doing its job. Alternatively, the cantrip can ruin a device, making it more difficult to operate and prone to break down: guns jam, computers crash, cars stall. This cantrip cannot take a device beyond its maximum parameters (eg a car cannot exceed its maximum speed) or make it break entirely (eg a car might stall but it will restart if the driver perseveres) unless the device botches a roll.

System: Each success confers a bonus or penalty to the difficulty of any roll to use the device. The benefit lasts for a Scene or until the device is successfully used (ie someone succeeds in a skill roll using the device). If the device doesn’t require a particular skill roll (ie. driving a car very fast down a straight road) then the effects last for a Scene. If the device isn’t used at all, then the effects fade after a Scene although the Time Realm could be used to extend this period.

If the difficulty is lowered below 2, then even people who are completely unskilled can attempt to use the device. For example, someone with no Computer Knowledge could use a computer if Tinkering had reduced the difficulty below 2. The caster can always attempt to use a device that has been Tinkered with even without the right Knowledge, just be spending a Glamour point; the caster can also ignore the penalties from Gremlinize by spending a Glamour point.

If Tinker is used on chimerical constructs or creatures, then the bonus or penalty is applied directly to the chimera’s action.

Type: Chimerical


●●● Ghost in the Machine

The Changeling can give devices orders which they will follow, according to their ordinary capabilities. A gun could fire itself, but not fly round the room. A car could start, drive about, open and shut its windows but not drive without petrol in the tank. A house could lock all its doors but not burn itself down.

System: The device is obedient until after the order is completed, which must take place within the same Scene (unless the Time Realm is used as a Modifier Realm to extend this duration). The number of successes rolled indicates the effective ‘Skill’ of the device in carrying out the order, so if a changeling rolls three successes and tells a gun to fire it will fire as if it had Firearms●●●. If an Attribute is needed as well, use the changeling’s Intelligence.

This can be used on chimerical constructs to control them rather like the Sovereign Art. These chimera can resist the cantrip with a Willpower roll, but if the caster scores more successes they must obey the caster’s command.

Type: Chimerical


●●●● Mad Science

The changeling can now give devices powers and appearances that go beyond their ordinary parameters. Cars can become cannons, fire extinguishers can become rockets, wristwatches can magnetize and pin people to walls, skateboards can fly just like Back To The Future II.

System: The number of successes rolled helps determine the scope and the duration of the alteration.

Successes Effect
One Prototype: the device can develop powers that are surprising but imaginable given its shape and ordinary function (a pen could fire a poison dart, an umbrella could be a parachute)
Two Q Division: the device can develop powers that go beyond its shape and function but are still imaginable (a suitcase could become a jetpack, an umbrella could deflect bullets)
Three Transformers: the device can radically change shape and function, but keeps the same general mass and construction (a car becomes a helicopter, an umbrella becomes a radio transmitter)
Four Fractals: the device can radically change shape, function, mass and construction (a pen grows into a bazooka, an umbrella shrinks into a walkie-talkie)
Five Replicators: the device can now imitate any other device or creature (a pen becomes a laser sword, an umbrella becomes an android that looks like your aunt)

The number of successes rolled determines the effective Dice Pool the device uses (eg its damage rating if turned into a weapon; its armour rating if turned into protection; its Attribute+Ability Dice Pool for other actions). The cantrip lasts for up to a Scene or until the device makes a dice roll successfully, but successes from the casting roll can instead be assigned to giving the device additional actions. For example, rolling 4 successes could turn a telephone into a weapon that can make one 4 dice attack with a damage rating of 4, or two 3 dice attacks with a damage rating of 3. Turning a car into a submarine with three successes would let it go underwater for a Scene and make up to 3 manoeuvres before it started turning back into a car.

Mad Science devices are subject to being Disbelieved by very Banal humans and Autumn People. The Banality roll is deducted from the successes used to create them, ultimately turning them back into an ordinary device. The touch of Cold Iron instantly does this.

Cybernetics

This cantrip can also be used to create a Cybernetic Dweomer on a changeling’s Fae Mien. Seelie Fae associate Cybernetics with the Unseelie Court, especially Thallain and Dauntain. Although any Kithain can use Cybernetics, they will be met with hostility from Seelie Fae.

Successes Woad Effects Reaction from Seelie
One 1 dot in an Ability; -1 difficulty on a single Ability roll Suspicious, -1 dice for Social interaction
Two 2 dots in any Ability; -1 difficulty on a single Attribute roll or type of roll (combat, initiative, soak, cantrips, seduction, etc); heal one wound Suspicious, -1 dice for Social interaction
Three 3 dots in an Ability; -2 difficulty on a single Ability; +1 armour or damage or actions; heal two wounds Hostile, -2 dice for Social interaction
Four 4 dots in an Ability; -2 difficulty on an Attribute or type of roll; +2 armour or damage or actions; heal three wounds Hostile, -2 dice for Social interaction
Five 5 dots in an Ability; +3 armour or damage or actions; heal four wounds; one-off powers Inflammatory, -3 dice for Social interaction

A character can only benefit from one Cybernetic of each type and if there are two, the most powerful will take effect rather than the two adding together. Each Cybernetic adds Bedlam Points equal to its successes.

Cybernetics fade when used. The Cybernetics will be permanent if the character spends a point of Glamour, but this makes the Bedlam permanent too. The power in permanent Cybernetics can be used once per Story but a character can ‘reactivate’ Cybernetics by spending a point of Glamour. Permanent Cybernetics can be cancelled at any point by spending a Willpower point; this will return the changeling’s Mien to normal and get rid of the Bedlam. Being Undone or Fading will also cancel any Cybernetics.

For example, Bors has a Steampunk-skilled nurse place subdermal armour in his body. With three successes, Bors enjoys +1 armour, but this disappears after it soaks a wound. Bors likes this so much he makes the armour a permanent feature of his Mien. He spends a point of Glamour to do this and gains permanent +1 armour and three permanent Bedlam Points. Later he decides to get rid of the armour. Spending a Willpower point flushes it from his Mien and the three Bedlam Points disappear too.

Type: Wyrd


●●●●● Frankenstein’s Creation

The changeling can bring devices to life as chimerical creatures. The chimera is self-willed but well-disposed towards its creator and still feels great enthusiasm for its original purpose (guns like shooting, cars like driving).

System: Each success rolled becomes a dot in the Chimerical Companion background or 10 chimera creation points per success towards designing the new chimera. If the device is given Physical Attributes then it will become mobile so long as it is unobserved by unenchanted mortals; if it has Social and Mental Attributes then it can speak to enchanted creatures.

Any Glamour the chimera possesses must be bought with creation points but then fed to the chimera by the creator, either from the changeling’s Temporary Glamour or from Dross that is destroyed for the purpose. If the chimera possesses the Redes ‘Wyrd’ or ‘Enchant’ then this cantrip is Wyrd.

The effect is permanent, but chimera created this way are as vulnerable to Disbelief as any other chimerical being and, if they succumb to Banality, they are turned back into the original non-sentient device rather than banished to the Dreaming.

A changeling have as many chimeras created from this cantrip in existence at a time as he has dots in Permanent Glamour. If the changeling creates additional chimeras the cantrip will still work but the new chimeras will be hostile towards their creator and work against him, possibly attacking.

Type: Chimerical (or Wyrd)


Steampunk Bunks

Turn a screw or hammer a nail
●● Tinker with a device
●●● Dismantle a device
●●●● Build a device from scratch
●●●●● Construct something in a workshop

Steampunk

Tales of New Camelot Jon_Rowe