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Automatons and You: A Comprehensive Guide January 06, 2016 18:35

Let’s take a moment to talk about one of the best features of Tephra: automatons (the craftable kind that are probably not immediately trying to kill you). At first glance, choosing between the different kinds can be daunting and choosing augments even more so. Worry not! This guide to automatons will take you through your first steps toward figuring out exactly what you want from the best craft ever devised.


Let us first examine the three types of automatons available in the Playing Guide and go over their benefits and drawbacks with a fine-toothed comb.


Boilers

Sometimes referred to as “steamers,” boiler automatons work as an extension of the operator. They boast a high number of wounds and a natural soak class comparable to medium armor, which can be combined with armoring to make these clunky bots some of the best defenders around. These automatons are controlled with a remote device, using the operator’s action points to take actions.

Recommendation:

Because of their high defenses and the method of control, it is most common for these automatons to be built with the passenger augment, allowing the operator to sit inside and take advantage of the additional armoring and wounds.


Fuseboxes

These automatons have their own action points and a small number of hit points. The function of a fusebox is to act as another hero with its own selection of specialties. What makes these automatons unique is that specialties programmed into them operate at a specific skill value (minimum of 1). With the right augments, these automatons can boast the most skill usage or the most attribute values in the party.

Recommendation:

There are two augments that raise the effective skill points these automatons use for choosing skills: Fusebox Specialist and Master Fusebox. Applying both yields a fusebox that at Marque IV has 25 skill points for any specialties it knows. This means it is a master of up to 5 specialties, allowing these automatons to serve as powerful snipers, brawlers, tacticians, or whatever you can dream up. On top of these augments, you can choose 3 attribute augments to give them higher attributes than most adventurers can possess.


Clockworks

Feeling wound up and ready to spring on anyone that crosses your path? You might be a clockwork. These little buggers are simple and deadly with the right augments. Programmed with directive augments, some of which allow sub-directive augments to be applied, these automatons can make even the most vulnerable target a well-defended person of interest surrounded by many, many bodies.

Recommendation:

Want these things to wreck the field? Go ahead and give the avenge-me directive with the protect-me directive to these spring-traps. Anyone that attacks you will be attacking your clockwork, which will then fire back with ferocity.


You are now fully prepared to build an army of metal death machines that will give any narrator a headache. Want to get really crazy? Build all three and see what the battlefield looks like then. Want to read more about automatons? The Playing Guide can help you there!


The Arachnoforge: From Pitch to Paper January 02, 2016 12:46

With the upcoming Narrator’s Accomplice being nearly finished, we find ourselves looking back on our favorite monsters and how they came to be. Some of them were created on the spot, others had months of writing put into them, and some started out as jokes before evolving into the amazing monstrosities that they are now. One of our favorite creations from the list of monsters has to be the Arachnoforge: the automaton spider that produces and manipulates molten metal. I had the pleasure of developing this beastie, and I wish to share with you how it came to be.

I was tasked with fleshing out and finishing a number of creatures from the Rogue Automatons chapter. When I took the dive into the automaton section, I saw a list of many mechanical monsters that needed work, love, and a hint of madness in order to be made whole. As fate would have it, the Arachnoforge, being first on the alphabetized list, would get the first wave of madness I could produce. I had a solid but sparse concept designed largely with the efforts of Martin Solis and Geoffrey Treece. There were notes about other ideas that had been added on, and some of them went in some interesting directions.

One of them made this thing out to be some sort of walking tank that forged and shot its missiles. While that certainly sounded cool, I didn’t find myself agreeing that something named the Arachnoforge should do that. No, I decided to go a different route. I decided this automaton should embody the tactics of a spider, and the mind of a predator. I wanted this to be a foe worth fearing.



I took inspiration from the initial note that the Arachnoforge should be a walking furnace of molten metal. It would secrete this metal from its thorax much like a spider’s silk, and shape it into anything it needed. The first use for this molten metal was the Arachnoforge creating a metallic latticework that would make the terrain difficult to walk through.

I wanted to have the feeling of entrapment on multiple levels, so I then thought, “What’s the most horrible way I can overpower some weak adventurers?” I looked through the initial concept notes, and the answer gave me one of those evil smiles you might find on Snidely Whiplash (sans the mustache to twirl). The Arachnoforge would grab at opponents, pinning them to the ground under its bulk. Then, held down, the Arachnoforge would slowly encased its in molten metal, limb by limb. That was when I knew this creature was going to be giving players proper nightmares..

Between the lattice of metal web, the grappling style, and the victims being encased from head to toe in metal until they’re burned and suffocated, I felt great pride when I turned this in to the boss man. My pride went even higher when he said it was his favorite beastie from the Rogue Automatons Chapter. It was even the first one to get its artwork done! I couldn’t be happier with how the Arachnoforge turned out, and I look forward to getting feedback from people's encounters with it.


See below for the Arachnoforge’s stats and info, or check it out in our Narrator’s Accomplice.




Arachnoforge AP: 3 PAR: 4

Defective Automaton

HP: 108  |  Wnds: 12  |  Pri: +4  |  Spd: 25 ft (land), 35 ft (climb)

Brute +5 | Cunning +5 | Dexterity +12 | Spirit +0 | Sciences +0

Guard

Iron Frame - medium metal armor

Eva: -1 Def: +3

Soak:  3  |  6  |  9  |  12

Note: If armor is sundered, the Arachnoforge will gain +10 ft land and +5 climb speed.

Immunities: Anatomical effects (diseases, gases, medicines, poisons, venoms), bio-flux, and all abilities requiring a spirit resist. Fire does not damage the Arachnoforge.

 

Actions

1 AP

Piercing Clutch - Unarmed Grab

Acc: +6 Stk: +4

Damage:  6  |  12  |  18  |  24

Notes: On hit, target is grabbed and takes damage based on strike roll. Target may break the grab by spending 1 AP and rolling a Brute or Dexterity resist opposing the Arachnoforge’s Dexterity roll.

The Arachnoforge can maintain six grabs at once.


0 AP (Part of a Move)

Gridlock - Molten Metal

As the Arachnoforge scurries about, it can leave a thin trail of iron behind. Using its hind legs, it can fashion an iron web. Any space this web ends up on becomes a higher tier of rough terrain. If the terrain was not rough, it becomes minor terrain. If the space was Tier 4 Impossible terrain, then the space becomes a solid wall that cannot be moved through.

Note: The latticework of this web does look quite nice, though.


1 AP

Encase (Reflexive)

Once the Arachnoforge has grabbed an opponent, it can begin covering the victim with molten metal. For every AP spent, the victim has one called shot location encased in metal, causing them to suffer wound effects until their next breather. The molten metal also deals 1 point of unsoakable damage on contact.

Note: The neck wound effect will not bleed, but will instead cause the victim to begin suffocating.


Character Spotlight: Vadim “Lockdown” Aristov November 03, 2015 12:27

Within the cities of Zel Host, one might expect to see the results of dangerous experiments roaming about, commonly evading even the authorities. This is where many mercenaries and bounty hunters have an opportunity to take on some high-paying jobs. Vadim Aristov is one such bounty hunter.

Born into a poor family, Vadim didn’t have much in the way of prospects. Both parents were assistants to local scientists, but their lifestyle hadn’t improved. Vadim took to making his own work by taking on odd jobs from anyone needing help. What started as an innocent service turned shady quickly, and soon he was helping to smuggle controversial and dangerous goods for some notable scientists. When Vadim had learned enough to get by, he started making a new name for himself. He had seen the dangerous side of society, and saw his chance for redemption. He designed his own weapons, tools, and gadgets to serve his non-lethal approach to capturing some of the most dangerous targets in Zel Host. With a crossbow launching rubberized darts and specially crafted grabnets, Vadim began to draw attention from other mercenaries and locals. His methods earned him the pseudonym “Lockdown” due to his penchant for completely neutralizing his targets.


Tactics

Vadim’s tactics are  straightforward; he doesn’t change his approach unless a situation calls for it. With his wrist-mounted crossbows Vadim will work to disable his target’s senses and hinder their movement. He favors called shots to the eyes and legs. Once his target shows signs of exhaustion, he will load his Lockdown Grabnet, a grabnet with three sets of handcuffs built in, and carefully land his shot on his target. Once wrapped up in the net, the target has a brief window of time to escape, but usually a called shot to the groin  will keep them from doing so. Vadim will approach the target, fasten all three sets of handcuffs, and knock the target unconscious for good measure. From there, Vadim delivers the target and collects the greater of the bounties. Many mercenaries and bounty hunters have started to copy Vadim’s methods, as a live target is usually more profitable than a dead one.


Creation Concept

This character concept was inspired by the Omnitrinket. I had seen other amazing combinations with this trinket, like a portable door frame that is also a pitcase. My idea is to combine the grabnet with handcuffs for a complete, non-lethal shutdown. When it came to applying it to a character, I had to consider how the character would work. In a game where it’s easy to find many ways to kill opponents, I felt compelled to take the Batman approach. The main feature is the grabnet, which must be removed before the target can do anything else. When I saw that Handcuffs had to be broken out of before any other action could be taken, I was inspired. With these two trinkets combined and used properly, I had my Lockdown. My hope is that this character might inspire other interesting builds from outside the box.





Vadim “Lockdown” Aristov

Level: 4 Ap: 4
HP: 33 Wounds: 12
Priority: 7 Speed: 20 feet, 5 feet climb, 5 feet swim

Guard

Leather armor with metal plates (medium armor)
Eva: 0 Def: 0
Soak: 3 | 6 | 9 | 12

Attacks

Rubberized Crossbow Dart (1 AP)
Range: 75 feet
Acc: 7
Damage: 3 | 6 | 9 | 12
Note: Rubberized darts do not deal fatal effects. Target is knocked unconscious once wounds are gone.

Lockdown Grabnet (1 AP)
Range: 75 feet
Acc: 7
Target is wrapped by a special grabnet containing three sets of handcuffs built in. The net can be removed by spending 2 AP. If the target becomes bound by the handcuffs, they can be broken with a tier 3 Brute roll.
Note: In order to break the handcuffs, the net must first be removed. In order for the net to be removed, the handcuffs must be broken. Anyone restrained by both is completely helpless until someone or something else sets them free.

Aim (1 AP)
Gain bonus on next ranged accuracy roll. May be used multiple times for a higher bonus, but lost if attacked before used.
Tier 1 +1 to accuracy roll
Tier 2 +2 to accuracy roll
Tier 3 +3 to accuracy roll
Tier 4 +4 to accuracy roll

Skills
Resilience: +2  
Agility: +1
Marksmanship: +6
Espionage: +1
Luck: +1
Armsmith: +5
Gadgetry: +5

Attributes
Brute: +2
Dexterity: +7
Cunning: +1
Spirit: +1
Science: +10

Reference

Specialties: Crossbow Craftsman, Trinket Crafter, Invisible Blade, Snap Reload, Aim, Sneaky Seconds

Augments: Omnitrinket, Grabnet, Handcuffs, Delivery, Scope, Accurate

Racial Traits: Innovative, Peerless, Reactionary

Stories: Lawman, Kinematician


How to Build and Play a Sniper October 23, 2015 13:39

The lone figure crouches behind a barrel, the only contrast to his silhouette is the glint of his rifle. He chances a look above the barrel and spots his unsuspecting target. He stabilizes himself on the barrel’s top and lines up the crosshairs. Time seems to slow down. While releasing a deep breath, he squeezes the trigger, and within a brief moment the target lies motionless on the ground. As confusion and panic spreads among the bystanders, the lone figure makes his exit.

Playing a sniper is among one of the most popular roles for Tephra adventurers. This role has the ability to look down the sights at a creature and silently eliminate it. It’s a tactical position to be in and in some cases the options for building one can be overwhelming, confusing, and unclear. In Tephra, there are many ways to build and play a sniper and with the wide selection of specialties, you have all the tools you need to design a sniper to fit your preferred playstyle.

Read more here


Did the Golden Bandit really just try to steal an entire Clocktower? May 01, 2015 12:45

The Golden Bandit (& other Rangston Adventures) has just released!

We've been working on this little doozy for a while. Rangston's a troubled town in Western Evangless, where the law isn't well enforced and inventors just want to have fun. It's a place where people like the Golden Bandit can pull off heists so spectacular that they involve stealing a whole clocktower. It's a place where cattle barons and Brimstones fight to keep everyone under their thumb.

I've never been happier with an expansion release. Not only is Victor Helton's newest art spot-on, but this adventure also comes fully-packed with a ton of ideas, adventures, and people to use in Rangston. And if that doesn't get you, then how about the full list of background stories and a new craft: Widgets?

But what really tickles my fancy is that this book's creative lead also made a cool tune to go with Rangston. You can check it out on our Soundcloud.

Cheers & Gears


Mementos just got a Lucky Update! April 29, 2015 15:33

One of our classic favorites, Mementos, just got an update!

I've always had a weird love for Mementos. It's unusual. It's not one of the normal ideas; this isn't "crafting a sword" or "building a rifle." This is taking a normal every-day item and "crafting" some lucky or unlucky traits into it. It lets you take your character's lucky signet ring, and suddenly it has all of these reality shaping "powers" that only exist at the table.

But Mementos can also be used for some pretty intense tricks. Let's say you're a beta rifle crafter. Now you can take your beta rifle and make it a memento. Then you can bind it to yourself, so even if you lose it or it gets destroyed, it'll somehow coincidentally wind up in your possession again. Mementos isn't just quirky, it's powerful!

So what's new with Mementos? We've just updated some of the formatting and added 8 new lucky and cursed items for you to use in your game (or just for inspiration). And they cover every level, from the easier trinket to Lord Hazard's Signet Ring - a kingdom-shaping lucky ring.

Mementos is available here for just $1.99, and it's a steal!

Remember: If you buy the file from us, if we ever update the file, we'll update you too. That way you always have the newest file. Game on!