OGL Ancients - Artificers

Seroster

Mongoose
The one part of the book that made me really scratch my head is the chapter on putting together artificer's contraptions. Is this really intended to be used to figure out how long it takes someone to make steam-powered doors for a temple? Seems complicated for something like that. Did the author(s) have in mind weird steampunk-like giant automatons powered by people in the body and legs peddling like mad? Shades of Jack of All Trades...

An example would really, really, REALLY have helped. I find the use of "Construction Points" and "Construction Target" to be kind of confusing; couldn't one simply say that an artifact has a Construction Cost of X, and it can be reduced by adding various bulky bits?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
This got me too.

While I've had this book since June (birthday present from my wife) I just cracked the Artifice chapter now. It reminds me a little of the Starship design book from FASA's old Star Trek line where you had to design everything from how many disruptors the ship had to what it's hull volume and tonnage were. In that case there was a big design-sheet you could fill out to help calculate various numbers and things.

I think OGL Ancient's "Artifice" section could use a sheet like that.

Also, a couple things seem to be missing:

- pp. 232 and 233 seem to suggest that each machine will have a stat-block like monsters, but example stat-blocks are never presented elsewhere. Later text on the pp. 233-243 presents the relevant information in a diffuse format so the designer has to sort through each page to fill out a stat-block themselves.

- pp. 233 mentions that artifact items can do damage, and p. 234 lists Construction Targets, craft DC and SD for a "Personal Weapon". But nowhere else can I find a reference for Construction Targets or Craft DC for specific amounts of damage the weapon would deal.

Can anyone help clarify these things for me?
 

JamalloKreen

Mongoose
Seroster said:
The one part of the book that made me really scratch my head is the chapter on putting together artificer's contraptions. Is this really intended to be used to figure out how long it takes someone to make steam-powered doors for a temple? Seems complicated for something like that. Did the author(s) have in mind weird steampunk-like giant automatons powered by people in the body and legs peddling like mad? Shades of Jack of All Trades...

An example would really, really, REALLY have helped. I find the use of "Construction Points" and "Construction Target" to be kind of confusing; couldn't one simply say that an artifact has a Construction Cost of X, and it can be reduced by adding various bulky bits?

Hero of Alexandria designed temple doors which operated something like this (more or less): priest (or supplicant) makes burnt offering on altar; air in altar is heated and rises, creating partial vacuum further down pneumatic pipes; water is sucked up pipe to fill vacuum; buoy on watertank lowers with water level, pulling rope which is wrapped around pulley system to amplify force; rope pulls open door, causing yokels to think that deity is pleased at having received burnt offering. It was more elegant than that, but that gives you some idea of what he did.

That was simple, though, compared to his stage shows. He had hydraulic and pneumatic and gravity-fed systems which were capable of putting on an entire play as a silhouette/puppet show, complete with sound effects, and for amphitheatres he designed completely mechanical stage sets. He was just one of several brilliant inventors of the Hellenistic Era. The most tantalizing thought is that the Alexandrians and Archimedes came very, very close to steampunk computing. There were several very sophisticated astronomical calculators and clocks built on the basis of gear systems, including a public clock/ephemeris in Athens, and it required just one or two more steps before someone could have made one powered by steam. The steam powered calculating engine would have been created a full two millennia before Mr. Babbage graced us with his powered Analytical Engine #3.
 
Top