The Clockwork Rangers

All right, I’m recovered enough to start writing again – but I’m not going to bother trying to catch up on a few missed entries this time.

The toxic dust of a dying world blew upon the wind, drifting across the barren hills. The earth lay shadowed beneath a layer of eternal clouds that blocked out the sun to leave either sweltering hothouse barrens or deathly cold – and yet left even a spattering of corrosively contaminated rain or snow a rare and treasured thing. The few and scattered plants that grew were twisted and venomous – and those few of the animals that were still living things instead of undead horrors were worse.

For long centuries the colony had lain hidden deep beneath the hills – a stronghold of life from an earlier age, before the great war, before the spells of death, and fire, corruption, and plague had rained from the sky. An ark of hope for the future if the slow, cleansing, progress of wind and rain should ever make the surface truly livable again.

But the earthquake came many centuries too soon. While the children were rushed to temporary safety in the deepest caverns, the haven was opened to the poisoned surface, the techno-magical support systems were failing, and death awaited.

But loving elders would, as ever, sacrifice themselves for the children. They lacked the resources to repair everything, and their own failing bodies could not host their spirits much longer no matter how strong their wills – and so they worked with surviving fragments of lore and ritual, attempting to reseal the haven and to repair it’s systems by pouring their own spirits and life forces into them – hoping that their sacrifice would at least save the children.

And whether some nigh-forgotten power aided them, or their ritual both failed and succeeded beyond their wildest hopes, or some last remnant of the builders protective intent provided a focus for their sacrifice, they accomplished much of their goal. The remnants of the old systems twisted and changed – and the Clockwork Rangers were born from failing bodies, spells, and life support systems, transmigrated spirits, and a will to protect beyond death. Bodies of metal, crystal, ticking gears, and strange forces came forth in a final attempt to both save the children and to bring new life to a world on the brink of the final abyss.

Not surprisingly… some Clockwork Rangers sought out gates to other, more livable, worlds – allowing them to find homes for the children in their care. Others still travel the wastelands, rescuing occasional survivors and helping found and build communities as life begins – ever so gradually – to return. But even in kinder worlds… there is always a need of guardians

And, of course, there are always those who take such a gift and twist it to their own ends. Many things are created with good intentions, but go astray.

Clockwork Rangers have a variety of powers related to their original haven’s life, community, and social support systems as well as some basic defenses. Unsurprisingly, they are at their most effective in poisoned, blasted, environments where their powers are vitally necessary – but even in gentler areas, they are fairly durable and effective healers and reasonable combatants.

Clockwork Ranger 24 CP Acquired Template

Innate Enchantment: 11,500 GP Value (12 CP).

  • Handy Haversack: Only for storing toxins, radiation, explosives, and similar hazards (x.4 = 800 GP). Intelligent (500 GP): Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10, Speech (actually a display in the Clockwork Rangers vision and an auditory feed; the system cannot “talk” to anyone else, 500 GP), 120′ Senses (1000 GP) and Darkvision (500 GP), Benign Transposition 3/Day (1200 GP).
  • Field Provisions Box (2000 GP). A Clockwork Ranger and up to 5/15/45 Large/Medium/Small companions (or some combination thereof) need neither eat nor drink – although they can if they wish to do so.
  • Deep Breath (SL 1 x CL 1 x 2000 GP Unlimited-Use Use-Activated x .7 Personal-Only = 1400 GP). Clockwork Rangers need not breathe, and cannot drown, be suffocated, or be affected by inhaled gases unless they intentionally inhale them.
  • Amulet of Tears (2300 GP)
  • Healing Belt (750 GP)
  • Traveler’s Any-Tool (250 GP).
  • Each Clockwork Ranger has an additional 300 GP worth of permanent mundane gear installed, but it varies with each individual. One might have an alchemical lab and a bunch of reference material, another armor and weapons, and still another grappling hooks and engineering tools.

Since the original request was about Ponyfinder, and the Pathfinder Template can be presumed to be in play… there’s no need to worry about the 3.5 experience point cost of those enchantments.

Witchcraft I, II and III (18 CP)

  • Base Power = (Str + Dex + Con)/3, Save DC = (13 + Cha Mod).
  • Seven Basic Abilities:
    • Duty Beyond Death / The Adamant Will: Specialized and Corrupted / no cost, but only applies when a Clockwork Ranger is acting to defend its charges or other noncombatants.
    • Safe Haven / Hyloka: Corrupted for Increased Effect and Specialized for Reduced Cost (free): only to induce resistance to injury in companions, only works on those who remain within thirty feet for at least one hour and wears off after four hours if they depart that radius. Induces DR 5 / – and Universal Energy Resistance 5.
    • Purifying Aura / Witchfire, Specialized and Corrupted for a single (Increased Effect) / Detoxification. Toxins, radiation, plagues, and similar hazards are drawn from the surrounding 30′ radius and into the Clockwork Rangers extra-dimensional storage space. While it requires one Power to detoxify a living creature (and it can save if it wishes), maintaining a livable air bubble despite any reasonable level of contaminants, and slowly purifying the soil and water, is automatic.
    • Mass Driver / Hand of Shadows, Specialized and Corrupted for a single (Increased) effect: a Clockwork Ranger may spend 1 Power to launch three bolts of available materials. These get a +4 bonus over the user’s BAB, but are otherwise treated as if the Clockwork Ranger was using a heavy crossbow of the appropriate size. If they actually have an enhanced crossbow available, it’s bonuses apply as well even if they are not using it. This can be especially dangerous if the Clockwork Ranger has been operating in highly toxic areas, since any stored supply of toxins is a part of the available materials to be so launched.
    • Occult Physician / Healing. Clockwork Guardians are highly effective healers and extremely resistant to drugs, intoxicants, and similar biological difficulties. They also commonly apply this ability to either duplicate the effects of the Keep Watch spell (2 power) or to simply negate the negative effects of going without their trance-like equivalent of “sleep” (1 power per day).
    • Sweet Dreams / Dreamfaring. Specialized and Corrupted for a single effect at no cost. No matter how haunted, cursed, enchanted, or traumatized, anyone sleeping within a hundred and twenty feet of a Clockwork Ranger will have only peaceful, healing, dreams – equivalent to superb therapy.
    • Guardian / The Inner Eye, Specialized and Corrupted for a pair of ongoing effects at no cost – Status (the user may add up to (Wis) extra targets by giving them a token to carry) and Detect Hostile Intent.
  • Pact: Spirit (-12 CP). A Clockwork Ranger is already deceased, its spirit bound to the world by will and the damaged life support magic of an artificial body. When that body finally fails, that spirit flows into the earth, immediately becoming a part of the great cycle – beyond the reach of magic such as Raise (or Speak with) Dead or Resurrection. Still, where a Clockwork Ranger falls a green oasis will bloom even in the most desolate void- and will continue to flower while the Clockwork Rangers endure.
  • Advanced Abilities:
    • Intuitive Engineering / Master The Elements. Specialized and Corrupted for reduced cost / the Clockwork Ranger must evaluate the problem, survey the area, and actually work on building a practical solution – but they have an intuitive ability to lead the way in reshaping environments to support communities (2 CP).
    • Tending The Garden / True Prosperity. Specialized and Corrupted for reduced cost / a Clockwork Ranger who opts to settle in an area and devote it’s efforts to supporting a local community will allow such a community to prosper and grow at the upper limits for its environment – its harvests always good, its people and livestock healthy and fertile, and with many small disasters averted (2 CP).

A Great Light / Major Privilege, Specialized and Corrupted for Reduced Cost. A Clockwork Ranger can offer the newly dead an immediate reincarnation as a “young adult” Clockwork Ranger – if, and only if, they have died/are dying with major goals and commitments to things beyond himself or herself left unfulfilled, they are willing to accept the Spirit Pact involved, and they are willing to place their faith in the Clockwork Guardian (2 CP)

A Clockwork Ranger transformation has a total cost of 24 CP, and must be paid for immediately when acquired – most often by sacrificing some preexisting racial or personal abilities that seem incompatible with being a ghost haunting a body made of quasi-living machinery transmuted from your old corpse. If you REALLY can’t think of anything… each 6 CP not paid for will temporarily reduce one of your attributes by one. Those “lost” points will return when as the template is paid for.

Of course, they’re also a sort of “resurrection” available at level one – a econd chance for both dying people and dying worlds. They can also operate quite effectively whether or not the “superheroic” world template is in use. If it is… it’s fair enough to count the overall template as Specialized (cannot be powered with Mana), reducing the total cost of the package to 12 CP.

Why? Well…

“What if I want to play a Ponyfinder subtype (Chaos Hunter, Clockwork, Gem, Leatherwing, Sea Horse, or Zebra) in full-blown superheroic Equestria? How would they be changed to match the more powerful Pegasi, Unicorns, Earth Ponies, and Changelings you’ve built?”

“Well, the simplest approach is to go right ahead without changing anything. Take your racial writeup with it’s built-in Pathfinder Package Deal and build a character. If you’re in Equestria you get free Mana equal to your (Con Mod) each round from the Superheroic World Template, will probably be using the Low-Level Adventurer template, and get a free level instead of the +1 ECL Templates that Earth Ponies, Pegasi, and Unicorns use. Next simplest (at least for me) is change them however you and/or the game master want.”

“No, no! I want to see what your powered-up versions of those subtypes would be like!”

“Well… as I get to them then!”

One Response

  1. […] On the other hand, the Anomaly IS pretty much a “RIFTS” style setting – and this really has noplace else to go; these bonuses are already about as good as technological equipment gets, can’t be readily modified, and generally won’t stack with external gear. Given the nature of the Anomaly, a Seeker will fit in well enough there – although I wouldn’t try to use it in a normal setting. For that… try an Ironclad or a Clockwork Ranger. […]

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