Runequest Thursday #118 - Mechamagical Constructs and Attunement!

Clint Staples

Here are a couple of mechamagical constructs, remnants of the Machine City that have survived to the modern day Clanking Ruin. They are not commonly available and represent rare and valuable, and deadly, and expensive, items retrieved from the Ruin, sometimes as considerable loss of life.

They could just as easily await discovery by explorers of the Clanking Ruin, which allows groups of players ot find, possible, fight or otherwise take control of, and return with as spoils.

The fun should not end there.

The Lunars would be very happy to commandeer such war machines, and are unlikely to take no for an answer. If they have sufficient strength, they are just as unlikely to want to pay for them.

Other powers, like Avorax, the failed Dragonewt Ascendant, might want to keep them under wraps so as to preserve the delicate status quo that maintains in Bayside, the rough and tumble community of looters, adventurers, and explorers that work the Ruin.

Similarly, the Ankeshel Collective of Sorcerers, who have a large and well-equipped, if rather unruly, army of ne'er-do-wells as a cordon between anyone and the deeper ruins, would be only too happy to relieve, beleaguered, possibly exhausted, returning explorers, of their treasures.

Other threats are also likely. Just about anybody would be happy to own such an item, even if they only wish to sell it.

The Reaver has previously been posted here. This one is commonly called the "Manticore Variant" because of the  special (and rare) bolts its shoots from its prehensile metal tail. Other variants include the Gorgon, which incorporate a plasmechanical beam generator into its tail instead, and the Dragon, which has a slashing blade affixed to the tail in place of other weapon, and can spit gouts of fire over a large area. The Reaver is not notmally fitted with a Command Matrix, and is a "Thinking" Machine, a product of the Devourer, a particular design house of mechanical monstrosity that survives to the present day Clanking Ruin. This reaver has been "retrofitted" by some enterprising, and very brave, soul. The Attuner, through the Command Matrix, can control this reaver, even, with effort, access its memories - which could go back nearly one thousand years.

The other construct is a Walking Platform. Originally contrived for the nobles and powers of the Machine City, as a conveyance that lifted them above the hoi poloi, Walking Platforms were adapted to the battlefield early in the Ten Year Siege of Zistorwal. Indeed, their ability to move through rugged terrain, carrying and protecting potent mages or warriors, was formative to the notion of creating greater and larger war-engines (perhaps we can visit them in another post).

Both these war-engines require Attunement. The process of Attunement is detailed below, and included in each engine'e write-up.


Attunement Ritual: The prospective attuner rolls on his Theurgy, Sorcery or other Magical skill to craft a ritual that will aid in his attunement of the reaver. On a success, the number of POWer dedicated to the Attunement is reduced by 1. On a special success, the POW is reduced by 2. On a critical Success, the POW is reduced by 3. Attunement does not require tis stage, but it is often advantageous to attempt it..

Attunement Roll: To Attune, a roll of POW x5 or less must be successful. If the roll is POW x5, the Attuner dedicates 5 POW to the Attunement (see Below for Dedication). Each increment of POW less that 5, reduces the dedication of POW by that number (POW x4 = 4 POW, POW x3 =3 POW, etc).

Some items, like the Reaver, require greater POWer to Attune. In this case, the amount of POW required is +3, meaning that whatever the final result of the ritual and Attunement rolls, the Dedication requires 3 more POW. So a special success on the ritual (-2 POW) and a POW x4 roll on the Attunement roll (4 POW), would be modified by +3 POW. So, -2+4+3= 5 POW Dedicated to the Attunement.

POW Dedicated to Attunement cannot be used for any other purpose in the game without breaking the Attunement. It cannot be used to cast spells, devoted to gods, etc.