Dragonmech is a setting created for D20 Fantasy (so basically 3.5 D&D). It includes mechs, lunar monsters, a nerf to all divine casters, and lots and lots of fun things to play with. It was designed by Goodman Games, and published under White Wolf's Sword and Sorcery Imprint.
The main continent in the setting is called Highpoint. Highpoint's most notable geographic feature is the rising yearly tides, which change in height up to 30 feet between seasons. This, coupled with the largely flat nature of the land, made permanent settlements rare. Thus, most of the population is nomads. Highpoint's second most notable feature is that the moon decided to pull a Majora's Mask and attempt to face-slam the continent. This resulted in several things: firstly, meteor storms every single night as the surface of the moon was stripped bare by gravity; second, lots of scary lunar monsters; and thirdly, as a byproduct of the previous two, the end of most civilization. However, not all was lost. Many dwarves, who were chilling underground when the meteors hit anyways, were able to survive. Other races, noting this, decided that death was not a preferable alternative to having to live in tunnels, and so tried to move in with the dwarves. They were less than pleased. A fragile peace was made with the non-dwarves who managed to get into the city, but thousands were turned away, left at the mercy of the harsh meteor showers (called "lunar rain") and the associated lunar dragons. With the underground packed, it didn't take long for people to start fighting; no full-scale wars were fought, but unrest was frequent.
Then one day, a single dwarf showed up. Claiming to be a "gearwright", he had a large book with metal pages, and from these pages he gave the dwarves mechs- large machines, of brass and wood, powered by steam, that could fight the dragons. These mechs, though clumsy and slow, could fell lunar dragons more reliably than armies or even powerful mages, and could be built relatively quickly (no assembly lines yet, so each part was hand-crafted). One day, the gearwright told an army of mechs to clear one square mile, and to defend it with their lives. In this square mile, the first city-mech was built. And from this giant mech, hope sprang.
It is the Second Age of Walkers. Man and dwarf alike have discovered the power of steam and clockwork to power mechs; even the elves have resorted to walkers, though they use magic rather than technology. The lunar rain has abated to a slightly painful haze at night. Society now revolves around the mech- city mechs are safety, smaller mechs are security, and any mech at all will keep you safe from lunar rain and the dragons that rampage around the country. It is an age of adventure, where daring mech-riders loot the ruins of civilization. It is an era of strife, as even the gods themselves war in the heavens for power. It is a time of intrigue, as countless fluid city-states jockey for power in a new and dizzying world. It is the Second Age of Walkers. And it is time for adventure.
What Does This Add?
- Mech Jockeys: They drive mechs. Get better skills with mechs, better driving in mechs, and able to do crazy stuff with mechs. Also gets some non-mech combat capability for when the DM gets sick of mechs eviscerating everything.
- Coglayers: They make mechs, as well as small steam contraptions. Coglayers get an arsenal of small devices (pumps, nozzles, even video and audio generators). Individually, they're useless, but when combined you can make voice-controlled helicopter flame drones or make a taser with a 40-foot range. When they start making mechs, everything dies as long as they have someone to ride them.
- Steamborgs: People who decided that THE FLESH WAS WEAK. Replace parts of themselves with robot parts, giving them stat bonuses, AC bonuses, and other fun things, but after a certain level they need to roll CHA checks to see if they turn into a robot that day. Splatbooks add some nice possibilities for them, such as a psionics version, a versatility version that lets them put swords, lockpicks, and crossbows in their arms, and various others.
- A couple variants on the core classes like "Constructers" wizards who focus on making Golems, "Clockwork Rangers" who do the whole loving nature thing, only inside the ecosystems of the City mecs massive internal power plants and power trains, called the Gear Forests and Stalkers who are Rogues who are good at sabotaging mechs.
Prestige classes include: Assimilated, which requires a character to slowly become a quadruple amputee (and eventually just a brain in a jar) in exchange for physically becoming a mech; mech devil, a form of mech jockey that allows you to make a monk-mech that punches people instead of using cannons; riftwalker, which makes the character a planeswalker; anklebiter, a specialist rogue who takes down mechs by boarding them and murdering everything inside; and Prophet of Dotrak, a chosen prophet of a god that is just beginning to exist who manifests this chosenness by slowly turning into a warforged.
- Coglings: Feral Halflings infesting the gearwork forests of the larger mechs. Culturally obsessed with stealth.
- Tik'Toks: Basically Warforged, but pure technology instead of a magic/tech hybrid.
- Tortogs: Turtle-people who can survive the lunar rains and thus tend to make a living as traders.
- Slathem: Fish people who were only affected by all this moon junk in that they can visit more places during the high tide seasons. They can survive out of water too.
- Zuleps: Dinosaur people obsessed with strength. You'll have to kill them if you want to take their stuff in exchange for yours.
Equipment / Spells
Beyond the obvious with the mechs and all, Dragonmech also adds some steampunk-y weapons and armor, including a primitive steam-powered machine gun, a flamethrower, and even a chainsword. Some new spells get thrown into the fray as well, most having to do with mechanical stuff (such as Tick-Tock Knock, a construct-disrupting spell, or Ferrous Soul, which allows a caster to reincarnate himself as a robot).
Religion in Highpoint
The whole "the moon very nearly murdered us" thing left many people wondering what the gods were doing when the moon decided to say hi. The gods were, in fact, trying to keep the lunar gods from screwing everything up, which they only partially succeeded in doing. Thus, most terrestrial gods are weakened and pragmatic; they'd rather give AntiLunar McSmitey his moon-monster-killing spells than give Healer McHealBot his Cure Light Wounds. Every divine caster must roll a check every morning to see if they get spells. If they pass, they get spells; if not, they get put on hold. Divine casters also have a much lower chance of being successfully resurrected, as the gods need their souls to murder moon-beast-souls, so getting brought back is a check, too. Lastly, a new deity is beginning to show up; Dotrak, the Machine God. People see mechs as salvation, and Dotrak is the embodiment of engineering. But he doesn't technically exist yet.
What About the Mechs?
Ah, yes, the mechs. Mechs in this setting are slow, clunky, and not all that agile (except for a few kinds, more on those later) think Titans rather then Evas. They also take a ridiculous amount of time to build- since everything must be hand-made, larger mechs can take hundreds of thousands of man hours to complete. Mechs are sorted by size (traditional D&D size categories, but a few added to go up to "City-Mech") and power source. Power sources are as follows:
- Steam. The easiest to make, and the most prevalent. Slower, but quite a bit more durable, and one of the more affordable options. A decent all-round or starting mech.
- Spring/Clockwork. A step up from steam- faster, quieter, requires less fuel, and incredibly rare and difficult to make. Critical hits on them are especially devastating; expect total loss of power for weeks if a cannonball so much as grazes your mech's torso. They're also more agile, but still really clunky and awkward, so make of that what you will.
- Manpower (though typically slaves in larger mechs): Usually used by more primitive tribes (and Orcs) because they don't have anything else. Fairly slow, but affordable, if nothing else.
- Magic: These "mechs" are actually golems animated by lots of magic. Sleek, fast, immune to crits, and cost more than a diamond-encrusted Tarrasque. Only the Elves make these, and they require high-level mages to even begin to make. Once the creation is done though, they require less crew, have more living/shipping space, and are far more dangerous than their non-magical brethren.
- Zombies!: It was only a matter of time before some necromancer decided to be REALLY evil and build a giant mech out of dead things. This mech is relatively inexpensive (the only materials you need are bodies- sometimes a LOT of them) and requires precisely one crew member to function- the necromancer who made it. Zombie mechs are similar to Magic mechs in that they require a high-level spellcaster to make, are immune to crits, and are actually golems; however, they are slow, so their main purpose is a transporter for massive zombie armies.
Mech combat is done using hardness of material instead of AC, because mechs have ACs of somewhere around 5. Mechs get special weapons, some of which are just giant versions of normal weapons (giant chainsword anybody?) and some of which are awesome (like a giant cannon built to kill city-mechs). Sometimes critical hits are scored on mechs and a table must be rolled on to determine the extent of the damage. Sometimes a weapon is lost; sometimes an entire mech shuts down; sometimes your cupholder breaks. It varies. Without critical hits, however, mechs are nigh invulnerable as hardness, object damage resistances/immunities, and a literal boatload of HP means that the usual D&D methods of killing things have little hope of stopping them.