Johnstone Metzger is the author of Class Warfare. The Dungeon World supplement deconstructs the original game’s classes and gives game masters the tools to create their own class. This week, I present to you: The Mechanical Man. If you want to play a pacifist Robo, this is the class for you.
The Mechanical Man
Like everything I create for RPGs, I decide to randomly generate the framework I use for the class. As Lady Luck would have it, I receive three disciple specialties: the crusader, the exorcist, and the impervious. The image of a ghost-busting robot comes to mind, and that’s when I know I have my class (even if the ghost-busting elements eventually fall to the wayside).
You know your purpose. It was as easy as opening your eyes, and knowing you could see, opening your ears, and knowing you could hear, and listening to the words coming from your creator’s mouth. The mortals who surround you would kill for the meaning of life, but sometimes you envy their ignorance. You have your orders, and you will not find rest until they are fulfilled. And they will be, in spite of rain, blizzard, war, or time. But what will become of you when your job is finally done, machine? Will you be free, or will you know death? These are the only answers you do not have.
Adam, Arnie, Dot, Herbie, Max, Nestor, Pris, QT1, Roll, Rosie, Tachikoma, Ziggo
The Names section doubles as a game of “Catch the Reference.” Also, note that even if the name of the class is The Mechanical Man, that doesn’t stop you from deciding what gender your character is (if they have one at all).
Choose one from each:
Sleek Metal, Rusty Gears, or Almost Too Lifelike
Even-Toned, Beeps and Whistles, or Monosyllabic
Herky-Jerky, Graceful, or Slow and Calculated
Your base damage is 0.
Your load is 20+STR.
Your maximum HP is 8+Constitution.
That isn’t a typo. I don’t know how well it will work in-game, but I think it would be interesting if The Mechanical Man followed Asimov’s Laws. To try to make up for it, I’ve doubled its load.
You start with these five moves:
A Walking Book
Your creator installed a great work in your mind to act as your knowledge base, and to aid you in fulfilling your purpose. It represents everything you know and inversely, everything you don’t know. Choose one:
○ A Bestiary of Unusual Creatures by Alfredus D’Flandress
○ The Craft: A Treatise on Warfare by Chuntao of the Flame
○ Praveus Posaem’s Compendium of Spells and Other Magicks
○ The Complete Pantheon: Our Gods, Their Rituals by Haiden Baird
○ An Atlas of the Known World, 7th Edition by Isabella of Leandro
○ Everything That’s Green and Grows by Mapleroar the Awakened Ent
○ Civilization: A History of Cities and the Laws That Run Them, author unknown
○ The Planes Above and The Planes Below by Marco Whitbottom
○ Hans Grimmer’s Collection of Tales: What is an Adventurer?
When you first encounter an important creature, location, or item (your call) that would be covered by this great work, you can ask the GM one question about it; the GM will answer truthfully. The GM may then ask you what the great work says about the subject.
The Body Electric
When you wear no armor or shield, you have 2 armor.
Dreams of Electric Sheep
When you watch over your sleeping companions, you can still gain the benefits of making camp if their rest goes uninterrupted. The GM may ask you how you keep your mind occupied as the hours pass.
You don’t need to eat, drink, or breathe. If a move tells you to mark off a ration just ignore it.
The Tenets of the Machine
You live by a code of three tenets, which you are forbidden to break.
○ You must not injure a living creature or, through inaction, allow a living creature to come to harm.
○ You must pursue your purpose to its end, as long as your actions do not violate the previous tenet.
○ You must protect your own existence as long as such protection does not inflict the previous two tenets.
Also, your creator made you for a purpose. Whatever it is, it fills your life with meaning and your movements with direction. Given the nature of your tenets, your purpose may not be focused around hurting a living creature. When you are acting against your purpose, you take -1 ongoing.
I’ve modified the starting moves from the book, to compensate for the Mechanical Man not being of flesh and blood. Note that the Mechanical Man can still be affected by debilities. Also note that the tenets frees the character to allow harm to the undead. There’s also now a bit of the Bard in there, too.
Choose your programming:
Deny your opposition power over your actions.
Give aid to someone who supports your purpose.
Endanger yourself in order to follow the Tenets.
Avoid loss or trouble by following the Tenets.
Fill in the names of one of your companions in at least one:
• _________ does not understand why my creator wants me to do what I am meant to do. I will help them understand, no matter how long it takes.
• _________ showed me true insights on the path I must follow.
• _________ is in constant danger, but I will keep them safe.
• _________ is tougher than they think. I will prove it to them.
You start with a keepsake from your creator symbolizing your purpose. You may also start with clothes, depending on what you look like. Choose one more:
○ Adventuring gear (5 uses, 1 weight)
○ Bandages (3 uses, slow) and a healing potion
○ Bag of books (5 uses, 2 weight)
○ Fifty feet of rope (1 weight)
That’s the first half of The Mechanical Man. Next week, the class will receive advanced moves to choose from at level up.
Class Warfare, on DrivethruRPG.
Dungeon World‘s official website.
Robo, a character from the Chrono Trigger video game.
Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics.
While you’re down here, check out The Last Mechanical Monster.