Upper-Class Upgrades

August 28th, 2013

Joshua Zaback

Magic Market Archive

            Hello everyone and welcome to another exciting edition of Magic Market, where week after week we bring you new and ever more exciting magic items and gear to improve your game. This week is Construct Week, a celebration of all things constructs and a thin excuse to finally provide some real support for Codex Mechanica: On the Creation of Fabricants, one of our old school releases. Today we’re going to talk a little bit about something which isn’t quite a magic item, but which act like them in a few different ways. That’s right: upgrades for fabricants! For those of you who need a refresher, here are some basics.



            Upgrades represent physical modifications that can be made to fabricants (or, in some cases, grafted onto organic creatures). They can be gained through class features or feats, and allow a fabricant to be fully customized for different uses. The upgrades listed here represent only some of the most common upgrades available, and clever inventors are always thinking up new ways to improve on existing fabricant design. For a more expansive list of basic upgrades, see Codex Mechanica: On the Creation of Fabricants.


Upgrade Types

            All upgrades are divided into five categories based on what kind of function they serve. These five categories are armor, movement, sensory, weapon, and miscellaneous. Armor upgrades provide AC bonuses, and, in some cases, damage reduction. Movement upgrades improve the subject’s movement, or provide entirely new forms of movement. Sensory upgrades improve the subject’s senses, or provide entirely new senses. Weapon upgrades install weapons on the subject, or improve existing weapons already installed upon the subject. Finally, miscellaneous upgrades can perform a variety of different functions, and form a sort of “catch-all” upgrade category.

            Typically, when a character gains a new upgrade, the feat or class feature granting the upgrade will specify the upgrade’s type. If it doesn’t, the character is free to choose an upgrade of any type, so long as he qualifies for it. Note that characters with an armor upgrade are not able to wear other forms of armor on top of the armor installed by the upgrade.


Upgrade Levels

            Each upgrade has a level, ranging from 1 to 5, These levels denote the overall power of the upgrade, and how difficult it is to install. Certain characters’ bodies are more tolerant of upgrades than others, and high-level upgrades may be rejected by subjects who aren’t capable of handling them, simply falling inert and failing to act. Each level of upgrade requires a certain modification level in order to be installed properly. Modification levels measure a subject’s ability to accept such invasive modifications to their body, and typically increase as a character gains levels. As a rule of thumb, an iron warrior or iron magus’ modification level is equal to his class level, and fabricants of other classes have a modification level equal to 1/2 their class level. Non-fabricants have a modification level of 0 unless they have levels in a class that increases their modification level (such as iron magus), or they have a class feature, feat, or other special ability that grants them a modification level. Table: Upgrade Levels indicates the minimum modification level necessary to make use of an upgrade of a given upgrade level.


Upgrade Table


            Modification levels also govern some aspects of some abilities that upgrades grant, such as the DC for most saving throws and the number of rounds that an ability can be used per day, etc.


Type Miscellaneous; Level 2
Benefits: Your exoskeleton is coated in a photo-reactive substance that alters its appearance to mimic your surroundings, much in the same way as a chameleon does. As long as you don’t move for a full round, you gain a +1 bonus on all Stealth checks you make, as your body changes color to match your surroundings. This bonus increases by an additional +1 for each full round that you do not move, to a maximum bonus of +10. Additionally, if you refrain from moving for 11 or more consecutive rounds, you may use the Stealth skill to hide even while being observed. If you move, you immediately lose these benefits.


Type Miscellaneous; Level 4
Prerequisite: Heat Chamber
Benefits: You have a special system that allows you to transfer water from a tank installed within your body through heated tubes, to be expelled from your mouth as a cloud of superheated steam. Expelling a cloud of steam in this fashion is a standard action that creates a 30-foot cone of blistering steam that deals 5d6 points of fire damage to each creature in the affected area. Your water tank can hold enough water for 3 uses of this ability before it needs to be refilled. Refilling the water tank requires consuming 5 gallons of water.


Type Miscellaneous; Level 3
Benefits: You have a core that generates incredible heat. This heat is transferred evenly throughout your body, keeping your internal systems safe from harm while causing damage to anything that comes into contact with your superheated skin. Your weapon upgrades deal an additional 1d6 points of fire damage, and any creature that hits you with a natural attack or a metal weapon without reach suffers 1d6 points of fire damage.


Type Sensory; Level 3
Benefits: You have sensors that allow you to distinguish heat sources, even through walls and in total darkness. This sense extends to 100 feet and shows a burning red outline for most living creatures (cold-blooded creatures barely register this vision, and can only be detected at distances of 50 feet or less, and do not register through walls or other barriers). The senses are sufficient to provide a perfectly clear idea of where the target is located and defeats most forms of stealth and concealment which do not specifically conceal the target’s heat. This sense only reveals heat signatures, and causes you to become blind to your other surroundings which do not give off heat, making it difficult to navigate through various settings. You can suppress or resume this sense as a move action.


Type Weapon; Level 3
Benefits: You mount a retractable, steel-barbed net in your arm, which you can launch with extreme force through an opening in your palm. Launching a net launcher functions just like throwing a net, except that the range increment is 30 feet. If you entangle a target, you can manipulate the net in one of two ways on subsequent turns. First, you can retract the net, pulling the target towards you. This requires a successful combat maneuver check and moves the target 5 feet towards you, plus an additional 5 feet for every 5 points by which you exceed the target’s CMD. Alternatively, you can choose to electrify the net, inflicting 3d6 points of electricity damage to the target each round, until he escapes the net. A successful Reflex save (DC 10 + 1/2 your Hit Dice + your Dexterity modifier) halves this damage. Activating or maintaining the electricity in the net is a standard action.


Type Miscellaneous; Level 4
Benefits: You have an arcane power system installed which causes you to exist partially on the material plane and partially on the ethereal plane. Creatures on the material plane have a 20% miss chance against you, and see you as a misty version of yourself. Creatures on the ethereal plane can also perceive and interact with you, but have an 80% miss chance against you. Similarly, you suffer a 20% miss chance for attacks made against creatures or objects on the material plane, and an 80% miss chance for attacks made against creatures or objects on the ethereal plane. Normally, you see as though you were on the material plane, and remain largely oblivious to anything occurring on the ethereal plane, but, as a move action, you can choose to view the ethereal plane, instead, in which case you continue to view the ethereal plane until you change your vision back, as a move action. This upgrade works in the opposite fashion if you travel to the ethereal plane. This upgrade does not function on planes which do not border the ethereal plane. You can activate or suppress this upgrade as a full-round action.