It is the Tinker’s gift and curse to be the masters or pawns of technology (depending upon whom you ask) in a world where magic is the ruling force. Their sheer love for technology often does them a disservice, for they improve technological devices to death. Simple mechanisms are scoffed at by tinkers (“Nothing so simple could possibly work!”) and redundancy is the tinker watchword (“…and here we see the bell that informs us that the alarm system trouble gong has just gone off….”).

Base Class Statistics:

  • Ability Requirements: Aim 12, Reason 10
  • Alignments: Any
  • Experience Chart: Rogue
  • Hit Dice: d4
    • Starting Hit Dice: 2d4
    • Maximum Hit Dice: 10d4 (at 9th level)
    • Additional Hit Points: +2 per level beyond 9th
  • Attack: Wizard
  • Saves:
    • Paralyzation/Poison/Death: as Priest
    • Rods/Staves/Wands: as Priest
    • Petrification/Polymorph: as Priest
    • Breath Weapon: as Priest
    • Spell: as Priest
  • Proficiencies:
    • Weapons, Initial: 1
    • Weapons, Advancement: +1 per 2 levels
    • Non-Weapon, Initial: 6
    • Weapons, Advancement: +1 per 2 levels
    • Non-weapon Proficiency Groups: Craft, +1 of the player’s choice
  • Allowed Weapons: Any
  • Allowed Armor: Any

Class Features:

Tinker Devices: When a Tinker sets out to invent something, its a good bet that the invention will initially be at least 30 times larger than necessary, will make 10 times as much noise as it should, will have many totally redundant features, and will fail miserably, if not disastrously. While these strictures on size and redundancy still hold true for Tinkers, they tend to be a great deal more successful than their kin. While Tinkers do build devices more complex than needed, their inventions WORK-though admittedly in a roundabout and complex fashion.

Whenever a PC Tinker wishes to create a technological device, he is required to design it himself with the following procedure. The DM is free to check the work and make any modifications he deems necessary. The following steps are required to make a Tinker Device:

I. Determine Complexity (Size): To create a technological device, you must first determine its level of complexity. See the Device Complexity table that shows the various complexity values for many of the effects that Tinkers commonly like to see on their devices. (The complexity rating also gives the size of the device.) Add all the complexities for all the device’s effects to get the total complexity of the device (see Final Design Modifiers below).

The DM of the game, as in all things, is the final arbiter of just which effects are needed to
make a device function. Ask all of the following questions when designing a gnomish device:

  1. Will it do damage, protect from damage or restrain another being?
    Determine if it does damage or protects from damage. Refer to the Device Complexity table to determine Combat Complexity from the amount of damage or protection desired. If the device is designed to restrain another being, then determine the complexity/size of the object by the HD of the creature being restrained. Count it as one complexity level for every two hit dice or levels of the target creature. Restraining an 8-hit die creature is a Complexity 4 task.
  2. Does it move something or itself?.
    Determine if it moves another object (throws victim) or moves itself (flying machine). If the device throws things, then consult the column labeled “Move Vertical” on the Device Complexity table. If the device moves objects and itself (flies), then check the column labeled “Move Horizontal.” Note that this vertical movement is straight up unless some horizontal movement effect is also included. (The numbers given in these movement columns can be either a total distance or distance per round, whichever is most appropriate.)
    • Size modifier: This assumes that the object being moved is size I or smaller (roughly the size of a small sack).
    • Minimum Size: Compare the size of the object to be moved with the size of the device. If the device is less than three sizes larger than the object, then the size and complexity of the device equal the size of the object plus 3. If the device merely moves itself across the ground, then no modifier is needed.
    • Duration: Use the following Duration Modifiers chart to determine vertical movement complexity modifiers for the desired duration. Note that Duration Modifiers only affect the complexity of the device, not its size.
Desired Duration Damage Vertical Movement Horizontal Movement Environmental
Momentary N/A N/A N/A N/A
1-3 Rounds +1 +1 N/A N/A
4-6 Rounds +1 +3 0 +1
7-9 Rounds +2 +3 -1 +1
1-3 Turns +3 +4 -2 +2
4-5 Turns +4 +6 -3 +2
1-2 Hours +5 +7 -4 +3
3-6 Hours +6 +8 -5 +4
1 Day N/A +8 -6 +6
1 Week N/A N/A -7 +7
Permanent +8 +10 N/A +10
  1. Does it move something or itself any distance along the ground?
    Determine if it moves another object (shoves a victim) or moves itself (mobile machine). If the device merely shoves or, in the case of a catapult, throws the victim over a distance, then consult the column under “Move Vertical.” If the device moves with the victim, then check the column under “Move Horizontal”.
    • Minimum size: The same restrictions on minimum size for vertical movement apply here except that the difference must be twice or less.
    • Duration: Use the Duration Modifiers chart to determine ground movement complexity modifiers for duration.
  2. Does it alter the environment or have an area of effect?
    The amount of material altered and whether the affected region is inside the device also factor into the equation. If altering material inside the device, add 1 to Complexity per 2,000 cubic feet altered after the first 100 cubic feet. If altering an external environment, add 2 to Complexity per 1,000 cubic feet altered including the first 1,000 cubic feet.
    Note that gnomish devices are often larger than the environments they alter.
  3. Does it alter an existing object?
    Tinkers commonly build devices to help them build devices (a frightening thought to those familiar with tinkers). If the device takes an unfinished or partially finished object and changes it into a more finished object, then the device has this effect. Determine the complexity difference between the original object and its final state. This is done by subtracting the complexity of the finished object from the complexity of the original object. A machine to craft raw quartz into finished lenses takes an object of complexity 20 and makes it into an object of complexity 1, a difference of 19. This means that the machine has a complexity of 19. A machine that takes glass (complexity 8) and makes it into finished lenses (complexity 1) has a complexity of 7.
    Take the size of the object being refined (from the first column in the complexity table) and add that to the device’s complexity rating.
  4. Final design modifiers
    Each effect has a complexity rating. Often a tinker will build a device with several effects. For example: a machine to move along the ground and fire flaming metallic projectiles has complexities and size ratings for both horizontal movement and damage. To determine the final complexity rating for a device, first find the highest complexity rating among the effects listed. Add 1 to that complexity for each effect beyond the one listed. In the case of the vehicle mentioned above, that is one additional effect so 1 is added to its complexity. The size of the device greatly affects its complexity and determines whether sufficient materials are available to build it. The base size of any device is equal to its unmodified complexity rating. This means that a complexity level 20 device always starts as a size 20 device. This is not necessarily how large the device must be. The tinker may elect to make the device smaller, but this increases the complexity of the device. On the other hand, the tinker may elect to make a device bigger and thereby reduce the final complexity of the device. Generally speaking, the larger the device, the less complicated it is (i.e., it has a better chance of working), while the smaller the device, the more complicated it is (i.e. it has a worse chance of working). This reflects the gnomish philosophy of engineering. Remember, however, larger devices require more materials to build (more expensive) and are harder to move.
  5. The size of the design can now be altered.
    Subtract 1 from the complexity for each size larger the object is built. Add 1 to the complexity for each size smaller the object is built. Note that a tinker who attempts to build a large device must also pay for the materials with which to build that device.

II. Determine Final Modifiers: How well a device is made depends largely on who made it. Just as magical swords have plus modifiers and cursed swords have minus modifiers, so too do gnomish devices. Add a +1 modifier to the device for every level of complexity the device is below the level of the Tinker who made it. Give it a -1 modifier for every complexity level of the device higher than its maker. Thus a 12th-level tinker who makes a level 15 netflinger would suffer a -3 penalty on his roll to see if the device suceeds. If the same tinker made a rockpitcher with a complexity of 8, he would gain a +4 bonus on his roll for success.

III. Determine Availability of Materials: Every gnomish device must include at least one selection from the five following component groups in order to function. It must also fit the following basic criteria:

  1. It must have a number of components equal to its complexity. If the device has a final complexity of 15, then it must have 15 separate parts.
  2. There must be a balance in the number of parts from at least three part groups. A device may have, for example, two parts from group #1 and group #2 and three parts from group #3 but may never have three parts from group #1 and only one part from groups #2 and #3. The components used are determined by the desires of the designer. The DM must then determine if the items mentioned are obtainable in the quantities required. The size of the device also affects availability. Multiply the total costs of all components by the size of the device to determine the cost of building the mechanism. Tinkers often think up items that are far too expensive to build, so do not lose heart if your first few designs are beyond your means. Also it must be noted that a tinker can construct any of these items from elementary materials (cut wood from trees for frames, cut gears from sheets of metal, etc.), but this doubles the construction time of the device.
Part Group Part Cost per size
1-Mechanical Transmissions Pulleys 5 gp
1-Mechanical Transmissions Shafts 10 gp
1-Mechanical Transmissions Gears 20 gp
1-Mechanical Transmissions Belts 100 gp
1-Mechanical Transmissions Screws 500 gp
1-Mechanical Transmissions Blades 1000 gp
2-Other Transmissions Fans/Vanes 10 gp
2-Other Transmissions Steel Rods 20 gp
2-Other Transmissions Glass Rods/Panes 40 gp
2-Other Transmissions Bellows 200 gp
2-Other Transmissions Pumps 1000 gp
2-Other Transmissions Tuning Forks 2000 gp
3-Drive Sources Counterweights 30 gp
3-Drive Sources Springs 60 gp
3-Drive Sources Waterwheel 100 gp
3-Drive Sources Windmill / Coal Fire 200 gp
3-Drive Sources Steam Boiler & Pipes 1000 gp
3-Drive Sources Sun Mirrors 2000 gp
4-Frames Stone Frame 5 gp
4-Frames Woode Frame 10 gp
4-Frames Iron Frame 20 gp
5-Components Clockworks1 50 gp

1 A clockwork is required for any device that has a delayed action, an automatic sequence, or has anything to do with information storage or communication.

IV. Build the Device: The time required to build the device depends upon its size and complexity, according to the following table. Multiple the size of the device by its complexity and then refer to the following chart. Tinker devices are always unique. They never produce a device the same way twice and thus they cannot duplicate previous work. They may attempt a “new and improved” version of an old design, but there is no guarantee that it will work as well as it did before.
Having additional Tinkers does not decrease the construction time (if you have worked with Tinkers, you know why). At the end of this time. the device is finished. Note its statistics for future use.

Size x Complexity Time to Construct
1-3 1d10 turns
4-10 2d20 turns
11-25 2d20 hours
26-50 2d6 days
51-100 1d4 weeks
101-400 2d20 months
401+ 4dl2 months

V. Use The Device: Every time a Tinker device is used, roll 1d20, add or subtract any modifiers (see Step II above), and add an additional +1 for every point of Reason over 10 that the Tinker possesses (thus a Tinker with a Reason score of 13 gets a +3 bonus on the check). Then consult the table below:

Complexity Success Unpredictable Failure
1 16+ 15 14 or less
2 16+ 14-15 13 or less
3 16+ 13-15 12 or less
4 17+ 13-16 12 or less
5 17+ 12-16 11 or less
6 17+ 12-16 11 or less
7 17+ 11-16 10 or less
8 18+ 10-17 9 or less
9 18+ 9-17 8 or less
10 18+ 8-17 7 or less
11 18+ 7-17 6 or less
12 18+ 6-17 5 or less
13 19+ 6-18 5 or less
14 19+ 5-18 4 or less
15 19+ 4-18 3 or less
16 19+ 3-18 2 or less
17 20+ 3-19 2 or less
18 20+ 3-19 2 or less
  • Success: This means that the device works as intended. It will move, inflict damage, send messages, heat food. make light, or whatever it was created to do. Each time the device works, a +1 modifier is added to the device for its next roll on this table. (If it worked once, it has a better chance, of working again!)
  • Unpredictable: The device works, but not the way the designer originally intended. The precise effects vary, but generally consult the Device Mishap table. Roll 1d20 on the table and interpret the results as humorously as the situation allows.
  • Failure: The device totally fails to function. It can be repaired by any Tinker whose level is equal to or greater than the complexity of the device. The repair time is two hours times the complexity of the device. Also, each time a device fails, a -1 modifier is subtracted from subsequent rolls on the preceding table.


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