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One of a kind steam powered gadget.
It's more or less common knowledge in the Occult Underground that two adepts in the same school don't get along very well, if at all. Unless there's a mentor-apprentice relationship that involved a direct transfer of magickal theory and technique, the actual views of the adepts are not in alignment. This is usually more than enough grounds for a grudge match.
Different schools do this in different ways, though. Bodybags are known to enter a classic case of escalation, each mage taking greater and greater risks until one's luck runs out or enough juice is available for a lethal blast(s). Bookworms are more subtle, as they attempt to separate each other from their books without damaging them. Fleshworkers, strangely enough, fight from a distance most of the time in an attempt to prevent unauthorized body alterations; an epideromancer who attacks directly and up close with magick is either inexperienced, super powerful, or dangerously clever.
And for Clockworkers, whoever makes the best toys, wins. Indeed, sometimes clockworkers will meet up and have their machines spar, wagering ancient items or machinery on the outcome. But just trying to out-awesome the other guy is more common. Hence, the Clockwork Harness.
When Natalie Tremaine, a clockworker who learned the art from her paternal grandfather, heard of something called the Utility Bandolier, her first thought was how to improve on it. (When you are restricted by old technology, it's important to constantly improve everything else.)
After about three months, the gadget was complete. Natalie has been tweaking it on and off ever since. Originally a combination vest-backpack-corset, it's become almost a full bodysuit, omitting only the arms and head. Only one is known to exist and Natalie has no plans to make another unless the one she has is destroyed. Not stolen, destroyed -- if it's stolen, she'll lay waste to whole neighborhoods to get it back.
Features of the Clockwork Harness (note that some are magick machinery and some are just modern ideas done with old hardware and materials with no magick):
1. Limelight. Used back in the 1800s as a sort of bright (and green) illumination, especially in theatre spotlights. Very bright and hot, great for checking dark areas and getting rid of tenembrae for a while, but makes Natalie a very big target at night. Also, while the calcium oxide is relatively easy to find, storing the oxygen and hydrogen for the flame to heat it is not. Natalie is trying to build a small electrolysis plant to provide brown's gas for the flame, but it is not a high priority. The limelight is built right into the center of the abdomen of the suit and can be directed with a set of glass lenses mounted in brass right in front of it. (This protrusion is about two inches long and three inches in diameter.)
2. Movement Assist. First these were large mechanical legs that extended from the backpack to push against the ground, now they are spring-loaded mechanisms built right into the leggings of the suit. They let Natalie run 50% faster than she can unaided, and jump twice as high or as long. Not spectacular, but very useful.
3. Shields. Flat panels mounted on sets of long, multi-jointed arms. Normally resting by the sides of the backpack, like furled wings, they detect and automatically block incoming projectiles, from bullets to arrows to baseballs. They cannot fully protect against armor piercing fire, though, and the arms that move the protective panels around have exposed workings that can be jammed or damaged.
4. Hazardous Material Detox Device. On the assumption that most toxins injure by reacting with the body's tissues, this device seeks to neutralize them by making them react with ozone. A primitive Tesla-coil-based apparatus in the backpack creates ozone, which is piped out through a rubber hose Natalie must manually aim (normally coiled up under the left arm). The ozone is intended to neutralize some poisons and kill many bacteria and viral agents. However, there is nothing anywhere in the suit that DETECTS such substances... kind of an oversight.
5. Hip Cannons. Giving the expression "shoot from the hip" a more deadly meaning. Two lever action rifles chambered for the .203 round, automatically aimed, fired, and reloaded on Natalie's command. The shorter barrel length is mostly compensated by the mechanical precision of the aim. When not in use, the guns rotate downward and are hidden by panels, not unlike Robocop's cybernetic hip-holster.
6. Automatic Life Support. There are three devices involved in this feature. The first is a clockwork "mechanical gill" for underwater survival (it uses centrifugal force to squeeze oxygen out of the water, don't ask how). The second is a tank of nitrous oxide and a mask to provide the gas for painkilling purposes. Both of these are built into a pop-up mask normally resting on the front of the vest part of the suit (just above the limelight). The third device is integrated throughout the suit, loops of metal designed to contract around areas that are bleeding, putting pressure on the wound.
7. Pneumatic Tunneler. Basically, a mini-jackhammer driven by steam pressure. It was once mounted on a robotic arm, now it must be held in both hands. Surprisingly light-weight, and very effective against anything short of a bank vault. It could be used... messily... against a human opponent. Normally hooked onto the lower left leg.
8. Acoustic Deterrent. A mish mash of modern ultra-sonic crowd control gear and the work of possible Mechanomancer John Keely, this device uses special frequencies of sound produced by mechanical sirens to make everyone in earshot feel nauseous. After all, an opponent with the dry heaves is an opponent with decreased accuracy. Natalie is NOT exempt from this effect unless she is wearing earplugs.
9. Shoulder Mounted Cannon. On a retractable mount on the right shoulder is a small missile launcher. It fires projectiles about the size of model rockets -- when the harness was first made, it DID shoot model rockets. Now it shoots small attack clockworks which seek out targets, slash them with spinning blade propellers as they fly by, and turn around to land in a bin on top of the launcher. The tiny clockworks have Body 5%, Speed 60%, and Razor-Edged Strafing Run Attack 30%. Because they take a few days to make, Natalie has only four. The launcher does not automatically rewind and reload spent clockworks.
10. Anti-Electronics Field. When Natalie uses this feature, two eight inch long bar magnets extend from the sides of the backpack and begin spinning in opposite directions. The interactions of the spinning magnetic fields and mechanomantic forces tend to play hell with anything using transistors or microchips, without permanently damaging them. Any magnetic media, like an old magnetic disk or a USB drive or a cassette/VHS tape is totally safe for some reason.
The motive power for the mechanical devices comes from a small steam generator which makes up most of the backpack. It uses a special firebox/tubed boiler configuration that reduces the chance of explosion to almost zero, and runs off of charcoal ground up into dust. There are two cylinders, one on each side of the steam generator, to convert the pressure to mechanical force. The electrical power for some of the devices comes from a primitive dynamo and set of Bell Jar Capacitors linked to the steam generator's output.
The Harness's Stats:
Clockwork Harness (Significant Clockwork)
Skills: General Athletics 20%, Block Projectiles 30%, First Aid 15%, Disable Electronics 20%, Induce Nausea 20%, Marksmanship (Hip Cannons) 40%, Marksmanship (Attack Clockworks) 15%, Enhance Bustline 10%
120 points (normal clockwork) = 1 sig charge
+140 skill points = 7 sig charges
Total Cost: 8 Significant Charges
The Harness is not sentient, but has limited intelligence -- enough to understand and obey Natalie's commands. The harness, if stolen, will not work for anyone else. It doesn't look blatantly impossible like some clockworks can, but it is obviously not normal, so it must be concealed under a large coat.
It also uses the bearing design known as "Rolamite" in its arms. This technology, while purely mechanical in nature, was not developed until after the 1880s, so GMs should feel free to disallow use of the Harness in their campaign if they feel that breaks the rules. I personally think as long as it doesn't bring in atomics or electronics, all else is fair game if you glue it together with memory. Your Mileage May Vary.
(Like the Utility Bandolier, this was based off of a device in the Steamband game. I recommend anyone who wants to play a mechanomancer try it out for a while.)
I'd be interested to know what memories or items were used to make this.
Hotel Detective | profile | Apr 20, 07 | 5:53 am