World of Al'Dravin
Originally created as powerful soldiers, gearforged must now find their own paths to navigate the second life they’ve been given. Many devote themselves to civil service, others to their gods. Some dedicate their extraordinarily long lives to the pursuit of knowledge. A few, naturally, seek out lives of adventure.
The gearforged are an artificial race. More importantly, its members are created one at a time and come from a vast array of backgrounds. Nevertheless, they maintain rich traditions of history, culture, and spirituality all their own, largely because of the influence of the race’s patron,
the gear goddess Rava.
Form and Function
All gearforged were once other creatures with flesh-and-blood bodies, but their conscious minds were transplanted into articulated bodies of iron, steel, brass, and wood, driven by pistons and springs. Each is as distinctive in appearance as other people are. Some entities spend a fortune on these new bodies, while others scrape together anything that will work—especially if the subject is aging or ill.
All gearforged are made in humanoid shape. The vast majority fall into one of two styles: those that are roughly human-sized, with articulated joints, hands, feet, and crystal lens eyes; and a version made by dwarves that mirrors their shorter, stouter body shape. Dwarflike gearforged are more common in the cantons of the Ironcrags than in the Free City of Zobeck, but they’re universally accepted as receptacles for dwarf souls.
Gearforged mechanisms are more than mechanical, because gearforged are machines with souls. Their arms and legs are driven by everwound springs. Their minds are actuated by memory gears, transverse cognition gearing, and the marvel of a soul gem connected directly to a maze of silver and mithral steam, spark, and magical conduits. These elements reside in a shell of iron, brass, and steel.
The range of gearforged anatomy in all its variants is remarkable, but all gearforged share some common parts.
Everwound Springs. These magical springs provide energy over long periods, effectively acting as the power sources for most of the gearforged’s moving parts. A broken everwound spring results in the loss of function in that digit or limb.
Soul Gem. The mind of a gearforged creature is as sharp as that of any flesh-and-blood soul, but it is more portable. The animating, vital principle of a gearforged—its will, its personality, its mind—are retained in a soul gem. Its destruction means the death of that gearforged.
Memory Gears. These delicate constructions are scroll-like ribbons pierced with thousands of pin holes and wound about with tiny enchantments of great complexity. The memory of a gearforged for all the days after its creation lives in the memory gears. Older gearforged have many such gears, and the material component for the magic to create them requires one new gear for every 10 years of life. Installing one requires one day’s work and 2,000 gp. Other gearforged can read memory gears salvaged from a dead gearforged, but it’s a complex, time-consuming process. It’s also viewed with some alarm by most gearforged, since it is akin to peering into the most private details of a creature’s life. Installing a used memory gear into a new or existing gearforged requires a new soulforging and at least one week before the recipient can interpret and understand the memories.
Your gearforged character has the following characteristics in common with all other gearforged.
Ability Score Increase: Two different ability scores of your choice increase by 1.
Age: The soul inhabiting a gearforged can be any age. As long as its new body is kept in good repair, there is no known limit to how long it can function.
Machine Speech: Machine Speech is a whistling, clicking language that’s incomprehensible to non-gearforged ears. Speakers of Machine Speech claim that the Clockwork Oracle of the Free City of Zobeck speaks in this form, and that their speech is faster and purer than any language of flesh-and-blood races.
Alignment: No single alignment typifies gearforged.
Size: Gearforged are as tall as either dwarves or humans, but they weigh between 250 and 300 pounds. Your size is Medium.
Speed: Your base walking speed is 30 feet.
Type: You are of the Construct type.
Your consciousness and soul reside within a soul gem to animate your mechanical body. As such, you are a living creature with some of the benefits and drawbacks of a construct.
- You cannot eat, drink, or breathe. You can’t drink potions or gain benefits that come from drinking, eating, or inhaling vapors.
- You do not naturally sleep.
- During a rest, you must perform maintenance on your gears, springs, and joints, following the normal rules governing rest and activity. While performing this maintenance, you are aware of your surroundings but you have disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks. If you go longer than 24 hours without performing maintenance (you don’t take a long rest), you gain one level of exhaustion. All exhaustion gained this way disappears after your next long rest.
- You can’t be stabilized when dying with a Wisdom (Medicine) check or spare the dying. Instead, a successful DC 10 Intelligence check or a mending cantrip is needed.
- You regain only one-half the usual number of hit points from spells or magical effects with the words cure, heal, or healing in their titles.
- Flesh of Steel. You are immune to disease, poison damage, and the poisoned condition.
If you are killed but your soul gem and memory gears are still intact, you can be restored to life if your body is repaired and soulforging is cast on it again. Because the body already exists, the cost of the ritual is just 500 gp, plus the cost of repairing the body (DM’s discretion, typically 1d4 x 50 gp). If your body was destroyed but your soul gem and memory tapes are intact, they can be implanted into a new body at the standard cost (10,000 gp). The only other magic capable of bringing you back from the dead is a wish spell, which restores you fully.
The Ritual of Soulforging
The ultimate act in creating a gearforged is casting the soulforging ritual. The spell is available to wizards and clerics. Soulforging can’t be added to a wizard’s spellbook as one of the two spells learned for gaining a level. It must be found in written form and copied into the spellbook. Clerics can prepare the spell only if they worship a god of smithing, crafting, or a similar portfolio.
5th-level necromancy (ritual)
Casting Time: 1 hour (see below)
Components: V, S, M (a complete mechanical body worth 10,000 gp)
You and a willing humanoid subject must chant an incantation in unison during the entire casting time. At the end of this period the subject’s soul and consciousness leave its body. The subject must make a DC 14 Charisma saving throw. If it fails, you take 2d10 psychic damage and 2d10 radiant damage from waves of uncontrolled energy ripping out from the disembodied spirit. You can maintain the spell, allowing the subject to repeat the saving throw at the end of each of your turns, with the same consequence to you for each failure. If you choose not to maintain the spell or are unable to do so, the subject’s soul is traumatically drawn back to its body; the subject immediately drops to 0 hit points and is dying. If the save succeeds, the subject’s soul is transferred into the waiting soul gem and immediately animates the constructed body. The subject is now a gearforged. It loses all of its previous racial traits and gains gearfoged traits. The subject’s original body dies and cannot be returned to life by any means unless its soul is freed from the soul gem.
If the spellcaster dies during a soulforging, the subject also dies and its soul becomes a wraith. Up to four other spellcasters of at least 5th level can assist you in casting soulforging. Each assistant reduces the DC of the subject’s Charisma saving throw by 1. In the event of a failed saving throw, the spellcaster and each assistant take damage. An assistant who drops out of the casting can’t rejoin.