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Codex Mechanica: On the Creation of Fabricants (PFRPG) PDF

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Flesh is Weak, but Steel is Strong

For centuries, man has had a fascination with the idea of mechanical sentience. Archmagi and master sorcerers have experimented at length with homunculi, golems, and other construct servants, trying to create a machine with true human intelligence. With the invention of the fabricant, that day has finally arrived.

Fabricants—construct creatures designed to simulate specific humanoid races—are fully sentient, and possess their own free will. Further, they can be augmented and customized through a wide range of mechanical upgrades, making them stand out as the premier choice in artificial life forms.

Codex Mechanica: On the Creation of Fabricants contains all the information needed to create and play a fabricant character, with models for a variety of races. It also introduces the iron warrior class, a base class for fabricants which focuses on providing an extensive array of modular augmentations, called upgrades. The book provides over 80 of these upgrades to choose from, as well as over 20 feats, which allow you to fine-tune your fabricant, and maximize its potential. Finally, the book also introduces the iron magus prestige class, which blends mortal magic with timeless steel, and allows non-fabricants to gain the benefits of upgrades and eventually become full constructs themselves.

From the makers of Liber Vampyr: Secrets of the Blood and A Necromancer’s Grimoire: Marchen der Daemonwulf, Codex Mechanica: On the Creation of Fabricants brings construct characters to life in your game. You’ll never look at golems the same way again.

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Product Reviews (1)

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Very alien replicant-style construct race

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This pdf is 44 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page advertisement, 1 page SRD and 1 page back cover, leaving 39 pages of content for the Fabricants.

Following the format of NNW's pdfs, the book kicks off with a mood-setting piece of fluff, in this instance actually a quite well-written one and then goes on to introduce the basic premise that led to the creation of this pdf, which, in this case, is the desire to create a golem-template book that has evolved into a construct-player-race book. People who've been following my reviews for a long time might remember me ranting about my hatred for the mechanical execution of Eberron's Warforged as well as my review of Rite Publishing's Ironborn, which will serve as my benchmark for this review. It won't take you long, though, to realize the fundamental differences between Rite's Ironborn and the Fabricants, the latter being much more construct-like. Not necessarily in fluff, but in crunch. What I mean with this is, that the Ironborn still feel like a construct-like race that adheres to similar mechanics like beings of flesh and blood. That cannot be said of the fabricants.

NNW'S construct player race lacks a con-score, to begin with and is, for all intents and purposes, a construct with ALL the immunities against drain, poison etc. that entails. Even more striking, when brought to 0 HP, they just turn off and have to be crafted back together - yes, crafted. No healing spells or effects whatsoever for the fabricants and even the cheap-shop mending gambit DOES NOT work on them. They are essentially reduced to healing points "naturally" via repair by others or himself. They get a set of attributes according to the base-race after which they're modeled and darkvision as well as low-light vision. The huge plethora of immunities and the lack of available fast healing make for an interesting playing experience, yes, but I'm not entirely sure whether the skill-based repair-mechanic might not be exploited.
That being said, they can still be hit by death attacks, though there don't seem to be any repercussions for dropping to 0 HP - no XP-loss, nothing. I'm not comfortable with that. While I realize the potential challenges of repairing the fabricant in field and carry them around, unfortunately said information on the weight of them is absent from the race's write-up. While I get the replicant-angle with regards to height, I still think that a weight-table would be immensely useful. After all, sooner or later, they'll be disabled in the field and then it's up to their friends to carry them to safety. The fact that a cleric (or other character among the PCs) might have to learn a craft-skill to repair a defunct fabricant is another drain on the party's resources that should be mentioned prior to allowing them into your game.

As befitting of the new construct race(s), they get a kind of racial paragon class, the Iron Warrior, which gets d10, 2+INT skills per level, proficiency with only their armor and weapon upgrades, no good saves and full BAB. The class is centered on the new upgrade mechanic for fabricants, which enables them to gain weapon and body upgrades to further refine their bodies and modify themselves. The lack of skills as well as the bad saves keep the class from being too versatile, though.

23 new feats are up next and they should be given more than a cursory glance, as they once again have quite interesting rules-repercussions: The feats are quite far out and further serve to underline the alien feel of the fabricants: From recharging wands and even installing them within your body, additional ring-slots, the ability to transfer magic weapon and armor qualities to your own upgrades to being able to store elemental energy you usually would resist on a point-to-point basis and transfer this damage via 5-point increments into elemental blasts to some rather regular feats that help against some of the drawbacks of the class (e.g. improving saves against particular effects), a whole slew of very unique feats are presented herein. For the crafters endeavoring to create their own fabricants, rules for their creation and even the ability to mass-produce masterwork (read: intelligent) fabricants and fabricant drones are given for the warlord presiding over his very own crafted army - gold for NPCs, though I'd personally limit the PC's access to the mass production feat. Positive and negative energy adaption first had me scratching my hand, fearing a feat that cancles out the one signature drawback of the race. Instead, they are useful, but very limited in the amount of healing a fabricant may receive via these sources. Finally, there are two feats that deal with the final death of a fabricant: A devastating self-destruct-blast that lets them go down in a blaze of glory and the ability to temporarily transfer the sentience into unattended objects. I gather the ability works if your body is destroyed, but I'm not entirely sure with regards to the latter, as the feat does not mention the specific situation.

The section that truly makes the fabricants stand out, though, would be the section on their upgrades, which range in complexity from level 1 to 5 - depending on the level of the character, he will have a certain threshold that limits the amount of modifications and their complexity that can be installed into a given fabricant. Generally, they can be divided up into 5 categories: Armor, weapon, miscellaneous, movement-based and sensory upgrades. From the obvious weapon-arms to tremorsense, blindsense and even the ability to see through walls as well as using some spells as spell-like abilities (e.g. Arcane Sight), the upgrades offer a lot of different options to customize your fabricant without being unbalancing due to the limit of modifications available for installation at any given time. Where applicable, save-DCs scale with the modification threshold of the fabricants.

Finally, if you want to go for more of a cyborg-like approach, there's the Iron Magus PrC, which offers d8, 2+Int skills, 3/4 BAB, medium will save and 7 levels of spell progression over 10 levels. Iron Magi can choose from a limited array of upgrades that are determined more by level than in the case of a true fabricant. They also come with their own lore-section, but unfortunately not with information on how the upgrades modify the Magi's weight.

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