Four Horsemen Present—Base Class: Engineer (PFRPG) PDF

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In conjunction with d20PFSRD and Rogue Genius Games, the Four Horsemen present a new base class, tailored to take golem creation to a whole new level.

Crafting and using constructs is a difficult proposition. Constructs are expensive, difficult to repair, and require a certain mastery of spellcasting. The engineer scoffs at such excuses, turning all her intellect and work ethic towards creation. Spending years locked away in schools and laboratories, she explores all the secrets constructcrafting has to offer. The engineer’s creations are her sword, armor, and art. While learning to craft her automatons might make her a peerless master in any number of areas, her first love is always the design and creation of magical life.

Role: An engineer fights alongside or within her constructs, relying heavily on creations during combat. An engineer’s power comes from careful preparation in modifying her servants and crafting items of power. Many engineers concentrate on improving personal fighting capabilities, modified heavily by worn automatons and magical items.

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This base class clocks in at 11 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 8 pages of content, so let's take a look!

The base class engineer as presented herein has d8 HD, 4+Int skills per level, proficiency with simple weapons as well as with light, medium and heavy armors, but not shields and receives a 3/4-BAB-progression and good Ref- and Will-saves. The engineer begins play with Craft Construct as a bonus feat and treats her engineer level as a caster level for the purpose of qualifying for magic item creation and feat-prerequisites. The engineer can create spell-trigger and spell-activation items. From the very first level on, the engineer also has a crafting pool of equivalent GP-value for crafting purposes, beginning with 100 gp and scaling up to 100K at 20th level, with the respective levels being cumulative. The gold may also be used for repair-purposes.

The first unique component of the class would be the automaton, also gained at first level - this is a construct of the engineer's size with a shape roughly equivalent to that of the engineer. Repairing the automaton does not cost gold, but the Craft-DC to repair it is 10 + class level and takes 1 day. Per success, the engineer repairs 1d6 times class level HP. Repairing a destroyed automaton increases the DC by +5. Spells like make whole and rapid repair apply to the automaton. Automaton base stats for sizes small, medium and large are provided. Automatons receive d10 HD and they do not have a Con-score, instead gaining bonus-HPs based on size. The automaton receives 3/4 HD-progression and BAB-progression as well as 1/4 Base-save-progression. The automaton receives a scaling natural armor bonus that begins at +1 and increases up to +12. The Str-score bonus increases from +0 to +14 and similarly, Dex-bonuses gained throughout the levels increase from +0 to +4. The automaton begins play with DR 2/adamantine and increases this value to up to DR 15/adamantine. The automaton begins play with a slam attack and increases the number of slam attacks it can perform to up to 4, though the progression here is a bit odd: The automaton has 2 slam attacks until15th level, where the automaton receives suddenly +2 attacks.

Now, the ardent reader may realize that the automaton is a bit weaker than the eidolon, for example - there is a reason for this. The automaton is designed to be worn by the engineer, and so is every construct the engineer makes, though only the respective engineer can wear a given construct. Entering or exiting a construct is a full-round action. Upon entering one of her constructs, the respective engineer may utilize the construct's physical ability scores, attacks, magic immunity, DR and the resistances provided by the construct traits, with class abilities and the like being used with the construct's ability scores, but the engineer does retain her own HP. Magical item benefits do not extend their benefits from the engineer to the worn construct and spellcasting is impossible while wearing a construct. On a downside, the magic resistant effects of e.g. magic immunity and the like also apply to beneficial effects and spells targeted at the engineer. Any damage that surpasses the DR-value is taken by BOTH engineer and automaton. Upon being rendered unconscious, an engineer's construct follows its last orders and for the purpose of arcane spell failure and the like, worn constructs count as heavy armor that apply a 50% arcane spell failure chance as well as no armor check penalty. Armor and construct-wearing cannot be stacked.

Starting at 2nd level, the engineer may choose one of the talents of the class, the construct modifications. An engineer receives an additional construct modification every 2 class levels attained after 2nd level and said modifications are automatically applied to all constructs she has at no additional cost. The modifications include improved AC, attribute bonuses as well as additional movement modes like flight or burrow speed. While the latter options could have imho used a slightly more finetuned availability, the base level requirement prevents them from breaking any game - kudos for getting that right! Teaching a construct language, allowing them to disguise themselves, replicant-style, as living entities, bonus elemental damage and energy rays, Grab, Size-increase and golem-like traits, maneuver tricks - there is a lot to customize here and high level engineers may even add limited fast healing to the constructs they create.

Now, the ardent reader may have noticed that the repair-speed provides a pretty nasty detriment for the engineer - one that would render the class all but useless at higher levels. (Think about all those HP and how long healing THAT would take...) - hence, at 3rd level, an engineer makes 1 week worth of Craft-progression in a single day, making not only construct crafting feasible, but also meaning that she can actually properly pursue the adventuring career. 5th level provides a teamwork feat and extends all teamwork feats the engineer has to the constructs...but my playtest did show that even quicker repairs were somewhat problematic in the mid-level range...a fact another class ability cleverly mitigates: Starting at 7th level, engineers may Int-mod + 1/2 class level times per day, repair constructs by patching them up, granting them 1d8 temporary hit points per two class levels. These last for 1 hour per level and cannot raise maximum hit points above that of the construct. Activation action is a standard action, a swift action while wearing the respective construct to be patched.

At 9th level, 1/day, an engineer may, as a full-round action, jury-rig constructs to replace a construct modification with another one, gaining a limited wildcard-flexibility, one that extends to all her constructs at 17th level. High level abilities include taking only half damage while wearing the construct, construct-disabling/controlling with a touch and finally, even quicker crafting progression as a capstone.


Editing and formatting are excellent, I noticed no glitches. Layout adheres to Rogue Genius Games' two-column full-color standard and the pdf comes fully bookmarked for your convenience. Jacob Blackmon contributes his great, original art - aesthetics-wise, there is nothing to complain here.

Indeed, neither is there much to complain about in the craftsmanship or rules-language of Stephen Rowe: The engineer tackles a pretty complex concept in an easily understood, concise manner and presents a cool take on the power-armor-wearing class (as opposed to Interjection Games' full-blown Mecha-PrC, for example). Indeed, I was pretty positively surprised by how deceptively tight the balancing of the automaton is: You see, the issue with constructs lie in their massive array of immunities in combination with the difficulty of healing them: If you provide full healing, they inevitably end up as OP, while too stringent restrictions result in the respective class being unplayable due to not being able to heal up...ever. The feat of this class lies in its elegant solution of this issue, one that takes the non-linear power/damage-progression of PFRPG into account, with increasing flexibility to maintain functionality at higher levels. In one sentence: This class is, from a design stand-point, much more impressive than a cursory first glance would lead you to believe. Indeed, the class does play surprisingly well and can be considered to be a welcome addition to the roster of classes, though obviously one that belongs into experienced player hands, mostly due to the automaton-rules and the requirement for separate and hybrid stats. There is one thing I was missing from this pdf beyond a tad bit more unique automaton-tricks and that would be favored class options, but ultimately, both of these gripes boil down to me being nitpicky. Barring true complaints, I can settle on a final verdict of 5 stars for this well-crafted class.

Endzeitgeist out.

Community Manager

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Now available!

So, the 'I want to be Iron Man' class?

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Eric Hinkle wrote:
So, the 'I want to be Iron Man' class?

Yep! You can build, wear, modify, and heal constructs. So like a magical Tony Stark, minus the drinking and heart surgery.

Just got it, I like what I've read so far. But I noticed that the second page is labeled as page 4, and continues as normal. Is there a page 2 and 3?

strongblade wrote:
Just got it, I like what I've read so far. But I noticed that the second page is labeled as page 4, and continues as normal. Is there a page 2 and 3?

I'm glad to hear you are liking it so far! I see what you are talking about, but there do not appear to be any missing pages so I assume it was just a minor error in numbering.

If the automaton is completely destroyed, how can an engineer replace one? And how long would it take to build?

strongblade wrote:
If the automaton is completely destroyed, how can an engineer replace one? And how long would it take to build?

Good question! The engineer can repair/replace a destroyed (0 hp or less) automaton with a day of crafting and a successful Craft skill check, which gets it to 1 hit point. From there it can be healed or repaired normally.

I could not find starting gold.....

strongblade wrote:
I could not find starting gold.....

That is an oversight on my part. It should be:

Starting Wealth: 3d6 x 10 gp (average 105 gp).

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Reviewed first on, then submitted to Nerdtrek and GMS magazine and posted here, on OBS and's shop.

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As always, thanks for the review, End!

More to come, Owen - I'll try to catch up with 4HP now my health situation is better...though it'll take a bit of time...

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I second what Mister Stephens said; that is one great review.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

I read through the PDF, and I have lots of questions!

  • How long does it take an engineer to replace his/her automation if he/she loses possession of it?

  • How does the "Crafting Pool" work? It seems kind of weak sauce at least at lower levels.

  • Would an "archetype" of this class for a Technological automation be feasible? If so, any thoughts on how to adapt the class for Iron Gods?

    Thanks in advance for any clarifications you can give.

  • 2 people marked this as a favorite.

    1) Immediate replacement; no cool-down like animal companions etc.

    2) Add the crafting pool value of level 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 +...etc. until level X for new characters; Crafting pool is effectively free gold to craft that can be saved. And in resource-tight campaigns, this can be pretty strong.

    3) The class pretty much already works for Iron Gods; no reason why you can't combine construct-crafting with technology. I'd either replace the construct crafting in favor of technology-tricks (basic archetype) or limit the crafting pool/construct modifications and instead allow for technology-synergy (complex archetype).

    Just my 2 cents, of course! :)

    Stephen, have an option?

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    1) As Endz said, although do you mean if it is lost but not destroyed? If it is destroyed, then it requires 1 day of effort, then some additional time to get it up to full working order. If you mean lost (like stolen, plane shifted out of reach, or some other odd situation) it could be replaced in the same manner, with the caveat that you can't have two working at the same time.

    2) Likewise as Endz said. The crafting pool is cumulative "free gold" gained at each level that can be used toward crafting magic items (including constructs) and repairing constructs. One of the big problems with construct crafting in general as a character option is how darn expensive it is (not to mention upkeep). It is not as powerful for early levels, but still might be used to offset the cost of (cheap) item crafting. And if you don't want to use it right away, you can always save up over a few levels and then have enough gold to craft a new construct for free or create a more powerful magical item.
    Since it is cumulative in that manner, I designed it to approximately give the engineer +50% gold over the progression in comparison to the starting wealth of character of her level (per the character wealth by level table in the Core Rulebook). So, for example, a 12th level engineer has gained 53,850 gp from her crafting pool (108,000 gp for a starting character of her level). A 20th level engineer gains a total of 448,850 gp (starting wealth = 880,000 gp).

    3) A Technological adaptation would absolutely be feasible. In fact, I created a quick archetype for the engineer that employs those very concepts. Although, as a warning, the ability to create a makeshift laboratory makes this archetype pretty powerful, since most tech-crafting has laboratory access very firmly in the GM's control. So it might not be appropriate for every game, even if they have to give up the engineer's crafting pool for it.

    Technician (Engineer)
    An engineer works with magical constructs, but those that delve into the futuristic secrets of technology sometimes prefer employing guns and robots instead of wands and magic swords.

    Makeshift Laboratory (Ex): Starting at 1st level, the technician engineer can create or repair technological items by constructing a stationary jury-rigged lab. Select one type of laboratory (cybernetics, graviton, medical, military, nanotech, or production). The engineer is capable of erecting a makeshift laboratory that acts as the equivalent of a crafting laboratory of the given type, but requires no charges to function. At 4th level, and every four levels thereafter (8th, 12th, 16th, and 20th), the engineer may select an additional type of makeshift laboratory she can create. Erecting a makeshift laboratory requires 24 hours of effort. The engineer may only have one active makeshift laboratory at any one time. Only the engineer is capable of using her makeshift laboratory to repair or create technological items, and the engineer must still possess any necessary technological crafting feats. This replaces crafting pool.

    Robotics (Ex): At 1st level, the technician engineer can choose to create constructs with some of the traits of robots. Any construct created in this manner does not gain an Intelligence score. The construct gains the following abilities, weaknesses, and counts as possessing the robot subtype. Creating a new construct in this manner adds +5 to the Craft check DC. At 1st level, the engineer must choose whether her automaton possesses these traits or not. This decision cannot be changed thereafter (even if the automaton is completely destroyed). Crafting or repairing a construct with this trait requires a military or production laboratory, although the engineer can use her makeshift laboratory ability if no true lab is available.
    Vulnerable to Critical Hits: Whenever the construct takes damage from a critical hit, it must make a DC 15 Fortitude save to avoid being stunned for 1 round. If it makes a successful saving throw, it is staggered for 1 round. The construct remains immune to other sources of the stunned condition. If the construct is being worn by the engineer, the engineer gains these conditions as well if the worn construct fails its save.
    Vulnerable to Electricity: The construct takes 150% as much damage as normal from electricity attacks, unless they are immune to electricity via other special defenses.
    Force Field: A force field sheathes the construct in a thin layer of shimmering energy that grants a number of bonus hit points. All damage dealt to a construct with an active force field is reduced from these hit points first. As long as the force field is active, the construct is immune to critical hits. If the engineer's automaton has a force field, the force field possesses temporary hit points equal to 5 x the engineer's class level. If the engineer crafts a construct with this ability, its force field possesses temporary hit points equal to 5 x the construct's CR. A force field has fast healing, but once its hit points are reduced to 0, the force field shuts down and does not reactivate for 24 hours. An engineer's automaton has fast healing equal to the engineer's class level. If the engineer crafts a construct with this ability, its force field has fast healing equal to the construct's CR. Force fields are automatically reduced to 0 hp by disintegration effects.
    This modifies Craft Construct and automaton.

    Technology Crafting (Ex): At 1st level, the engineer gains the Technologist feat as a bonus feat. The engineer may count her engineer level as her caster level or add her engineer level to any caster levels for the purposes of crafting constructs (and no other magic items). The DC to create constructs still increases for any necessary spell requirements. This replaces magical crafting.

    Integrated Weaponry (Ex): At 6th level, the technician engineer learns to incorporate technological weaponry into her robotic constructs or automaton. The engineer can choose to integrate technological weapons during the crafting process with her robotic constructs. A construct that has a technological weapon (such as a laser rifle or chain gun) built into its body treats such weapons as natural attacks and not manufactured weapons attacks, and cannot make iterative attacks with these weapons. Integrated weaponry can still be targeted by effects that target manufactured weapons (such as magic weapon spells or sunder attempts), but as a general rule cannot be harvested for use outside of the construct’s body once the construct is destroyed. A construct is always proficient with its integrated weapons and the weapons do not consume charges to use. Integrated ranged weapons do not provoke attacks of opportunity when fired in melee combat. If the technological weapon is being crafted by the engineer, then its cost and requirements are added to the construct’s crafting requirements. If the engineer possesses a technological weapon suitable for integration, then no additional cost is required during the crafting process. If the engineer’s automaton is robotic, the engineer can uninstall and install any single technological weapon with 1 day of effort, but only when the automaton is inanimate or nonfunctioning. This replaces harmonious magic.

    Very cool class! I just have a couple questions:

    1) Does the automaton get max HP at first level, or is it more like an animal companion and gets 6, 5, 6, 5, etc? Even with only 6 from the HD, 26 HP at level one with DR/2 is awesome.

    2) Can I cast mage armor on the construct, then get inside for an even higher AC?

    mbauers wrote:

    Very cool class! I just have a couple questions:

    1) Does the automaton get max HP at first level, or is it more like an animal companion and gets 6, 5, 6, 5, etc? Even with only 6 from the HD, 26 HP at level one with DR/2 is awesome.

    2) Can I cast mage armor on the construct, then get inside for an even higher AC?

    Thank you! Glad you like it! =)

    1) The only time a creature gains maximum hit points is if its first Hid Die roll is for a character class level (so never in the case of racial Hit Dice or NPC classes). So, the automaton would either roll or take the HD average like an animal companion or crafted construct (depending on how you and your GM want to handle it). The big hit points and DR are theoretically balanced by the inherent difficulty in repairing the automaton.

    2) It is quite possible to cast spells like mage armor on constructs the engineer can then wear, within the limits of what spells can be cast on the constructs themselves. That strategy should only run into a problem if the construct has spell resistance or magic immunity. Although in the engineer's case (unless she multiclasses), she'd either need to find someone willing to cast it on her automaton, or Use Magic Device with an item that can do it.

    Likewise, with the harmonious magic ability (gained at 6th level) and the wondrous item construct modification you can gain the benefits of things like bracers of armor, a ring of deflection, and other AC boosting items.

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