Friday, 7 March 2014

More combi-weapons and the random Renaissance bionic arm

I spent some time in a local museum the other day and snapped some photographs which had possible relevance to games and the blog!
Axe-gun, like in this post.
I think in order for this to be good in games, you'd need a
game that has drawing a weapon as a slow action.
I find the idea of a blunderbuss with a bayonet hilarious for some reason.
"Ha ha! You thought I had a gun, but actually it's ... a knife ..."
OK, so those are my flashbacks. On to the meat of the post. I also saw this prosthetic hand -- there were actually two, but I don't think my photo of the other came out well enough. As you can see, this is an iron prosthetic from the Renaissance, and it's pretty cool-looking. From the description on the card, it doesn't sound like it was actually very functional, but we can beef it up for gaming a little bit. But we don't want bionic hands to just work like replacement hands; how boring would that be? 

First off, obviously the fantasy replacement hand is made of metal, so it has some good points: great for opening poison-needle traps with, for instance. Probably not great on the ol' dexterity, though, so you probably don't want to be trying to open traps that work by explosives or deadfalls. I assume they probably take Dex penalties for tasks performed with that hand? I'll think of it when I get to it.

Anyway, I like the idea that these things are made individually by local smiths, so no two of them are the same. With that in mind, I have created the Random Mechanical Hand Table. It is designed for my home D&D game, which is like d20 but I ignore the complicated bits. I think that PCs should be able to try to influence the outcome -- maybe you can get a second roll on the table, but it costs extra? Anyway:

Random Mechanical Hand Table

Roll d10 once for each section.


  1. Decorative inlay. Looks really cool. 
  2. Knuckle spikes. Unarmed strikes do an additional d4 damage. 
  3. Integral multitool. Saw, screwdriver, pliers, little knife, etc. Gives +2 bonus on crafty skills, handy for cutting ropes, etc. 
  4. Hidden finger compartment. Secrete one small object -- a note, a few gems, some lockpicks. 
  5. Joint lock. Set to hold hand in one position. +2 to resist disarm, but needs to be reset before you can do anything else with it. 
  6. Integral dart launcher. Compressed-air charge fires a single dart; provide your own poison. Reloading takes several minutes, tools and removing the hand. 
  7. Armoured plating. Counts as a buckler in combat. 
  8. Exotic construction. Double base cost. 1-2: Silver. 3-4: Meteoric iron. 5: Bones of a saint / cursed relics. 6: Bamboo, whalebone and exotic hardwoods. 
  9. Magnetised plate. Good for attracting small metal objects. Can be inconvenient. 
  10. Cable reel. Works like a grappling hook. 

  1. Decorative inlay is highly offensive in a randomly-determined language or carries symbols of hated cult/insurgency/noble house/whatever. 
  2. Joints squeak unless regularly oiled. -2 on stealthy stuff unless regularly maintained. 
  3. Loose fit. If you land a critical hit with this hand, roll d6. On a 1, the hand falls off. 
  4. Tight fit. Bites into the arm, causing irritation. -2 to any rolls involving remaining calm (like resisting Rage spells). 
  5. Evil. 
  6. Shoddy construction. When putting high pressure on the hand (e.g. carrying a heavy object, clinging to a cliff edge), roll d6: 1-3 no effect. 4-5 minor damage; -2 on all rolls with this hand until repaired. 6 catastrophic failure. 
  7. Rough finish. Wears away at ropes. Apply a penalty to skills using ropes or 10% chance of snapping rope when used with this hand if skills aren't your bag. 
  8. Non-retractable spikes: not bad as a weapon, but don't shake hands with people, as this hand is covered in jagged blades and spikes. 
  9. Crooked smith concealed valuable information/stolen goods in hidden compartment; dangerous people and/or the law are desperate to retrieve it. 
  10. Unpredictable lock. As with grip lock above, but roll d6 when trying to unlock the hand: on a 4-6 it remains stuck and has to be opened by painstakingly dismantling the lock mechanism. 


  1. Disadvantage 9 should be called 'is it safe'.

  2. When you said you had created a 'random mechanical hand table' I thought you meant you had created a table out of mechanical hands.

    You have no idea how disappointed I am.