Can we talk about the Mechanic for a minute? I think this class is potentially much to strong.

Can we talk about the Mechanic for a minute? I think this class is potentially much to strong.

Can we talk about the Mechanic for a minute? I think this class is potentially much to strong. 

Let’s take this configuration: 

# Close weapon and 2 armor +H&S with INT 

O Energy Cannon

O Jumper

O Aiming systems 

No i can H&S, Volley and Spout Lore with Int and can make this my 16 stat. 

Furthermore, if i roll well then the ammo restriction on my Energy Cannon doesn’t matter that much. I get the ammo back anyway… 

Apparently piloting the Suit in a clever way is done with Int. So i can Defy Danger with it in a lot of times. 

Now 3.5 of the basic moves run of INT. That is crazy powerful. 

The jumpers give me much mobility and seem to be the most versatile. But this doesn’T have to be an issue because every class has a lot of mobility but anyway… 

Now my main problem with the suit is: It has no weaknesses! 

Of course it can take damage but there is no cost in using the suit so an Engineer will use it 98% of the time (you want to be a fan of him right?) 

Can you attack the suit to make it take damage? Even then you can have an Engineering specialisation for an extra hitpoint AND always describe yourself taking the damage instead of the mecha suit. 

Aiming systems is so good that i see no reason to take anything other then this option. 

A deeper look at the Apocalypse World Powerarmor rules could help. There is a cost involved in using it.

What do you say?

19 thoughts on “Can we talk about the Mechanic for a minute? I think this class is potentially much to strong.”

  1. I had similar qualms. The Artificer in my group is quite overpowered compared to the thief and ranger, and the Mechanic is more powerful than the Artificer.

  2. To continue with what Brandon said, the Artificer and Mechanic are very gear-dependent. Dungeon World, in practice, is not very clean or planned. It is very messy, and very dangerous. Things get broken and knocked aside, equipment breaks down. There are two GM moves to keep in mind with these two classes, even moreso than with other ones: “Show them an underside of their class/gear/abilities,” and “Take away their gear.”

    The Mechanic and Artificer are pretty mechanically strong, pun intended. They do a lot of things, have good damage and good versatility. Their HP is low, but they’re tricky and competent and hit hard. This has the inherent drawback that all their power is external to them. When the suit takes damage, it loses abilities, and the GM can make moves that damage the suit directly – you don’t need to wait for the PC to redirect damage. The Mechanic’s gadgets are easily busted, as per one of the options on Field Test, and the GM can always make moves to bust them or take them away on a 6-, too. Losing gadgets can be a Hard Choice on a 7-9. Mechanical stuff in a rough and violent situation will not usually fare the greatest! It will break down, it will get knocked away, it will even get lost or destroyed. Both classes can recover lost gear, but they won’t have that luxury in the middle of a scene.

    That’s one of the “Downsides of their Class” – they are very gear dependent. When the Fighter loses his sword, he can still pick up a goblin and beat down the next goblin with it. When the Wizard loses his book, he is still good to go until they find it or replace it, although he might be stretched for spells. When the Mechanic loses her suit, either to damage or something inexplicable, she is in a lot of trouble. And that’s one of the major balancing factors of the class. You’ll be on top of the world, but if you push too hard and get stretched too thin, the world will fall out from under you.

  3. Also, just to add this bit: Jumper is probably the most mobile option, yes, but it has disadvantages. It won’t work well in cramped dungeons. Arachnoid will let you explore both halves of an island in Inverse World, the top AND the bottom. Glider will let you get from island to island yourself. And Rockets will let you do a lot of things, fictionally, that none of the others allow, like air control, high speed rocket punches, and generally zooming about. The choices you make aren’t so black and white that one is clearly the best.

  4. But taking the Mechanics suit away is something you should do only sparely, otherwise you are not a fan of him anymore. And from a mechanicsstandpoint i stand by the notion, that targetting systems are the best of the available optins at that level…

    And yes, having to mostly forget about 2-3 stats is a huge deal because then you only have to boost the other ones and can totally dump at least one of them. I think there is a reason why there are not so many stat substitution moves in DW.

  5. And okay, combat is not the focus but i can be awesome at noncombat sutff because i don’t have to worry about my STR and DEX. I can put most statboosts in Int, Wis and Cha.

    I also don’T think it’S gaming the system when i mostly Defy danger by quick thinking/clever piloting. Most of the times that will be INT as can be concluded from the other stat-swap things.

    Maybe it will work but i see a lot of things that can go wrong here. Maybe make it so, that you have to spend ammo on a Volley when using Int…

  6. Tim Franzke, if I’m a fan of the Mechanic that doesn’t mean I want everything to go well for him all the time. I could be thinking ‘Tony Stark does a lot of really cool things when he’s trapped in a cave away from his stuff, I wonder how this Mechanic would fare in the same situation?’ 

    Not to mention that he won’t be sleeping in the suit, or imprisoned in the suit, or partying in the suit (probably).

    +Int defy danger is for one thing: quick thinking. Not clever piloting, I’d put that under Dex. Not to mention there’s only so many problems that can be solved by clever piloting:

    “The solar golem is putting out blinding amounts of light. If you want to get close, you’ll have to roll +Wis to hit him guided by your other senses.”

    “It’s incredibly hot in here and the magma’s rising. Roll +Con to keep going as it starts roasting you inside the suit.”

    “With all that vegetation caught on your suit the patrol thinks you’re some kind of monster. Roll +Cha to quickly reassure them.”

    And so on.

  7. My phone seems to have eaten my response to this. I’ll regurgitate and respond to some of the newer posts.

    Just from a GM standpoint, if I found a playbook like this being exploited by a player, I’d just use my Moves. I’ve taken signature weapons away (temporarily) from Fighters before, so I have no qualms against doing the same to a Mechanic so as to challenge the character/player. James Iles has it right when he mentions Tony Stark as an example of that. I’m a fan of the character, so I want to see him grow and diversify as much as possible; I want to bring out his full potential. I want to beat him bloody and then give him every self-made opportunity to turn the danger around and come out on top of a hard-earned victory. An excellent read on that version of “being a fan of the character” is John Wick’s Play Dirty book. 

    Plus you don’t have to take away the suit in a literal way; you can use the fiction to push a move. Suit been used too much lately? Needs fuel or a lengthy recharge. In the suit all day? Tell them they have cramps and need a stretch (or a doctor). INT-based moves for everything? Make an adventure that features brain wurms or something equally scary to a brainiac… Use it or not, it’ll make them sweat if you keep Announcing Future Badness.

    The other side? The player side is this: All those successes mean they won’t gain advance moves as quickly as the rest of the party. Slow progression coupled with always succeeding would bore the heck out of me, truth be told. I, too, want to be beaten to a bloody pulp, down to my final hit point, and forced into a corner before I get told my suit’s recharged and ready and calibrated to fire on my command.

    The truth about narrative games, I’ve found, and what makes them so different from the traditional accountant/lawyer paradigm, is that, in the end, we also have to trust our players to know that good stories are made from suffering and winning, not winning and winning and winning and winning and winning. And that sometimes? A good story is made from losing.

  8. It’s a key responsibility of the GM to ensure everyone has equal screentime and impact on the story, no matter what classes people are playing. In my experience, choice of class is far less of a balance problem than extra-vocal or extra-shy players.

  9. I share some of the worries that Tim Franzke has, but I think of them in a different light. Once it reaches 3rd level, a Mechanic can hop on it’s Mecha and H&S, Volley and Spout Lore with very little fear of triggering a Hard Move. This doesn’t strike me as unbalanced as much as it strikes me as not as fun to play.

    I was also curious as to Brandon Schmelz characterization that Inverse World will not be very combat centric, because most of the Mech’s options, along with it’s primary ability, are combat related. If this is true, I would expect more options related to exploration, enhanced strength/speed, etc.

    Also, the Mecha can only be stolen or disabled too many times before that becomes also not as fun to play. This goes for a lot of Hard Moves the GM might feel like using (Separate, Show weakness), but specifically I feel that the Hold Together move as written doesn’t present a very good follow up in fiction:

    As many of you describe, a fighter losing his sword is an invitation to be creative and use a club or a goblin as a weapon. A Mechanic losing his primary weapon just has one less thing to do in combat.

    As the OP suggested, perhaps this would be more fun or challenging if using the Mech’s special powers had a cost involved, or if the suit weaknesses were more interesting than simply an on/off switch.

  10. I’m speaking of the Mechanical Suit, Brandon Schmelz . As you say, I can de-emphasize combat as I level up, but at 1st level the mechanic is a very combat oriented character: One of my moves affects Hack&Slash (and gives me many combat oriented options), another lets me transfer the damage received.

    If there’s not going to be a lot combat involved, it seems a bit to much to me. In this sense, the Class do feel a bit unbalanced.

    BTW, should the Mecha count against my Load? My guess is that it doesn’t, unless it shuts down.

  11. Tim Franzke I might not be the best person to ask for an opinion about game balance.

    However, “use up their resources” seems to fit as a move that could incapacitate the Mechanic. If a player wants to load all of their strengths into a single object and they’re effectively useless without it then losing it is exactly the price they pay for a missed roll. Having the suit blow a gasket and needing repairs in the middle of a fight is not the best thing in the world.

    There’s also nothing that says your moves have to be used against the character who missed a roll. If the Bard misses a roll you can always “deal damage” to the Fighter, know what I mean?

    Dungeon World isn’t the same as Apocalypse World so I don’t know if this applies either, but I’ve used love letters before to give custom moves to characters in order to move away from munchkin-like behavior. I gave a Driver a move called Light Camper: when you sleep outside and on the ground, you cannot be ambushed. If somebody tries to ambush you while you sleep, you will always wake up and know they are coming.

  12. I’ve seen this mentioned twice now, so I should probably address it. “Use up their resources” doesn’t mean “steal their suit.” It means “the arrow hit your fuel tank, you’ll run out quickly if you don’t do something,” “the kobold stole your missile, lose 1 ammo,” “the gargoyle claws directly into your suit, mark damage,” “the golem grabs your rocket fist, tossing it aside,” “you’re too big to fit through the tunnel without stripping your armor down.”

    Think of the suit as a big, complicated machine – like any big and complicated machine, it has a lot of little pieces that can go wrong without the whole thing exploding, although some of them going wrong might threaten that. It isn’t some brick that shoots missiles and jumps around when you need it to (unless your suit is Cave Story’s Balrog). This continuing narrative of “but if you keep taking away the suit it gets boring” just seems silly, because if that was the only option, you’re right, it would get boring!

    So don’t do that. Take Away Their Resources, Deal Damage, Reveal Unwanted Truths, Show Undersides of their Gear, Show Signs Of Approaching Threats. You can use all of those on the suit, in drastically different ways. The GM moves are your friend, don’t pretend they don’t exist. They’re probably the best part of all the cool things in Dungeon World, and ignoring them is a mistake.

  13. Jacob Randolph If I had said “You can always have the suit develop consciousness, eject the wearer and then start fighting everybody because hey it’s magical and you’re the GM!” then I think you’d have a basis for arguing against “stealing their suit.” The only difference I see between “Having the suit blow a gasket and needing repairs” and “the arrow hit your fuel tank, you’ll run out quickly if you don’t do something” is that one is explanatory and the other is an in-game narrative. I could have phrased it as “a gasket blows on your suit and you hear metal grinding unpleasantly, what do you do?” and then there would be no difference between our descriptions.

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