Mechanisms and Devices


Mechanisms & Devices

Mechanisms & Devices

Mechanisms & Devices


Devices are created with the Mechanics skill.  Mechanical devices are a new field, and are quickly developing to solve all manner of problems.

Many devices have Mechanism which make up the functionality of its use.  For example, if one were building a trap, the device needs a Trigger Mechanism and a Payload Mechanism.  It needs both to be a functional trap, but the particulars can change much.

Each class of a Mechanical Device must have certain Mechanisms to function, listed below.  Mechanics is a largely open ended skill, and it is expected and encouraged for Mechanists to improvise and invent new uses of the skill to solve their problems and add functionality.  The following list constitutes an non-exhaustive list of some devices and what Mechanisms they would require to function.

A given Device must include one of each Mechanism listed, and each Mechanism calls for one of a several Code-Words in order to function.  The Code-Word selected decides the function of the Device, and requires that the mechanist know each code found within the Code-Word in order to use it, as well as have the requisite skill to use as many code letters as are required.  Each level of the Mechanics skill grants the ability to use longer and longer codes, and longer codes tend to be either more powerful or grant unique utility.  It is possible to add additional functionality with additional Mechanisms if you wish, so long as you meet the Skill requirements.

In order to bypass, destroy, defuse or sabotage a mechanical Device, the character to bypass it must spend 1 minute tinkering with the Device with their own Professional Tools: Mechanics, and know every Code present (though they do not need to match the skill level of the original creator, simply know each code).

Creating a Device requires as components one Enclosure per Mechanism, and one set of Bits for each code used in creating it.  Bits represent all manner of mechanical pieces, from springs to gears to fly-wheels and many other small pieces.


Locks are in some ways the most basic of all mechanical devices.  They require no formal Mechanisms to function or bypass.  They simply act as their own Device, incorporating as many Codes as the creator has the skill to add, and do not use formal code-words.  For instance, if a Lock had the code GWXYTF which is six characters long, the mechanist would require those Codes and a Mechanics skill of 3, while the would-be lock-picker would require all of the present codes in order to bypass it.

Locks pair with keys.  Keys have the same codes as the lock they can open, and can be created separately than locks if the Mechanist desires.  If the user possess the key, they do not need to spend the 1 minute bypassing the lock - they may simply mime turning the key in the lock and open it.  Keys are order specific - the codes must appear in the exact order as the mechanism they interact with.  Keys are made from 1 single unit of Bits.

PROPS:  A Lock requires a note-card near the doorknob that displays the Codes the lock has.  Keys should have a key prop with an item tag that has the Codes for the lock that it opens.


Traps are devices that can be triggered in order to deliver damaging. impairing, disabling, or otherwise unwanted effects on an unsuspecting passer-by or perhaps someone who unknowingly triggers the trap.  Traps require 2 Mechanisms: Trigger and Payload.   Once the trigger is activated, the payload automatically strikes the target.  Barring a special power of some kind that says otherwise, the only way to avoid a trap and not to suffer its negative effects is to not trigger it in the first place.  Traps can be activated by anyone, but take the normal disarming methods using Mechanics to disengage.  For this reason, traps are usually made with a Key similar to a lock with the same codes as the trap to help the user disengage it.

MECHANISMS:  Trigger, Payload
PROPS:  An actual mechanical device of some kind needs to be rigged up in the space, and triggering it should trigger a buzzer, small alarm, or other very obvious audible queue.  Simple mechanical devices such as these can be purchased inexpensively from many online shops.  If the device is triggered by, for example, a trip wire, an actual trip wire should be involved in the set up.  A signed card should be placed nearby the noise-making device (although it can be slightly out of sight for discreteness) that indicates the effect of the trap for those who trigger it.


Gadgets are mechanical devices that improve existing equipment in some way.  They use mechanical pieces to add functionality, new abilities, or make small but otherwise impossible improvements to existing items. The abilities of such items are relatively open ended, and may require variable amounts of Mechanisms to function, depending on the purpose and functionality of the final device.  For example, a mechanist could create a Locking Gauntlet that screwed shut the fingers of a plate gauntlet around a sword to make being disarmed impossible, and this might require no Mechanism, similar to a lock.  In another example, a mechanist might create a contraption that allows the creation of a trick weapon that can adjust its shape and proportions, perhaps by folding or unfolding, or maybe with a swapping head that changes out the perks and flaws on the weapon for new ones.  Such a fixture would use a Trigger Mechanism.

Adding a Gadget to a weapon, armor or other combat equipment automatically adds a flaw such as Fragile, Cumbersome, Unbalanced or Large to a weapon.  Masterwork weapons can be built with mechanical devices in mind that remove the Flaw instead of adding a Perk.

PROPS:  A suitably mechanical looking contraption fixed to the equipment, and some visual representation of how the mechanism works, such as an actual hinge in the trick weapon described above.  Any prop gadget that is for combat use must be safe for yourself and others, and should be made with durability in mind,


Systems are infrastructural improvements that improve the functionality of large-scale operations such as whole buildings, or major complexes like mines and farms.  Nearly any large-scale project can benefit from what Mechanics can bring to the table.  Improvements such as these affect the overall functionality of the building that is upgraded.  In general, a single factor of its function is improved by one step.  This can be an additional increase of something the building granted already, such as an execution Gallows offering an additional point of Fear for the District that has it by using some cruelly concocted killing machine, or it can be a reduction of penalties associated with that building, such as a waste-water pump allowing a Tannery to pump its filth outside the city wall through pipes, thus reducing the Spoil it causes by 1.  Other, less numerical factors can also be improved, as well as numerical factors that do not relate to the basic Virtues and Vices of Rulership, such as the amount of available users of a Mine by adding a mine-cart system and rails.

Systems are built by simply building the Device that describes the improvement, though with the materials and the Downtime action listed above instead of the normal time and material costs, as the device is usually on a much larger scale than normal.

Completing a System requires a Mass-Production Downtime action and 2 Metal Beams.

MECHANISMS:  Usually Operator, Conveyor, Labor
PROPS:  As these occur off camera in most instances as improvements throughout the city, these do not normally require props.



Different devices call for different kinds of Mechanisms in their functionality.  A given Device must have at least the Mechanisms asked for in the description, but may have additional ones if the mechanist chooses to for additional functionality.

Each Mechanism comes in different varieties, selected by using the Code-Word necessary.  In order to use a given Code-Word, the mechanist must know each of the Codes contained within.

Mechanisms come in both Inputs and Outputs.  Inputs accept some form of energy, while outputs use that energy to produce the desired effect.


    • PUSH - The trigger mechanism is struck or pressed, such as a button.
    • BREAK - Something must physically be parted, such as a trip wire.
    • POSTPONED - The effect occurs automatically after a time specified, between 1 and 30 minutes.

    • device may have multiple Payloads, but no two Payloads can be the same.
      • HIT - Damage the target for one hit on the location that triggered the trap.  This is considered a melee attack that can be stopped by Armor.
      • CAPTURE - The part of the body that releases the payload is held in place without injury until the device is disabled.  If the torso triggers this, the entire body is held.
      • DOUSE - Marks the target with some kind of liquid or powder agent, affecting targets within speaking distance when it is triggered.
      • THROW - Launches a projectile as if it had been thrown or shot by the appropriate skill.  This use requires an actual missile be shot, usually by a player, such as part of a crossbow or other such device.
      • POWDERSHOT - Internal combustion fire fueled by Black Powder.  Requires Advanced Focus: Black Powder
      • EVISCERATE - Similar to HIT, harms the target but with Power.
      • ENSNARING - Holds the target immobile until the device is disabled.
      • RING - Simply makes a loud noise, suitable to make all nearby Alert or wake up sleeping people as per the Light Sleeper Perk.

    • PUMP - Using a team of two humans or animals to perform an alternating operation, such as up and down, or back and forth.
    • ROTATE - Using a single person or animal to rotate a wheel or crank in order to provide motion.
    • DREDGING - Operated by moving the device horizontally.

    • BELT - Horizontal movement of substance.   Fixed to one location.
    • WEIGHT- Vertical lifting of a solid substance.  Fixed to one location.
    • CORKSCREW- Vertical or horizontal movement of a fluid or solid.  Fixed to one location.

    • Translation requires an Advanced Mechanics Focus to use.
      • AERO - Using the power of the fickle wind to replace the human or animal power in the Operator Mechanism.
      • HYDRO - Using the power of constant water to replace the human or animal power in the Operator Mechanism.
      • EXPANSION - Using the hot steam to replace the human or animal power in the Operator Mechanism.  This requires an additional Advanced Focus to use.

    • SAW - Produces work able to break through tough substances, such as a drill or saw.  Suitable to the gathering of Metal, Stone, Meat and Wood*
    • SIFTING - Produces work able to sift a delicate but exact process, such as a gin or loom.  Suitable to the gathering of Leather, Textiles and Vegetables*
    • PROCESSING - As part of a System, allows an extra Downtime to be spent once per Chapter to extract commodities from a resource rich area like a mine or old growth forest.  This counts against the maximum output such an area can produce.

*Mechanical killing machines, tunnel drills, pulp sifters and other kinds of gathering tools are installed on the appropriate Resource area as a System, and each one increases the effective Quality level of that area by 1, to a Maximum of 5.  Personal mechanical tools, built as an upgrade to Professional Tools as a Gadget, increase output of Common and Uncommon commodities by 25%


In order to arm or ready for use any mechanical device, it takes 30 seconds of set up, fixing pins in place, winding springs, lining up cylinders and other physical manipulation, during which time such actions should be role-played.   From loading a Firearm to setting up a trap, mechanical devices need this time to become readied again for their first, or subsequent uses.

In order to disable or bypass a Device for any reason (without just smashing it utterly with a Feat of Strength, the results of which might be unpredictable) the input or output Mechanism must be bypassed with 30 seconds of work by someone with Professional Tools:  Mechanics and who knows all the appropriate codes.  A mechanist may choose to use more codes than are necessary to complete the Mechanism as additional complications in order to harden the Device against sabotage.