Tinkering: Clockwork Wonders for LARP & RPG Games, Part 4

Tip of the hat to Hero of Alexandria

Making an ongoing column and writing exercise! If I manage to “crank” out enough of them, I’ll see about giving them their own dedicated collection page.

Tinkering, by any other name, is a catch-all term for making devices, gadgets and clockwork wonders.  Mainstay of Steampunk, it also has enjoyed a presence in the fantasy genre settings in the form of traps, locks and more exotic manufactured wonders.  While typically not considered magic, such items can often mimic magical effects or exceed the realms of purely mundane mechanisms.  Whatever the case may be in your game setting, I’m hoping to make this column a regular creative writing exercise and a fun resource.

Obviously, the exact game mechanics and physical-representations will vary depending on the system and settings, but I’ll try to keep them fairly generic (with the occasional nod to my favorite settings and references).

Aural Guards
These large brass "muffs" must be firmly positioned over the wearer's ears in order to be effective. Nestled inside are delicate, water-tight crystalline structures filled with a substance that rapidly expands in the presence of air.  The crystals are slightly magical and readily shatter when exposed to the powerful magics carried in voice or sonic effects. They will protect the wearer from the first such attack, but also deafen her until they are removed.  Once activated, the device must have these parts replaced by a skilled Tinkerer before the device can be used again.

A set of heavy wrist-guards several times bulkier than those typically seen, these devices have curious vents and tubes pointing backwards from hands. When the wrist is twisted in a special combination, a highly combustible material inside ignites. The reaction imparts a brief but tremendous amount of force to the user's blow.  They can increase the damage of a single weapon blow or be used to apply a damaging force upon an object or surface. The bracers are only large enough to contain a single charge of the reactant and must be refilled by a Tinkerer after every use.  This device will not work underwater.
Directional Cranial Resonator
This odd headband is encircled by a series of scalloped metal dishes, behind each of which is a tiny vial of very fine oil. These collect and amplified vibrations, transmitting them to the user's skull as a series of tingling pulses.  In this way, the presence and direction of concealed and invisible creatures can be discerned by the wearer.  Obviously, this only works if the target is moving (even slightly).  Extremely loud noises such as explosions and magical sounds can damage the device, and inflict a painful headache upon the wearer.
Torsal Resurgenator
This vest is resplendent with dozens of scales fashioned from rare and valuable amber and lined with a fine felt. As the users wears it and moves about, the two rub against each other, slowly building up a charge of "terrestrial lightning".  This process takes about a day to complete, limiting the amount of times it can be used.  If the wearer should slip into unconsciousness, paralysis or stunned state while wearing it, the device discharges, painfully awakening them. Rumors abound of stronger versions of this device that can even (unreliably) resuscitate the recently deceased!
Blade Balm
This air-tight metal tube contains a greasy substance impregnated with an exotic collection of metals and other substances.  Once opened, it can be quickly applied to the broken pieces of a shattered weapon.  Within seconds, intense heat will fuse them together, rending the weapon usable again.  Alternatively, it can be used to thoroughly melt or burn a fist-sized object or area that lack resistance to heat. In this manner, it could destroy a length of chain, lock, door hinges or the like.

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