All Moulds conform to the following Traits:
- Brawn: 4
- Finesse: 2
- Resolve: 2
- Wits: 2
- Panache: 2
For 48 HP (all characters get a +1 Trait bonus for free).
Academy Advantage (2 HP, taking a discount that Eisen characters get for Academy)
Martial skills cost 1HP each when first making the character)
Large (5 HP, +1 unkept die on Damage and Intimidation rolls)
Pain Tolerance (4 HP, one additional Dramatic Wound)
Toughness (5 HP, +1 kept die on Wound Checks)
Unnerving Countenance: Below Average (2 HP)
Unshakable (15 HP, immune to fear, +5 vs. mind magic and repartee)
Total HP 81. Includes Traits
Cost: 25 HP (50 XP), sorry non-Moulds you can’t buy this at any price Weapon Type: Firearm, Broadsword, unarmed
Skills: Panzerhand, Broadsword
Advantages: Fortitude Knack (seems fair, and costwise, it’s seems balanced)
- Beat (Heavy weapon)
- Feint (Heavy weapon)
- Disarm (Hand)
- Exploit Weakness (Mould)
Mastery Levels: Allows Broadsword to be used 1 handed (like being 6’6” and this strong doesn’t allow that)
Apprentice: Negates off-hand penalties for Pistol and bare hand
+10 Yards range with Firearms Draw and fire a pistol as 1 action
Journeyman: On successful Parry (Hand) may attempt to disarm
Trade action dice for kept damage dice (just like Leegstra)
Master: Hold an action for 1 unkept die (Just like Eisenfaust)
EW(Mould) is available to Gelingen.
Moulds do not grow or change, and thus, do not heal normally. A Mould must be repaired. All Mould Units have at least one Medic who has the Tinker Knack.
As far as repairing Moulds goes, it works the same way Diagnosis and Surgery knacks work. Wits + Tinker against a TN of (5 * number of Dramatic Wounds taken) to diagnose. Wits + Tinker against that same TN (if first roll successful) or against 2xTN otherwise to repair.
While at the outset there was some discussion of creating a Mould Medic Skill that would include the Diagnose, Surgery and Tinker Knacks (and some additional discussion of a Repair Mould Knack), the final rule is much more simple and keeps the existing medical rules in place.
Who made the molds is a matter of various theories, the most popular, and the one with some evidence to support it, suggests that a Marachi inventor found something of interest and value to the Naga and traded for the knowledge of what a soul is. Once he knew what a soul consisted of he built the machine that is now known a Mold A. This mold is on Marach, housed in an ancient fortress that rises directly out of the mountain it stands on. Some say that his name was Steelbarrow, the mythical scientician. What is certain is that the molds are old and no-one understands how they work. There are only two known molds, Mold A on Marach and Mold B on Datos. In years of trying to conquer Datos Shaikirizan troops scoured the island of all life except the Mold Keepers and the Mould Units who had made their camps there. Nothing moves on Datos except Moulds and Shaikirizan ghosts.
The molds, when supplied with the right combination of parts, components and ingredients, produce what are simply known as Moulds. Moulds are intelligent, living machines whose purpose is unknown, and perhaps unknowable, to everyone except whoever created the molds. What they are good at it is combat. They are immensely powerful, durable creatures who fear nothing and know only their unit. It is unknown if Moulds have a natural lifespan or must be ‘deactivated’. Once a Mould has been deactivated no-one has been able to reactivate one.
The exact formula that must be added to the various hoppers, bins and tanks that make up the mold’s workings is a secret guarded by the Moulds who operate it. The exact numbers of the Mold Keepers is unknown to all but the Mold Lord at each mold, but estimates range from a single brigade to an entire division. It is suspected that the numbers of Moulds encountered on Datos by the various Shaikirizan armies would form a fully reinforced division. How many of those were actually part of the Mold Keepers and how many were other units that inhabited the island is a matter of conjecture that none of the Moulds have seen fit to clarify.
Oddly though, there are Mouldish Units in other national armies that are completely loyal to that nation. Odder still is the fact that these Units may request additional Moulds from the Mold Keepers and, if they, or the nation they work for, can meet the price and provide the requested components, these requests are granted. The requested components change from requisition to requisition.
Moulds are all identical in appearance and structure. When the production process is complete each Mould is complete, capable of speaking the Mouldish language of whirs, clicks and grinding noises, combat and programmed with basic tactical and military knowledge. at the point of Awakening all moulds are mentally identical as well, although this changes as each Mould will have different experiences and different memories. Moulds can learn to speak most languages, although they always have a slight echo, metallic “accent” and distinct difficulties hard consonants.
At Awakening each Mould is assigned the sequence number that appears on the mold’s counter. Only the molds’ makers know for sure, but there are no accounts of two different Moulds with the same sequence number. The sequence number is imprinted on the Mould’s main gear and is the only mark that can identify a Mould. In order to access the main gear a Mould must be deactivated and disassembled. Some Units honor their deactivated comrades by displaying their main gears in some way. The numbers are always concealed. Once assigned to a unit a Mould is named. The naming process varies from unit to unit – some allow the Mould to choose for itself, others assign names that range from weapons, formations, historic battles to functional descriptions like Trooper, Grenadier or a name based on an alphabetical sequence or some translation of the Mould’s sequence number.
All Moulds are exactly 6’6” tall and weigh 350 lbs. at Awakening. They do not grow or change size or shape, although many will weigh more as they decorate themselves. Mould have no facial features beyond the sight lens and mouth. They are hairless, dull gray-bronze and broadly built. A small vent at the base of the skull releases a constant waft of smoke. Moulds can eat anything reasonably flammable – coal, whale oil, alcohol, wood, charcoal even straw, hay and paper if times are lean enough.
Moulds can close their exhaust vents for short periods of time – 10 minutes or less – without deactivating. This allows them some freedom of movement in water deeper than their necks, but if the vent remains closed beyond the 10 minutes, their fire box will run out of air and the Mould will deactivate. Deep water is death to any Mould. They are far too dense to float or swim, so any fall from a ship will almost certainly be fatal. When forced to travel across the water all Mould tie themselves to either the ship, a life raft or some other large object that will float with them on it. There is at least one Mould Unit that is garrisoned on ship and live their entire lives tethered to the ship by lines exactly 50 feet longer than the ships freeboard – a distance the Commander knows a Mould can climb against the current while the ship is at full sail in ten minutes. The Geryton Boarders, as they are known, form the backbone of the Geryton’s boarding parties and will tie off to pre-hung boarding lines to board enemy vessels. They will carry an additional line with them and tie off to the boarded ship during the first seconds of the battle to ensure maximum effectiveness aboard the enemy ship.
Moulds are sexless and do not mate or bond as natural creatures do. Each Mould unit can be roughly equated to a family although loyalty is to the unit, rather than the individuals who comprise the unit. Unlike most military units Mould units are relatively permanent organizations, changing only when members are deactivated or new troops are added to the Table of Organization and Equipment (TOE). In rare instances Moulds who units have been largely destroyed are folded into other TOEs under field reorganizations.
The TOE forms the basis by which Moulds live. It is essential to their identity as an individual and provides the social and cultural framework in which all Mould activity takes place. Unit Commanders are most often referred to as Commander, although some TOEs are lead by individuals with more formal ranks such as Captain or Colonel.
Unit command structures are always well delineated, although the degree of democracy varies somewhat. Some Units maintain a strictly military command structure while others accept varying degrees of input from the rank and file. Whatever the leadership style, it is accepted as the law and goes unchallenged by the Unit’s members. In even the most rigid Units, it is permissible to pass a suggestion or request, even for a change to the basic structure, up the chain of command.
What housekeeping duties there are in a Mould Unit are shared by all members of the Unit. The bulk of this work is minor repairs, cleaning and maintenance and even the Commander contributes. Most of a Units time is dedicated to drill, practice and training. The Commander is typically the Units liaison to the rest of the world, although there are many Units who have a designated individual to handle dealings with the outside. This is frequently a supply officer of some type. There are some Units that have a dedicated liaison officer, although this arrangement is typically seen in mercenary Units.
Most Moulds interact very little with people outside of their units, not because they’re unfriendly or can’t, but usually because they have no reason to. If engaged in a conversation that the Mould has an interest in or knowledge of they are typically a fairly chatty bunch. For most Moulds military history, military technology, strategy and inter-island conflicts are the limit of their areas of knowledge. There are Moiulds who know art, philosophy, literature, music and science, but they’re uncommon and viewed as a bit odd by most other Moulds. There are highly skilled Mould artisans as well. These are the Moulds other Moulds go to for inlays, mosaics and other decorations. But art is always a secondary skill and any Unit commitment or need will take precedence over any artistic expression.
One notable exception is Chiseler, an ancient Mould on Datos who is his own Unit. Chiseler is a master inlayer and maintains a tiny garrison where he will work on one Mould at a time. His fees are seen as very high, but the quality of his work is unequalled and he has amassed several lifetimes worth of coal, silver and other valuables for his efforts. During the invasions of Datos Chiseler was one of the staunchest defenders, fighting fiercely, craftily and tirelessly or repairing damaged Moulds, his art completely forgotten. At the end of each invasion, as the remanants of Shaikiriza’s forces were driven into the sea, Chisler was the first one into the water, charging headlong into shoulder deep water killing as many as he could reach or draw aim on. When he either had no ammo or the range was too great, Chiseler was the last ashore and would return to his work.
Even Shaikiriza had Mould Units. One Company, the 3rd Kuwon Fusiliers, asked to partake in the second attack on Datos but were ordered to Garrison duty at a post not involved in moving troops to Datos. The Commander knew the Shaikirizan forces needed his troops, but executed the garrison orders he was given. When the remains of the first Shaikirizan attack on Datos returned decimated, the High Command discussed how reliable the Moulds would be in an engagement against other Moulds. Unwisely, the High Command brought in the garrison Commander and asked him directly if he and his Unit could be counted on. The Commander was so offended that he answered, “Until this very instant sir, I’d have killed every one of the enemy myself. Now that I am enemy, my duty is unchanged.” He promptly returned to his garrison and marched the entire Unit into the sea. When word of the suicide reached the High Command they dispatched a diplomat to another Mould Unit to figure out what had happened. The diplomat returned weeks later and reported that the other Commander had told him, “His loyalty and the Unit’s loyalty are one in the same. Without loyalty, there was no purpose. Why would he do otherwise?” No-one has questioned a Mould Unit’s loyalty since.
There are lone Moulds – individuals whose Units have all been deactivated, individuals separated from their Unit who have been replaced and there is no change of the TOE to allow them to rejoin, or the rare odd bird like Chiseler who may have never had a Unit. These are rare creatures, who frequently find themselves working as lone mercenaries. They are as loyal as any Mould and take their commitments seriously and expect their employers to do the same. They can be immensely vengeful if cheated or misused. Danger is not an issue, being lied to is. Some of these individuals create thier own units, from other lone Moulds or a mixture of Moulds and other people they are comfortable working with. For the Mould, these are permanent bonds, and they rarely understand if others don’t see it that way.