5E [5E] Apparatus of Kwalish

LordEntrails

Adventurer
Reading this, I see that the WDDH description states that two creatures can fit inside, and that for their turn they can each operate 2 levers. But it says nothing about if they can operate the same levers with both operations, or if they can operate the same lever(s) as the other driver.

So, with two drivers, can it make 4 attacks? Or turn 360 degrees, or move forward 120' or climb/dive 80'?

Or could each driver only operate each lever once? Or could each lever only be operated once per round?

Thoughts? Any more RAW info on this? Or any Sage Advice or tweets?
 
I would use the much maligned "common sense" here.

Which I'm pretty sure tells me that if two people turn the steering wheel of a car it doesn't turn twice as much....
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
Yea, I was thinking that, but if you look at the available levers, their really isn't much for 2 people to do. I mean, most of the levers aren't things you actually really want to do while the device is "in use" (i.e. open the hatch, windows, or extend the arm and legs).

All it leaves is 4 actions; attack, forward/backward, turn, rise/sink. It works, but is that the intent?

It also means that the device can only turn 90 degrees on one turn, and means any other creature can stay behind it and out of claw attack pretty easily. So as soon as someone figures that out, the thing is easy to defeat and sink/destroy. Doesn't sound very fun...

Possible fixes;
A- Claws can attack in 180 or 360 degree arc
B- Each driver can operate any 2 levers (each lever only once)

I don't like A, but maybe it's the easiest "fix"?

I like B. It means the two drivers have to work together to be effective, and it means that enemy tactics matter (i.e. standing two-to-toe means you get attacked twice, but moving around means you only get attacked once, or maybe none)
 
It's not supposed to be a fighting machine, it's intended for underwater (or other hostile evironment) transportation. It's not meant to be very manuveable.

If you want a fighting machine that your players can ride in it would be better to design something from scratch.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
Thanks Paul, I do appreciate your thoughts, but they aren't helping me much.

I don't want a fighting machine, but even a "commoner" NPC has clear rules for combat, if the players decide to fight one etc.

Anyone have thoughts on A or B? Or other thoughts?
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
A single character can push up to two levers, but they can't push the same lever twice (at least by my parsing of the description). So I'd rule that two characters can push up to four levers, but not the same lever twice.

If you need a formal rule for timing purposes, I'd change this sentence by adding the bold part: "After each use, a lever goes back to its neutral position at the start of the creature's next turn."
 
Thanks Paul, I do appreciate your thoughts, but they aren't helping me much.

I don't want a fighting machine, but even a "commoner" NPC has clear rules for combat, if the players decide to fight one etc.

Anyone have thoughts on A or B? Or other thoughts?
It's rules are pretty clear if you assume each leaver can only be used once in a round. One person controls movement, the other controls the claws. Yes, it is possible for someone to stay out of reach of it's claws by moving around behind it. This is intended. The party really isn't going to want to take the miniature submarine into battle unless they have no choice. In which case they are going to have to find a way to compensate for it's lack of manoeuvrability. That is what makes for an interesting combat encounter.

Spoiler for The Lost Laboratory of Kwalish:


[SBLOCK]
In this adventure the party will come across a six-person Apparatus (i.e. large enough to carry the whole party) which they will need to use to overcome a specific obstacle. Clearly, with six people on board it would be quite ridiculous if they could each pull the same leaver.
[/SBLOCK]

Think of it like this: each leaver is a sword. If the party finds an extremely powerful magic sword would you allow it to be passed from party member to party member so they can each can use it to attack the monster?

If you treat it like this, then you might allow Action Surge or Haste to squeeze a bit of extra performance out of the apparatus.

Some said "but it's not a car". It's not, but it is a vehicle, not a creature. It has more in common with a rowing boat, wagon or chariot than it does with a commoner.
 
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LordEntrails

Adventurer
It's rules are pretty clear if you assume ...
And if I don't assume?

Think of it like this: each leaver is a sword.
But each level is not a sword. Look, I get it. You don't need to add anecdotes to justify your position.

I'm not saying your are wrong, I'm just saying I think their are opportunities to "assume" something else that will yield more enjoyment and maintain the intent of the item. If needed, consider it my version of the device, or a one-off, or something completely new if you need to in order to consider other possibilities.
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
Sure, if you want to house-rule stuff, I think there's a lot of fun ways you could force players to cooperate in a device like this. Now I'm imagining fantasy Voltron...

EDIT: I'm not saying one interpretation is RAW and the other is a house rule, just that if you are willing/committed to house rule, you could do a lot of interesting things with this.
 
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. If needed, consider it my version of the device, or a one-off, or something completely new if you need to in order to consider other possibilities.
I believe that was my initial suggestion.

The point of the Apparatus of Kwalish is to use it to overcome a specific environmental challenge: "Oh no, the treasure chamber is filled with poison gas, how ever are we going to get the McGuffin of Plott? Maybe that weird barrel-like thing we found earlier in the dungeon could be of some use?"

After that it usually sits back at HQ or at the bottom of a bag of holding until the next environmental hazard. Sustained interest is not required. It's too big and bulky to be part of regular kit.

If you want something that is going to be used frequently, you should give the players the Armoured Exoskeleton of Kwalish instead.
 

LordEntrails

Adventurer
EDIT: I'm not saying one interpretation is RAW and the other is a house rule, just that if you are willing/committed to house rule, you could do a lot of interesting things with this.
Absolutely willing to houserule :)

If you want something that is going to be used frequently, you should give the players the Armoured Exoskeleton of Kwalish instead.
But what would that device look like? Say it could fit 2 characters and both of those would operate the controls. Would the they only be able to attack once per round? Could if both players chose to control it to move would that be a double move? If both wanted to make it turn, would it make a double turn?
 

77IM

Explorer!!!
I was working on a system for controlling ships that dealt with similar issues:

On a sailing ship, the First Mate decides how far the ship goes in the round by commanding the crew to "trim the sails" and "batten the royals" and "jib the mizzenmast" and other silly nautical terms, and can make an ability check for the ship to exceed its normal maximum speed. But the ship doesn't actually move until the pilot's turn; the pilot can only take a single 45-degree turn during the movement, unless they make an ability check to get more turns. If nobody pilots the ship it just plows ahead at the previous turn's speed on initiative 0. Sailing into the wind was more or less difficult depending on whether your ship had square or lateral sails.

Rowed ships (galleys, longships, etc.) were the same way, except it was the Boatswain who would determine how far the ship goes, by making the rowers go faster or slower. Ships with both rowers and sails could use either.

Small ships under manual power, like a canoe or poled barge, could have multiple people trying to drive and steer them. For example, the two people paddling a canoe could each cause the canoe to turn up to 90 degrees and move up to 20 feet -- except the canoe's total movement for the round couldn't exceed 30 feet.

If I were building the Mobile Combat Platform of Kwalish, I'd probably phrase it in those terms as well, instead of levers. For example:
- A character within 5 feet of the engine can use their action to alter the platform's speed, increasing or decreasing it by 20 feet, up to a maximum of 40 feet. The engineer can make a DC 15 Intelligence (tinker's tools) check increase the speed by 40 feet, to a maximum of 60 feet, until initiative count 0 on the next turn.
- A character within 5 feet of the steering controls can use their action to cause the platform to move up to its remaining speed, turning during the movement. The platform can only turn up to 90 degrees each round, unless the pilot can make a DC 15 Dexterity (land vehicles) check to cause the platform to turn up to 180 degrees.
- On initiative count 0, losing ties, if the platform has movement speed remaining, it uses that speed to move forward. The remaining speed, remaining turning, and claw attacks reset.
- A creature within 5 feet of a claw control can cause one of the platform's claws to attack a creature within 20 feet of the platform: +8 to hit, 2d6+6 bludgeoning damage, or the target is grappled (escape DC 16). Each claw can only attack once per round.

The idea here is to cap the Mobile Combat Platform's capabilities, rather than the characters'. For example, nothing prevents two characters from both piloting the platform in the same round; but during that round, the platform can't turn more than 90 degrees, and moves exactly its current speed.
 
Absolutely willing to houserule :)


But what would that device look like? Say it could fit 2 characters and both of those would operate the controls. Would the they only be able to attack once per round? Could if both players chose to control it to move would that be a double move? If both wanted to make it turn, would it make a double turn?
I would keep it simple if you expected it to be used regularly. If you specifically want it to be two person have one control movement (pilot) and the other weapons (gunner) (and lights etc). Don't specify "levers", players won't want to use it if it's too fiddly. Don't restrict it's ability to turn, the person on movement can, as an action, move the exoskeleton up to it's maximum speed and turn. If they have an extra action they can move twice. The person on weapons can activate the primary weapon as an action and the secondary weapon as a bonus action.

If any skill checks are needed (e.g. traversing a narrow ledge) use Vehicle (Land/Water as most applicable) proficiency of the person controlling movement.
 
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LordEntrails

Adventurer
Thanks. FYI, I don't expect it to be used more than once or twice, since they are just being permitted to borrow it for a short mission etc.
 

Henry

Autoexreginated
Where I come from, if you go around calling a man a cock, you'd better be prepared to step outside.
But if he didn’t, it’s not about being chicken, perhaps they just don’t want to egg on a fight. Perhaps the unintended fowlness of meaning didn’t dawn on them, or they were just winging the comparison.

...But enough doodling about, puns can be corny if overused. We’re all crow-n ups, here...
 

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