PF 1880 World Building


First Post
Using PF Gunslinger and other martial classes in a steampunk "no spells" campaign set in historic North America (1880). Medic (Paladin) provides field medicine (healing hands). Mad Scientist (Alchemist) throws pyrotechnic fireballs.

I'm trying to find interesting ways to redifine classic monsters in an industrial era in a realistic way. Something that makes them more steampunk and north american: trains, mega cities, factories, clocks, blimps, fashion, labor unions, modern science, Prohibition, etc. The monsters can use "Supernatural" abilities but not the PC's.

Skeletons and Zombies
Giant Spiders
Angels, Demons & Devils

Any Ideas?

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Dragons: giant hila monsters.

Orcs: miners mutated by mining deep deep deep to find weird metals.

Skeletons and Zombies: laborers worked to death who keep on toiling or looking for replacement workers, i.e. the living, to take their place.

Golems: Frankenstein's monster, steam-jacks, this shouldn't a problem.

Beholders: this one I'm trying to come up with something more organic, less mechanical in nature. They were originally made to watch factory workers, or maybe as defense devices to watch borders. Maybe alchemists grew them in vats.

Liches: rich tycoons kept "alive" by alchemy, to continue to control their empires.

Giant Spiders: see dragons above, but instead of being hila monsters, they are of course just big spiders.

Angels, Demons & Devils: things people seem to see only when drunk, or by piercing illusions, or otherwise extra sensory perception.

Bulette: call them land sharks.


First Post
Rough guesstimate on what you could do:

Dragons - probably nothing, maybe a clockwork beast or a blimp/ornithopter with a flamethrower.

Orcs, kobolds, goblins - indeginous "savage" tribes of humans (warning, probably racist)

Skeletons - no go, maybe frail machinery

Zombies - neurotoxin/mind control instead of death magic.

Golems - steam golem, built/powered instead of infused with magic.

Trolls - formerly human Mr. Hyde-esque experiments gone wrong

Beholders - i got nothing

Liches - mad scientist discovered cloning. "phylactery" is a machine that makes a clone of him after several days if he does not hit a "snooze" button.

Giant Spiders - you can have giant spiders in steampunk

Angels, Demons & Devils - still nothing, maybe for demons are never actually seen but there are cthulhu-esque cultists encountered.

Bulette - think Jules Verne journey to the center of the earth: bizarre and alien things can live deep below the earth's surface.


First Post
All excellent ideas...definately going to use them.
This is what I came up with for Golems/Animate Objects

Autonomous Mechanical Constructs
“I am not going to speak here of that incandescent era long ago when a truly great and critical achievement of mechanics was discovered: that day when an ancient man hooked a stick under one large stone and over another to invent the lever. Nor will I mention the wheel, which, however it came about,
multiplied mechanical possibilities exponentially; a day when civilization was irreversibly altered. We simply do not know the genesis of these prehistoric simple machines, so we can only spin hypotheses instead of histories. Instead I will speak of automatons; constructs of thousands of interlinked simple
machines. Furthermore, I will concentrate on the milestones of modern mechanics, since an exhaustive treatment of these contraptions is a lifelong study.”- Doctor James M. Williams, Lecturer of Applied Mechanics, Brickton College

Automatons were first developed centuries ago beginning in the Golden Age, floundering during the Orc Invasion, and flourishing again in early years during the rise of the Republic of Ullera in this century. The
clockwork mechanisms developed during the Golden Age are still used today but powered by the gyros, steam boilers, and alchemical furnaces of modern industry. Ulleran automatons also achieve a miniaturization impossible to Golden Age engineers. Could an ancient compress a clock tower mechanism
into a container small enough to carry, and be able to see the time whenever he wished? Could one imagine a clock for the pocket? But the creativity of modern craftsmen has gone far beyond simply telling the time and has created machines that can cogitate, manipulate, and negotiate through the actions of daily regime. In effect they have created Artificial Life.

In some ways, a construct mimics living organisms. Mechanical Constructs are built for a specific purpose. They do not possess flexible minds and have a fixed routine of preset analog clockwork responses to stimuli depending on the skill and ingenuity of their clock smith (equivalent of an insect intelligence: INT 1). More complex and powerful constructs require a Babbage Codex that can store thousands of routines on its mechanical dials. A machine equipped with a Babbage Codex has the equivalent of an animal intelligence
(INT 1D6). The most advanced machines use preserved synaptic pathways harvested from animals hooked to a voltammeter (INT 2D6) controlling a bank of wire spools and pulleys. The controversial use of cadaver brains (INT 3D6) has been officially band within the territory of Ullera, but some fanatical research groups install them into their nefarious construct designs. The final type of automaton is one that is directly controlled by a living operator. This type of construct is a mechanical puppet with a piloting compartment or connected to an armored or hidden control umbilical. A piloted construct can go anywhere at the pilot’s direction. The umbilical length of a remotely controlled construct determines the range of its perambulations. All Automatons must have power. Fine, Tiny, and Small Automatons have clockwork spring coils that must be rewound by some method and hibernates between activations. Dwarf Forged Automatons need steam to move its pistons and cams. Gnomish Automatons are powered by gyro flywheel engine but are far lighter and smaller than Dwarf models. Finally all automatons must be maintained; metal rusts, gears break, and tubes split. A mechanic must oil the machine and replace worn out components during the service life of the automaton or it will eventually fall apart.

Mechanical constructs are most common in cities and industrial zones. Only in major cities is the ambition, assembly lines, engineering skill, and factory resources needed to mass produce automatons. Clockwork constructs are often toys for children and tools. Clockworks can repeat a repetitive task flawlessly for hours on end. Some are even weaponized for kamikaze runs against large targets. Clockwork Automatons will follow a set routine till its completion but are in no way intelligent or adaptive. Like a clock, they only run in one direction and at one speed. In cities, Clockwork Automatons are often used domestically as labor savers. With the push of a button some will start cleaning dishes, scrub floors, or iron clothing. The expense to fabricate and maintain even clockwork automatons limit them to the very wealth or large scale factories. Larger more powerful constructs with sophisticated control systems are often used as guardians. They do not sleep, can not be bribed, and never become bored. The are also used by the military as shock troops. The first assault on entrenched troops always has high casualties. The use of machines in the initial charge is both good for morale and the fearless nature of mechanical automatons allows they to face their certain destruction impassively. Coal and Oil Driven Automatons emit toxic fumes limiting them to working outside and well ventilated areas. In closed spaces, these smoking, steaming, contraptions are environmental hazards and their operation can scald living creatures or cause humanoid workers to choke
or faint. Alchemical automatons are powered by heat and gas released between two reactants. A catalytic converter keeps an noxious exhaust fumes from seriously poisoning any adjacent workers. Alchemical engines are preferred for use underground but the fuel is extremely expensive and some companies prefer to illegally risk the health of their workers for greater profits. Gyro automatons are also safe underground since they have no need of fuel, but can only be purchased from gnome inventors. Pilot controlled constructs need a trained operator to function. Piloted automatons have the safety factor of always operating under direct supervision but have the security risk of being hijacked.

Automatons can be used as obstacles, guardians, and ambushers. The adventure group must either sneak past, incapacitate, or destroy the construct to get to their objective. Alternatively, a construct can be a
useful NPC. It may hold useful information that the party needs to extract. It could be a dimwitted valet that the party will trick into letting them into the mansion. Or it could be a valuable prototype gone berserk that the party needs to subdue without permanently damaging it. Small clockworks could function as decoys, trigger traps, porters, scouts, thieves, or assassins for villains or gadgeteers. A bottled brain may be all that is left of a cherished loved one or celebrated intellectual, and its automaton body gives it a
semblance of its former life.
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Psychotic Jim

First Post
On the beholder thing, depending on how much you want to rework them, you could reskin them to be steam-powered battle zeppelins (perhaps increasing size and applying a template to make them constructs, for example). The different rays going off at once would represent different gunners opperating the various offensive mechanisms.

Depending upon how far southeast you went (New Orleans I'm thinking here), zombies could be produced by the legendary Haitian voodoo style zombie accomplished with neurochemicals and burial.

You could also reskin the various outsiders to simply reflect extremely talented individuals with uncanny and unique abilities. A succubus could be reskinned to simply be a master seductress in the typical Western mold (bending men to her wills, etc). A leukodaemon might be a Typhoid Mary-like plague carrier. The Young and giant templates can probably help you in resizing some of the odder sized outsiders to human size.


Too bad you've ruled out spell casters from your class line up. I'm working on my own Old West homebrew, and gunslingers definitely fit well. So designed a Magus alternate/archetype called the Shootist. It's posted on the previous page of this forum... here.

I think alchemists, gambler rogues, witches, oracles (native shaman) all have a place - especially since you're looking at undead and other fantastical encounters. But it's your setting...


First Post
Has nobody else considered what Bulettes actually do in an ecology, and its similarity to a certain movie starring Fred Ward and Kevin Bacon? :confused::)

The movie even takes place in a tiny Nevada town in a desert, and features lots of shooting of guns!


First Post
Too bad you've ruled out spell casters from your class line up. I'm working on my own Old West homebrew, and gunslingers definitely fit well. So designed a Magus alternate/archetype called the Shootist. It's posted on the previous page of this forum... here.

I think alchemists, gambler rogues, witches, oracles (native shaman) all have a place - especially since you're looking at undead and other fantastical encounters. But it's your setting...

The campaign starts on the East Coast of N. America. Science and Steampunk technology replaces magic in civilized society. The
Alchemist is available but as a chemist/grenadier. Enhanced armor and weapons are powered by a steam pack. Magic & Religion (shamanism & voodoo) may work its way into later adventures as the player group travels farther away from home.
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Psychotic Jim

First Post
Another idea on outsiders and such "far out" monsters, they could be retooled into aliens along the lines of H.G. Wells War of the Worlds martians- the tripods are pretty funky looking, for example. Any 'magical' powers could simply come from sufficiently advanced alien tech.

Other ideas might be to have these creatures dwell at the far edges of the world- remnants of long forgotten ages before man evolved- and brought back to the modern world to be shown in museums and sideshows before waking up and going bonkers. For example, a hydrodaemon or aboleth might wash up on a shore one day comatose and presumed to be dead, but when brought into civilization it resuscitates and begins causing problems. You could do the "missing link" routine with a bar-igura or other ape-man like critter found in the ice and brought back for study

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