( ⇪ Technology )
“Mecha” is an inherited template that can be applied to any contiguous (non-swarm or without the mob or dustform templates) aberration, animal, construct, dragon, giant, humanoid, magical beast, monstrous humanoid, or vermin of Tiny size or larger with a CR of 15 or lower and no gestalted racial hit dice (referred to hereafter as the base creature). Mechas are superdevices where a pilot controls a mechanical creature from inside.
Operating a Mecha
A mecha without a pilot cannot take actions aside from hearing, speaking (see “Languages” below), opening/closing the hatch (a free action) and maintaining the basic life support systems inside the body cavity (a non-action while the hatch is closed). A mecha with a pilot can only take actions as the pilot directs, and cannot prevent someone from becoming a pilot if a creature in the pilot seat knows the mecha’s password. A creature outside can request the hatch be opened by touching the mecha as a standard action and whispering the mecha’s password. Regardless of its last pilot’s instructions, a mecha which has been without a pilot for at least a year may at its discretion change its own password, and its pilot may change the password at any time. In truth, while a mecha may remember or prefer a particular creature to be its pilot, it has no ability to expel its pilot until the current pilot ends their current mental contact. A creature inside can lock or unlock the hatch as a free action on their turn or open/close the hatch as a swift action or move action. The lock cannot be engaged while the hatch is open.
You must take a full-round action to enter or exit a mecha. Creatures and objects inside the mecha don’t count against the mecha’s carrying capacity (but do count for passenger capacity and weight). Being inside a mecha with the hatch closed makes you immune to all effects that require line-of-sight or line-of-effect (which is essentially everything), is vacuum-sealed, and activates a life support system like that of Action Power Armor.
Creatures with an intelligence of 3 or more can directly pilot mecha through mental contact. A mecha can only be piloted by one creature at a time. Once inside, it takes a full-round action to get into the pilot’s seat, whisper the mecha’s password, and establish the mental contact needed to pilot the mecha. Successful mental contact requires an Intelligence check (see table below). While in mental contact with a mecha, the pilot cannot take actions except to control the mecha, open/close the hatch (a free action on their turn that ignores the lock), or end mental contact (the mecha acts as the pilot’s initiative). Ending mental contact is a mental full-round action, although a pilot can be forcibly removed from a mecha to break mental contact. If you fail to reach the desired DC, you can retry the Intelligence check after ending mental contact.
|Table: Accessible Mecha Abilities|
|Intelligence Check DC||Accessible Non-Class Abilities|
|DC 8 + 1/2 the base creature’s CR||Non-shape-specific Natural Abilities|
|DC 10 + 1/2 the base creature’s CR||The above + Extraordinary Abilities|
|DC 12 + 1/2 the base creature’s CR||The above + Supernatural Abilities|
|DC 14 + 1/2 the base creature’s CR||The above + Psi-like and Spell-like Abilities|
Abilities inherent to the base creature’s shape (such as most kinds of natural attacks, movement speeds, most feats, etc.) function regardless of the intelligence check result. Spell-like/psi-like abilities can only be controlled by creatures with a caster/manifester level of at least that of the ability. To activate such an ability, the pilot must spend a number of Spell Points or Power Points equal to the caster/manifester level. Regardless of the type of ability, you’re still restricted by any use limitations of the ability that existed for the base creature, and expend those uses each time you activate that ability. See the Creating a Mecha section below for details on what other abilities the pilot applies to a mecha, as effectively the mecha is mind-controlled by the pilot.
A fully-operational mecha’s core contains a number of cubes of magine or psiodine (as appropriate to being based on magic or psionic energy) equal to the base creature’s CR (which is not necessarily the mecha’s CR). If any less than that are inside the core at any time, only the the mecha’s shape-specific natural abilities continue to function. Changing the number of cubes in the core requires 1 minute inside the mecha while no one is in mental contact with it. If a mecha is destroyed, the cubes in its power core explode, resulting in all creatures and objects inside the mecha and within X squares of the mecha taking Xd20 untyped energy damage while creatures outside of the mecha are allowed a reflex save for half, DC 15 + X; where X is the number of cubes in the core. Creatures inside the mecha that aren’t the pilot are allowed the same save if the hatch is open. The explosion utterly obliterates the mecha itself.
Creating a Mecha
A mecha uses all the base creature’s statistics except as noted here.
Size and Type: The creature’s type changes to construct if it’s not already a construct. It loses all subtypes except the psionic subtype and does not gain the augmented subtype. If any size increases have been applied (see below), they grant their associated adjustments.
Hit Dice and Hit Points: Drop any Hit Dice gained from class levels (to a minimum of 1) and change remaining Hit Dice to d10s. As a construct, the creature loses any bonus hit points for high Constitution, but gains bonus hit points based on its size . A mecha loses all abilities gained from class levels.
|Table: Mecha Damage Reduction|
|Hit Dice||Damage Reduction|
|21 or more||15/adamantine|
Base Attack Bonus: You use the pilot’s Base Attack Bonus.
Challenge Rating: When piloted, same as base creature +2, otherwise CR —.
Saves: Base save bonuses are Fort +1/3 HD, Ref +1/3 HD, and Will +1/3 HD (as a construct).
Abilities: A mecha retains all of the ability scores of the base creature, except that it has no Constitution score. If the base creature had no Intelligence score or its Intelligence score was lower than 8, the mecha’s Intelligence score becomes 8.
Feats: Keep any feats from the base creature. Any feats of the pilot that are on the Fighter Bonus Feat list (including all weapon and armor proficiencies that aren’t feats) can be used by the mecha, even if the mecha would not itself meet the feat’s prerequisites.
Skills: The pilot can choose to make a skill check in place of the mecha for any skill except for Balance, Climb, Control Shape, Jump, Swim, and Tumble.
Damage Reduction (Su): A mecha has damage reduction based on the base creature’s Hit Dice (see table above).
Armor Class: A mecha’s natural armor bonus improves by 2 points (or gains +2 natural armor if the base creature didn’t possess natural armor). It is crafted from various metals.
Special Attacks and Special Qualities: The abilities and attacks for which the saving throw is based on the base creature’s Constitution are instead based on Wisdom (since a mecha has no Con score). If the base creature possessed the Swallow Whole ability, that ability’s capacity is reduced by the appropriate number of creatures indicated by Table: Superdevice Passenger Capacity. Mental contact allows the pilot to sense what the mecha could sense. A mecha cannot change shape if doing so would change its size category.
Speed: As base creature. If the base creature has a fly speed, the mecha can also use that fly speed when in outer space through rocket-like propulsion.
Languages: While the mecha has an intelligence score of 3 or more it may speak in common with creatures inside the mecha, or speak telepathically with its current pilot. The pilot may use the mouth of the mecha to speak in any languages the pilot knows (relaying the sound of pilot’s voice to anyone outside the mecha).
|Table: Mecha Construction Fees|
|Circumstance||Market Price Fee|
|For each hit die||+100 gp per HD|
|Mecha is Tiny||+50 gp|
|Mecha is Small||+100 gp|
|Mecha is Medium||+200 gp|
|Mecha is Large||+400 gp|
|Mecha is Huge||+800 gp|
|Mecha is Gargantuan||+1,600 gp|
|Mecha is Colossal||+3,200 gp|
|Mecha is Planetary||+6,400 gp|
|Mecha is Astronomical||+12,800 gp|
You must choose whether the mecha’s core is based on magic or psionic energy. If the base creature had the psionic subtype, the mecha must be based on psionic energy.
Constructing or inventing a Mecha requires a specialized facility, and thus mechas can only be bought by PCs, not created. A mecha can be constructed as a larger version of the base creature, but not smaller. Mecha are usually at minimum two size categories larger than their intended pilot. However, a mecha can be made as a “mech-harness” for a specific size category of pilot and thus only be one size category larger than the pilot, with the pilot’s head and arms exposed and able to manipulate objects outside of the mecha, but in exchange the pilot is not immune to effects that require line-of-sight or line-of-effect. The base price of a mecha is equal to the maximum gp value of an Item Level equivalent to the CR of the base creature. Each size increase adds +4 HD and +1 CR to the “base creature” regardless of the base creature’s advancement entry, but be sure to apply any special rules for the size category increase as normal. The extra hit dice do not grant any skill points or feats. After determining the base price, apply additional fees as appropriate. The time required to build a mecha is 5 days for every HD of the mecha (after dropping class levels) plus another 5 days for each level of the base creature’s CR. Inventing a mecha requires a live specimen and an additional month per CR.