In the next several days, we’ll be posting the entries we received for the Seize the Tin Crown contest. These will each be only lightly proofread so that you, our voting public, have a chance to judge them based on your own criteria. After we post the last of the entries, we’ll be calling for you all to vote. The winner will seize the tin crown! Oh, the power!
Today we have an entry that promises to add a little more peril to the every day life of citizens in Zobeck.
The fair citizenry of Zobeck faces a new peril since a couple of months, thanks—once again—to some crazed and eccentric kobolds from the Ghetto, and this menace is the kobold’s steam wagon (seems that their nasty traps weren’t so bad after all). Even if the authorities have tried to ban these horrific menaces on wheels, the scaly wagon-makers currently exploit a flaw in the city’s laws and continue to manufacture them—quite fortunately at a very slow rate—while many reckless persons still enjoy a ride around the city on board one. Criers engaged by the unknown entrepreneur can be heard everywhere in town, chanting the merits of Zobeck’s latest craze:
‘‘Try the newest sensation in Zobeck and enjoy a journey that you’ll never forget! Admire our exceptional vehicle powered by a steam engine! No magic involved! A revolutionary invention that will forever change transportation across our splendid city and throughout the entire world soon! Good enough to put a clockwork horse to shame!’’
The authorities are baffled and hope that these means of transport are just a passing fancy, but have nonetheless engaged ‘‘private investigators’’ to enquire about this delicate matter with the assistance of the Steamworker’s Union.
When Kobolds Go Boom (Knowledge: Local, DC 10)
About half the steam wagons built to date have exploded at one moment or another; four kobolds drivers have thus been killed and half a dozen townsfolk seriously hurt. Such regrettable events haven’t diminished in the slightest the silly enthusiasm of countless daredevils for these unstable novelties thus far. ‘‘Kettle-On-Wheels’’ is now a popular nickname for these devices, and the youngest children merrily shout at the drivers ‘‘Kobold-Kaboom’’ or ‘‘Boom-Boom-Kobold’’ whenever such wagon rolls alongside them; the humanoids just smile widely whilst the frightened mothers hysterically grasp their offspring to flee.
Wicked Device Ahead (Knowledge: Engineering, DC 15 or Knowledge: Local, DC 20)
A kobold’s steam wagon is generally built from an old draft-horse vehicle that has been salvaged by the reptilian assistants working for the Kobold Steam Box Company, an enterprise recently established in a heavily guarded warehouse of the Dock. The wooden carcasses brought there are done up or modified, and then equipped with a forward, oversized steam engine made of copper that drives a single front wheel, resulting in one of the plug-ugliest thing ever made. Proudly kobold-made indeed!
What the Stupid Humans Aren’t Meant to Know (Knowledge: Local, DC 30)
Heron of the Ghetto (kobold conjurer 9) is the true mind behind the Kobold Steam Box Company. This singular conjurer uses the wagons to conceal fire elementals and mephits alike. The wagons never explode at random; the creature contained within the boiler takes advantage of the confusion thus created to infiltrate a specific location designated beforehand by Heron. The outsider hides in a forge, fireplace, or elsewhere and accomplishes its mission only after a few days whenever possible, often by burning its objective to the ground. Heron has been able to put some perceived competitors and foes permanently out of business with this clever scheme and intends to continue.
Kobold’s Steam Wagon
Large land vehicle
Squares 6 (10 ft. by 15 ft.; 5 feet high); Cost 975 gp
AC 9; Hardness 5
hp 90 (44)
Base Save +1
Maximum Speed 50 ft.; Acceleration 25 ft.
CMB +1; CMD 11
Ramming Damage 1d8
This three-wheeled vehicle looks like a wagon with a forward copper boiler for engine.
Propulsion steam engine (enhanced with a fire elemental, fire mephit, or steam mephit)
Driving Check Profession (driver)
Forward Facing toward the engine pulling the vehicle
Driving Device double-handle steering
Driving Space the wagon’s middle squares
Passengers 2 (or 500 pounds of cargo instead)
Fire-and-Brimstone Wagon (CR 10)
The PCs witness the explosion of a kobold’s steam wagon and might spot the pair of mephits that emerge from the fissured engine (Perception against Stealth).
EXPLODING KOBOLD’S STEAM WAGON CR 4
Type mechanical; Perception DC 25; Disable Device DC 25
Trigger location; Reset none
Effects rainstorm of boiling water (2d6 fire damage, DC 14 Fortitude save for half damage) and flying debris (2d6 damage, DC 14 Reflex save for half damage); multiple targets (all targets in a 20-ft.-radius burst)
Fire Mephit (1) CR 3
Steam Mephit (1) CR 3
The Kobold Steam Box Company (CR Variable)
If the PCs ever decide to visit the kobolds’ fortified warehouse, they soon understand that non-kobolds aren’t admitted behind the wooden portcullis of this building whose perimeter is patrolled day and night by a force of 20 kobolds warriors. They might discover that the company is but a façade soon enough. The summoning chamber and true lair of Heron are somewhere else . . .
The adventure continues. . . . Godspeed and full steam ahead!