Gear Actua (3.5e Race)

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Gear Actua[edit]

See also: Gear Actua (DnD Creature).


The term 'gear actua' is both single and plural and refers to a race of mass-produced humanoid automatons whose bodies are actuated by gears and clockwork. Often simply called 'actua', or even Gears, these constructs are animated with a didactic, computing intellect. Originally, the plan was to give these massproduced units a semblance of true life, but they are instead kindled by what is commonly referred to as 'pseudo-animus'. As such, most Actua do not in fact have much self-awareness beyond their own physical status and immediate surroundings, and only very few Actua can boast to possess any true form of insight. Actua do often have a (limited) sense of individuality. Beyond inventing new and novel methods to manipulate and customize their own bodies, they do not possess much in the shape of creativity and many would instead choose to copy and mimic others of their kind. Due to their penchant of imitating and following precise instructions, Actua are valued slaves as most lack the self-awareness to want to escape. Despite all this and for reasons oft unknown to the Actua themselves, some do relish the representativity of their bodies and ornament and engrave their skin plates.

Physical Description[edit]

Gear Actua are usually built completely of metal, ranging from common materials as copper, nickle, iron and steel, vanadium and zinc to more precious materials such as silver, gold or platinum, as well as countless alloys. Their physiology consists of internal supports that mimic the endoskeletal forms of humanoids reasonably closely. This skeletal structure is animated by joints that move due to intricate contraptions of gear and clockwork. This mechanical core of the Actua's body is considered to be its internal organs. Their actual appearance comes from tightly interlocked plates that resemble a smoothly aligned exoskeleton that makes their silhouettes resemble that of a human. More self-aware Actua often ornament these plates with engravings and etchings. Their heads have the general cranial shape of a human or an elf and are, of course, without hair. Generic, featureless faceplates most often cover the gearworks underneath and limit the Actua's sense of individuality.


Relations of Actua with creatures of other races is most unusual, as most Gear Actua live in worlds and lands that are hazardous or lethal to most any living things, however the relations between the Gear Actua themselves are often numerous and closely knit. Despite their seeming lack of self, their metal metropolises are bustling and surprisingly lively, boasting its own transit system, vocal and visual media (mostly newspapers). Trade between Actua occurs daily and throughout the city, exchanging and buying grafts, upgrades, building blueprints and modified parts.


Often neutral.


The greatest congregation of Actua live in the place where they were birthed; the self-contained Realm of Solips. Solips is a planet-shaped world that used to contain a global civilization known throughout the planes for its technology and arcane practice. Unfortunately, that civilization found its end by the hands of a plague it could not cure. Billions of people died in pursuit of a means to counteract the spread of that plague, but in the end their sole remaining legacy was the Gears, an entire ecosystem that was created with the purpose of sustaining Solips in their absence.


As a last ditch effort to find a way to defeat the plague, a gathering of 100,000 scientists, arcane specialists and engineers was put into a collective stasis. They were entombed in cyllindrical glass pods contained within a massive dome structure uniformly referred to as the Think Tank. Inside the think tank, those hundred thousand minds were interacting and crossreferencing in order to find a solution to their problems while the neonate Gears slowly repopulated the decimated ecosystem outside. Although it is unknown exactly how it happened, the intermingling of so many minds created a chaotic undercurrent throughout the Think Tank and after many decades, the minds that created the collective thoughtscape started to lose sight of the original purpose with which they had been joined. As the undercurrents of thought and concept became stronger, the Think Tank evolved into a singular entity over tens of thousands of years. Through the power of a hundred thousand brilliant minds and the worship of the newly evolved Gear Actuas, the Think Tank had become an active deity from which Actua clerics draw their power.


Strangely, the only language that is uniformly spoken amidst all the Actuas is Common, although many Actua speak a great multitude of languages.


Most Actuas have no real name, but rather a designation. This designation consists of the job that the Actua is tasked to do, combined with a serial number (example: Waste Disposal 139127). Only Actua that gained great power or obtained very important positions are allowed to give themselves a personal name.

Racial Traits[edit]

  • +2 Strength, +2 Intelligence, -2 Charisma.
  • Construct type with the Gear subtype: Gear Actua have no Constitution score and possess the traits of a Gear construct.
  • Medium size. Gear actua gain 4 extra hit points per character level until the maximum of +20 (the number of extra hit points due to their size) at their 5th level.
  • Natural Weapons: 2 slams, base damage 1d4.
  • Gear Actua base land speed is 30 feet (decreased to 20 ft. when wearing the medium or heavy armor package).
  • Gear Actua cannot wear any armor, including boots and gauntlets, although they can wear rings, cloaks, necklaces and belts.
  • Customizable: Gears can alter their bodies with customizations called upgrades and grafts. When they are first built, they do not carry any grafts, but they do carry a standard basic armor upgrade that gives their body a +3 AC bonus. This upgrade does not count as armor for the sake of classes whose abilities are impaired by armor, but any other armor upgrade does. Read below for additional information on Gear Actua Customization.
  • Gear Head (Ex): Gear Actua have a +4 racial bonus to all Knowledge (architecture and engineering) checks and to any Craft check related to metal and to engineering. They never take a -2 penalty to any such Craft check due to lacking equipment.
  • Adaptive Mind (Ex): A Gear Actua's mind is quick and adaptive, allowing it to learn certain things quicker than living beings. A Gear Actua needs to invest only a single skill point to gain an additional rank in an Intelligence based cross class skill. Resultingly, a Gear Actua only needs one skill point to learn a new language using the Speak Language skill. A Gear Actua still cannot increase the number of ranks in any Intelligence based cross class skill beyond the maximum of half that of any class skill, rounded down.
  • +4 racial bonus to Listen and Spot checks.
  • Automatic Languages: Common. Bonus Languages: Any.
  • Favored Class: Any. Because Gear Actua are constructed for any number of skills and abilities, they have no favored progression.

Gear Actua and Body Customization[edit]

In order for a Gear Actua to better perform his assigned duty, he may be permitted to customize his body. Customizations improve the actua's body and and generally enhance their faculty in certain areas of endeavour. Customizations range from the relatively unintrusive upgrades that enhance various areas of the body, to large scale grafts that endow the actua with a specialized toolset or special abilities, whilst impairing other functions.


Upgrades represent the tally of base improvements that the gear actua has made to his original template body. Upgrades are general improvements of performance and do not impair with the actua's functionality in any way. Upgrades range from perceptive aids and enhanced speed to increased physical power or defense. The upgrades available to gear actua are divided in several subcategories.


Armor upgrades represent the body's defense as a whole and deal primarily with toughness, resistance and physical defense. Armor and Body upgrades are handled in a similar fashion to armor and magical enhancements of armor. Base body models come in three types. At any rate, a gear actua's bodywork is treated as masterwork armor.

  • Light Armor: This standard light armor package is the gear actua's production default. Most actua are first assembled with light armor. It bestows a +3 AC bonus with unlimited maximum Dexterity bonus, an armor check penalty of 0 and an arcane spell failure chance of 0%. The gear actua light armor package does not count as armor for the sake of class features that require the user to be unarmored (such as the monk's AC bonus). Value 0 gp (standardly for free at 1st level); weight 10 lb.
  • Medium Armor: Afforded to the gear actua that are assigned as peacekeepers in law enforcement or work in hazardous environments are most often equipped with this standard medium armor package. It grants the unit a +5 AC bonus with a maximum Dexterity bonus of +5, an armor check penalty of -3 and an arcane spell failure chance of 15%. Value 1,200 gp; weight 25 lb.
  • Heavy Armor: Usually reserved for gear actua that are deployed in the militant faction, units from the United Solips Armed Forces and from the Frenzy Suppression Force, a special agency devoted to hunting down and exterminating frenzying and malfunctioning units, this standard heavy-duty armor package offers maximum protection. On top of granting a +7 AC bonus with a maximum Dexterity bonus of +3, an armor check penalty of -5 and an arcane spell failure chance of 25%, the gear actua's standard heavy armor also bestows the unit with an effective +1 reinforced plating bonus. Value 4,500 gp; weight 40 lb.

It is possible to apply material traits to a Gear Actua's body armor. The price, numerical statistics (and weight, when applicable) change according to the weight category of the armor and the material chosen.

Armor Enhancement: Much like you can with a normal masterwork armor, the gear's body may be enhanced in a similar fashion. The armor may be given an enhancement bonus ranging from +1 to +5. The value of this enhancement is the enhancement bonus2 × 1,500 gp. The gear actua receives a cumulative reinforced plating bonus of +1 for every odd-numbered point of enhancement bonus his armor has (+1 on +1 body armor, +2 on +3 body armor and the maximum of +3 on +5 body armor).


Body upgrades represent specific special qualities that the actua can choose from in order to better attune to the task he is given. They can be likened to special enhancements for armor. Each of a gear actua's body enhancements have a value in enhancement bonus points. The price of their body upgrades is then subsumed in the price of their armor upgrades and equals the price of their body armor with an effective enhancement bonus of that of the armor enhancement and body upgrades combined (to a maximum of +10 total, same as armor). In order for a Gear Actua's body to be able to receive upgrades, his armor must have a minimum enhancement bonus of +1. For special abilities that increase the base cost by +3 or higher, the gear's armor must have an enhancement bonus of +2 or higher, and for special abilities that cumulatively increase the base cost increase to +5 bonus, the gear's armor must have an enhancement bonus of +3 or higher.

  • Close Combat Module: This module increases the base damage of the gear's slam attacks to 1d8. If the unit moves no more than a 5-foot step during his turn, he receives a +10 competence bonus to resist a grapple, as well as to any ability check for a bull rush, overrun or trip attempt. This bonus lasts until the start of his next turn. Price +2 bonus.
  • Deflection Array: This module allows the unit to add his body armor's enhancement bonus (but not his armor bonus) to his armor class against touch attacks, including incorporeal touch attacks. Price +1 bonus.
  • Energy Resistance, Lesser: This module laces the unit's body with appropriate protective materials, such as ceramic heat sinks in case of fire. It grants resistance 10 to one chosen energy type, or alternatively resistance 5 to three chosen energy types. Price +1 bonus. Only one instance of energy resistance of any level may be applied to an armor.
  • Energy Resistance, Moderate: This module grants resistance 20 to one chosen energy type, or alternatively resistance 10 to three chosen energy types. Price +2 bonus.
  • Energy Resistance, Greater: This module grants resistance 30 to one chosen energy type, or alternatively resistance 15 to three chosen energy types. Price +3 bonus.
  • Fortification, Light: This upgrade shields the interlocking gear linkages that mobilize the unit underneath structural fortified plates. When a critical hit or sneak attack is scored on the unit, there is a 25 % chance that the critical hit or sneak attack is negated and damage is instead rolled normally. The light fortification module increases the unit's armor check penalty by -1, lessens the maximum Dexterity bonus by -1 and increases arcane spell failure chance by 5 %. In case of the light armor package, the maximum Dexterity bonus of the light armor becomes +8. Light fortification adds 5 pounds of weight to the unit's body armor. Price +1 bonus.
  • Fortification, Moderate: Same as light fortification, but now the chance of negating a critical hit or sneak attack is 75 %, and the penalties to armor check, maximum dexterity and arcane spell failure chance are -2 and +10 % respectively. Moderate fortification requires either the medium or heavy armor package, and adds 10 pounds of weight to the unit's body armor. Price +2 bonus.
  • Fortification, Heavy: Same as light fortification, but now the chance of negating a critical hit or sneak attack is 100 %, rendering the wearer effectively immune. The penalties to armor check, maximum dexterity and arcane spell failure chance are -4 and +20 % respectively. Heavy fortification requires the heavy armor package and adds 15 pounds of weight to the unit's body armor. Price +3 bonus.
  • Jetpack: This large module is strapped to the back plating of the unit's body armor and requires the medium or heavy armor package. It respectively increases and diminishes armor check penalty and max Dexterity bonus by -2, increases arcane spell failure chance by 10 %, and adds 10 pounds to the weight of the unit's body armor. Drawing propulsion energy from the unit's internal functions and storing it, the Jetpack module allows for brief bursts of flight, granting the unit a base flight speed of 40 feet at good maneuverability. Maximum flight time is 1 minute, after which the Jet pack needs to recharge for two minutes. Price +2 bonus.
  • Obfuscation Array: This module grants the unit concealment (20 % miss chance). It is a constant effect that may be activated or deactivated as a free action. Price +3 bonus.
  • Power Armor: This module increases mobility in armor heavier than light. It decreases the body armor's armor check penalty by 2, and increases its maximum Dexterity bonus by 1. On top of this, the Power Armor module lets the unit treat his body armor as light for the purpose of his movement speed. Price +1 bonus.
  • Stealth Module: This module can render the unit and everything it carries invisible to conventional sensors, including sight and darkvision. The stealth module's effects and limitations are the same as those of the invisibility spell. Activating the invisibility effect requires a standard action and may be done at will. Deactivating it is either a free action, or it happens automatically when the unit attacks or casts a targeted spell. Price +3 bonus.


Upgrades involving physical performance (mostly arms and legs). To be done.

  • Padded Feet: +5 to move silently checks. 500gp
  • Webbed Feet: +10 ft on succesful swim check. 500gp
  • Strong Legs: +10 ft base land speed. 1000 gp
  • Increased Torque (Knees): +10 on Jump checks. 500 gp
  • Hand Grips: + 10 on Climb checks. 500 gp
  • Gyroscopic Limbs: + 5 on Balance and Tumble checks. 500 gp


Head upgrades. To be done.

  • Vitals Scanner: Module has deathwatch continually active. 500 gp
  • Magic Scanner: Module can use detect magic at will. 500 gp
  • Cataloger: Module grants +10 to Decipher Script. 500 gp
  • Interact a tron: Module grants +10 to Diplomacy. 500 gp
  • Detection Scanner: Module allows you to know the location of all within 60 feet. See Invisibility is continually active. 500 gp
  • Sonic Sensors: Module grants +10 to Listen. 500 gp
  • Echo-Locater: Module grants +5 to Search and Spot. 500 gp
  • Enemy Tracher: Module can detect opposing alignment at will. 500 gp
  • Life Scanner: Module can detect undead at will. 500 gp
  • Jammer: Module has a continuous detect scrying effect. 1000 gp


To be done.

  • Quadragrasp: Module adds another set of arms, granting the multiweapon fighting feat. 1000 gp
  • Long Arms: Module increases range increment with melee weapons by 5ft. 500 gp

Vital Statistics[edit]

Gear Actua have no definable life stages and can theoretically qualify for any class at any age. Their ability to perform or request regular self-maintenance also exempts them from the physical effects of aging. Gear Actua also have no definable gender, although they can choose to alter their appearance to emulate a specific gender or appearance. Newly assembled Actua possess identical bodies that are exactly 6 feet tall and weigh 260 pounds.

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