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Advanced animatronics: The creations, calibrations, and controls of combat companions

Brian Karasek


"You call that a sheep? I'll show you a sheep!"

Welcome to the latest in a series of lectures by Hoof & Horn Research & Development. These lectures explain, or attempt to explain, some of the ins and outs of Engineering. For advanced technicians and amateur tinkers alike, the finer points of Engineering can never be too often reviewed. Engineers will tell you: your life may just depend on it!

Advanced Animatronics

An Engineer is a threat to his enemies. At any moment he might deploy a device, activate an assembly, or engage a gauge which can destroy his target, himself, his immediate environment, or his reputation with the local druids. With this in mind, Engineers are often asked, and in some cases required by local statutes, to refrain from employing their most potent creations in public, or mixed company, or at all.

In light of this unreasonable stricture placed upon us by those laypeople who are unusually fearful or have unfairly accurate memories, Engineers over time have devised a way in which we may quite literally throw our own party. Throw it at our target, to be sure. Herein we will discuss the various forms of self-motivated Engineering devices which may be used in combat, as well as the varying results which one might see from the use thereof.

Target Dummies: Your own personal MVP.

Many Engineers will learn their first rudimentary lessons at artifical intelligence while crafting a Target Dummy. Some Engineers learn about artificial intelligence firsthand from their classmates. In either case, there are three levels of Target Dummy: Target Dummy, Advanced Target Dummy, and Masterwork Target Dummy. Each level of Dummy lasts for fifteen seconds once deployed, and draws the fire of your enemies (though not the very intelligent ones). Hunters in the field report that even the lowest level of Target Dummy is more distracting than a growling pet, even one which has been growling for some time.

The basic Dummy requires a Copper Modulator, a Handful of Copper Bolts, a Bronze Bar, and a Wool Cloth. It is taught by the Engineering trainers. The Advanced Dummy requires an Iron Strut, a Bronze Framework, a Gyrochronatom, and four Heavy Leather. It, too, is taught by your local Engineering trainer. The Masterwork Target Dummy, or "Palehoof" as some call it, requires a Mithril Casing, a Thorium Tube, two Thorium Widgets, a Truesilver Bar, two Rugged Leather, and four Runecloth. The schematic for the Masterwork Dummy is sold by Xizzer Fizzbolt, the Engineering supplier in Everlook, Winterspring.

The Dummies increase in both power and durability with each model. They do not fight, they merely draw the fire of your foes, allowing a quick Engineer to cloak and rocket away. Once the Dummy's timer has wound down, Engineers can often retrieve Fused Wiring from the husk, which has its own uses. Until recently, this was in fact the most reliable source we had for Fused Wiring.

Explosive Sheep: Just let your androids try to count it!
Baa, baa, boom! The Explosive Sheep is learned fairly early in an Engineer's career, but can make a huge difference in that career, even early on. The Sheep, once deployed, will last for three minutes or until it detonates. It will locate and charge enemies within range, exploding when it does so. Engineers in the field, particularly in battlegrounds, report that the Sheep can detect stealthed opponents, and in many cases has wound its way through a building in order to find one and explode in his face.

The Explosive Sheep requires a Bronze Framework, a Whirring Bronze Gizmo, two Heavy Blasting Powders, and two Wool Cloth. It is but one blow in the battle, but it can be a decisive one. Reports persist of the Explosive Sheep being an amazing draw for the fairer sex, though Engineers, one might note, can never be trusted on that topic.

Compact Harvest Reaper Kit: Come reap.
The Compact Harvest Reaper is a companion which, once deployed, will fight by your side for ten minutes or until destroyed. They are not particularly discriminating in their targets, and careful Engineers should note that they should not be activated unless the Engineer is prepared to fight every hostile opponent in sight. The Reaper does take a good size piece from your foes when it attacks, though more advanced Engineers will find the Reaper's use tapers dramatically well before reaching the Outlands.

The Reaper Kit requires two Iron Strut, a Bronze Framework, two Gyrochronatom, and four Heavy Leather. As with the Target Dummies above, the wreckage can be cannibalized for Fused Wiring.

Dragonlings: Whelp, whelp, whelp, what do we have here?
A favorite and signature device of the Engineer, Dragonling comes in three models: Mechanical, Mithril, and Arcanite. Each model represents a slight improvement over the previous design in both power and durability, with some extra abilities added later in your career. The Dragonling's level scales with the Engineer's skill at the time of use (not at the time of creation), at the rate of one level per five skill points. Each Dragonling model will fight for one minute or until killed, and will require an hour to recalibrate for another use. Having one of each model does allow them to be used in short succession, with merely a one minute break in between.

The basic Mechanical Dragonling requires a Bronze Framework, four Iron Strut, four Gyrochronatom, two Citrine, and a Fused Wiring, which you will recall can be obtained from the wreckage of Dummies and Reapers, mentioned above. The Mithril Mechanical Dragonling requires fourteen Mithril, four Heart of Fire, four Truesilver Bar, two Inlaid Mithril Cylinders, two Goblin Rocket Fuel, and two Star Rubies. Learned Engineers will need no reminding that they will need to obtain the Cylinders from a blacksmith, and the Goblin Rocket Fuel from an Alchemist. The Arcanite Dragonling requires a Mithril Mechanical Dragonling as the base, as well as eight Delicate Arcanite Converters, ten Enchanted Thorium Bars, six Thorium Widgets, four Gold Power Cores, and six Enchanted Leather.

The Mithril and Arcanite Dragonlings both have a breath weapon which they use infrequently. The Mithril is mere damage, while the Arcanite's breath weapon affects an area of targets, causing them to thereafter suffer additional damage from fire based attacks.

Gnomish Battle Chicken: Henrietta Nutzanboltz will have her revenge.
The signature Combat Companion of the Gnomish Engineer, the Gnomish Battle Chicken is a battle-changing addition to any combat. As with the Dragonlings, the Chicken's power scales with the Engineer's skill at the time of deployment, at the same rate of one level per five skill points. The Battle Chicken will remain at your side for one and a half minutes, or until slain. She will require thirty minutes to cool down and recalibrate before being used again. When activated, the Chicken is quite aggressive and will attack any nearby opponents, at times wandering quite far from the Engineer to find them. Dungeon-treading Engineers are reminded that their group might not appreciate the use of the Chicken, should the Chicken return from a stroll with half that dungeon's denizens behind her.

The Gnomish Battle Chicken requires a Mithril Casing, six Truesilver Bar, six Mithril, two Inlaid Mithril Cylinders, a Gold Power Core, and two Jade. The damage done by the device is not particularly great, her pecking is more annoying than lethal. However, she can enrage and do substantially more damage. The Battle Chicken can also at times utter a Battle Squawk which increases party members' attack speed by 5% for four minutes after. It should be noted that the humor of this effect is in many cases more notable than the actual effect.

Goblin Bomb Dispenser: Goblins, what can you do with 'em?
As you will know, Hoof & Horn specializes in Gnomish Engineering, and makes no claims as to the safety, efficacy, or even existence of most Goblin Engineering devices. However, reports persist of the Goblin Bomb Dispenser, from our associates who, inexplicably, opt for the Goblin Engineering school. The Goblin Bomb Dispenser creates a mobile bomb, which charges the nearest enemy and explodes. It requires thirty minutes to cooldown before it can generate another mobile bomb.

The Goblin Bomb Dispenser requires two Mithril Casing, four Solid Blasting Powder, six Truesilver Bar, an Unstable Trigger, and two Accurate Scopes.

Gnomish Flame Turret: Totem-in-a-Can!
The Gnomish Flame Turret is a rarely seen addition to the Engineer's arsenal. Early testing yielded disappointing damage results against very low level targets, and the assumption was made by many that the damage would scale down against more powerful foes. This, however, is not the case. When deployed, the Flame Turret is rooted in position and will deliver a substantial burst of flame to any enemies which come in range. When it is slain or expires, the Engineer can often cannibalize it for parts, in many cases receiving more than one component back from the use.

The Gnomish Flame Turret requires an Adamantite Frame, two Handfuls of Fel Iron Bolts, three Elemental Blasting Powder, and a Fel Iron Casing. These components will produce three Flame Turrets.

Alarm-O-Bot: Wait, I think I just failed a Spot check.
The Alarm-O-Bot is another rarity in the open field, though some Engineers swear by its use in battlegrounds around the flag. It is a small robot which follows along behind the creator for ten minutes, periodically emitting a pulse which aids stealth detection. The device, when it expires, can often be looted for parts as with several earlier listed components.

The Alarm-O-Bot requires four Thorium Bars, two Thorium Widgets, four Rugged Leather, a Star Ruby, and a Fused Wiring. It does not fight, but will follow, and can be quite useful in combat for those unable to detect sneaky targets.

Cleaning up after the party: where did THIS part go?
Engineers are among the most versatile and self reliant professionals in the worlds. In many cases, this is because their compatriots have refused to associate with them while using their devices. To be fair, this is only reasonable. One can only be shrunk to a quarter of one's size by one's own ally so many times before one begins to question the sanity of one's ally, and oneself.

To combat this, and in many ways exacerbating it, Engineers have devised more ways to add to their group's numbers than most have access to. This lecture should prepare you Engineers better for the times ahead, and perhaps give a fresh view on devices you have already discarded.

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