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Theoretical Engineering: postulations and prognostications pertaining to prostheses

Brian Karasek


"I'd give my right arm for that schematic."

Periodically, Hoof and Horn Research and Development will offer a lecture on theoretical engineering. These lectures will deal with concepts, rather than existing designs. None of the schemata presented in Theoretical Engineering lectures exist, nor are they slated to exist.

Engineers are innovators of ideas, testers of limits, and blower-uppers of objects. All three of these traits combine in the Engineer in various percentages, but all three can be found in some quantity within each Engineer. As such, many an Engineer has lost an eye, or a horn, or even a yard or more of their total height. And many have lost limbs. Many an Engineer has observed, over the years, that few professionals are better equipped to replace (not to mention cause) the loss of one's own limb. A precedent exists. Gerenzo Wrenchwhistle, a gnome in Stonetalon Mountains, is known to have developed and implemented a functioning mechanical limb, which serves him quite successfully. Many a demon has been observed using mechanical limbs as well. Unfortunately, the design of both Gerenzo's and more fel-sourced limbs have eluded even the longest beards and sharpest horns of Engineering specialists.

For years Hoof and Horn R&D has developed and designed plans for a variety of mechanical limbs. Herein, we will discuss the potential for this technology to improve our lives, our technical abilities, and perhaps even our arena rankings.

Installation: Relax, I'm a doctor. Also, you might want to brace yourself.
Learning to create a Mechanical Limb is an arduous task, requiring an Engineering rating of at least 350. The designs themselves are quite technical, but can be produced with effort. The tricky part is that installing a Mechanical Limb is frustratingly more complex than one might think. Any toadwright or squirrelsmith can attest to the ease with which a Lateral Ergonomic Geardriver can be attached to a main chassis, but unfortunately attaching limbs to a living chassis proves much messier. To this end, an Engineer wishing to attach a limb to himself must have a First Aid rating of no less than 375, regardless of the Engineering rating. Numerous simulations and several actual field tests have shown that despite all efforts, attempting to attach a mechanical limb to another being is invariably and often uncleanably fatal. Sometimes to both parties.

The installation of a mechanical limb is prefaced by the installation of a universal joint to allow an interface between wetware and hardware. The universal joint allows for the substitution of limbs as needed, should the Engineer have more than one arm he might need to use for various purposes. All designs of mechanical limb are, of course, noticeably mechanical in nature. The limb will be visibly mechanical to all who view the Engineer. An Engineer with a universal joint installed can exchange one limb with another, though replacing one cannot be done in combat and requires a minute of calibration before any action can be taken with it.

Engineers are only able to replace one arm and one leg per Engineer. Further modification to the wetware chassis has shown in simulations to be unsupportable. Even Forsaken Engineers showed marked instability (even for them) both mentally and physically in simulations.

Unintended features: No, it's supposed to do that...I think.
Unfortunately it can be difficult to design dynamic and interactive prostheses which function 100% under all situations, including combat or falls from a great distance. All mechanical limb designs have been shown in simulationoscopovision to have a chance of failure under normal use. Some voices have been raised in the hope that such design flaws might be worked out if such plans ever become implemented by the Great Gears. Many other voices have been raised in agreement, reclassifying these design flaws as "major innovations," and calling the entire matter settled.

An Engineer who has a mechanical limb equipped would always have a chance that the limb might act erratically and beyond his control. When an Engineer so equipped made any emotive gesture, there would be a small chance that instead of that gesture, the limb will act up. Instead of a wave, a player's right arm might begin to dance while the rest of his body remains still. Instead of a salute, a player's left leg might begin marching him in a tight circle. Numerous trials on the simulationoscope have shown that this effect would have only a small (5%) chance of replacing an intentional gesture. However, when the Engineer stands at ease, and begins to fidget idly, the limbs would develop a much higher chance (15%) of one of the limb malfunctions acting up. These malfunctions would be odd and startling at times, but would be easily overcome by taking any other action.

Designs: It might cost an arm and a leg, but no reason they have to be yours.
The specifics of materials needed for these designs are not determined. A variety of possible materials could be used, and as of yet the drawing board has not required much metal in order to sketch. It is certain that such devices would require materials at least the equal of the higher end goggles. For power a Primal Nether or perhaps even a Vortex would be required, and the metals involved are certain to be highly refined, and equally valuable.

Below are listed the most successful limb designs thus far. It is to be stressed, again, that none of these designs exists, nor have been indicated to be possibly existing in the future. Hoof and Horn presses on with the suggestion of these designs to the Great Blue Gears, but thus far these designs remain completely theoretical.

Arms: Now that's what I call a set of guns.

Oglethorpe's Apprentice Arm:

Requires Gnomish Engineering 350
Binds on Pickup, Unique (Equipped)
+15 Engineering, +20 Agi, -15 STA, +10 Fire Resist
Cannot equip Main Hand or Two Handed items while this arm is equipped.

  • Use: The "Ogle Arm" assists in the creation of Engineering devices. When activated, the next item created using Engineering has a chance of not consuming all the parts needed. The Engineer, using the advanced tools of the Ogle Arm, is able to make the same item with spare parts left over. If lucky, a randomly determined reagent for the item will not be consumed in the creation. Has a 24 hour cooldown.
  • Chance of Failure: All bonuses are removed for 24 hours. The Stamina debuff and the limitation on equipped items remain. The arm itself cannot be removed for 30 minutes after failure
Wrenchwhistle's Burly Arm:
Requires Engineering 350
Binds on Pickup, Unique (Equipped)
+50 Defense, +20 STA, +10% to Parry and Block
  • Use: This arm is sturdy and built for the protection of its user. When activated, the arm can knock back an opponent in melee range 10-20 yards, with a chance to stun the opponent when they land. Has a 10 minute cooldown.
  • Chance of Failure: The user is flung with the force of the knockback blow, suffering the effects of the knockback instead of his target. All bonuses are removed for 2 hours. The arm cannot be removed for 10 minutes after failure. The user cannot equip Main Hand or Two Handed items while this arm is equipped and damaged.
Sprocketspring's Sprocket Springer:
Requires Goblin Engineering 350
Binds on Pickup, Unique (Equipped)
+25 STR, +30 Melee Attack Power, +3% Chance to Critical Hit
  • Use: Intended for decisive victory on the battlefield, this arm bristles with spikes and blades, not all of which seem strictly useful. When activated, the arm fires a rocket powered fist at the target, doing considerable fire damage initially and also adding a fire based damage over time debuff. Has a 30 minute cooldown.
  • Chance on Failure: The arm's rocket fist goes wild and strikes a random target other than the intended one within a 30 yard radius of the user. This could be other players, innocent mobiles, or the user. All bonuses are removed for two hours. The arm cannot be removed for 30 minutes after failure. The user cannot equip Main Hand or Two Handed items while this arm is equipped and damaged.

Maggelthorpe's Magnificent Magnifier: (Designed by of Mindbane of Silver Hand, 2/10/06)
Requires Engineering 350
Binds on Pickup, Unique (Equipped)
+20 intel +10 stam +2% to crit with spells
  • Use: When active the magnifying glass will focus your magical spells and increase their damage or healing by 50% for 30 seconds 30 min cooldown.
  • Chance of Failure: The magnifying glass is held backwards and 75% of your spell damage or healing is dealt back to you as damage. bonuses are removed for two hours and can't be en equipped for 10 minutes.

Mechanical Legs: A one legged bull in a gnome punting contest.

Obnoticus' Pnuematic Gallopizer:
Requires Engineering 350
Binds on Pickup, Unique (Equipped)
+10% Ride Speed, +15% Run Speed, -10 STA
  • Use: Designed with pneumatic spurs, the Gallopizer leg is made to "spur" on any mount to greater speeds. Even when on foot, the leg's smooth action and pneumatic boosters can aid the user's speed. When activated, the speed bonus applied to both mounted and on foot speeds is doubled to 20% Ride, 30% Run, for 60 seconds. Has a 120 minute cooldown.
  • Chance of Failure: The leg's velocitator overwhelms the deceleratrix, and the user accelerates in a random direction until he strikes an obstruction. He cannot steer or slow down, and if he is mounted he cannot unmount. If no obstruction is struck, the user's trajectory will randomly change course every 10 seconds. When he strikes an obstruction, the impact causes falling damage as though he had fallen the distance he traveled since the leg failed. Effects which otherwise mitigate fall damage (Slow Fall or Parachute Cloak) will prevent this damage as well, if activated between the leg's failure and impact.

Geargrinder's Hostile Opponent/Object Flattener:
Requires Engineering 350
Binds on Pickup, Unique (Equipped)
+150 Armor, +20 STA, +15 STR
Equip: Gain 10% to resist snare/knockback effects
  • Use: The H.O./O.F. is designed to give an Engineer a stronger base of support in battle. Its sturdy hooflike base and low center of gravity make it harder for opponents to knock the Engineer down, while the smooth polished surface and sharp edges around the hoof make it harder for the Engineer to be snared by clinging vines or tricky Hunter traps. When activated, the H.O./O.F.'s pneumatic drive kicks in, raising the metal hoof and driving it down into the ground. This effect deals 123 to 142 Nature damage to all enemies within 8 yards, with a 20% chance of also stunning those enemies for 2 seconds. Has a 15 minute cooldown.
  • Chance of Failure: The H.O./O.F.'s pneumatic stomper overpressurizes before release, causing the stomp effect to fire with undue force. The result? The Engineer stomps his foot, launching himself into the air! Enemies are not stunned nor damaged by this result, but they may be stunned at the sight of the Engineer catapulting into the air. Due to the configuration of the H.O./O.F. the thrust is always perpendicular to the ground, so the Engineer is always launched straight up. How high the Engineer is launched depends largely on whether or not there is a roof over his head at the moment of failure. The Engineer may need to make plans for how to return safely to the ground in the event of a failure of the H.O./O.F.
Cleaning Up: Tool Control Saves Lives!
It has long been the province of the Engineer to better himself and his associates through a variety of tools (not to mention creating said associates). It is the opinion of Hoof and Horn Research and Development that this represents the next leap forward in Engineering innovation. It is up to us to push the envelope, perhaps with a steam driven, four gear envelope pushing machine.

"In the hum of machinery is the voice of the world."
-Chief Engineer Geargrinder

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