So I'm still working on my own setting, and it's coming along nicely, but I realized that--much against my mission statement--I'm not doing too much different with goblinoids in general, particularly poor little goblins. I've made them character races, balanced with normal PHB fare, but there's a lack of flavor.
Now I'm thinking, wouldn't it be cool if goblins were what tinker gnomes are to other worlds? It would make sense that a relatively frail race with a decent mental capacity would learn to compensate. So kobolds make traps, why not have goblin artificers? I'm going to make it their favored class, and I'm trying to make up new signature items for them. With that in mind, I took a look at the mecha system in d20 future, and have set about to work on converting it for use in regular D&D.
Ok, so the way I figure, a mecha type thing would be a specialized construct, so the Craft Construct feat will be necessary. The difference here being that the spirit animating the suit isn't in control, per se. Since D&D suits wouldn't have the inner display that a mecha would, the pilot will control the machine by a helmet-type item (so I suppose no more helmet slot for the mecha, perhaps, or cranium slot for larger ones), with an opposed check not unlike the Eberron rules for controlling an elemental vehicle. The back and torso slots will be cockpit, as usual for mecha, and magical items can be integrated into the other slots like worforged components.
Now, a few things. One, do I need to require a feat to operate them? If so, what about one for weapons? Because I don't think I necessarily need either. The way I see it, the helmet slot item would essentially be a direct mental uplink type of thing, and weapon proficiencies would be the same as the pilot's. Would that be balanced?
Also, I've got problems figuring out how to make the materials work. Superstructure is easy, just hardness as DR. But the armor plating is what's getting me. Should I just use AC the boni and check penalties used for warforged body feats, or is there some obscure way to derive numbers I just can't find?
Attached component suggestions would be cool, too, if you can think of any.
Obviously, the cost of such suits is huge, and it's not as if you'd find an army of goblins all suited up. However, at higher levels, these could easily become a game focus or a huge foe. I'm not entirely sure how I'll calculate CR on these, though an addition on top of the pilot's CR makes sense (I think?). I'm also thinking of altering the mecha jockey prestige class appropriately to reflect the changes, as well as writing up a new one to help build the suit itself (good way to make it balance instead of being a hugely expensive and unbalancing magical item, I think).
So, um, suggestions? Thoughts? My players here don't have the depth of knowledge to say anything other than "Oooo! Can we get some?!" and the guy I normally bounce ideas off of is out of the country for a bit. Help?