Friday, November 13, 2015

Tinkering with the Tinker: Levels 1-9 the Retinkering

So now that I've gotten the general overview of the class down, here's where I consider doing some redesigning in house rules to make it more playable and/or interesting.  The class has TONS of interest, but the success at low levels was painful to achieve.

The Basics
Honestly, I really wouldn't change much here. I color myself very satisfied. Potential to grow in any direction. At maximum I might just convert the knowledge section to all knowledges, but it's entirely unnecessary.  The Tinker is much more an inventor than a generalized scholar.

The Abilities
Mostly this is going to be about innovations, Craftsman, and the Swarm. Inventions are a HUGE swath of content that will be a chunk in itself, and the base bots and their interactions probably needs another section.

This one is easy. Crafting sucks in pathfinder, and having to be beholden to the same rules everyone else does when you spontaneously create clockwork automatons from a sack on a level per day basis is strange.  Obviously you cannot just pull complete items from the same sack as that would be way too much.

I propose something in-between swift alchemy from the alchemist and master alchemist the feat. Or more specifically gradating from one to the other. Instead of a +1 per 2 levels to craft checks, multiply your progress in coinage by 2 at 2nd, 3 at 4th, 4 at 6th and so on.  This puts your progress at Master Alchemist at 20th level, and Swift alchemy at second.

This doesn't allow you to beat higher DCs, it doesn't let you make things cheaper and it doesn't fix everything wrong with crafting, but gives you a chance to viably craft while on the move.  It also gives you an edge in long term crafting.

The Power Source
This is a footnote in the Tinker creation process. A great piece of fluff that never gets mentioned again.  It makes me sad. I feel like the creator had the intent to do something meaningful here, but when the class got so complicated it was removed for simplicities sake. I laugh at that idea and propose an archetype. THE POWERED TINKER.  Essentially it just trades its second innovation for a mandatory power based on the category of power type.  Rough drafts below. Possibly could be specific inventions for different power types.

Gets Kamikaze at 2nd level, but the element responds to the power source.
Possible Options: Fire, Cold, Electric, Acid (fire is redundant, and arguably my position as the default power source. more on Kamikaze later)

Positive Emotions and Negative Emotions
As Elemental, but positive and negative energy damage also D4s instead of D6s so as to not stomp all over cleric territory.

Creation and Destruction
Destruction: Get Kamikaze, Automaton Combat maneuvers get +2, Automaton Craft checks get -4
Creation: Cannot Get Kamikaze, Automaton Craft checks benefit from Craftsman (modified version would be best)

Obviously there is a lot more potential, but you could sum up positive emotions as the power of friendship and baby puree as Destruction or negative emotions.
The Swarm
Just as a quick look at the swarm, I forsee some decent roleplay opportunity for the mage hand and Fabricate being an occasionally useful option. Now if we reworded the Fabricate section to override the single material limitation then we could be cooking with gas.

There are a bunch of these, but I'm going to hit a good chunk of em. For these and the greater innovations I'll be sticking to the core content, but there are plenty of very good innovations in the expansion content.

Aid Another Directive
I feel this should be wrapped up with Support Programming. Aid ability can be pretty great when you specialize into it, or stack it up with many allies, but the tinker is basically getting a 'remote' aid at best for the cost of one of these cool abilities.

Centralized Investment
Maybe it's just me, but this is totally worth it. Maybe not at early levels, but right now I have at least 2 deploys left at the end of the day AND I have this ability.  The biggest cost is increasing the HD of your alpha which results in more GP loss if he dies.

Another amazingly worth it invention.  Took this as early as possible to take a bit of the edge off of early level point limitations.  Wont put a sword in your automaton's hand, but it effectively makes the rotor a 1 cost invention.

Direct Uplink
If you use your alpha for remote operations frequently it's a must. It also opens up a really great looking greater innovation for a special blueprint with an int score and magic item crafting. I made the hard decision to pass for more combat ability.

Extra Charges
No comment till I actually get swarm

Extra Inventions
You can learn inventions by spending gold. Feats are MUCH more limited.  I would pass. But I understand the addition, it's a classic option for most classes like this.

Heavier Construction
Supposedly there's a span where you don't have enough HP on your minions until you can increase their size. I can't really speak to that due to the fact mine almost never get attacked. With the exceptional amount of deploys you will gather to replace any lost minions, I'm not certain the 5-8 HP you will eventually get will be worth it.

Heavy Construction
Three hit points. If you don't want strength and dex, but want designer, this is the one. That said, I think you want strength and dex.

Improved Construction
Part of the pre-req for designer this is the choice I chose and I don't regret it. At early levels instead of a 10 the minion starts with an 11, combined with stout design you can have a 12 str 10 dex minion for better slam attacks.

Kamikaze Directive
I feel like this should just be one of the big iconic trait of a Tinker.  A minion running in and exploding into fiery shrapnel death.  It scales, both in save DC and damage, has tons of support inventions, doesn't occupy a slot and is an area effect. There's nothing I don't like about it.  Should either be a freebie or drop an innovation for it.

Master Plan
I think perhaps tinkers who specialize in support might need more blueprints. I do not.  I have a ranged, a melee, an exploder and a spare. I didn't take this, probably wont.  Especially if I take mega and giga droid.

Not Again!
Evasion for a specific ability who's deployment you have control over. And not even improved evasion. I don't think I'll be taking this.  Could be useful if you take Contingent Kamikaze. I do not recommend taking Contingent Kamikaze.

Overwhelming Presence
I sincerely regret not having a 13 Charisma for this innovation. I get it, we can't have everything, but this is something I would really like.  More maneuvering power.  At ninth level you can be up to 90ft away from your minions! Needs a boost to range of directives too though.

Overzealous Execution
Do it. Getting bonuses to damage and hit are key for your little automatons. This will help them hit and inflict large amounts of pain. Especially will help you overcome damage reduction with +2 damage on your damage rolls. Combine with Paint Target to give your enemy a very bad day on turn 1.

Permanent Fixture
This looks pretty good.  I've been tempted to take it multiple times, but haven't quite figured which one to go for.  Considering choosing the paint buckets from Happy Little Automatons as there's no updating necessary and then my alpha can paint all my minions. Only downside is it can only primer once a day, while I could deploy minions to primer more than once.

Potion Injection
On the surface seems pretty terrible. Standard action to use a potion isn't SO bad.  But if the minion dies while holding a potion, the potion is destroyed. Higher level inventions make this much better by increasing caster level of used potions and using more than one potion at once. Combined with support programing, the bot will deploy multiple potions with improved caster level on a single target automatically. With the magic item crafting you can even make the potions with the help of the cleric or wizard.

Preferred Blueprint
One blueprint getting +1 HD.  Doesn't seem like much but if used on your most common blueprint it will basically improve everything that blueprint does. HD are pretty much the foundation of everything an automaton does.  Very basic, but still good.

Rapid Orders
Basically next on my list to get. Probably before I have 3 minions. Early levels will let you be like a normal adventurer with a sidekick for a few rounds. Later levels will allow you to redirect your whole force quickly, or let your alpha kick butts instead of giving orders for a few turns.

Self Defense Programming
To be honest, not sure how I feel about this.  It makes sense, it shores up a deficiency in automatons. That said, if they're not attacking I generally having them defending the ally most prone to being attacked. Could possibly be an invention instead?

Support Programming
Actually seems to make the minion pretty smart.  Need some guidance as to what extent they interpret needs though. At least an aside just saying you don't need to give orders to make them do what you want them to in regards to those actions.

Greater Innovations
Unlike the previous, these cannot be taken with feats. I feel like you should want all of them, but be perfectly effective without any one of them. If you need a specific one of these to succeed, maybe the core needs some review.

Bigger and Better
On first glance it seemed amazing. More HD for all my minons! I mean it's not bad, but it doesn't particularly make your minions more dangerous, just more durable. Sure you could get one or two attribute points, but I think there are some more dangerous things to be had here.

Efficient Reconstruction
Makes a bad thing less bad. And gives your alpha more HD. I think the whole alpha rebuild should be brought more in line with the wizard bonded item replacement. 200gp per level instead of HD based. Mechanically more in-line with existing stuff, not horribly crippling, and if you can't handle so many HD for so little, consider that most HD stuff is really about doing better with less or the same materials anyhow.

Giga Droid/Mega Droid
I was originally shooting for this. I think I may have changed my mind.  While the automaton is huge and can spike damage better, there is only one. This shoots your action economy in the foot. None of your fire or electrical damage increases with size, and there's a limit to the number of offensive inventions, so the actual damage bonus might not be that great.  On the good side, you get more blueprints so it doesn't soak up anything existing and is just another option. Considering the implications for combat maneuvers and reach though. For anyone confused by the level requirements, they are the points when you would actually be able to use the ability, not obtain it. Yeah, I know, but maybe there's an archetype or something.

Independence Script
This one I really wanted. It follows a chain for magic item crafting and gives you a free intelligent bot. With a RP heavy game, or one with enough non-combat stuff going on you can put this one to really good use. I will probably be passing due to the size of my party though.

Paint Target
If you can shoot relatively straight, this might be a lifesaver for action economy.  One standard action to order up to 3 automatons. Not good for particularly agile targets. Probably not a good combo for Giga/Mega Droid

Prismatic Strike
The creator vouches for the horrible implications of this. I'm seeing a potential +2 damage per attack per minion. There's some gross things that could potentially happen at high levels, but at level 5 it will more likely than not be around +1 damage per minions, 10 +2, and maybe start paying off around the 12+ level. Needs to be reworded more specifically. "Whenever the tinker or one of it's automatons deals damage, for each source of fire or electrical damage deal one more point of that damage." I stand by my stance regarding resistances, but I yield it's better than first glance. Maybe even better if you count the residual burn from an attack, or splash damage.  Otherwise I would suggest some kind of minor boost like changing elemental types or to hit to push it further into greater territory.  Or perhaps only applying to automatons and moving it into a regular innovation.

Rebuild Alpha
I would never take this. Ever. Should probably be a regular innovation.  Losing a feat is bad enough, but a Greater Innovation is just terrible. I'll suck up a bad feat selection thank you very much.

Superior Materials
 I regret not choosing this instead of bigger and better. If I don't go Giga Droid I will probably get this and paint target. The strength and dex basically mean more damage, better combat maneuvers and so on... And a little icing of some HP doesn't hurt either.

Swap Out
I have thought on this one a lot lately. If it weren't for how many deploys I generally have each day. Should my minions be more threatening and deploys less plentiful, this might be useful. Probably not good for someone with Mega/Giga Droid.

Weaponized Swarm
No comment till I get the swarm.

So of course I have a few ideas on some innovations I would like to see.

Programmed Directive [greater]
Prereq: Know Engineering 8
You can create a single special directive for each blueprint which is a series of directives. There can be up to a number of directives equal to your intelligence bonus and no more than one target creature and one target location per series of directives. The Tinker can command this directive as a standard action. The automaton will perform these directives in order using the given target and location whenever relevant and will skip any directives that are impossible. The directive can be interrupted with the Halt directive or a new directive being given.

example: the Tinker has an intelligence bonus of 4. It commands a Programmed Directive for it's automaton picking a target thief and a ground location.
The directive appears as follows.
  1. Move to location
  2. Shoot target with electroshocker
  3. Shoot target with electroshocker
  4. Attack Target
If the automaton only had 1 charge of electroshocker they would move to the location on turn 1, shoot at the thief with an electroshocker on turn 2, and on turn three begin attacking the thief normally.

Tweaking areas can be making it a full round action, losing turns with invalid directives and the number of possible directives.

Doesn't stack with target painter, but allows for action saving should the enemy last longer than a few rounds.  Should make action management easier especially if you tend to do the same thing every round.

Chemical Warfare [greater]
Prereq: Customkaze, Alchemy 8

When designing a blueprint you can elect for all inventions or directives that normally deal fire damage to deal acid damage or all inventions or directives that normally deal electricity damage to deal cold damage or both.

Fire and electric damage are notorious for being resisted.  Still somewhat thematic with the burning/halting movement.

High End Supplies [normal]
Prereq: Craft Weapon 5
When automations spawn with equipment it is of a higher grade than normal dependent on your level.  Treat the equipment as having the following qualities if they are equal to or less than the Tinker's level.  Valid equipment is weapons and shields.
5th: Silver
10th: Cold Iron
15th: Adamantine

Helps bypass mundane weapon Damage Reduction.

Last Minute Planning [greater]
When an invention has a choice that must be determined while placing it into a blueprint, that choice can be set during the deploy step instead. Choice examples, Customkaze damage type, skill suite skills, mobile crafting stations simple weapon proficiency and so on.

This assumes the current system for inventions. Weapon proficiencies should be exempt from this innovation should my proposed weapons system be adopted (arms, quivers, reloaders would not be required). 

Martial Programming [normal]
When calculating an automaton's bonus to CMB or CMD use the tinker's level instead of base attack bonus.  Furthermore instead of replacing the CMB add it.
The last line could be removed if it proves too powerful. Optionally, it could be removed from the alpha and only granted to automatons without an intelligence score.

For the sake of sanity I'm going to keep this to the core as I did with innovations. That said there are some pretty good inventions in expansion content that should not be ignored. Tinkering 201 and Happy Little Automatons stand out.

Level 1
Additional Blast Charges
A must have for Kamikaze driven bots. Brings you closer to dice = to level damage as you go through levels.

I feel like this should just be a given. There's few times I would NOT take this. Something like "The automatons have up to two arms as desired by the Tinker." Or some such. This is one of those tax inventions.

Brute / Precise Design
Before flight these are great tweaks for those Design points you have. Keeping in mind they only apply to certain attacks. I still use them when my automaton needs more damage or only needs to hit (for instance thrown grenade like weapons). Perhaps these could scale like Power Attack?

Haven't used this yet. Its the most efficient space to point ratio, but slowest access unless you fill it with all the same stuff. That said, I doubt I would put different things in a compartment. I've done theorycrafting with it, but haven't found myself in a useful position for alchemical lobbing.  Early levels it's effective but expensive, late levels I don't have bonuses like the Alchemist to boost the damage.  With the cost of losing a compartment's contents, it might not hurt to have a high capacity compartment, or improve the base capacity.

Endearing/Intimidating Design
Effectively gives the automaton a skill at +3. Not sure what they would do with Diplomacy, Intimidation has limited combat application.  Regardless both total skills is too low for use unless swarms of bots trying to intimidate gives a bonus. Thematically cool, perhaps some non-skill bonus as well?

Potion Injector
See the innovation. This is a gateway to cooler things.

Another tax, furthermore the requirement to supply ammo is almost meaningless even at 1st level, so we might as well remove it.  Only potential benefit is giving automatons ammo with special materials.

Reloading Winch
This costs 1 point.  Arms costs 1 point. Unless there's a good reason for not taking arms, perhaps this should be removed.

Repair Kit
If I were a warforged, and/or once you get your alpha this is useful. Until you can afford the Scavenger's Stone. Will stay useful if there isn't a lot of magical repair in your game.

Responsive Programming
A must have for a front lines disruption bot. I have no problem with automaton's not getting attacks of opportunity. Keep in mind it only works for the automaton's current target.

I need more information on this.  It's amazing for the alpha no matter what.  However, it's effectiveness on normal automatons is in question.  If I have to take a standard action to tell it to move it is poor.  Otherwise it is a good invention.  Especially once you get the next version if you are medium sized. Combine with Rotor for great effect.

Simple Weapon Proficiency
Keep in mind that automaton's slam is pretty good already compared to simple weapons. (1d4 for a small automaton.) Getting one of these should mainly be for things like reach, ranged, two handed or other side benefits. There are some weapons that can boost it to 1d6, but that's getting about 1pt of damage for 2 points of build points (arms).

Stout/Nimble Design
Great at levels when your automatons have odd Strength and Dexterity scores. You can push them towards another +1 to strength based rolls or +1 to dexterity based rolls. This can actually be pretty large for the little guys.

Weapon Mount
Because you for some reason REALLY don't want arms. Or are worried about someone disarming your crossbow. Could be removed.

Level 2
Acceleration Unit
I used this pre-rotors a lot to get my automatons up to the standard 30ft move. As I am human it was very important. This could stack to make for a VERY fast ground mount later on.

Armored Armadillo
This doesn't seem so useful to me. If you have an automaton on the field doing nothing and consuming a standard action each turn to do so, then it better be an amazing wall or something. Superior responsive programming might help.  But this feels like it should be a gateway to something awesome. Like an obstruction directive where it gains a size category, cannot move and acts like a wall in it's space.

Bulky Design
Pretty much has to be combined with Acceleration unit to be usable for grounded automatons. Doesn't reduce the speed of a rotor based automaton though. I've stopped using it as my automatons either are crushed by attacks far over their AC or ignored.

This allows for your bots to do that 24 hour crafting I mentioned. Great for games with plenty of downtime. Not so great for on-the move games unless maybe if you get your own Independence Script bot. Keep in mind the base bonus isn't great on low level bots. Hiring some unskilled labor working in shifts could help. I personally had my alpha assist one bot.

Custom Robosaddle
Now gnomes aren't the only ones who can ride small automatons. Enjoy!

Maneuvers are rough for small sized automatons with low base stats. If it didn't take a standard action every time you initialized a maneuver maybe it would be worthwhile from the sheer tenacity of the bot. Not recommended. Might be ok on a tricked out alpha once they have martial weapons. Could also probably stand to be 1 build point instead of 2.

Expanded Repair Kit
Same story for repair kit. Not excited about this. Maybe if we could boost the amount repaired it would make Repair Kit more exciting.

Faulty Overclock
Here's your first chance at some elemental damage. It's one point of the most resisted form of elemental damage, but it's also only one build point. Later it will become more powerful. Apply liberally to all enemies.

The minimum cost to make this work is 4 points and however much gold for the alchemical supplies. It's got a nice boost to range, but the benefits don't sell me. Maybe if there were more alchemy boosting inventions, something to increase their base damage. Perhaps a whole alchemy invention block?

Grappling Hook
Remember, your automaton's are stupid.  Good luck explaining ladders to them. With a saddle I can see this working out pretty well. Assuming you aren't already flying.

Heedless Design
Just as a note, I am assuming this causes automaton's to charge whenever valid for attack directives given that there's nothing I've seen so far that suggests they would.  If so, this looks alright for when you need an extra boost to damage. I have not used it.

Improved Compartment
Be sure to note the increased cost in build points. You lose one item vs two regular compartments.

Improved Reload Routine
Crossbow automaton's can benefit greatly from this.

Mobile Station
A necessary +2 for those crafting bots.

Physical Skill Programming
Now you can tell your automaton to climb, or swim, or whatever physical skill seems appropriate. Given Directives are spoken this might not be great for automatons without an int score. I highly recommend it anyhow as it will stack with later inventions.

Poison Application Device
Automatons are immune to poison, you may or may not have craft alchemy. This works great together should you be able to gather yourself a good supply of poison.

Potion Lab
Requires someone to input the spells, but allows your friends to not have to take brew potion.

Shrapnel Compartment
Great for Kamikaze, I guess you can store some alchemy in there too. DMs with low foresight and high RP may have already allowed you to store small magic items like amulets in a compartment.  Here is where you get them to reverse said decision with a necklace of fireballs.

Singed Earth Module
Bigger boom is always warranted.  This boosts your scaling attack and in other words is a good place to put some BP on one blueprint.

Skill Specialization
Great for all skills, like fly, craft and physical skills such as the ones you also unlocked at this level. The +3 may even be larger than your automaton's HD making this more valuable than the ranks themselves.

Slow Repair Module
I guess you could put this on the alpha. Otherwise I don't see much use to it. You could get it if you still haven't gotten the Scavenger's Stone mentioned in the Repair Kit entry and don't mind giving up build points on your alpha. Also a candidate for scaling.

Stabilizing Gyros
If someone is spending their maneuvers on your minions, you are doing something VERY right and/or they are doing something VERY wrong. Instead of watching your automaton sit there on their ass, put another one out and laugh at the enemies feeble attempts to stop you. After you Kamikaze the fool who is trying to grapple your minion of course.

Static Shield
Two points is costly for 1d2 damage against enemies that hit you. That said, you could lay out a lot of 1d2 damage if you could draw enough attention. Best taken for the later implications of some inventions.  I threw it on my alpha once it became an attack of opportunity powerhouse. I think a later invention only costs 1 build point, was this a typo?

Streamlined Design
This stacks with things like Accelerator Module. Get your minions moving really fast on the ground! The AC loss could actually be meaningless depending on if your minions can draw DM ire.

For when you have not enough arms and too many weapons? Doesn't help for drawing alchemy items so the use is pretty specific. Not recommended outside special cases such as Simple Weapon Mastery.

Thick Armor
1 build point for 1 AC. Not useful to me as rarely are my automatons attacked. If they were, it's not a bad investment.

Twin Vial Injector
You started down the path, this is where it leads. It's common sense, take it.

Two Weapon Flailing
For when your enemies AC is low or you need 20s to hit.

Level 3
Augmented Dexterity/Strength
Strength is great for melee, Dex is good for ranged automatons, and even better for the alpha. Watch the Build Point cost though, this is nothing like the ability score designs from earlier.

Augmented Structure
I have yet to have wished my automaton's had 2 or 3 more hit points. I feel like the build points spent on defense increase defense two-fold. Firstly they actually boost defense stats, secondly they make your minions less of a target as they are less likely to be dangerous.  Would rather have a minion go down in a blaze of glory than flail uselessly.

I have not used this yet. I should, but I haven't. Keep in mind it changes only the base damage and none of the improvements such as Extra Blast Charges. Some of the damage types can help you bypass the terrible damage types the Tinker generally uses. Fire and Electricity are bound to be resisted by the big baddies.

One of the big two at this level.  This invention scales as far as the effect goes, and is devastating against flying opponents. One thing to watch out for is electricity resistant enemies. If they don't take damage, they don't take any other effects. I put this on as many automatons as I can.

Extra Languages/Speakers
Speaker should be 0 points. Extra Languages is ok I guess. At this point you probably have someone with tongues, comprehend languages or you've used your Linguistics skills to great effect.

Flawed Overclock
Take it if you can.  It's just more damage and who doesn't love more damage?

Grafted Tentacle
This is the second of the big two. I put this on my Alpha with as many other modifications to boost it as possible and it works wonders. Should be used with Superior Responsive Programming. My alpha has taken Combat Reflexes and it just spells a bad day for anyone who approaches me. (I'm riding my alpha on a saddle.)  Would be nice if the stats for the tentacle were just spelled out instead of using whip information though, just to make things perfectly clear.

High Yield Charges
More boom. Yes take them.

Inflammable Citrus
I dunno. This sounds handy if you would ever do something like this.  I don't think I will. It seems like the creator had something specific in mind, but I can't quite divine what it is. Probably something to do with sunder or disarm.

Kinetic Transference Device
Assuming the same thing as heedless design. Also, stack on some speed for this one.

Take a careful read, one compartment, 3 goods, 2 build points. If you are super committed to lobbing alchemicals and have none of your own, this might work for you. I don't recommend it as you'll need all the build points you can for things like accuracy, Inflammable Citrus, and the 3 other points just to put a catapult arm on the thing. I may experiment with trying to make this work on my spare blueprint. Probably will require NOT using rotor. Keep in mind, you're only getting one to one and a half rounds of shots from each of these.

Martial Weapon Proficiency
Yes please. Greatswords, rapiers, maneuver bonuses, crit ranges... They're all in the martial category. Including but not limited to Composite Longbows. Nothing like strength damage to ranged attacks.

Mechanical Monkling/Mechanical Ninja
Depending on how you're managing initiative/if your automatons are attacked often will determine the choice here. It's not BAD, but I definitely would consider carefully if you want 2 points for +20ft movement speed. If you're maxing out speed for something like the Kinetic Transference Device then you know what to do.

Obsidian Construction
Your automatons are already nigh immune to everything but damage spells. The penalty seems a bit much for the benefit.

Point Blank Programming
Not bad, but I think most folks take point blank shot just to unlock other abilities. Still bonus to hit and damage is never bad.

Rapid Fire Programming
And here we are. This is the one you really wanted.  More damage at the cost of accuracy. Similar stance here as with Two Weapon Flailing.

Shield Proficiency
Same stance as Thick Armor except now you're sacrificing a two handed weapon or dual wielding for the bonus. I'm probably not going to use this.

Simple Weapon Mastery
So from the rule of cool, this is VERY cool. You know have all the simple weapons strapped to ONE minion. This gives you damage type options, but doesn't really give you the awesome weapons like from Martial Weapon Proficiency.

Slow Burn
Sounds great. But at the level you can first get this you can only use Alchemists fire to achieve this burn. Recommend waiting unless you have already started lobbing.

Skill Suite
Now you can have all the skills. Or at least one per selection of this suite. Stacks with previous skill bonuses for "superior" crafting and other skills. A 2 build point cost will probably keep you pretty focused in your automaton's functions though.

Static Eruption
With static shield costing 2 Build Points I couldn't reason spending 3 for 1d2 damage. Maybe later when I either have more points or static shield has upgraded damage.

Static Sheathe
See Static Eruption, but now I'm paying 4 Build Points. This one is key to the writer's Prismatic Strike combo.

Superior Responsive Programming
Take this for all your attack of opportunity needs. Now your minion is like everyone else, and great for threatening those foes. Assuming of course the minion is dangerous in the first place.  No point putting it on a heal bot.

Triple Vial Injector
Finally! You improve potions just by giving them to your minion. Enjoy the fruits of your labor and anticipate the rewards to come...

More Inventions
I feel like some inventions around improving damage and perhaps accuracy of minion might be worthwhile, especially looking into things that scale rather than do set damage. Furthermore, a lot of the intent in design seems centered around the later game.

This section will cover the two main types of automatons I have used. The Alpha and the standard Automaton. Note that these are two very distinct types of automaton due to their sizes, their special abilities and their ability scores.

The previous review covered most of it, but the main points I think that need to be improved for these little guys is their Combat Maneuver traits. They need a bump to have a chance for their maneuver inventions to work.

Their Wake Up Call could stand to have a mechanical effect. It's a great note, but might as well be trappings that can be changed for each time the Tinkerer is played. Perhaps a personality trait bonus based on blueprint?

Their Can We Help? ability should clarify if it's a normal aid check, or if they can aid for any check.

Their HD might be able to be accelerated a little bit. This might allow for earlier attacks and better skills. Might be fun to have an innovation or invention that grants one combat feat.

The cost is too damn high. If it dies, it should be more like the cost for a Wizard. 200 per Tinker level.

Alpha feats are great. You have to pick and choose from the list, but you can find some pretty good feats. I currently have mine using Combat Reflexes and Bodyguard for some bonuses to my defense as well as my allies, and when combined with the Grafted Tentacle the attacks of opportunity go a long way.

Drill Sergeant is also great. As you get more minions you need more commands. One the first round of combat I can get all my automatons in order due to this ability alone.

With all the boosts you can get for the alpha, they can become much more dangerous in ways the regular automatons could never be. Most of said bonuses are in the ability scores, my alpha is up near 22 strength and 20 dexterity, my regular automatons are lucky to get 16. I'm not sure what could, or should be done about this, but I do have concerns about higher levels being even worse.

I regret not playing a gnome for two reasons, one is the ability to ride small automatons easily, the other is not getting the Build Points for my alpha.

I don't think a TON of major tweaks, but I can see how the class could be greatly improved by some tactical changes. The creator has mentioned in a few public posts they were considering some of the rules for the class, and there is a lot of extra content on their blog and in expansions. It's enjoyable, but not amazingly effective.

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