One thing I really enjoy in 4E is the art of the “Reskin,” or taking appropriate existing mechanics and describing them in a dramatically different way. I like to take this to the extreme, reskinning entire classes to suit the setting. In this case, if someone wanted to play a wizard or sorcerer but without the stigma of being an arcanist in the setting, they have an option.
New Power Source: Technological!
Tinker Though the proper arcane wizards are all but extinct, a new breed of adventurer has begun to inherit their role. Called Engineers, Gadgeteers, or even mad scientists, these adventurers find ways to create similar effects through technological, rather than necessarily arcane wizardry. Rather than spells, they have a number of tools and procedures at their disposal that, while usually bulky, noisy, and often strange, are surprisingly effective. In any given encounter, an engineer is likely to use flame-throwers, grenades, force-field projectors, spring-loaded boots, remote-controlled gyro-hovering constructs, and other gadgets that get even weirder.
Some scholars theorize that these master engineers actually tap into the same arcane energies the wizard did, through their own exterior technological focus, rather than an internal arcane one, though few self-respecting tinkers would even consider such a possibility.
OOC: Tinkers are a “re-skin” for wizards, with a prodigious amount of creative liberty taken with the exact power flavor descriptions, including rituals. Their automatically trained skill is Engineering, rather than Arcana, and they may use this in place of Arcana checks with regard to their rituals. All tinkers build their own devices to function as a focus for their abilities, and these devices fail to work for others unless specifically created to do so per Build/Customize, the Engineer’s variant of Enchant Magic Item.
Tinkers have access to special implements and magic items that take the form of exceptional quality tool kit additions that allow them to add enhancements to their gadgets. Modulators mimic orbs, reinforcements mimic staves, and scopes or goggles mimic wands. At the time of character creation, a character’s chosen implement focus reflects innate modifications he makes to all his devices via special exceptional tools.
A Tinker can only use one set of enhanced (magical) tools to prepare his gadgets after any given extended rest, though can take a short rest to recalibrate and switch the special powers available (switch implements). In addition to providing normal enhancement bonuses, some especially enchanted tools commonly give additional bonuses when used with specific procedures (spells).
Nearly any feat that has the Wizard prerequisite may be taken by a Tinker, renamed for utility.
The Downside: All Tinker Powers have the Keyword: Gadget. Unlike with implements, a Tinker cannot use his powers without his Gadgets. Most Tinkers are very careful to include multiple backups, and are very good at finding quick replacements for lost equipment. Storytellers should be very careful in placing the Tinker in situations where he has no access to any of his tools.
The Upside: Much like a Wizard’s spellbook, a Tinker can choose multiple Daily and Utility powers, choosing after each extended rest which ones he has prepared. In addition, a tinker may switch one of these choices during a short rest, or may spend an action point to switch one prepared option out for another, instead of taking an extra action.
-Grenadier: While Tinkers use emerging technologies for a myriad of utilitarian purposes, including offense, the Grenadier seems interested in just one thing: destruction. Forgoing the subtler designs of other engineers, the Grenadier specializes in putting as much hurt downrange and on-target as possible. Their devices tend to resemble guns, mortars, flame-or-frost projectors, and good old-fashioned grenades. Widely regarded as crude, reckless, and the most dangerous example of a combat engineer, the Grenadiers flaunt their mechanical prowess with dangerous acumen, relying more on shock and awe than anything resembling pinpoint accuracy to get their point across (Charisma Primary).
OOC: A “re-skin” of the Sorcerer, the Grenadier fulfills a technological striker roll, with some minor controller-type powers. Much like Tinkers, their “magical” implements tend to take the form of specialized enhancements they build into their weapons. They automatically gain Engineering as a trained skill instead of Arcana, and may select three more trained skills from the Sorcerer skill list. Also, the Grenadier may take nearly any Sorcerer-specific feat, again, re-skinned to be technological.
The Downside: Like Engineers, all Grenadier powers have the keyword: Gadget. With access to absolutely none of their equipment, their powers simply do not work. Also like Tinkers, though, they’re usually very good about scavenging quick replacements for lost equipment.
The Upside: Though their general idiom of long-range destruction prevails, each Grenadier tends to favor certain flavors of devastation. In general, players may choose to focus on Heavy Weapons (Dragon Magic), relying on brute strength to build their weapons bigger and allow them to carry more of a punch, or Artillery (Wild Magic), whereby through strange, volatile alchemical admixtures, getting impressive (though erratic) results. These choices mimic the mechanical benefits of each option as normal, with an additional benefit: each option gives the Grenadier the use of a special at-will basic attack, usable as a standard action:
Heavy Weapons: Flame-Thrower- Implement. Standard, Close Blast 3, Str vs. Reflex, 1d4 + Str Damage
Demolitions: Frag Grenade- Implement. Standard, Ranged 10 Burst 1, Dex vs. Reflex, 1d4 + Dex Damage.
Personal Security Measures- Implement. Standard, Close Burst 1, Dex vx. Fort, targets all creatures. Hit: 1d4 + Dex lightning dmg and target is pushed 1.
Psion Attack 7
At Will * Augmentable, Implement, Psionic, Psychic
Target: One Enemy that you can see and who can see you.
Int vs. Will
Hit: Target makes a basic attack as a free action against one target of your choosing within range. You are obviously the source of this effect.
Augmentable 1: In addition to the above, you may slide the target a number of squares equal to your Charisma bonus before the attack.
Augmentable 2: In addition to the above, any enemies must make a reflexive insight check greater than your successful attack roll to know that you originated the attack. The initial target gains a +5 bonus to this roll.
Psion Utility 6
Daily, Implement, Psionic, Psychic
Target: One creature that you can see and who can see you.
Int vs. Will
Hit: The target is Dominated (save ends). Special: You can see and hear everything the target sees and hears. While the effect persists, you are Stunned, though you may end it at the start of your turn. If used outside of combat, the effect lasts five minutes, and you are not obviously the source of the effect, and the target does not remember any events during the effects.
Tech Gnome: See regular Gnome, with these changes:
-+2 Engineering instead of Arcana.
-Natural Origin, instead of Fey.
-Once per Encounter, use Light instead of Ghost Sound (cast a flare)
-Jaded Rationality: Same mechanical bonus as Trickster’s Cunning, just for different reasons.
Replace Fade Away with Greasemonkey’s Escape
Immediate Reaction Personal
Trigger: You take damage
Effect: You shift up to your move. If you end the shift in cover or concealment, you may make a reflexive Stealth check.
Sentinel: (Technological Warden, Warforged)
Role: Defender. Through several innovative augmentations within your person, you are capable of phenomenal feats of strength and endurance on the battlefield. In addition to several built-in innovations to your own superstructure, your mastery of battlefield equipment makes you truly fearsome. You cannot wear heavier armor, as it blocks the use of many of your own modifications, but have learned to make lighter armor out of tough metal alloys.
Power Source: Technological
Armor Proficiencies: Special. Though wearing heavy armor blocks a lot of your innate ability, you have learned to make lighter versions of armor which do not impede your movement. When someone performs a ritual to resize a suit of armor or Warforged armor component for you, any heavy armor used retains its material makeup, weight, and any magical properties, but acquires the mechanical properties of wearing hide armor, only retaining any speed penalties associated with the original armor type.
Trained Skills: Endurance. Add Engineering to the Class Skill List, subtract Nature.
Class Features: Mechanical Resilience (see Font of Life), Guardian Might: Fortified Skeleton (see Earthstrength), Tactical Upgrade (see Wildblood), Battle-Magnet (see Nature’s Wrath)
Boosts: The Sentinel activates an auxiliary system, designed for quick bursts of physical prowess (Forms). Secondary muscles engage, power reserves come on-line, and electricity or steam courses over the Sentinel as he pushes his frame to the max.