1879: Heavy Metal
We’ve talked about steam throughout the game system and the world. It’s steamweird, after all, wouldn’t be there without the steam. We’ve delved into locomotives, gotten into the details of how expansion systems work, talked about hammer blow and rail spacing. We’ve moved out into the open ocean with massive ironclad steamers, screw driven, making turns for ten knots, paired rifled breech-loading cannon pivoting in their turrets to bring a fourteen gun barrage to bear from a mile away. We’ve rolled out on wheels and caterpillar treads with the kettle corps, across the fields and into the trenches and mire, opening the way for the infantry, bringing the firepower to the enemy within steel capsules driven by industrial-grade superheated dry steam. Let’s move to the next step, literally. Let’s talk about the dovmaks, the Turkish walking machines, the new big boys of the battlefield.
By now FASA52605 Haktanir Teyze has been out for a while, and so I’m not spoiling so much when I say that we were seriously introducing steam mecha with that Personality dossier. There’s no art of them yet, but there will be. At some point, we’re going to have art of the Miracle of Plovna, that soaring moment when the three-story high walking machines came up over the hill, and the Ottoman troops cheered. The charge was like thunder, like a landslide, hundreds of tons of steel and brass and high velocity steam pounding down like new-released gods. They swept the field before them with fire and the scourge, and the Cossacks ran, scattered like ants when the hill is kicked over. And Haktanir herself carried the day when she charged the Russian command. She let off the steam whistles, long, loud, booming and screaming, and went full steam right over their formation before they could scatter. The Russian standard went down into the mud under her foot. And she turned, and she waved the troops on, and they flowed like the river, washing away the invaders, and reclaiming the land for their children.
Yes, it’s Turkish history, of course it’s poetic and overblown. But there it is, and there we start. For we have opened a new age in the merging of steam and electricity, of brass and magic, of engineering and the arcane, and who knows what may be possible from here? This is steamweird, let us soar onward into the heights we see opening before us.
And now, the stats.
Dovmak Number Three
No piston-driven crankshafts here, we’re spinning turbines with superheated high pressure steam to drive the dynamos that run the electric motors at each joint. The combined work distributed across the frame is what makes it able to move. There’s a perpetual stink of burnt gutta-percha throughout the hull, as nobody’s got a better insulator for the price that can take the heat generated by impedance in the high voltage lines.
Cost: £17,200 parts plus £30,000 labour (estimated, all work was in service for the war effort) for the final build
Fuel Charge: £2/7
* 2 shoulder turrets, paired 75mm Krupp breechloading rifles each with steam driven autoloaders, Rate of Fire 3 per round, Capacity 21 rounds each cannon, at Plovna loaded with explosive shell on the right and canister on the left.
* Vickers 7.7mm machine guns chest and mid back, Rate of Fire -/10/60, Base Damage 18, Success Bonus +6, Capacity 300, one drum mounted and one in a hot-swap rack, takes the pilot’s entire action for three rounds that do not have to be successive
Passengers: None (2 ammunition lockers accessible from cockpit could fit one person each if empty)
Crew: 1 (pilot)
* Disabled: 132
* Destroyed: 155
* Critical Threshold: 35
A roughly human-shaped fighting machine, Dovmak Number Three stands 16 meters high, with a shoulder span of 14 meters, a crouched appearance necessary for center of gravity considerations, and a footprint ten meters long and eight wide. The dovmak has treads on each foot, and can travel at a rate of 8 with turns up to 45 degrees per round at no penalty. The treads are locked for walking, which has a Movement rate of 10 and causes Step 6 damage to everything within ten meters with each step. At a run, the dovmak moves its full speed of 17, and causes Step 12 damage to everything within 20 meters with each step.
The pilot fires all weapons as a second action, at a -3 Step Penalty, which is offset +2 by the dovmak’s gyro-stabilized aiming systems for a total penalty of -1 Step. Access is through a rectangular hatch in the upper back, up past the Vickers gun, and secured from within as well as without, requiring a magically paired safety key to open from either side. A Siemens loudhailer system and paired parabolic microphone allow the pilot to communicate by voice. A set of Westinghouse batteries drive a self-igniting carbon arc searchlight located under the cockpit, above the forward Vickers gun, with a burn time of 30 minutes. Yes, there were quite a few questions as to how the Turks got hold of all of this technology, some of it the very latest thing in its home nation, and bodged it all together so damn effectively so quickly.