Secrets of the Inner Sea
Additional Tinkering Notes
For ease of reference, here's what the chargen doc says about Tinkering. Remember, page numbers generally refer to the main rulebook.
The rules for driving and fighting crazy steampunk vehicles are on p. 190-191. The actual rules for making them are on p. 208-214. Don't worry about Engine Magic, it's not a focus of this campaign.
As per the correction on p. 3 of Steam Age, shift all time to do things down one level. Things take days, not weeks, to make or hours (for gadgets), not days. A "day" is eight hours long, with the other 16 hours for resting, eating, sleeping and so on, so you can make things even faster if you risk your health. Even with these time rules, it still takes a long time to make something. This is because the typical vehicle can't be harmed by personal weapons at all and Infernal Weapons are powerful enough to level cities. The good news is you can work on this stuff during "downtime," and you can arrange with the GMs to have one item (besides Gadgets) that you've already made.
By the way, the Steam Age book is mostly page after page of examples of stuff made with the Tinkering system.
We said that Tinkerer characters could start with a bunch of Gadgets (no real limit, but be reasonable) and one larger thing they already made, such as a vehicle. In general, it shouldn't be something that it would take much longer than 60 days for your character to make. That's enough to make, say, a large airship.
Tinkerer, in this context, means your character as a Tinkering of Good or better. Note the rules on p. 208, where having higher Tinkering means it takes you less time to make something. That means that characters with better Tinkering can have a "better" (weirder) device at game start. You don't have to have a device if you don't want to.
Also, if you want Gadgets (see p. 209) and aren't a Tinkerer, if you have an Exchequer of Good or better, you can start with as many as you want.
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In other news, we found an interesting loophole that we want to close. This is mainly only relevant if what you're making has a game-mechanical effect based on what it's made out of. It's not quite as important how durable a steam computer is going to be, as it's going to be fragile to some degree (getting knocked out of joint) no matter what it's made out of, and for a chemical formula, durability doesn't matter at all, it's something you drink or inject. Mainly, we're talking vehicles here.
A vehicle has more Wounds based on what it's made out of, but the material you use doesn't make it cost any more or less, so there's no reason not to make it out of the best material possible. It's balanced somewhat in the stronger materials are not friendly to Faeries, so there's a trade off in whether you want faeries to be comfortable in your vehicle or not. However, that is ruined by mention of "Dwarven aluminum" which is as good as armor plate!
We don't want to make this more complicated than it already is, so we're going to keep this narrative. For whatever item a Tinkerer gets at game start (doesn't have to be a vehicle, could be an Engine or whatever), it can't be made out of a weird thing like Dwarven titanium or faerie gold (which is as hard as steel), but you can get that sort of stuff with enough money (maybe) and/or with an adventure during the game (for sure).
However, for that starting device, we are allowing titanium, or something similar, for a starting steampunk device, which will count as Iron but is faerie-friendly, so there's one weird metal available at start. Later, it might be harder to get.
If that's too confusing, just make up your steampunk device and we'll worry about it later.