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Mechanika: Empires of Blood & Steam
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Mechanika: Empires of Blood & Steam

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Mechanika: Empires of Blood & Steam

Mechanika: Empires of Blood & Steam is the first core rule book for the Xaos system. We at Xaos Publications have been working hard trying to bring a new system and a new gaming opportunity to the market.

Mechanika was designed to truly embrace the Steampunk Horror genre, while at the same time incorporating magical elements. Bringing them all together in a way that makes them feel genuine, and fully realized. Mechanika (indeed all the Xaos games), is also designed to deliver a rapid fire cinematic tabletop experience. We call this genre of tabletop gaming: Cinematic Roleplaying.

We accomplish this in a few different ways.

First, the system is designed to be easy to learn, with fewer types of dice in mind. Fewer types of dice means fewer types of rolls, fewer types of rolls means faster gameplay. All you need to play is a pair of percentile dice, and a set of FUDGE dice. This dice combination is simple, yet allows for a high level of customizability. It gives the game a system for varying degrees of success or failure. We have found that this ensures combat (whether social, mental, or physical), is quick, brutal, and rewarding.

Second, we give you all the tools to play what you want, how you want, from the very beginning. We have no classes or level system, resulting in an open ended free form development process, while still offering rich opportunities for character advancement. Character creation is deep and satisfying, with perks, flaws, bonds, back stories, and more customizability than you can shake a gas powered stick at. We want the characters you make to feel like they are the true stars of the game.

Thirdly, magic is magical and machina is amazing! In Mechanika you have access to terrible and incredible powers through a force we call flux. We want it to be a truly spectacular thing to cast an incantation, or use a piece of artifice. But everything in Mechanika has a price, and the price can be dire indeed. Manipulation of flux can draw the attention of sinister beings and dark forces better left unmentioned, and unimagined. For this reason overusing these terrible powers can cause insanity, death, or worse. This gives your decisions weight and consequence; and makes success that much sweeter.

Finally, we want the characters to feel like they are more than just players in a story. We want the characters to help create that story. For that reason we have implemented a destiny system. Allowing player the ability to earn points for roleplaying the aspects of their characters that make them unique. These points can then be used to make live in-game changes. Anything from rerolling dice to completely altering the scene in a measurable way. This keeps the GM on his toes and makes the whole experience more engaging for everyone, and therefore, more fun!

Mechanika is about steampunk and steampunk is about building anything and everything. We want to emphasize that creation process in every aspect. From magic, to machina, to monsters, we give you the tools to build practically anything you can imagine.

No seriously.

Take magic for instance. We give you 12 primary schools of incantation, With many specific abilities in each school. You can then mix and match spell effects, allowing you to create elaborate chained catastrophic effects on the fly as the situation dictates. Do you want to set an undead soldier on fire, teleport him into a group of his buddies and watch him explode? Yeah. You can do that.

Or take machina, our version of steampunk gadgets. We give you a system of templates and effects to work with and you do the rest! Want to build a steampunk set of ironman armor? How about a bunch of exploding clockwork spiders? Done and done.

Finally even our monsters are fully customizable. We give you a rich menagerie of terrible and dark creatures to choose from, and a full system of templates and conditions that can be quickly and easily hot swapped to allow for unpredictable and innovative encounters. All of this customization and cinematic experience would mean nothing if it didn’t have a rich and interesting environment to live in. The world of Mechanika is that environment.

The game is set on an anachronistic Earth, following an alternate timeline filled with historical and fictional characters from throughout history. Mark Twain, Mr. Hyde, Rasputin, Queen Victoria, Vlad the Impaler, and Nikola Tesla. Just to name a few. Altered and augmented in dark and exciting ways, and given new roles in our new world.

We have reimagined Earth’s cultures and countries in a myriad of interesting ways, injecting them with a heavy dose of Lovecraft inspired cosmic horror and exciting high adventure, and we can’t wait to show you our vision and give you the opportunity to be a part of the story.

Custom Solid Metal Mechanika FUDGE Dice & offset prints now also available on our site.

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Reviews (0)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Neil S January 05, 2022 12:33 am UTC
does this have a lovecraftian bestiary
Customer avatar
Jarad C August 04, 2016 8:08 pm UTC
Are there any public reviews of this? I am intrigued by it and was going to pick it up but wanted to read another take or two before investing.
Customer avatar
Joshua B August 04, 2016 8:18 pm UTC
Con season is slowing things down, but there are reviews underway & we're looking for more to cover the game. There are some older ones out there. We're just wanting to have more current ones put out. Also any of the folks that already bought it here are welcome to review. If you want to read a bit that was written originally in the reviews you can visit: & has more details about it.

I know you're looking for more current things & I understand. These are just a bit of something at the moment. Hopefully this covers at least a few of the things you might be wondering about the game from another point of view.
Customer avatar
Jarad C August 04, 2016 8:44 pm UTC
Understandable, I don't know how I forgot about the cons.

I'll give those links a browse. Might just cop the softcover anyway and post the first review. I'm not really a steampunk guy, but the limitless customization and templates aspect have me intrigued and my current campaign is at a standstill anyway.

Either way good work, looks unique!
Customer avatar
Joshua B August 04, 2016 8:49 pm UTC
There is TONS of magic in the world. We've had groups play completely with magic, some with all steampunk (one group once built steampunk 'Voltron' and attacked Sweden with it. We altered the rules a bit after that), and even groups that have done full campaigns without combat. If you do a review, no matter the outcome I'd love to see it. Thanks.
Customer avatar
Jarad C August 04, 2016 8:53 pm UTC
Gotta admit, the building of a robot to invade an entire nation thing might be as appealing as the customization bit.

And sure, if I post a review it'll be on here for sure.
Customer avatar
Angel T July 31, 2016 10:12 pm UTC
Will this be made available in POD format? I am highly intrigued by this and would love to buy it, but I'd prefer a PDF + POD option.
Customer avatar
Joshua B July 31, 2016 10:23 pm UTC
As for now we are only doing PDF here on DTRPG. We handled our own printing & didn't go with POD so that we had the ability to review the quality of books before they went out. Also we supply local game stores at the moment. I don't want to step out of line by directly linking but I will say we love physical & pdf combos as well and made sure it was an option. In the future we might include POD here, but for the moment we handle physical copies. Hope that helped answer what you were looking for.
Customer avatar
Darren B August 01, 2016 6:01 am UTC
Were you handling printing for the original KS print run? Nearly all of us backers still waiting for print copies
Customer avatar
Joshua B August 01, 2016 6:53 am UTC
Darren that would be incorrect. The only books that weren't sent out yet are the Victorian Hardbacks & special editions which is about 10% of the total books. Some of the international ones are still in transit but every Softcover was delivered in the US. I tracked them all. They went out spread out because as folks submitted their shipping info I'd send them out. This was pre-BackerKit days; before that got super easy to input.

The Victorian Hardbacks wouldn't be sold on our site regardless since it is a one time run for the linen bound covers. You have one of the 15 copies of that hardback set for yourself which is coming, as has been made clear on a few different locations.

Hopefully that cleared it up.
Customer avatar
Darren B August 01, 2016 7:02 am UTC
Yes I'm due a limited hardcover as mentioned. However I disagree with the 'made clear on a few different locations'. Last KS update was March 6. And it's not for lack of asking, which has been done via KS contact, KS comments, and Facebook. Your paragraph above as a KS update anytime in the last 4 months would have set minds at ease.
Customer avatar
Joshua B August 01, 2016 7:15 am UTC
You might be looking at the wrong Facebook, or twitter. I'm not MP & the folks that were helping him when the KS started all left. So things they setup for him I don't think anyone is monitoring. But there is a Xaos Publishing facebook & the website under the same name which goes directly to me not those old folks. I'm the guy that came in to attempt to make sure everything still happened. :) But yes more than 100 books were signed & shipped already which is nearly all the backers & the special things are still coming. The thing now is having more people playing the game & not making Angel T think we're super excited to talk to him over and over ha. If you are curious about anything else you can email me at the same contact you've used before when you had questions and we talked. It's on the websites and I'm happy to keep folks informed.
Customer avatar
Joshua B August 23, 2016 12:35 am UTC
POD is available here on the site now. The HC proof arrived today and I approved it for sale.
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File Last Updated:
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This title was added to our catalog on July 30, 2016.