Dark Fantasy Roleplaying in a Post-WWII Alternate History Dieselpunk Setting

Gemstone Capacitors can put the massive electrical power of a submarine, or the intense heat output from an industrial furnace, in the palm of the hand. Add to this the ability to create complex remote-controlled robotic devices and the possibilities are incredible. By 1950 we are still at the genesis of a (Dieselpunk) technology revolution… the race is on to recruit appropriately Talented Meta Engineers and to secure carbonado wherever it may be found. But just what are the “nuts and bolts” of what Meta Engineers can do?


Gemstone Capacitor → Psytomaton → Enhanced Psytomaton

Gemstone Capacitor (Tier 1) takes a round cut carbonado (“black diamond”), the toughest form of diamond, and manipulates its molecular structure to support the storage of various forms of Energy. The newly created Gemstone Capacitor is unattuned and can be simply considered a “battery” that can be charged by Energize. It is in this form that it finds use as a power source for various non-Psytomaton devices, such as the UV-A Pulse Rifle.


The once controversial extraterrestrial origin theory for the formation of carbonado is given credence with the discovery of its abundance Otherside.

Concentration: Intense, Interruptible
Life Energy cost: Rank maximum, i.e. 50 at Rank 1, 100 at Rank 10.
Effect: Time required 2 hours per Rank. Creates an unattuned Gemstone Capacitor with a maximum energy storage level based on gem size and Rank.

Rank     Carat Wt.     Size (mm)     Energy Max.     Equivalence
1            1                    6.5                  10                        Car Battery
2            2                    7.5                  20                        Truck Battery
3            3                    9.4                  50
4            6                    11.9               100
5            10                  13.6               150
6            15                 16.1                300
7            25                 17.7                600                      Submarine Battery Bank
8            40                 19.1                1250
9            60                 20.5                2500
10          100               30.3                5000

Psytomaton (Tier 2) allows you to create an automaton, that uses no more than 12 cubic inches of material parts and is powered and controlled through a single embedded Gemstone Capacitor. This personally attuned machine is limited to its own physical capabilities. Although the most common Psytomaton is stand-alone this is not necessarily the case, instead becoming a personal attachment, such as an artificial hand.

The size limitation is a factor of how far your thoughts can be pushed out from the controlling Gemstone Capacitor.

Concentration: Active
Life Energy cost: 40 to attune the Gemstone Capacitor to your own mind + 50 per day of construction.
Effect: Construction time, cost, power usage, etc. as determined by the GM. Operation is dependent on Control Link and Extra Sensory Link.

Enhanced Psytomaton (Tier 3) allows the construction of larger and potentially more complex automaton by allowing multiple Gemstone Capacitors to be daisy-chained. So, with 2 Gemstone Capacitors 24 cubic inches of material parts can be used, and with 3 Gemstone Capacitors 36 cubic inches of material parts can be used. Again, this personally attuned machine is limited to its own physical capabilities.


Concentration: Active
Life Energy cost: 30 to attune each Gemstone Capacitor to your own mind; limit 2 at Rank 7 and 3 at Rank 10 + 40 per day of construction.
Effect: Construction time, cost, power usage, etc. as determined by the GM. Operation is dependent on Control Link and Extra Sensory Link.


Energize → Control Link → Extra Sensory Link

Energize (Tier 1) absorbs energy from another source and then channels that energy into a Gemstone Capacitor for storage, with the Meta Engineer acting as a psychically-protected conduit. This means that grabbing a high-voltage cable, or being engulfed in flame, is possible for as long as the Meta Engineer is holding the Gemstone Capacitor AND it can hold the energy flooding into it. Disaster could result if the energy is too much for the Gemstone Capacitor to store. This energy reservoir can be used later at will. Either in a Psytomaton if the Gemstone Capacitor is attuned or in some other device if not. In the special case of Life Energy, drawn from the Meta Engineers own, there is no need for inclusion in a “device” it simply needs to be touching the skin to tap the contained energy and regain lost Life Energy. Consequently, the gemstone is usually fashioned into jewelry or weapon hilt, handle, or strap. However, the Gemstone Capacitor is attuned to the Meta Engineer during the process and hence only useable by that same Meta Engineer. Other forms of energy storage, however, such as electricity do need some method of engineered access. An area of continual government and commercial research.

Concentration: Intense
Life Energy cost: Life Energy Energize – total available. Other Energy Energize – 1 for 1, i.e. 1 Life Energy protects against the transfer of 1 point of some other form of energy.
Effect: Energy storage limited by Gemstone Capacitor Energy Max.

Control Link (Tier 2) allows you to extend your mind out and connect with the Gemstone Capacitor in a Psytomaton to “see and hear” through it and remote control its physical operation. Essential, for example, to effectively deploy a Spy Bug for illicit surveillance.

Concentration: Active, Interruptible. Becomes Passive at Rank 4.
Life Energy cost: 20 to establish link + (20 – Rank) per hour to use.
Effect: Psytomaton remote operation at a range of 1 mile per Rank.

Extra Sensory Link (Tier 3) allows you to form a complete psychic link with a Gemstone Capacitor such that with concentration you can now use your Talents as if you were there.

Concentration: Passive (Special), Interruptible
Life Energy cost: 30 to establish link + (20 – Rank) per hour to use.
Effect: Psytomaton remote Talent use at a range of 1 mile per Rank. Although Passive the Meta Engineer cannot use other Talents except through the linked Psytomaton.


In August 2017 I made the annual pilgrimage to GenCon. I had spent weeks looking for an artist who could capture the emotional essence, horror, and in some cases contrasting beauty, of my Othersiders. Not your usual monster manual fare. While walking artists’ row both my wife, Ginette, and I suddenly stopped. Looked at each other and said “that’s it!” We were standing in front of Doug Hoppes’ booth. Over the next few months a true collaboration blossomed resulting in some amazing artwork. The first of Hel, Angel of Death:


Hel, Angel of Death

With no human language of her own, only telepathic communication, Hel takes “her” name from the thoughts stripped from the mind of the first human being she encounters. In this case a German soldier who sees in her the literary personification of the bringer of death and ruler of the underworld. But not only her name. Knowledge of the world. Although characterized more by her curved horns, sharp teeth, pale waxy skin, jet-black eyes, and pulsing black veins, Hel still has a distinctly, even attractive, female form. Standing at almost 7 ft. she is encased feet-to-neck in black chitinous armor except for her back which is specifically cut to allow for the bone rings set there. She is attended by 6 Supplicants attached via collars and bone chains to the rings in her back. The collars are internally spiked so that the Supplicants have weeping sores to match the wounds caused by the rings that are embedded into Hel’s back at the other end of the chains. These wretched creatures are examples of what can be wrought when flesh and bone become a canvas for a sadistic, twisted, inhuman mind. Using telekinetic abilities her supplicants are levitated and arrayed behind her in such a way as to be reminiscent of wings. Supplicants are miserable, shriveled, creatures that constantly writhe in apparent agony, providing Hel with a disposable source of additional Necrotic Energy. Once exhausted Hel simply makes a replacement.

The second of Hel’s Harvesters:



Harvesters have pale waxy grey-green skin, yellow eyes, razor-sharp pointed teeth, and a sensual, curvaceous, feminine body. With otherwise delicate features, they have neither ears or hair, and exhibit varying degrees of visible pulsing black veins that spread out from a central point at the nape of the neck, up over the head and face, down the arms and torso, eventually covering the entire body. The vein patterns are unique to each individual. Although their hands have dexterous fingers tipped with short, sharp, black claws Harvesters prefer the use of manufactured weapons. In addition, they wear elaborate chitinous armor, including ornately carved half face masks directly pinned to the back or sides of their heads. Observation of their coordinated efforts suggests behavior somewhat analogous with bees. Harvesters share physical commonality with their “Queen”, Hel. Horrific beauty incarnate. Created as adults not born, the same black oily fluid from the vats they emerge from oozing through their veins in a unique pattern that is indicative of their level of psychic ability; the greater the patterning the greater the talent and with it a higher hierarchical standing. Hel representing the pinnacle of this power.

Dieselpunk is at the core of NecroMech, reflected both in both character and world styling as well as technology development. In early 1950, despite almost 5 years since Meta Engineering became possible, technology advances are still in their infancy due to reliance on two rare commodities. Meta Engineers who using their Talents of Gemstone Capacitor → Psytomaton → Enhanced Psytomaton and Energize → Control Link → Extra Sensory Link are able to construct the fantastic. And polished carbonado (“black diamond”) that once made into a Gemstone Capacitor acts as “heart, brain, and eyes,” providing the power for weapons such as the UV Pulse Rifle and Jacob Electric Bolt Gun, enhanced vehicle performance through Metaboost™, or even the interactive control of a Remote Psytomaton Pilot.

Organizations search out Meta Engineers for recruitment to further their agendas, both voluntary and involuntary. At the public forefront are Meta Engineering Technology Associates or M.E.T.A. run by Brian and Brianna Murphy:


Brian Murphy


Brianna Murphy

Fortune seekers venture Otherside seeking carbonado, whose once controversial extraterrestrial origin theory is given credence with the discovery of its abundance there.

Over the coming months we will be exploring all avenues of Meta Engineering possibility. From planes, trains and automobiles to weapons, tradecraft equipment, and even consumer luxuries. As well as the stories behind their development and materials sourcing.


Geared out for the Otherside!

For Special Agents there is even the opportunity to include all things Meta Engineering as part of their in-game back story!

At the core of the philosophy behind NecroMech is the continued addition AND availability of content. To reflect this our Kickstarter updates will focus on what will be included in version 2.0.0. that only our backers will see with release at the conclusion of the campaign.

I decided to start with Gordon Ashton, since this is a character who I see as my own personal alter-ego and a character I would play given the opportunity in one of your adventures.


Gordon’s background paints the picture of a man with a profound motivation to “Kill Germans”, the opportunity to do so, and the will and tenacity to see the job done.

Gordon loses both his parents, his father a soldier and his mother a nurse working on the front line, to WWI. At age 13 he finds himself at the John Benn orphanage on Bower Street in Stepney, London. Harboring an intense hatred for the Germans Gordon enlists in the army as soon as he reaches his 16th birthday, becoming Private Ashton – 1st Infantry Division, stationed in Aldershot. As part of the British Expeditionary Force, now Sergeant Ashton, is sent to France in September 1939. While being driven back through Belgium and north-western France, for eventual evacuation from Dunkirk in May 1940 as part of Operation Dynamo, Gordon earns the reputation of a relentless fighter giving no ground to the Germans unless steeped in their blood. Gordon transfers to the No. 7 Commando in August 1940 and is sent to the Middle East as part of Layforce; fighting side-by-side with Robert Hannay during the Layforce attack on Bardia in April 1941. After agreeing to keep in touch after the war they go their separate ways with Gordon taking part in the battle of Crete, assisting in the evacuation of the Allied forces. However, he is temporarily taken prisoner before killing his 4 German soldier escort and making good his escape. In March 1945, now part of 1st Commando Brigade (after his own commando group is disbanded). Gordon is again captured during Operation Plunder as he crosses the river Rhine at Wessel. This time he is unable to escape after being captured and is taken initially to Stalag 6F in Bocholt only 25km away. However, with the allies pressing forward he and the other POWs are moved east. Unfortunately for Gordon, he is included in a small group identified as particularly “tough and resilient” and sent to Wewelsburg (120 miles away) as test subjects for Dr. Kruckel in his “stitching project”.

What happens next explores how this singular focus together with the impact of his grafts play out in terms of the moral choices he makes and will make. Moral ambiguity is a constant theme throughout NecroMech.

“The tests begin again. The ache in my mouth seems to pulse with anticipation. But I now have control. I will not kill anymore.”

“I remember the first time. Waking with the memory of the torment. Touching my teeth. Not my teeth. Something else.”

“I bang on my cell door. It opens. Escape…”

“Is it the third? No the fourth. Another Nazi lying at my feet. Throat torn out. His blood. But so much more. The memory of another man screaming as the blood pours from his very skin, pulled by some unseen force to shower me in red. My pain is gone. I need more! Wait. What am I thinking!”

“I run on. She comes out of nowhere. We crash to the floor. I sense the very life flowing through her. How? Her proximity fills me a profound, aching, need? What is this feeling? I grab her exposed arm, she screams, the relief, another scream… I must STOP!”

Dieselpunk style is a major component of the NecroMech game world. So for characters with a Tooth Graft from Othersider UX-170 (“Vampire”) that need to hide their deformity, one they are eagerly willing to endure to gain Necrovasculation, Rupture, and Hateful Harvest, a mask is in order. Perhaps something like this that the (cos)player could also wear to the game table!


Courtesy of http://www.dieselpunk.ro/


If you are an Energy Adept with Incendiary Touch who needs matches!

Based on art by Ástor Alexander.

Incendiary Touch (Tier 1) causes your hand to be wreathed with gently undulating wisps of red, green, or violet flames; the color reflective of your Morality: Red for Immoral, Green for Amoral, and Violet for Moral. Anyone you touch suffers a severe burn at the point of contact and it also simply allows you to set fire to things. The light cast by the flames can bring light to the darkness.
Concentration: Active, Interruptible
Life Energy cost: 10 per round.
Effect: Requires an Action check to touch the target. An attempt can be made to grasp the target at a -30% penalty. Your target suffers (d10 x Rank) points of burn damage per touch (one per round). If grasped then no Action check is required and subsequent damage is an automatic 10 per Rank. The target can attempt to break your grasp. Any intervening material reduces the damage per Rank (sustaining the damage instead): Cloth -2, Leather, -4, and other forms of Armor -8.