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Comments: 10
Ideas: 0
Rating: 3.9167
Condition: Normal
ID: 2882


December 17, 2006, 4:23 pm

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Mechnician's Tool


I saw him pull that odd piece out once more, using it to fiddled with the lock. He open the big fold, and flipped out one long thin piece. He pulled a single piece out from a slide and fiddled in the lock.  He stopped, smirked, and flipping out a small thin scraping tool he began to probe the area around the lock. “Trapped,” he said.

Also known as a Trapsman tool.

Their formal name is Mechnicians, but others call them Tinkers, Lockcrafters, Trapsmiths, Impressors, and crazed fools.  These are the people who make intricate things like locks, traps, sliding doors, retracting awnings for solars, and clocks. Being an inventive breed, they are always making things to make making things easier. Most notably, they create their own special tools. Being an iconoclastic bunch, a hundred Mechanicians will have hundred different “own special tools” with some overlap - as good ideas are good ideas.

Each member has to start with something. One of the Journeyman Guild Tasks, if one can call the Mechnicians a real guild, is to create their first special tool from a common type. The items must include several set parts and must be made to exacting standards. Eventually, the Mechanician grows beyond this basic tool, making another that better fits their needs. Most are either given away or sold. Thus there are thousands of these floating through the Land. And they have found their way into the hands of many a rogue, and others of an adventurous bent.

Full Item Description
In its storage position, two handle pieces (each about 6”/15cm long, .5”/1.2cm wide and thick). These handle pieces are normally metal (steel), but some are wood or bone.  They often have measures scratched into the back of the handles. There is often a fixed lanyard ring attached to one handle.

In the open position (which is like a butterfly style opening), a gripper is exposed with the two handle pieces becoming obvious gripper handles.  Sometimes the gripper head is a tapper (small hammer) or scissors/ cutters, or other tool.

Now out of insets (hollow areas) in the handles, other tools are kept.  Most of these “fold out” from an end hinge. Some are simply kept there. The exact tools vary a great deal, but most of the tools are blades/shivs (straight and serrated), twisters (drivers), scrapers (files), cord cutting hooks, pole locks (primitive hex keys), reamer, and picks (for locks and mechanisms).  None of these tools are over 4” /10cms in length.

In fact, many Mechnicians seeing a demand for these simple tools by those with a touch of mechanical skill have taken to creating them in mass (1*). Some are even making them for other crafts: leather makers (with tiny punches and a hook), wood crafting (more blades and a screw stamp), jewelry making (crimpers and picks).

1* Remember that these tools might be mass produced, for their day. That is many pieces of the same type forged individually over time… just like a blacksmith might make a number of knives.

Magic/Cursed Properties
None. This is a mundane object.

Extra Notes
While things of the same basic idea existed, in terms of documentation, as early late 1600s (for spies actually), there was no drive or need to create such items on a regular basis until 1890s.

Technologically, these items can be made, in small numbers, with only the existence of medium grade steel and a hammer bend fold technique (for making the handles), both widely in existence in Europe since the 1100s. Now these items are nearly as precise as their more modern counterparts, because of their hand crafted nature.

All it would take is someone to make one, there to be a real need for a certain group of people to have one, and a large enough group of key people to say “good idea” to make this item (and others like it) prevalent. A large enough guild would fit the bill properly. Several setting have prevalent guilds that cross city and state boundaries.

Besides who is making all those traps and locks anyways?

Since these tools would make their guildsmen more efficient (having all tools right there) there are latent and manifest reasons for the item to become a common hurdle. Eventually, they would become the same as a wizard’s staff… a really useful item for a given profession. The creation of a standard tool would help lead to standardization in other aspects of their craft. This would actually lead, after a generation or three, to a more efficient and technically superior guild.

If you need a visual, look for an image of the Leatherman or SOG device.

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Comments ( 10 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

August 25, 2006, 5:49
Nice idea keep it going i'm longing to see the rest.
December 17, 2006, 16:24
119 views and I have released it

Follow the free-text to find some other useful items.

Notes to self
Voted valadaar
December 18, 2006, 15:16
Definitely something which find it's way into every thieves' toolkit.
Voted Murometz
December 18, 2006, 17:57
well, since Strolen caught me staring at this sub today, with his new, handy dandy spy camera, I guess I should vote. I love items/objects like this. Good work Moon! Thanks for the visual! Also, what valadaar said.

(Might as well make a Mechnician Guild post now)
December 20, 2006, 0:28
I had not thought of that. This is just in the back of my head. It is one of the "genre conventions" of adventure/ gaming fantasy - like the Thieves Guild or Wizard's Guild. For me, it come from the way back of Fantasy Trips. It was mentioned in early fantasy GURPs products and Arduin Grimoire ( ).
September 24, 2007, 13:03
Bumping to remind me to do a mechnician's guild.

This kind of submission is my favorite kind. It is a small thing that fills in a nitch in the world. Most people have only so much time to invest into their world/ setting. They are going to spend that time on "the big things". We should be publishing the small things that they can grab and run with, allowing them to fill out their campaign with all those great details that make them come alive.

For those that have not seem them, follow the "Tools of the Trade" free-text link.
Voted Chaosmark
September 24, 2007, 14:24
Coooooool. A medieval swiss-army knife, specialized. I like it.
Voted Scrasamax
September 24, 2007, 14:51
If someone doesnt think this is useful, they need to watch one episode of Survivorman, a multi-tool is generally the only thing that Les has in every episode.
Voted Dozus
February 12, 2013, 15:23
How versatile and inventive. A great illustration of your mechinician concept.
Voted Cheka Man
February 13, 2013, 10:49
A nice useful little thing.


Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

       By: manfred

As the PCs travel the road, right after a bend they hear a sharp whistle and call: "Heeey, not so lazy, move your asses!" It is a large man that calls, and there are unwilling workers that listen. A small company, 10-15 men work on the road, push boulders aside, dig up roots from under the road, etc. The large man that shouted turns to you, smiles fast and mutters something under his breath, sounds like cursing some lazy worker. "Where does the road bring you from, travellers?" And does a little small-talk.

And what is really happening? A group of bandits is 'adapting' the road for shady purposes. The road will not be wider, but tighter, with enough cover around (and a few traps perhaps), and will become an ideal spot for ambushing travellers or entire caravans. The bandit leader wants them all to appear harmless. The 'lazy worker' he cursed was actually a guard that should give warning before any travellers come around (fallen asleep). Not surprisingly, the boss may decide for an ambush even now.

Encounter  ( Locations ) | April 28, 2004 | View | UpVote 1xp

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