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Tabletop Game / Tephra

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Tephra is a highly customizable Steampunk roleplaying game created by Cracked Monocle, an independent gaming company based out of Austin, Texas. Set in a unique fantasy world populated by elves, satyrs, and gnomes, it utilizes a single twelve-sided die, called the Clockwork System.

This tabletop RPG provides examples of:

  • Artificial Intelligence: Simulacrons, an alternate player race, are sentient automatons.
  • Automaton Horses: One called the Hoban horse features prominently in the published adventure The Great Airship Robbery.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Utilized for many, many purposes, bio-augmentation (called bio-flux), makes the elf-like faarishta possible. It also led to the creation of the satyrs.
  • Character Customization: During character creation you choose from race, nationality, religion, and Attributes that further split off into Skills, Specialties, and Augments.
  • Fantastic Racism: The satyrs were originally created to be slaves. Also faarishta look down on their elven counterparts, and treat them as second-class citizens.
  • Fauns and Satyrs: In Tephra, satyrs are a bio-engineered race created by the Haudi Empire, only recently freed from a life of slavery.
  • Fish People: The ayodin are a humanoid player race with gills, webbed feet, and fin-like "wings" protruding from their back that they use to propel through the water. They come in two subsets, ocean and freshwater. Both subsets scorn the other as either inferior or corrupt.
  • House System: All rolls are decided with a single d12, and character creation is based on choosing skills with three modifiers. Success at difficulty ranges from Mark I (acceptable) to Mark IV (epically achieved), and character advancement caps at level 12. This is known as the Clockwork System.
  • Mad Bomber: The Bomb Rats, led by Lisandra deGhast, are a group of sky pirates whose trademark attack involves, of course, randomly blasting everything in sight to smithereens.
  • Magic 8-Ball: One of the PDF supplements is a trinket designed to take down airships. Rolling the Magic 12 Ball is risky: Its success (or lack thereof) is determined entirely by chance. The Magic 12 Ball is so dangerous that it is recommended only for the most confident (or suicidal) of adventurers.
  • Our Elves Are Different: In Tephra, legend holds that elves used to be beautiful winged creatures, but their arrogance led to the gods punishing them by removing their souls, turning them into grotesque, hunchbacked monsters that more close resemble ogres. A controversial process called bio-flux claims to restore their souls, and morphs the elf into a classic fantasy elf form, called faarishta.
  • Pungeon Master: The main antagonist in The Golden Bandit. So very much.
  • Rule of Cool: Many of the game's mechanics are designed to make your character as over-the-top awesome as possible.
  • Sky Pirate: The main antagonists in The Great Airship Robbery.
  • Steampunk Gadgeteers: Tephra places strong emphasis on building steamtech-savvy characters.
  • You Dirty Rat!: The antagonist NPC Lisandra deGhast, nicknamed the Rat Queen, uses trained bomb-equipped rats in combat.