Play as a giant death robot. Since that's the most unique Steamband class, I think it'd be the best way to show off the hilarious imbalance.
Namely, holy shit the giant death robot is the best class ever.
Oh man. When I played steamband before, five years ago, I remember I mostly played the 'Automaton', which is strong, but not preposterously strong. The Steam-Mecha, though... that's something else.
OK. For introductions, Steamband is an Angband reskin themed around very early sci-fi: Jules Verne, H.G. Welles, Lewis Caroll, and a host of other, more obscure authors. The most remarkable thing about is the amount of effort put into reskinning: everything, from monsters to item types, is renamed if not actually re-worked. The goal of the game is to fight your way from the town in the center of the earth (DL50) back to the surface, in the process killing the man who trapped you.
And... yeah, it's Angband.
So, character creation. There's a wide variety of races available, many of which are, uh, human races - appropriate to the 19th-century feel of the game, I suppose.
They probably could have done without the 19th-century racism, though.
In any case, we're not going to choose any of those races. Humans? Pfeh. Sidhe? Ridiculous elfses. No, we're going to be something better: a giant robot.
Ten times stronger than a human, more than twice as tough, infravision, and, uh... double XP cost for levels? Sure, that sounds balanced. Ship it!
To be completely fair, there are other drawbacks. Robots can't eat, or drink potions. They can't wear most kinds of armor. (That pea-coat will fit on anything from a dwarf to an ogre, but a robot? Nah.) They can't play with Steamband's "steamware" (cybernetic implants) or 'surgery' systems, and they don't get stat-gains on level-up, unlike other classes. In exchange, they get replaceable body parts (arms, legs, head...) that give powerful stat boosts and innate resistances, immunity to all kinds of nasty effects (I'm fairly certain they can't have 'fear' or get their stats drained, for example), and... er, we're back to the 'overpowered' thing again, aren't we?
So of course we'll be playing one.
One of the more major changes Steamband makes is in adding a 'skill' system. Depending on your class, you'll get access to a variety of skills, each of which provide various specialized benefits. Many skills also unlock other skills once you get them to a certain level, or lock out others - you can only specialize in one type of weapon, for example.
The number of points you can invest in skills is restricted by your character level - you can only get the starting skills up to (CLVL + 2), for example. That means we're going to be only spending about half of our skill points at first level, and slowly burning through them as we get higher level, specializing in the skills that really matter to us. (I.e., killing things.)
A cute touch is that automatons and steam-mecha don't get hungry - instead, their engines slowly overheat, and have to be regularly lubricated with (lamp) oil. As a side benefit, this means they also start with a lamp. (Other characters start with candles, and can buy torches from the general store.)
This is our local lending library. It's a very important building for two reasons, only one of which I'll cover in this update. That's that we can take quests from here. They're always of the form "kill X in level Y", if I remember correctly.
We end up taking an easy quest, since I seem to remember 'moderate' quests being 'murderously difficult'. Possibly that wouldn't matter for our giant mecha. We'll find out.
After a putzing around a little more and picking up a 90% off "Ring of Muscle +4", from the black market, we're ready to go. Next time: into the dungeon!