These clockwork automatons look like a cross between a crab and a steamer trunk. Strongbox tinskins take the form of a rectangular, iron-bound chest with a clockwork undercarriage from which protrude six to eight legs, as well as a quartet of ocular lenses, one pointing in each direction. Not especially helpful in a workshop, where a craftsman would lay out his own tools and an automaton would be of use in directly assisting with the work, strongboxes are designed to assist scholars and engineers working in the field by carrying equipment and tools for them.
A strongbox has no external manipulators, but it does have a single internal claw manipulator that it can use to keep its compartment’s contents from shifting about too much, and to open and close its own lid on command. They are usually programmed to use the claw to hand out their internal contents as needed. In addition to internal storage space, it is common to see pouches or webbing affixed to a strongbox’s lid and sides to accomodate gear that won’t fit inside, either because the main compartment is full or an item’s dimensions are greater than the inside can handle.
Strongboxes intended for service in areas with access to cable power are typically powered by clockwork spring batteries. Those being taken more than a day’s journey into the field are fitted with either steam boilers or alchemical batteries. A decently programmed strongbox can be trusted to keep itself fed, hooking up to cable power or replacing coal or batteries from available supplies as needed.
The classic design features six legs, one to each corner and an extra on each long side, and a flat lid on the trunk, but the design varies by builder and workshop to include as many legs as ten or as few as four, and lids that curve or come up at odd angles. A rumor popular among engineers has it that the esteemed tinskin designer Viktor Czegei converted his trusty old strongbox into a reading chair that moves between windows throughout its master’s house to catch the best light.
Strongbox Tinskin (Non-Combatant)
4 Constitution (Stamina)
4 Strength (Might)
Speed 10; Health 40; Defense 10; Armor 4
Claw Attack Roll +0; Damage 1d3+4
Favored Stunts: Defensive Stance and Skirmish.
Weapon Groups: Brawling.
Strongboxes obey their owner’s simple verbal commands. A strongbox can be instructed to proffer any single item in its compartment to its owner or another designated friendly target. This occurs as a major action on the strongbox’s turn. A strongbox can also be ordered to use its internal manipulator to pick an item up through a special hatch in its undercarriage.
A strongbox that has been ordered to defend a target will interpose itself between the target and any apparent enemies and open its lid, providing light cover (-2 penalty on attack rolls made against the target).
Strongbox tinskins can use their internal claw manipulator to hold their lid closed. Attempts to pry open a strongbox’s lid while the construct is active requires an opposed Strength (Might) test.