Vechs (vehicular biomechanisms)

UVG • Vastlands • Fauna

Vech | \vɛk\

1. A domesticated or feral biomachine large enough to carry people or cargo.

2. Any substantial, autonomous means of transportation. Including large transport golems, neo-elephants, drone cars, and boatfish.

Etymology: From VEhicular biomeCHanism via veh-mech.

Also: vemek, vech-mech, shuffer (combining shuffle and suffer), drome (a driven mechanism).

Our Co-Evolution

Long ago, even before the demiurges gave the world to the living, the line between evolved life and machine life blurred. Microscopic synthetics crawled in the bloodstreams, meat machines served the creators, and post-organic plants vivified whole dead fast stars. Meanwhile, human-brained void swimmers played the solar fire lines and engineered gravity to build constellations of living worlds in the sky above.

But that was long, long ago.

Few now living recall those days, but all now living know of the great biomechanical beasts beyond the farthest reach of home and gate.

And everyone treasures the smaller vehicular mechanisms that carry people and cargo, dig ditches and throw up ramparts, create roads and channel rivers. Whole communities of semi-nomadic biomachine maintainers grow up around giant individual vechs and rich wizard-barons command fleets of dozens of war vechs. In the Deep Vast inscrutable decadent ancient cultures hold dominion over kingdoms with their vechs.

Folk Categories [d13]

Most common categorization derive from the vocabulary of the Lime nomads and the Green semi-nomadics. These cultural groups have the most contact with the strange feral vechs found in the Vast.

  1. Aerovechs: Flying vechs. Not very numerous in the Ultraviolet Grasslands due to the stuckforce air-traps. Segmented and armoured in aerolith, they regulate their elevation using aerostatic organs to modulate their density. Most propel themselves with wing-pairs used like oars. Some use gas propulsion to escape danger at speed.
  2. Clockwalkers: Brass-and-jewel elements driven by golem-style lemma imperatives that directly modify physical energy states.
  3. Crystal-powered, crystallines: Built around a synthetic biocrystal lattice which serves as a central processing organ, energy source, and beam weapon focus. Magitech primarily controlled by the Spectrum Satraps.
  4. Dwarven diesels, dee-dees: Heat engines powered using the “death salt” (die-sel) mined from the Black Gold civilization layers—a dirty but powerful solution. Many historico-fetishists claim passionately and eloquently that the dwarves are actually burning the preserved ba-personalities of a lost civilization to power their vechs.
  5. Grafihatschki: One of the rare types of vech attributed to a historical personality. Grafihatsch was a counter-wizard who successfully developed a levitating, gas-vesicle based barge vech from deep-sea kelp, wicker golems, and giant hamsters. The feral grafihatschki congregate in small herds like floating forests. Most are the size of a petite montgolfier.
  6. Facspawn: Mass-produced base units and drones spawned by autofacs. Usually require significant adaptation and jury-rigging to fit the needs of the modern world. Some scholars suspect that the dominant human morphs of long, long ago were more seal-shaped than today’s people.
  7. Florimorphics: Plant and mussel-derived organs, self-growing ironwood wheels, pearlite ball bearings, gall-like vesicles for cargo and passengers. 
  8. Lafineries: Some of the largest vechs, growing to the size of cathedrals or factories. Move by a combination of peristalsis and organic tracks. Many show a tendency to split up and reorganize, prompting many to suggest they are actually vech colony organisms or even mobile autofacs.
  9. Living machinery, wormetallics: Alternative-periodic metals that give off a disturbing non-euclidean aura also prove to be surprisingly effective at mimicking biological systems, though at ridiculous tensile strengths. Preferred for cargo vechs. May cause madness.
  10. Porcelain crabs, porcarcinotes: Glazed inorganic exoskeleton provides superior environmental protection for organic inner workings. Magitech ritually maintained by the Porcelain Princes.
  11. Rotiforms: Wheeled or wheel-shaped vechs. The larger they grow, the more wheels they tend to acquire. Many are segmented, betraying something annelid or myriapodal in their ancestry.
  12. Theers, Theres: About the size of a rhino or a beetle golem. Mostly quadrupedal or hexapedal. Lightly armoured for a vech, most domesticated theers have elaborate wicker-like growths on their back for passengers and cargo. Feral forms sport elaborate dendriforms, antlers, and sails, which they use for communication, thermoregulation, and sometimes hunting.
  13. Zooforms: Living creatures used as basal templates for the vechs. Quadrodont experimentation in the Yellowlands is showing promise when it comes to heavy hauliers. Still, the deserts continue to limit the utility of such vechs. Often viewed with suspicion because they are capable of autonomous reproduction, much like the dreaded vomes.

Vech Stats

Level: 6+1d6

  • Defence: 7+2d6
  • Life: 60 + (2d6*10)
  • Sum: 4+1d8
  • Damage: 1d4*level
  • Capacity: 2*level sacks, 25% chance additional 0.5*level passenger bays
  • Requires: 1d4 sacks-worth of biomass per week
  • Cost: 1000*level cash

Particularities [d10]

  1. Brainless. Does not have a central processing unit, its mind is distributed throughout its entire body. Immune to critical hits.
  2. Photosynthetic. Does not require food when not travelling.
  3. Heavily armoured. Half damage from physical attacks.
  4. Springs. Can launch itself up to 1d6 times its body length. Terrifying when attacking.
  5. Fast. Surprisingly fast for its size, easily swifter than a running human.
  6. Cannoned. Has organic bioelectric accelerators which fire organic shells.
  7. Beamed. Focussing crystals shoot energy beams.
  8. Matter decomposer. Can feed on inorganic materials. Probably derived from mining equipment.
  9. Metaempathetic. Mimics emotions. Driven to rage by anger. When injured, deals x3 damage with criticals.
  10. Infested. Covered in small symbiotes. These attack as a swarm when their host is threatened.

On the Intelligence of Vechs

According to the sciencers of the Skinbox Automaton Movement (SAM), vechs are no more intelligent than a cockroach or a brick golem. They are capable of autonomous movement and following simple instructions, but this is no sign of consciousness. Instead, they are reflex-bundles without awareness of self or even an ability to feel emotions or pain.

According to the Pansapience Movement, this is complete and utter bullshit. They accuse the SAMmites of blinkered anthropocentrism and an inability to accept how far superior oldtech was to the modern wonders of magitech.

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