Medieval Automail

My brother has a Pathfinder character he’s very proud of that can throw a punch from 40 feet away. The mechanics that give him his range are native to the game, but the in-game flavor text for the various stacked abilities has been swapped out for a steel prosthetic with a telescoping forearm. Some of you who dabble in prop-making may see where this is going.

When I am running low on ideas or project time, sometimes I gift people tokens. 1 token = 1 custom prop or piece of artwork. My brother sat on one of these tokens for a year, mulling over what to ask for before he finally told me that he couldn’t think of anything because the one thing he really wanted was way too complicated.

Of course, he wanted the telescoping metal arm.

Of course, I took that as a challenge and told him I would do it.

This is probably the point where I should let you know that I have never made plate armor before. I know the theory, and between my experience blacksmithing, welding, riveting, and garment-drafting, I technically have the requisite tools and base skill set. You will note that none of that is the same as knowing what I’m doing.

But the time has come! After several weeks, I have a design drawn up for a medieval style automail inspired prosthetic gnoll arm, and a very rough plan of action.

the major hurdles in this project are reasonably predictable:

  • Maintaining areas of mobility
  • Building a smooth-action telescoping vambrace
  • Covering joints in a way that looks continuous
  • Gnoll proportions: what are they? also, why?
  • Shaping compound curves in sheet metal

I’m starting work on it this weekend. Keep an eye out for updates along the way with details on the construction process: what worked, what didn’t, and how it all comes together (or, possibly, falls apart).

Published by

Mal McInnish

Professional public library goblin, hobby-hoarder, and writer, located in Texas, USA.

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