The Machine Master

Machine masters are created through an unlikely confluence of several rare circumstances: first, a hunter must acquire and master the use of a focus. Second, they must be knowledgeable about machines and their workings. Finally, they must acquire the master control chip from a fallen chariot-class machine. The hunter can then put their expertise and the aid of their focus to the purpose of modifying a weapon into an override device.

If you're fortunate enough to meet every one of these conditions you attain the machine master prestige. You continue to gain class features as a hunter. However, you also have access to new class features called override upgrades, which represent an increasing understanding of your override device and its capabilities.

You may also gain access to cauldron upgrades which allow you to override new types of machine. Cauldron upgrades aren't gained automatically but are instead earned by overcoming challenging locations called cauldrons, where machines are manufactured.

Requirements

  • You must already be a focused hunter.
  • You must be proficient in the Machines skill.
  • You must identify and acquire the CPU enslavement component from any chariot-class machine (which includes corruptors, deathbringers, metal devils).
  • You must combine the CPU enslavement component onto a two-handed melee weapon and sync it to your focus, turning it into an override device. You do so as part of the level up in which you first gain the override feature below. If you level up mid-adventure, you may make your override device during a short rest.

Prestige Features

Override

At any level you are able to select a new tribal technique, you may instead gain this feature. Alternatively, when you gain a level in the Hunter class, you may choose one tribal technique you already know and replace it with the override feature.

Override Machine

Mountable Machines

The following machines can be mounted once overridden. You can give up your action on your turn to allow your mount to take an attack or multiattack action on its own turn. When controlled by you the mount's attacks use either the mount's own attack bonus, or your Acumen + Proficiency bonus, whichever is higher.

You are able to use your action to make a special melee attack against a machine witihn 5 feet. You may use this attack only against certain types of machine: those created within a PSI cauldron. This includes: broadheads, chargers, control towers, redeye watchers, watchers, striders, and tallnecks. You can learn to override additional machines by acquiring cauldron upgrades.

You may override a machine if it is surprised or restrained. On a hit, you begin to override the machine.

While the machine is being overridden it doesn't move nor take any actions.

You may move on the turn you start to override a machine, but once you start the override action you can't move any further and you can't take a bonus action or reaction before your next turn. On your next turn you can't move, but you can take actions. If the machine you're overriding is from the ZETA or EPSILON cauldrons, the override process takes an additional turn. After the turn you start to override the machine, you can't move or take any actions on your next turn. On the following turn you can't move, but you can take actions.

You can end your override attempt early in order to move or take actions. It also ends early if you are forced to move, or if you or the machine take damage. If nothing interrupts the override process, then the machine gains the overridden condition as soon as it is complete.

You may override only one machine at a time. If a machine is mountable, the override lasts indefinitely or until it is destroyed or you override another machine. Other machines are overridden for an hour, until they are destroyed, or you override another machine.

Override Tallneck

Tallnecks act as a communications hubs for machines. Overriding a tallneck acquires data which can be used to map the locations of Metal World ruins, machine sites, cauldrons, and other significant locations in the vicinity. You may override a tallneck as long as you are on top of its saucer. You may move on the turn you start to override a machine, but once you start the override action you can't move any further and you can't take a bonus action or reaction before your next turn. On your next turn you can't move or take any actions. On the following turn you can't move, but you can take actions.

You can end your override attempt early in order to move or take actions. It also ends early if you are forced to move, or if you or the machine take damage.

Override Old One Tech

You may also use your override device to gain control of certain Old World technologies, such as doors and cauldrons. You may move on the turn you start to override a machine, but once you start the override action you can't move any further and you can't take a bonus action or reaction before your next turn. On your next turn you can't move or take any actions. On the following turn you can't move, but you can take actions.

You can end your override attempt early in order to move or take actions. It also ends early if you are forced to move, or if you or the machine take damage.

Override Upgrades

Once you have the override feature, at any level you are able to select a new hunter's prowess you may instead gain an override upgrade. See the Prowess/Override Upgrades Known table.

Level Prowess/Override Upgrades Known
1 1
3 2
7 3
9 4
13 5
15 6
17 7
20 8

Each time you gain a level in the hunter class, you may choose one prowess you know and replace it with a override upgrade from this list for which you qualify. Alternatively, you can replace a override upgrade from this list either with a prowess for which you qualify, or an equivalent and interchangeable feature from another prestige to which you belong.

Combat Override. A non-mount machine you override has the condition for four hours.

Combat Override+ (requires Combat Override). A non-mount machine you override has the condition for eight hours.

Dismount Strike.

Mount Repair.

Machine Repair (requires Mount Repair).

Cauldron Upgrades

You don't gain the ability to override different types of machines just by increasing your level. Instead, you must actively seek out a cauldron, make your way to its hearts, and override the core. Once this is achieved you gain the upgrade associated with that cauldron.

Once a cauldron core is overridden, it no longer works until it is repaired by machines. The repair time could be a matter of months. Therefore it is only possible for one hunter to gain the cauldron's upgrade at a time. If there are multiple Machine Masters among the player characters they must decide among themselves who will benefit from each cauldron upgrade, and whether it's worth it to make a return trip! Alternating cauldrons between machine masters allows them to be unique specialists with very different machine companions. However, if your group would prefer not to deal with this decision your Guide may introduce a device or knowledgeable non-player character capable of copying the upgrade.

Cauldron Machine Override Ability
PSI (already known) broadheads, chargers, control towers, redeye watchers, watchers, striders, and tallnecks
SIGMA grazer, lancehorn, sawtooth, scrapper
RHO longleg, ravager, shell-walker, snapmaw, trampler
XI behemoth, fire bellowback, freeze bellowback, glinthawk, stalker
ZETA rockbreaker, stormbird, thunderjaw
EPSILON fireclaw, frostclaw, scorcher
Horizon Zero Dawn is the sole intellectual property of Guerilla Games. This is purely a fan work. Rules presented work with D&D 5e. Text and game mechanics presented in this wiki are not Open Game Content and should not be reproduced or repackaged in any way.