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The Mad Tinkerer's Enlightened Science Homebrew Thread

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  • The Mad Tinkerer's Enlightened Science Homebrew Thread

    So you have come here seeking uncommon knowledge, yes? Well I have just what you are looking for. Those fools at Pinnacle Entertainment laughed at my proposals. (Laughed out of earshot, behind closed doors, of course. They are far too polite to laugh in my face.) But I will show them. Here, in this thread, I will show you all! Ahahahaha!

    Let's start with a method for undoing the terrible, terrible damage wrought unto the Weird Science Arcane Background by the latest version of SWADE. An Edge that lets you power your devices with vintage 2003-style technology. Shane thinks he knows what is best for the scientific community!?! We shall see!!!!!

    From time immemorial, mankind has sought to harness ever more potent sources of energy in order to do neat stuff. You have had a breakthrough. A breakthrough so novel that no one but you wants to use it.

    You are able to create a number of portable energy sources and attach them to your Weird Science devices. Rather than a single pool of points that recharges at the normal rate, each device recharges at the same time. This magical miracle is completely explainable in normal scientific terms, but everyone has a different explanation and some explanations are more complete than others.

    A few suggested power sources: solar energy, clockwork springs, super-carburators, biomass, exotic plants, fission, fusion, cold fusion, zero point energy, Hawking radiation, supercompressed superpure water, phlogiston, ether, aether, dilithium, trilithium, kryptonite, vibranium, Atlantean technology, Mu technology, undiscovered scientific principles taught by time travellers, undiscovered scientific principles taught by space aliens, portable black holes, tiny galaxies, Einstein's Secret Theory of Energy, quantum energy, subquantum energy, entropy reversal, Vril, Prana, Qi, Quintessence, Prime Essence, the laughter of children, Philosopher's Stone, human souls.

    Experimental Power Source
    Requirements: Novice, Arcane Background (Weird Science)

    Your character has discovered a new, somewhat reliable energy source called infinity batteries (or whatever you want to call them). Most scientists are content to hook up their inventions to a single rechargeable power source, but your character prefers a range of smaller individual devices that recharge independently.

    Each device with a battery has it's own pool of power points, which recharge at the same rate your character's points do. Your character is able to create one device for each power known.

    Concurrent power limit: Each battery has a maximum power point pool of half of your character's power points, rounded up.

    User Friendly: You can loan your devices out to allies and those allies can use them as if they were Arcane Devices. However, only your character knows how to actually charge the infinity batteries, so loaned devices do not recharge until they are returned to your character.

    Unstable Prototypes: If a critical failure is rolled when using a device with an infinity battery, roll on the Dynamic Backlash table.
    Last edited by MadTinkerer; 03-02-2019, 01:44 PM.

  • #2
    So, Power Edge for Weird Science types?

    It's ... not bad. I need to play test the current version of Weird Science to get a better sense of what these changes would mean for balance. Though you're basically trading power longevity for multiple active powers.
    It does make your Weird Science seem a lot more mundane. Like an iPhone, it may be customized by the owner but you can pass it around to anyone you want.
    I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


    • MadTinkerer
      MadTinkerer commented
      Editing a comment
      Here's the specs I was working with:
      1) Get it as close to the way Weird Science worked from 2003 Savage Worlds through SW Deluxe.
      2) Make it worth taking as an Edge for SWADE v5 Weird Science.
      3) Change as little as possible from SWADE. So no messing with the SWADE version of the New Powers or Power Points Edges.

      Ironing out a draft for 1 was straightforward. 2 and 3 were a little trickier. My solution for the change to the New Powers Edge (and Weird Science starting with two powers) was to halve the maximum power points for devices with the Experimental Power Sources. So you have fewer points per device compared to previous editions, but you already start with double the number of devices. Also note that you don't need to hook "infinity batteries" up to all of your devices. You can just make devices according to the rule book as written, which hopefully doesn't make this Edge too ridiculously powerful.

      The bit about devices not recharging them until you get them back from your allies is to try to avoid overshadowing Arcane Devices (not a problem in earlier versions of the rules, since such things worked differently from setting to setting). I wasn't trying to replace Artificer, but rather supplement it. At one point I did include a bit about Gadgeteer, making it more like the old version, but then I realized it was more elegant to just leave it as written, especially since I was aiming for compatibility with Arcane Devices.
      Last edited by MadTinkerer; 03-06-2019, 03:55 PM.

  • #3

    In Savage Worlds Adventure Edition, Weird Scientists have a lot of different gadgets they can make. Unfortunately, robots, a common staple of science fiction, are not present in the rulebook... or are they!?!

    With the GM's permission, and a creative interpretation of the rules, a mad scientist can borrow ideas from all over the rulebook to make their own robots.

    Summon ally is a good start. All of the stat blocks for the allies contain the construct special ability, which means you can call them robots without changing anything. Of course, the main downside with using summon ally as written, is the duration. To make proper robots that don't fall apart in a matter of rounds, we need to borrow some ideas from elsewhere.

    From the zombie power we can borrow the following modifiers: Armed, Armor, and Permanent. The Permanent modifier is especially important because it lets the mad scientist create a robot that won't just fall apart when the duration ends. (The zombie power also has a modifier called additional zombies, but allowing mad scientists to create copies of highly-customized robots for only 1pp each seems like it might be unbalancing.)

    Something else to consider is two of the modifiers for summon ally: Bite/Claw(+1) and Flight(+2). According to the Positive Racial Abilities table, claws that deal str+d6 cost three points, and flight with a pace of 12 costs 4 points. Obviously, these modifiers are not supposed to translate into racial abilities directly, but as a rule of thumb you could pay for other positive racial traits with power points at a rate of about 1pp for 2 points of racial traits. Note that some racial abilities, such as Construct and Doesn't Breathe, don't apply as modifiers because the robots already effectively have them.

    Most negative racial traits would not apply, with the exceptions of Big, Environmental Weakness, Frail, Poor Parry, Reduced Pace, and Size -1. Taking 2 points of negative traits would give a discount of 1pp. (For example: making all your robots Big would give a 1pp discount per robot.) Taking negative traits should not reduce the cost of the power below 1.

    To prevent things from straying too far from how the summon ally power is supposed to work originally, the maximum power point cost per robot could be no more than 4 + 2 per Rank of the character. This keeps the cost in line with the original power description.

    With the GM's permission, you could also base robots on the beast friend power, using the stats for animals and adding the construct special ability for a few extra points.

    The Gadgeteer Edge can work in tandem with many of the above ideas, but the point of the Edge is to craft hastily-created disposable prototypes which will fall apart at the end of the duration. So robots created as gadgeteered devices cannot have the permanent modifier.
    Last edited by MadTinkerer; 03-09-2019, 05:32 PM.


    • #4
      Concerning Robots

      The summon ally power can probably be used without the Permanent modifier. The robot is simply the power's Trapping, activated once the points are spent, and dumbly following you around in "standby mode" once the power ends.

      A robot in standby mode recharges its PP, but doesn't attack (or do anything else helpful) unless you give it some juice. It will follow you up a mountain, but cannot provide Support. This might not be entirely believable, since the robot would still technically be a physical object in the world (able to be climbed, attacked, or caught in a blast), but if you're willing to handwave that wonkiness aside, it still conforms to the RAW of the summon ally power without tying up a chunk of your Power Points.


      • Deskepticon
        Deskepticon commented
        Editing a comment
        ValhallaGH That's what I was trying to say! But instead of hauling the thing around on a cart everywhere, I think it would okay if it was at least ambulatory. It's always just "there", in the background. It doesn't get in the way, but it doesn't do anything to help either... at least not until commanded... with Power Points.

      • MadTinkerer
        MadTinkerer commented
        Editing a comment
        That's an interesting take. I started this writeup before the changes to Weird Science in v5, so I was thinking of default summon ally in terms of a device that summons a robot which falls apart at the end of the duration. But re-reading page 148 - 149 (of SWADE v5.2), it does makes more sense to just have a robot that's physically there most of the time and the power points need to be spent if you need it to do stuff.

        Maybe the power points represents the battery of a remote control or wonky voice recognition that only works some of the time. Doing it that way would get more mileage out of the Concentration Edge.

        Still, although Permanent wouldn't be necessary for a pure combat 'droid, I still think that for something like a "robot butler" that does various tasks independently of being manually activated for each individual task for a minute or two, you need something like it. Maybe I do need to write up a proper Edge for it.

        EDIT: I mean, you could always try to convince another player at the table to create an Android player character who has your mad scientist as it's creator, but I think it's reasonable to try to create ambulatory servants via mad science without needing to involve other players.
        Last edited by MadTinkerer; 03-10-2019, 03:33 AM.

      • Erolat
        Erolat commented
        Editing a comment
        Also the robot may fold up when the power ends. Think Transformers where a boom-box can expand into a human sized robot and fight.

        Maybe the robot, when powered down is about the size of a softball. When it is "activated" it unfolds and does its job. As depending on how much power is put into it (rank it is cast) determines how much electro-magical energy is re-enforcing it giving it the higher stats and abilities.

    • #5
      MadTinkerer I think the concept works for any version of summon ally. An ally that doesn't do anything unless commanded (i.e., PP are spent) is virtually the same as an ally that isn't even there.

      Admittedly, it's more touch-&-go than that, but I think that's part of the nature if Weird Science; gizmos can get stolen/targetted/etc. without you needing to activate them first. In this case, the robot might get whacked a few times without immediately retaliating on its own. Kinda sucks... in exchange, maybe give it Brawny for free.

      If the intent is to have a "robot butler", then certainly Permanent makes a better fit. Another option might be to treat the bot like a hired servant (Extra). The weird scientist is responsible for maintaining the robot, costing him a weekly stipend; this mirrors the cost of hiring a human servant (fee, room & board, etc.).

      Depending on how "weird" you want your Weird Science to get, Erolat's suggestion is also very good. Appropriate for quantum-age settings; not so much Victorian era steampunk----which is where my mind went when I heard "robot butler."


      • #6
        I ran a Star Wars campaign, years ago, where one of the players wanted to be a Weird Scientist. He built a "robot gun" that fired out a small bundle of circuits, batteries, and deflector field projectors, that could be loaded (during firing) with one of several behavior profiles.
        The game mechanics were "summon ally choosing elementals" but the flavor text was "temporary combat droids". It worked quite well and was a fun addition to the campaign.

        For a robot butler, the various ally and minion rules are a great start. The ally may have been constructed instead of hired, but from a rules perspective it's just an allied Extra (or maybe Wild Card with the Sidekick edge), and might betray you unless you have an Edge to guarantee loyalty. Possibly a modified Beast Master edge. Not all "powers" need to use the Powers rules.
        I hope you find the above post useful. And not insulting, because I was trying to be helpful, not insulting; being a pedantic jerk, that isn't always clear.


        • #7
          It doesn't have to be a Power either. A Robot butler or robot Minions can be created with the Followers or Sidekick Edges. They are Legendary Edges, which limits their availability, but justvctrate a custom robot race and voilĂ .


          • #8
            Originally posted by dentris View Post
            It doesn't have to be a Power either. A Robot butler or robot Minions can be created with the Followers or Sidekick Edges. They are Legendary Edges, which limits their availability, but justvctrate a custom robot race and voilĂ .
            I generally ignore Legendary Edges for most practical purposes. It's possible that someone is running a game with Legendary rank characters, but most of those are probably full length plot point campaigns with their own setting rules.

            Now that I come to think of it, in the fifteen years sine I first played Savage Worlds, I have literally never played in a group with any Legendary Rank characters other than that one Shaintar session where the point was that everyone in the group was a legendary hero who had been around for years. But even in a normal Shaintar campaign you start at Novice Rank.


            • dentris
              dentris commented
              Editing a comment
              It's also perfectly possible to start with Legendary Edges if the Born a Hero Setting Rule is used (like in Rifts), which opens up the possibility of having Sidekicks or Followers at character creation. Some settings and companions also allow to acquire Edges through other means, like Magic Items, which could theorically be used for these Edges as well.

              I'm not saying this way of doing things is better, however. I just like to have more than one alternative.

            • ValhallaGH
              ValhallaGH commented
              Editing a comment
              I'd recommend running a Legendary adventure, at some point.
              My first was a one-shot set in the Samurai Jack universe. The lion-man hunter, the heavy metal bard, and Charles the polar bear weather wizard had a crazy and fun time dealing with an army of Aku's scarab bots, a haunted mansion, and multiple swarms of man-eating nut-crackers.

              Good times, and I learned a lot about running Savage Worlds, especially at high ranks.
              I also learned that the only reason to end a campaign around Legendary rank is because you're tired of running that campaign. The adventure seeds still mostly work and the challenges scale pretty easily.
              I learned the only reason not to start the campaign at Legendary is the large number of choices players have to make during creation.