Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 10-15-2020, 02:21 PM   #1
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Gadgeteer

Gadgeteer [25 or 50] is the advantage of being a cinematic inventor, capable of creating new and modified inventions much more quickly and easily than someone without this advantage. At [25] this still takes days to months, and requires expensive materials and equipment. At [50], also known as “Quick Gadgeteer,” you can throw together world-changing inventions in hours or less, with very limited resources. This advantage first appeared in GURPS Supers for 3e.

The main effects of basic Gadgeteer are that you suffer much smaller skill penalties for invention complexity than a non-Gadgeteer, your inventions have fewer bugs, you can work longer hours without skill penalties, and you can attempt inventions of higher TLs (although this is still quite hard). Quick Gadgeteers need much less time and money to create inventions, making this version “completely unrealistic” and usually confining it to very cinematic campaigns. Either kind of Gadgeteer can also try to analyse and modify unfamiliar equipment in the field, without laboratory or workshop facilities.

Gadgeteers can also have fun with other traits: they can build Gizmos at the point they need them, evading the normal restrictions of the Gizmo advantage. The Versatile advantage is very useful for them, as is Single-Minded, with GM agreement. Hidebound is a very poor idea for them, and they get lesser bonuses from Weird Science skills than normal people, being already part-way there.

Discworld doesn’t have Quick Gadgeteers, but the Mad Medicine advantage, which has basic Gadgeteer as a prerequisite, does at least as much damage to the sanity of nearby people. Action and AtE have Specialized (-50%) versions of Gadgeteer, while Casey & Andy turns it up past 11. DF has artificers re-designing the dungeon, who get some useful power-ups in DF 11 with Reliable and Cosmic enhancements, while Fantasy: Portal Realms covers inventing spells and rituals. Horror uses Gadgeteer for defeating diseases and daikaiju; Infinite Worlds has Gadgeteer (Social), and practical exercises in raising the TL. Locations: Hellsgate has a foundry that gives Gadgeteers extra bonuses, and Low-Tech has good advice on inventing. There are Gadgeteer alchemists in Magic, and Mars Attacks has rules for really quick gadget-boom-ing. Powers: the Weird uses this advantage for almost everything, and Supers’ Ultrapower is based on it. Thaumatology has more alchemical Gadgeteering, and enchantment by extremely talented craftsmen; Ritual Path Magic has an option for Gadgeteering grimoires. You can also make Zombies with it.

There are some particularly fine examples of Quick Gadgeteering in Harry Harrison’s SF parody novel Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers. I’ve never played a gadgeteer, but it explains just why the Techie in our Monster Hunters game has such an easy time coming up with whatever electronics we need.

What have Gadgeteers done to your games?
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2020, 03:33 PM   #2
AlexanderHowl
 
Join Date: Feb 2016
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Gadgeteer

I find Gadgeteer problematic because it is too easy for a clever player to make a TL10 production line in a TL8 world. I have come around to creating a Superscience version of RPM as a substitute for Gadgeteer (using Weird Science in place of Thaumatology), and it works fine. They can produce gadgets to support their friends, but they are incapable of transforming society through mass marketing spaceships.
AlexanderHowl is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2020, 03:58 PM   #3
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Gadgeteer

It remains my assumption that a given gadgeteer can only operate one production line. Or at least that there would be multitasking penalties for trying to handle multiple production lines.
David Johnston2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2020, 04:55 PM   #4
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Gadgeteer

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
It remains my assumption that a given gadgeteer can only operate one production line. Or at least that there would be multitasking penalties for trying to handle multiple production lines.
That's probably true, as far as it goes, but hardly matters. The gadgeteer doesn't need to operate the production line personally! They can just hire staff for it the same as any other manufacturing plant.
__________________
I don't know any 3e, so there is no chance that I am talking about 3e rules by accident.
Ulzgoroth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2020, 05:36 PM   #5
ravenfish
 
Join Date: May 2007
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Gadgeteer

My campaign assumption is that gadgeteered inventions above society's tech level cannot be mass produced (and in fact may require intermittent adjustment by a Gadgeteer to remain functional- cutting edge means high-maintenance, so beyond cutting edge means not only high maintenance but also difficult maintenance). If they could be mass produced (and the PC isn't the first Gadgeteer in the world), than all sorts of equipment of a higher tech level would already be on the market. It isn't, therefore they can't.

I am not certain that this can be realistically justified, but I am certain that Gadgeteer is an inherently unrealistic advantage and, furthermore, that brilliant inventors producing amazing inventions that for some reason never reach the wider world is the correct result for most genres where gadgeteers are appropriate. If I were running a campaign where dragging the world (kicking and screaming, of course) into TL 10 were part of the point, I would of course adjust these assumptions.
__________________
I predicted GURPS:Dungeon Fantasy several hours before it came out and all I got was this lousy sig.
ravenfish is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2020, 06:03 PM   #6
RogerBW
 
RogerBW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: near London, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Gadgeteer

Gadgeteer sits oddly for me because it's really in three levels, where the lowest one is just called "having lots of a relevant invention-based skill". The fast version is clearly a superpower of some sort, but normal Gadgeteer doesn't really add new abilities; it lets you do the same sorts of thing you could anyway, but with lower skill levels and some other restrictions removed. (Which in turn makes you able to do it in more different fields.)

I've occasionally had this on a character sheet but it's rarely become relevant except in that Monster Hunters game.
RogerBW is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2020, 06:37 PM   #7
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Gadgeteer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ulzgoroth View Post
That's probably true, as far as it goes, but hardly matters. The gadgeteer doesn't need to operate the production line personally! They can just hire staff for it the same as any other manufacturing plant.
Except that the staff will be penalized for working with higher TL equipment. How many people with skill 25 are you going to be able to find to run your production lines?
David Johnston2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2020, 06:53 PM   #8
David Johnston2
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Gadgeteer

Quote:
Originally Posted by ravenfish View Post
My campaign assumption is that gadgeteered inventions above society's tech level cannot be mass produced (and in fact may require intermittent adjustment by a Gadgeteer to remain functional- cutting edge means high-maintenance, so beyond cutting edge means not only high maintenance but also difficult maintenance). If they could be mass produced (and the PC isn't the first Gadgeteer in the world), than all sorts of equipment of a higher tech level would already be on the market. It isn't, therefore they can't.

I am not certain that this can be realistically justified, .
Gadgeteer is specifically not a realistic advantage. It is my general assumption that Gadgeteers cheat by using some kind of magic/superpower to provide themselves with solutions to problems with their inventions that are beyond the capability of their tech level. Alternatively they may rely on special materials like vibranium or components (like scavenged alien technology) that are only available in tiny quantities.
David Johnston2 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2020, 07:00 PM   #9
Otaku
 
Otaku's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: South Dakota, USA
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Gadgeteer

Time for me to expose my ignorance but, here is my take on Gadgeteer:

Gadgeteer is a specialized form of Unusual Background. It exist to slap a point cost on access to a less restrictive version of the rules for inventing (or re-inventing) technology that is more advanced than what is current available, whether to just a specific group (like the PCs) or to society in general. Also as a prerequisite (or justification) for taking certain other Advantages. That I haven't seen anyone else say this has me wondering if I've completely misunderstood the trait, or if it was simply supposed to go without saying.

I wonder if there ought to be a third level of Gadgeteer; not something above Quick Gadgeteer but below the regular Gadgeteer. It is probably better handled through Limitations on Gadgeteer, but given my view of it as an Unusual Background, I just think there's room for a "realistic" version that mostly serves as an after-the-fact, game-mechanic justification for the success of some real-world inventors. This could be borne of me overestimating the difficult of Gadgeteering.

I am curious what Enhancements or Limitations one has applied to Gadgeteer, especially after reading
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
Hidebound is a very poor idea for them...
I mean, it is sound advice, but then I wondered about those who are better at refining existing technology rather than inventing wholly new technology. That might be a blurry line - again, I have a weak grasp of the inventing and gadgeteering rules - but it sounds kind of fun in a weird way. You don't invent the car, but you figure out how to make it run better, be produced more efficiently, or be used more safely. Given the major concern of Gadgeteer's advancing technology a little too quickly for the GM to manage, this struck me as a potential compromise. You don't go full on Force (from [i]X-Men[i]), or even MacGyver on adventures, but if you're still a Quick Gadgeteer you're turning battlefield trash into treasure.

One last thing, though I know I'm already running long. Does Gadgeteer affect things like analyzing existing equipment or plans for equipment? I know, I know; I had to have just missed this somewhere, but especially with a Quick Gadgeteer, this seems like it would come up. Just seems like it might be a satisfying way for the party to discover the "weak point" in a vehicle, structure, robot, etc.
__________________
My GURPS Fourth Edition library consists of Basic Set: Characters, Basic Set: Campaigns, Martial Arts, Powers, Powers: Enhanced Senses, Power-Ups 1: Imbuements, Power-Ups 2: Perks, Power-Ups 3: Talents, Power-Ups 4: Enhancements, Power-Ups 6: Quirks, Power-Ups 8: Limitations, Powers, Social Engineering, Supers, and one issue of Pyramid (3/83), most of which was provided through the generosity of others. Thanks! :)
Otaku is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-15-2020, 07:05 PM   #10
Ulzgoroth
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week: Gadgeteer

Gadgeteer limited to either prototypes only or replication by the original inventor only may often be what people think of for the Advantage, probably thanks to endless media wherein Gadgeteer-like characters never scale up production. But that's not what the unmodified Advantage delivers. Gadgeteer inventions are just like any other inventions - given the budget, you can have one in every kitchen/garage/street corner.
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Johnston2 View Post
Except that the staff will be penalized for working with higher TL equipment. How many people with skill 25 are you going to be able to find to run your production lines?
What higher TL equipment would the staff be working with, and where did it come from? Setting up a production line for a finished invention just costs money, it doesn't require you to run through additional inventions to create the machining.
__________________
I don't know any 3e, so there is no chance that I am talking about 3e rules by accident.
Ulzgoroth is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
advantage of the week, gadgeteer

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:53 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.