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Old 09-15-2021, 08:19 AM   #1
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Default Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

I'm a little disappointed on how GURPS Girl Genius handles Sparks. First, the business about getting levels of Gadgeteer for free from levels of Spark strikes me as a gross violation of “it costs what it costs”. That's easy enough to house rule; I just wish I didn't have to.

Second: in the comics, there's a phenomenon that occurs whenever a Spark “gets creative”: their words bubbles get all raggedy; their dialog gets deranged; and little things like, oh, ethics and safety stop mattering to them. It's basically the mental equivalent of going Berserk. As far as I can tell, the book doesn't address this at all.

I'm not sure how to handle the latter issue. My inclination would be to develop a variant of Berserk that focus is on invention rather than attacking; but the devil is in the details. I'm not sure how such a disadvantage would look.

Thoughts?
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Old 09-15-2021, 08:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

For the second issue, Compulsive Behavior (Inventing) with a very unfavorable control roll as a temporary disad?
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Old 09-15-2021, 09:50 AM   #3
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
I'm a little disappointed on how GURPS Girl Genius handles Sparks. First, the business about getting levels of Gastrointestinal for free from levels of Spark strikes me as a gross violation of “it costs what it costs”. That's easy enough to house rule; I just wish I didn't have to.
I don't have the Girl Genius book, but something like that isn't without precedent - you get some Status for free with sufficient Wealth, for example, and there are some traits that include less-expensive ones for "free" (like Enhanced Time Sense including Combat Reflexes).

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Second: in the comics, there's a phenomenon that occurs whenever a Spark “gets creative”: their words bubbles get all raggedy; their dialog gets deranged; and little things like, oh, ethics and safety stop mattering to them. It's basically the mental equivalent of going Berserk. As far as I can tell, the book doesn't address this at all.
It may be that "being in the madness place" is simply meant to be roleplayed, not something forced on the character under certain stimuli (like SC Disadvantages such as Berserk).
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Old 09-15-2021, 10:44 AM   #4
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

For three points, you get Spark 0, which is roughly analogous to a technological version of magery 0. On top of that, you get what amounts to a Talent for invention (10 points for a +1 to all rolls involving invention), and Gadgeteer for free. The examples of “freebie advantages” that you cite generally require you to spend something like three times as much on the “gateway” advantage, as opposed to spending 10 points on an advantage and getting another 10 point advantage at no further cost.

I think what I'm going to do will be to “flip the script” as it were: incorporate the benefits currently provided by Spark 0 directly into Gadgeteer, then replace Spark 0 with Gadgeteer as a prerequisite for Spark, which will become a straight 10/level.

As for “just role play it”: that argument could be applied to just about any mental disadvantage.
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Old 09-15-2021, 02:15 PM   #5
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

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I think what I'm going to do will be to “flip the script” as it were: incorporate the benefits currently provided by Spark 0 directly into Gadgeteer, then replace Spark 0 with Gadgeteer as a prerequisite for Spark, which will become a straight 10/level.
I'm only lightly familiar with the series, but it sounds like Gadgeteer + Higher Purpose (Inventing). Gadgeteer seems to be limited with a Temporary Disadvantage (Fanaticism - This Invention) while in use.
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Old 09-15-2021, 02:34 PM   #6
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

That sounds about right — though given that I'm considering rolling the 3-point Spark 0 into Gadgeteer, it would only be fair to do likewise with the Temporary Fanaticism.
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Old 09-15-2021, 02:37 PM   #7
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
I'm a little disappointed on how GURPS Girl Genius handles Sparks. First, the business about getting levels of Gastrointestinal for free from levels of Spark strikes me as a gross violation of “it costs what it costs”. That's easy enough to house rule; I just wish I didn't have to.

Second: in the comics, there's a phenomenon that occurs whenever a Spark “gets creative”: their words bubbles get all raggedy; their dialog gets deranged; and little things like, oh, ethics and safety stop mattering to them. It's basically the mental equivalent of going Berserk. As far as I can tell, the book doesn't address this at all.
That sounds more like Callous and Overconfidence or Megalomania triggered by use of The Spark than 'Berserk'.
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Old 09-15-2021, 03:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

Good point.
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Old 09-15-2021, 03:49 PM   #9
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

Yeah, the Spark thing seemed a bit underpriced compared to Basic but I figured that was a setting conceit.
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Old 09-15-2021, 04:59 PM   #10
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

Oh, girl genius definitely takes gadgeteering to its limits. On the upside of its GURPS treatment, they did successfully manage to convey just how ubiquitous gadgeteering is in the setting. Literally anyone could have it, for example.

On the other hand, there have been a few developments since the book was written that showed just how far the spark can go; and it is arguably beyond the limits of what the book portrays. I am, of course, referring to the Queens, whose abilities might better be modeled by Phil Masters' Sufficiently Deranged article in Pyramid #3/122.
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