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Old 09-15-2021, 05:40 PM   #11
The Colonel
 
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

Despite being a long time GG fan, I'm still not clear as to how much control sparks have over what they make when "in the madness place" - we can, perhaps, accept the work Agatha did in her sleep as breakthough weirdness, but I recall even Gil had stuff around his lab that he didn't seem to know or remember the point of... it does seem that the madness, if it comes on when they have a specific problem on their mind, will tend to deliver a solution, but ... not always one you would have hoped for (presumably Scaffold's Lily the Pink was a spark of some kind ... her "medicinal compound" certainly delivers results of that ilk).
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Old 09-15-2021, 11:02 PM   #12
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

They didn't put rules for ze madness?! Not having read the GURPS Girl Genius book, I don't know quite how that works in practice, maybe it does make sense the way they're doing it, but that sounds odd to me. It's quite a thing in the books for the protagonist Sparks, the constant balancing act between using their powers and not going completely off the deep end and doing something disastrous, and it sounded just the kind of thing for a GURPS resisted disadvantage.

I actually made a Dungeons and Dragons Spark class once that was an adapted version of the Barbarian class. I've still got it somewhere.

Temporary Disadvantage (Obsession (This invention))) sounds like a closer fit than ditto Fanaticism. And The Colonel has a point, it should definitely be run as obsession with that invention in general, including whatever random ideas may occur to the inventors as they go along, not obsession with whatever purpose they may have had in mind for it when they started. There's a pretty frequent refrain in the books of, as the case may be, "Agatha why are you putting legs on it? It's a ray gun. It doesn't need to have legs. I would really rather it didn't have legs." "...I don't know, sorry, smack me if I do it again".
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Old 09-16-2021, 05:53 AM   #13
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rupert View Post
That sounds more like Callous and Overconfidence or Megalomania triggered by use of The Spark than 'Berserk'.
Add Odious Personal Habit (Stereotypical Mad Scientist) and Disturbing Voice as well.

When a Spark gets "sparky" they veritably glow with madness, allowing wise minions time to do a fast fade.

There's also Obsession (Complete and "Perfect" Current Project).

All those traits as Temporary Disadvantage limitations make for a -40% limitation on levels of Spark-Related Advantages.

If anyone wants the extra level of complexity, it might be reasonable to put Mitigators on the package of temporary disadvantages, since an out-of-control Spark can be "snapped out of it" by sufficient damage, pain, or some other sudden shock that brings them back to reality.

It might all look like this:

Temporary Disadvantage (Sparky Disadvantages*)), -16%

Where the Sparky disadvantages are:

Callous (Mitigator: "Sudden and Harsh Reality Check," -60%) [-2]
Disturbing Voice (Mitigator, -60%) [-4]
Megalomania (Mitigator, -60%) [-4]
Obsession (Complete and Perfect Current Project) (Mitigator, -60%) [-4]
Odious Personal Habit (-1, Mitigator, -60%) [-2]

Technically, a mitigator at -60% is either something vulnerable to breakage or loss or a daily treatment, but substituting losing at least 1 HP or 2 FP, spending 5+ seconds mentally or physically Stunned, being knocked Unconscious, experiencing Severe Pain or worse, or failing a Fright Check seems roughly comparable to having to wear glasses or take a daily dose of medication.
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Old 09-16-2021, 06:27 AM   #14
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

I doubt any of this will make the book, however as its a new advantage these side effects could be rolled into Sparks with no change in point cost.
Meaning add a paragraph of explanation but no change required to any templates or write-ups.
Just thought I would throw that out there.
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Old 09-16-2021, 06:41 AM   #15
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

Yeah, I'm not expecting it to make the book. I wish it would, as it's a pretty big oversight; “ze madness” is one of the reasons why Sparks are feared rather than adored, as even the most conscientious and level-headed Spark loses it when Sparking. The main character is a perfect example of this: when she's not Sparking, she's warm, empathetic, kind, thoughtful, practical, etc.; But when she starts Sparking, you get things like, in response to being asked about the dangers of what she's doing, making an off-hand comment that, well, the effects are going to be localized and aren't likely to extend beyond destroying the Earth.
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Old 09-16-2021, 09:01 AM   #16
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inky View Post
Temporary Disadvantage (Obsession (This invention))) sounds like a closer fit than ditto Fanaticism.
If you read the description, Fanaticism is basically a 15 point version of obsession that pushes it from rationalizing all your actions to reach "the" goal to include any sacrifices necessary (your life, other lives, whatever) to reach "the" goal. Extreme Fanaticism also includes bonuses for resisting things that would cause you to betray or divert from your goals.

Are sparks willing to kill themselves and others for the invention or just people that devote all their time to a goal?
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Old 09-16-2021, 09:06 AM   #17
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

As I said in the post just before yours, Agatha was at one point willing to risk the destruction of the Earth in the pursuit of her goal. So yes, Fanaticism does seem to be warranted.
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Old 09-16-2021, 09:33 AM   #18
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

Quote:
Originally Posted by naloth View Post
Are sparks willing to kill themselves and others for the invention or just people that devote all their time to a goal?
Yes, 100% yes. Enslave children, turn the entire population of a town into rabbits so they can test the effectiveness of carrot fertilizer, there are no lines a spark will cross in the pursuit of Science.
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Old 09-16-2021, 09:36 AM   #19
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

And again, this applies across the board: when Sparking, even the ones who ordinarily wouldn't cross those lines don't even recognize that those lines are even there.
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Old 09-16-2021, 09:53 AM   #20
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Default Re: Girl Genius: Sparks disappoint.

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Originally Posted by dataweaver View Post
And again, this applies across the board: when Sparking, even the ones who ordinarily wouldn't cross those lines don't even recognize that those lines are even there.
Yeah, the distinguishing feature of a well-adjusted Spark is that when they come down from the madness they're able to see the problems with what they were doing. And also that they won't death ray minions out of hand when interrupted.
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