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  • Also, we need to be careful to avoid accidentally restricting ourselves. For instance, the talks so far about Innovations being Devices, Mods, and Feats? That doesn't take into consideration the possibility of using Mad Science to create life. In a Promethean game, this could be used to let a character make a Promethean. It could also be used to make robots or zombies — or, more generally, automatons: things with a semblance of life, but lacking free will. Or you might have a Mad Science that attempts to address the “free will” thing by creating an automaton that's designed to house a ghost or some other ephemeral entity: a Goetia, for instance.


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    • So, what I meant be "Feat = Merit", is that they are mechanically tracked like Merits. XP Cost is 1 per dot. They go in the Merits section of the Character Sheet. Mechanically, they represent what Merits do (which, as you pointed out, is dang near anything). Yes, they aren't just Merits - they all have similar prerequisites, and a similar structure. But so do Mage or Vampire or whatever specific merits (the unwritten Prerequisite: [Splat]). I mean to say that Feat = Merit doesn't mean Merit = Feat.

      Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
      Also, we need to be careful to avoid accidentally restricting ourselves. For instance, the talks so far about Innovations being Devices, Mods, and Feats? That doesn't take into consideration the possibility of using Mad Science to create life. In a Promethean game, this could be used to let a character make a Promethean. It could also be used to make robots or zombies — or, more generally, automatons: things with a semblance of life, but lacking free will. Or you might have a Mad Science that attempts to address the “free will” thing by creating an automaton that's designed to house a ghost or some other ephemeral entity: a Goetia, for instance.
      Still, keeping the Merit model, those could be represented as Retainers, Staff, or Familiars (for comparison purposes). The point at which they become full NPCs, is pretty much the same as if Retainers become full NPCs.

      And hey, due to Sanctity of Merits, when your artificial minion turns on you (as is tradition), you get a refund for the lost Retainer/Staff/etc.
      Last edited by Vent0; 02-28-2018, 10:49 AM.


      Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
      Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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      • Trying out a different approach to the mechanics:

        The business about Mind-blowing Clues and assembling them to achieve a Breakthrough is there same. What's different (and hopefully simpler) is what the Breakthrough gives you.

        Instead of a Mad Science skill, you list subject matter that you gained knowledge of in your character sheet: basically, you have a list of what Breakthroughs you've achieved. They might come in multiple levels representing increased mastery of the Breakthrough, or it might be an all-or-nothing thing; I don't know yet. Either way, mastery of a Breakthrough gives you the ability to use the Hunter R&D rules to produce Endowments based on the Breakthrough. If there are lesser degrees of mastery of a Breakthrough, they produce “flawed Endowments” similar to the Variation-and-Scar dynamic in the upcoming Deviant game (which stands a very good chance of rendering this entire thread moot; it's hitting all the right notes so far).

        The idea here is that the categories of Endowments in Hunter are Breakthroughs that (in Hunter) have been achieved and mastered by a long, grueling effort of whole teams of scientists working together. The Conspiracies then codify their discoveries in a way that can be shared with their members, facilitating R&D within the scope of the Breakthrough by anyone with access to those records. In other words, Hunter R&D gets incorporated into Mad Science, as the most stable example of what you can do with a Breakthrough. And depending on how Deviant turns out, it may also get incorporated into this, as a less stable version of R&D. Mad Science provides a way to achieve Breakthroughs without large research teams and massive budgets, but at a cost to the researcher's mental integrity.

        As an example: our researcher looks into alchemical phenomena and uncovers some Mind-blowing Clues which he then assembles to achieve a Breakthrough. With this Breakthrough, he gains the ability to use R&D rules to create Elixirs. He does this independent of the Ascended Ones, achieving the same results they did on his own at the cost of having been hammered by multiple Mind-blowing Clues in the process.

        This replaces all of my talk about different kinds of Innovations, et al. The (extremely open-ended) rules for what Endowments can and can't do covers most of it, save only the creation or modification of life (which is more of Deviant's purview).


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        • I REALLY like this thread and it’s premise! Here’s my own set of contributions;

          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
          After all, “a sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science.
          I think what you meant to say was either “Any sufficiently analysed magic is indistinguishable from science!” or “Any sufficiently arcane magic is indistinguishable from technology.”

          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
          Interesting idea. My inclination would be to have the creation of a new Skill be something that can happen after a Breakthrough has been thoroughly explored — that is, once you've developed a number of Innovations for the Breakthrough, you can “trade them in” for a new Breakthrough-specific Skill, called a Field.
          One way this could be developed further is that, after ‘acquiring/unlocking’ a Field, developing further Innovations for the Breakthrough that the Field belongs to increases the capabilities of the Field, both in terms of boosting its effects and increasing the number of dots you can put in it. The reasoning behind this would be that the Mad Scientist has uncovered more information on the principles of a particular Breakthrough, increasing their understanding of it and how they can apply that knowledge in a practical(-ish) manner.

          Oh! Just had an idea; what’s limiting us to just one Field per Breakthrough? Each of the latter could have several of the former, with each Field requiring ‘knowledge’ of a different set of Innovations within their respective Breakthrough. This would represent the MS piecing together different ways to capitalise on the Breakthrough’s principles. We could also have Fields that require Innovations from multiple different Breakthroughs; demonstrating a Mad Scientist leveraging the combined knowledge they possess to greater, or more exotic, effect.

          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
          Think of it this way: a Field has tremendous flexibility that comes from having a largely comprehensive grasp of the Breakthrough; it is to the Innovations that the scientist starts out with as a Mage Arcanum is to a collection of spells, letting you devise new Innovations on the fly instead of having to painstakingly develop them one by one.
          Thus allowing a Mad Scientist to advance faster along his line of research/inquiry, since they’d not have to dedicate quite as much time to R&D due to having a sufficient amount of context.

          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
          In keeping with the “Mad” part of Mad Science, this doesn't come without a price. Thing is, I'm not sure what that should be: achieving a Breakthrough already has the “your perspective is forever altered” thing. My gut instinct is to make this a “difference of degree” thing, where the altered perspective that was acquired with the Breakthrough intensifies to the point that it now counts as a Persistent Condition, a mental counterpart to the Drawbacks that Mods have.
          Not sure on it, but one possible way to go about this is that the MS develops some sort of quirk in their behaviour and/or method of logical thinking that makes him come across as something of an oddball or weirdo to those either not familiar them as a person and/or not sufficiently familiar with the requisite Breakthrough(s) and Field(s).

          Also, has anyone thought about what a Mad Scientist who’s a) gone completely off the deep end and/or b) researched every last Breakthrough, puzzled out every last Innovation and (if we go for integrating my Feat ideas in some form) ‘unlocked’ every last Feat be like?

          Note: I never said they’d be GOOD in terms of quality, just that I was providing them.


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          • I mean, since this was revitalized (It's ALIVE!!!), each Field could also serve as justification for atypically powerful Equipment via the Build Equipment rules. Sure, I wouldn't let someone build a handgun with a 5 Weapon modifier, +5 to attack rolls, and sets you on fire and/or Stuns normally... but if you have a Plasma Dynamics Field, I might.


            Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
            Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

            Comment


            • Originally posted by Vent0 View Post
              I mean, since this was revitalized (It's ALIVE!!!), each Field could also serve as justification for atypically powerful Equipment via the Build Equipment rules. Sure, I wouldn't let someone build a handgun with a 5 Weapon modifier, +5 to attack rolls, and sets you on fire and/or Stuns normally... but if you have a Plasma Dynamics Field, I might.

              Yeah, that would make sense! The MS would simply be applying the knowledge and understanding they have to the construction of Equipment. Ergo, said equipment could have properties not normally available to players (so long as they had the necessary Fields, that is).


              Comment


              • In general, no. You don't use Science to build equipment; you use Crafts. Fields are more akin to Science than to Crafts.

                That said, we've been using the Investigation rules as a sort of invention system, with Mind-blowing Clues leading to Breakthroughs. I could see using a Field with the Investigation rules to invent a new kind of equipment, which you then use Crafts to build. (The Clues needed for an invention by way of a Field wouldn't be Mind-blowing; you already did that when establishing the Field in the first place.)

                Technically, you could do this Investigation-as-Invention using Science, too; but the resulting Invention would have to conform to regular science and to the current state of technology, which means it would be positively mundane compared to the sorts of inventions that a Field would make possible. For instance, equipment that provides an extra die above and beyond what the standard model provides; useful, but nothing extraordinary.

                That said, I do agree that looking at how the Building Equipment rules interface with Mad Science is a productive endeavor. For instance, how does Availability apply to equipment that's dependent on some sort of Unobtainium to make?

                As well, the Endowment Research and Development rules in the upcoming HtV2e are worth looking at, too. In particular, that system includes (among other things) Advanced Armoury and Thaumatechnology; so to an extent, Hunter R&D is doing something similar and might be worth borrowing from. In particular, I'm thinking of how you can get more powerful Endowments by attaching an activation cost (such as Willpower, bashing damage, or lethal damage; and for Mad Science equipment, I'd add the possibility of an exotic fuel as a possible cost to use) or a backlash (which is phrased in terms of Conditions, and comes in three levels: a consequence that doesn't even rise to the level of a Condition, a consequence that imposes a regular Condition, and a consequence that imposes a Persistent Condition.)

                With Mad Science equipment in particular, the more extraordinary its benefits, the more serious its cost to use and/or its drawback should be.

                Again, this isn't the uplifting Super-Science of the Trinity Continuum; this is a horror game, and Mad Science should be nasty and terrifying. You should always be asking “what could go wrong?”, and not rhetorically; because return Mad Science, is anything can go wrong, it will. There will always be unintended and/or unavoidable consequences to using it.


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                • Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                  In general, no. You don't use Science to build equipment; you use Crafts. Fields are more akin to Science than to Crafts.
                  Well, actually:
                  The type of equipment the character builds determines which dice pool to use. Most physical objects use Wits + Crafts, or Wits + Expression for creative works; organizations may use Presence or Manipulation + Socialize or Streetwise; repositories usually use Intelligence + Academics; and mystical equipment usually uses Wits + Occult. Plans are a slightly different animal, and require a Wits + Composure roll. The Storyteller or player can sug - gest alternatives if appropriate.
                  You don't need to use Crafts. So Fields are valid here too.

                  Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                  That said, we've been using the Investigation rules as a sort of invention system, with Mind-blowing Clues leading to Breakthroughs. I could see using a Field with the Investigation rules to invent a new kind of equipment, which you then use Crafts to build. (The Clues needed for an invention by way of a Field wouldn't be Mind-blowing; you already did that when establishing the Field in the first place.)

                  Technically, you could do this Investigation-as-Invention using Science, too; but the resulting Invention would have to conform to regular science and to the current state of technology, which means it would be positively mundane compared to the sorts of inventions that a Field would make possible. For instance, equipment that provides an extra die above and beyond what the standard model provides; useful, but nothing extraordinary.

                  That said, I do agree that looking at how the Building Equipment rules interface with Mad Science is a productive endeavor. For instance, how does Availability apply to equipment that's dependent on some sort of Unobtainium to make?

                  As well, the Endowment Research and Development rules in the upcoming HtV2e are worth looking at, too. In particular, that system includes (among other things) Advanced Armoury and Thaumatechnology; so to an extent, Hunter R&D is doing something similar and might be worth borrowing from. In particular, I'm thinking of how you can get more powerful Endowments by attaching an activation cost (such as Willpower, bashing damage, or lethal damage; and for Mad Science equipment, I'd add the possibility of an exotic fuel as a possible cost to use) or a backlash (which is phrased in terms of Conditions, and comes in three levels: a consequence that doesn't even rise to the level of a Condition, a consequence that imposes a regular Condition, and a consequence that imposes a Persistent Condition.)

                  With Mad Science equipment in particular, the more extraordinary its benefits, the more serious its cost to use and/or its drawback should be.
                  You can do Investigation-as-Construction if you want to design something big in multiple phases too, yeah.

                  Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                  Again, this isn't the uplifting Super-Science of the Trinity Continuum; this is a horror game, and Mad Science should be nasty and terrifying. You should always be asking “what could go wrong?”, and not rhetorically; because return Mad Science, is anything can go wrong, it will. There will always be unintended and/or unavoidable consequences to using it.
                  You Ghost-Cannon could, for instance, backfire and dump angry specters everywhere.


                  Malkydel: "And the Machine dictated; let there be adequate illumination."
                  Yossarian: "And lo, it was optimal."

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