View Full Version : Another Girl Genius Homebrew thread.

2011-06-24, 02:10 PM
So there are plenty of threads about a Girl Genius RPG, but there is nothing really concrete that my group can use. My DM is currently playing in a partially original and partially Girl Genius style setting. What he is mainly trying to do is figure out a way to run Sparks. I haven't read the comic (despite his incessant nagging), but he had a pretty specific idea of what they can do. What we decided to do was create a series of feats a character could date in order to represent a Spark. Originally we wanted to create one primary feat similar to Vow of Poverty, that granted abilities and bonus "Spark" feats, but I wasn't sure how to do that as I am not very good at creating material.

Anyway, I'm posting these with the assumption that they are broken and/or Imbalanced. If anyone has any input on these, that would be great. If anyone has any suggestions on how to create the base "Spark of Genius" feat, that would be wonderful. However, if anyone has an even better idea of how to run Sparks in a campaign, that would be completely spectacular.

Spark of Genius
Benefit: When this feat is selected, the Spark chooses a scientific specialty (such as Physics, Chemistry, or Engineering.) The spark then chooses a skill associated with that specialty (Such as Knowledge: Engineering for Engineering, or Craft: Alchemy for chemistry.) Whenever the Spark makes a check for the chosen skill, he must also make a will save (DC 10 + ˝ the ranks they possess in their chosen skill + Intelligence modifier.) In addition, for everyday which passes without the Spark entering the madness place (see below) the save to resist increases by one. If the Spark fails his save he is pulled into a state known as “The Madness Place.” While in this state, the Spark receives a +10 insight to his chosen skill as well any social interaction checks made to convince someone to assist in their work. However, this state does have its drawbacks. While in this state, the Spark cannot perform any tasks which do not immediately progress their research or project. This includes eating, sleeping, or other such activities usually required by all biological being. It is not unheard of for Sparks to work themselves to death while locked in the madness place. This state lasts for a number of hours equal to the difficulty class of the save made to resist entering the state, subtracted by the failed result. After this time has elapsed, the Spark makes another save against the same DC with a +1 to the roll.
Additionally, Sparks are exceptionally brilliant, however their eccentricity and obsession makes them mentally unstable. As such, all Sparks receive a permanent +4 increase to their intelligence score and permanent -4 penalty to their wisdom score.
Special: This feat may only be selected at first level. A character with this feat is eligible to take [SPARK] feats. A character without this feat may not take any [SPARK] feats, even if he meets all other prerequisites for the feat.

Notes: This is the base feat. As I said earlier, we wanted to make this similar to the Vow of Poverty feat in that it would grant bonus spark feats, bonuses to intelligence and most likely charisma, impose some penalties to wisdom, and most likely grant bonuses to crafting non-magical technological devices. Those bonuses will hopefully be balance by the daily save or be driven mildly insane and the fact that Sparks were supposed to be unable to properly utilize magic. The DM compared it to some RPG (Arcanum, I think he called it) where technology and magic give off opposing fields which disrupt each other. Spark's having a mysterious scientific aura, are unable to utilize magic.
Things that I intend to add to the "Madness Place" ability are more detailed rules on how building, crafting, and researching works and some additional rules on how the Spark reacts when interrupted or disturbed.

Master the Madness [SPARK]
Benefit: Once per day, a Spark may attempt to enter the madness place by choice and by doing so stave of some of the negative effects. The Spark makes a will save; if the save is failed the Spark enters the madness place normally. If the Spark succeeds, he enters the madness place; however he does not become obsessed and may still perform other necessary actions. He stays in this state for a number of hours equal to the successful save result subtracted by the original save difficulty class.
Normal: A Spark may not willingly enter the madness place.

Notes: This and all other feats after this point are the product of brainstorming. You'll notice that none of the feats have prerequisites, that was not done on purpose. We simply haven't decided what they will be yet. This specifically will most likely have a minimum character level to take as this is supposed to be for higher level sparks.

Frantic Creation [SPARK]
Benefit: While in the madness state, a Spark’s frantic obsession often results in him finishing his project incredibly quickly. Craft checks made to create items while in the madness place represent the total amount of time spent in the madness place, rather than weeks.

Notes: Right, the way the DM explained it to me, the Spark should be able to finish an absurd amount of work in a short amount of time.

Unbreakable Concentration [SPARK]
Benefit: It is nearly impossible to tear a spark from his work while he is in the throes of obsession. When in the madness state, the Spark becomes immune to all mind effecting or compulsion effects.

Notes: I'm really not sure about this one. It almost seems like for of a drawback than a benefit. It means that your friends can't knock you out with a sleep spell or something to keep you from working yourself to death.

Benefit: When this feat is selected the Spark gains the following abilities:
Combat Strategist: A spark with this specialization is adept and breaking down things and understanding them. As such, a Spark with this specialty can quickly analyze combat and put his incredible brain power to work; gaining the upper hand on his opponent. Once per day, as a full round action, the Spark may study an opponent, gaining an understanding of his strengths and weaknesses. For the duration of the encounter, the Spark receives a bonus to attack rolls and damage rolls made against that foe equal to his intelligence modifier.
Improve Design: A Spark with this specialty can take any form of technological design and expand upon it. The Spark may select a single magic item and study it for at least 8 uninterrupted hours. After that time, he may then begin modifying it, or entirely reconstructing it as if he had all feats and prerequisites required for the items creation. The newly designed item is almost an exact copy of the device, only better. Any object improved in this way has any DC’s associated with its function, any bonuses granted by the object, and/or any damage dealt by the object in increased by an amount equal to the Sparks intelligence modifier. Sparks are technological genius, not magical ones. As such, this ability only applies to non-magical mechanical devices.
Special: This is a Specialty Spark feat. A spark may only have one Specialty.

Fortification [SPARK, SPECIALTY]
Benefit:When this feat is selected the Spark gains the following abilities:
Defensive Expert: If there is one thing a Spark with this specialty understands, it is defense. This defensive genius knows how to utilize protective gear to its fullest. The Spark adds his intelligence modifier to any armor bonus he receives from any source. The Spark gains no benefit from this ability if he has an armor bonus of +0
Fortifier: Any device or object the Spark creates has its hardness increased by an amount equal to his intelligence modifier. In addition, all objects and devices have a number of extra hit points per inch of thickness equal to the Sparks intelligence modifier.
Special: This is a Specialty Spark feat. A spark may only have one Specialty.

Electronics [SPARK, SPECIALTY]
Benefit: When this feat is selected the Spark gains the following abilities:
Lightning Rod: The Spark knows electricity better than anyone else. Years of accidental shocks and electrocutions has toughened his body against its harmful effects. The Spark receives a bonus to saving throws made against electricity-based effects and spells or powers with the electricity descriptor equal to his intelligence modifier and electricity resistance equal to 5 multiplied by his intelligence modifier.
Building a Better Dynamo: Know one builds more impressive electronic devices than this Spark. Whenever the Spark builds a device with a function which involves electricity, any DC’s associated with its function, any bonuses granted by the object, and/or any damage dealt by the object in increased by an amount equal to the Sparks intelligence modifier. Sparks are technological genius, not magical ones. As such, this ability only applies to non-magical mechanical devices.
Special: This is a Specialty Spark feat. A spark may only have one Specialty.

Clank Engineering [SPARK, SPECIALTY]
Benefit:When this feat is selected the Spark gains the following abilities:
Manual Override: The Spark’s mastery over the design and construction of clanks knows no equal. With some quick jury-rigging, the Spark can reprogram any non-magical construct to do its bidding. As full-round action, the Spark may make a single touch attack against any non-magical, non-intelligent construct. If the attack is successful, the Spark reprograms the construct. The construct serves the Spark, following the Spark’s orders and attacking the Spark’s foes for a number of rounds equal to the Spark’s intelligence modifier. After the time has elapsed, the constructs original program reboots and the Spark loses control.
Clank Mastery: Any constructs the Spark builds have a bonus to their strength score equal to the Spark’s intelligence modifier as well as in additional number of hit points equal to the Spark’s intelligence modifier for every hit die the construct possesses.
Special: This is a Specialty Spark feat. A spark may only have one Specialty.

Notes: It was also explained to me by the DM that most all Sparks have a specialty. a specific field of research or science where they excel. We made these to represent that. These are actually what I am most worried about. I am afraid they are the most unbalanced. Hopefully, someone will give me some input. We also wanted to incorporate that these specialties granted both a combat bonus and bonus to technological creations.

Well that's it for now. I will be adding to these later, hopefully with some feedback from the community. I apologize in advance for how horrible they are. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

One last thing. I posted in the roleplaying section that I was looking for an open and accessible system of building non-magical technological devices. I Didn't get many replies, though in all fairness I only waited a day or two.

Regardless, I was hoping someone might be able to suggest an Item Creation system which can be easily fit into a 3.5/Pathfinder game. There are plenty that I can find, but none of them have the openness I am looking for. They all just have list of pre-made Items and their craft DC's. What I'd like is system which allows for creating custom non-magical technological devices, based on making craft checks.

If anyone has any suggestions (Official, 3rd Party, or Homebrew) for that, it would also be really appreciated.

2011-06-24, 03:12 PM
My initial thought is that while 3.5 is not terribly well-equipped for a Girl Genius game, Mutants and Masterminds 2nd edition is perfect for it.

GG places tremendous importance on the ability of sparks to whip up powerful gadgets on short notice, and M&M's power stunt system supports this beautifully - it even has a Gadget power that's designed to do this already.

Girl Genius also acknowledges tremendous gulfs in capability between individuals: one fellow may be super-intelligent, the next may be bio-engineered to be super-strong, while the guy standing next to him is a human torso grafted onto a mechanical spider body. D&D would need custom feats and classes for everything (and you'd have to throw out the entire spell system, as GG doesn't have any spellcasting). OTOH, M&M's character creation and advancement system is perfectly suited for these kinds of characters, and could be used immediately with no modification.

Since M&M is a d20 game system built on the OGL, the basics would be pretty familiar to any D&D player, and it shouldn't take you long to get the hang of it. Best of all the books are CHEAP. :smalltongue:

Edit: Oh, and READ THE COMIC (http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20021104). :smallbiggrin: You're missing a great webcomic.

2011-06-24, 04:42 PM
Know anywhere online someone can familiarize themselves with the system?

2011-06-24, 06:50 PM
Someone did a spark-based base class... see also "The Engineer" although they weren't quite the same.
Also, I played in a game at one DragonCon that was basically custom-made for sparks... pity I can't remember the name of the system! (Although it WAS very loosey-goosey)

2011-06-25, 01:17 AM
If I had to decide on a system for a GG themed game, I would personally go with GURPS. It allows an unparalleled level of customization that the setting needs.

2011-06-25, 01:32 AM