Monday, January 14, 2019

Mad Scientist (Witch Tradition)

There have always been those who dare push the boundaries of what society says "should be". Once, they were called witches, women on the fringes of town who dared seek knowledge forbidden and strange. They were visionaries, persecuted by mobs who couldn't accept their genius. You carry their fraught legacy into an era of bottled lightning and harnessed fire, eagerly leaping at the chance to create - nay, command - the future.

Mad Scientist
(a tradition for The Bottomless Sarcophagus' GLOG witches)
Image result for mad scientist
(by megamoth on DeviantArt)
You'll show them. You'll show them all.

Undergrad (d4 Work Die)
Perk: You only need half the usual amount of sleep and food.
Signs
1. You instantly ferment a plate of food or bottle of drink.
2. You sprint at triple walking speed.
Emblem Work: Hold My Ale, Watch This
Range: N/A; Target: self; Duration: [sum] minutes
Perform one improbable physical stunt as if you had rolled a critical hit on the roll. At the end of this work's duration, feel the repercussions as if you had rolled a critical failure.

Graduate (d6 Work Die)
Perk: You have a stipend of [level]*10gp from your program that you can use to buy equipment and catalysts when you're in town.
Drawback: You don't have those three crucial letters after your name (PhD), so no one takes you seriously.
Signs
1. You scan through an entire shelf of books for a piece of information in d6 minutes.
2. You retrieve a helpful tool of your choice from somewhere on your person.
Emblem Work: Thesis Defense
Range: N/A; Target: self; Duration: [sum] minutes
You gain an impenetrable shield against all effects relating to [dice] catalysts you possess. Other effects force a save vs. discombobulation, if you fail, this work ends prematurely.

Professor (d8 Work Die)
Drawback: You have to spend 10+2d20 hours a week giving lectures and grading papers. If you fail to keep up with the demands of your position, save vs. Losing Your Grip.
Signs
1. As long as you're doing a long and convoluted technobabbly explanation, you have the full attention of everyone who can hear you.
2. When you're in town, you can call on a hapless TA to do menial labor for you (this can't help you with your drawback, unfortunately). You can also bring them along on adventures as a hireling for course credit.
Emblem Work: Doctor of Forbidden Science
Range: N/A; Target: N/A; Duration: N/A
Your next [dice] works last for double time and have double range. This work automatically causes a Mishap after those works end.

Works
All works of mad science need a magical or technological catalyst to power them; it is not consumed unless the work says so. A d20 table with sample catalysts is provided below.

1. The Crude Mortal Form Is So... Limited
Range: touch; Target: creature; Duration: [sum] minutes
Target gets [dice] of the following (can pick same effect multiple times):
- a relevant positive or negative mutation (ex. book of dark magic → can be turned as undead; stitch of time → falls slower)
- + or -[dice] to a relevant ability score
- protection from or vulnerability to a relevant effect (ex. gram of unobtanium → radiation resistance; self-replicating spore → vulnerable to poison)
- becomes 1 size larger or smaller

2. Behold My Death Ray!
Range: 100ft; Target: [dice] creatures/objects adjacent to each other; Duration: instant
Deal [sum] damage of a relevant type to each target, they save vs. a relevant effect (ex. sparking clockwork heart → save vs. electrocution; dragonbreath sac → save vs. burning; jar of stem cells → save vs. mutation, brain in a jar → save vs. mind control)

3. It's Aliiiiiiiiive!
Range: touch; Target: catalyst; Duration: [sum] hours
You cobble together an animated servant out of a catalyst and surrounding materials (ex. golem animation paper → golem; egg of unknown origin → baby dinosaur; your own future skull → mini-you). 1 die makes it tiny (1HD), 2 dice makes it small (2HD), 3 dice makes it your size (3HD), 4 dice makes it up to big (4HD), 1 extra die makes it permanent and consumes the catalyst. It has a relevant ability and movement type, and uses your work die for hit dice and to attack if you so command it. Takes [dice] hours to create, or [dice] days if permanent.

4. The World Is Not Enough
Range: [sum]*30ft sphere; Target: area; Duration: [sum] minutes
You use a catalyst to project a relevant effect in the area around you. This can be a localized benefit or penalty (ex. giant's molar → everything gets bigger), a terrain change (ex. singing crystal → rocks grow crystal spikes), weather (ex. inert ice-9 crystal → hailstorm), a change in lighting conditions or temperature (ex. captured starlight → bright illumination), etc.

5. They're Really More Like Suggestions Of Thermodynamics
Range: touch; Target: catalyst(s); Duration: instant
Turn a catalyst you have into up to [sum]ft^3 of a relevant material (ex. colossal squid eye → water, preserved mimic → flesh, self-winding coil → sheet metal) in a crude shape of your choice. This consumes the catalyst. Alternatively, you may use this to combine two of your catalysts into a new, related catalyst of the GM's discretion.

6. Oh, That's Where I Left It!
Range: N/A; Target: N/A; Duration: instant
Detect the direction to the nearest [dice] things within [sum]*100 feet similar to the catalyst (ex. essential salts → find undead, self-winding coil → find mechanisms, your own skull from the future → find mad scientists).

7. I've Seen Things You People Wouldn't Believe...
Range: N/A; Target: one creature or item; Duration: instant
Use a catalyst in combination with a helpless creature or item in your possession to learn one fact of your choice about it. (6-[dice], 3-[dice] if catalyst similar to target) in 6 chance to destroy the creature or item in the process.

8. That's Not How That Works!
Range: 100ft; Target: one effect or ability; Duration: instant
As a reaction to a spell, ability or spell-like effect, you can channel the power of a similar catalyst and roll a d20 under [sum] to nullify that effect.

Attentions
1. Local law enforcement is alerted to your presence. They're going to ask you the difficult questions: namely, do you have a permit for that? They're going to show up in 1d6 hours or when you get back to town to confiscate 1d6 of your Catalysts and Crafts; forfeiting the offending catalyst or craft prevents this.
2. Nearby creatures are attracted to your meddling. You automatically run into a random encounter in the next d6 hours. You can prevent this by setting out a distraction for them that will keep them occupied.
3. Some local peasants have seen or heard about your science and it frightens them. Within the next day they will find a moment to throw stones at you and shout profanities, dealing 1d6 damage. Saving a peasant's life or livelihood prevents this. as does showing the peasants who's boss.
4. An inquisitor is on your tail, warning the populace and confiscating items of power. Locals give you the cold shoulder for d6 days, and won't sell to you or buy from you. Making a donation (10gp or equivalent in favors) to the local church prevents/ends this.
5. A local rival mad scientist wants to put you in your place. They will publicly confront you with their own works and devices sometime in the next 24 hours. You can avoid this by giving them a peace offering of some information or materials they'd be interested in.
6. The catalyst goes haywire and starts to change you. You gain a random mutation for d6 hours. At the end, save or it's permanent. You can prevent this by getting the catalyst as far away from you as possible and doing some mad first aid to nullify the mutation.

Losing Your Grip
1. Two of your catalysts combine and react in a devastating way, causing a 30 foot radius explosion that deals 2d6 damage of a relevant type and destroys both catalysts. Gain a spellscar.
2. It's so simple, can't they see? You inevitably steer conversations to finding ways to use or enhance your creations, and other subjects bore or enrage you. Disadvantage in social situations that don't involve your work.
3. Nothing will stand in your way, not law, not money, not petty morality. Remove Wisdom from your character sheet entirely. Your moral compass points towards one thing alone: advancing SCIENCE at any cost.
4. Your creation consumes you in an ironic and entirely preventable way. Hubris is the ultimate fate of any proper mad scientist.

Sample Wyrd Transports
1. Flycycle - It's a bike that can fly.
2. Enthralled Troll - You've plugged so much stuff into its brain that it's not really a troll anymore, legally.
3. Teleporting Box - It's surprisingly roomy. Takes the amount of time it would take to run the equivalent distance to charge.
4. Desk Chair with Jet Engines - It's got enough seatbelts. Probably.
5. Carriage of Doom - It moves on its own gigantic spiked wheels, churning with a ferocity like a living creature.
6. Giant Reanimated Pterodactyl - It's not a dinosaur. Why do they keep calling it a dinosaur?

Starting Equipment
Witch (Mad Scientist) A: 2 random catalysts, discipline-specific textbook, lab coat, goggles
Witch (Mad Scientist) B: 1 additional random catalyst, 2 random books, toolbox

d20 Catalysts:
1. Sparking clockwork heart
2. Dragonbreath sac
3. Stitch of time
4. Giant's molar
5. Inert ice-9 crystal
6. Brain in a jar
7. A book of dark magic
8. Captured starlight
9. Lump of stem cells
10. Colossal squid eye
11. Self-winding coil
12. Hole in the universe
13. 1 gram of unobtanium
14. Egg of unknown origin
15. Self-replicating spore
16. Essential salts
17. Singing crystal
18. Golem animation paper
19. Preserved mimic
20. Your own skull from the future

4 comments:

  1. I'M NOT A MAD SCIENTIST, I'M AN ANGRY SCIENTIST!

    ReplyDelete
  2. As the creator of the template used, absolutely enamoured with this. Will play one if I ever get the chance.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Aw man. You made yours first.
    I couldn't work on mine because of work. Homework. School.
    Anyways, glad I saw this made at all. I love it tons!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I claim no ownership over the concept - feel free to put up your own whenever you get a chance! Love seeing other people's takes on the same source material

      Delete

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