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Artificer / Inventor / Ritualist

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So this happened in Discord the other day:




Dr Archeville Last Friday at 4:25 PM

An amusing thing I realized today: without using his Enhanced INT, Dok's craft & knowledge (tech) skills are enough that, if he rolls/takes 1, he can design & construct a 7pp invention. (+16 on the skills, roll 1 = 17, DC for designing & constructing is [power points - 10])

Super-Movement 3 (Space Travel 3) is only 6pp.

Dok can accidentally invent an intergalactic stardrive.

TheAbsurdist Last Friday at 4:26 PM

IT takes Zenith 2 actions to make the Enterprise D

olopi Last Friday at 4:27 PM

Good ol' Mutants and Masterminds

Exaccus Last Friday at 5:52 PM

Oz can consume dairy products without digestive upsets!

Dr Archeville Last Friday at 5:57 PM


Fox Last Friday at 11:04 PM

He's probably better off not, since rolling a natural 1 on an invention check opens the GM up to side-effects and mishaps.

(Though, this would explain a lot about Dok's science.)

Avenger Assembled Last Friday at 11:08 PM

There may have been a few nat-1s here and about

This is why Skill Mastery is a good investment

Zeitgeist Blue Last Friday at 11:09 PM

Accident's are fun!

Grumblefloof Last Friday at 11:38 PM

I just double-checked to make sure, but, as with the D20 system that spawned it, natural "1"s mean an automatic miss on an attack roll, and literally nothing on every single other type of roll.

With inventions, it's failing either the design or construction check by 10+ that causes either a mishap or a device that will malfunction.

And yes, you can take 10 on both the design and construction check (you can take 20 on design but not construction)...unless you're jury-rigging, in which case, you can't do either.

So I don't think Skill Mastery would apply to jury-rigging, which is, unfortunately, probably what you're gonna be doing 99% of the time.

Avenger Assembled Last Friday at 11:40 PM

Ah! Good to know.

Fox Last Friday at 11:41 PM

At the GM’s discretion, failure by 10 or more, or a natural roll of 1, on any required inventing skill check may result in some unexpected side-effect or mishap.

also checked before speaking!

does not trust his memory alone, because Fox knows his memory too well.

Grumblefloof Last Friday at 11:42 PM

Goddammit. I ran a CTRL-F search for "natural one", "natural 1", AND "natural "1"".

angrydurf Last Friday at 11:42 PM

this is why you don't buy jury rigging but a gadgets type VP with a full round reset time and requires check: something sciency with jurry rigged invention as the descriptor.

Grumblefloof Last Friday at 11:43 PM

Durf, I've been seriously considering that for my artificer mage.

Possibly with the Action drawback as well, to kick the adjustment time even higher.

Fox Last Friday at 11:43 PM

Eh, I like it for what it does.

Avenger Assembled Last Friday at 11:43 PM

The plot thickens!

Fox Last Friday at 11:43 PM

I'd only buy a gadgets VP if I wanted to be using it very frequently.

Grumblefloof Last Friday at 11:43 PM

Ahhh, I see where I missed it.

The section on inventions specifically repeats the "fail by 10+" condition in three different places, under the design, construction, and jury-rigging subheadings. But the "or on a natural 1" clause is only mentioned ONCE, at the very end of the section.

I hate this book so much.

Fox Last Friday at 11:44 PM


angrydurf Last Friday at 11:44 PM

Inventor/artificer/ritualist are fine for flavor stuff but in our format mechanically useless

Fox Last Friday at 11:44 PM

Eh, I've gotten use out of them.

You just need a thread that gives you the opportunity, which is perfectly on-flavor for most mundane rigging work.

I only really advocate for the VP if you have a character who is throwing together gadgets as a primary mode of mechanical engagement with the world. And it makes perfect sense there!

Grumblefloof Last Friday at 11:45 PM



Tiffany Korta Last Friday at 11:46 PM

most of the character I've used them for they are flavor

Grumblefloof Last Friday at 11:46 PM

No wonder no one can keep these rules straight.

Did this even get a 2nd pass on editing?

Fox Last Friday at 11:46 PM

But your general ritualist or super-engineer who builds most of their stuff ahead of time and will either stunt for off-the-cuff powers or needs downtime to build something impressive? The invention feats work great for them.

Tiffany Korta Last Friday at 11:46 PM

isn't that called 3e?

Fox Last Friday at 11:47 PM

(Plus the idea that it took time and investment to create something neat gives it weight, rather than it being something they pull out of nowhere in no time, which would often just be called bad writing in a normal comics story for any character who didn't have "I constantly build stuff out of nothing as a primary mode of engagement" as their thing.)

Invention isn't the gadgeteer who throws together the right tool out of the bits they keep in their utility belt. Invention is Tony Stark making a new element in his lab to deal with his current over-arching plot problem, or MacGyver getting locked in a shed and having the time he needs to build his way out of it.

Use it for what it is! Don't use it for what it isn't.

rant rant rant

Tiffany Korta Last Friday at 11:49 PM

righteous fox!

Fox Last Friday at 11:50 PM

That section could have done with an editorial pass, though, yes.

Grumblefloof Last Friday at 11:50 PM

The problem is that you can only use it if the GM gives you both the opportunity and the time to use it. The very fact that people are talking about circumventing it with a flawed VP suggests that doesn't happen very much, if at all.

At that point, the character design debate is a symptom, not the problem.

Fox Last Friday at 11:51 PM

Sounds like those people should work with their GMs.

Grumblefloof Last Friday at 11:51 PM

At that point, the character design debate is a symptom, not the problem.

Fox Last Friday at 11:51 PM

I mean, if your GMs are only making threads indoors you don't get to use the character with Growth, either.

That doesn't make Growth a bad power, it makes it a decent power that needs to be used carefully, knowing full well what you're getting into. Invention is literally 1pp to exploit skills your character's almost certainly going to have already, you know?

Sometimes you get to use that 1pp to do a really neat thing in a thread paced for it, and if your threads aren't paced for it that's a solvable problem.

Could it be better? Yes. But if you want to be pulling out crazy inventions all the time, you absolutely need to build it a different way, and pay way more for the privilege of that increased flexibility and power.

Grumblefloof Last Friday at 11:53 PM

The trait is fine in a vacuum, no arguments on that.

Though five hours per power point is excessive.

Fox Last Friday at 11:53 PM

Sure, at my table I'd probably scale that down.

Grumblefloof Last Friday at 11:54 PM

The feat feels to me like it was either severely over-playtested or under-playtested.

Fox Last Friday at 11:54 PM

Yes, agreed there.

Tiffany Korta Last Friday at 11:54 PM

if people have ideas for a fix I'm sure we'd consider them, we're not super fixed on anything

Eternal Phoenix Last Friday at 11:55 PM

5 hours per power point, and Quickness is explicitly not allowed to shorten that in any way.

Fox Last Friday at 11:55 PM

Sure! As long as it still serves its role and doesn't give you too much bang for the buck, I'm behind improvement.

It can't act as a VP and shouldn't act as a VP, but speaking as someone with both Jury-Rigging and Ritualist across his sheets, I think it's both usable now (in the right threads) and could stand to see improvement (to get used in more threads).

Tiffany Korta Last Friday at 11:56 PM

more chances for characters to be cool is always a win

Eternal Phoenix Last Friday at 11:56 PM

Hey, Terrifica has Inventor, and the skills to use it.

Fox Last Friday at 11:56 PM

I've been able to use both, though. You just need a thread paced for that kind of downtime.

If we can improve that balance in a way that's worth the added burden of more house rules, more power to us!

Eternal Phoenix Last Friday at 11:58 PM

5 minutes per power point? A 10 point invention's gonna take most of an hour.

Avenger Assembled Last Friday at 11:58 PM

I find myself liking both the feat and the flawed VP! Would need to see the mechanism on the table for both, though, pardon the pun.

Tiffany Korta Last Friday at 11:58 PM

that's a whole montage EP!

Grumblefloof Last Friday at 11:59 PM

"5 hours per power point, and Quickness is explicitly not allowed to shorten that in any way."

Technically, I was combining the 1 hour design and 4 hours build, and Quickness can shorten the design time. So it can help a little. Unless you're jury-rigging, in which case, you skip design, so Quickness can't help. And you're almost always jury-rigging. But the time for jury-rigging is measured in rounds, so Quickness wouldn't really help much anyway.

Fox Last Friday at 11:59 PM

5 minutes is probably too short for my tastes. You can do a lot with 10pp.

(Worth noting that despite my rant on the topic, it's not like I'd push for final say! It's a whole debate, and debates are worth having.)

April 6, 2019

Eternal Phoenix Last Saturday at 12:00 AM

Fair enough. Let's give it a good hard think, them.

Fox Last Saturday at 12:00 AM

is going to go find food!

Eternal Phoenix Last Saturday at 12:01 AM

already has food!

TheAbsurdist Last Saturday at 12:01 AM

I'd rather they be useable

Ari Last Saturday at 12:03 AM

How do you mean TA?

Grumblefloof Last Saturday at 12:04 AM

3E didn't change the feat at all.

TheAbsurdist Last Saturday at 12:05 AM

They're fine, ish,for a tt game.

But in a pbp they get weird in terms of flow of play. I agree with others on the whole "I don't think they really thought this through "

Grumblefloof Last Saturday at 12:11 AM

I wouldn't mind having to spend all night working on a temporary 10PP device/power. But two and a half days, close to a week if you sleep, again, feels excessive.

And occupying the rest of the team while the inventor plugs away seems like it would be more difficult in tabletop than in PBP, not less, so I'm even more surprised at the RAW.

Eternal Phoenix Last Saturday at 12:11 AM

1 hour per PP, you're saying?

TheAbsurdist Last Saturday at 12:13 AM

I've gotten it to work, but it was hyper conditional. Like it was a handwave for them to solve a problem. Like a satellite outta whack. It's the bit where the mechanics interfere with flow, more than help.

Grumblefloof Last Saturday at 12:15 AM

Something like 10-15 minutes per PP for design and another hour per PP to build seems more reasonable, sure.

Supercape Last Saturday at 12:20 AM

Ill chip in and say I have used, both as player, and GM, inventor / ritualist / artificer every now and again. It works fine here, and you can always use a PP for the "rapid" version.

Exaccus Last Saturday at 3:23 AM

You just gotta push for it before things hit the fan.and there is no opportunity anymore

Generally small but broad inventions are good. Usually after the investigation stage before the conflict begins.

Sailor Last Saturday at 3:44 AM

That and you could be completely wrong in what you needed for that kit-bash and have wasted the hero point on something.

Exaccus Last Saturday at 8:56 AM

Well that's part of the thing isn't it, the more specific you are about what you make the more it has a chance of not being right

You are essentially getting something for nothing. You get it quicker for a hero point is all.

So it pays off to put In the research for something specific

Dr Archeville Last Saturday at 9:24 AM

In all my years playing here, I've never actually used Dok's Inventor feat.

I've referenced plenty of things he's invented, things he could invent, but never actually used it in an active thread.

trollthumper Last Saturday at 12:02 PM

I think I have used Nick's Ritualist all of once

Zeitgeist Blue Last Saturday at 12:09 PM

I've done jury-rigging several times now but IDK if you guys mean the regular use of the feats



Any more thoughts?  From anyone?

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I like the idea of 10-15 mins design and 1 hour build per PP, to cut down the time at least. Didn't see it mentioned, but just ahead of time, I don't think we should add the option of taking 20 for the build phase no matter what, or anyone with quickness could build inventions in a matter of moments.

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I'm fine with rules as they are. The inventor etc feats are cheap, powerful when used but not usable that often.


If you haven't used them (I am pretty sure DrA uses them in a thread i ran) that's because too many threads are run over a one off encounter and / or short time scale.


Having a skeleton key to a problem available in a short time scale sounds fun in practice but isn't.


I'd come in this at a different angle. Let's have threads were the player has a few hours or days to whip something up, after the initial problem arrives!


EDIT: I also had a thought about encouraging use of craft and knowledge skills outside of the "inventor / artificer / ritualist box". Personally I am happy for people to whip up a glue or explosives with a lab and craft chemical skills, or work out a robots vulnerable spot, or radio transmission frequencies with a good knowledge tech skills. Or construct a trap with craft mechanical / structural, or get an intimidate bonus with their life history and knowledge behaviour sciences roll, etc. I personally think you should be able to knock up some useful stuff with just the materials and a craft skill. 

Edited by Supercape
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Something I've been meaning to ask but which has somehow never come up, but which a decision might be needed: is it okay to use Artificer/Inventor/Ritualist to make a 1pp "Alternate Feat" power, to create a stunt off an existing Array?  Like, could Dead Head use Ritualist to make an alternate power stunt off his Necromancy array?


(I'm guessing "no," since that means Power Stunting costs a round instead of a level of fatigue, but it's good to have it clarified.)

Edited by Dr Archeville
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  • 2 weeks later...

There is one change 3E made to Inventor/Artificer: it specifically mentions that you do not calculate in the discount from the Removable flaw -- in 2E, it being an Easy- or Hard-to-Lose Device -- when figuring out the power point cost (and thus the DCs for design & construction checks), because it "does not apply to inventions, as they are temporary by nature."


Ex.: Doktor Archeville (early in his career, before becoming a cyborg) has been stripped of his gear.  Fortunately, he's in a Circuit City, and so has access to lot of electronics.  He kit-bashes a laser rifle (Blast 7, AP: Dazzle Visual 7, in an Easy to Lose Device 3).  The pp cost -- and thus the DCs for the skills checks -- is 15 (the cost for Blast 7 with one AP), not 9 (the cost for an Easy to Lose Device 3).


Whether or not that's adopted here, I do think a similar thing should be used with the Unreliable (5 uses) -- and our House Rule'd Unreliable 2 (1 use) -- flaws, due to the "temporary by nature" aspect.  Though Unreliable (50/50 chance of working) might be allowed?

Edited by Dr Archeville
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Since you can Take 20 on the skill check for the Design phase of these, Quickness/Mental Quickness can apply (though Taking 20 increases the time required by x20).  You can also halve the time by taking -5 on the check, or quarter it by taking -10 on the check.

You cannot Take 20 on the skills check for the Construction phase (though you can Take 10), so Quickness does not apply there.  But you can halve or quarter the time required by taking a -5 or -10 penalty on the check, as in the Design phase.

You cannot Take 20 or Take 10 when Jury Rigging, nor reduce the time by taking a penalty to the skill check.


If I'm understanding the Challenge system & feats (from Masterminds Manual) correctly, then Challenge (Fast Task [Craft {something}]) means you can halve the time it takes to craft something using that skill without having to take the -5 skill penalty. That would also mean you could quarter the time it takes to craft something using that skill by only taking -5 to the skill, rather than taking -10... yes?  And if you took the Challenge (Fast Task) feat twice for the same Craft skill, you can quarter the time without suffering any penalty?

And that could apply to the use of Craft skills during the Construction phase of Inventing & Artificing?

(Ritualist doesn't require any Craft skills, just Knowledge (Arcane Lore) for both "Design" and "Construction," though Masterminds Manual has some alternative ideas.)

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