The Spark is a mad scientist and inventor who compulsively and obsessively tinkers with machines. Their predilection for crafting clockwork- and steam-powered marvels is both a blessing and a curse: while they can create wonders that lesser engineers can only dream of, far too many sparks have inadvertently blown themselves up through reckless experimentation.
Sparks are commensurate tinkerers, never satisfied with leaving well enough alone. They are constantly building, assembling, disassembling, studying and improving any machine they can get their hands on. It is not uncommon for them to forego sleep and food in favor of continuing to work, and most sparks are better friends with their armies of “clanks” than with living things.
While there are certain families who show a great propensity for producing sparks, nobody really knows what causes the gift. A spark can be born to any two parents anywhere in the world. Their gift begins to manifest itself at the age of six of seven, and by puberty a spark has begun his headlong descent into weird science.
In a Nutshell
The spark crafts high-tech weird science gizmos, devices that are quasi-magical in nature. He is a consummate tinkerer and inventor. He will want a high INT, as most of his abilities are tied to it. Useful skills include Craft (mechanical), Repair, Knowledge (artifice), Firearms, Thievery and Observation.
|1||Inspiration, mechanical genius, trapfinding||–||1 – - – -|
|2||Artifice (gizmos)||40||2 – - – -|
|3||Mad chemistry, salvage||60||3 – - – -|
|4||Artifice (clanks)||80||3 1 – - –|
|5||Artifice (devices)||100||3 2 – - –|
|6||–||150||3 3 1 – -|
|7||Artifice (rayguns)||200||3 3 2 – -|
|8||Artifice (durable mods)||250||3 3 3 1 –|
|9||–||350||3 3 3 2 –|
|10||Artifice (weird science)||500||3 3 3 3 1|
Hit Die: d6
Skill Tree: 3-up
Special: Spark level 1 can only be taken at character level 1. Sparks, without exception, receive their gift in childhood.
Sparks compulsively keep a store of mechanical parts and widgets close at hand, so they have raw materials to work with when inspiration strikes. These widgets and gadgets are fundamental components of any Artifice that the spark builds (see below) — the Craft pool represents how much the spark has on hand.
Every time the spark gains a level, the indicated amount is added to the spark’s craft pool. The spark may also add to his pool through salvage (see below).
A spark must have access to his workshop and tools to make use of his craft pool. If a spark is away from his workshop, the Narrator may allow him access to a smaller temporary pool if circumstances permit.
Sparks have a tendency to come up with needlessly-elaborate mechanical solutions to problems. Sometimes all these machines do is gum up the works; other times, however, the spark’s creation actually solves a problem. These successful improvisations are called “mods,” short for “modifications.”
In order to apply a mod to a piece of gear or equipment, the spark must have his toolkit and must be able to handle the item to be modded. He must also have a supply of parts; a “parts bag” is sufficient for this. Applying a mod takes one minute of uninterrupted work; a spark can spend a point of Willpower to apply a mod as a full-round action.
A spark may apply the number of mods listed, plus an additional number of mods determined by his INT score. A +1 INT gives an additional first-level mod per day, a +2 INT gives an additional first- and second-level mod per day, and so on. At +6, start the cycle over again. A spark can only use the bonus mods if he can use mods of that level (i.e. doesn’t have a – for that level).
Mods last one turn. Each time they are used, there is a chance of malfunction — the user rolls a d20, and if the result is equal to or lower than the level of the mod, the mod malfunctions. Specific effects of the malfunction are left to the Narrator.
Sparks have an uncanny insight into the workings of any kind of machinery. A spark, by taking some time to study a piece of equipment, has a chance to determine its function and workings. The time taken depends on the size of the device: a hand-held device requires one minute of study, while a cart-sized device might take one turn and a room-sized device might take one hour or longer. The spark must be able to clearly see the machine, but does not have to touch it.
Once the spark has completed his study, he makes an INT + Spark level roll against DC 15. Success means he understands the workings of the machine, its purpose, its functions and its weaknesses.
A spark who has successfully identified the workings of a mechanical trap gets a +10 on his Thievery check to disarm it.
Mechanical genius (Ex)
Sparks have an uncanny knack with machinery. A spark adds his class level to all Craft (mechanical) and Repair checks.
A Spark gains a +4 bonus on Observation rolls to find traps.
The signature ability of the spark is his ability to craft devices that bend or break the current understanding of the laws of Nature. Such devices are wondrous and uncanny, bordering on magical in their effects.
The behind-the-scenes mechanism of this feature is the crafting of “magical” items, as described in the d20 SRD. The spark is treated as though he had the appropriate item creation feats, and uses a special Artifice check like Use Magic Device to emulate the necessary spells needed to create a particular item. The spark’s Caster Level is equal to his spark level for purposes of determining whether or not he can make a particular item. Items have no gold cost, but the spark cannot spend XP to create them. All the XP needed to create an item must come out of the spark’s craft pool.
The Artifice check is d20 + INT + Craft (mechanical) + the spark’s class level. The DCs are as described under Use Magic Device and the Artificer class.
In order to craft a device, the spark must provide his own description of the item that rationalizes its function in terms appropriate to the setting. Fanciful, hyped-up names are encouraged and technobabble explanations are required. The Narrator is free to veto any and all attempts at Artifice that do not meet this standard.
Artifice is notoriously unreliable. Each time a device is used, there is a percentage chance equal to the item’s Caster Level that it malfunctions. Specific effects of this malfunction are left up to the Narrator.
At 2nd level, the spark can craft “gizmos,” which are small, single-use devices. They weigh one pound each and function as scrolls. The spark can activate his own gizmos without a check; other users must roll INT + Knowledge (artifice) or the device malfunctions. The DC of this check is equal to 15 + the gizmo’s item level.
At 4th level, the spark is able to create “clanks.” These are mechanical constructs that serve the spark without question. They use the stats and rules for homunculi and golems, but must have the Clank template applied.
At 5th level, the spark can create “devices.” These function like Wondrous Items.
Upon reaching 7th level, a spark can craft “rayguns.” These are basically wands and staves, including charges. A wand-based raygun always weighs at least two pounds, and a staff-based raygun always weighs at least five (and is a two-handed weapon). The Narrator should veto any spell effect that cannot plausibly be made into a gun.
At 8th level, the spark can create weapons and armor, essentially permanent mods.
Finally, at 10th level, the spark achieves the apex of Artifice. He becomes able to craft tiny, portable devices that simply ignore the laws of Nature. At 10th level, the spark becomes able to craft rings and rods.
Mad Chemistry (Ex)
At 3rd level, a spark with the Science skill can use it to craft potions. He must have access to his craft pool in order to do this. Serums, infusions, medicines and other potables created with mad chemistry suffer the same failure chance as Artifice.
From 3rd level on, a spark who has successfully identified the workings of a piece of Artifice can break it down into its component parts and add them to his craft pool. This takes time equal to the object’s item level in hours. The spark retains (1d4+4) x 10% of the broken down object’s cost; the rest is lost.