Brennus Files 09: Gadgeteering

Previous | Next

Gadgeteering. Basil’s bread and butter. Obviously, there should be some definition of it. How does it work? How far can it go? Why isn’t everyone using Gadgets? Or at least all the superheroes?

We won’t be going into Basil’s Gadgeteering in particular, because that’d be spoileriffic. Instead, I will explain the basics of Gadgeteering by using one of my favourite characters as an example. Be very afraid.

I call him Smileyboy.

First, becoming a Gadgeteer has nothing to do with being technically inclined, or being a smart person or interested in science. Nor does it come with an enhanced understanding of science or technology. A Gadgeteer may have secondary abilities that cover that, but being a Gadgeteer does not require understanding.

Smileyboy’s real name is Jory. Jory was never a very smart boy. Most of the time, he was (and still is) quite dense. He sometimes has trouble tying his shoelaces. TV remotes just confused him, especially if they had blinking lights. Jory doesn’t know how to get bored. He could just sit around, staring into space and doing nothing for hours on end.

Then Jory had a very bad day, and Jory manifested some heavy duty Gadgeteering. This did not make him any smarter. TV remotes are still a mystery to him.

All Gadgeteers have a theme, a field in which they work best. This can be something as specific as Covert Communication Systems, or something as wide open as sonics, man-machine integration, multi-purpose vehicles or, at the high end of the scale, High-Energy Systems, autonomous Systems and Communication. No, Basil’s speciality is not among these.

Jory’s power falls into a middle point of Gadgeteering – it’s both very advanced and very versatile, but not excessively so. Specifically, he specialises in High-Mobility Power Armor. His power is unusually versatile, and can also provide him with weapon systems that fit this theme, though they are never as advanced as the core systems he specialises in.

Next, Gadgeteers don’t actually invent their work themselves – their power does. No understanding required (or even possible, in some cases). Many a Gadgeteer spends their life building Gadgets they do not actually understand at all – they just get a basic idea of how they work and can describe that (sometimes), but it doesn’t (usually) give them a deep understanding. They are more channels through which their power works (think of Gadgeteering as something akin to the classic concept of Divine Inspiration). Usually, the power works off of random impressions and impulses, using them as seeds from which it grows a new invention.

Jory is stuck in a scrapyard. His legs are broken and his throat has been damaged. Not so much that he’ll be crippled for life, but he can neither leave on his own, nor call for help. As he lies there, in the burning sun, he notices a discarded toy – an old robot, cheaply made but still mostly intact save for its missing legs. Jory reaches out and starts to play with the robot. His power takes in the impression of the armored fighter, the movement of the joints, the tools he can reach, improvise or fabricate, the heat of the sun, and gets to work.

Despite what many may think, the average Gadgeteer has surprisingly little control over what they actually end up creating. They can guide their power, focus on specific ideas and needs, but ultimately, they have to work with what they get (to varying degrees). Some, like Melody, have a very high control over what they work on, and can focus their power on specific projects without much trouble. Others, though…

Jory has little to no control over his power. In fact, his power would become less reliable the more he’d try to control it – it works at its best when he simply lets it run its course, working with whatever he gets. Fortunately for him, Jory’s lack of scientific knowledge and rather airheaded attitude mean that he’d be barely capable of guiding it anyway, so he achieves a very high level of synchronisation with his power without even trying.

Once the power gets going, it draws on various (unknown) sources of information, recombining elements from those sources, ideas from the Gadgeteer’s mind and observations of their surroundings, creating a design. Then, the design is passed onto the Gadgeteer. Even if the Gadgeteer has no technical skill of their own, their power can compensate for that, but only for the sake of constructing, maintaining and operating their gadgets.

Jory used to have trouble operating a television via remote. In fact, he still has. But as soon as he gets into his suit, he just knows how to do it. He knows every inch of it, every button and every control stick. He might lack actual practice, but he knows the theory on an instinctual level that allows him to operate his power armor on an acceptable level right off the bat. Better later on, once he gets some practice in. Just don’t ask him to actually teach someone else to do it right.

This lack of innate understanding, coupled with their mostly instinctive approach to construction and operation, makes it more than a little difficult to replicate a gadgeteer’s work. Furthermore, the ‘blueprints’ they write down (if they write them down at all – some record sounds, or fashion three-dimensional models, or just plain don’t make blueprints at all) are rarely actually usable as blueprints for anyone but them – they are meant more to remind their power of the gadget in question (essentially, they record a coded version of the impulses that led to the invention of said gadget, which then replicates the same process in their power), so that it can be reconstructed.

Jory’s first invention can barely be called power armor. It has two rusty-looking legs (built out of all kinds of scrap found, mostly car parts) that end in wheels (scavenged from a dirt bike) instead of feet. Its chest is actually a cockpit with an armored front (controls cobbled together from car electronics that weren’t scavenged yet, a few radios and an old television; the armor is made of two thick black car doors, reinforced by a few sheets of steel that he found lying around). Since his legs are broken, Jory couldn’t properly operate a normal power armor, anyway. This one allows him to strap himself in the back (seatbelts from cars and the saddle of the dirtbike), while providing some additional armor to protect his legs from frontal attacks (white, made out of a fridge, actually). His back is exposed, but he has neither the time, nor the material to really fix that right now. He does have a camera built into the ‘head’ of the armor (which is actually a decoy made out of a microwave – his head is hidden behind the chest area, where the armor is at its thickest), feeding into a screen in front of his eyes. He can slide the screen down and open a simple slit to look through, in case the cranial camera is disabled.

Furthermore his armor is already armed for combat. It has a crude shield (reinforced fridge door) on its left arm (built out of the same scrap he used for the legs, which can rotate to protect about fifty percent of his back at a time, when necessary, and provide additional protection from the front. The right arm extends into a lance (axis of a car, reinforced with welded sheets of metal scavenged from a few pick up trucks) with a built-in concussive missile (car pistons and a few other parts, mainly from said cars), which would fire off the outer layer of the lance with enough force to penetrate a concrete wall.

The whole product is powered with solar energy, to which Jory’s power was inspired by the blistering heat of the sun that was tormenting him. The panels and batteries are handcrafted, and took about as much time to get right as the rest of the armor put together. They fold out of the shoulders, usually hidden behind them, and it takes a while for the armor to charge to full capacity – afterwards, they can be opened to recharge even while operating it, but that is too risky to do in combat, as he can’t armor the panels themselves.

Some gadgeteers have an amazing construction speed, often to the point where they are given a secondary perception or manipulation rating. This often comes with trade-offs, though.

The entire project took Jory about eleven hours to complete – it’s night by the time he finishes, and he’ll have to wait until morning to charge his batteries. Unfortunately, the whole thing really is just a jury-rig, and probably won’t last for long.

As a final touch before he goes to sleep, Jory paints a smiley face on the front of the armor, out of a childish desire not to leave it blank. He then goes to sleep in a car whose heating he fixed haphazardly for the night. Next morning, he’ll take his armor for a ride, and go after the jerks who hurt him and dumped him in a scrapyard.

They’re going to regret it. A lot.


Now, this is all well and good, but why can’t Jory just let someone else operate his armor, instead of risking life and limb on the frontlines? Sure, in the beginning, he wants revenge and he doesn’t have anyone to entrust it to, anyway. But later on he’ll have a support structure, access to professional pilots and other heroes who might benefit more from having power armor to complement their powers than from having one more teammate on the frontlines.

The answer is manifold:

  1. Jory really can’t explain how to properly maintain or operate his inventions. Anyone who took possession of it would have to at least figure the latter out on their own, and they’d always be lacking compared to him, as his power only provides custom-made controls. Furthermore, many aspects of the operation are, simply put, up to the power. Only because someone can physically operate the controls, doesn’t mean that they are mentally equipped to. Jory’s armors may require a peculiar sense of balance to properly operate, or an instinctive grasp of gravity interaction, none of which he can pass onto other pilots. Even if they figure the controls out, they’d never be able to be as good at it as he is. The same goes for maintenance.
  2. He is, partly due to his power and partly due to his personality, rather possessive about his creations, and doesn’t like handing them off in the first place.
  3. In order to actually improve on his work, Jory needs as much input on it as possible. Watching it on video is a poor substitute for actually being in the field with it, seeing, hearing, feeling and even smelling it in action. Even where he to do that, his power wouldn’t work as well as if he was piloting it himself, feeling the pressure it puts on his body, the delay from giving a command and it being carried out, the issues with balancing on rough ground or navigating tight corners. All that is additional information his power can use to make improvements, information he’d plainly lack if he stayed in the lab. Even if someone could achieve the same level of detail in their reports as he can get firsthand, it still wouldn’t feed his power half as well as the real thing. His progress would be greatly stifled in any case.

Gadgeteers deal heavily in information, even if they may not do so consciously. Getting input on their work helps them immensely in improving and expanding it, which is why they are so prone to delve into long-winded explanations or detailed discussions of their work, especially with other gadgeteers – the short time Basil spent talking shop with Melody, when they were preparing for the fight against Hastur, was more fruitful for him/his power than the last two months of lab work put together – and that’s before they heterodyned their powers and created a weapon that can level a building in one shot, from scratch.

The same issues hold true for almost all gadgeteers there are. Some can circumvent parts of it – there are gadgeteers who are more suited to lab work, rather than active duty, and then there are all the non-combat gadgeteers, whose gadgeteering has no combat application in the first place. But, as a rule of thumb, if a gadgeteer mainly works with combat technology, then they’re best off actually using it themselves, in order for their power to work properly.

Some gadgeteers might be better off in their labs, but those like Basil, Melody, Tin Can, Hotrod or Warren are better off in the field, using their inventions themselves.


Now, lastly, a few samples of various Gadgeteers to put all this information into perspective:

  • Smileyboy (Jory)
    • Specialises in high-mobility power armor. Mentally handicapped, which his power compensates for where his gadgets are concerned. He can work incredibly fast, but shortens the lifespan of his work to do so – for every percentage he shaves off his ‘standard’ construction speed, the lifespan of his gadget is reduced by half as much. His standard construction speed depends on his current mood, available material, equipment, workspace and motivation.
  • Pollepel (Hannah Wenderman)
    • Dutch cooking gadgeteer, currently employed at the New Lennston UH HQ. She specialises in creating meals of all kinds, and the equipment needed to make those meals. The need for input causes her to moonlight as a participant or technician for cooking shows, so as to further improve both her recipies and her equipment.
  • Armitage (Jean Fries)
    • Counter-Cyber-warfare specialist. Writes sophisticated protective programs, with a secondary specialisation in computer equipment. He works for the American government, specifically to defend the stock exchange from cyber attacks, spending most of his waking time holding the fort, while a small army of beleaguered assistants support him (mostly by providing a steady supply of coffee and snacks).
  • I<3U (real name unknown)
    • Mysterious cyber-warfare specialist. Used to hack various companies and offices to steal funds or just prove her mettle, but lately she’s been focused on a private war against Armitage, whom she considers her archenemy. The two of them are nearly constantly at odds, not-so-incidentily supporting each other in continuously refining their programming.
  • Dory (Nikos Pavlopulous)
    • Greek gadgeteer. He only has a single creation – a high-tech spear that he is constantly working on, making incredible improvements and pushing the boundaries of technology, as well as the boundaries of space in how he manages to cram an insane amount of equipment into his spear. His power cannot work on anything but the spear, and so he has to make do with mundane body armor to provide protection.
  • Armory III (Molly Hastings)
    • Canadian gadgeteer and member of the Drakainas. Non-combatant. Her power focuses on futuristic military equipment (laser guns, reactive body armor, jetpacks…), but she has a mental block that prevents her from using any of her creations herself – she only ever makes equipment for other people. This does not mean that her work is easily reproduced, at all – she still has to make everything by hand, she just can’t use it herself.
  • Sovereign (real name unknown)
    • Possibly the most powerful living gadgeteer – or at least in the top three – and ruler of Central Africa. When he first appeared, it was believed that he specialised in creating combat drones, but he soon turned out to have the incredibly broad specialisation of autonomous systems. He seems to mostly work with military equipment – combat drones, artillery and the factories to produce said gadgets en masse – but has at least some ability in almost any field he has, so far, tried his hand in – he has created automated mining assemblies, autonomous farms, airports, public transport… there is a good reason why GAIN is considered the most advanced nation on Earth, and that reason is its ruler Sovereign. Despite his speciality lying in autonomy, actual AI seems to elude him. Furthermore, his most advanced work still requires his personal attention – such as his dreaded Subjugators, each of which is considered a challenge for the average combat team of metahumans.
  • Su Lin
    • The highest-rated Gadgeteer of all time, Su Lin’s speciality was never determined conclusively, as she died before thorough testing could be performed, but she was tentatively classified as a High Energy specialist, as all her gadgets were of rather… impressive scope and energy consumption. She’d developed a force field generator that was supposed to protect an entire city, an energy-canon that burned a visible furrow into the moon and was supposed to be working on an inter-plantery teleporter before her death. Unfortunately, both Su Lin and all her work were lost during the Viridescent Dawn incident.

Previous | Next


141 thoughts on “Brennus Files 09: Gadgeteering

  1. As an apology for the numerous missed updates, here’s some much-requested background on Gadgeteering. Enjoy it, and look forward to the next update!

    • Hi,
      Let me begin by stating the obvious – I’m a fan, but I have a few issues with the story, and this section pretty much manifests most of them.

      a. Programming. As a SW Engineer I think I might be a tad sensitive on this area, but I’ve seen VERY complex systems containing over 200k lines of code in a program but without even half the logic you name in even the Ravenbots.
      b. Compilation time – every program needs to be “compiled” or run on some kind of compatible platform, short compilation time usually amounts to long start-up times, but those 200k programs? they take a few minutes.
      c. how can SmileyBoy possibly move and build all of this with 2 broken legs?
      d. TIME – there is the issue of customization, one cannot simply customize a mask without putting the time in it, same for joining all those small links the suit is made of (or said mail of dalia). I dunno how he smelted all this up, but it takes a lot of time to put it together, more than a few hours.

      I don’t wish to put you down or anything, but these issues somehow strike me as cutting edges where you want the plot to fasten up, but things take time, good things usually take longer.
      I hope this is constructive as I really like reading your work.
      Do note that I saw none of these in the Monkey Arc, local gadgeteer even had drawbacks and had to use help to build his power armor. Actually now that I think about it this is my favorite arc so far..
      Keep it up!

      • Alright, first of all, thanks for the input 😉

        Keep in mind that, while I am enthusiastic about science and its applications, I AM an amateur – my education is mostly literary and educational. I am bound to make mistakes when it comes to technology and sciences.

        However, do keep in mind that Gadgeteers are *not* proper scientists or anything. They essentially have a supernatural entity doing the heavy lifting, intellectually, and in some cases, physically as well – the tenant reaches out, subtly messing with the physical world to support the construction process, which is another reason why Gadgets are so hard to replicate or understand – in many cases, they are literally supernaturally constructed, with entire sections of the construction process never having been done by the gadgeteer himself! This is a rare case, but it happens, and it’s a strength (and weakness) shared by many high-end gadgeteers, usually an advantage given in exchange for major drawbacks (the more of the construction process is done directly by the tenant, as opposed to being done by Jory, the more haphazard and unstable it is, thus why he trades off durability for speed of construction).

        Someone like Basil, Warren or Melody usually does 95% percent of the actual construction on their own, which is why most of their creations tend to be extraordinarily stable and durable, save for those 5% that mean they still need specialised maintenance that only the gadgeteer can do – because 5% of the maintenance is done by the tenant, too, not the gadgeteer!

        Basil’s ravens are so incredibly sophisticated because the most crucial part of the construction (the crystalline CPU) and the core of the programming (which still took weeks to work out) were mostly done by his tenant, pitching in to fill in the gaps that Basil was incapable of doing on his own – and Basil didn’t even notice!

        And keep in mind that Basil is a bona fide technical genius even without his powers – imagine how much of the invention and construction a tenant has to do, when it has to work with someone like Jory, who has NO idea whatsoever about scientific principles, engineering or programming!

    • Tie… baby doll. Im dying without my brennus, I check every night and have to go to bed disappointed all the time :(. when do you think we might get our next series of updates?
      -thanks so much
      — from a fervent admirer

  2. This is great. I’ve been wondering about the exact mechanics for gadgeteering.

    There does seem to be a lot of Gadgeteers around though, especially considering it’s one of the rarest powers (“You know that Gadgeteers are almost as rare as Power Mimics or Power Shifters like Gloom Glimmer here.” Patrid in B003 part 3). Is this just because they tend to be more profilic or survive longer because groups recruit them or some other reasons?

    • I think it’s because they’re recruited so much. I forget where but the story said that even super-villain gadgeteers can get a deal cut if their caught. Of course, considering all the ways a person’s powers can be used, maybe there really are a ton of gadgeteers, but they’re smart enough to hide it in the guise of other powers. Example: a gadgeteer who specializes in flame throwers makes it look like they are pyrokinetic.

      • I very much doubt that someone would recognize gadgeteering to be a manipulation ability as the actual power would appear to be consistently shaping the limitations and abilities, not to mention how they would require midsized tech for any big piece of weaponry.

  3. So good!
    After so many short updates its really nice to get something with a lot of depth to it. Thanks tieshaunn, you made my day.

  4. Well shit…. This was nerdtastic! Thanks for the info dump!

    Does this mean that Basil was naturally skilled with technology, prior to his manifestation? You say that while they can create it they have no understanding of the principles that formulate the tech.
    Jory was disabled, do mentally handicapped people have a higher chance of manifesting gadgeteer powers? My own theory was that it would result in a intelligence based internal power, but I may be making presumptions based off that common theme within the superhero genre.
    Since Dory has a gadgeteer specialization that combines aspects of different specializations to create an advanced spear could he by any chance create a forcefield? If he sticked to Phalanx themes, I’m thinking no, (Considering they used an aspis for shield, and the dory was used for short range combat since it was impractical to throw). But PR/Branding very rarely reflects actuality.

    Also great job on the detail you’ve put into the names of the characters, I’ve consistently been smiling after reading the creativity, diverse aspects, and originality, you’ve put into the universe! I’m actually glad you didn’t finish the chapter, this outweighs it by far! Don’t knock yourself out on finishing the chapter.

  5. Huh. This doesn’t contradict too much of what my previous thoughts were. I remember reading through the RP information, and finding it strange that a low ranked gadgeteer might be limited to “cars” and wouldn’t be able to generalize. Then I figured that it was just the gadgeteer’s power that wouldn’t cooperate, and that a clever one could work around that. Then I realized that it should be obvious. After all, pretty much any power should be more effective if it’s intelligently used.

    The description on schematics makes Wyrm’s ability to translate them much more impressive. It at least implies that no, it normally wouldn’t be possible for someone else to learn to read a gadgeteer’s designs.

    I have to wonder, was Smileyboy/Jory inspired by the cartoon Dexter’s Lab? I remember thinking that he seemed mentally handicapped, but blessed with contriver powers.

    • I never took Dexter to be actually *handicapped*. He was a little boy who preferred to play in his fantasy world/lab than deal with his annoying older sister or his parents. there’s nothing strange about that.

      • His inventions work by plot fiat, and violate laws of physics. His explanations are literally technical jargon chosen at random, and resemble a schizophrenic’s word salad. That’s clearly contriving.

        He can build spaceships to survive re-entry, and teleporters, but he can’t engineer a way to keep his sister out of his hair? He’s wiped his parents’ memories of his lab, but never did the same to his sister?

        Aside from his device creation powers, he is not very smart. Calling him handicapped was an exaggeration, though. He’s not any dumber than everyone else in-universe. And he’s about average for a cartoon character.

        I will admit I’m biased. Most American children’s entertainment has a lot of subtext saying things like, “Smart people are actually stupid”, “It’s okay to goof off all day”, “It’s funny to destroy the hard work of responsible people”.

      • when I was little, I always just assumed the whole “lab and inventions” part was just in his head. playing pretend. And DeeDee was messing up his games

  6. [He can work incredibly fast, but shortens the lifespan of his work to do so – for every percentage he shaves off his ‘standard’ construction speed, the lifespan of his gadget is reduced by twice the percentage.]

    That doesn’t sound incredibly fast. By the time he reduces construction time by 50% 9thus working twice as fast as normal), his gadget would have no lifespan. So realistically, he can’t even work twice as fast as others.

      • Actually… I had an idea for a gadgeteer with gear theme… a little bit of steampunk and Telsa’s wireless transmission of energy… Let me just say than a airship and an army of mecanical automatons would soon be involved. Deus Ex Machina sound good for a cowl or cape name…

      • I planned out a fan fiction a few weeks back I titled Deus Ex Machina, but that was prior to me spilling a Starbucks mocha on my laptop, which wreaked havoc on my PC.

  7. Love your story, but I do have a beef with gadgeteers. (I understand its difficult to make them realistic. Fantasy real science is a bitch right?)

    Jory built all that with broken legs and a damaged throat in a pile of garbage and likely no tools at hand? Maybe he has some other power on top of the gadgeteer thing.

    If gadgeteers blueprints are so indecipherabel, then how was Melody able to make any sense of Brennuses gift? (Wyrm is supposed to be the exception because of what she specializes in.)

    How do gadgeteers discuss their gadgets if they dont themselves understand how they work?

    Gadgeteers can be recorded (on film and the like). And as such their all their movements while building something can be reproduced. So their work should be reproducible even if the principles remain a mystery.

    End rant. // 🙂

    • alright, so…

      1. Jory found a few basic tools lying around, and basically worked his way up – creating tools to create better tools to create his armor. He was also very, very buff, and so could do a lot of work with just his arms.

      2. Basil sent her photographs of the actual gadgets, in detail, which set off her power. It was more an act of reverse engineering than working off blueprints.

      3. They might not understand the underlying work, but they can discuss what they do know, such as Basil describing the make-up of his stungun, going into detail about things like accuracy, charge time, range, etc, thus setting off Melody’s power, who describes, say, her sonic force projector, as far as she can do so, thus setting off his power… and even though the two of them don’t know, their powers are communicating directly, as well, exchanging ideas for inventions… and so on, until they are heterodyned and start building something like the SMOG. And even afterwards, when the synch fades away, they still retain the new inspiration their powers gave them based on the information they got interacting with each other.

      4. Recording is a common idea, but it doesn’t work for several reasons. First, you might have noticed how Gadgeteers are really… peculiar about their labs, and their work. Notice how Basil almost never works with his teammates around, but locks himself away in a whole different level of his base. Distractions (such as someone with a camera and a recorder hanging around) can break up their “flow”. Second, there are a lot of miniscule calibrations and things that one needs to know – say, Melody is working on her sonic force cage system, calibrating the accoustics with precision equipment. However, what Melody doesn’t know (as she’s partly running on autopilot) is that there are incredibly fine adjustments that need to be made to these calibrations, based on such things as the current atmospheric density, age of the device, etc, calibrations so fine you’re not going to notice them on the recording and without whom the system, though replicated, would break down quickly. This is just a crude example, but generally, there are just a lot of adjustments made to (higher level) gadgeteer work that aren’t easily identifiable. Generally, the more outlandish the invention, the more such finetuning is required, making it less and less probable and practical to replicate. Say, Basil’s anti-emp system is pretty simple, just miniaturising existing technology, and can thus be replicated once a working sample is aquired. But good luck trying to replicate Eudocia’s programming or even her core – that’s beyond the reach of a mere mortal (and, in fact, not even Basil could do it at his current level)

      • I think I’m going to have to doubt how hard it would be to duplicate Eudocia’s programming. Considering that programming is literally writing out a list of instructions, if you copy the instructions… you’ve copied the instructions. All you need is a device capable of running it.

        That said, I doubt that Eudocia’s program is written in a programming language known to the world. So actually understanding it would be a non-trivial task. I also suspect that Eudocia’s hardware is not binary. Which would mean that to get her program as it’s currently written to run, you’d need the same type of hardware.

        Also, if I were able to, I’d still record the work of gadgeteers to whatever extent I may be able to. Yes, the devices will be finicky, but through trail and error we could still figure out the minute adjustments. It would just take awhile.

        That leads me to believe that there might be dozens of people at UH working in parallel trying to mimic Melody’s motions as she assembles something.

      • @tieshaunn (not trying to bash ypu. Its just stuff that doesnt add up for me.)
        1. The main problem I have is that he got far too much done in 11h for someone who has been crippled. Currently its like he fell into a pile of everything he needed and had no need to look for one thing or another that was essential for the project. There has to be some limit to with what his power can produce a satisfactory end result.

        Making tools to make tools takes time. If it werent his first invention (I guess he just manifested), then he might have had a custom made toolbox with him (Batmans utility belt).

        2. Basil has a weird habit of taking detailed photos of his designs for no apparent reason. Isnt that a security risk? As I remember it, he sent the “plans” on a whim while returning to his base.

        3. Basically their powers communicate with each other and what they are saying is only to trigger said communication (subconscious telepathy)? Other than that the conversation itself is meaningless?

        4. Good point about the adjustments needed. That reminds me about a local producer of telecommunications equipment (The kind in cell towers and so on). Anyway 1 product is rather difficult to fine tune. It takes about a month of practice until new workers can get the correct waveform in about an hour. It takes time to get a feel for half a dozen or so knobs.

        @Isa Lumitus
        The problem with copying Eudocias code is likely that to some extent her code is constantly changing (rewriting itself). You cant just download it. You need to first stop her. And of course you need to replicate the hardware and somehow get access to the code.

        The coding language itself is irrelevant if all you want to do is copy her. Just copy the compiled code.

      • I always enjoy people discussing and breaking down my work. Helps me find the flaws, and where I need to further define it 😉

        1. I know it seems like a stretch, but remember that Gadgeteers can pull off stuff that would be impossible to normal technicians – they often don’t need to run complex calculations or simulations at all, as their power just provides them with an end product to work towards, and a list of steps that’ll lead to it. Jory’s power took in what was available to him, and then plotted out the most efficient plan for working up to (rather low-powered, by his standards) power armor. So I guess that technically, he’d get a secondary perception rating. Not *all* gadgeteer’s work like that, but some, like Jory, do. (others have to slowly build up to it, to name a more classical approach)

        2. Basil documents *all* his work. You might have noticed that he is the teeniest, tiniest bit obsessive about it. And he sent the plans for the EMP protection to Melody as a “thank you/sorry” for what he got out of the pieces he salvaged (without permission) from her work

        3. Both are important. The conversation provides suggestions and inspiration, as well, which is why a Gadgeteer can also benefit from talking, for example, to another metahuman about their power (Sovereign figured out how to do force fields by conversing with, then analysing and finally experimenting on a metahuman with force field poewrs), or even talk to mundane scientists (or just anyone who can talk back and get a discourse going), just not nearly as much as they profit from other gadgeteers.

        4. Now imagine how difficult it is to do that tuning on futuristic super-tech. It’s not that they don’t *try* – there is a whole new career path, with seminars at universities and all, which focuses solely on analysing Gadgets and trying to figure out the subconscious stuff that Gadgeteers pull off during construction and maintenance.

        5. You’d need hardware that could hold her code, and something that could *read* it in the first place. Nevermind the fact that you’d have to somehow access her core without damaging it (as it is quite fragile beneath that shell).

      • @nnipi
        I was less concerned about trying to copy Eudocia as she is now, or even having access to her. I was thinking, “Our hidden camera captured this footage of Macien typing Eudocia’s entire sourcecode by hand.” In that case, you might have the full set of instructions, but you’d either need a compiler for whatever language was used, or a good enough understanding to translate the code into another language.

        I wonder if copying Eudocia without pausing her would work? Yes, you’d probably get errors while she was re-writing herself. There might be even more problems if you didn’t copy the RAM for what she’s doing at the moment. But if she is re-writing herself, Macian would be using wretched design ethics if he didn’t include some error fixing mechanisms.

        In fact, if Eudocia doesn’t have any code-repair programs… She’ll probably glitch out and die before the story ends. That could be me generalizing from biology, though, considering what happens to life expectancy if p53 gets disabled.

      • eudocia’s creation process was a wee bit more complicated than just typing code into a computer. she’s hands down the second-most advanced gadget that has yet been created in the setting (even though basil is massively underutilising her)

      • Only the second most advanced? I’m quite curious what takes the first spot…

        Point Zero perhaps? That’s my first guess at least.

  8. Typo:

    Armitage (Jean Fries)
    Counter-Cyber-warfare specialist. Writes sophisticated protective programs, with a secondary specialisation in computer equipment. He works for the American government, specifically to defend the stock exchange from cyber attacks, spending most of his waking time holding the fort, while a small army of beleaguered assistants support him (mostly by providing a steady supply of coffee and snacks).

    Mysterious cyber-warfare specialist. Used to hack various companies and offices to steal funds or just prove her mettle, but lately she’s been focused on a private war against Armitage, whom she considers her archenemy. The two of them are nearly constantly at odds, not-so-incidentily supporting each other in continuously refining their programming.

    Wasn’t her name I<3U

  9. Well that explains an awful lot. Very logical too.Although your little disclaimer has me even more curious about Basil right now.. I guess I just have 2 more questions really.

    1. Are *all* Gadgeteers at their most efficent when they just let their power do whatever it wants? Or can some people steer it without *any* loss of efficency (as opposed to just a miniscule fraction)?

    2. How common is the knowledge here? Is this something Basil knows? the average citizen?

    • 1. Gadgeteer powers are as different as any other power. No two are exactly alike, and even the most similar ones do not work the same way.
      2. Most of this is only known to experts on the field. As far as most people know, gadgeteers are just super-scientists with huge brains or stuff^^. Only very, very few people know about the powers being able to communicate directly with each other
      Basil knows more than what the public knows, but mostly due to observing his own power at work (though he also has gotten a few things completely wrong, which is why his power is being so incredibly inefficient)

      • That might explain why Basil has so may inventions that don’t work out or hit dead ends, which is pretty weird if gadgeteering gives an end product to work towards

      • Yeah bring out a full chapter or post a video chewing down on a jar of sauerkraut! Both will be amusing.

      • Juuussttkiidding, I won’t make you eat Sauerkraut (God knows I wouldn’t wish that on anyone), That stuff is nasty. Goodluck! No pressure on finishing tonight/today

      • writing, writing, writing.

        Since we’re here already, fun fact: german train operators are striking, demanding higher pay.
        This is absolutely reasonable, and I fully support them, because they are treated like shit by the company (and yes, it’s basically a monopoly. a private one at that).

        Problem is, all two trains that go from my place to my university are going to be grounded for the rest of the week. And since only about a third of all trains will run at all, AND the two biggest highways into the city are currently closed due to construction work, I’m basically grounded.

        No way to get to my classes, unless I get up at four in the morning and drive all the way there with my car. And even then, it’d be a coin toss whether I arrive on time.

        Worst part? I can’t even be angry at the train operators, because I really do agree with their demands.

      • That’s quite the situation… The russian train services were always pulling unpredictable shit like that. I had to deal with it for most of my early grade school. My school in america is four blocks away so I don’t have to take the train…. Best of luck on the train stuff. It’s in your best interests to sit at home and write for us anyway…. C:

      • there was a period, a year ago, where it was worse – it would swallow and/or scramble the formatting across entire posts.

        then it got better, and now there seem to be glitches again, what with them “updating” their user interface (I prefer the old one, to be honest)

      • “No way to get to my classes, unless I get up at four in the morning and drive all the way there with my car. And even then, it’d be a coin toss whether I arrive on time.”
        ouch that is tough but if waking up at 4 am is the only way to class, that is what you have to do. college is too expensive to be missing days.

      • Also sorry for doubleposting but I was rereading the earlier chapter and I noticed that it said that Malphas took down the Alphas Chapter, did WordPress pull “and the” into another dimension with Ye’ Old Rift in Time and *Spaces*

      • Re: the formatting: I don’t know if you still follow Wildbow, but he’s been running into that same problem, except it eats paragraph breaks and formatting instead of spaces or sentences. Quite the issue if the story is dialogue heavy, as Twig is with its 6-character main cast and assorted regulars.

  10. There should be a gadgeteer with a focus on gadgetearring: Creating gadgets that are earrings. Mostly for the pun value.

    Or maybe a clown gadgetter, creating all sorts of funny (and possibly punny) tools.

  11. Tieshaunn are you doing alright? Hope things with transport and classes worked out. University/college can be real tough sometimes.

    • Does tieshaunn have facebook or twitter? A way to cheak up and see if he did not get in a car accident.

      • I just checked… I found a Tumblr, Youtube, and a DeviantArt account and and then found what I believe was some private information. But I don’t think he has any public twitters, under any of the names he’s supplied.

      • -Or anything we can use to contact him.

        If we’re going with death theories… I’m putting my money on Frankfurt’s violence, assuming that he’s from there he may have been injured in the protests, I heard that there was some major riot that killed and injured like 400 this week….
        But seriously Tieshaunn is not dead.
        I. Would. Not. Allow. Him. To. Die.

      • If he’s dead, does anyone know the beneficiary of his will? Maybe we can contact them and see if they can access his files on what’s supposed to happen for the rest of the story…

      • I remember asking him something about that a while ago, and I quote: “If I die? Look at my avatar and guess what – I’ll keep writing!”
        So have we decided as the “Tieshaunnation,” to guilt him into leaving a will and a collection of the; Notes, Plot, and Character Ideas….

      • I remember asking him something about that a while ago, and I quote: “If I die? Look at my avatar and guess what – I’ll keep writing!”
        So have we decided as the “Tieshaunnation,” to guilt him into leaving a will and a collection of the; Notes, Plot, Character Details, Etc?

      • God, this conversation got real brutal real fast.

        “Hello? You there? If you’re dead can I have your stuff?”

        I’m gonna guess that our best bet for checking in with Tieshaunn, assuming he doesn’t start posting here, is the irc chat. Has anyone seen/ spoken to him there?

      • I’m from Novosibirsk. I learned most of my English from a combination of reading and the highschool I attend in the United States. I’m rather bad at showing emotion in English. Please excuse the lack of concern.

      • Oh no, I get that it’s a joke and coming from a place of love and all, I’m just saying the humour is a bit dark. I think it might be me doing a poor job of communicating here.

      • To try and steer this conversation into a less morbid direction… Has anyone here actually tested whether ouija boards work or not?

        When I was younger, they seemed to work. But I tried throwing d6’s so I couldn’t see the results, and did not get reliable answers. Anyone else try something similarly nerdy?

      • In all seriousness, I really am scared for Tieshaunn’s health, I heard frankfurt was really violent around the time he dissapeared. I do think there is anything we can do for him. If you believe any god I would keep him in you prayers.

    • And yeah we absolutely need to make sure theres some kind of repository of knowledge we can access. Maybe Tieshaunn makes a post with all the info, but sets it so it isnt actually published for like ten years?

      • RRRREEEEALLLYYY easy for *even* a *juvenile* hacker to access… He’d be better off with giving his information to a loved one, or good friend.

  12. So I’ve gathered that Tieshaunn is a busy college student and has the random health problem. I get it if you miss an update here or there but seriously, if you’re not in the hospital at least post something to say so. Brennus is one of my favorite stories on TWF but easily has the flakiest schedule. – Tieshaunn are you burning out? Girl (or boy) consuming your attention? Bad case of space herpes?

  13. About ouija boards. Yes, I know that mandragons was being funny. And I know they don’t work.

    What I was wondering about, is how many of us actually tested to prove that they didn’t work. As opposed to how many of us just took it on blind faith.

      • Some principles are obviously boggus. But obvious isn’t the same as proven. Some people feel the need to check. I can understand it, I don’t dismiss the possibility of something unless it has been proven non existent (which is impossible, yeah). On the other hand I’m not going to base my life on things I don’t have any reason to believe are real. So my belief in Ouija board is on the same level that there are invisibles dinosaurs outside my house. I still go outside and I’ll be really surprised (<= this is an understatement) if I get eaten by an invisible T-Rex.

      • See what happens when our Author leaves us? We start circling Bayes’ theroem and the scientific method. Save us Tieshaunn!!

    • He’s a web serial author, they feed off our tears, anguish and frustration so I would say chances are pretty high. But he may not be doing it only for the lulz, it’s a stressful period for him apparently so he probably need more energy than usual.

    • I thought that he was trolling us for a while. I’m leaning towards “He’s not dead, just really really stressed.” and “He got another random injury….”
      Is there anyway to see when he was last online, other than the comments?

    • Apparently he hasn’t been on the IRL channel for a long time. I’m putting my money that he isn’t screwing with us. He seems like a decent human being.

      • Shit, I hadn’t received any emails so I didn’t really check this page, you think something happenned to Ties?

      • stupid question, sorry, I’ve been out of the loop and this caught me unaware, here’s hoping he’s still alive and there’s a perfectly non tragic reason for him to drop under the radar for so long.

      • I’m not sure, I checked like two days ago and they said he hasn’t been online. I used to be part of it and if he’s faking there was this one account I hadn’t seen before. He may have jumped ship or run out of inspiration.

      • I hope Tieshaunn is alright as well. So what’s the current theory? The third worst thing (the first being death and the second being severe injury) has happened and Tieshaunn has abandoned Brennus due to stress and being overworked?

      • There are infinite possibilities, but if Ties had decided to quit, he would’ve just told us, which would be sad but that would be the end of it, his silence is what worries me, it’s almost been a month and apparently he hasn’t logged into anything, so I’m concerned.

      • Yeah, he’s not the type to say nothing if he has real life problems or reasons not to update. I’m worried about him.

      • Maybe it’s an internet problem? Maybe he can’t connect or something, that would explain the lack of update about the lack of update. I agree that if he had decided to quit he would have told us, and if he was overworked he could have probably managed a quick word to tell use the story would be on hiatus so at that point where pretty much left with the possibility he lost access to internet or can’t type because he’s injured. There are other possibilities of course but they are either unlikely or the kind you don’t want to think about.

      • That would be our best case scenario, which I want to believe.
        Does anyone know if it’s likely or even possible that he’s been shut out of the Internet this whole time?

      • I have nothing whatsoever to base this on, but I can’t imagine it being an Internet problem. There are just to many ways to get online these days – home Internet, a phone, campus Internet, borrowing someone else’s phone/pc etc. Not enough to put an update up, but enough to give us a warning. Maybe he’s having account issues? Again I imagine he’d just use a throwaway account to comment here.

        It’s been about 2 1/2 weeks since we last heard from him (at least here – no idea about the IRC) so I’m concerned that it has to be something a bit more major that’s got his focus just completely off of this website. I only started reading around this last New years though – can any longer fan tell me if he’s had a big unexplained gap before?

        As I think about it more though, I feel like if he’d seen our distress for the last little while, he’d have said *something*. From what I’ve seen, he’s pretty good with interacting with the audience and I can’t imagine him just letting us sit and worry.

      • Several factors may come into play. We know it was a stressful time for him and he had to get up early everyday. Maybe he doesn’t have internet when he has the time and no time when he’s got internet? Maybe it’s not only his internet but his campus’ as well that went down? Maybe his phone is an older model and doesn’t have internet. Maybe he can’t find anyone to borrow from, or he is somewhere with no signal? So many possibilities. We won’t know for sure until he can update.

      • As it has been said, procrastinating about this is getting us nowhere, we’re all worried about Ties, and there’s utterly nothing we can do about the situation, so let’s all keep up hope and endure.

  14. It’s pretty obvious what has happened; exams destroyed him and only a full month of break can bring him back from the dead.

    All joking aside, we get nothing done but worry ourselves by indulging baseless speculation. Thus, I propose we all calm down, and begin to obsessively watch Netflix.

    • Or read some other web fiction! Have we all tried Winter’s Tale? It’s an Urban Fantasy (found here: IMO the start is the weakest part but stick with it because it gets REALLY good. Also the fastest updating serial I know (4 weekly updates of 4000ish words). If you’re into urban fantasy at all I can’t recommend it highly enough.

      • I’m personally more inclined towards reading a good saga, thus, I began read Andrzej Sapkowsky’s The Witcher saga, beggining with The Last Wish, which is a collection of short stories that take place before the main novels.

  15. Author probably just got tired of writing Brennus

    Hell, the last -actual- Brennus chapter came out on December 10, 2014


    Personally not a fan of Monkey Family chapters, so I’ve been checking this blog once a week for over 6 months hoping for Basil-centered chapters, and now the author has….. vanished.

    This is actually pretty common in current web serials; author takes a break from the main story, then loses interest altogether. They consider it easier to just stop updating than give an actual “goodbye,” because then they can always come back with an excuse later and possibly get some audience back. Another one bites the dust.

    I’d love to be proven wrong, but I’m no longer invested enough in Brennus to care. Best wishes to the author if he’s having major troubles, but in today’s world there are countless ways to get connected to the internet for 5 minutes. Not updating us is treating your audience like junk. I have lists of web serials and translations I keep up with, I’ll be taking this one of the list with the other 5-7 that stopped updating in the last month, just like I do every month. (Surprisingly not many abandoned projects around exam time, most people just take short breaks, give updates, then come back.)

    Time to unbookmark :/ Shame too, I really liked this story.

    • I am sorry about my absence, that’s on me despite all my issues, and I fully understand it if you stop following my blog over it. But never, EVER accuse me of simply losing interest in my serial and dropping it!

      I am not a very good writer, nor a very diligent one, nor do I have the boundless inspiration some writers seem to have that lets them keep writing regardless of the state of their life affairs, but I will never, EVER abandon my work like that, not without telling people, or without providing my outlines and snippets, so as to give resolution to the story!

      And I am just sick and TIRED of people accusing me I lost interest in Brennus or only writing side characters – this is a BIG PROJECT playing in a BIG WORLD where there are LOTS of things going on and I can’t possible show everything that affects the main plot just with the main characters, so I take detours and side paths to show YOU what is going on, so it won’t just be deus ex machina when, say, Aap comes to the rescue in the main plot, or the Matriarch provides a crucial bit of information at the right time! I have made it clear, REPEATEDLY, that this is no mere side story and just like every interlude you’ve seen so far, it will ALL play a crucial part in the main plot!

      For the love of God, stop assuming things about a story whose entirety you don’t KNOW! We’re barely through the second third of the FIRST BOOK OF THREE. How about you wait until at least the first book is complete, before you pass judgement like that?

      And if that’s still not enough to make my point, I challenge anyone complaining about my writing habits to please, please try and write a continuing storyline over months and years, while also dealing with private life, work and studies! Unless you’re a writer yourself, you have NO IDEA what goes into a work like this, the raw, draining WORK it takes to write even a SHORT chapter, nevertheless a major arc-end! I’m not just writing this out of nothing, I’m putting my heart and mind into this story, trying to deliver the best I am capable of – and failing, often, because that’s how it works, you stumble and you FAIL and you get up and you keep going!

      I am proud of what I have made so far, and I’ll be damned if I abandon it just because of temporarily fleeting interest – something which DOES happen, no human can constantly, at all times, be continuously interested in one thing! But that’s the point, the same as the writing itself, you lose your interest, you do something else, you regain it, you go back and you KEEP GOING.

      To all who would still accuse me of losing interest and dropping Basil, or the work itself, or just vanishing without a trace-

      Shut up and be quiet.

      Brennus will update when I finish a chapter I can be proud of, it will update when I have written something which won’t be an insult to the work and the stress and, yes, the pain I’ve put into this work so far! I’m doing this for free, so you’ll have to take what you get!

      • Typed many things and deleted many things after reading them over.

        I’ll stick with this:

        As I said in my post, I’d be more than happy to be wrong. I don’t get involved in the actual communities for these stories, since I usually lack the time. I did it for Brennus because of how interested I am in the story, and seeing it neglected drove me crazy.

        You gave us an interesting world full of fleshed out characters (most if not all of which have layers that we haven’t seen yet). I understand that you’re very busy and you do this for free, and that’s great. But you have to understand that you’ve made a lot of people care about your story, and seeing it neglected is painful for them.

        Anyways, I’m now remembering why I never post on these stories, since saying anything but praise never ends well.

        Good luck with Brennus, I’ll make sure to check back in a few months to see if there’s anything more on Basil. Not insulting your Aap work, a lot of people like it more than your Basil work from what I’ve seen, but like I said; it just doesn’t interest me much. Different strokes for different people and all that.

        One thing that I think makes a huge difference for writers/translators: Regular updates. Not regular chapters, or writing, but regular updates on your work. I don’t need to see a percentage bar that says “73% done with current chapter”, that’s a bit ridiculous in my book and doesn’t say anything that I need to know. Just regular updates that the writer/translator is still writing/translating, ESPECIALLY if they’re the type to take sporadic/lengthy breaks. Hell just type in a post saying “I’m alive and busy I’ll be back soon” and then people won’t have to worry about the story.

        We live in the internet age, take 5 minutes to let your readers know that you still care. It makes a world of a difference. You aren’t the only one that cares about your story, I assure you.

      • You make a good point, and I’m sorry that I reacted so strongly – it was less about your comment and more because part of it just struck a nerve with me, as I’ve had to deal with some less than understanding people before, about this subject.

        You’re of course right about the regular updates, and to be honest, I have no idea why I just didn’t think of that T_T

        Unless something exceptionally bad happens, the next Brennus update should follow by the 8th of May. I’ll do my best to stick to that date, this time.

        Also, please don’t think it only goes well if you praise people. I write Brennus partly as a learning experience, so criticism is always appreciated (it’s just that one pet peeve that sets me off)

      • You know what the update schedule is for a Web Serial?
        Whenever the author decides.

        That is it, no ifs, buts, maybes, it should bes. If the content is good enough (which this is by the way) you wait patiently for the next update. I mean the comments exploded into a frenzy of speculation after a WEEK, what the actual fuck peoples? I mean seriously that speculation was after the author was nice enough to let us know that circumstances were likely going to change (mentioned excessive travel time, which I know kills your motivation to do anything else) One web serial I read has had an update in the last few weeks after over 12 months since the previous one, so basically Tieshaunn stick to whatever schedule works for you (or hell even no schedule at all) I’ll be waiting patiently since the content is worth the wait.

      • To be fair, I think most of us didn’t think that you just lost interest in Brennus.

        I personally have tried writing. I enjoy it. I also lack the focus to stick with something for a long time. What I do might be good enough to post on Spacebattles, but I’m not disciplined enough to justify getting a wordpress page.

        Your first post is over two years ago. If you haven’t lost interest yet, you probably won’t.

        That being said, it would have been nice to know that you weren’t killed in a traffic accident or something. Then again, after a certain point I imagine it feels a bit embarrassing to post that you’ve got nothing, thus you figure that you’ll wait until you have something?

    • I don’t think it’s intentional, but you do come across as very self-entitled in this post. While you have a legitimate point, saying things like “another one bites the dust” and declaring how you’re taking Brennus off “the list” is just needlessly aggravating.

  16. I would just like to start off by saying that I have definitely enjoyed you story, and am looking forward to reading more. However, this page actually seems a bit confusing to me. If Gadgeteers can’t really give in-depth explanations as to how their equipment works, then how can mundane scientists reproduce them? Do they simply try to create a Gadget that already exists, like reverse-engineering? Or do some Gadgeteers occasionally make copies of their inventions and give those copies to scientists?

    • I’m very glad you enjoy my work 😉

      There are multiple ways to go about that issue. I’ll just list the most common ones:

      1. Some gadgeteers – especially those who create less outrageous technology – can actually have a pretty good idea of how it works, and explain it sufficiently to a proper engineer for them to fill in the gaps.
      2. A gadgeteer might have a good enough understanding of technology – and a cooperative enough power – to explain at least some of their work. For example, Basil could easily explain his vibrosword, his grapnel systems or his ceramic compound to a professional. not so much with his more outrageous creations (Eudocia would be incredibly difficult to explain to anyone other than a similarly powerful gadgeteer)
      3. Sometimes – though rarely – there are brain-type metahumans (people with superpowered intuition, or understanding of technology, etc) who can analyse and reverse-engineer gadgets
      4. Some creations, though incomprehensible to the gadgeteer, can be analysed by proper engineers/scientists. for example, a medical gadgeteer once came up with a cure for AIDS. he gave the end product to every lab he could reach, and they were able to break it down and analyse its composition, thus allowing the mass-production of a cheap cure for AIDS.

  17. So, would it be possible for a Gadgeteer to have a specialty of ‘Analyzing and Reproduction”? That is, being able to build equipment capable of giving in-depth examinations of people and objects, or looking for specific things over a wide area, while being able to replicate things that have been sufficiently analyzed?

  18. I have to say, a lot of people have glossed over Wyrm being able to translate other peoples blueprints as “It’s her power”, but you mention directly that frequently they aren’t even blueprints at all, just shorthand notes to remind a Gadgeteer’s power about a particular gadget. How can that be translated, especially by a computer program? Wouldn’t that basically be reading the mind of the other Gadgeteer’s power? I could see her perhaps being able to reverse engineer another person’s work, but if the information isn’t actually there in the first place, “translating” it doesn’t make sense.

    • she doesn’t use a program to translate their notes. her power can “ping off” other gadgeteer’s notes the same way it can ping off her own, though usually the quality suffers

      • Actually in B008.b Old Coils, Strong Coils, it says she is using a translator program for Sovereign’s work. She had to watch it go through one file and tweak the algorithm, which could be her power at work, but it seems to imply that once she had the program working correctly it would be able to translate all his other work by itself. Am I missing something?

      • it’s complicated. the program on its own would be useless to anyone but her. I’ll get more into this in the future, when there’s some focus on her

  19. You know, I’ve been thinking about the Gadgeteers vs modern day scientists. Is there anyone Tony Stark smart out there who is not a gadgeteer? Either a baseline or a metahuman with increased intelligence but no gadgeteer powers that can nevertheless push the boundaries of modern science enough to effect world scale change? You were saying that a major limiter on gadgeteer influence is the difficulty with mass production since their power does all or some of the work. If a non-gadgeteer were to figure out workable designs or understand advanced concepts wouldn’t that remove that barrier? I mean, the Dark comes to mind – and Lady Light. After building what is possibly the most advanced gadget of them all in 1922, and having a little less than a century available for observation of futuristic technology, how likely is it that they could have, in essence, outstripped most gadgeteers?

    I know you said there’s a whole scientific field out there dedicated to analysis of gadgeteer inventions, and also that worldwide, technology has made much quicker progress due to gadgeteer influence – but I can’t help but suspect that Franz and Gwen, at least, if not some others, know more than they let on, and that it’s due more to keeping the balance and to having other priorities that they’re not pumping out powersuits and such by the dozen.

    Here’s another part of it: in a world where you know nuclear weapons are possible, sooner or later someone will work out the details. In a world where you know forcefields and cyborgs and compact reactors are possible, give a lot of very smart humans enough time for observation and testing and they will figure out at least the basic principles behind these things. Now I don’t know if non-gadgeteer Einstein moments have really any part to play in your story, but I know I’d enjoy seeing it happen.

    • What you describe IS possible, and has happened already (wireless technology, spacecraft, low end power armor, much more).

      However, remember that gadgeteers are relatively rare (Basil described them as the rarest kind of power), and they used to be more so, though there has been a steady increase (with a few surges) in the number of gadgeteer manifestations

  20. How much can the average gadgeteer work outside of his specialty? I ask because it sometimes seems that different parts of the text contradict each other even outside the individual variation. For example Polymnia can clearly work well outside her specialty pretty well, as power armor doesn’t have much to do with sonics, while their is a point where Brennus starts to doubt whether his medical and cooking skills are actually enhanced by his gadgeteering because they’re so different from his other work. If Polymnia’s gadjeteering still helps her build power armor when that isn’t really related to sound, then why would it be weird for Brennus’s gadjeteering to apply to medicine and food?

    • I’m currently working on the assumption that gadgeteering applies to everything, but with reducing effectiveness the further it gets from the specialization, with the rate of reduction depending on the individual gadgeteer.

      For example Polymnia can create passable power armor, even though it is largely unrelated to her specialization and Hotrod can give people extremely effective batteries for their power armor as long as he designs them as car batteries first, while someone like Smileyboy or Dory may be completely unable to work outside of their specialization in any way.

      • You are right insofar as it differs from Gadgeteer to Gadgeteer.

        Most gadgeteers can only make GADGETS within their own speciality as well as, to a lesser level, within a few related ones, but have general boosted technical skills for mundane stuff.

        Polymnia’s power armour is not her own invention. It’s been mentioned before that a UH member specialising in power armour built it (and a few spares) for her, and she merely attached her own sonic technology to it. She could, theoretically, research a lot and work out her own power armour (which would be more heavily tied into her speciality), but she hasn’t bothered to, as her research works far better (and faster) when focusing on her speciality and said UH member is all too happy to provide her with power armour which he can produce quite easily.

      • PS: usually, gadgeteers can, however, MAINTAIN most gadgets, even those of other gadgeteers, so long as they are not TOO far away from their own field, or not TOO advanced even for them.

        For example, Polymnia could maintain something built by Basil, even if he tapped into his true speciality, but she wouldn’t stand a chance in hell in maintaining anything built by Su Ling, unless she happened to have worked in the field of sonics (and even then, it’d be a challenge) for that one.

      • Right, I missed the bit about Polymnia’s armor being someone else’s work. Are her extra speaker arms custom ordered from that gadgeteer? What about her new tentacle arm things? Brennus hypothesized that she made it with someone else’s help, which, given that we know she collaborated with Hotrod recently, implies that they made it together. How did they do that if neither of them had a relevant specialization?

        What exactly is the difference between gadgets and general technical skills? Right now I’m picturing the gadgets being when they are directed by their power and the “boosted technical skills” essentially being the experience of that impacting their ability with mundane technology. As I currently understand it, they would be unable to operate beyond normal technology, but they would be better with normal technology. For example, the exact details of Polymnia’s sonic cage would be too advanced for her to just remember how she did it and then recreate it without her power, but she could remember how to solder wires together, or any other individual step, thus allowing her to perform them on any mundane technology without ever having to learn it the old fashioned way.

        Of course, it is highly probable that all my guesses are completely off-base.

      • The extra speaker arms came from said gadgeteer, with slots for her to attach her sonic equipment to.

        The tentacle arms (which got wrecked by Crocell’s death flood) were from a different gadgeteer, payment in return for her providing them with protection against sound-based attacks that they needed to capture a persistent villain in their town. She and Hotrod worked on something as yet unrevealed.

        Gadgets are, well, beyond mundane technology. Far too advanced, and very difficult, if not impossible, for normal people to figure out (imagine you are a victorian era person and you’re trying to figure out how a computer works), at least at the current level of technological development. They’re the stuff that Gadgeteers get from their power in the form of their weird designs (Polymnia’s symphonies, Brennus/Macian’s pictographs, etc).

        Being a gadgeteer boosts one’s ability to work with mundane technology in more than one way. You are correct that, even when not actively using their power (only very, very few gadgeteers can consciously turn it off, but most can ignore it at least for a while), they still retain memories of the basic technical skills, like how to solder wires together and so on. It also makes it pretty easy for them to pretend to be engineers, mechanics or electricians (common cover jobs for gadgeteers).

        Furthermore, gadgeteering is a power that analyses a lot. I can’t quickly recall a canon scene that shows this off right now, but when a gadgeteer focuses on a piece of technology, their power starts figuring it out along with them, giving them ideas based off of it (how do I fix this, how do I adapt this to my speciality, what could I do with the basic components, etc), so they can apply their power to mundane technology, too. Of course, this does require that their speciality is associated with it in some way – for example, a gadgeteer who specialises solely in wetware would be as helpless to fix a broken radio as any unlearned person. On the other hand, they’d be an awesome paramedic.

        Mind you, not ALL gadgeteers are capable of this. Say, Smileyboy can’t, he might as well have the understanding of technology that a cavemen would have, without his power to actively make up for it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s