Teaser 17 - The Gearsmith Edge Tree

In creating a profession that comes with a "built-in" companion, so to speak, we wanted to be careful not to make it too powerful. Unlike other systems, the way that Savage Worlds tends to scale up in difficulty is by adding more enemies. This means that adding more allies would seem to make everything easier. We needed to restrict the Gearsmith so that it would not feel like one player was somehow able to have two powerful characters. We did this by creating two key restrictions on the Gearsmith:

First of all, the Gearsmith has only a single wild die. Each round, the wild die can be applied to either the Gearsmith or the Automaton, but not both. If the GM wants to make this feel as restrictive as possible, we suggest making the wild die default to the Gearsmith unless the player specifically designates at the beginning of the round. This reflects the need for the Gearsmith to actively direct the Automaton for the greatest efficacy. Of course, this house rule should probably not be applied to newer players but rather those who are more experienced and might otherwise take advantage of any flexibility.

The second and more significant restriction on the Gearsmith comes in the form of character advancement. We wanted the Gearsmith profession to be something that clearly would take a character's lifetime to master. We solved this by creating an extremely deep and convoluted Edge Tree. Each Edge on the Gearsmith Edge Tree represents a small number of additions that can be made to the Gearsmith's Automaton. Without the appropriate Edges, for example, the companion Automaton is restricted in how high its Attributes can go and in what Edges it can learn for itself. (Skills are not restricted.) This means, given the number of Edges on the Gearsmith Edge Tree, that at every advance, a Gearsmith must decide whether to improve in something personally useful or simply to get better at working with Automatons. And if the Gearsmith chooses the former, then the companion Automaton remains restricted at the current level of upgrades.

We feel that these two restrictions make the Gearsmith balanced with other professions, yet still fun to play. We also hope that the freedom from such restrictions makes Automaton player characters a distinct and clear choice from mere companion Automatons. To get a sense of how detailed the Gearsmith Edge Tree is, we have included the graphic below: