According to the text in the Deluxe Edition of Savage Worlds, the Gadgeteer edge available to weird scientists (WS) allows a player to indefinitely accumulate devices at a rate of one per session, effectively giving a WS every power in the game, if played conservatively. Does anyone have links to any published sources or effective house rules that allow the edge to still be useful and fun without being game-breaking?
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There are a few mitigating aspects which have limited the Edge's use for the player who has it in my game, which is Deadlands Reloaded.
Firstly, Gadgeteer with RAW is limited to powers of the character's rank or lower that are available to Mad Scientists. This actually reduces the number of powers available significantly.
Also remember that the device created by Gadgeteer burns out once its Power Points are used and cannot be recharged.
I also tend to assume that the temporary nature of the device means that even unused it will eventually fall apart, so depending on what the players are doing you could rule that a device only lasts a session. This might be a little harsh though, but its worth considering.
You could also go down the route of the device being more susceptable to failiure compared to normal - perhaps on a 1 or 2 on the skill die? I don't use this though and my gut feeling is it is probably a little harsh.
If all else fails, and you feel the player is still abusing the system, you could talk to them about your concerns and they may rein in a little.
Working in concert with Phil's insight on the Gadgeteer Edge, present the player with opportunities too good not to use up those devices. I don't know of any player that will both risk their character's life and pass up an opportunity to be amazing.
It's good general advice to have a good idea of player character capabilities (keep copies of their character sheets) when crafting scenes and adventures. You want to both challenge them and provide opportunities for them to bask in the spotlight.
I think that the rules assume that player will use them up quickly. This rule is flawed as they could accumulate them as you say. The requirements to be a Gadgeteer are quite high and it seams to be that you would need to focus on it at character creation. So not to use the Jury Rigged devices as you create them would quickly limit the party's total effectiveness. Hence saving them up for that really big encounter probably means that they have made earlier ones much harder. I would say it is swings and roundabouts. Your choices are simple really, leave it as it says after all the players are really just trading there short term effectiveness for a long term improvement. Hence lots of small encounters and no big bad ones will after a while change there behaviour. Or say that they loss one power point each session as after all they are Jury Rigged Devices and they don't retain charge well.
If they are accumulating them doesn't that mean that they are not using them? I would think that's sort of auto-nerfing then. If the character isn't using his talents, perhaps the group will harass him into picking a character that can actually help the group.
Do you want them to use the devices more (which could only make him more powerful)?
Not sure I understand the problem.