In Savage Worlds Deluxe (SWD), the Weird Scientist can select an arcane power and build a gizmo from it.

I'm not exactly sure how exactly those gizmos are expected to work for powers with flexible options. Should the gizmo retains the flexibility of the original power, or should the Weird Scientist stick to one version of the power for their device?

For example, while using Boost/Lower Trait, other casters can select which trait to boost or lower, and can affect more than one target at the price of one Power Point (PP) per extra target. How much of this flexibility should remain in the gizmo? I could imagine the Weird Scientist creating a very specific device for Boost/Lower Trait, for example a Mind Cap that boost the Smarts of the wearer. Or, the gizmo could be something extremely flexible, for example a general purpose Modification Beam that can boost / lower any trait of any target.

Clearly the more flexible the device, the more useful it is. How much flexibility is intended for the gizmos?

From the example in the book, it seems at least some restrictions are intended for the gizmos. On page 121, Doctor Gold creates a "vibroknife" (a knife with the Smite power), which can do +2/+4 to damage. This is a quite restrictive application of the power. A more flexibility power would be to create some "Enhancement Gloves", able to enhance the power of any weapon they touch.

For this example, should a GM allow the "Enhancement Gloves" idea? Or are "Smite" gizmos intended to combine with a single weapon only?


2 Answers 2


Depends Upon the Gizmo

While that sounds like a cop-out answer, the Trappings of powers matter a lot in Savage Worlds. For Weird Science, trappings include the nature of the gizmo. If the gizmo is designed to keep the flexible options of the power available then they are available, but if the gizmo is designed to only use one of them then only the one option is available.

For an example I will use the bolt power with a "lightning gun".

  • One Option: The weird scientist needs a 'death ray', so she builds a shoulder-fired "Tesla Beam Cannon" that fires a single target 3d6 bolt. This is the only setting of the beam cannon, and it can only fire a 3d6 bolt of electricity. This level of restriction is severe and the GM should provide a compensation for such a narrow trapping choice, but determining that is beyond the scope of this answer.
  • Some Options: A weird scientist is expecting to be attacked by a large number of armed foes and needs a rapid-fire death ray. She builds an "Electro-Conductive Machine Gun" with the option of both single and multiple target firing. Effectively this is the bolt power, limited to one, two, or three 2d6 damage bolts of electricity. The capacitors are designed for rapid charges and can't overcharge to deal 3d6 damage. This is a relatively minor trapping restriction, and while the GM should provide some compensation it would be less than for the beam cannon.
  • All Options: Our weird scientist has designed a "Variable Combat Electrode" that can utilize any version of bolt with an electricity trapping. It is capable of firing one, two, or three 2d6 bolts or a single 3d6 bolt as the user selects. This trapping has the least restriction and should not benefit from GM compensation.

For a boost/lower Trait gizmo, the design concept will indicate the obvious limitations. If the described device does not have an offensive mode then the lower Trait ability is unavailable. If the device works by energizing muscles then boost Trait is limited to physical Attributes and Skills.

The Adventure Edition rules include some guidance on appropriate compensation for restrictive trappings. Generally, this is a reduced Power Point cost (minimum 1) for reducing the Range or Aspect of a power.
So a vibroknife with smite may only cost 1 PP per use, since the power can only affect that particular knife.


I unfortunately can't find any definite answer. In the Daring Tales of Adventure Pulp scenarios/campaign, one of the characters is a mad scientist and gets Boost/Lower Trait with one of his advances (the advances are pre-scripted). Since there is no further information given, one has to assume that it keeps all options of the power, including the choice of trait and target.

It should be noted however that Savage Worlds basically assumes that Powers get personalized by the application of Trappings, which provide the association with the game world that the Power rules text does not. As part of the Trappings, it is possible to have further rules attached, which can be drawbacks or advantages compared to the base rules.

The vibro-knife mentioned in the example can be considered to be such a Trapping, in that the power only applies to one certain weapon, itself.


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