Tinkers are distinct from other parahumans in that their powers don’t work through them so much as they enable them to fabricate things: They can create devices or alter existing devices well beyond usual restrictions of education, knowledge, resources, or physics. Most Tinkers have a specialty, an area of technology in which they operate either exclusively or better than others. Some draw on real world technical knowledge while others rely more on instinct.
Tinkers are among the most flexible parahumans, as a typical Tinker can artificially assume any number of other classifications depending on specialty, in addition to drawing inspiration from the powers of other parahumans or the work of other Tinkers.
Tinkers arise from problems without solutions that take place over long periods, culminating in crisis moment. The elements of the trigger build up over weeks or months and are inexorably tied into the moment the character triggers.
The exact nature of the problem informs the type of Tinker that emerges (see also the table above), while other key elements, such as surrounding features, context and details determine the Tinker’s specialty.
A Tinker starts out with having ideas. A wide variety ideas that just might catch on what ideas the shard might backup. It would link up on the 'skill tree' that the shard provides the tinker with. These crafting skills will, generally, only apply to the tinker's specialty and any superfluous items will be based on the tinkers native talents. The tinkering process also incorporates scans, typically through a device that uses infrared lasers to identify their subject, be it powers or other objects. These scanning devices can take various forms.
A typical tinker will start crafting their technology, but unlike a typical artisan's process the Tinker's will be interpolated with the shard stepping in during the process, using its exclusive features to tune the resulting technology. The tinker typically enters a fugue state during the process, not noting when the shard might be augmenting a piece of material further then any process the tinker is visibly using. Thanks to this fortification, tinker materials make it work better, longer, expanding and ensuring certain properties and more to makes to materials work toward the tinker's design. Something not replicable by human technology.
Thus, unlike an artist making a painting the process doesn't just take place on one plane of reality, in fact the full process can't be seen in the regular 4-D reality humans are evolved to deal with. A Tinker "painter" would be able to wring out colors from paints that shouldn't be possible to put in minute details with tools far too large and imprecise for such work. As an addendum given the wide diversity of parahumans in the world it is not unknown for tinkers to wildly diverge in the methods they take to achieve their results.
Through the above mentioned scanning process and possibly even appropriating other Tinkers research, a slim majority of tinkers can 'push' their Tinkering portfolio into other specialties if they are willing to invest the time and energy while dealing with the challenges inherent with bing an active parahuman. Further helped with borrowing others research.
As Tinkers often place trackers on their gear, it’s generally unwise to steal it.
Due to the process outlined above a Tinker device is nigh-impossible for normal humans to recreate, reverse-engineer, or even maintain. Tinkers not only work with highly advanced technology, production and maintenance is also extremely precise, requiring the aid of the Tinker’s power to get right. Even extremely minor factors that the Tinker isn’t consciously aware of can have great effect on the end result: Examples include ambient temperature, radio waves and earth's superposition in the galaxy.
Tinkers are often able to modify devices of other Tinkers, although even here the end-result will be of lesser quality.
On the other hand, others – even ordinary humans – are able to use Tinker devices. Tinkers even equip teammates with items (although this is unusual), while some Tinkers, such as those from Toybox, sell their goods on the black market. Such effort must always be balanced by the fact that a single misstep can render the entire device non-functional if not dangerous, understandably frustrating.
Regardless a Tinker is a huge asset to any team and are thus highly sought after, if not outright abducted. This is why tinkers are known to form communes for protection or join powerful teams.
The thing to understand with tinkers is that they can assume any number of artificial classifications thanks to the technology they create. Blasto and Cask are good examples of this phenomena. There are those whose tinkering works through an alternate means, such as those who can create tinker devices through their presence, or those who have a separate power distinct from their tinkering. Thinker abilities are also known to occur, as they may compliment the tinker power letting them use their power more effectively.
Interestingly there are parahumans that create items and technology that are explicitly not tinker-tech yet still acts as a vector for their powers.
The entities create Tinkers to explore options, taking powers that have already been explored and allowing them to be explored in even more depth, or attempting to ‘crack’ the particulars of a field or specialty from a species from previous encounters earlier in the cycle.
Tinkers are less dangerous when removed from their gear, but should not be assumed to be harmless. The PRT generally appends a Tinker’s specialty to the classification whenever possible, but has a hard time accurately rating a Tinker's threat level.
The team is notified of a Tinker classification.
Disruption with the use of flashbangs is encouraged.
Electromagnetic pulses are authorized to disrupt gear, with some likely property damage.
Other Tinkers or liaisons are contacted to better inform about capabilities and to answer immediate threats.
↑ 2.02.1Tinker - Building alien or advanced technology.
Thinkers arise from solutionless problems over long periods, culminating in crisis moment. - WD Rulebook: Character Creation - Trigger Capes: Classifications
↑ 3.03.1Tinkers are capes with powers that don’t work through the cape so much as they enable the individual to fabricate things. By creating tinkers, the entities can explore options, taking powers that have been explored in depth and allowing it to be explored in more depth, or attempting to ‘crack’ the particulars of a field or specialty of a species from earlier in the cycle. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑ 4.04.14.24.126.96.36.199.7Can create devices or alter existing devices well beyond usual restrictions of education, knowledge, resources, and/or physics. Tinkers are less dangerous when removed from their gear, but should not be assumed to be harmless. A typical tinker can artificially assume any number of other classifications, depending on specialty. Specialty should be appended to the classification in every case possible. (ie. phasing specialty or electricity specialty) Threat level 2+: Team is notified as to tinker classification. Disruption is encouraged, with use of flashbangs. Threat level 5+: Electromagnetic pulses are authorized to disrupt gear, with some property damage likely. Threat level 9+: Other tinkers or liasions should be contacted to better inform about capabilities and to answer immediate threats. - PRT Master Reference - Classifications - Tinker
↑“Close enough,” Armsmaster said. It struck me he would be a Tinker, if his Halberd and armor were any indication. That, or he got his stuff from someone else. He elaborated, “Well, most Tinkers have a specialty or a special trick. Something they’re particualrly good at or something that they can do, which other Tinkers can’t. Bakuda’s specialty is bombs.” - Excerpt from Gestation 1.6
↑Research within Cauldron had included tinkers, drawing many conclusions about how tinkers operated. Some were well vested in mechanical details, drawing a great deal from it to fabricate their work. Others had little idea about the technical aspects of what they created, relying more on instinct and creativity, relying more on their agents to draw up an idea of how their work would function. It was quite possible that other capes were doing the same thing. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
↑ 7.07.17.27.3What really drives tinkers, in a lot of cases, is the inspiration aspect. We don't really see this, because we mostly see tinkers who are doing their thing with what they've already built.
But tinkers vary a great deal in how they get their ideas. How fast, how many, how varied. In many cases, tinkers can find their way to new ideas by studying powers or studying the work of other tinkers. Bakuda develops time and space warping bombs (the slow grenade, the feature-warping thing she almost put up Grue's nose) by scanning and studying stuff that was affected by Clockblocker and Vista's powers. Armsmaster does much the same, with the time stop halberd (Clockblocker) and EMP pulse (Battery). In Dragon's case, well, she has access to a wealth of confiscated and 'submitted for internal review' PRT stuff.
From the shard's perspective, this drives competition and puts one tinker against another. Stealing another tinker's stuff to study both hurts the tinker and is a fast route to upping the quality of your own stuff. On a similar level, a tinker that's getting in fights is going to find ideas coming hard and fast (Bakuda), compared to a tinker that just hangs out in their workshop and actively avoids confrontation (Leet). - Spacebattles comment by Wildbow.
↑For the purposes of this document, we loosely categorize methodologies into twelve sub-categories. As previously established, each tinker trigger is different, and different circumstances lead to different sorts of approaches to tinkering, ranging from the combat heavy to the megaproject focused or the noncombat tinker. The key focus in determining what the methodology is, as stated above, the nature of the problem the tinker faces, in the course of the trigger. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑Hyperspecialists are tinkers with an emphasis on the specialty alone. A flame-oriented hyperspecialist would be limited to fire-based stuff: tinkerized flamethrowers, flame grenades, pyrokinetic gauntlets, etc. The hyperspecialist often gets an advantage in exchange for the narrower focus. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
Hyperspecialist - obsession regarding an object or goal.
Focal - Obsession on a singular behavior, pattern or path.
Limit - Obsession tied to a person or relationship.
Binary - Trigger involved a crossroads or a lose-lose situation.
Combat - Violence or threats extending over a long time.
Chaos - Triggers defined by a question mark or unsolvable problem.
Resource Tinkers - Tinkers that focus on resource management.
Controllers - Tinkers that specialize in controlling drones or minions
Architect - One man vs. the world, or fighting an institution, David vs. Goliath.
Mad Scientist - Facing consequences, often from bad risk/reward gambles
Not yet added are the…
Magi - Tinkers that focus on utility or self improvement
Free Tinkers - Who can build anything they dream of. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑Dwells not on a single specialty, but on a single manifestation of their tinkering, one item that they build and rebuild, and expand on relentlessly, with multiple functions or very powerful functions, with other items being nonexistent or strictly peripheral. A contrast to many other tinkers, who wield versatility as their chief tool, the Focal tinker might include the tinker who has a single laser cannon they always carry with them or a tinker with a time manipulating wristband. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑The Limit Tinker is akin to the Hyperspecialist, with a primary field of specialty, but the lines are blurred. While they do best in their field of specialty, they dip their toes into other waters, or even have to dip their toes to operate at their best, with optimal operation tied to peripheral objects, focuses, or added complexities. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑The Binary Tinker breaks away from the more specialist tinkers described above, having two specialties. Two fields of study, often with a touch of venn-diagram overlap. Where nuances arise is in how the overlap occurs, the bonuses therein, or the dynamics between one specialty and the other. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑The Combat Tinker may be more flexible in terms of specialty, but the execution and approach of their tinkering is fairly linear, leaning heavily or entirely toward applications on the battlefield. They often find themselves very good at those applications, get some added bonuses or options in their tinkering to make up for the lack of breadth or options outside of combat, or get secondary powers to complement their style. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑The Chaos Tinker doesn’t have complete control over what they build, how, or over the end product. Chaos tinkers don’t generally have to give consideration to the same factors that other tinkers do, but the element of randomness takes the place of those factors. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑Chaos tinkers arise from situations where the tinker trigger has a high degree of confusion or missing information. They face a long-term problem, and the problem can’t be solved because of a big question mark in the midst of it all. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑The Resource Tinker is a tinker who leans heavily on the question of materials for their creations. The Resource Tinker has certain allowances, dependencies, or abstract factors when it comes to the question of what they can build. This could include needing no or far less resources to get started, needing certain very rare or specialized materials to build, or having the material be the focus of the tinker’s particular method. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑Resource tinkers arise from long-term problems of materialism. Money, possessions, greed, material needs and objects being the subject of other triggers factor into resource tinkering, being reflected in the needs, lack thereof, or the materials that form the focus. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑The Controller is a tinker who creates drones as their primary field of specialty. Drones come in a variety of shapes and sizes, ranging from the miniscule to the massive. They vary in the form they take, and can range from insectile to humanoid, or even to gigantic creations. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑Controllers manifest from a trigger that is largely social and ‘cold’ emotionally in the sense that it deals with isolation, detachment, or depression, serving in large part as the tinker equivalent of a Master-Tinker trigger. Noting that many Master triggers have some long-term effects in play, Controller triggers are usually very long term or involve a steady progression of worsening social problems over a more typical tinker-level long term. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑The Architect is a category of tinkers who works primarily with megaprojects - massive, time-consuming constructions that demand a great deal of attention, not just from the tinker, but from the tinker’s enemies. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑Architects arise from a crisis tied to a particular location or institution. Very frequently a ‘little guy against the system’ scenario or a ‘little guy caught up in the system’. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑The Mad Scientist is a tinker who is defined not by what they are limited to, but by the cost of their tinkering. The risk/reward element is high, here, as they have more power, breadth of options or options in how the gear is used, but must pay a cost to obtain these things. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑Tinker triggers involve a time component, specifically a longer period of time building up to the trigger itself, and an element of a problem without solution. This isn’t to be confused with triggers where a bad life circumstance leads into a distinct event - in such a case every character would be a tinker. The elements of the trigger build up over weeks or months, and are inexorably tied into the moment the character triggers. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑The key factors to note here are the nature of the problem without solution and the key elements of the trigger itself. The problem determines the tinker’s methodology. This is how the tinker derives inspiration, builds, and the breadth of options available to them in building. The key elements are the surrounding features, context, and details that determine the flavor of the resulting powers, the specialty itself. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑The shards are helping to put ideas in the tinker's head or round out ideas as the tinker has them, supplying blueprints or outlines, or giving them a 'feel' as to how easy it will be to put something together. When the tinker pulls out a tricorder-like device and scans a power signature, the shard helps supply the language and interpretation for the tinker. During the build process, the shard itself supplies a helping hand, or outright takes over at a given period of time, during which time the tinker isn't wholly there (blacked out, in the zone, lost in their work) and the shard is doing the work. Sometimes this is pronounced to the point that the tinker isn't wholly sure what they'll end up with. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑Example? Power source. He either uses something mundane, or he uses something tinker derived. But if he uses something tinker derived to power his newest project, then he has to think of all the other power sources he's used, make sure that this one is sufficiently different, gauge the risk, and then move forward. Same goes for the mechanisms, the overall design & goal, and so on.
↑They do not need the craft skill, but crafting stuff like uniforms and melee weapons could well lean on their ability to put together nice things & know how to work materials. It helps but isn't mandatory. Crafting [tinker specialty] stuff counts as if they had the material/field focus for their tinker stuff.
One tinker without craft could put together working gear for a bodysuit or suit of armor, but their bodysuit and armor would be pretty bare bones. Another that had the craft skill could put something together and make it look nice, or know how to work in pockets, or get more armor on there, handling the mundane side of things. - Wildbow on Reddit
↑When you went to convince the Mayor of our way of thinking, Trickster carried the devices Leet designed to record the particular signals you use to command your bugs.”
↑Typically the shard handles the backend during the building process, using senses the human doesn’t have access to in order to assist and provide the actual tinkertech part of the builds. - TINKERS, document by Wildbow.
↑It varies from tinker to tinker. In the tinker's handbook, I break tinkers down into types. Every approach changes in little ways. By and large, however, it's a case where you get inspiration like any creative or engineer might, and as you decide to put it into action, the ideas fall into place in your head.
Some tinkers might tune out at some point in the process, they might get into the zone, black out, or lose track of time. Other stay lucid but might only do certain things at different points in the project because they 'feel right' or because of ideas in their heads about wanting things to stay balanced or to maintain a seemingly logical flow of A to B to C, conveniently skipping why it was seemingly logical in the first place - if pressed they would have a hard time explaining.
The viewpoint the reader gets isn't that far divorced from the viewpoint the tinker gets.
but that seems incomplete.
It seems incomplete because it is an incomplete process. In the background, the shards themselves are taking a hand in things, supplying an extradimensional limb to hold something in place that the tinker isn't wholly aware of, or a power-driven equivalent to a screwdriver in another reality that connects the aforementioned A to B. This is why tinkers have such a terrible time trying to teach others how to build their tech, and why another person can't just sit down at a table and copy everything the tinker does. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑1. They also have the power supplementing the building process and tech. You end up with the power sort of reaching out and making sure the circuits in your fancy new chipset don't get too warm during one part, keeping circuits from bleeding together. Also factoring in gravitational waves and magnetic forces and detailed stuff, or even just pumping a bit of extra power into something to keep the gyros spinning. Putting energy into a reactor in the same way your pyrokinesis might put fire in your hands. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑ 33.033.1Wildbow: Think about it this way - you sit down to build something, you have a partial idea in mind, your power supplies the rest of the instructions and components. You get into the zone, you tinker away, and a lot of your actions become automatic.
The shard, meanwhile, is working in concert. They supply the ideas and the mental pictures, what's necessary and what's up to your imagination. Then, as you get underway, they assess variables like ambient temperature, radio waves, earth's superposition in the galaxy, the materials you're working with, fine tuning to an extreme.
People using a camera can't track all of the individual details, so they copy what they can, but the pieces don't fit together, the metal has superfine stresses and vulnerabilities they aren't aware of, the elements don't jibe, and it just doesn't work.
KateWalls: Ohhhh. Thats something I didn't realize, that the shards are giving them an unconscious extra-sensory Thinker power to analyze the materials and environment beyond human norms. For example, if kid win picks up a piece of glass he's never seen before, even though his eyes only work with visible light, his shard can tell what sort of UV or IR transmission and refraction indexes it has, and gives him a nudge. Is that about right?
Wildbow: Varies from tinker to tinker, but that's about right. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
Tinkers may think they grok what they're doing, but the reality is that they're letting their passenger use extraordinary senses, awareness, and inspiration to fill the gaps. They start working, they focus on aesthetic and on other effects, but all the while, the passenger is figuring out some other stuff behind the scenes, or tweaking reality. TL;DR is that tinkers can't pass on tips to humanity. Even Masamune, even Dragon. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑For method tinkers, I think the thing to consider is, well, a person sits down and uses materials to tinker up advanced equipment. First off... how can you toy with that process? Tear the sentence down, and look at the words and the assumptions.
A person sits down and uses materials to tinker up advanced equipment.
What if they aren't alone? Do they need crews? Do they borrow capes to help with the building process and use those capes to inform the end product? Do they create brain-reading engines and kidnap great minds and hook the engines up to the great minds to borrow talents and abilities to refine the end product?
A person sits down and uses materials to tinker up advanced equipment.
Can you think of methodologies that don't involve having a workshop? Or that have special cases for workshops? Is there a methodology that can only create things on the fly? What benefits would these on-the-fly tinkers get to make what they do more doable?
A person sits down and uses materials to tinker up advanced equipment.
Is there a methodology that could eschew the usual materials, or have a high demand for them? Do they emphasize the creation of materials (like the 3+ dimensional laser chip that Kid Win shows Chariot?) as their whole 'thing'?
A person sits down and uses materials to tinker up advanced equipment.
Too many bases to cover here, but look at all the assumptions of tinkering and play with them. Do they finish every job? Or is there something else that fills in the blanks? Secondary power (changer, breaker?), do they finish it in the field, to custom specifications (customizing vs. a target foe?). Do they not make actual equipment, but something more esoteric, like potions, chips, implants, life? Do they only tinker to fix things that were broken, to improve them? In place of equipment, it could be entirely self focused (cyborg parts) or entirely selfless equipment (outfitting others). - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑“Tinkers can read powers and people and get data that they can then use for their tinkering stuff. A tinker who makes flamethrowers can use my blueprints and figure out how to do some targeting tech. Or, like, even if it’s not powers, I could do deep scans of a thinker and I could get power data I could use for my cameras. Which is where right now I wish I could talk to a really good precog or postcog, and see how their power works.” [...] “We saw some of this with Snag and the others, remember?” [...] “Yeah. Every tinker is different so it’s not every tinker that does it, but it’s most, I think. We all want our data and inspiration. When I went to pick up my big projector box, I sent some flying cameras in. Which was safe to do since Mama Mathers was gone, right?” - Excerpt from Eclipse x.4
So if you wanted to get more into the neighborhood of Dragon-like stuff and independently functional creations, you might want to get into AI stuff.
In terms of of research, AI is Impulse x Data on the Detail Generator sheet, tinker tab. So it's a question of how easily you'd get into that. If you worked in any of the Data or the Impulse related fields, then it's something you could fiddle with on your own. Keep in mind it's less a question of how far away the option is (distance doesn't matter, exactly) and more the number of turns you have to make to get there.
Example: if you were a radiation tinker with flexible access to what they delve into, these would likely be the options open to you (stuff along the impulse & elemental lines) - ignore the duplicate entries in white; it's just for table clarity. Now, keep in mind that whatever they delve into would probably be tainted or modified to reflect the stuff they started off doing & primarily specialize in. Working in AI with a Radiation start might resemble pulling a Pickle Rick only with harvested brain matter and purposefully generated tumors in said brains that give you avenues to hook them up to computers to do the thinking/AI stuff, rather than microchips. But AI is a straight line away and so it's something they could dabble in from the start, assuming they had the freedom with their methodology (hyperspecialists are stuck in one specialty, for example, as are a lot of binary tinkers) and the time/resources to research.
They could get there a lot faster by scanning stuff like thinker brains or other people's created life to get the necessary info.
Let's say you were a Vat tinker, though. Your lines of specialty run along the Artifice (tinkering with tinkerings) and Life spectrums. It's something of a jump to get from there to the AI field. I might, if I were your GM, rule that you had to cover several bases to get there...
This would be a vat tinker's options in terms of what they can get and where they want to go with AI stuff. To get to AI they'd need to go up and make a right turn at Lifesign or Tutoring, or go right and take a northward turn at Clones or Nanotech. As a GM I might say, hey, you can't go straight to AI or even try to skip to getting there. You gotta delve into this stuff which gives you the background knowledge.
So you might need to delve into the computer systems involving Lifesign (scanning people, reading lifesigns, targeting weak points), the skill-focused stuff in Tutoring (here, wear this hat, it'll upload kung fu know-how to your brain or download your traumatic memories for me to upload into your buddy's head), the growth of humans with human thoughts and memories (see what Bonesaw did with the S9) or the finer details of nanotech (colonies of microscopic computer systems/machines). And as a GM I'd say 'pick two, delve into them, field test them, and develop enough of a foundation you can go into AI'.
Again, that's ~if~ the tinker is allowed to deviate or explore to that degree. Many wouldn't be.
But if you could then as a vat tinker you'd then have a huge vat and you have a computer kludged into the top of it and the downloaded memories and skills from the Tutoring stuff you did, and you have a colony of Nanomachines that form a structure in the depths of it and create a kind of nanotech brain in a jar, and it then serves the functions an AI would.
This would be a pretty extreme & advanced jump, and keep in mind the tinker is having to get by, gather the resources & do their usual thing in the meantime. This'd be a massive side project with a lot of requirement in resources & time with little return until it came together. Few can afford to do that when they could be upgrading & advancing their core stuff. - Wildbow answering tinker questions on reddit.
↑“Taking a tinker’s stuff to keep is a bad idea, what with GPS signals and tracking and all that, but at the very least, we can use this to get out.” She swept her arm over the room, where stuff lay on every surface.
Dragon’s voice echoed through the chamber, “I can hear you, Tattletale. Do not use a tinker’s devices. Power supplies can overload, weapons and equipment can misfire. Only the tinker who made it can verify the devices as safe and operate them properly.”
“Right, sure,” Tattletale called out with a note of sarcasm in her voice. “Because it’s not like there’s any high profile mercenaries out there who’ve made a career off of using a tinker’s stuff.”
Dragon didn’t reply. Had Tattletale found a sore spot? I knew the Dragonslayers were mercenaries who had taken the parts of one of Dragon’s armored suits to outfit themselves as high tech mercenaries. - Excerpt from Parasite 10.4
↑ 39.039.1A tinker named Gearboy is commissioned to produce a mechanical battlesuit for the army, ok. That’s doable. But if the suit breaks down, or if it gets normal wear and tear, there’s really only one person who understands it well enough to fix it (beyond surface damage). The tinker who made it. Kid Win mentions, when modifying the earbud with Armsmaster’s lie detector, that anything he does will naturally be less elegant and the work will suffer for it. The same applies for anything in regular use with non-tinkers. The soldiers won’t know how to fix up the suit. So it gets damaged: hole in the chest. Repair team checks there’s no damage to internal components, patch up the hole with a metal plate welded in place like they might with a vehicle, only to find that the suit’s overheating and it’s walking funny. They call up the tinker, but he’s elbow deep in another job. They resign themselves to having the suit deployed for no more than an hour at a time. - comment by Wildbow on Scourge 19.6.
↑ 40.040.1There's more to it, but Gearboy might not understand all the factors going into the crafting or maintenance process. He leans on his power for some things.
Creates a situation where, even with Gearboy creating detailed guides and painstaking video tutorials that walk through how he repaired a simple hull breach in his robot suit, you could get metallurgists and robot designers working together as a committee and missing some critical detail like how ambient humidity during the weld impacts the cross-exterior conduction and complex stresses for the future, or even power-granted awareness of planetary gravity/rotation/tidal influences on nano-crystal matrices.
↑“It’s not customary for tinkers to design things for teammates. If they do, it’s on a relatively small scale, simple. Kid Win making Gallant’s armor, for example. Any device requires a great deal of upkeep. Time is spent tuning, calibrating, repairing and identifying problems. Each device created is something the tinker then has to take time to maintain, and mass production means the tinker becomes tech support more than an innovator. Dragon and I don’t sleep, or sleep very little, but even for us, it isn’t effective. Far better to invest our time into the artificial intelligences and the ships.” - Excerpt from Drone 23.5
↑“Toybox is a black market organization,” Miss Militia said. “Tinkers who operate solo find life rather difficult, due to a lack of resources and the fact that gangs and government organizations are very, very persistent when it comes to recruiting them. Faced with the prospect of spending their lives on the run, trying to avoid being forcibly recruited into one organization or another, most turn to the Protectorate or the Wards. For those few who don’t, Toybox is… was a refuge of sorts. Tinkers would join, share technology, stay in the enclave as long as they needed to build up a reputation and whatever tools they needed, they would share thirty-three percent of any proceeds with the rest of the group, helping to keep others afloat. Toybox sustained itself with barter, by moving frequently, operating between the scope of heroes and villains, and by selling less-than-legal goods to criminal groups.” - Excerpt from Cell 22.2
↑If you have a tinker who makes armor/powersuits that have white hot metal as a key feature, yes, he could theoretically equip his teammates, but so much of it is intuitive that it's hard for that tinker to really specify some of the particulars.
There are a lot of little things that go wrong in the field, or things you need to adapt to. Did a cape slime the entire battlefield? Maybe that affects coolant venting, which affects the cremation fist's charge-up rate. That affects the hyperthermal reactor which means the entire suit starts feeling sluggish. Really easy to fix if it's the tinker, but nobody else will have a clue of the big picture. Did something get broken? If it's not the tinker using it, then it's going to be broken until the tinker gets their hands on it again or you might even have to abandon it. If the tinker's in the pilot's seat, then it might be a simple adjustment here or cinching something shut there.
Generally when gear is given out, it's heavily restricted in capability ("Okay, well, it's the suit I usually use, but I had to adjust the dampeners so it's slower, weaker, and you don't have access to the meat hammer or related tech"), it's a oneshot thing ("Press this, then this, aim using this"), or both. - Wildbow on reddit.
↑LexiconWrought: Imagine spending several thousand dollars and a lot of time building your dream computer, top of the line components with all sorts of gimmicks, overclocking, VR, the works. Imagine entering, say, a high stakes esports competition, lots riding on a victory, lots to lose with a defeat. Now imagine handing it over to your grandparent. It's hard enough to watch them try to use their smartphones, but that's probably nothing compared to what a tinker experiences seeing someone else try to use their gear.
Wildbow: Perfect analogy. I like how it captures the frustration. - Analogy on reddit.
↑“But he’s risking his life,” Chariot’s mother spoke. Chariot frowned.
“He is. There are responsibilities. But honestly? There’s zero way he’s going to be able to go out and try out any of the stuff he’s made without running into trouble. People are going to pick fights, just because he has powers. If he tries to hang out in a workshop he establishes on his own, they’re going to find him, strong-arm him into putting something together for them. Not just villains, either. Heroes too. Being a tinker doesn’t just make you a target. It makes you a resource. It’s why pretty much every tinker out there is a member of a larger, more powerful team.”
“Then Trevor could just not use his powers?” she spoke.
“Sure,” Kid Win folded his arms, leaning back against the back of the couch. “What do you think, Chariot? You think you could keep from using that power of yours? Be normal?”
↑Tinkers are very hard to slap a rating on, but as with anything, they're judged based on the threat they pose to the PRT/community. Bakuda went from threatening to blow up a building with strategically placed explosives (Tinker 6) to getting access to powers to study while working under Lung and alongside Oni Lee, then showing what she was truly capable of when Lung was arrested and she tried to build the ÜberEMP. - Spacebattles comment by Wildbow.
↑ 50.050.150.2Defiant has the 'tinker up efficiency/hybrid/minimized technology' skill tree. Stinger has the 'missile' skill tree. Tecton has the 'Seismic and Architecture' skill trees. - Spacebattles post by Wildbow.
↑Focal tinker with a specialty in detail work/augments. The polearm was just a consistent tool for him from the get-go. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑ 52.052.1“Prisoner 600, codename Bakuda. PRT powers designation Tinker 6 with bomb speciality. Recommended protocols were not properly carried out.” The formal tone of the voice dropped away as she muttered, “I hate to get someone fired, but I’m going to have to report this. Supposed to be in an S-class containment truck and placed no less than six feet from other prisoners… well, at least nothing came of it.” - Excerpt from Interlude 6
↑ 53.0053.0153.0253.0353.0453.0553.0653.0753.0853.0953.1053.1153.1253.1353.1453.1553.1653.1753.1853.1953.20Bakuda is a chaos tinker. Somewhere in line with the field test tinker. Blasto is an Alchemist. Bonesaw likely started out as a Limit but breadth and depth factor in to branch her out considerably. Cask is magi, I guess. I kneejerked a 'no', but I suppose it fits. Chariot is closer to being a mover hyperspecialist. Jia is a simulation architect. Kid Win is closer to being a mastermind. Lab Rat is more a field test tinker (chaos), working his way to valid results by experimenting on others (and sometimes himself). Better to say Alan Gramme was an Architect, but a dramatic shift and change to becoming Mannequin made him a Combat Magi instead. Masamune - Resource Richter - Virus tinker Squealer - probably Hyperspec-Architect Obsessive. Stinger - Hyperspec (Rockets) String Theory - Doomsday Architect Tecton - Tectonic Templar
Ogun - Chaos Tinker-Shaker Particulate - Disintegration/Dust hyperspec-binary. Trainwreck - Crude bodysuit/armor combat-resource tinker & case 53. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑Blasto, Real Name Unknown Classification: Tinker 6 (sub: master 5, blaster 2, shifter 2, brute 2); plants. Disposition: Villain (B) Last Known Location: Boston (Allston area, east). - Excerpt from Interlude 19.x
↑Power: Blastocyst - Produces plant hybrid minions. Minions cannot communicate (this includes clones and humanoids), are lumpy/misshapen, and have social scores of 0. They suffer one additional wound of the same type (without any attached effects) every time they take fire damage. Creations are loyal. They follow simple instructions, 20 words or less, and obey a pheromone-laden Blasto so long as he is in earshot. - Playtest Capes, document by Wildbow.
↑ 57.057.1Bonesaw – If Jack Slash is the leader, the child Bonesaw is the figurehead of the group. A medical tinker, her power allows her to work with biology and the physical form, creating hybrid capes, performing plastic surgery in minutes, reviving the recently dead, transplanting limbs and creating virulent plagues and diseases. She has outfitted much of the group with safeguards and protection, including sheaths to protect vital organs, a ‘pain switch’ to allow them to ignore pain and more. Bonesaw is a cheerful young girl (no older than fourteen) with tight blonde curls, wearing no regular costume but a durable apron filled with surgical implements and pre-prepared vials. - Cast (In Depth)
↑CASK; Lawrence Batson (“L.B.”) Classification: Tinker 5 (Sub: Blaster 1, Brute 2*, Master 1, Trump 2) Medicine and performance enhancing admixtures. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑Produces chemical batches that enhance strength, flexibility, resistance to toxins, resistance to the elements, resistance to harm, reflexes, or focus. Produces chemical batches that quickly restore damaged tissues and prompt rapid cellular growth. One dose is a minimum of 1.33 liters, administered orally, limiting the speed consumption, emergency application and the number of successive doses that can be given. Potentially shortens patrol runs or prompts somewhat frequent pit stops. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑“Right. This potential recruit is tentatively marked down as a Tinker/Mover. It isn’t unusual for powers to emerge in the wake of an event as serious as this. For this reason, we keep careful track of things to see if we cannot detect any new parahumans. This young man has been observed in the south end, moving at over a hundred miles an hour with the assistance of a mechanical suit. His inclusion on a local team would help fill gaps left by the death of Velocity, a local Protectorate member, and Armsmaster’s retirement.” - Excerpt from Sentinel 9.1
↑Chariot (Missing) – Rookie member of the Wards, a tinker specializing in all types of mobility, from suits that move at super speed to devices that grant flight and teleportation. An undercover agent working for Coil, Chariot’s role was known by the Wards, and he remained on the team only so they can feed him incorrect information. Disappeared after the attack on the town hall. His costume was a power suit focused more on mobility than durability and hitting hard, complete with single-wheels at the toe and jets that allowed him to move at blinding speeds. - Cast (In Depth)
↑ 64.064.1Derian / Chopshop; Player: Sage Allegiance: Tuurngait, Leader Power: (apparent) Brute/Changer. Any old fuckoff-huge thing will do. (actual) Tinker, macro specialization. Bigger it is, better it works. Materials & time are only limitation. - PRT Quest (Villains), document by Wildbow.
↑◈ CLAY; Jess Greiss Classification: Shaker 4, Tinker 1*, Striker 1 Semiliquid forcefield constructions are projected out to layer surfaces, quickly setting into a rigid state. Can mold constructions into simple objects and contraptions. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
Clay produces a cone-shaped spray of liquid forcefield, covering roughly eight hundred square feet in seconds. Initially fragile, breaking if the target is already moving at a walking pace at the point of contact, the forcefield sets to a consistency akin to sheet metal, capable of being bent or broken with exerted force at the edges. Further spray can layer the field for additional strength. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑ 67.067.1“The third one won’t come after you alone?”
“He’s a guy, a little older than me. Glasses. He’s the person with the tinker power. I haven’t picked up much about him, but he doesn’t interact with people much. Less than Snag or the woman, and Snag is an asshole and the woman is mute, so that should tell you something.” - Excerpt from Glare 3.4
↑Cradle turned, his attention on those on the ground. A lot of strength in those mechanical hands. There had to be a good fifty feet of armspan when the two longest arms were extended, and he had a lot of arms. He hopped over to one of the shorter arms- almost just a wrist that connected to the central hub, and stepped onto the hand, where he crouched with the hand cupped around him. - Excerpt from Pitch 6.5
↑Thinker in basis, tinker in execution. Execution is technically what matters but is misleading for the purposes of the conversation at hand. When in doubt, best to call her a thinker. If you're a PRT trooper or cape on the ground and you're up against Dragon, you can call her a tinker. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑ 71.071.1A lot of the components and technology she utilizes mirror those of tinkers we're familiar with, and that it makes sense that she'd maneuver to be in a position where she'd have access to records and analysis of tinker work as a tertiary member of the PRT and its databases. I can say that it matches up with the trend that people who trigger in circumstances where powered individuals are present or involved get powers that often relate to powers; trump powers (see Grue). Dragon is a thinker who co-opts and draws inspiration from other tinkers' work. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑ 72.072.1➥ UNKNOWN; Granholme, Erik Disposition: Villain (?) Last known location: Anchorage Low level R&D personnel employed by Estrella. Apparently a tinker with emphasis on drones and remote tanks with crystal core of some sort.
↑ 73.073.1“He was the first real tinker, you know.”
“Before we knew tinkers have specializations,” Kid Win added.
“I’ve thought about it. The disintegration gun, the jetpack, the sonic weapons, the power sources and explosives that were surprisingly effective for their size. I suspect his specialty tied into manipulating and enhancing wavelengths and frequencies.” - Excerpt from Interlude 14.y
↑ 74.074.174.2“Let’s face the facts, Simurgh. Ziz. Israfel. Ulama. Whatever you want to go by. You started acting funny pretty much right away, after Eidolon bit it. Maybe that’s mourning. Maybe you respected him as an enemy, ’cause he was one of only two individuals who could really give you guys a run for your money. Or maybe you had a different relationship.” - Excerpt from Cockroaches 28.4
↑A small handful of individuals in the C.U.I. hadn’t been brought onto the group. Null, the cape who made the Yàngbǎn possible, was independent. He couldn’t be a part of the whole. Others included Tōng Líng Tǎ, who had a power that was too slow to use, not worth the fractional decrease in power that came with including her in the network, Shén yù, the strategist, and Jiǎ, the tinker that supplied the C.U.I. with its devices, including the simulations for the drills. - Excerpt from Interlude 23
↑ “Clockblocker and Vista are your best assets. Clockblocker is a Striker 7 with touch-based time-stopping. Vista is a Shaker 9. Large scale spatial distortion.”
“Geez louise. The others?”
“Kid Win is a Tinker 4. Guns and antigravity devices, primarily. Shadow Stalker is more ambiguous. Breaker 3, sublabels are Stranger 2, Mover 1. Her particular nature as a ‘breaker’ makes her superlight, semi-gaseous, transparent and capable of passing through solid surfaces.” - Excerpt from Sentinel 9.1
↑Kid Win Tinker specializing in alternate settings or uses. Struggles to build more focused devices. - parahumanList, bolded edit by Wildbow.
↑ 78.078.1Lab Rat Specializes in tinker drugs that turn subjects into monsters while storing their original state for when the transformation ends. - parahumanList, bolded edit by Wildbow.
↑ 79.079.1Leet Tinker with no limits, except that creations have chance to misfire respective to how much he's worked on the idea/in the field. - parahumanList, bolded edit by Wildbow.
↑ 80.080.1“Are you hiding a jetpack inside that raincoat, or are those rocket boots?” I asked.
“I wish,” Kenzie said. “I can’t do that stuff. I make cameras and inconveniently big boxes. My best stuff is inconveniently big, box-shaped cameras.”
“Big boxes?” I asked.
“The term in my file is emplacements. Terminals, tech, and computers big enough they’re hard to move around. Like turrets, but I can’t really make good weapons or defensive things.” - Excerpt from Flare 2.7
↑“We have you and Looksee hammered out,” Sveta said.
“No,” Looksee said. “Um. I’ll be Lookout. Change me to Lookout, as an inside joke, because of what he said, after the Fallen thing.” - Excerpt from Torch 7.8
↑ 82.082.182.2Mannequin Tinker specializing in closed systems, typically augmentations for a multi-piece suit containing his own body. - parahumanList, bolded edit by Wildbow.
↑ 83.083.1Mannequin, Alan Gramme (Turned to Glass) – Once known as Sphere, a tinker working on sustainable energy and living spaces in hostile environments, including ocean-borne cities and a moon base. Was attacked by the Simurgh, saw his wife and child die, and snapped. Butchered himself and sealed the parts in an impervious, doll-like shell, with ball joints and chains separating the sections and a loadout of various retracting blades, gases and guns. Turned to glass by a bombing run utilizing some of Bakuda’s weaponry. - Cast (In Depth)
↑TL;DR is that tinkers can't pass on tips to humanity. Even Masamune, even Dragon. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑ I could see Narwhal, standing off to one side, two of the Dragon’s Teeth flanking her. Masamune wasn’t present, but from what I knew of the guy, he wasn’t even close to being a front-lines combatant. They’d recruited him from the ruined area of Japan, a somewhat crazed hermit, and gave him work in figuring out how to mass produce their stuff without the maintenance issues snowballing out of control, like tinker tech tended to do in large quantities. - Excerpt from Sting 26.2
↑ 86.086.186.2“Yes. There’s also any number of megalomaniac tinkers out there who might have tried something. Bonesaw, Rattenfänger, Jamestowner, Blasto, Mosaic, Monstrum, some non-tinkers like Chrysalis and Nilbog, bunch of others.” - Excerpt from Queen 18.1
↑ 87.087.1◈ OGUN; Mulatu Desalegn Classification: Tinker-Shaker Tinker produces devices by passively altering surroundings, without active tinkering. - WD Helena, document by Wildbow.
↑“Displaces people or things to another dimension, filled with water, brings them back. Particulate’s a dust tinker.” - Excerpt from Crushed 24.3
↑ 89.089.1“Uh. Mine is a blaster power,” Rain said. “It’s pretty mediocre. I shoot things or people and they’re vulnerable to being broken for a short while after. To put it simply.”
“I’ve got a tinker power, I make extra arms and hands. They’re not very good. Barely above what I’d be able to make on my own, fragile enough that if you grab something wrong they can break, no strength, ugly. The prosthetic focus is part of why I was introduced to the group, I think.”
[...]“I wasn’t much help, because I’m a really bad tinker,” Rain said. “I can also catch my balance or secure my footing more easily, that’s my version of the big guy’s mover power. It’s handy in a way, lets me turn on a dime or keep from falling over.”
“That’s what I’m saying,” Rain said. “I think he had a bit less of his own power that day, with the way it was sorted. My last power is an emotion power. Guilt and doubt, over an area. It’s pretty tepid.”
↑ 90.090.1Interdimensional tech. Multidimensional projectiles, guns that fired 'tags' that shunted people into other realities for a time, created doors between realities, a lens that could be tuned (like a radio station) to peer into different realities. He could also build basic tinker stuff (power armor, ray guns) - All of this came with costs - the inter-reality stuff was expensive to build, and all the while, he had to endure multiple personalities. Not so much one head with different personalities taking turns, but three conjoined (in a manner of speaking - they were connected between realities, not physically) heads with constant communication between. A little crazed as a consequence. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑As I’d flipped through faces like Chris and my parents, I found myself thinking of all of the various capes out there, living and dead. Of the ones who fit categories, from cloning to flesh molding. Blasto. Rattenfänger‘s music. Jerky-meat’s puppets. Jamestowner’s radioactive mutant cannibals. Non-options. Heavens 12.5
↑ 92.092.1Her creator was named Andrew Richter. He was a tinker with no codename, but he did good things. From his apartment in a town called Deer Lake he’d created programs and set them loose. His programs gathered information and disrupted computers to interfere with criminals of all types. They helped with research and complex programs. They emptied the bank accounts of criminal organizations and donated those funds to charities, through proxies that made every donation appear legitimate. - Excerpt from Interlude 10.5
↑ 93.093.1Saint Tinker 0, maintained understanding of Dragon's tech via. Teacher - parahumanList, bolded edit by Wildbow.
↑ 95.095.1Trainwreck is a case 53 tinker. No proper limbs/body, had to build it.
The Simurgh is another case of a tinker as a secondary power. Picked up details from tinkers and executed it via. a thinker/trump sort of approach. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑The Simurgh is the third. She's only 15 feet tall but has a massive wingspan. The key to understanding her is her psychic 'scream' - this is basically a kind of psychic echolocation allowing her to scan her surroundings while exerting a psychic pressure to alter behavior, implant messages or create compulsions. She has precognition, perfect awareness of the immediate future, and the more she sings/scans the further it reaches. The byline for dealing with the Simurgh is that you'll probably win the fight but you'll lose the war. She uses these scans to make long-term predictions of behavior and activity (in the order of months and years) to turn human beings into rube-goldberg devices, with whole streams or strings of horrific events occuring in areas she's been active. This includes laying the groundwork for major heroes to be attacked at the opening of a future crisis, or the creation of supervillains of international notoriety. She's a telekinetic capable of tossing buildings, she flies, and her scanning ability lets her borrow and copy techniques and mental powers from others - including the power of tinkers (essentially scanning Iron Man and gaining the ability to make what he can make, then telekinetically pulling together a macro-scale version of his devices from surrounding materials). - reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑Weld took the folders and opened the one for the Wards, glanced through it to memorize the faces of his new team. Then he went to the next file, “Then the top priority as far as opposition goes is… the Archer’s Bridge Merchants? Superpowered drug dealers. A Shaker 2, Tinker 2/Mover 3 and a Shifter 4. These aren’t big numbers. Am I missing something?” - Excerpt from Sentinel 9.1
↑Power: Driven - Squealer’s thinker power gives her 5 in Drive. She can take a -1 penalty to her skill ranks to operate it at full capacity while still maintaining some physical contact with the controls, and take a full-round of actions while controlling the vehicle (ie. shooting a full round with a machinegun while steering). - Playtest Capes, document by Wildbow.
↑Power: Mad Maxine - Squealer is a large scale vehicle tinker, her build list follows at the end of this entry. She can reduce the time of builds by 20%, skip a higher quality required component, or allow another augmentation (to a maximum of double standard) by adding the ‘make it bigger’ option on the list. ‘Make it bigger’ and added augmentations still require raw materials. - Playtest Capes, document by Wildbow.
↑ 100.0100.1Stinger Tinker specializing in propulsion, mainly jetpacks and missiles. - parahumanList, bolded edit by Wildbow.
↑ 101.0101.1String Theory Tinker favoring macro-scale doomsday devices, created objects had timers built in from start of creation process, with catastrophic misfires if interrupted. - parahumanList, bolded edit by Wildbow.
↑The Wards, their powers, how to use them? I thought. If I went by the PRT classifications, Tecton was a tinker with shaker capabilities. Wanton was a breaker, someone who altered themselves or their relation to the world by some characteristic of his power, becoming a shaker effect, a telekinetic storm. Annex was the same, only he became a living spacial distortion effect, a living application of Vista’s power. Golem, no doubt a shaker. - Excerpt from Crushed 24.1
↑“Tinker and thinker both. Architecture and geology sense. Armor lets me ‘ground’ kinetic energy like you might do with electricity. These are piledriver gauntlets,” he patted one gauntlet, “For creating fissures, generating localized earthquakes and other controlled demolition.” - Excerpt from Queen 18.5
↑Trainwreck was very similar to the Merchants’ Mush, but without the ability to reintegrate into a human form, and the parts couldn’t necessarily move easily. That said, he was his own power supply. He had tinker knowledge that he used to give his body workable joints and more complicated engineering/weapons. - Comment by Wildbow on Interlude 21.y
↑Mush (Deceased) – Classified as a Shifter, Mush could form amorphous or vaguely humanoid bodies out of trash, mud, dirt and sand. Killed by the Nine. - Cast (In Depth)
↑Then you get someone like Trainwreck, who doesn't have access to outside ideas. He's a case 53 tinker who needed to build himself a body. That example power 'crude tinkering' I noted before? That's his. He can work with scrap and develop something that works pretty damn well. His gear is fairly limited, but he can build it fast and he can build it with parts from a rusted old car. - Spacebattles post by Wildbow.
↑By and large, the shards would sabotage attempts at going to space. Even Sphere's moon base was probably doomed from the start. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑<Zeikos> Armsmaster's shard was regulated to kingdom come to avoid such scenario imho <Wildbow> So do AI tinkers. AI tinkers get heavily limited like nanotech tinkers do - IRC chat, posted on Spacebattles.