Mad Love - One Sheet

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“You want the real explanation or the technobabble explanation?”

Premise: mad scientists, able to tap into a vein of mad genius beyond the understanding of mere mortals, can shape the world to their whim. Doing so, though, is a constant flirtation with self-destruction. Love, or the hope of it, helps fight the excesses of the madness, but it is a fragile and dangerous thing in the hands of monsters.

The main inspiration, and the source of all the embedded quotations, is the webcomic, Narbonic.

“I'll make you pay. I'll make everyone pay. The world is mine.”

Setting: something an awful lot like the real world, but just slightly off. While the effects of mad science aren't wide spread, and the world is not in the thrall of a mad scientist, no one is especially surprised when a squad of armed, cannibalistic newt men rampages through downtown Basingstoke. Mad scientists are not especially common – maybe a few hundred genuine specimens exist worldwide – and their madness and petty rivalries do a better job of stopping them being a serious global threat than any organised opposition. That's not to say that one of them won't eventually destroy the world...

“Does this research show why people become mad geniuses?”
“The data is still mostly anecdotal. But causes are numerous: stress, personal tragedy, the laughter of fools...”
“The laughter of fools?”
“Usually those fools at the institute.”

Sorcerers are those who are driven by madness to do strange, terrible and impossible things. They can be mad scientists themselves, or possibly their henchmen, if the henchmen are more than human and every bit as mad as their masters.

“But I am your creator! You must obey me!!

Demons are the mad impulses that allow you to do wondrous and horrific things with science, but drive you towards destruction and insanity with their needs and desires. The physical demons could also be your creations, with needs and desires of their own, but the first demon has to be the character's madness.

“It's bad enough when the acid-vomiting lizard creature gunned down by the feds used to be the person who signed your paycheck. You don't want it to be your girlfriend, too.”

Humanity is love, particularly romantic love. Love tempers the sorcerers' madness and keeps them from going over the deep end. Zero humanity is the point at which all restraint is lost, and the sorcerer is no longer able to withstand being destroyed by their own creations.

“Let me explain things, computer. I am a mad scientist. Most of us are male. All of us have extremely poor social skills. Waiting for me at this very moment is the only woman with whom I am ever likely to have physical relations, and when I weighed this against my incipient conquest of Earth, the girl won out. Good day!”

Humanity can be gained by forging meaningful romantic bonds, performing acts of self-sacrifice for a loved one, or, potentially, by banishing the taint of mad science from the world. In turn, it is lost by betraying or harming someone who loves you, or by

“...I'm quite mad. My mind is steel and lightning and opens to the sky. Poor insect, you dare to speak to me about thinking?”

Lore is mad science, and rituals represent the act of creating strange and deadly machines, diseases, poisons, monsters, etc.

“I know what you're going through, you know. The inside of your head is much bigger than you ever could have imagined, and you're worried that you might never find your way out. I may as well spoil the suspense: you won't. What you are now is what you will be forevermore: lost in the storm.”

Contacting is surrendering to your madness for inspiration, and coming out with a fully-formed idea for an invention.

Summoning is the act of preparation and creation of the invention. This may involve body-snatching, stealing military secrets, mutating experimental subjects, etc.

“Correct me if I'm wrong, but this looks like an energy weapon that loads like a flintlock pistol. This crazy moon-crystal drops into the chamber, it goes poom, and a mean little laser shoots out. Thing is, it doesn't work as good as a normal gun. What's awesome is, this gun is like you! It's totally, mind-blowingly brilliant, but on a common-sense level it's dumb as a box of rocks! And in the end, it blows up in your face.”

Binding is the moment when your creation comes to life, and you have to learn control it, lest it rise up and destroy you.

Banishing is destroying the artefacts of mad science, or curing someone, including yourself, of a facet of his or her madness.

Cover is the Sorcerer's scientific speciality, or their job if they are a henchling.

“You don't want to go among mad people.”