- Agatha is a Latin name, coming from a Greek word meaning "good". However, the famous St. Agatha of Sicily was a third-century martyr, and her many patronages include... er... the bosom. Very apt, even if unintentional.
- The Danish Army's elite soldiers are called the Jaegers. And they speak English like that.
- Dolokov's name may or may not be a reference to the Manipulative Bastard and Karma Houdini of War and Peace.
- The whole story is full of modified historical domain characters:
- Master Payne is a real person, who has several personas and performs amusing magic tricks.
- Van Rijn, master Spark, artisan, the creator of the Muses, though few nowadays know his full name, "Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn".
- The circus cook, when his calming pie works — magnificently — on Agatha, exclaims, "Take that, Brillat-Savarin!" Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826) was a famous French expert on high-quality eating, famous for advocating a high-protein, low-carb diet (thus likely to disapprove of pies in general). He's also the origin of the saying, "You are what you eat."
- Othar Tryggvassen's name comes from the 10th Century Norwegian king Olaf Tryggvason.
- Ascended Fanon: The Reddit AMA provided one (through our very own PK, no less):PKSchefflera: Goofy question: Was the bonsai hedge maze in the Storm King opera actually a stage translation of Mechanicsburg's thorn wall?
Phil: It is now.
- Creator's Favorite: The Jaegers are apparently so loved by the authors that they keep involving them in the plot. Not that anyone's complaining.
- Defictionalization: Some of the better in-comic T-shirt designs find their way into the Foglios' store. ("Fools! I will destroy you all! (Ask me how!)")
- SF author Charles Stross is shown wearing one of these shirts on his trope page.
- Demand Overload: The creators did it to themselves, and it takes a bit of explaining. Basically, it started off as a print comic. When the Foglios turned it into a webcomic, they had two different archives updating at the same time: the "101 archive" where they digitized the original print run, and the "advanced class archive", where they continued the story where the print run left off. In July 2007, the 101 archive caught up with the beginning of the advanced class archive. The volume of readers archive binging the advanced archive was enough to crash the comic's server.
- Fan Nickname: "The Sneaky Gate", loading a comic page by its date-determined URL, often several updates before its official release. Despite most webcartoonists' less-than-positive attitude toward this trick, often openly referenced on fan communities — although this is invariably from the copy on studiofoglio.net, not the main page.
- I Knew It!: One incident overlaps with The Un-Twist on the YMMV page. In general, fans reward each other for correct predictions with "Moxana points" (much like winning Internets).
- The Merch: Some shirts are available; one of them says "FOOLS! I will destroy you all! Ask me how!"
- Quote Source: Provides the page quotes for Amputation Stops Spread, Nice Hat (Webcomics), Spotting the Thread, The Spymaster, and Why Did It Have to Be Snakes??
- Throw It In!
- When Phil was drawing the scene which first introduced the Baron, he filled an "empty" spot with a rather scruffy-looking soldier. As soon as anybody saw him, they liked him and wanted to see more. Thus were born the Jägers.
- Maxim of the Jägers was originally a silly little drawing of a Bishounen jäger for Kaja, who promptly informed him that he WOULD appear in the comic.
- The Wiki Rule: The Department of Almost Certainly True History can be accessed through this elegant and finely-crafted link.
This webcomic has named the following tropes:
- Gaslamp Fantasy
- Gentleman Adventurer
- The Madness Place
- The Spark of Genius
- Sufficiently Analyzed Magic
- Provided the original trope name (And It Worked) for The Extremist Was Right, and currently provides the page quote.
This webcomic provides the page image for:
- All Webbed Up
- Arbitrary Skepticism
- Audience Participation
- Big Electric Switch
- Bottled Heroic Resolve
- Clueless Chick Magnet
- Cool Airship
- Damsel Scrappy
- Eldritch Abomination.Web Comics
- Emperor Scientist
- Everything Trying to Kill You
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!
- Functional Magic
- Gadgeteer Genius
- Gargle Blaster
- Gaslamp Fantasy
- How Dare You Die on Me!
- Insurrectionist Inheritor
- Know When to Fold 'Em
- Little "No"
- Made of Plasticine
- The Madness Place
- Mechanical Monster
- The Men First
- Minion Maracas
- Motor Mouth
- Nice Hat.Web Comics
- Out of Focus
- Pictorial Speech Bubble
- Science-Related Memetic Disorder
- Shout-Out.Web Comics
- Showing Off the New Body
- Sickly Green Glow
- Sufficiently Analyzed Magic
- Throw the Book at Them
- Torture for Fun and Information
- Virtue Is Weakness
The Secret Blueprints
The Foglios have thoughtfully provided quite a lot of background and detail for fans of the series. these details were lovingly collected in a document entitled "the Secret Blueprints." Fans do not need to worry about spoilers, as much of these details are merely background stories, lending depth to the characters. You can buy a PDF format of the blueprints, complete with new illustrations and other extra stuff here.
Here is the basic information (also available on the Girl Genius Wiki):
- 1: The Secret Blueprints
- 2: Sparks & the Long War
Unfortunately, those with the Spark usually get along like wet cats. With some notable exceptions, they tend to find each other interesting and hard to stay away from, but quickly begin to squabble. In these circles of mad geniuses, tempers can run high over even small matters of politics. The effect of such disagreements is negligible when the opponents are botanists who study genetic variation in pea plants, but can be devastating when one or both are botanists capable of growing armies of giant carnivorous pea plants with ambulatory stalks.
The Long War was inevitable. How it started is unknown. There were always conflicts between rival Houses, so keeping track of who was fighting or not fighting at any given time became confusing and ultimately pointless. Eventually everybody was simply fighting everybody else. This simplified things greatly.
At last, all of the Great Houses were involved. Monstrosities both mechanical and biological laid waste to town and country, altering the very landscape as a result of their conflicts. Major migrations took place as people caught between aggressors attempted to flee the zones of destruction, or as various Houses recruited workers for their factories and soldiers for their armies. The conflicts ranged across the globe and in some places continue to this day.
- 3: The Heterodynes
The Heterodyne Boys, as they came to be known, carried the Spark in spades. At a young age, they took their place among the most powerful of the Great Houses. And they used this power for Good. The Heterodyne Boys one mission was to stop the ravages of the Long War and clean up the damage left by the fighting. So extraordinary were their abilities that they were able to erase the evil history of their family in one generation. Now when people talk about the Heterodynes, it is as Heroes on the scale of King ArthurGreat Ones who will someday return to bring peace to the world.For twenty-three years, the Heterodyne Boys travelled the globe negotiating peace, stopping monsters and shutting off doomsday devices. Along the way they collected an extraordinary group of like-minded companions, all of whom took their places in the growing body of folklore surrounding these remarkable people. It was a golden age of adventure.
- 4: The Other
This raising of the stakes had the temporary effect of uniting the remaining Houses, and for a brief time the usual rivalries were put aside. The world looked to its favorite heroes for salvation, and after a brief period of research and preparation, the Heterodyne Boys set out to see what they could do about the Other. They were never heard from again. Roughly a year after their departure, The Other suddenly went quiet. There was no indication of cause. Stories and rumors ran wild. Many people were certain that the Heterodyne Boys had been successful in their quest, but others felt that whatever made the Heterodynes disappear must be terrible indeed, and was probably still out there.
The remaining Houses, mostly minor powers, resumed squabbling immediately, but a darker mood prevailed. Most of the Great Sparks were missing or dead. In many cases, their creations and machines remained to trouble a countryside already ravaged by the Others attacks. People feared and resented the Great Houses even more than usual. To this day it is not uncommon for children who begin to display the signs of the Spark, (or indeed any abnormal behavior) to be killed, sometimes even by their own families. The World, already in a state of turmoil, plunged ever deeper into a dark age with little communication between regions.
Into this scene stepped Baron Klaus Wulfenbach. No one knows his whereabouts for the duration of the Others attack, but his dramatic return is well documented. Exploding forth with a terrifying array of machines and creatures, he engineered a series of conquests that quickly absorbed most of what was Eastern Europe. Within the borders of his empire, Klaus has achieved an end to the Long War. The Great Houses that remain independent try to keep a low profile and dream of his downfall. Klaus is not loved, but he is respected and feared, and those who violate his peace are put down swiftly and permanently.
- 5: Agatha Clay/Agatha Heterodyne
Agatha was raised in Beetleburg, the town surrounding Transylvania Polygnostic University, and has attended classes there since she was fifteen. Her life at the University has been difficult and frustrating. She is very smart, but her mind has a strong tendency to wander. She also suffers severe headaches whenever she gets upset, something that happens all too frequently. She has persevered mainly due to an extreme stubborn streak and the encouragement of The TyrantDr. Beetle. Beetle is the head of the University and absolute ruler of the small city state surrounding it. Dr. Beetle has always been interested in Agatha and has acted as her mentor and protector.
Because of the Tyrants patronage, Agathas presence at the University is tolerated. Most of the staff simply assumes that every mad scientist needs a weird assistant, and Beetle just got a prettier one than usual. This does not mean that she is liked. She is oblivious to the academic politics that swirl about any such institution and thus has few allies.Agathas trilobite locket is a common design throughout the Known World. Originally it was worn by the Heterodyne Boys and their retainers, but it has come to be a badge of hope introubled times. Large deposits of these fossils are found near Castle Heterodyne and the brooches have become a sort of pilgrimage badge and souvenir of a visit to the birthplace of the popular heroes. Although many people wear the badge, Agathas is a real family heirloom.
- 6: Adam and Lilith Clay
The pair were not built to have children, and Agatha has been their closest concern since she was tiny. Charged with her protection, Adam and Lilith have stayed put as long as possible, passing Agatha off as their daughter and seeing to her education. They have mixed feelings concerning her. On one hand they love her and are happy to have had a child to raise, but on the other they are increasingly worried. Eleven years ago, Beetleburg was an independent city-state ruled by Dr. Beetle, an old friend and mentor of Barrys. Beetle was the only other person who knew who Agatha was, and the only person in the Known World they could trust to handle the problems that would arise if her Spark became too powerful for the inhibiting device that she wore. Beetleburg has now become an island surrounded by Wulfenbach lands. Beetle is aware that his power is eroding and there is an air of desperation about him that makes Adam and Lilith uneasy.
Adam serves as a machinist and blacksmith to the townsfolk and the local farmers, and his machine shop is conveniently located near the citys walls. Lilith keeps the books for the shop and gives piano lessons.
Both Adam and Lilith generally wear clothing that conceals their obvious stitch marks and skin tone variations. Lilith disguises her oversize left eye with special glasses.
- 7: Dr. Tarsus Beetle & Transylvania Polygnostic
When Barry left Agatha with the Clays, it was for a trip either so unimportant or so secret that he never bothered to tell anyone where he was going. Beetle is worried, but his first care is his University, which he will not leave vulnerable by his absence. He has not yet sent out a search party, since to do so would require him to betray his friends trust. Barry was very clear that no one should know that he was still alive, in fact took great pains to foster the rumor of his death. For many years, Beetle felt that he knew the Heterodynes well enough to trust that Barry could take care of himself, and that a long delay might not call for interference. Later he began to actively collect rumors and information about unusual activity in the outside world, hoping to get some kind of clue as to Barrys whereabouts. Unfortunately, there have been no leads worth following.
Transylvania Polygnostic is one of the Grand Old European Schools, worthy of comparison to The Great Universities in Paris, Wittenburg and Oxford. The town and lands around the University make up the town of Beetleburg, which has been ruled by a continuing line of Tyrants since the founding of the College. Beetles students are terrified of him, a state that he encourages, but he is a brilliant administrator and is adored by town and University alike. He is the most beloved Tyrant in the history of the University despite (or possibly because of) his ruthlessness in putting down lawbreakers.
Although Baron Wulfenbachs holdings have grown to surround Beetles territory, Klaus has so far left Beetleburg alone out of deference to his old teacher. In return, Beetle is expected to send full reports of any student that exhibits signs of the Spark. Such people are unusual, potentially dangerous and of acute interest to the Baron. Beetle is also required to immediately report and turn over any unusual machines or creatures that the University ground crews may discover. Artifacts from the Long War still litter the landscape, and some are still quite dangerous. Artifacts of the Other are of special danger and importance, and Klaus has left strict instructions as to the treatment of such items. At this time, Beetle is hiding several forbidden items in hopes that they might give him a weapon against Klaus in what he sees as an inevitable conflict.
- 8: Dr. Silas Merlot & Dr. Hugo Glassvitch
Merlot sees the power and prestige of those with the Spark and desperately wants this for himself. Sadly for him, he has yet to produce any work of great worth or creativity. He is a fine assistant, but is not the type to handle power well, so it is probably for the best that he has not Broken Through, and probably never will. Sparks of his personality type tend to be vindictive and cruel when they come to power.
Merlot hates Agatha, mostly because her clumsy unworkable devices remind him of his own failed attempts at greatness. Dr. Hugo Glassvitch studied in Paris, then came to Transylvania Polygnostic. He has worked with Beetle ever since. He is the Chief of Research for the University, a much more interesting and desirable job than that of Second-in-Command/Scapegoat. Merlot knows and resents this, but Glassvitch is his closest colleague and the nearest thing that he has to a friend, so he tries to be civil. For Merlot, this is a real effort.
Glassvitch is a brilliant scientist, although apparently without the Spark. He is perceptive enough to understand some of Merlots unhappiness and kind enough to tolerate the man, mostly out of pity. Merlot knows and resents this too, but not enough to relinquish the one friend that he has.
Glassvitch has a great heart and is kind to everyone around him, but he genuinely likes Agatha. She has been a student in some of his classes over the years and he can see that, for all her difficulties, she really does possess a deep love of Knowledge. He feels sorry for her constant frustration with her work, and tries to give encouragement whenever possible.
- 9: Baron Klaus Wulfenbach
Klaus is one of the most powerful of the Gifted in known history. The Sparks tend to be specialists. They produce giant insects, or flying warships, or surgically enhanced super-soldiers. Klaus genius lies in his ability to absorb and integrate the work of others, and usually improve upon it. His primary interest, however, has always been the nature of the Spark itself.
Klaus spent much of his early adulthood adventuring with the Heterodyne Boys. He believed that their unique idealism could solve the problems that fueled the Long War. The friendship changed with the addition of Lucrezia Mongfish, the daughter of a truly evil mad scientist that the group went up against on several of their expeditions. Although she had initially been helping her father in his plans, Lucrezia was eventually convinced of the error of her ways and joined the group of heroes. A tense love triangle developed that ended with Lucrezias marriage to Bill Heterodyne and Klaus disappearance. It was generally assumed that he, as the defeated rival, withdrew for a time to forget the girl who rejected him.
Klaus was not heard from at all during the years when the Other was active. Many people whisper that Klaus himself was the Other and the devastating attacks were a hideous revenge directed at the Heterodynes. Klaus returned only after the Others attacks had ceased, and he returned in a very bad mood. His early idealism had vanished and his new strategy was simple. He drew a circle on the map and declared everything within it his territory. Every year the circle grew. Aside from a few basic rules, things were to stay the same. The ruling Sparks would stay in power, but no hostilities whatsoever were allowed. Any breach of this Peace was met with ruthless conquest and the swift removal of the aggressors. At first no one took this very seriously, and many of the Gifted rose to challenge Klaus. He wound up in control of much of Europe in just a few years.
Even though he stopped the fighting, Klaus is not popular. The surviving Great Houses want their power back, and the common people believe him to be responsible for the ruin of the Heterodynes. In stories, folksongs and plays, Klaus is usually portrayed as a traitor, always as a villain. Few people bother to point out that it speaks well for his rule that no retaliation is ever made for such amusements.
Even though they dislike and fear him, the people know that the Barons Peace will most likely only last as long as Klaus himself. On account of this, there are many wishes for his continued good healthat least until the Heterodynes return.
- 10: Gilgamesh Wulfenbach
No-one knows who his mother was. The most prevalent rumors claim that he is the son of Klaus and Lucrezia Mongfish, or that he is a Gifted youth that Klaus has secretly adopted, or that he has no mother and Klaus, in need of an heir, simply built him in the laboratory.
What is known is that for the last several years Gil was living under an assumed name in Paris, where he was a student at the University. When his time at the University ended, he was brought back to Castle Wulfenbach openly as Klaus son and heir. This has caused a tremendous stir in the Known World, and great disappointment to those who had hoped for an eventual end to Baron Wulfenbachs rule. More optimistic rivals point out that there are few who could hold Klaus empire, and there is no reason to believe that this new heir is one of those few.For the last month Gil has been travelling with his father. Klaus seems to be taking pains to annoy his son and keep him off balance, setting up elaborate tests with seemingly pointless results. Most witnesses agree that the idea is to test the strength of Gils Spark, but some have suspicions that the Baron may have some other goal in mind. All the rumors currently circulating conclude with the opinion that if the Baron is not satisfied with the results, things will not go well for the young man.
Gil has heard these rumors.
He was happy as a student in Paris and is miserable now. He is beginning to feel like a piece of luggage dragged from place to place, he isnt allowed to do anything but tag along with his father and watch, and he is getting very annoyed with the constant testing. He wants very much to please his father, but simply cannot figure out what Klaus is looking for. To make matters worse, Klaus is always right. Always. This quality never sits well with those with the Spark, and it is beginning to grate tremendously with Gil. In an effort to keep from going mad with boredom, Gil has begun making a game out of trying to catch his father in any kind of mistake at all. This has proven to be a bad idea, since he hasnt managed it yet and the failure is only making him more irritable.
Gil sees little in his future besides a life trapped on the Castle (Wulfenbachs giant airship) as the heir of a ruler who, in his opinion, is unlikely to ever allow himself to die. Recent experience suggests that Gil will not be allowed to take any serious risks or go anywhere unattended. He has a lab of his own on the Castle, but his father has kept him too busy with tests to do much in it as yet.
Gil is not a bad person by nature, but he is beginning to think that becoming one might prove extremely useful. Or at least provide a change.
- 11: Boris Vasily Konstantin Andrei Myshkin Dolokhov
Klaus has a sharp eye for talent, and could tell that Boris strength did not lie in the field of entertainment. Boris became Klaus secretary, and soon rose to the level of second-in- command. He is a fine administrator and iscompletely loyal to Klaus, whom he views as the man who saved him from a life of undignified slavery.
Boris has little imagination and practically no sense of humor. He is prissy and easily annoyed, and anything that is not orderly gets on his nerves. He hates the Jägermonsters for their noisy, chaotic nature and for what he claims to see as their extraordinary stupidity. The truth is that there is no one else quite like Boris. He has no family. The Jägermonsters camaraderie and gristly good humor inspire a deep envy in a man who feels very much alone. The Jägermonsters, in turn, pick on Boris at every opportunity. They find his preoccupation with his own personal dignity to be so easy a target that it would be positively wrong not to make a joke of it. This does not help the secretarys mood toward them at all, and Boris obvious annoyance merely serves as encouragement.
Boris has worked with Klaus for many years now, and has been attacked by Things Man Was Not Meant To Know more times than he cares to remember (even though he actually can remember, and if you ask him, the number is 356. Unless you count the time Dr. Migstrom hit him with a radish pie, which he hardly thinks qualifies.) He still hasnt got used to it, but its better than a stupid hat with bells on.
If you pour enough vodka into Boris, he will preform his special party trickjuggling the hors doeuvres while playing the balalaika. He does not like to go to parties, but he gets invited a lot.
- 12: The Jägermonsters
Klaus uses the Monsters primarily for scare tactics, and they are still fairly bored, but at least they have a job and get to fight once in a while. The Jägermonsters are practically indestructible, and many of the original company are still around. They are used to relying on their Gifted master to patch damage and sew on new parts, but they will not let Klaus touch them. They view the details of their creation as proprietary information and would rather go without parts than let an outsider discover their secrets.
- 13: Clanks
The clanks built by Klaus Wulfenbach have so far proven superior to every other type currently being used, including those of his old instructor, Dr. Beetle, who has been a leader in this area for years.
- 14: The Castle Wulfenbach Airship
Instead of rebuilding, he began work on a giant airship which was named in honor of the old castle. This is the administrative seat of Klaus empire, and it is the only capital city in the Known World with the unsettling habit of looming over the horizon in times of trouble.The Castle has a staff of hundreds of domestics, laboratory assistants and bureaucrats which is entirely separate from the large crew that actually runs the vessel.
The Castle itself is very slow, travelling continually from place to place in a stately tour of the Empire. When speed is needed, one of the smaller auxiliary airships is used. The Castle either catches up eventually or the smaller ship simply returns home when its business is completed. Each smaller airship has its own crew and its own captain, as does the main ship. The Castles Captain is the ultimate authority on board, excepting Klaus and Boris, who rarely interfere with the day-to-day running of the ship.
Although the Castle is huge, Klaus tries to keep all but the most essential laboratories and offices in various towns and Universities on the ground. His own labs and quarters are on board the Castle, as are the new quarters set up for the use of his son.
The Castle never lands, and many people on board havent set foot on the ground in years.
- 15: Von Pinn
One of the more interesting groups on board the Castle is the collection of Pupils overseen by Von Pinn. Many parts of the Empire are still administered by their original rulers, who answer to Klaus in a relationship that is frankly feudal. Klaus has adopted the Roman Emperors custom of keeping the firstborn of each Great House in his power. The polite explanation is that they are being raised in an ideal situation to learn the craft of ruling, but everyone knows that they are also hostages kept to ensure the good behavior of Klaus vassals.
This group of children and young adults is a very important group of people, and Von Pinns job is to make sure that nothing happens to them. She takes her job very seriously and is fiercely protective of her charges. In her mind, everyone is a potential threat and is to be treated accordingly. People on board the Castle have learned to be very careful around any of the Pupils, to treat them kindly and with respect. Von Pinn doesnt usually stop to ask questions when she is angry. She has even been known to snarl at Klaus on occasion, although her loyalty is unquestioned.
Von Pinn is an extremely well-made construct, much stronger and more difficult to damage than Adam or Lilith Clay. Although her existence is not generally known outside the Castle, on board the airship she is the most speculated-about person in the Known World. There are more rumors about her amongst the crew and domestic staff than about Klaus himself. It is said that she isnt a construct at all, but actually a princess from a kingdom on the Moon (ridiculous), that she is the reanimation of a dead Lucrezia Mongfish (an interesting idea) or that she is a construct built by Klaus to replace his lost love (unlikely). The latest rumor to go around is that she is Gils mother, but others maintain that as an infant Gil was found in a giant speckled egg in an extinct volcano, so the jury is still out. Whatever her relationship to Gil, it is obvious that Von Pinn considers him her prize student and she is even more insanely protective of him than of her usual charges.
The Jägermonsters are all in love with Von Pinn. She has already put three of them in the hospital for getting too familiar. This of course only makes the rest of them worship her more and they follow her around trying to be impressive whenever she is unwise enough to come near their barracks. The Jägermonsters are very bored and Von Pinn gives them something to think about. She is beginning to think that she will have to kill one of them to get the message across, but worries that this will backfire and that she will then never get rid of them.
- 16: Ardsley Wooster
Wooster was raised in the Glass City section of London, and though only a few years older than Gilgamesh Wulfenbach, has traveled extensively. The Queen of England has decreed that all British children should visit the surface world, a policy which has resulted in a remarkably cosmopolitan populace.
Though Wooster does not have the Spark, he showed a remarkable aptitude for science along with diverse other useful traits, and has been schooled at the Oxford College of Non-Intuitive Mechanics as well as the Paris Institute of the Extraordinary. It was here that he met the incognito Gilgamesh, who quietly recommended him as a lab assistant aboard Castle Wulfenbach. He proved himself extremely capable in his first two years on the Castle, and was recently surprised and pleased to find himself assigned as First Assistant to the heretofore unknown Wulfenbach heir. Surprise turned to astonishment when said heir returned home and Wooster discovered that this mysterious person was in fact his old acquaintance from school.
The two young men have an easygoing, but still professional, relationship. Wooster performs his duties well, and Gil enjoys hearing about Wooster's travels. It is an arrangement that, for different reasons, both find quite satisfactory.
- 17: His Royal Highness Krosp I
Krosp began life as an experiment aboard Castle Wulfenbach. His creator, a scientist with the Spark, had a muddled idea that it would be a good idea to create a leader that could command armies of animals. After all, there are cats everywhere, in practically every barn and alley. If only they would rise up and do his bidding!
Part of the brain of a great general was used in the construction, and the military genius of this man carried over to the subject, just as the creator hoped. Krosp does indeed have great leadership skills, a strong sense of logic and a brilliant mind. His knowledge of strategy and tactics has been perfected through two years of intense study. The problem was in the idea behind the experiment. Cats, and indeed some other animals, do recognize that this is a seriously major double-alpha cat, they just dont care. Although Krosp possesses an extraordinary human intelligence, the intelligence of his subjects is, well, that of cats. They dont understand complex commands. They dont form armies. They dont remember even simple instructions for long. What they do is sleep. The experiment was a failure, and Krosp was ordered destroyed.
Before this order could be carried out, Krosp escaped. The lab assistant responsible for his termination made no report of the mistake, and the experiment was duly logged and forgotten. Krosp was able to hide on board the Castle, but he couldnt get off the giant airship. After months of frantic studying as he tried to figure out how to fly one of the smaller lifeboat airships, he finally came to the unhappy conclusion that although he now knew how to fly the craft, his stubby arms and feet wouldnt reach the controls. Then he met Agatha.
His great loves are military history, strategy games and good food. He has human-style thumbs and is bipedalwalking on all fours hurts his back after a whilebut he is in every other way still a cat. He considers Agatha to be both his friend and his Very First Real Subject (she is the first person who ever actually responded favorably to one of his requests) and is protective to a fault.
- 18: Othar Tryggvassen GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER!
Stories of Othar have been making the tavern rounds for the last few years. Not a lot is known about him, but rumor is rapidly assigning him a place in folklore as a young hero on the model of the Heterodyne Boys. Some even say that he is a lost Heterodyne heir. This idea is suspect even in villages where the wildest rumors circulate, since there have been many claimants to that title in the past, and so far all have proven false.
Nevertheless, Othar has a growing reputation as a Serious Good Guy, and the storytellers are delighted. Tales of Othar defeating monsters, rescuing whole towns and stopping the nefarious plans of any number of evil villains have become almost as popular as the old favorites about the Heterodyne Boys, and people who can tell them (and embellish them in interesting ways) are eating well in every town. People love their entertainment.
Othar attended school in the city of Oslo. It is also known that he spent some time in Paris, where he is believed to have been acquainted with Gilgamesh Wulfenbach. This is probably trueOthar is a brilliant scientist and a powerful Spark, and although he would have been a few years ahead of Gil, it is likely that the two students would have had much in common. Othar is also said to have actually been in Oslo when it was destroyed, which makes him one of the few survivors of the tragedy. The populace gets a lot of mileage out of this one, saying that it is this terrible experience that inspired him to become the hero that he is today. Since no one can agree what exactly this terrible experience was, the storytellers are free to make up whatever suits the story.
One of the strangest, most contradictory things about the Gifted is that although most people want to kill or control them (or, in the case of most sane people, get out of their way) there are always those who want to help them. The Spark almost inevitably attracts followers, assistants and lackeys and often inspires fanatical loyalty. Many think that this is some actually some mystical side effect of the Gift, but it is probably just human nature.
Othar has already attracted a small group of loyal companions who only help to reinforce comparisons to the vanished Heterodynes.
- 19: Bangladesh Dupree
After assuming power, Bangladesh led the pirates to gory plunder for two years, slowly building up power and resources. Her plan was to regain control of her mothers lost city and take her rightful place as ruler. Her plans were carefully laid and the time was nearly right. She eagerly looked forward to the bloody reign of terror that would provide retribution for her peoples disloyalty.
Her plans collapsed when she returned from a solitary excursion to find her fortress a smoking ruin. Every last pirate was dead and the munitions and supplies that she had stockpiled in preparation for the attack were destroyed. There was no trace of the attacking army, and no hint of who was behind the destruction.
Left alone and with nothing but the clothes she wore and the supplies she carried, Bang made a solemn oath before her familys very unpleasant God to find and destroy whomever was responsible for the ruin of her plans. Then to find their families. Then their friends. Then anyone else who might be handy. Then a few more random people just for fun. And THEN... (she can go on like this at length, but well stop here.) Only then would she regain her city and make the inhabitants REALLY wish they had never been born.
But first, she needed a job.
Although Bangladesh has a talent for finding things and people, she has not yet managed to discover much about the attack on her fortress. She hired on as a secondary airship captain for Klaus Wulfenbach with the idea that news of such matters must eventually come to the ears of the largest Power on the continent. Klaus knows who she is and what she is looking for, and part of the price of her services is the promise of information should any come to light. Although he finds her distasteful, Klaus is a good judge of talent and finds it useful to employ a wide range of personality types. He knows how to use even the most alarming of his people to his best advantage.
Bang is very good at the things she does and she enjoys her work. Of course, if she ever does find her enemy and set out to take up her old pirating ways, she will have to be dealt with, but that is a problem for the future. For now she is useful, and that is all that matters.
- 20: Moloch & Omar von Zinzer
Moloch and Omar von Zinzer are the last of a group of nine brothers who set out to seek their fortune as soldiers in the army of the Mad Duke dOmas. This was, in hindsight, a terrible idea, but the uniforms were great and the pay was good. Many young men found themselves making the same decision in order to try to escape the chaos and lawlessness of the Outlands. The von Zinzer brothers single biggest mistake was in not fighting for the House of Wulfenbach.
When dOmas went to war against Klaus, Moloch and his brothers were part of the crew of the walking gunboat Vienna. The gunboat was big, impressive, and like the rest of dOmas fleet, didnt stand a chance. The army was scattered and the brothers found themselves stranded deep within the wilds of Wulfenbach territory. Moloch and Omar are to their knowledge the only survivors.
Now that it is just the two of them, things are getting a little tense between the brothers. Used to being in the center of a large, loud family, they are unused to the concept of being alone with their thoughts. Add to this the fact that they are wandering in the lands of a frightening enemy, and you get very nervous people indeed. Omar is handling the situation marginally better than Moloch, as he is a born opportunist and enjoys the excitement. Moloch is wishing that he had never left home, and is discovering that his older brother is really kind of an awful person and that he actually doesnt like him very much. He finds this depressing.
The pair is in the process of walking home, but arent really sure where home is.
- 21: The Hopefully Unnecessary Glossary
- To Break Throughto reach the point where it is obvious from ones work or behavior that one has the Spark. Some say that the Spark does not exist in potential, and that Breaking Through is that point at which the Spark develops. This is a dangerous time for one of the Gifted, when their existence is known but they may not yet have built up the power or ability to defend themselves.
- Clanksrobots, autonomous mechanical devices, usually, but not necessarily, somewhat anthropoid.
- Constructsusually organic creations, Frankenstein-type monsters, etc.
- The Giftedanother polite term for the Mad Scientists
- Madboys/Madgirlsa not so polite term for the Gifted, used by the general public.
- Mimmothstiny verminous mammoths. Originally somebodys experiment, they escaped and quickly populated most of Europe. They fill the same niche as mice and tend to live alongside them. They get into machinery and push things around with their tusks, wreaking havoc.
- Mummersalso referred to as revenants. People and animals that the Other has taken over. They retain their own consciousness and are usually allowed to go about their daily business, but are under the complete control of the Other, should he choose to exercise it. Their life is in many ways a living hell, as they are always aware of a master force in their head. There is no known cure except death.
- The Outlandsthe wild areas outside of the main cities. Even though these areas might lie within someones domain as you see it on the map, they tend to be dangerous to traverse.
- Slaver Waspsthe transport form for the controlling mechanics of the Other. Nasty things whose purpose is enslavement, but will kill if resisted. Extremely fast and dangerous, they usually appear in swarms. None have been seen for years.
- The Sparkwhatever it is that makes Mad Scientists what they are. A poorly understood concept that identifies and incorporates a batch of personality traits shared by those who have it. Also referred to as the Gift, the Touch, the Curse, the Madness, the Doom, etc. Also referred to as his or her Spark, in this case a personal quality. Also used as another term for a Mad Scientistyou would say that someone is a Spark if they have the Spark.