Continuing with our look at She-Ra characters, we complete the exploration of the Super Pal Trio by taking a look at the master of First Ones technology, Entrapta. Similar to Scorpia, Entrapta is technically a princess, but her obsession with technology and difficulties with social interaction (readings of her as being autistic are not uncommon for a reason) isolate her from the rest of the Princess Alliance. After being left behind and presumed dead during a mission gone wrong, she ends up joining the Horde as part of Catra and Scorpia’s team, perfectly happy to build weapons and technology for them as long as they provide her the material and data she desires. As a result, she forms her first real group of close companions, develops a bond with Hordak himself that becomes pivotal to his own character development, and eventually is able to connect with the rest of the princess and become a major player in the defeat of Horde Prime’s empire.
So obviously, let’s figure out how to best capture her spirit in a tabletop game.
Like the other She-Ra characters I’ve analyzed so far we’ll be taking a look at how to best replicate being Entrapta in Evil Hat Production’s Thirsty Sword Lesbians. Furthermore, like Scorpia, we’ll be taking a look at the additional playbooks presented in the expansion set Advanced Lovers and Lesbians as there was one playbook in particular that feels very much line with her character. Get your computers, test tubes, and analysis programs ready to go as we explore how to play Entrapta in Thirsty Sword Lesbians.
I’m Not Good at People. I am Good at Tech…
What makes Entrapta an interesting variant of the “mad scientist/engineer” type of character is that she really isn’t motivated by a belief in precision and perfection but instead a belief in the beauty of imperfection. She desires to know and learn about things in order to better understand these imperfections, perhaps sometimes to fix them but more importantly to just know them. Without imperfection there is no experimentation, diversity, or change, and that would be absolutely terrifying to her.
Admittedly, when thinking about what book worked for her, I had initially looked at The Spooky Witch from the core book, but it’s overall mechanics are more geared towards the “girl who likes to talk to ghosts and stuff” kind of character than the “loves science and robots but has trouble understanding other people” character type. Fortunately, the Advanced Lovers and Lesbians expanded list of playbook options offers us The Hologoddess as the solution to that problem (though keep The Spooky Witch in mind for later).
The Hologoddess is inspired by the idea of a living robot who is learning how to be their best selves in a world filled with organics. Obviously, since Entrapta is not a robot herself, we’ll have to play a bit with the flavor of the book, but its central conflict – the sense of isolation from being able to relate to others because of how your mind views the world – is something that Entrapta is able to relate to. The prime example of this is her speech to Mermista during the attempt to get the signal needed to find Horde Prime’s flagship and rescue Glimmer where she admits she doesn’t understand people and hoped being good at tech could make up for it. It might not be the exact story of the Hologodess, but I think it’s clearly within the spirit of the playbook.
Because the Hologoddess is imagined to be, like, a robot or some other artificial creature, their Extra mechanic – Hologlamour – is flavored as being a specialized facade that the being puts around them, each with a Bonus and Bug. For playing Entrapta we can instead look at each different glamour as a different type of person Entrapta could be. From that perspective, Entrapta is very clearly “Stardust”, which is the science oriented glamour (though she wears an engineering jumpsuit over short skirts and a labcoat; pocket protector full of dreams optional). The Bonus for this glamour is that whenever you have time to study something with specialized equipment you can ask the GM any question related to it, something, which, well, is spot on Entrapta. The bug, meanwhile, is that you’re an “ideas” person” and if you’re the first person to act in a crisis or enter danger, mark a Condition. While this can be read to mean the person does not do well under and needs time to think, for Entrapta we can instead use this to reflect on her tendency to charge forth without really thinking about consequences sometimes in her pursuit of knowledge, which can possibly lead to bad consequences she feels bad for later.
Compared to some of the other Extras we’ve talked about in this series, this is a pretty straightforward one mechanically, so let’s go ahead and start looking at the various moves.
In an unusual twist, the Hologoddess does not start with a particular playbook move but instead we’re left to pick two moves to start and an additional two moves as the game is played. This is freedom is appreciated as I can move straight ahead to my list of suggestions of moves from the playbook to be picked in about any order you wish..
- Anti-Virus: When someone with a String on you is threatened, once per session you can defend them even if it seems impossible and take +1 Forward to protect them. Despite her struggles in connecting with people, Entrapta does truly care about them and wants to help, and this move will help you do that. With her amazing hacking and tech skills, no one is truly out of reach of her assistance.
- Encartography: Reflecting the vast stores of data available to you, this move lets you roll +Spirit whenever you’re trying to recall information relevant to a challenge before you, with a 10+ being perfect recall and a 7-9 leading you to miss something but you’re not sure what. In terms of Entrapta, this feels like a pretty straightforward move to pick up at the start. As Etheria’s number one tech expert, First One’s expert, and having more scanners than you can shake a stick at, she’s got a lot of data at hand but might not always be able to pull up the exact thing you want as her passion and curiosity distracts her.
- Please State the Nature of Your Psychiatric Emergency: Entrapta is not always exactly subtle when attempting to reach out to others when they’re feeling down, and as such is both sometimes a bit too direct and too oversharing about her own thoughts and feelings. This move treats this as a good thing, however, allowing you to ask someone what they’re hiding when rolling a 10+ on Emotional Support in return for oversharing and having to answer one of their own questions.
- Sharp with Numbers: When you do fight, your skills come from your mastery of the field, not strength. By letting you Fight with +Spirit of instead of +Daring, this move will give Entrapta a little more oomf to the battlefield, and also give her perfect ability to know where she is. Despite her looks, Entrapta is pretty capable on her own, and manipulating that hair takes a lot more work than what you might think. About the only real flavor change her is that in many cases her ability to move through the battlefield is often purely secondary to her true goals, which if anything really hits home her abilities.
If there is one weakness to the Hologoddess for playing Entrapta, it’s that a lot of the moves focus a bit more on the fighting side than the tech side. Sure, Entrapta is not incapable, but at the end of the day she is more of a support character than a front liner, making many of the moves like “Justice through Precision” or “Force Multiplication” not the greatest fit for her. Fortunately, you also pick up two moves from other playbooks as you wish. And this brings us back to The Spirit Witch since, with a little reflavoring, many of that book’s moves I think do fit Entrapta well even if the overall book doesn’t work.
- Eerie Companion: Replace pet monster/spirit with “robot”, and we got a move to represent Emily. Entrapta’s personal robot companion can provide her assistance to two basic moves of your choice (getting a +1 to those moves when it helps) in return for them being always obvious and somewhat alarming to ordinary people. That’s fine though, because the people who matter love Emily like family, and you also get to talk to monsters (or, again, robots).
- Talk Nerdy to Me: Who needs flirting when you can talk about how your new mecha-suit will help your boyfriend Hordak out? This move lets you roll +Wit instead of +Heart to Entice someone while also granting you top-tier knowledge in an area of study that you always have an interesting (and sometimes useful) fact in. That alone probably makes the move useful for being Entrapta, who is always ready to talk about her scientific passions: being able to seduce someone with nerd talk is really just a bonus.
Near the end of season four, under the influence of whatever it was that had taken possession of Beast Island, Entrapta comments that she “wasn’t suited for friendship” and desired to remain on the island with the First Ones data. If I had to pick a moment to represent why I ultimately went with the Hologoddess playbook for her, it was that one. Despite these comments, however, Entrapta does truly want to be friends with others and build connections, but simply struggles with how to do so. Her connections with the princesses, her connections with Hordak, all suggest that while she may never truly 100% “get” other people, she’s done a pretty good job of figuring out how to fit in anyways.
Thank you all for reading this entry in my “How to Play” series. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power is currently available on Netflix. Thirsty Sword Lesbians is produced by Evil Hat Productions and is now available on their website. If you have any suggestions for characters and systems you’d like me to take a look at, feel free to offer them in the comments below.