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Each character has a special invention
Can the special invention of a character not being used be one of the 5 random inventions available to build at the beginning of the game?
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The special items of each character have to be handled a little differently. Each special item of a character that IS IN PLAY is removed from the invention card deck prior to shuffling it. Then, five cards are drawn and placed on the board, in addition to the 9 regular cards already there.
The special items removed this way are given to the respective characters, to be put next to the character sheet.
So in short: no, they are not part of the 5 invention cards drawn. But they can be, IF the character whose special item it is IS NOT in play.
The English rules (p. 2, left column) say:
On each Character card a particular Invention is depicted. The matching card should be removed from the Invention deck and put face up (Invention side up) on his or her Character card.
I say (and play) that the unused character-specific inventions go into the Invention deck. Interestingly enough, when Ignacy recorded his video of how to set up the game he actually removed the unused character-specific inventions from the Invention deck. I think that was a mistake, though.
It was my mistake. Sorry.