(Interest/Recruitment) Aberrant style game? (3E/PL 8)

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(Interest/Recruitment) Aberrant style game? (3E/PL 8)

Postby levinwurth » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:22 am

Just wondering if there's sufficient interest in a game with a setting similar to White Wolf's Aberrant? For those unfamiliar it's very similar to the Paragons setting, or to put it another way; superheroes entering the real world where if you want to make money using your powers you don't rob banks, you get endorsement deals.

EDIT: I've bit the bullet and decided to run this if I can garner support.

The main setting will be based heavily on Aberrant, though I'm giving some things a redress so I'm not burdened on what's 'canon'.

The Setting

No-one can pinpoint the exact moment that the people dubbed Novas first appeared; though several have claimed to be Number One, Patient Zero, Alpha, they have no way of substantiating their claim. No-one can deny that it was in 2008 that the Invictus Foundation made itself public, declaring that it had been studying the Nova phenomenon for some time. Within six months of the most famous Novas making their debut, Invictus centres had sprung up in New York, London, Tokyo and Johannesburg, with more opening their doors on an almost daily basis.

These centres offered free training, giving them a carefully controlled regimen of medication, diet and counseling to ensure those with recently discovered super-powers could learn to master them in a safe environment. Soon Invictus parlayed this goodwill into the first Beacon Corps, so named because the spinoff corporation would 'lead the way to a new tomorrow, banishing the darkness of human misery through the light of humanitarian work and peacekeeping'.

Others jumped on the bandwagon; nearly any corporation worth the name (and had a fat enough checkbook) had a Nova on their staff, ranging from hyper-intelligent researchers to spokespeople of unearthly beauty and poise.

It wasn't long before questions started being raised on both sides of the Nova / baseline divide ('Baseline' being the least politically charged term for someone who didn't possess superhuman abilities). Were Novas still human beings, and thus accountable to human laws, morals and ethics? Some Novas certainly believed not. Were the Novas gifts from God, agents of the Devil or simply scientifc curiosities free from any supernatural influence?

For now, Novas are free agents, though they face considerable pressure from various camps to pick a side. Like gathering storm-clouds, most smart people can see that sooner or later the 'Nova issue' is going to break, with consequences felt all around the globe.


The Rules

Eufiber

In this game the default will be that character clothes will be in sync with their powers, so it's assumed that the character possesses a suit of Eufiber. Should you wish to add any special abilities to the Eufiber you'll have to buy it as a Hard to Lose Device.

Taint and Surge

Taint points may be gained by:

*Exchanging Surge Points for them (see below)
*Engaging in behaviour likely to cause Taint (particularly applicable to mental aberrations)

I'll give a character an optional Saving Throw to resist gaining Taint - players can choose to accept the Taint point or roll based on Will or Fortitude depending on how the taint was gained.

To get rid of Taint points, characters can gain Aberrations. These Aberrations will either take the form of power Flaws or additional Complications, depending on their nature. Note that a Complication gained through Taint won't also grant Hero Points when it comes up.

Each Complication gets rid of 5 points of Taint. Flaws get rid of Taint points on a one-for-one basis, so a Flaw that would ultimately reduce a cost by 3 points instead removes 3 Taint points.

Taint points that sit on a character negatively impact social rolls against baselines and non Omega-sympathetic Novas on a one for one basis, i.e. if your character has 5 Taint points they are at -5 to all applicable social rolls.

Power Surges may occur under the following conditions:

* The character uses extra effort to enhance a power in some way
* A player rolls a natural 1 on any roll involving the active use of a power
* The character is stunned
* When the character is under extreme emotional stress.

The roll to resist Surge will be a Will Save versus a DC of 10 plus the power's rank. If more than one of the above conditions are met, the DC will increase by 2 for each additional condition. A successful Will save means the character ears a Surge Point - a failed roll results in a power surge.

When experiencing a power surge, the character is stunned by the effect - they lose their next action and suffer -2 to Dodge rolls. On the round after the surge ends, the character is fatigued. If the character was already fatigued, they become exhausted. Exhausted characters become unconscious. One of the character's powers will then briefly gain the Uncontrolled flaw. At the point of a surge all Surge Points will also be spent as if they were Hero Points and they will be reset.

Players can opt out of the Will Save, in which case they automatically fail it and their character experiences a surge. This may be intentional if the character wishes to have a 'safe' surge in a relatively controlled environment.

Surge points can be traded for Taint points on a one-for-one basis.
Last edited by levinwurth on Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:00 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: (Interest) Aberrant-style game?

Postby Aerlwyn » Tue Oct 15, 2013 7:34 am

Does sound very interesting as a game idea, hope to read more details on this campaign.

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Re: (Interest) Aberrant-style game?

Postby Plan B » Tue Oct 15, 2013 8:33 am

I'd be very interested in playing an aberrant based game.
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Re: (Interest) Aberrant-style game?

Postby Moira » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:14 am

What kind of story do you intend to tell?
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Re: (Interest) Aberrant-style game?

Postby levinwurth » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:52 am

Well to be honest I'd really prefer to play, so I've not given much thought to a storyline. However, I've spoken to a few newbies who might be willing to give the game a shot due to the genre, in which case I'd probably try to go for a more investigative storyline. I may even run a slightly adapted storyline from one of the Aberrant books.

Simply put I want to run something where a Novox star and a super-sense Directive Operative won't feel out of place in the same group as a DeVries mercenary.

That being said, I'd much prefer to play if someone else were willing to step up as GM.
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Re: (Interest) Aberrant-style game?

Postby levinwurth » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:00 am

Okay, I'm going to bite the bullet and try and run this thing, providing there's sufficient interest.

The setting will be in the vein of Paragons and Aberrant - what that means is that it'll be a very near-future setting and I reserve the rights to steal NPCs and settings from either title and give them a redress, so I think it's a bit of a liberty to call it a full-on homebrew setting. :)

I'll add more details as I go (and might start a thread in the Settings forum) but my thoughts so far is that the game will be set in 2015, and Novas (i.e. the supers) made their first real public appearances in 2008.

The campaign will mark the start of them going from pop-culture icons to political, ethical and social topics. I'll be contriving an Event during play that has world-changing consequences.
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Re: (Interest) Aberrant/Paragons style game? (3E/PL 6-8)

Postby Moira » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:14 am

I like the idea, but I'd like to see how the world has evolved in the seven years there's been super people :)
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Re: (Interest) Aberrant/Paragons style game? (3E/PL 6-8)

Postby levinwurth » Wed Oct 16, 2013 11:23 am

Working on the setting as we speak - is there anything you would like to see or could suggest?
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Re: (Interest) Aberrant/Paragons style game? (3E/PL 6-8)

Postby levinwurth » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:37 pm

Invictus Foundation / Beacon Corps

The Invictus Foundation is a largely privately-funded enterprise that has been widely known since 2008 and has since become inextricably linked with Novas. To the public they are the leading researcher on Nova physiology, psychology and the practical application of their power.

So far they have published papers detailing that the seat of a Nova's power resides in a small node the size of a grape which forms at the point when a Nova erupts, the term commonly applied to the moment powers manifest. They have as yet been unable to find a reliable predictor of who will become a Nova - almost everyone in the world can point to an example of where expectations of piety, intelligence or integrity have been defied.

Invictus Centres

The Invictus have facilities in nearly every city in the world, with recruitment and information outposts within travelling distance of all but the most primitive peoples. They have gained considerable PR for sparing almost no expense when it comes to looking after the newly-erupted, sometimes moving whole families to be near to their loved one while they master their new abilities.

While within an Invictus Centre (the new Nova are almost always given their own comfortably appointed quarters at the live-in facilities), the subjects are dosed with two drugs which have quickly entered the public consciousness; Moxinoquantamine (known as 'Mox' for short) and Adrenocilin. The former strips a Nova's ability to channel the energy required to use their powers, while the latter boosts fine control over the same ability. The two are carefully titrated during the subject's time there until they can confidently control their new abilities.

Beacon Corps

Though their most glamorous activities known to the public are their anti-terrorist and peacekeeping engagements, the bulk of the work of the world's post famous 'super-teams' largely involve humanitarian work like the construction of homeless shelters, cleanup of environmental disasters and - most notably - transforming previously uninhabitable tracts of land into live-giving oases.

The first (and arguably most famous) Beacon Corps team was announced in 2009 in Times Square:


Panthalassa, the beautiful water controller from Portland, Maine
Jetstream, a teen from Gatlin, Texas able to fly at hypersonic speeds.
Grendel, a hulking brute with a genius mind from Savannah, Georgia
Sway, a prodigious psychic and heiress from Manhattan
Gridiron, the leader of the team and already famous as pro-footballer Jason Vickers, capable of astonishing athleticism and the ability to project bolts of force from his body.

Instant celebrities overnight, their everlasting fame was cemented the next day when the Invictus Foundation televised the team's raid on a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. There are now Beacon Corps teams positioned around the globe, ready to respond to any global emergency.
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Re: (Interest) Aberrant/Paragons style game? (3E/PL 6-8)

Postby levinwurth » Wed Oct 16, 2013 12:59 pm

Omega

The shadowy organisation known as Omega are spoken of mainly as an urban legend, or as 'evidence' that Novas truly are dangerous and malevolent individuals. Seeminly born of the United Nations decree of 2012 that Novas were still homo sapiens and thus covered by all the rights and laws applicable to baseline humans, the group issued an anonymous declaration.

Commonly known as the Null Manifesto, it states categorically that Novas are free - they should claim no citizenship of a sovereign nation, and are exempt from all laws and strictures that baseline society may try to impose on them. Essentially it advocates each individual Nova is their own government.

Reaction from the Invictus Foundation and a large segment of the world population was one of horror; already the declaration had echoes of Nietzsche's ubermensch and the Third Reich that was all too recent in humanity's collective memory. Their infamy only grew when various Novas committed acts of terrorism in Omega's name. Most notable was Chimera who had the abilities and appearance of his namesake and incinerated Reverend Fred Phelps live on CNN. Phelps had been in the middle of a televised speech denouncing Novas as the latest sign of the world's slide into Hell.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the rebellious and anti-establishment segment of humanity can't get enough of Omega's 'antics'. Nova musicians and celebrities have come out in support of Omega's views, and their fans eagerly buy the merchandise - though most of them do so to annoy their parents and freak out the 'norms' rather than any real support of the group's beliefs.

The Omega most famous for his words and not his actions is Count Raoul Orzaiz, an urbane and handsome playboy from Italy. He's appeared on numerous talkshows and written eloquent essays on his belief in personal responsibility and choice - he doesn't feel the need to apologise or excuse the actions of Novas like Chimera; those actions were his own and the only judgement he should face should be his own, as should be the case for all Novas.
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Re: (Interest) Aberrant/Paragons style game? (3E/PL 6-8)

Postby levinwurth » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:16 pm

Indigo Consulting

Though by no means not the only company of its kind, Indigo Consulting is the biggest 'talent agency' when it comes to Novas on its books. The company was founded by the mysterious Ginger Swan not long after the accouncement of Beacon Corps America in 2009, and made the papers when it signed the now-notorious Nova mercenary Red Death. Since then, like the Invictus Foundation has offices all over the world, and have diversified into Novas for any occasion; from Novas willing to function as one-man (or woman) armies for any warlord willing to meet their price to engineering savants able to revolutionise a company's systems in the blink of an eye.

Their Tactical Operations wing is perhaps best known in the public eye, and the media quickly coined the term Elites for their Novas often willing to participate in combat or pseudo-military operations. Occasionally this term is applied to any Nova contractor from an agency independent from Invictus.

Red Death is Ms. Swan's crown jewel, and conflicts have been ended on the mere rumour that one side has engaged his services. Though the paycheck of such an Elite can only be rivalled by baseline pro atheletes and Hollywood mega-stars, the corporation's cashflow is maintained by its less thrilling personal security and business consulting arms.
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Re: (Interest) Aberrant/Paragons style game? (3E/PL 6-8)

Postby levinwurth » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:41 pm

The Media

The arrival of Novas and the modern media was a match made in Heaven - or possibly Hell. In 2015 news and entertainment are dominated by Novas; world leader for all things super-powered is the N! Channel - it made revenues from the Beacon Corps announcement that made the Superbowl coverage look like the takings from a neighbourhood lemonade stand, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

The most popular franchise is Novaphiles, which frequently features profiles on famous Novas and those that are rising stars. Their most famous correspondent Colby Carter often conducts interviews; the channel likes to bill these chats as 'penetrating', though nearly everyone knows that these interviews are generally puffed up press releases. It doesn't deter the millions from tuning in to see who the charming young man is sitting down with each week.

The Extreme Wrestling Federation or XWF has taken the place in hearts, minds and wallets that pro-wrestling used to occupy. Super-powered contestants duke it out in fortified arenas capable of withstanding megaton forces, with all the pomp and grandiosity of a Roman gladiatorial match or... well, the non-powered sport it replaced.

Novox is a popular genre of music since the appearance of super-powered individuals. The term is most often associated with the Latin diva Alejandra whose command over sound allows her to project awesome soundscapes with no instrumental accompaniment, though its also used to cover any Nova whose power is somehow employed in creation of their music - from duplicators who can form whole choirs of themselves through to those who can twist the form of their bodies into exotic instruments.

Comic books have seen something of a rebirth with the Nova phenomenon, though they now more closely resemble gossip tabloids; the most popular and successful titles are those featuring real characters like the various Beacon Corps teams. Of course details are excised and embellished - the consumers of comic books don't want to read about diplomatic strategy when they could be seeing Gridiron blast terrorists in the face in glorious four-colour.
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Re: (Interest) Aberrant/Paragons style game? (3E/PL 6-8)

Postby catsi563 » Wed Oct 16, 2013 1:51 pm

Just curious why the changes to the organizations?

Omega = the Terragen
Indigo = Devries
Invictus centers = The Mazran-Rashad facilities and Utopia
Beacon teams = Team tommorow
Dr. Silverback has wryly observed that this is like trying to teach lolcats about Shakespeare

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Re: (Interest) Aberrant/Paragons style game? (3E/PL 6-8)

Postby levinwurth » Wed Oct 16, 2013 2:09 pm

catsi563 wrote:Just curious why the changes to the organizations?

Omega = the Terragen
Indigo = Devries
Invictus centers = The Mazran-Rashad facilities and Utopia
Beacon teams = Team tommorow


Mainly because it gives me the latitude to discard or add things to the organisations to suit the storyline, rather than being confined to canon. But yes, those are the rough analogues.
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Re: (Interest) Aberrant/Paragons style game? (3E/PL 6-8)

Postby ClassDunce » Wed Oct 16, 2013 3:51 pm

I would totally pitch a character application for this if you decide to do it. The idea that comes to me right away is an Omega Weather Controller. Loosely based on Jon Moxley.
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