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How to sell the trinity continuum to comicbook fans.

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  • How to sell the trinity continuum to comicbook fans.

    What do you think makes the trinity continuum fundamentaly different to other comicbook universes? What would be your sales pitch to a new player who assumes the game doesn't offer anything he hasn't seen?
    Last edited by Firanai; 12-19-2016, 09:09 PM. Reason: I hope the question is now clearer.

  • #2
    Maybe I'm not really acknowledging the spirit of your question, but I think he may not be hip to it, because the Trinity Continuum is not a superhero setting in the traditional sense. Certainly the Aberrant era tends to trend comicbooky, but as a whole this is not a system that necessarily sets out to be a superhero game. Trinity Continuum allows for all sorts of heroic types: pulp heroes, action heroes, sci-fy and spy-fi heroes. Remember the tag line, “Ever era has its heroes.”

    So, I suppose if I engage with the question you have actually asked, I’d say what separates this setting from “other superhero” games, is that it does embrace all of these other types of heroic narratives.

    I also grok the inherent time-travel elements of the line.

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    • #3
      Good question, Firanai.
      Slagheap is correct, but i may expand a little based on my own experiences:

      I might hang the difference on sheer versatility, if you only want superheroes in the style of superhero comics - there may be other systems that do that more faithfully. Trinity continuum offers a much broader spectrum, in the 2120 setting i made extensive use of the aberrant rules to create montrous lovecraftian space entities to face off against the Psi-fi heroes of that era. This is what Slagheap is saying, i beleive - the Aeon universe more seamlessly accepts influences from nearly any source.

      I might also suggest that aberrant draws only partially from comic sources - there are other influences to be found in there. Espionage, scientific frontiers, post-humanism and moral relativism. It's been a while since the books came out, but at the time Aberrant was one of the more mature approaches to the superhero comicbook genre (at least that i was aware of). These days, comics have caught up in many ways (especially independant titles) so i can see how the question could arise. Aberrant for me seemed more like a social exploration than a bunch of action sequences strung together with whatever qualifies as a story, which was a crutch for many comics in it's era. In fact it didn't seem like much of a stretch that after N-Day in '98, superhero comics would actually all go broke and die - which is part of the fluff material for the setting - comic companies were in a slump at the time.

      It can be more instructive in many ways to look at Aberrant not as a super-hero comic, but as a near-future, social frontier of involuntary transhumanism. The trappings are all there for a rollicking fun comic-book story, but even then the price of power would become an issue as characters descend into power-hungry, inhuman aberrations. It's greatest conflicts are philosophical and ethical rather than physical or quantum-powered at it's core.

      At least that was my take - i ran more trinity era stuff, but i still used many of the abberant rules. I'd like to hear what others think, too.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Nihilist View Post


        I might also suggest that aberrant draws only partially from comic sources - there are other influences to be found in there. Espionage, scientific frontiers, post-humanism and moral relativism. It's been a while since the books came out, but at the time Aberrant was one of the more mature approaches to the superhero comicbook genre (at least that i was aware of). These days, comics have caught up in many ways (especially independant titles) so i can see how the question could arise. Aberrant for me seemed more like a social exploration than a bunch of action sequences strung together with whatever qualifies as a story, which was a crutch for many comics in it's era. In fact it didn't seem like much of a stretch that after N-Day in '98, superhero comics would actually all go broke and die - which is part of the fluff material for the setting - comic companies were in a slump at the time.
        ​By mature, I think you mean cynical and nihilistic. The mainstream comics companies were in a slump BECAUSE they had embraced the Grim/Dark storytelling of the indie comics crowd. I remember picking up an Aberrant book, flipping through it, setting it back on the shelf, and walking away in disgust. In the late '90s/early '00s, Marvel & DC started doing more positive stories again, and sales went up! Now Marvel has hired a bunch of the same people from all those "gritty" '90s companies that have gone out of business. Marvel Movies? Funny, action packed, successful. Marvel Comics? Moody, political, and can barely keep a title going more than 6 months without having to reboot. Worst of the bunch is Brian Michael Bendis, who completely ignores any continuity that doesn't serve HIS story,(and editorial is either too scared or incompetent to tell him otherwise) writes in 1 splash page of action for every 20 of talking heads, and of course, shows blatant favoritism for his pet characters, while everyone else is shown as weak or incompetent.
        It can be more instructive in many ways to look at Aberrant not as a super-hero comic, but as a near-future, social frontier of involuntary transhumanism. The trappings are all there for a rollicking fun comic-book story, but even then the price of power would become an issue as characters descend into power-hungry, inhuman aberrations. It's greatest conflicts are philosophical and ethical rather than physical or quantum-powered at it's core.
        The point of this thread is to SELL comicbook fans on Trinity. Talking about how the setting promotes the kind of "Moral Relativism" that has been killing superhero comics is NOT the way to do that.
        Last edited by Mangle77; 12-20-2016, 07:46 PM.


        "A free society is one in which it is safe to be unpopular."
        I find Nick Spencer and Richard Spencer to be equally repulsive.

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        • #5
          Generally, I really like that the Trinity games are way less kitchen sink than default comic book universes.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Mangle77 View Post
            ​By mature, I think you mean cynical and nihilistic. The mainstream comics companies were in a slump BECAUSE they had embraced the Grim/Dark storytelling of the indie comics crowd. I remember picking up an Aberrant book, flipping through it, setting it back on the shelf, and walking away in disgust. In the late '90s/early '00s, Marvel & DC started doing more positive stories again, and sales went up! The point of this thread is to SELL comic book fans on Trinity. Talking about how the setting promotes the kind of "Moral Relativism" that has been killing superhero comics is NOT the way to do that.
            Moral relativism wasn't the problem. The problem was randomly shoving in "adult" or "mature" subject matter in a very shallow fashion that was meant purely for shock value in a gross imitation of those better comics that used those themes to genuinely explore new ideas and conceits. It made stories ugly and unpleasant without really having a deeper meaning beyond shock for the sake of shock.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Mangle77 View Post
              ​By mature, I think you mean cynical and nihilistic.
              ,.-:-.,
              Fair criticism. To each their own.
              My brother tends to prefer a lighter more heroic presentation of the setting than i do, so i accept your perspective as valid. The truth is, at it's best, the TU/TC is versatile enough to present as all of this, and more. Beyond that it's up to individual storytellers and players to take what they want from it, the "mature" aspect is merely there to accommodate those of us with a hunger for more complexity/pitfalls than is sometimes found in the classic, four-colour, superhero Good vs Evil paradigm.

              Originally posted by Mangle77 View Post
              The point of this thread is to SELL comicbook fans on Trinity. Talking about how the setting promotes the kind of "Moral Relativism" that has been killing superhero comics is NOT the way to do that.
              ,.-:-.,
              That's just one possibility, the game is more versatile than that. I AM a comicbook fan, i simply don't have the resources to stay current and i'm not up to speed on all the current fan-gripes. I am one of pretentious types that prefers to think of it as sequential art however.
              -blush-
              Aberrant is a comic re-constructionist toolkit - it's a framework for reinventions and re-imaginings of what super (read: quantum) powers might mean for individuals and society as a whole. If you want to hearken to comic-books, go ahead - the tools are there; go wild. If you want to run it as a powered-frontier psycho-thriller, it can do that too.
              Human ingenuity vs a seemingly insurmountable astronomical foe. Espionage in a world of shape-shifting masterminds. Dirty super-powered prize fighting for wealth, fame and glory. These are only a smattering of the concepts the setting can handle without much work on the part of the players.
              So in summary; what sold me on the setting is it's robust versatility. It's a strong framework for a comicbook fan to explore almost any story from a shared thought ecology. (If that makes sense.)

              How would YOU sell aberrant to a comic book fan, Mangle77?

              Originally posted by Wolfgar View Post
              Moral relativism wasn't the problem. The problem was randomly shoving in "adult" or "mature" subject matter in a very shallow fashion that was meant purely for shock value in a gross imitation of those better comics that used those themes to genuinely explore new ideas and conceits. It made stories ugly and unpleasant without really having a deeper meaning beyond shock for the sake of shock.
              That's an excellent distinction to make and entirely the fault of whatever writer or editorial mandate produced those problems, it isn't inherent to a darker style of story. I liked the idea of Captain America going cold turkey off the serum, but the actual writing was a mess and didn't quite meet my expectations - doesn't mean the idea couldn't be explored better. Thanks for your input, Wolfgar.
              Last edited by Nihilist; 12-21-2016, 05:23 AM. Reason: None.

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              • #8
                I bought Aberrant because it was in my local comics shop. While I've been a Wolverine fan at times and for some reason love a few of the Image knockoff characters (Glory, Supreme, Diehard, et al), I didn't necessarily love the EXTREME! aspects of 90s iron age comics. However, I did appreciate that they (the better 90s comics) solved problems a little more thoughtfully. While most of it still wasn't literature, there wasn't necessarily a deus ex machina in every pouch on Batman's belt. Some enemies were outclassed in a way that some of the rock-paper-scissors of earlier comic eras weren't viable. I really enjoyed the first Dark Knight (the rest have been pretty poor) and was pretty "meh" about Watchmen, but I certainly appreciate some books taking on some issues in less of an allegorical way (we get it, Stan Lee, being a teenager is hard!). And I appreciate there being some consequences of collateral damage. I really like two books right now that fit in very well with the TC generally and Aberrant particularly: Uber and Jupiter's Legacy. The former deals with injecting immensely powerful people into a global scale of people without the technology to truly counter them other than making more of their ilk. The latter dovetails very nicely with Aberrant (several Millar-world characters would fit in Aberrant) and discusses power level and the impact of super celebrity. I think fans of either who love RPGs could really dive into the whole TU.

                Further, I like Bendis. I agree that he does play favorites and I'm not crazy about all of his regular Marvel stuff but his work on some of the Ultimates books has certainly been a major influence on the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I really enjoy Powers and The Victories created by his Power collaborator Michael Avon Oeming. Both deal with the problem of cult of super personality and what humans can possibly do to the fight against people who can fling cars at them. A group of low level Novas can be eventually overwhelmed by technology, numbers and firepower and I think it made me play smarter rather than just to try to Quantum pool my way through every enemy.

                While Divis Mal's may be the only nova in a cape (there's probably a joke in there somewhere), Aberrant certainly can be viewed as a modern mediation on particular superheroes, a lot of sequential art and, if you squint hard enough, athlete/celebrity worship and wealth inequality. Seems like an absolute layup for comic book fans as any theme or power level can be pretty easily adjusted to taste.

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                • #9
                  I cried during the opening sequence of Watchmen, with the montage of the Minutemen set to Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin'." Unfortunately, the rest of the movie went downhill from there.


                  My name is Colleen. My favorite song is "Wildwood Flower." My ambition is to write the complete history of the White Wolf/Onyx Path universe.

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                  • #10
                    Well the first step is to avoid being dismissive of or actively hostile toward comics fans like first edition Abby was :P

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jetstream View Post
                      Well the first step is to avoid being dismissive of or actively hostile toward comics fans like first edition Abby was :P
                      ​Yep. characters


                      "A free society is one in which it is safe to be unpopular."
                      I find Nick Spencer and Richard Spencer to be equally repulsive.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The story of the trinity universe actually progresses, the personality of individual characters don't change with every new writer, each character doesn't have a dozen True Secret Origins (tm), the universe itself is internally consistent, and someone doesn't come along to mash the reset button every few years.

                        At least that sort of thing appeals to me.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Quanutmshard View Post
                          The story of the trinity universe actually progresses, the personality of individual characters don't change with every new writer, each character doesn't have a dozen True Secret Origins (tm), the universe itself is internally consistent, and someone doesn't come along to mash the reset button every few years.

                          At least that sort of thing appeals to me.
                          So, basically not a mainstream comicbook universe where Captain Marvel can be a ridiculous fascist (looking at you Bendis) in one book and an actual three-dimensional character in another?

                          Yeah, I think I can get behind that.
                          Last edited by Weirdboyz; 01-09-2017, 11:12 AM.

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