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Aberrant: Mastery questions

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  • Aberrant: Mastery questions

    Hey all, been a while since I've chimed in here...busy with my daughter (turned 1 last week) but ive been gaming again for a few months and our Aberrant game has reached the Quantum 6 almost 7 level. My question to the forum folk is: What powers gain the most benefit from mastery, and which tend to miss the boat with it in your opinion? I was really stoked upon number crunching, that mastery of Force Field, even with a single dot, is incredibly effective with a 5 stamina and 5 mega stamina. Hypermove, on the other hand, while on combat movement gets a good boost, OOC it seems a bit lackluster.

    Ive never been in an Aberrant game that has gone to this level or further, so mastery 2 and 3 are also up for debate. We plan to run this game until the new Aberrant is out or we all hit Quantum 10...hopefully the former.


  • #2
    Basically every power breaks with enough mastery. For instance, even Hypermovement gets up to a percentage of the speed of light at mastery 3 :P


    • #3
      The powers which already have multipliers, such as Quantum Bolt, definitely benefit the most. However, even powers without them can be pretty sweet.

      Originally posted by Jetstream View Post
      Basically every power breaks with enough mastery. For instance, even Hypermovement gets up to a percentage of the speed of light at mastery 3 :P
      Jetstream and I have played multiple characters in the Q6+ range, so we have some direct experience with this.

      Some potential pitfalls you may want to address before you actually allow Mastery in-game:
      • Soak-stacking becomes a major problem, and the relative value of most M. Stam enhancements plummets. Mastered Armor + Mastered Force Field can make it nigh-impossible to actually hurt somebody.
        • This can actually lead to an arms race where high-powered Novas all tack on Armor-Piercing onto their main attack powers (because it becomes cheap at high quantum). At which point anyone NOT rocking a super-brick build is basically screwed, and of course the soak characters are encouraged to counter with layering Impervious.
      • In some cases it's better to simply Master a power than it is to raise it to higher levels. For example, a Mastered Warp of 2 is cheaper and generally has more utility than Warp 5. This is also true of some attack powers, such as Stun Attack / Strobe
      • Powers which have Willpower as their defense vector become incredibly powerful. The only real solution for this is to add new Shield powers to the game, and in turn characters need to expend XP on them. Mastered Aggravated Mental Blast will ace anybody without a Mastered Psychic Shield.
      • Melee damage drops off dramatically as compared to power-based damage. Mastery doesn't apply to Mega-Attributes, so while your Quantum Bolt damage jumps into the 50's and 60's, your Mega-Strength damage stays stuck in the 30's. With the soak-stacking problem, this can make melee characters substantially less viable.
      • The interaction between Mastery and the cheap extras rules arbitrarily punishes some players and rewards others. The difference between adding Impervious to Armor and then Mastering it versus Mastering it first is not even funny.
      • Characters that are primarily Enhancement-based see a loss in their overall contributions. +3 dice is nice for a 30-point Nova, not so much for a 150 point one.
      While it's possible to avoid some of these problems with rules, overall the math of the system was not designed to sustain those multipliers. The area of effect isn't necessarily a problem: if your ST doesn't want you blowing up small states he shouldn't let you have high-Quantum anyway.

      Our old group had a raft of house rules that attempted to deal with some of these issues, and if you want I can try to dig some of them up. Ultimately, be prepared to rely on narrative more than rules, and it can be a lot of fun.


      • #4
        I know my GM has run Aberrant games into this power level before. But when he did, I was busy with college and partying so I missed out on them. So im not worried about his knowledge of the pitfalls, but more my lack of actual experience using mastery.

        Our game is DC comics based, and the team is: me-an accurate as aberrant allows kryptonian, Genisys-a half kryptonian clone/daughter of Darkseid, an Amazo type robot with the mind of a 12 yr old, Zatana's daughter, a daughter of the green (plant mastery, multiple elemental mastery powers), a former leage of assassin's experiment, and some others (npc allies).

        I have noticed that as I buy more enhancements to keep accuracy canon, the other players have started working towards higher quantum to achieve more extras and mastery 2. I'd love to get a quantum of 7...but then I gotta get mega str and stam to 7...and THEN go back to make sure my freeze breath works right, that my armor is high enough, or buy another quantum bolt so that my heat vision is varied enough to do-melt baddies, wide beam stop falling debris, microscopic surgery, AND Solar flare...:/ those all are being ignored to save up for Q7. So my question is basically looking for what powers can I ignore mastery to save a little time and xp to put towards the big important things



        • #5
          Thank you Tote, for referencing strobe and stun attack specifically, because I just worked out reason for buying and mastering those two powers. Strobe to simulate me heat visioning someone in the eyes, and stun attack to simulate the "super strong neck chop to knock out a friend so I can fly off and do something stupid without killing them".



          • #6
            I should note that most of rhe rest of the players think im being crazy for wasting xp and time to make an accurate build...but I think its important to try and be as true as possible to the lore, while others just want the biggest stick to swing.



            • #7
              If you want my advice, if you're really strung out for XP, skip the Mega-Atts for a while.

              I know, I know, you really wanna model a Kryptonian accurately. But the Mega-Attributes don't scale as well as... anything. They can't be mastered.

              So instead of raising Str to 6/7, get Lifter and Thrower. Then you're a super strong badass. Then start mastering POWERS. Those are the real bread and butter.

              Stam 6/7 isn't as good for being super tough as mastered force field, armor, high-end invulnerability, etc.

              Buy extras for your powers, but never let the Extras increase the level of the power. Only Mastery should ever do that.

              Etc. Find ways to maximize your XP. There are always ways.