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  • Nova Sterility Thoughts

    Was just wondering what others thought of the sterility cocktail aspect of the 1e Aberrant setting. Whether you kept it, discarded it, changed it or something else. Additionally was are your thoughts on it being present in 2e.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    One idea that crossed my mind (that I'm not married too) is that the nature of the N-Day event has resulted in many (though not all) Novas being sterile without it being part of an intentional conspiracy. A Nova having a kid is a big deal in this scenario, but not unheard of. Meanwhile some conspiracy theorists claim Utopia is behind sterilizations, but they're wrong.

    I'm really torn, because I do think there needs to be stuff for "Aberrant" to legitimately rebel against - and if anything I'd like to see them expand this edition from being the reaction against a specific conspiracy, to more of a political movement that (unlike Terragen) embraces the Zurich Accords and the human-equality-status of Novas and (unlike Project Utopia) believes they should be unchecked equal citizens who don't owe the public anything beyond other citizens.


    Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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    • #3
      A thought to consider:

      You guys know my love of Anne McCaffrey. In her "Crystal Singer" series, the titular singers are physiologically modified by a microbial symbiont. Among the abilities they gain are sharper senses and fairly rapid tissue regeneration. A severe injury that might have a normal human in recovery for months might take as many as a couple of weeks to heal for a crystal singer.

      Unfortunately, while the symbiont tunes a singer's physiology for individual survival, it's at the cost of survival of the species: all crystal singers are sterile.


      Ian A. A. Watson
      Onyx Path Community Manager

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      • #4
        Originally posted by IanWatson View Post
        all crystal singers are sterile.
        I'm having a hard time putting into words just how much I dislike introducing this idea into Aberrant as a fact, and not a "tin foil hat" theory. 2nd generation Novas, and all the stories that they entail; trying to balance family and your duty/feelings of personal responsibility, generational stories, descending from powerful lineages, emerging from the shadow of greatness, etc... just... no... I think I dislike this more then Max Mercer... and that's quite a lot...

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        • #5
          Originally posted by TheSarcasticSage View Post
          I'm having a hard time putting into words just how much I dislike introducing this idea into Aberrant as a fact, and not a "tin foil hat" theory. 2nd generation Novas, and all the stories that they entail; trying to balance family and your duty/feelings of personal responsibility, generational stories, descending from powerful lineages, emerging from the shadow of greatness, etc... just... no... I think I dislike this more then Max Mercer... and that's quite a lot...

          I think that particular 2nd Gen Nova narrative particularly works though if they're a rarity, which does require widespread sterility.

          Because otherwise you have the unavoidable eventual subsumation of the species issue. Not to mention hereditary power as a biological reality rather than political contrivance in the mean time.

          So I agree with you that infertility shouldn't be universal, but it should definitely be widespread.


          Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

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          • #6
            What I think of is the Earth X Trilogy, where the Terrigen Mists are spread over the Earth and its as if the whole world has become a society of Mutants, though actually they are now realized Inhumans. The thing was fertility hit rock bottom after this, and with the return of the Inhuman Royal family there was an explanation that Inhumans have a very low fertility rate but the Inhuman civilization could get around this through very specific controlled breeding, hence why the royal family usually had arranged marriages. The thing was in this setting the Inhumans also were virtually unaging, and humans with superpowers activated by things other then Terrigenesis could still breed like Ben Grimm (cosmic rays) and Alicia Masters (Terragenesis), or Him and Her (Adam Warlock and his mate two artificial perfect humans).

            So how many of the Aberrants are over a hundred years old in the Aeon setting? Are the space Aberrants breed from human turned Aberrants or Aberrant breeding? Is Aberrant Breeding with normal Humans easier in anyway then breeding with other Aberrants? Do all Aberrants have increased lifespan?


            It is a time for great deeds!

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            • #7
              I have no issue with 1e's presentation of a "sterility drug" answer to that question. It gives players something to discover, and work on curing that will have global impact. It's great story fodder. My concern is that 2e seems to be... how do I put this... forgetting, or refusing, to bait the story hooks... Here's an example from Aeon: "In the section’s history, only one agent has ever gone rogue, and he was quickly apprehended by his fellow Minerva members." One rogue agent. Who are they? What are they doing now? Why did they go rogue? ... So many questions, but instead they've already been captured... good job writer... you killed it... the plot hook is dead... and I'm afraid that given the same pool of writers, that they will make the same mistake, and just write off the whole Nova Sterility plot as "Novas just can't get pregnant, end of story." and "end of story" would be right...

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              • #8
                But aren't they still free to say that's the official story, and the Rogue Agent was never actually captured or faked his capture? I feel maybe they want to mention a lot of plot points and maybe elaborate later.


                It is a time for great deeds!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Eldagusto View Post
                  But aren't they still free to say that's the official story, and the Rogue Agent was never actually captured or faked his capture? I feel maybe they want to mention a lot of plot points and maybe elaborate later.
                  We are still free to do so in our own games, I know I will, but I highly doubt that anything is going to officially change as far as lost plot hooks goes. I'm all for mentioning plot points and never really elaborating on them again, but that's not what they did. They created a plot hook (The rogue agent) and then killed it (he was quickly apprehended) all in the same waste of the word count sentence.

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                  • #10
                    I also have no problem with the sterility conspiracy being a conspiracy for players to solve. But you need to make it bigger, not smaller, so that it takes nova-level characters to unpick it and destroy it. (Or subvert it to their own ends, if that’s what the players want.)

                    It needs to be bigger than Utopia giving people who walk through their door an injection, and that’s it. That’s simple and easy to solve. It needs to be spread wider through the ecosystem - in the water, in the food, in cosmetics, in clothing. The conspiracy behind it has seeded it everywhere, so much everywhere, that it’s difficult to tell if it is a conspiracy or whether it’s the natural world being intrinsically against novas.

                    It doesn’t need to be hard to discover. One of the 1e problems was that it was laughably easy to detect for any nova with a certain set of skills or powers, and only moderately difficult to discover for novas without those abilities. Make it easy to discover - that’s not the challenge. As per above, the challenge is discovering whether anyone is actually behind it (they are), and convincing others that it’s not just natural.

                    Make it difficult to cure. Various novas should have been able to easily shake off the sterilization, but make it more of a challenging quest in 2e. The way to do this is relatively simple - make the affliction psi based*. The conspiracy doesn’t know why this special compound is so anti nova (and harmless to normal humans), but they know that it is. This gives story hooks and a trail of evidence that goes way back, to some group who studied stalwarts and Mesmerists, and noticed a tiny but statistically significant adversarial aspect to how their powers worked. Maybe this original group had no negative implications - maybe they just studied. But somewhere along the way, when novas appeared, someone else got hold of their research and synthesised the chemical and worked out how to make it global.

                    (Maybe some lost, solitary Doyen was stranded on Earth, couldn’t escape out of the barrier, and used its psi powers to modify Eath chemistry and organisms to produce this chemical as a terrified form of self Defence.)

                    A conspiracy is fine, IMO, but it needs to be something to be defeated. In the 1e games I ran, this was certainly the case, but it was too easy to discover and defeat.

                    * But such tiny amounts of psi that it does nothing to hinder the novas powers, but is incredibly hard for anything quantum-based to remove.
                    Last edited by Bunyip; 03-08-2018, 04:58 AM.


                    Writes stuff. Sometimes you like it.
                    WoD | Changing Breeds, Umbra, Book of the Wyrm, Shattered Dreams | CofD | Werewolf: The Forsaken 2nd ed, Idigam Anthology, The Pack, Demon Storyteller's Guide, Hurt Locker, Dark Eras Companion, Beast Player's Guide, Deviant: The Renegades, Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon, Mummy: The Curse 2nd ed | The Trinity Continuum Æon, Æon Æxpansion, Aberrant

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Bunyip View Post
                      Awesome
                      Yes!

                      This!

                      1,000x this!

                      This is what I'm talking about. Make it something that's worthy of an entire campaign, not "The M_R Node makes Novas sterile". That's boring, and we already have too many answers, and not enough questions in the TC. Novas need questions. I'm praying, and begging, that whoever writes TC: Aberrant does so with the intent of leaving 2 questions for every answer they reveal. TC and TC: Aeon did not do this, and I feel that their games are poorer for it.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TheSarcasticSage View Post
                        I'm having a hard time putting into words just how much I dislike introducing this idea into Aberrant as a fact, and not a "tin foil hat" theory. 2nd generation Novas, and all the stories that they entail; trying to balance family and your duty/feelings of personal responsibility, generational stories, descending from powerful lineages, emerging from the shadow of greatness, etc... just... no... I think I dislike this more then Max Mercer... and that's quite a lot...
                        Yeah, I think that if Novas were inherently sterile, I'd probably nope out of the line. That's enough to take it from my favourite game in the line, to not bothering at all.

                        For me, Novas work because they're a possible future for humanity - There are problems, and it all goes wrong, but if it hadn't, humanity genuinely had the chance to become gods. That's why it's a tragedy.

                        On a personal level, it completely kills a couple of my favourite Nova characters (and concepts). I've played several characters who were largely on board with separation between humans and novas. Basically, the non-batshit crazy Teragen. People who like humanity, think it's fine, but accept that they're not really a part of it, so want to go off and do their own thing, be their own people.

                        Also, given that being a Nova makes it more likely for other people around you to erupt, it suddenly gets a bit gross. I don't want to play a character who's causing sterility in other people (... Not unless I actively take the "Emits radiation" aberration, anyway).

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tarion View Post
                          Yeah, I think that if Novas were inherently sterile, I'd probably nope out of the line. That's enough to take it from my favourite game in the line, to not bothering at all.

                          For me, Novas work because they're a possible future for humanity - There are problems, and it all goes wrong, but if it hadn't, humanity genuinely had the chance to become gods. That's why it's a tragedy.

                          On a personal level, it completely kills a couple of my favourite Nova characters (and concepts). I've played several characters who were largely on board with separation between humans and novas. Basically, the non-batshit crazy Teragen. People who like humanity, think it's fine, but accept that they're not really a part of it, so want to go off and do their own thing, be their own people.

                          Also, given that being a Nova makes it more likely for other people around you to erupt, it suddenly gets a bit gross. I don't want to play a character who's causing sterility in other people (... Not unless I actively take the "Emits radiation" aberration, anyway).
                          Quite a few of the people I know and game with bought into this KS... if Novas are all sterile, I know for a fact that none of us would back the KS for TC: Aberrant.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TheSarcasticSage View Post

                            Quite a few of the people I know and game with bought into this KS... if Novas are all sterile, I know for a fact that none of us would back the KS for TC: Aberrant.
                            Based on your reaction to my earlier post, I assume you mean ‘if novas are all irreversibly sterile without reasons that can be explored dramatically’.


                            Writes stuff. Sometimes you like it.
                            WoD | Changing Breeds, Umbra, Book of the Wyrm, Shattered Dreams | CofD | Werewolf: The Forsaken 2nd ed, Idigam Anthology, The Pack, Demon Storyteller's Guide, Hurt Locker, Dark Eras Companion, Beast Player's Guide, Deviant: The Renegades, Night Horrors: Shunned by the Moon, Mummy: The Curse 2nd ed | The Trinity Continuum Æon, Æon Æxpansion, Aberrant

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by TheSarcasticSage View Post
                              Yes!

                              This!

                              1,000x this!

                              This is what I'm talking about. Make it something that's worthy of an entire campaign, not "The M_R Node makes Novas sterile". That's boring, and we already have too many answers, and not enough questions in the TC. Novas need questions. I'm praying, and begging, that whoever writes TC: Aberrant does so with the intent of leaving 2 questions for every answer they reveal. TC and TC: Aeon did not do this, and I feel that their games are poorer for it.
                              I feel the option to make it unimportant needs to be there. YES having the potential to make it a campaign concept is nice, but it being a mandatory conspiracy almost makes ignoring it and focusing on other issues seem missing the point. I feel both the option that its a super big story hook and its something you can casually ignore should be there.

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