Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Transcendence: Threat or Menace?

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Transcendence: Threat or Menace?

    Extracting this from the Æon Æxpansion thread, because it is an interesting topic, but really needs to stand in its own:

    Originally posted by LordHeru View Post
    So re-reading (xsome number) Aeon Aexpansion has me realizing something. One of the main reasons I like Talents, Superiors, Psiads (and Psions) is that there is nothing negative in their powers. Their isn't a morality stat or a forced weakness or a great curse, or anything like that with the reason of just because. They are what they are. Their powers aren't a corrupting influence.

    I guess, going one thought further, one of the things that make me sad about Novas is that they do have such a forced weakness, a corrupting power. The one group in the whole setting that does. Which yes, I realize some will say is part of the theme, but to me that lessons the fun of them. Which is also I guess why for all that I love certain aspects of Aberrant I have been turning my attention more to the other groups, Superiors and Psiads most especially but also Talents, which are marvelous.
    Originally posted by IanWatson View Post

    While Taint was certainly corruptive, and the human-centric Æon Trinity has framed it as capital-C "Corruption", it should be noted that this isn't necessarily the case in Aberrant.

    Transcendence is transformative. Novas are becoming something else, something divorced from their human ancestry. That's not necessarily wrong or bad, it's just different. I know that it may be tough to wrap your head around, especially from a 1e context, but it's there nonetheless.
    Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post

    I get that diegeticly, but when the rules say “hand over your character sheet” it’s hard not to take that as a lose condition.
    Originally posted by LordHeru View Post

    Well yeah theoretically. But when Transcendence takes a character away from the player how else but 'bad' can one to take it. Additionally, I don't see anything positive about having it. If there was some mechanism that actually game an interesting mechanical boost, that could showcase it is not all bad.

    Like I said I get how its technically a theme, I just wish it wasn't.

    Which is why I am turning my mind towards the positives of the rest of the TC universe rather than dwell on the one thing that I find frustrating. And there are a lot of positives. A lot of good things.
    Originally posted by Aliasi View Post
    Keep in mind that unless you intentionally push it, the 'natural' development of a Nova allows them to achieve the height of power with a minimal amount of transformations, and certainly nothing that unmanageable. You will be marked, but for the sort of people who are playing superhumans, "I have glowy eyes, my skin is purple, and I got really, really ripped to Hulk-like levels", is not really a disadvantage, is it? (After all, if you perfectly manage your flux, your Transcendence maxes out at 6. That's two minor transformations and one moderate one.)

    Heck, I'd be interested in underlining the point by seeing a chapter or section with new transformations in a future book (assuming Aberrant ever gets an 'Aexpansion' of its own) to underscore the 'not necessarily bad' thing. High-level ones should almost always be a bit of a stumble, but even then I've had characters where I'm genuinely okay with Power Lock on a given power or Hardened Epidermis so the Colossus expy is walking around with steely skin properly. (One reason I liked the idea of some sort of edge that allows you to voluntarily take on a transformation ahead of schedule, with the benefit being you get to skip out on taking an actual transformation, come that time.)
    Originally posted by muon View Post

    The Transformations described, like lack of control of power or severe psychological disorders, seem bad, as does Quantum Instability. In the Full Transformation, "Novas undergoing full transformation can twist and mutate in terrible ways, with no known limits. What is more, aberrants are no longer capable of any sort of human empathy or compassion. They are utterly transformed into monsters, and even the least vicious of them are cruelly indifferent to humanity." You might be able to justify indifference by transformation into something inhuman, but viciousness? It sounds like the Sabbat, where they're actually obsessed with their human beginnings. A Nova doesn't even need Full Transformation to reach maximum Quantum and undergo Quantum Transcendence (really need new terminology here).
    Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
    I have to defend Ian here. Transcendence is not necessarily evil, but it can be.

    Imagin you are a ant that become human, after sometime you stop caring about ants, the same way we do, it’s not evil per se, it’s just... inant (inhuman for ants), you don’t care you just have better things to think about other than not stepping on ants.

    The same way you don’t gain any extra XP for, let’s say, needing a wheel chair or being blind, you can create a Nova with an specific situation that is a transformation before the proper level of Transcendence, and you gain Momentum when the condition come to play. That’s the idea for putting disabilities in the game and not treating than as weaknesses as other games treats.

    Being purple, or being made of metal, or blind, or unable to walk without an equipment, or being gay or black is not a weakness, it’s not bad and not even a problem if you live in a controled environment (where there is no prejudice or you have all the needs attempted). If you are on a environment that treat you bad for being like this, than you must adapt, in game terms gain Momentum, if not, you are a person as any other. That’s very interesting way to deal with it.

    transcendence is another thing, it’s about being inhuman, the same way we are inant, or incow, Novas are superior to humans and they feel superior to humans as we feel superior to ants, that makes them think in a different way, not much different from what you see wen dealing with people of power (super rich, politicians, and in some cases even public servers and police), they start caring less about the regular people and be more concerned about their own problems.
    Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post

    Right, but extra-diagetically the fact that it strips you of your character if it hits a certain point makes it unavoidably a punishment mechanic. I’m not saying that it shouldn’t be in the game - I’d tweak it a bit, but there being a mechanic enforcing the themes the cost of power alienating a Nova from humanity is a good thing! But I disagree with the argument it isn’t a cost and is a neutral mechanic rather than a negative one.
    Originally posted by LordHeru View Post
    In some ways it reminds me of the whole Dark Side mechanic in the old West End Games D6 Star Wars. In that if you got a certain number of Dark Side Points your character was taken from you and became a GM NPC.

    I'm not really a fan of such a thing.

    ---

    That all said, I honestly didn't mean to make something that was a harp. I was trying to say that TC is one of those game lines that I basically love pretty much everything about most of its rules and templates and groups and setting. That it has such potential for so many possible games, and that is brilliant to me.
    Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
    I agree, it’s a punishment mechanic to make it possible to overuse quantum but still be unquestionably bad for the player. Not just the part when you lose your character, but all the way until that, be horrible in dealing with people is horrible, multiple personalities is horrible, etc.
    Originally posted by Bunyip View Post
    It’s not a generic supers game. Aberrant has setting assumptions and these include that Quantum power inevitably transcends the human into something inhuman. That’s what it is.

    If you want to play generic supers, you can simply drop the corruption/transcendence assumptions and mechanics. Job done. But it’s not Aberrant, and doesn’t hit the same themes. And that’s okay at your table.

    Perhaps one day humanity’s unique ability to be able to evolve along psi and quantum paths - combined with the also unique new Aptitude of Quantakinesis - will mean humans can evolve into a species that can comfortably accommodate both power sources within the one being, possibly without losing their humanity. But that day isn’t now. Right now we’re at the beginning of an evolutionary process that we don’t know the end of. And we have many, many significant obstacles to our evolutionary path on the way, including loss of humanity, vicious war between the two sides, and external alien influences working to domesticate our capability into something they can use as their tool.
    Originally posted by glamourweaver View Post
    Yeah, I’m not arguing for generic supers, I’m pro-Flux and Transcendence in the system (though I plan to tweak the mechanics for lowering Flux to focus on Ties with Baselines)! I’m just saying it is a negative mechanic. Not “negative” in the sense of “hurts the game”, I’m just saying it is a penalty in actual play consequences.
    Originally posted by muon View Post

    What about the viciousness?
    Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post

    Not all transcendent Novas become vicious... Trancendence is not necessarily evil, but can be.
    Keeping the idea of the ants, some people like to burn ants, others don’t care... that’s the idea. I tried to use examples of not caring as we have lots of examples of rampaging and vicious novas.
    Last edited by Dataweaver; 10-22-2019, 04:05 PM.



  • #2
    Hm, I think the real crux of this argument is that Transcendence strips players of their character. That you can become so inhuman that you are now beyond play (for reasons other than sheer power). Whereas I think a lot of peopel might continue to play as a transcendant nova just exploring an inhumane perspective. For example; we can have novas A and B who've been friends since eruption but gradually drift apart in viewpoints as nova B gains Transcendence.

    (scenario: asteroid armageddon>
    Nova A: "The planet is in danger!!!"
    Nova B "Yes, we must act!"

    (scenario: criminal cartel explansion)
    Nova A: "We gotta stop these mafiosos from taking over!"
    Nova B: "Why? Humans always do stuff like this."

    admittedly simple examples but the point is that Nova B just has reshuffled priorities, he'd still act to save the whole world (his HOME) but the fate of cities, countries, even mankind itself is less and less of a priority compared to the whole of the biosphere. Actually we see that in-game with the character Anteus.

    Comment


    • #3
      One of the things I wish was that there were other ways to get Transformations then simply Transcendence. I remember often picking a nifty number of 1e Aberrations just because they were interesting character elements with both potential advantages and disadvantages.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by LordHeru View Post
        One of the things I wish was that there were other ways to get Transformations then simply Transcendence. I remember often picking a nifty number of 1e Aberrations just because they were interesting character elements with both potential advantages and disadvantages.
        just take them as Momentum generating flaws, same way you would take blind at character creation.


        Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

        Comment


        • #5
          If you read the description for Full Transformation (Transcendence 10) in Aberrant (I really don't know how to point it, its on the Char Creation Chapter), it says

          The Nova generally falls under the control of the Storyguide
          Note the "Generally" word, it means it's not against the rules to let the players play a T10 Nova... its just... not recommended.
          I know a few pages before it says "become an aberrant under the control of Storyguide", but when contradiction is shown I choose the answer that is more convenient

          On Full Transformation: oh man, it's going to be a crazy game! The character will be in constant Quantum Instability, but you don't get more transcendence. I personally would make it a bit unpleasant to get more flux, maybe you force flux on other characters, or create random effects, or pop a new temporary mutation. A few things I would add, no more Nova Traits for half price (obvious) and no mode dormancy (you are leaking flux and transformation, also you don't care to be a human in any way, give back the experience related to Dormancy)

          Now about transformations not locked to transcendence: I totally agree, pick a transformation, if it causes you problems during the game you get Momentum... (man, I love this rule, it can be a momentum plantation if you don't mind to suffer all the time!). If you have enough Transcendence to get one of those transformations, it loses the Momentum generation capacity. If you have multiple transformations and rise your transcendence, they become normal transformations (no momentum generation) according to the new transcendence. All transformations not caused by excess of Transcendence would disappear when the character is on Baseline form (Dormancy 4+)

          Comment


          • #6
            I hadn't thought of willingly placing Conditions on the character to represent flaws. Looking at it, Transformations in general, even the ones you get from Transcendence should be considered Conditions and provide momentum when they cause a major setback.


            Raksha are my fae-vorite.

            Reincarnation of magnificentmomo.

            Comment


            • #7
              There is on thing about the self imposed conditions (by that I mean player imposed, not character chose to be blind or anything like that), and the transformations caused by Transcendence (as far as I remember) don't grant it. It grant Momentum when it comes to play, even if you are successful on the test, 2 if you fail and 3 if you botch (Core page 73), while transformations and the penalties caused by transcendence don’t cause Momentum (at least it don’t say anything about it).

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
                There is on thing about the self imposed conditions (by that I mean player imposed, not character chose to be blind or anything like that), and the transformations caused by Transcendence (as far as I remember) don't grant it. It grant Momentum when it comes to play, even if you are successful on the test, 2 if you fail and 3 if you botch (Core page 73), while transformations and the penalties caused by transcendence don’t cause Momentum (at least it don’t say anything about it).
                I definitely wouldn’t object to a rule allowing Transcendence-Transformations to grant Momentum too. I definitely think Transformations should be able to be (player) voluntarily taken Conditions untied to Transcendence that generate Momentum, for those characters who erupted with stranger bodily mutations, an always active power, duel identities tied up with Dormancy (think Hulk), etc etc.


                Check out my expansion to the Realm of Brass and Shadow

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Darksol-aeternium View Post
                  Hm, I think the real crux of this argument is that Transcendence strips players of their character.
                  In the Aberrant setting, yes. Doesn’t mean there won’t even be a setting where we explore transcendence.

                  That you can become so inhuman that you are now beyond play (for reasons other than sheer power). Whereas I think a lot of peopel might continue to play as a transcendant nova just exploring an inhumane perspective.
                  Like so


                  Writer. Developer. World of Darkness | Chronicles of Darkness | The Trinity Continuum

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    That runs the risk of turning into the Sabbat. They were supposed to explore an inhuman perspective (the writer said there would be cases where Sabbat would risk their unlives to save a mortal from a burning building), but degenerated into "The Path of What I Was Going To Do Anyway" and people asking the forum how to use Vicissitude to turn humans into urinals for their club.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by muon View Post
                      That runs the risk of turning into the Sabbat. They were supposed to explore an inhuman perspective (the writer said there would be cases where Sabbat would risk their unlives to save a mortal from a burning building), but degenerated into "The Path of What I Was Going To Do Anyway" and people asking the forum how to use Vicissitude to turn humans into urinals for their club.
                      I agree with you. We should respect Transcendence and avoid it. Transformations without transcendence is a good way to build a very unusual character without lose humanity.

                      As you touched the subject, the entire Sabat thing makes no sense. On VtM 1e Sabat was the bad guys, degenerated vampires that lost their humanity (they effectively reached Humanity 0). Humanity was what keep vampires playable and fun (the entire internal horror thing). In 3e you get to the point where Humanity is not relevant, and you can make a reverse humanity where you kill people for their blood AND to keep your sanity (win win all the time)... and there is the urinal thing... that’s why we kept our characters only on Camarilla when we played...

                      Transcendence is the same thing, if you let transcendence be just a little annoyance, the entire game becomes a run for power with no limits.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well, that Sabbat thing is really gross.

                        Anyway, one cool thing about the setting is that the various character types change over time. In the traditional timeline (which they stress is not automatically the case for any particular game), Stalwarts become Novas, Novas become Aberrants, and the future could go any direction. It's canonically possible that humanity might end up blending all three major power sources together into something new, for instance. Or it's possible that at some point, someone figures out something equivalent to the (spoiler) event or (spoiler) event that causes massive changes, and novas stabilize worldwide and no longer suffer from constant quantum instabiility or turn into monsters at Transcendence 10.

                        I don't really like "take the PC away" mechanics in anything. I'd have preferred if it were worded differently in Aberrant 2e, along the lines of suggesting that such a character is probably not very playable. I also don't really like that suddenly at 10 they become unfeeling monsters even if they had no mental aberrations before that. And the whole uncaring inhumanity thing is a little odd with the Qin and Chromatics and even Coalition members being able to get along with humans. I don't think there's any need for Trinity Core 2e continuum aberrants to automatically become sociopathic assholes simply because they're no longer remotely human; the other aliens seem to display a range of moralities and I think it's a lot more interesting if some of the transcended novas are well-meaning but just scary and weird as hell.

                        On the other hand, the 2e version of the setting gives a pretty good explanation of why there's all these messed up aberrants attacking, which I won't mention for spoiler reasons. In my own games, set in the Aberrant timeline but with some timeline and reality travel involved, it turned out that a lot of the most extreme quantum-related problems were due to alien meddling and that the Aberrant War happened because of a stealthy release of weaponized flux in areas with lots of novas.

                        As it is, I think it's pretty easy to change the way things work while not going against the established writing, because there's already so many clear examples of events entirely changing the "rules" of the powers in the setting. And there's also plenty of genre options that radically change the way certain things work. It doesn't feel quite like the "This Isn't The Superfriends!" messaging of 1e where you were kinda repeatedly told you were doing it wrong if you deviated from the default. So I don't really mind if the official direction goes in a different way than my games, because I don't feel like the text is actively working against me. (Sure, you can ignore the rules and writing in any game, but it feels a lot more fun if you're actively encouraged to explore other approaches than if you're actively discouraged.)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It’s not that an Aberrant will become suddenly a monster when reach T10, one of the things Transcendence gives is a raise in difficulty on establishing bounds equals to 1/2 of the transcendence difference. It means he will gradually lose all friends and have more and more difficult to make new friends or develop any kind of relationship with anyone without a close range of transcendence. On T10 you would have Difficulty 6 to create a new relationship with T0 (including baseline), that’s almost impossible, as you can’t use your Mega Attributes to that end.

                          The Nova can keep acting normal, but the relationships will go away and the Nova will care about the former friends as much as he care about strangers in the street, that’s what the bounds represent, so it’s not about turning into a monster, it’s about gradually not caring more and more, like Dr Manhattan, to the point he thinks observing the Martian landscape is more interesting than interacting with humans. Manhattan later gathered some empathy by humanity, but not to any individual human, it was more in an anthropological study than properly human interaction, and eventually left Earth to protect humans from mutual destruction.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I like that explanation. Thanks.

                            You know, Dr. Manhattan is a great example of transcendence. If they do make a transcendence-focused setting, I hope there's plenty of options for playing someone along those lines.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
                              It’s not that an Aberrant will become suddenly a monster when reach T10, one of the things Transcendence gives is a raise in difficulty on establishing bounds equals to 1/2 of the transcendence difference. It means he will gradually lose all friends and have more and more difficult to make new friends or develop any kind of relationship with anyone without a close range of transcendence. On T10 you would have Difficulty 6 to create a new relationship with T0 (including baseline), that’s almost impossible, as you can’t use your Mega Attributes to that end.

                              The Nova can keep acting normal, but the relationships will go away and the Nova will care about the former friends as much as he care about strangers in the street, that’s what the bounds represent, so it’s not about turning into a monster, it’s about gradually not caring more and more, like Dr Manhattan, to the point he thinks observing the Martian landscape is more interesting than interacting with humans. Manhattan later gathered some empathy by humanity, but not to any individual human, it was more in an anthropological study than properly human interaction, and eventually left Earth to protect humans from mutual destruction.
                              There's a penalty for new bonds, but it doesn't say anything about degrading existing ones. Indifference to humanity is the best case. Aeon Aexpansion has has examples of monstous Aberrants like Slaughtermane, formerly a hero.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X