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[Aberrant] Avoiding Transcendence

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  • [Aberrant] Avoiding Transcendence

    So: it has been pointed out in another thread that characters like Superman and the Flash can be difficult to model in Aberrant — not because the game cannot handle the power levels that these characters tend to operate at (both exhibit powers that can be modeled with the upper end of the Scale charts), but because the rules require a degree of divergence from baseline humanity that the likes of Clark Kent or Barry Allen simply don't exhibit.

    The difficulty comes from the mandatory link between Quantum and Transcendence. If you're Quantum 4, you have at least Transcendence 1; Quantum 5, Transcendence 2; and so on. One could model Superman at as low as Quantum 7, with his more outlandish feats being examples of Maxing Out; but that still mandates a minimum Transcendence of 4, which in turn represents enough of a disconnect from regular people that all of his social interactions with them would be at +2 difficulty. And Superman simply doesn't exhibit that kind of disconnect.

    This rules hack is designed to address this, by making the acquisition of Transcendence entirely optional. The basic rule is this: you no longer automatically gain a point of Transcendence at Quantum 4 and another point of Transcendence for every dot of Quantum after that; instead, you have the option to buy the Quantum trait at half cost (8 XP up to Quantum 5; 16 XP for Quantum 6+) if you take a point of Transcendence with it.

    Note that this leads to more powerful or more human Novas: for the same experience cost as the current system, you get the same Quantum without the Transcendence, or you get more Quantum with the Transcendence. On the other hand, it has the virtue of being simple. If you want a system that remains on par with the official setup, then you need to double the XP cost of Quantum starting at Quantum 4, with the expectation that Novas will take the Transcendence to bring the cost back down. If you want to be more strict about it, you might require the Transcendence at Quantum 4+ if the Nova in question hasn't been using Grounding.

    Regardless, keep track of where you're getting the Transcendence; because by using Grounding as a catalyst, you can remove it for a cost equal to the XPs that it saved you. If you bought a dot of Quantum for 8 XP plus a dot of Transcendence instead of paying16 XP for the dot of Quantum, then you can use Grounding to justify paying 8 XP more to get rid of the dot of Transcendence. When buying off Transcendence, you must pay for the most expensive point first. (If you don't want to mess with different dots of Transcendence being worth different amounts of XP, just say that taking a dot of Transcendence is always a discount of 6 XP. You lose the effect of Transcendence becoming a greater temptation at higher levels of Quantum; but you gain simplicity in the math.)

    You can extend this logic to Transformations as well: taking a low-level transformation with a Nova trait saves you 3 XP; so you should be able to spend 3 XP to remove the low-level transformation, provided you take appropriate actions in the story to justify its removal. Ditto with mid-level and high-level transformations. I wouldn't necessarily tie these removals to Grounding; but there should be some sort of effort in the story that's opposed to the nature of the Transformation. It should never be as simple as “pay the XP, and the Transformation magically disappears”.

    Thoughts?



  • #2
    That is a good approach, I really like it, while it may have some impact in the cost of low quantum characters (Q1-3).

    Maybe create a intermediary Quantum cost, 1-3 costs 16, 4-5 costs 32 and can be reduced to 16 by taking Transcendence, 6+ costs 48 and can be reduced to 32 by taking transcendence (not sure if it is the value… but that’s the idea).


    House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
    Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
    Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

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    • #3
      You could say that you're not allowed to buy Quantum with a Transcendence discount below Quantum 4; and after that, just boost the cost of Quantum so that taking it with the Transcendence discount costs the same as the current system.

      Note that Quantum Powers, Mega-Attributes, and Mega-Edges can get a 6 XP discount by taking a dot of Transcendence with them; so if you always want Transcendence to be worth the same, it should always be a 6-point discount, and the cost of Quantum should be 16 for the first three dots, 22 for the fourth and fifth dots, and 38 for every dot after that.

      That maintains maximum consistency with the existing rules and minimizes what you need to track, but results in a lot of ugly numbers.
      Last edited by Dataweaver; 07-04-2021, 01:36 PM.


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      • #4
        Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
        You could say that you're not allowed to buy Quantum with a Transcendence discount below Quantum 4; and after that, just boost the cost of Quantum so that taking it with the Transcendence discount costs the same as the current system.

        Note that Quantum Powers, Mega-Attributes, and Mega-Edges can get a 6 XP discount by taking a dot of Transcendence with them; so if you always want Transcendence to be worth the same, it should always be a 6-point discount, and the cost of Quantum should be 16 for the first three dots, 22 for the fourth and fifth dots, and 38 for every dot after that.

        That maintains maximum consistency with the existing rules and minimizes what you need to track, but results in a lot of ugly numbers.
        Agree on that.

        Optionally transcendence can only be bought when buying Quantum, so the ugly numbers don’t need to exist. Personally I would remove the idea of using transcendence to reduce cost, and keep only transformations as discount, and transcendence comes only from over using quantum with no grounding.


        House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
        Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
        Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

        Comment


        • #5
          Another idea is to remove Transcendence completely, keeping Flux and Transformations.

          Flux never goes above 10 and works similar to Quantum instability, but adding to Quantum instead of Transcendence to get when you start to get the effect. Maybe when the sun is 5 you get aberrant eyes, 7 permanent anima effect and 10 you start leaking energy.

          Instead of getting slowly crazy and with no return, you can ground yourself to get back to normal, and the powers make you “leak power”. Like the Flash after overusing speed power become electrical and accelerated all the time until calms down.

          Opinions?


          House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
          Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
          Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

          Comment


          • #6
            If you remove Transcendence from the game, then what happens when you get too much Flux? It shouldn't be more Quantum; allowing Flux buildup to become raw power (with no downsides) just doesn't work for me. But I could see a mechanism whereby too much Flux becomes Transformations: Chrysalis would be a mechanism to control what Transformations they become, while those who don't engage in Chrysalis end up having no control over what Transformations happen to them when their Flux becomes excessive.

            With some effort, I think a Transcendence-free system could be devised. But it requires more changes than I'm comfortable with, and would likely have a ton of unintended consequences.


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            • #7
              Flux would work as Transcendence to that end, but temporary instead of permanent. You get hard to connect in a general way. Hard to interact, more in tone to the theme of your power, if it’s earth you become slow, if it’s fire you become overactive and uncontrollable, things like that. Would work like disfunction, but instead of affecting just the modes, would affect everything other than the powers.

              It can be kind of permanent if you don’t ground it, but for a common game it should be temporary as flux does.

              I agree on the excess amount of changes and the unpredictable consequences, but I am here more for the mental exercise than the real creative end…


              House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
              Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
              Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

              Comment


              • #8
                If your biggest problem with Transcendence is the increased difficulty to forming bonds with the non-powered, the simple solution is to either eliminate that specific rule or create an appropriate Mega-Edge. For example:

                Friendly Face (*)
                Prerequisite: Mega-Presence *, Mega-Manipulation *, or Mega-Composure *
                The nova's superhuman mastery of social skills overcomes all obstacles, including their own inherent nova nature. Lower the difficulty of all social rolls to form or maintain interpersonal bonds by the nova's highest social Mega-Attribute, to a minimum difficulty of 1.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am all for limiting Transcendence. The idea of not having Quantum based Transcendence as an automatic works really well for me. I could also see maybe having all non-XP cost reducing Transcendence naturally fading in months or so.

                  I do like Flux so I think there can be an interesting benefit to having its presence - maybe the Quantum pool is reduced by the number of Flux one has.

                  But yeah I like this thread.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Shepherdboi View Post
                    If your biggest problem with Transcendence is the increased difficulty to forming bonds with the non-powered, the simple solution is to either eliminate that specific rule or create an appropriate Mega-Edge. For example:

                    Friendly Face (*)
                    Prerequisite: Mega-Presence *, Mega-Manipulation *, or Mega-Composure *
                    The nova's superhuman mastery of social skills overcomes all obstacles, including their own inherent nova nature. Lower the difficulty of all social rolls to form or maintain interpersonal bonds by the nova's highest social Mega-Attribute, to a minimum difficulty of 1.
                    I super like this Mega-Edge and what it lets one do. It really does make sense that a nova would be able to manifest a power that would be able to make them so awesome that others can ignore their penalties. So yeah, this is really cool.

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                    • #11
                      I am in the opposed side of Heru in this. I think the existence of Transcendence requires it to impact the characters negatively, otherwise it has no value. Basically, it becomes a NPC turning count down.

                      Another thing on flux as single pull back is once you get 10 flux you must ground otherwise you can’t gain any more flux, so no maxing out and no power stunts, basically your body can’t handle any more. Instead of grounding you can get a permanent transformation to lower it, but it will not solve the problem for ever.


                      House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
                      Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
                      Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        The problem there is that you also need to account for Chrysalis.


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                        • #13
                          I was thing about a more generic supers setting… but Chrysalis is to big to be left out…

                          Maybe, and it is coming directly out of my head with no filter, the idea is Chrysalis allow the character to turn flux into transformations in a controlled way (instead of a crazy permanent change that happens after overusing quantum), allows to change the transformations and allow to gain a trait like Chrysalis used to be in 1e, so you can accumulate more flux without transformations and without grounding. Basically you release flux by doing Chrysalis instead of grounding yourself. What to do with the new trait I don’t know… must think… I would love some ideas other than “oh… that thrash…”


                          House Rules - The Basics - House Rules for Trinity Continuum
                          Fists of Flux - Inspired and Powered Martial Arts for Talents
                          Tomes of Inspiration - Rituals and Dark Magic in Fists of Flux

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            As per the other thread, I'm a big fan of keeping things as they are with XP costs if everything stays the same with Transcendence/Transformation. It should cost more to get power without downsides. Kind of takes away from themes of the game of even any of the comics outside the gold/silver age.

                            I'm in favour of the extra cost on Quantum to avoid Transcendence and, if buying it & Transformations off is allowed, I think a "tax" of some form needs to be applied. Perhaps an extra 50% of the cost saving initially applied?

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                            • #15
                              Personally, I think in games rather than Difficulty I would use high Trancendence as Complications that don't apply to every social interaction but to relevant ones based on the character. That gives the GM some freedom with the consequences and still has a negative effect on the character without overly penalizing the player

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