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[Aberrant] Avoiding Transcendence

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  • #16
    I don't mind the transcendence system, I got used to the taint system in first edition aberrant and I like the fan material that people came up with in regards to it like qi meng that was an alternative to the first edition chrysalis system which was different from the new version. My view point of transcendence/taint was that it was the trade off for novas power levels and being able to do basically do anything eventually. That's really my only dislike of the new edition is that they kept the downside to being a nova (transcendence) but nerfed novas abilities, no telepathy or precogs, or any psychic powers and also got rid of a lot high end cosmic level stuff novas could pull off. I mean sure you can house rule it in but the setting support isn't really there. Don't get me wrong I like the new edition but in some areas it seems to fall short. First edition novas were broken everyone knows that but that was half the fun in playing it sometimes, it really was what would you do with the power of a god. The second edition is sort of like what would you do with the power of a god who isn't all that as powerful as they used to be and also can't do this and this and this.

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    • #17
      Eh, I don't think things like Planck Constant manipulation or Universe Creation ever really got used in more than a handful of games. The weird cosmic powers were probably the least interesting powers in 1e.

      While you can't play a straight-up telepath, you can play a Quantum 1 character who can tell what someone is thinking and even figure out hidden or repressed memories with Revealing Read or can plant commands in a target with Hypnotic Presence. Quantum 2, and you can make people do what you say with Compelling Presence. Add in Mass Influence and Telepresence, and you can affect people through telecommunication or silently. About the only thing you can't do is possess someone.

      As for precogs, at Quantum 1 you can pickup both Foresight and Pretercognition which cover most of the things low-level precogs can do. At Quantum 3, you can pick up Remote Perception, which covers a lot of what else clears can do in Aeon.

      And when you start getting into higher Quantum characters, you can do some wild stuff. Roll 10 successes on a Molecular Manipulation roll, and you can turn a planet into gas or a star into pudding. (And that's not hard to do if you Cut Loose. After all, who cares about a collateral damage roll when you're destroying a planet?)

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      • #18
        I can see where your coming and the methods you mentioned are one of things I like about the new edition. I do like the new system and it does work a lot better than first did. My dislikes are pretty small and mostly I think it's just me been a bit petty about them saying that novas can't do something. I agree with you about the high end powers and a lot of powers in games I played for first edition were for npcs only or you had to have storyteller permission.

        one of the things I really like about the new aberrant is how mega attributes work, I mean some people don't like it but with a bit of house ruling they can work for everyone.

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        • #19
          Indeed. The whole thing about what a high-Quantum Nova can do is something of a thread derail; but I'll note that the Scaling system in TC:Ab offsets a lot of the lack of certain specific high-level powers from the original game.

          But again, that's a derail. I would ask that further discussion on that subject be moved elsewhere.


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          • #20
            No problem back to transcendence, my take on the current system is that unless your playing a high transcendence game or go crazy with buying nova traits with discount transcendence isn't really going to be an issue until you get to high quantum levels. I mean if you careful about building up flux you won't have a transformation until quantum 7 I believe.

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            • #21
              That's all true. However, the reason why I came up with this hack is that even that is too much for some character concepts. Thus the idea of making all Transcendence optional, while leaving an incentive to take it.


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              • #22
                That's one way to go about. Has anyone thought about using or rehashing qi meng from the first edition fan material as an answer to dealing with or lowering transcendence?

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                • #23
                  I've looked it over, and I'm not particularly interested in it. For one thing, it doesn't really feel like a Nova thing to me; rather, it feels like what a psiad would do to manage Taint if psiads had to worry about Taint. For another thing, it's a very specific concept, which means that it's only useful for a very specific character type.


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                  • #24
                    Since Transcendence is a nova/aberrant specific system, if you want someone to have powers without risking a Transcendence buildup, you could just include non-quantum comic book super powers. To balance things versus novas, just be extra strict on what powers they're allowed to take. Most comic book supers have a narrow range of abilities. They may become more powerful over time, and may even learn interesting new applications for their powers, but they don't just will completely new unrelated powers into existence on a regular basis.

                    For example, Superman may have a wide range of powers that synergize well, but he shouldn't be allowed to spend xp on Teleportation or Quantum Agent, since those aren't Kryptonian powers. Captain Quantum on the other hand, can just Max Out to manifest any random ability he wants, at the cost of slowly becoming a Transcendent being.

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                    • #25
                      To be clear, I have no problem with Novas risking Transcendence buildup. What I have a problem with is the mandatory buildup that comes with gaining Quantum: at Quantum 4 and every dot after that, you automatically gain a level of Transcendence, no ifs ands or buts; and there's no way to get rid of it. Part one of my hack is there to make that automatic gain optional. The other source of increased Transcendence (too much Flux) remains a problem for the Nova; because that is the result of the Nova falling to properly manage his development.

                      Part two of my hack gets rid of the "one-way ratchet" effect, where Transcendence can be gained but never lost.

                      I don't want to rewrite huge swaths of the game; that always has unintended consequences.


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                      • #26
                        This thread seems to be based on something that's just not true, specifically, the idea that Transcendence gives a direct penalty to all social interaction. That's...not quite accurate.

                        Transcendence, on its own, gives a penalty exclusively to forming bonds. Now, IMO, that makes perfect sense since it's directly stopping many Novas from having meaningful relationships with Baselines (which is, thematically, exactly the social thing that they should have trouble with)...but it also means that Mega-Composure (something that, say, Superman should definitely have) can directly counter said penalty. And really, even for a non-Mega-Composure Nova, Forming Bonds inherently comes with pretty huge Enhancements if you both like the person in question and they like you. A positive attitude of 2 on each side is 4 levels of Enhancement...and more than compensates for most reasonable levels of Transcendence, meaning you can still make Bonds they just won't be quite as strong (or, at least, not quite as strong for the effort invested). Mega-Social Novas can also pretty easily get people to high levels of Positive Attitude towards them, which compensates even more (an extra level of positive attitude directly compensates for 2 Transcendence...an invested Mega Social Nova can probably get three extra levels of Positive Attitude in a single scene if they have Instant Influence). A Nova without Mega-composure is gonna have real trouble forming bonds with people that they dislike (since their increased difficulty to that plus the increased difficulty from their own Attitude combine to make things difficult), but that's a pretty specific (and very thematically appropriate, IMO) problem that shouldn't usually apply to most meaningful emotional relationships.

                        Now, Transformations do sometimes give social penalties (almost always for the low level ones), but it's only a +2 Difficulty at most from the low level ones, and higher level ones add a higher Difficulty modifier, but not necessarily to social things (a Power Loss or Vulnerability isn't gonna give social penalties most times, for example). +2 Difficulty is easily overcome with even one level of Mega-Presence or Mega-Manipulation, and that means that if you have two levels, you can do so even while Grounding.

                        So, at Transcendence 7, trying to interact with baselines, Superman (or someone else with 'non-social' mid-level Transformations) is probably rocking about +2 Difficulty to most things, +5 Difficulty to Forming Bonds specifically.

                        But an investment in Mega-Social stuff can completely, or almost completely, compensate for that. And Superman is definitely mid-tier Mega-Social (low Mega-Presence and probably Mega-Manipulation, pretty good Mega-Composure...which is, bear in mind, how one resists having beliefs changed).

                        So, if you're Superman and you have, say, Mega-Presence 2, Mega-Manipulation 2, and Mega-Composure 4, you almost completely ignore the penalties of up to Transcendence 7 (the max you can be 'forced' to get), and ignore most of them even when Grounding and thus at Mega-Presence 1, Mega-Manipulation 1, and Mega-Composure 2 (technically, in the latter case, you're at +3 Difficulty to Forming Bonds specifically when grounding...all other penalties are compensated for by your Mega-Attributes making you as good as if you were a Baseline with your Baseline stats...when he's not Grounding, he's probably as good at forming Bonds as a baseline, since he can increase their Attitude more easily and thus compensate for his +1 Difficulty, and better at everything else...he probably just gives up on Grounding when actively forming bonds but does it the rest of the time). A lower Quantum Superman (the Quantum 7 and thus Transcendence 4 version, for example) could get away with a lot less in the Mega-Social arena, or not have any problems even while grounding if he did have the ones listed.

                        Which isn't to say that house rules for reducing Transcendence gain are a bad idea or anything like that, just that they aren't necessary to allow Novas who 'manage their development' (in this case, by getting a modicum of Mega-Social stuff...and the above example is the 'Quantum 10' version, so yeah, 8 dots are 'a modicum'...you can get away with a lot less at lower Transcendence) to mostly avoid the social problems of high Transcendence. You need to build for it, sure, but it's doable.

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                        • #27
                          Well, there are 2 aspects we were first touching with this thread: first, yes, the transcendence impact in the nova life, and second the compulsory transformations.

                          You are absolutely correct in the fact you have issues only in the bounds, but mega social has no impact in forming bounds. While a mega social nova may turn people into followers, it would not have the same impact to the nova, as the nova knows they are not truly friends, but in fact only fanatics that can’t see a nova as a real friend, so the bound is not valid. You my question this, saying there is nothing saying you can’t use, but there is no reference saying you can use neither…

                          Bounds themselves, in the other hand, are really useful only when dealing with team mates, that will help each other often and socialize to “refill the bound”, general contacts and other random people, while could be treated as bounds, would bring little to no advantage to the game (and probably nobody will care to work on). So basically, the result is, as long as all members of the team are about the same transcendence there is absolutely no issue in it (other than transformations).


                          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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                          • #28
                            Forming Bonds is always a Composure based roll. So Mega-Presence and Mega-Manipulation, which tend to be the 'gets followers' Mega-Socials, don't help with it at all. Mega-Composure, however, does help to overcome the penalties of being a Nova (since each level reduces the difficulty of Composure rolls). Because it just reduces the difficulty, and to a minimum of 1, this will almost never make a Mega-Composure Nova actually better at forming Bonds than baselines are, only equally good, but it can make them equally good, at least in theory.

                            That seems fine to me. Mega-Presence gets you followers, Mega-Manipulation gets you dupes, and Mega-Composure lets you put aside all that Nova ego and actually make friends as well as normal people. Remember that Mega-Composure is also the stat for being generally inconspicuous and fading into the background...for being as much of a 'normal person' as Novas get. That all sounds about right, and all the rules seem to support it.

                            As for who you form Bonds with...well, Grounding has rules for using Bonds to reduce Transcendence and I doubt that's intended to be Bonds with your teammates, and on a theme/world perspective, many Novas have baseline spouses, friends, and family members...that seems to be reflected mechanically by Bonds in this system. Or at least, it can be.

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                            • #29
                              I completely forgot the grounding rules interacted with bounds. That gives another level to bounds for sure. Also, i like your interpretation of Mega Composure, makes sense (also fits perfectly to Super Man being super cool and patient and never over reacting to anything).


                              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


                              • #30
                                To be fair, the rules for Grounding, as written, are about getting rid of Flux, not Transcendence. But if we go with the general principle that anything that lets you "shed one Flux" also entitles you to spend one XP toward removing a level of Transcendence...

                                As for Mega-Composure: in terms of bonds, it's of no help. While establishing bonds is Composure-based, Mega-Composure doesn't add to rolls for forming bonds; and using bonds for Grounding cannot involve any Nova traits. And Mega-Composure is a Nova trait. Ditto with Mega-Edges. That said, Nova Edges aren't Nova traits, despite their name and being restricted to Novas; and I could entertain the notion of a Nova trait that enhances Grounding in some manner — say, by allowing Mega-Composure to add to the dice pool when using Bonds for Grounding.

                                But I still say that Superman, despite arguably being Quantum 7 or more, shouldn't have any difficulty forming bonds with baselines. I suppose you could cobble together something involving Mega-Composure to simulate this; but it seems much simpler to just say that Superman has no Transcendence despite his high Quantum score, due to extensive use of Grounding to prevent any distancing from baseline humanity from happening in the first place. And it's not some special ability he has; it's merely that he's put in the work.


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