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[Aberrant] Avoiding Transcendence

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  • #46
    Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post
    Superman specifically never gets too much Flux for 3 reasons:
    He never max out, when he looks like maxing out, he is actually just letting go a bit more power than usual.
    He is always operating in half of regular level, just because he is too powerful that it would be dangerous (he is controlling the collateral pool)
    He is always grounding, he has a regular job, he pretend to have no powers, he has lots of meaningful relationships with baselines, things like that.

    The only source of flux is all the weird things he does with his powers, basically power stunting every now and than, but not often enough to cause issues.
    The only thing I'd disagree with here is the bit about Superman never Maxing Out; and that's entirely version- specific. Certainly, he did a fair amount of Maxing Out on his way from the Golden Age "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound" version to the one who can fly through interstellar space, change the course of entire planets, and race the Flash. But yeah; he's always Grounding, and there's that "world of cardboard" speech of his from the Justice League cartoon: battles with collateral damage are the exception with him, not the rule, as he can usually afford to operate at half power.

    The catch for him, though, is that in the rules as written, "hardly ever gets Flux, and always quickly disposes of it" is of absolutely no help when it comes to the Transcendence that comes with high Quantum.


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    • #47
      Originally posted by Mateus Luz View Post

      I didn’t mean that was what you are saying, just that I agree with you and went to a further elaboration around it from a slightly different point of view. Sort for that.
      No problem. There's a lot of clarifying and elaborating going on in this thread; see my last post for another such example.


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      • #48
        Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
        Still very kludgey. If he can use Grounding to keep from having a high Transcendence in the first place, then he won't have to worry about the effects of high Transcendence on his bonding rolls. And if he does have a high Transcendence, I don't think I want him to be able to work around the one effect that's unique to high Transcendence. (There are other ways to get Transformations; there are not other ways to have trouble forming bonds with baselines.)


        I don't find it that kludgey since very rarely are you both trying to form a Bond and use that Bond to reduce Flux in one scene anyway, but to each their own. As for being able to work around the penalty, I think it's very appropriate that some Novas would be able to and others wouldn't. It's not like everyone with high Transcendence is also gonna have Mega-Composure after all. Some will, but by no means all, and even of those who do, not all will be willing to hide their light under a bushel to ground regularly anyway.

        Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
        Superman's few Transformations (basically, a vulnerability to Kryptonite and a power loss when exposed to red solar radiation) can easily be addressed in other ways, such as taking Nova traits at a discount; and they don't fit the pattern of Transformations gained through Transcendence (two low-level, then two mid-level, then two high-level). The Flash arguably has to be able to run at or near the speed of light (Scale 9, requiring either Quantum 9/Transcendence 6+ or Quantum 7 or 8 and extensive use of the Maxing Out rules); and the only thing close to a Transformation he has is that some versions of him are said to need to eat a lot of calories; and other versions of him don't even have that.


        Personally, my own House Rule on the Superman issue is to allow trading two Low-level Transformations for one Mid-level one (or two Mid-level ones for a High-level one...in both cases if done in play this is basically 'upgrading' an existing Transformation, which seems logical to me). That works to fit the pattern in his case and makes a lot of things easier for a lot of concepts in general. You can also come up with a couple of low level Transformations for Superman easily enough if you want, though I admit it's not ideal. The Flash is a better argument since he has fewer weaknesses, though even there, if light speed is him maxing out (which it usually is...it's generally shown as pretty unhealthy for him to go quite that fast) you can manage something pretty close (several versions have ADHD, the metabolism issue you mention, or something similar that can be a low level Transformation, and he can 'max out' to light speed at Quantum 7/Transcendence 4).

        Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
        In that case, then, this probably isn't a hack that you're going to use; which is fine by me. I'm not proposing official errata for the game, or sending rules ninjas to your house to enforce compliance; I'm just proposing a house rule for those who think that working around the effects of high Transcendence is unnecessarily awkward when a simpler approach is to work around needing a high Transcendence in the first place.
        Sure, and it's totally fine for people who want to go that route. But the very first post of this thread begins with talking about how the current rules can't properly create Superman or the Flash because they can't manage Clark Kent or Barry Allen (ie: a 'normal guy' secret identity that gets along with people), and saying that all the social interactions of a Transcendence 4 Nova are at +2 Difficulty, and that this is why the rules were being made. This is all presented as an immutable truth, a foregone conclusion. Responding with the point that the current rules can in fact manage Clark Kent and Barry Allen (or at least it looks to me like they can), and that the 'social stuff is all at +2 difficulty' was factually incorrect was basically my whole point in posting. I'm not arguing against the rules in question, I'm saying that the stated reason for creating them is at least partially in error, and that I disagree with that reason as presented. That doesn't mean this hack is bad (indeed, it looks pretty much fine to me), but it's worth noting so that people don't assume they need it even if they don't.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Deadmanwalking View Post
          Sure, and it's totally fine for people who want to go that route. But the very first post of this thread begins with talking about how the current rules can't properly create Superman or the Flash because they can't manage Clark Kent or Barry Allen (ie: a 'normal guy' secret identity that gets along with people), and saying that all the social interactions of a Transcendence 4 Nova are at +2 Difficulty, and that this is why the rules were being made. This is all presented as an immutable truth, a foregone conclusion. Responding with the point that the current rules can in fact manage Clark Kent and Barry Allen (or at least it looks to me like they can), and that the 'social stuff is all at +2 difficulty' was factually incorrect was basically my whole point in posting.
          Except that in your arguments to that effect, you ended up introducing your own house rules. So that's not an argument that you can do the likes of Superman or the Flash with the rules as written; it's an argument that you prefer to use a different set of house rules to enable it than I proposed.

          Though to be fair, at least one of the house rules you introduced might be better characterized as a different reading of the rules — namely, the bit about Mega-Composure being able to help overcome the Transcendence penalty on forming bonds.

          Incidentally, no version of the Flash that I know of qualifies for Mega-Composure; so that particular patch doesn't help me make a Q9 speedster who has a "normal guy" secret identity. While I'm fine with some Novas being able to avoid Transcendence and others not, I don't think it should be dependent on a specific Nova trait that may or may not be suitable for the Nova who can avoid it.
          Last edited by Dataweaver; 07-14-2021, 11:19 PM.


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          • #50
            I really think the best solution for a game with Superman, Flash, etc., is to use this house rule: you never get Transcendence points automatically just by having high Quantum. :-]

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            • #51
              That's the essence of my proposal, yes. The rest is the messy details needed to implement it.


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              • #52
                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                Except that in your arguments to that effect, you ended up introducing your own house rules. So that's not an argument that you can do the likes of Superman or the Flash with the rules as written; it's an argument that you prefer to use a different set of house rules to enable it than I proposed.
                Not intentionally. There were two issues I listed, and neither were House Rules (though one is apparently an interpretation you disagree with).

                The first was that Transcendence does not inherently add a penalty to all social skills, only Forming Bonds specifically, which is just a factual error on your part. The second was the Mega-Composure thing which, to me, just seems to be the way the rules read. The idea that the Difficulty reduction from Mega-Composure was somehow conditional never even occurred to me before it was brought up in this thread.

                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                Though to be fair, at least one of the house rules you introduced might be better characterized as a different reading of the rules — namely, the bit about Mega-Composure being able to help overcome the Transcendence penalty on forming bonds.
                Yeah, that's literally just how I read the rules. It's not a reading with specific intent or anything. Frankly, even without that, Forming Bonds with people they actually like is pretty easily doable for a Nova just because Positive Attitude on both sides acting as Enhancement makes it so, and a Nova with even modest Mega-Socials can get a target's Positive Attitude up pretty quick. They might have a few successes less than a Baseline by the end, but when that's a difference between, say, 13 Successes and 10 Successes (or even 9 Successes and 6 Successes), it's less of a big deal. I actually like that Mega-Composure helps, but that's something I realized after I realized it seemed to work like that, not a reason I read it like that in the first place.

                Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                Incidentally, no version of the Flash that I know of qualifies for Mega-Composure; so that particular patch doesn't help me make a Q9 speedster who has a "normal guy" secret identity. While I'm fine with some Novas being able to avoid Transcendence and others not, I don't think it should be dependent on a specific Nova trait that may or may not be suitable for the Nova who can avoid it.
                I'm not sure I agree, honestly. Mega-Composure is used for resisting having your beliefs changed and reacting calmly under pressure. Both of those are things most powerful versions of the Flash are pretty good at. Indeed, it's pretty appropriate for a lot of more traditionally heroic characters (antiheroes tend to have less justification for it, on average).

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                • #53
                  On the last point, I have some cognitive dissonance with the notion that in order for a high-Quantum Nova to be a "regular guy" in his private life, he needs to take a Mega-Attribute. "Superhumanly unflappable" is not what I think of when I think of a "regular guy".

                  More generally: while Mega-Composure does help you avoid changing your mind, that's not its primary purpose. Its primary purpose is to describe a character who never loses his cool. Even one or two levels of it puts the Nova into a class where the average baseline would likely consider his level-headedness to be eerie. That is, I don't consider Mega-Attributes to be something you should take quite so casually; they should always make you stand out, even when operating in the Stealth Nova realm. And the whole point of the likes of Clark Kent and Barry Allen is that they don't stand out.

                  Again, it's much simpler to just not hard-link Transcendence to Quantum, and allow the likes of Superman and the Flash to have high Quantum without high Transcendence. To me, that's the bottom line: if you like it, use it; if you don't, don't.

                  And I've already said that I'm not trying to present this as something that everyone needs to adopt; though even that ought to be taken as a given, considering that I described it as a rules hack. And for the most part, the people in these forums do understand that. So I don't see why you're being so aggressively insistent that I admit some sort of fault. You agree that you don't have a problem with the hack itself; why not just leave it at that?


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                  • #54
                    Barry and Clark ate both exceptional men. In todays representations of both them they ate far from what I would consider normal. The both show high moral character and are exceptional at their jobs. Clark has a Pulitzer for crying out loud. If that doesn’t make them stand out I’m not sure what does.

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                    • #55
                      The simple element of "You can take Transcendence if you want but if you don't then that is fine, you still can have high Quantum' is perfect for me. Flux still goes from 0 to 10 and its still gained on botches and by chose and when it gets to '11' it gets reset and you gain Transcendence. You just no longer get it naturally for Quantum 4+.

                      Its a simple change. One that works quite well for me.

                      My only other addition is that I might increase the rate that Flux itself disperses, maybe days rather than weeks or something.

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                      • #56
                        I don't mind as much Transcendence being gained from high Quantum. Honestly I think that if someone has that kind of power they would invariably be affected by it and have some kind of alien outlook on the world. The issue I have though is that high Quantum forces Transformations on the character because it gives them Transcendence.

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                        • #57
                          The Transformations and Transcendence are joined at the hip, yes. Part of that is because if you don't attach Transformations to Transcendence, then the only thing it does is to make forming bonds with people with significantly different Transcendence harder. So if you're going to uncouple the Transformations from the Transcendence, you'll want to consider something to replace them. It's definitely something to look into, because an argument can be made that Transcendence as written doesn't have enough teeth. Some ideas of other ways that it might make your Nova's life interesting would certainly be something worth thinking about.

                          And to clarify something: I also don't have a problem with high-Quantum Novas tending to have more Transcendence. Emphasis on "tending to".
                          Last edited by Dataweaver; 12-05-2021, 12:05 AM.


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                          • #58
                            Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                            On the last point, I have some cognitive dissonance with the notion that in order for a high-Quantum Nova to be a "regular guy" in his private life, he needs to take a Mega-Attribute. "Superhumanly unflappable" is not what I think of when I think of a "regular guy".

                            More generally: while Mega-Composure does help you avoid changing your mind, that's not its primary purpose. Its primary purpose is to describe a character who never loses his cool. Even one or two levels of it puts the Nova into a class where the average baseline would likely consider his level-headedness to be eerie. That is, I don't consider Mega-Attributes to be something you should take quite so casually; they should always make you stand out, even when operating in the Stealth Nova realm. And the whole point of the likes of Clark Kent and Barry Allen is that they don't stand out.
                            Mega-Composure literally has Mega-Edges that make you inhumanly good at not standing out. Specifically, Overwhelming Denial and, especially, Subtle Presence. Not standing out is very much and very specifically within its wheelhouse. I agree Mega-Attributes are not a casual thing, and there are definitely plenty of superheroes I'd be less inclined to give Mega-Composure to, but people with really normal secret identities that somehow pass below the radar even when it doesn't make sense are exactly the people who should have it, thematically speaking. Transcendence issues entirely aside, I'd still give Mega-Composure to Superman and, to a lesser extent, the Flash for that reason alone.

                            Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                            Again, it's much simpler to just not hard-link Transcendence to Quantum, and allow the likes of Superman and the Flash to have high Quantum without high Transcendence. To me, that's the bottom line: if you like it, use it; if you don't, don't.

                            And I've already said that I'm not trying to present this as something that everyone needs to adopt; though even that ought to be taken as a given, considering that I described it as a rules hack. And for the most part, the people in these forums do understand that. So I don't see why you're being so aggressively insistent that I admit some sort of fault. You agree that you don't have a problem with the hack itself; why not just leave it at that?
                            Sorry, that I seemed like I was trying to get you to admit fault, that wasn't really what I was aiming for, just explaining my original intent in posting (which was to disagree with you on the reasons for the hack, not the nature of it). Now that that's cleared up I'll be quiet on that subject.

                            Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
                            The Transformations and Transcendence are joined at the hip, yes. Part of that is because if you don't attach Transformations to Transcendence, then the only thing it does is to make forming bonds with people with significantly different Transcendence harder. So if you're going to uncompleted the Transformations from the Transcendence, you'll want to consider something to replace them. It's definitely something to look into, because an argument can be made that Transcendence as written doesn't have enough teeth. Some ideas of other ways that it might make your Nova's life interesting would certainly be something worth thinking about.

                            And to clarify something: I also don't have a problem with high-Quantum Novas tending to have more Transcendence. Emphasis on "tending to".
                            Here, I agree entirely. Making Transcendence entirely optional works just fine mechanically, decoupling it from Transformations by having it not give you any doesn't work unless you replace them with something else similarly unpleasant.
                            Last edited by Deadmanwalking; 07-16-2021, 09:15 AM.

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                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Deadmanwalking View Post
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                              Personally, my own House Rule on the Superman issue is to allow trading two Low-level Transformations for one Mid-level one (or two Mid-level ones for a High-level one...in both cases if done in play this is basically 'upgrading' an existing Transformation, which seems logical to me). That works to fit the pattern in his case and makes a lot of things easier for a lot of concepts in general. You can also come up with a couple of low level Transformations for Superman easily enough if you want, though I admit it's not ideal. The Flash is a better argument since he has fewer weaknesses, though even there, if light speed is him maxing out (which it usually is...it's generally shown as pretty unhealthy for him to go quite that fast) you can manage something pretty close (several versions have ADHD, the metabolism issue you mention, or something similar that can be a low level Transformation, and he can 'max out' to light speed at Quantum 7/Transcendence 4).
                              In addition, while Chrysalis is the primary way in TC:Aberrant for a nova to manage their transformations, I'd say even in the fully canonical TC setting (a) being a Terat isn't necessarily the only way to learn it, although it probably still requires a philosophical shift where you accept you are not quite 'human', and (b) there's nothing saying you might not be able to shift them around some other way.

                              But I am, again, approaching it from the "let's make Superman as a nova" viewpoint, not the "let's try to mimic the DC Comics Universe with a setting-specific kind of superhuman" one.

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                              • #60
                                On the topic of mega composure dots and mega attributes in general. I think the fan material from first edition did a good job of describing it. It doesn’t give the same sort of alien/nonhuman feeling as taint/transcendance but it does cause a gap between baseline and nova with the nova causing jealousy and feelings of inadequacy. When someone described a nova with mega composure as being eerie to baselines I would say that would be in cases with some levels of transcendance or transformation, otherwise I would say the nova would cause frustration and anger from keeping his cool and being level headed. Like how they would single the nova out for not freaking out in stressful situations.

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