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Augmented humans, giving humanity a fighting chance.

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  • Augmented humans, giving humanity a fighting chance.

    Our game master once had this idea to integrate into the aberrant setting. Basically one of the novas super-geniuses realized just how defenseless humans were against novas so he decided to even the odds a little bit by going full'blown transhumanist and investigating different ways to augment regular humans. With the help of the military which was the most interested in this research he developed various methods of increasing the base human to superhuman levels. He developed various methods: Drugs, genetic splicing, surgery, bioware and cybernetics all of them provided magnificent results creating supersoldiers capable of handling whole squads of special ops soldiers by themselves. However alone they were still no match for a regular nova, it was only after being heavily augmented and working in teams that they had a chance of taking a nova down. If you want an example of how the cyborgs look deus ex human revolution is perfect. My question is how realistic is this? does it fit within the setting? do you think it´s a good idea?

  • #2
    I picture them close to looking like Hulk-Buster Iron Man or at least Terran Marines from StarCraft. I see them being paper canons: They pack a fantastic punch, epecially when working together. However, when it comes down to it? They do not last long. So hit fast and hard or else get smeared.

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    • #3
      Squads in power armor are also a possibility but they are a lot more expensive and I was more interested in the consequences of the investigation. Perhaps a whole culture of transhumanists obsessed with augmentation appear willing to go to any lenght to get close to novas.

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      • #4
        Don't know if DC had something like it, but Marvel had Power Brokers Inc, which is/was a whole company based around giving people superpowers, mostly just augmenting strength and toughness. As an out-growth of that, they had things like Unlimited Class Wrestling, bodyguard services, goon services, etc, etc, etc. Lots of stuff about people getting jealous of the superheroes and wanting to get in on the action for all the wrong and right reasons.


        - If you must be ridiculous, I must ridicule you.
        - Those that can give up essential liberties in exchange for temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Papa Bear View Post
          Don't know if DC had something like it, but Marvel had Power Brokers Inc, which is/was a whole company based around giving people superpowers, mostly just augmenting strength and toughness. As an out-growth of that, they had things like Unlimited Class Wrestling, bodyguard services, goon services, etc, etc, etc. Lots of stuff about people getting jealous of the superheroes and wanting to get in on the action for all the wrong and right reasons.

          DC had the Everyman Project, which was a commercially available process that let you go in, work out what you want and what's in your price range with a scientist/doctor guy and when the treatments are done, you have the exact powers you wanted with no downsides.

          ...........until Lex Luthor threw a hissy fit over......something, can't remember what, and shut down the whole thing and turned off the powers people had gotten from it, killing a fuck ton of people who were flying at the time.


          Anyways, there's plenty of room for augmented transhumans in Aberran, what with all of the various super intelligent Novas, government and military people who would be less than thrilled that Joe Hobo could one day develop the ability to blow up buildings with his mind and bounce a tank shell off his chest, and any of the things you wanna bring up or down from Adventure or Aeon to justify it.

          On a homebrew note for just this, MJ12 Commando put together what he called "Aberrant 2.0"* a few years ago which redid a ton of stuff and added some things. One of which was something he called "Body Modifications", which modeled things like the weirdass biology Nova's could develop, to wetware or cyberware. It even had a special Background for non-Novas called Bioenhancement which gave them more and more Body Mods the higher their rating in it was.


          *Which, given that Aberrant 2 is actually going to be a thing may now be "Aberrant 1.5" or something



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          • #6
            Actually, you could use the Super-Science rules in Adventure! There is a list of medical advancements that would be just fine for augmenting regular humans. With three added levels of Strength and Stamina, two added levels of Dexterity, and the 21st century equivalent of dermal thickening (2/0 armor) and subdermal chitin implantation (1/3 armor), you could turn a group of special agents into quite a problem for novas.

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            • #7
              It might be interesting to have different nations go down different paths here. A rich high-tech nation might go for power armor, whereas a poorer nation with a huge population pool of poor people might decide to go for genetic reconfiguration. A third nation may fin cyber enhancements the way to go, while a fourth, prehaps never a big player on the world stage gets a windfall from a vanished Nova researchers lab and goes with nanite enhancers.

              You cold run quite the spy game. Fallen Dragon by Peter F. Hamilton also springs to mind.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Firanai View Post
                My question is how realistic is this? does it fit within the setting? do you think it´s a good idea?
                Realistic within the world of Aberrant? Well, you basically have two paths there, RAW. The first is using the gadget rules, which requires individual investment and construction by the Nova. That's not really what you want. The second option is to dramatically advance science. The old Aberrant rules included a section in one of the books for that, and they made it arbitrarily hard, and had it give Taint, which required them them to redefine Taint, essentially.

                My group has run several multi-year Aberrant games, and we threw the "advance real science rules" out pretty quickly. When you think about the kind of intellect that is represented by Novas, and the things Brains do in the fluff, it's clear they can do some crazy, world-wrecking stuff. If you just eyeball the success rules, and then roll out some Prodigy rolls, the math backs up the fluff. So the fluff and the base rules of the game support this kind of enhancement, even if the extended rules weirdness doesn't.

                I think it's totally plausible for a Brain to whip up some technology to allow a highly-trained and expensively equipped group of baselines to take on an Elite and win. However, as with most things Aberrant, this opens up a big can of worms.

                There are a lot of story complications to consider when you set the precedent that this technology is feasible.
                1. Can this technology also benefit Novas? If so, then the advantage to baselines almost certainly evaporates. You have also just merged Aberrant with Shadowrun. That might not be desirable.
                2. "Anything you can do, I can do better" is the name of the game in Aberrant. If one guy makes Iron Man-style armor, does that mean the PCs are going to up the ante with Hulk-Buster or robot shenanigans? That kind of game could be really cool, or it could shoot the entire plot in the face.
                3. How does this affect Nova politics? It only takes one video of an "anti-Nova cleansing team" capturing a semi-popular Elite or Indie to set off shock waves through the community. Is the Teragen right? Is Utopia the only safe group to affiliate with now?

                TL;DR Sure, it's plausible in the game, but the setting/plot ramifications are large enough that the ST should think very hard before they push that button.
                Last edited by Totentanz; 08-11-2015, 11:48 AM.

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                • #9
                  I agree with your points but my idea is that this technology is riddled with difficulties and obstacles. First of all it's extremely complicated, sure a brain nova can do it in a heartbeat but regular scientists are going to have a much harder time creating the augmented humans, they're just not smart enough, the process will be slow and full of mistakes and retries till they get it right. Second it's expensive, we are talking about new and delicate technology here, unless you make the whole base technological level of the world advance to sustain it it's going to remain and almost manual craft process. Third you need volunteers for the process, not everybody is psychological fit for such a radical change, and that's not talking about how many survive the process!. Fourth, this technology would upgrade a baseline human but will not by any means put him/her at the same level of a nova, you still need a team of trained professionals for that and that takes, have you guessed? yes more time and money. These are just the main difficulties that come to the top of my mind, I'm sure that there are many more I haven't though about. My point is for this to be an emergency measure and also a warning, a way of humanity saying to the novas, "Don't get to cocky, if push comes to shove we can create weapons to fight you, we are good at that"

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Firanai View Post
                    Our game master once had this idea to integrate into the aberrant setting. Basically one of the novas super-geniuses realized just how defenseless humans were against novas so he decided to even the odds a little bit by going full'blown transhumanist and investigating different ways to augment regular humans. . . My question is how realistic is this? does it fit within the setting? do you think it´s a good idea?
                    During the Aberrant era, its canon that the U.S. military was trying to develop powered exoskeletons for its soldiers, out of concern that they were getting over reliant on nova personnel. They were even willing to defy Utopia's S&T division, in order to diversify their forces. However, General Endicot, who was in charge of the project, suffered an "accident" - and I'm not sure we ever found out if the project succeeded or not.

                    As for cybernetic implants, the potential is canon . . . as is Utopia's utter opposition to them. If memory serves, the Project Utopia book states that while novas can build them, S&T bans them from the general market, out of concern that cybernetic arms/legs/chests/etc would be the perfect venue to carry an undetectable bomb. There are also hints that Japan doesn't care, and is working on developing them, anyway.

                    Mite, a super-steroid derived from research on nova physiochemistry, is readily available on the black market. A regular user (even a mundane) can even develop the first dot of Mega Strength. The catch? Regular users are prone to spontaneous (and usually very fatal) heart attacks. Still, its a popular drug, particularly among "jobbers" (non-novas who routinely lose to real novas) in the XWF.

                    So, yeah, transhumanist technologies are canon. But they're either illegal, dangerous, or both.

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                    • #11
                      No bigger fan of power armor has ever rolled a set of 10-siders than me. Let me start it off with that. For me, only one thing gets better than Iron Man's armor forming around him and that's Batman climbing into a custom suit of armor to knock some powered sombitch's head off. I even gave the non Verhoeven Starship Troopers a try thinking there might be some mobile suits. That said, I'm not sure that a legit, non-Quantum power armor can really exist in a world like Aberrant.
                      The fluff on super strength discusses the idea that the keel of a ship would snap if not for the quantum of the nova lifting it. I think indicates that the general rules for Newtonian physics are in effect except for when Novas are explicitly involved. Thus a genius many times removed could create miniaturized weapons, ultra powerful synthetic muscles, exceptionally strong yet flexible armor, some kind of jetpack, mag-lev or other flight system and a tiny baseball-sized power plant to keep it all going. However, the system would be limited by the flesh and blood operator. Yes, Iron Man's armor could soak a punch from the Hulk but wouldn't the g-forces of the impact kill him in the Aberrant universe? You'd have to build some sort of inertial dampener and a compact ultra power source to keep it on to do that. Yes, with enough engineering Novas, it's possible. But if you have the kind of inertial dampening that would keep you from turning into a power armor smoothie when cracked by Thor's hammer (or the Aberrant equivalent), what's to keep you from expanding the dampening field to become immune to physical attacks? Something like the exoskeletons from Edge Of Tomorrow make more sense to me. Holy crap, did I just become the enemy of fun?
                      In our game, we made the viability of a power armor suit dependent on an expensive spend on eufiber and a nova regularly allocating quantum pool in it (daily). I know that it's sort of "a wizard did it" for an answer but it kept up the verisimilitude a little for our group. Its' a little bit of the Brave New World rpg school of power armor.
                      I think I've had the same problem with some overt cybernetics. But I think that's slightly easier to get over. In an Aberrant world, I'm guessing cyborgs would merely be just better than baseline humans and not really on-par with a nova.
                      While I think Mite represents something really interesting, it's still Quantum wizardry. I'd think that a nova genius could find a solution in nature for augmenting humans. For instance, a chimpanzee is a little smaller than an adult human and is roughly twice as strong as a professional athlete. You'd guess that it'd be easier through stem cell or other vector to condense bones and alter muscle fiber to mimic our primate cousins.
                      I really love how the comic book Uber treats physics and the danger of augmentation. One of the soldiers isn't through his treatment and flexes his muscles completely off the bone and has to be put down. Good, gory stuff.

                      TL/DR. I love this game, can't wait for the next version even if I have to get very clever to play Hardware, Samus Arun or Xanatos.
                      Last edited by Queen Anne Country; 08-19-2015, 06:50 PM.

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                      • #12
                        VARGS are a thing, if you have large robotic vehicles piloted by humans, why not power armor. In fact with the old super science rules in Adventure a Daredevil could in theory invent one. This is within Aeon's timeline but VARGS started somewhere.

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                        • #13
                          I'm mostly reminded of the Extremis Enhanciles from the Iron Man comics. Sort of has become an ongoing issue for Iron Man, which is pretty cool to see.

                          (Yeah, I've been reading Iron Man. I'm not sure I can stop, even when the writing is, let's face it, kind of sub-optimal in places).


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