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Max Mercer, what's his deal?

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  • #16
    Thanks for the welcome! I've been around since the old forum, but I mostly lurk.

    Looking back, it seems my version is quite different from Vorlon's, although I too avoided the "Two Mercers" theory. To my view of the trilogy, it is deeply important that Aeon and Max are depicted as inherently good. This isn't the World of Darkness, and there doesn't need to be sinister, or well-intentioned but evil-method puppet masters lurking behind every corner. Max Mercer, as I chose to read him, is the consummate idealist, a man who truly believes that humankind can come together, utilizing the great powers given to them by the various events for the good of all. I can't see how Proteus, to this idealistic and dedicated man, would have seemed like anything less than a slap in the face.

    As for why a time traveller could not have simply fixed it, he probably tried. Perhaps Proteus was different once, perhaps worse, perhaps not, but his efforts never panned out, and perhaps even made things worse. I can only imagine his frustration. He would try again and again to fix things, short of harming an innocent, but history would snap back. Perhaps his efforts even made things worse. The frustration would have been unbearable.

    I still just can't see it shaking his faith in mankind, though; while he himself may be human, fallible, and imperfect, I see his idealism as unassailable, and he'd do anything within his power to guide humanity, lead Michael back to the light, and, above all, do as little harm as possible. Proteus would anger him, probably more than anything ever has before (Mal's betrayal would have saddened him more than anything, I feel), but that anger would only inspire him to make the future better.

    As for the Space Brigade, the way the story is presented is the weirdest - and perhaps most telling - thing. You get the impression that the fictional narrator (being in the color section of the core) really did not understand the story. The situation was totally incongruous; aberrant were murderous monsters bent on enslaving or destroying humanity (by this point, the two "races" were separate by necessity), but here we have some that... Maybe enslaved people? But they sent condolence letters to the families of dead baselines? You get the distinct impression that the story simply confuses the hell out of anyone familiar with it.

    I didn't use Apollo either, as a note. I used a version of Eden, but Apollo was not its spokesman. His characterization just felt weak to me.

    As for the campaign, I'll see if I can track down my old notes and do just that. I was pretty proud of it, especially the way my players shaped the timeline and made it their own.

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    • #17
      This sounds like the Max Mercer from Adventure!, you clearly have a bit of thinking about it under your belt - perhaps you'd like to drop in on the Divis Mal thread too.
      Respect.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by IanWatson View Post
        See the RPGnet thread Aeon Trinity 2.0: Hopes & Fears. Bates makes a lot of comments there. Ken Cliffe designed the supers game which became Aberrant first. Then Bates created Trinity, basing Aberrants on the novas of that presentation. Then as Aberrant was developed further, a lot of what Bates had been using as a reference was altered. The Aberrant we got was not the Aberrant that is assumed by Trinity. Because of its different direction, he passed on developing it, but then came back to co-develop Adventure!. So Adventure! and Trinity were both developed with one direction and intent in mind, while Aberrant was done with another.
        Hey gang, just to clarify: Rob Hatch had the original Aberrant pitch, and later designed that game. Ken was our boss, overseeing general shenanigans within the development department.

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        • #19
          Dang. Yes. I keep mixing that up. Sorry!


          Ian A. A. Watson
          Onyx Path Community Manager

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Bates View Post
            Hey gang, just to clarify: Rob Hatch had the original Aberrant pitch, and later designed that game. Ken was our boss, overseeing general shenanigans within the development department.
            -fanboy squee-
            Damn, Bates drops into a thread about Max Mercer and this is all we get?
            -tease-
            Seriously, thanks for keeping a eye on the setting over the years, Mr. Bates - i don't know how often you check these forums, but it's always a pleasure to hear from you on the subject of these wonderful games you had a hand in. If i knew how to get you to post more developers memories, or indeed anything of relelevance to the setting, i'd be going to that well right now. But regardless, thanks dearly for all the fun i've had in your 2120 setting over the years. You've given my group and i a solid foundation for so many memorable games and good times, all respect to your efforts in the process.
            -long standing ovation-

            If you get to read this reply, then it means you've visited the thread again and i'll implore you to take the time to relate some of Maxwell Mercer's development history - he is first named as early as the core Aeon/Trinity rulebook; so any thinking that you can remember on the character's purpose in the material would be highly appreciated. A first hand account of the 'development' rift' that prompted Ian to recount what he knew, might also be handy - since it's already come up.

            Thanks again, boss.
            Last edited by Nihilist; 05-11-2015, 08:12 AM. Reason: added respect

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            • #21
              Yes, the groundwork for Mercer — and the Aeon Society as a whole — was set in the initial Trinity design. We knew we wanted different eras for the trio of games, so Aeon (and Mercer as its founder) was established as the through line. I roughed out the bookend eras, leaving Aberrant for Rob to fill in based on those notes. That said, it was a collaborative process with key folks throughout the studio, and much was left flexible out of necessity for each game's design. I have written a bit on the subject before (primarily on RPG.net); don't know that there's much else to add, unless there's a specific point that hasn't been addressed yet?

              Similarly, not sure what you're referring to regarding the "development rift" — if you mean how there's some tonal and content distinctions with Aberrant, I recall touching on it in the RPG.net thread.

              Anyway, glad to hear you've had fun with Trinity. It was a thrill for me to work on as well. I would've enjoyed being involved in the setting reboot, but it sounds like Ian and OP have a great plan in place and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by Bates View Post
                Yes, the groundwork for Mercer — and the Aeon Society as a whole — was set in the initial Trinity design. We knew we wanted different eras for the trio of games, so Aeon (and Mercer as its founder) was established as the through line. I roughed out the bookend eras, leaving Aberrant for Rob to fill in based on those notes. That said, it was a collaborative process with key folks throughout the studio, and much was left flexible out of necessity for each game's design. I have written a bit on the subject before (primarily on RPG.net); don't know that there's much else to add, unless there's a specific point that hasn't been addressed yet?
                Apologies, this is the first Trinity forum i've really taken to - i'll have to check your post history on RPG.net, rather than ask you to repeat yourself here. All i've read there from you was in the thread linked by Ian on the first page, i didn't think to look elsewhere. I know precious little about the devolpment process behind these games, so i'm afraid my questions regarding that development would be mostly meaningless.


                Similarly, not sure what you're referring to regarding the "development rift" — if you mean how there's some tonal and content distinctions with Aberrant, I recall touching on it in the RPG.net thread.
                "Some tonal and content distinctions"? Very succinct way of putting it, i much prefer that to "development rift".
                -smile-
                Some tonal distinction was inevitable at least, due to the genre-spanning nature of the set-up. I can see how the illusion of a rift has developed given what i've learned in this thread and, by proxy, the linked thread on RPG.net too. The tone of the Aeon society shifting away from the other eras in the Aberrant line probably being the chief example of said "distinctions" in relation to this thread.
                Apologies if it's all asked and answered on RPG.net previously and feel free to ignore anything i'll find elsewhere, but how familiar were you with the Aberrant material as it was being produced, how do you think that gap emerged concerning the Aeon society in particular? I've already asked Ian this, but how early in the process did a time-travelling vision of Mercer emerge for you? The Aeon society of Aberrant's 2008 works perfectly without a time-travelling Mercer to muddy the water, is this perhaps why the Aeon society in that era diverged from the other two depictions?

                While you're here, any thoughts you have on the Bifurcation hypothesis and/or Mercer's time-travel/chronal awareness would be welcome. As would any hint of where Michael Mercer emerged from in 1945. Your perspective would prove interesting at the very least.

                Anyway, glad to hear you've had fun with Trinity. It was a thrill for me to work on as well. I would've enjoyed being involved in the setting reboot, but it sounds like Ian and OP have a great plan in place and I look forward to seeing what they come up with.
                Oh, i've had a wonderful time with it - although i'd be lying if i said i didn't run my own house rule tuning of the original rules after all these years. But you guys didn't get to play-test for a decade, so you can be forgiven those oversights.
                -smile-
                Hearing that you still have interest in the setting makes me very curious where you might have taken it, if it were up to you. But, maybe that would make a good thread of it's own if you were motivated to write about it for us - rather that derail this one too far off course. I know i'd love to hear how you might have approached the reboot, although i can't speak for anyone else and i don't wan't to be disrespectful toward OPP, but there is something intriguing about your vision being continued too.
                Thanks again, Bates. I don't want to come off as too much of a fanboy (might be too late), but i consider myself fortunate to have even had an opportunity to ask you any of this directly.
                -blush-
                Last edited by Nihilist; 05-12-2015, 02:39 PM. Reason: still coming off as too much of a fanboy

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by IanWatson View Post
                  . . . See the RPGnet thread Aeon Trinity 2.0: Hopes & Fears. Bates makes a lot of comments there. Ken Cliffe designed the supers game which became Aberrant first. Then Bates created Trinity, basing Aberrants on the novas of that presentation. Then as Aberrant was developed further, a lot of what Bates had been using as a reference was altered. The Aberrant we got was not the Aberrant that is assumed by Trinity. Because of its different direction, he passed on developing it, but then came back to co-develop Adventure!. So Adventure! and Trinity were both developed with one direction and intent in mind, while Aberrant was done with another. . .
                  Really? Interesting . . . I don't see it that way. Aberrant seems to be an outlier only because the game tends to show you the world through the jaded/suspicious eyes of Corbin's "Aberrant" team. Shift the focus to Project Utopia or (better yet) Team Tomorrow, and its right in lines with the themes of Adventure or Aeon/Trinity - bettering humanity through the use of superpowers, a world in the middle of a massive change, and an underlying suspicion that you can't fully trust the powers-that-be.

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