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Anyone have any house rules regarding the "Quickness" enhancement and Accelerate Time

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  • Anyone have any house rules regarding the "Quickness" enhancement and Accelerate Time

    I've been into White Wolf for a long time now, but entirely cWoD. Recently I picked up Trinity, Adventure, and Aberrant (read them top to bottom in that order) and I'm floored at how great these games look.

    With that in mind, I'd like to run a game, but I'm wondering whether there are any house rules governing the interaction between Quickness and Accelerate time. They both give you extra actions, but it seems like one does so in a "Celerity/Rage" style, where there are extra "speedy" rounds of combat after the regular rounds (this is how I understand Accelerate Time to work), but the other gives you more actions in the same turn but at a lower initiative.

    How exactly does everyone handle this? Do people get quickness the first, regular round, and then get regular ol' extra action... or do these powers stack to allow someone the benefit of their quickness on all of their Accel Time extra actions? (I can't imagine it's the latter--it would completely break the game it seems to me...)



  • #2
    I'm afraid i just ran them as written and yes; it did break the game.
    Plus, there is no explicit prohibition on further splitting the new action pools into multiple actions - Quickness was the cheaper method of buying into the high-speed action and it saw proliferation. Eventually, combat that was occuring in a single or very few rounds stretched out over whole sessions, leaving non-combatants twiddling their thumbs.
    Sorry i can't be of more help, but don't let it discourage you - despite the difficulties, Aberrant combat is meant to be out of control and physics-tearing. But ST calls may be required to keep the game-table running smoothly. I can verify that running them as they are written becomes nearly unplayable in the long run.
    I hope you do get a chance to run a game in the setting, Aeon is my personal favorite, but i'd recommend the series as a whole.

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    • #3
      Treat Quickness like Rage actions, I've never dealt with accelerate time. However it could certainly suck down a game quickly. Do not allow any splits, for any power, I don't for Rage or Celerirty and I wouldn't for Quickness or Accelerated Time.

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      • #4
        This can be disruptive. I have never actually had an issue with this build in play.

        As far as I can recall...

        Part of it is how specialized the character becomes because of the cost of buying Quantum 5, Mega-Wits 1, the Enhancement, and getting the Level 3 power (not to mention raising Dex, Str and Wits). This most likely will require Tainted Powers to pull-off at creation. This build can tear a mortal apart, but will not fair as well against a more balanced Aberrant. In fact Eufiber 5 is critical for toughening this Aberrant up.

        Plus the Accelerate Time Extra Actions are capped by Power Rank. So to get this you have to spend 4 Quantum every turn to gain 4 attacks on 2 initiative steps. So you will be tapped out in 8 turns or less (with Eufiber), if you raise it to Rank 2 you go to 6 attacks for the same cost and it becomes even more effective against mortals (Mega-Dex Rapid Strike is more thematically in-line for increase your punching damage with speed).

        With this same amount of bonus poin​ts other players and NPCs often develop, Defenses or Mega-Dex or Mega-Str and are raising their damage soak or dishing capabilities, meaning that other players will attack less frequently, but have a higher chance of damaging or resisting damage. Both will overshadow the Accelerated player, until their XP kicks in, and they can buy their Mega-Str and Mega-Dex to become more effective. This represents a lot of game time.

        When one of the players made a character like this, it did mess with the flow of combat, but this also forced the other players to focus on distance attacks to fill the gap the speedster left. Interestingly, because the players were mature, they took this odd build in stride and altered the team power dynamic to accommodate it.

        It also (unfortunately) led to almost everyone developing some sort of Extra Attack gambit so they could level out the table time. The exception was the flying Brick, who just built up his soak and punch.


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        • #5
          I'm running Aberrant for the first time, and we've just had our first major combat. It took maybe an hour, although a large part of that was the fact that three of the participants were hard-to-damage tanks, so it was basically a ping-party.

          One of the players had Quickness, and was using it to shoot a lot. Thankfully we ended up simplifying a lot of the combat stuff, but his turns were far and away the longest of the group (mine were probably longer, but in fairness I was also doing more bookkeeping). If we had multiple people with such powers, then yeah. Would have been irritating.

          That said, I'm firmly of the opinion that for a game with so much emphasis on combat, Aberrant does combat very poorly and basically requires house-ruling out the wazoo.


          My Commandments for GMs My Commandments for Players

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Allan53 View Post
            I'm firmly of the opinion that for a game with so much emphasis on combat, Aberrant does combat very poorly and basically requires house-ruling out the wazoo.
            I'd love to see what your house rules are as I embark upon the task of developing my own.


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            • #7
              I have caps some words for emphasis not criticism.

              Quickness requires a point expenditure for each extra action taken. So Quickness x2 gives three actions requiring 2 pp in cost and those extra 2 actions come at -2 initiative then -4 initiative to minimum of 1 initiative. This is for only a SINGLE round of combat. Meaning to maintain Quickness every round the player in the example would have to spend 2 pp at the start of each new initiative phase aka every new round.

              Accelerate time requires Quantum 5. Then a cost of 3 pp to activate and a roll of wits+temporal manipulation. Each success grains an extra action to a MAX equal to the rating of Temporal Manipulation. So a character with TM 2 will only ever have 3 action 1 base + 2 from TM. Again this last only for a SINGLE round requiring a point expenditure each new round.

              The balance of this is that it becomes costly to maintain these powers while using other powers with cost requirements. As a GM I have a TM based character in my party. I have had to look carefully on the NPC's I send after them making sure that they can push the party but allowing the party to feel that their powers have purpose and gives them an advantage. But even with 30 pp pool a character can only last 10 rounds as such provided the character has no other powers that eat into their pool. My player has Immolate and force field to maintain as well. First round cost is 7 pp then 3 pp each round for seven rounds before required maintenance. 7 + 7(3) = 28 points. So my player can only last 8 rounds. If the character is facing off against someone who can absorb the attacks so that only one die gets rolled the character may be able to pillow them to death.

              As far as house ruling has gone I have seen no reason to modify anything as far as these items go. More times than not if something is seeming overpowered you may have misread a rule somewhere. I know I have been guilty of this on many occasion. The only power I have had to modify for combat is Molecular Alteration. For that I am allowing a player to only apply their rating in the power set in success in combat. Complex items or materials take the full turn and still requires four success. MA is a permeant power that can allow a character to pull a Fullmetal Alchemist. Some tempering in combat is needed to give the enemies a chance without being insta-caged.

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              • #8
                First off, I can't thank you enough for going into such detail--I appreciate the time and effort you took to break this down.

                Originally posted by Malikjack View Post
                As far as house ruling has gone I have seen no reason to modify anything as far as these items go. More times than not if something is seeming overpowered you may have misread a rule somewhere. I know I have been guilty of this on many occasion.
                My largest overriding concern was that, when used in conjunction with one another, it seemed like there was nothing to prevent a character from getting additional Quickness actions during each additional TM round. Obviously the ready-to-go house rule would be to just disallow that--i.e., Quickness only counts on the initial, regular, non-TM round, and then the additional TM rounds go off per usual. However, it seems like you're saying these powers don't work in the "broken" way I thought they might in the first place, and thus, I'm gonna have to go back and re-read those systems more carefully. Again, many thanks!


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by CaptOtter View Post
                  My largest overriding concern was that, when used in conjunction with one another
                  ***Edit Made***
                  Currently they can be used in conjunction. Lets continue using my example above. A character has Quickness x2 and TM 2. First roll initiative this sets the number for this round. Next the cost is paid. The character will need to take his first action to activate TM. Then if I am reading it correctly take one of his TM actions to activate Quickness (uncertain if enhancements cost an action but I think it is up to the ST). Cost total of 5 pp (3 for TM + 2 for Quickness x2) and 2 of the 5 actions they sought to gain leaving 3. Now to apply the actions. The remaining TM actions all happen on the Characters first initiative pass. Then at number -2 the character takes quickness action one followed by number -4 the character takes quickness action two. Next round the player can repeat and take the 5 total actions again. At 30 pp given Quantum 5 for TM the player can do this for six rounds provided they do not use any other powers with cost. The rounds drop faster if they are blasting away with Quantum Bolt each round as that power can not be used multiple times in a round.

                  I it cost an action to activate a power up to the ST on enhancement activation. The character is using that time to harness their powers. If you wish to limit this interaction this is the best way to view it. It only occurred to me after I had made the post. But continuing.
                  ***End Edit ***

                  Against baselines this will be devastating. Against other novas it can be hit or miss. For instance a Nova with Force Field or Armor and/or a few dots in Mega stamina can gain enough soak to resist a Mega-Str 3 punch. That is auto 15 success. If all dice damage dice are soaked then the character only gets one die to roll for damage vs the enemies roll to take it. If I have read it right a Nova first subtracts their stamina plus other bonuses from the damage pool, auto successes first, then the pool gets rolled. If all dice have been removed the attacker gets to roll one dice. The defender then rolls stamina as normal.It is a Nova base ability to pre-soak damage as it were. I run with the optional rule that prevents mortal weapons (guns, blade, the like) from gaining the one die if all other dice have been soaked. Requires a lethal soak of 12-14.

                  The damage vs soak can look op but I have a Mega Stam, Mega-Str, Clones( For clone power read players handbook errata ) based character that I run with the party. The character is a tank. But the other members of the party who have force field or armor easily can match the characters natural soaks. The biggest difference is that My character never need to activate or pay for this protection it is always on. The other members of the party with Force Field will eventually run out of PP in an extended combat. Those with Armor can be caught unaware before they can equip the power as it is a permanent power that requires activation.

                  Another thing to look at is the encounter types. Just because the character has that many actions does not mean they are unstoppable. Many combat characters can fall victim to the Mirage power. So swept up with combat they never noticed that they caught in an illusion. I have done this to my party several times with an antagonist that is Mega-Social. That power can do stun damage if rolled enough success. Or they can get hit with a mega-mental character. Hard to take actions when you can not control your own actions and are attacking the party. Aberrant I have found is like a big game of Rock, Paper, Scissors there is no invincible build. Also that if you look hard enough there is a way to duplicate any power with other power effects outside of power sets. Well almost any but it make the game fun to build NPC's for your party to over come.
                  Last edited by Malikjack; 10-21-2015, 08:15 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Great posts, Malikjack.
                    It looks like you ran it more or less the way i did - but you came away with out the feeling that things were systemically broken, which just goes to illustrate that my mistake was in allowing refreshed pools to be split on every new action - that slowed things down to a crawl. Love to know what hint you took to disallow that, i was young - but looking back it would have just been common sense to disallow that kind of abuse...
                    Was there a prohibition i missed somewhere?

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                    • #11
                      Thanks Nihilist,

                      Having reread my post and reviewed the enhancements once more as far as Quickness goes it seems unlikely that to activate the power the character would have to give up an action to do so. It would seem to defeat the powers intended effect. But that said in my given example of a TM 2 with Quickness x2 character that player would only ever have 4 actions in a single round having to sacrifice one action to active Accelerate Time. Now Accelerate Time can be cast onto another character. As such if that character possessed Quickness then that character could make the most out of it.

                      ***Edit***

                      So I read TM with my player and realized I made a mistake with Accelerate Time. Accelerate Time is a maintenance power.

                      Quickness requires a point expenditure for each extra action taken. So Quickness x2 gives three actions requiring 2 pp in cost and those extra 2 actions come at -2 initiative then -4 initiative to minimum of 1 initiative. This is for only a SINGLE round of combat. Meaning to maintain Quickness every round the player in the example would have to spend 2 pp at the start of each new initiative phase aka every new round.

                      Accelerate time requires Quantum 5. Then a cost of 3 pp to activate and a roll of wits+temporal manipulation. Each success grains an extra action to a MAX equal to the rating of Temporal Manipulation. So a character with TM 2 will only ever have 3 action 1 base + 2 from TM. Again this last only for Quantam x TM rank rounds requiring a point expenditure to maintain at the end of those rounds.

                      So the first turn the player activates TM gaining extra rounds that will last in the example 7 rounds. Then as an instant ability activates quickness gaining the other actions. The order they fallen I have already discussed but the PP cost would looks something like this. 3 pp for TM 2 pp for Quickness x2 = 5 for first turn. Then 2 x 7 for the duration of TM. All total 5+14 = 19 pp for 8 rounds giving the player 4 actions turn one 5 action the next 7 turns. Sorry about that.

                      ***End***

                      I think it is easy to assume that having more actions is OP. History in the ST system has proven this case. Vampire with celerity, Werewolf with high Rage, Mage with Time sphere, then there are the Exalted Examples. Aberrant is meant to be a little over the top. It should let the players feel like demigods to full fledged gods next to Baselines. I was very worried the first time I built a combat character with quickness, immolation, force field (named the blue bolt) and hurdled him at the party. They learned fast that a good defensive power was a must. I found that power of the attack vs a good defensive power could leave me with less than four damage dice to roll to wound. Then when I had used up the Bolts actions the character with Molecular Manipulation created a cage around him of stone with Molecular Alteration (That power is just so op) that effectively neutralized him as a threat. This in turn made me reevaluate how that power was going to work in combat as I have laid out in my first post.

                      That is not the only power that can neutralize a Action based character. Powers like Dominate, Mirage, Immobilize, Disorientate, Strobe, another combat Character with mega-str 3 and 6 clones that can take a beating (the character I mentioned that I run in my second post). As a GM know the strengths of your players characters. Know their weaknesses and build NPCs that can effect them. My party is more scared of a Mega Social based character that I created than any combat character. Our session are fun as they try to over come her. It is truly Aberrant Combat.

                      With that in mind I would suggest looking at combat in more broad terms vs historical terms in games (IE with systems like D&D, Dark Heresy, Shadowrun). Combat in Aberrant takes place across the physical, mental, and social realms. Constructing these combats can be intimidating and unfamiliar to not only the GM but to the player. Powers that seem non-combat in nature can have the greatest impact in combat. Going back to my mega-social NPC (Named Succubus) she has all mega social stats. That is it. She has no combat powers no defensive powers but she is very subtle in her manipulations of the NPC's and players near her. With Natural Agitator she can have a crowd of baseline step up to shield her after a fashion. With The Voice she can stop an attack in its tracks with a simple word. And she has quite a few of these enhancements. It takes only one look from her to trap her attacker into a mirage and stun them. She fights in the social realm a realm that my party is very weak against. And they are terrified of her.
                      Last edited by Malikjack; 10-25-2015, 10:59 PM.

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                      • #12
                        The game is very rock-paper-scissors in its innate design. It's important people keep that in mind.

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                        • #13
                          Malikjack, once again, I can't thank you enough for the time you took to read, discuss, edit, re-edit, and generally just go through this entire exercise in a concise and methodical fashion, all the while "showing your work" as you went so that there is really no way for me (or, I dare say, anyone) to misunderstand. Furthermore, I appreciate your thoughts as a veteran Aberrant GM/ST regarding the tone and feel of the game, and how combat should be approached and thought of. I'm sorry if this praise seems gratuitous to you (or anyone), but given the effort you put into going through this for my benefit (though I'm sure others will find this interesting and instructive) I felt deserved more than simply clocking the the "Like" button.


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