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Sprocket

Aberrant RPG - Brainstorming for AB:Nexus - timeline questions

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Re: Detailing the 2 Interregnums-

Apologies for my recent silence - RL interference struck again - but as I've decided to go ahead and take a stab at writing up Aberrant: Nexus, I thought I'd spark off the first brainstorming thread for it. Comments on everything & anything in this post are welcome.

Specifically, I'd like to hear your collective speculations on the interregnums between the three Aeon Continuum game settings. The best of these - well, most of these, as I know a high level of quality is to be found here - will be incorporated into an overall restricted focus history of the two Aeon timelines.

The focus will be restricted to the Inspired and general social conditions that would affect their activities and manners of living. For example, I imagine that in the USA during the 1950s, many surviving Inspired from the Adventure! Era took pains to hide their colorful pasts and exotic capabilities from the eyes of the government - that was *not* a good place/time to be an overt superhuman of any sort. The shoddy, near-hostile treatment that Indy received from those 2 McCarthyist/Hooverite spooks (as seen in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) is a perfect example. I'll be needing a global focus however, not just the First World nations.

First off, a few guidelines: Unless you can convince me otherwise, I will be using Ian Watson's "Double-Slit Max" concept from his Trinity Storyteller's Handbook WIKI. That means we'll be dealing with 2 separate timelines, which effectively branch off from each other at 1998.

In short, one of Max's earliest time jumps splits him (along with the base Aeon Continuum timeline) into two different Mercers. Max #1 (Optimistic/Polyanna? Max) generally comes out feeling good about humanity's overall future & ability to overcome threats such as the Aberrants. His timeline is the Trinity canon setting. Max #2 (Pessimistic/Necessarily Evil? Max) comes out with a truckload of pain (physical, mental. emotional, etc.) & the idea that humanity won't survive the Aberrant War. As a result, he now considers some increased moral flexibility in dealing with said threat to be required if humanity's going to have any future worth speaking of at all. His timeline is the Aberrant canon setting.

AFAICT, The Trinity timeline is what happened when most of the Nova Age's people capable of changing things for the better on a global scale either failed to do so or couldn't be bothered to make the attempt.

The second guideline is the concept of an "Absolute Now", beyond which point the future has not yet crystallized out of possibility and into more-or-less inevitability. In timeline #1 (Trinity), the Absolute Now is sometime in 2122. In timeline #2 (Aberrant), the Absolute Now is sometime during 2015.

So, your thoughts on this?

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Originally Posted By: Sprocket
First off, a few guidelines: Unless you can convince me otherwise, I will be using Ian Watson's "Double-Slit Max" concept from his Trinity Storyteller's Handbook WIKI. That means we'll be dealing with 2 separate timelines, which effectively branch off from each other at 1998.


Link? I'm unfamiliar with this, it's difficult to debate something you aren't knowledgeable on.

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Originally Posted By: RushingMountain
I believe Sprocket is talking about this. Ian Watson organized it, but I believe several other people contributed to it. It's not done, but it's got some neat ideas for the Aeonverse.


Yeah, that's the site - my link hadn't been updated, it seems. The info in question is in Chapter 4, BTW.

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OK I gave it a quick once over. Personally I don't see any problem with the idea as presented. I would like to see an attempt to show the Æonverse as a single unified timeline, but I understand that may not appeal to all. Given the nova powers of time travels and cross-time travel its perfectly reasonable to take a "multiverse" approach and that would of course open up a lot of other possibilities.

As noted in the Wiki I think if there are going to end up being 2 "cannon" timelines it would be good to flesh out the Nova Era for the Trinity timeline and how it is different from the "cannon" Nova Age. Likewise detailing of the Trinity era that followed the "cannon" Nova Age would be worthwhile.

Possible interregnums:

The late 20th century: The Inspired Era closes not with a bang but a whisper. The energy released by the Hammersmith Event started fading immediately but the rate of delcine or decay was such that the process took a great deal of time. Most of the Inspired found that as the 30s rolled into the 40s and the 40s into the 50s their powers were waning. The more spectacular abilities became harder to produce while the more subtle simple continued in lesser form. The Inspired soon retired as age and power loss drew them out of the adventuring game by hook or by crook. Mercer, Mal, and a handful of others are so saturated and self empowered by the Event that they continue, but step back into the shadows lest they draw attentions they do not desire.

This ends in the turning of the century when Mal executes his recreation of the Hammersmith event. Due to his own power focus, and perhaps by way of specific intent, the power Mal unleashes is concentrated in the Quantum spectra and results in the Nova Age.

Post Aberrant War: Much in the way that the energies of the Hammersmith Event faded over time the energies of Divis Mal's N-Day Event faded over time. While he was present on the planet he continued to perform smaller such events to maintain a base level of quantum power that existed throughout the Nova Age. The events of the war caused parts of the planet (the heartland Wycoff Irradiated Zone) to become saturated with "tainted quantum" which continued to spawn monstrous twisted aberrants even after Mal and the others left the planet and the baseline quantum signature had faded back to its pre-N-Day levels.

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I don't know all that much about the A! era, but I was curious...

Quote:

Most of the Inspired found that as the 30s rolled into the 40s and the 40s into the 50s their powers were waning.

Is this accurate? Did their powers wane or was it just that they decided to hide themselves thanks to the war and the McCarthy era that followed?

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Nothing has ever been set in stone to my knowledge. Sprocket was asking for ideas on what happened to the Inspired heroes prior to N-Day and the dawn of the Nova Age. My feeling has always been that the powers released by Hammersmith, N-Day, and Process 418 are such that they fade over time unless efforts are made to propagate or renew them.

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Re: The Inspiration Goes Away-

AFAIK, there's nothing I've read to support this idea AFA already-manifested Inspired humans - once they've tapped into it, they'll keep their power until they either die or burn out somehow. That said, it does tie in nicely with Allan Quartermain's remark to Captain Nemo in the first LXG book about how senior adventurers like them either keep adventuring or they start to fall apart. This sounds like an ST's discretion matter.

BTW, thanks for the feedback! If anyone else wants to chip in, go right ahead.

Re: The Inspired & Joe McCarthy-

At least in the USA, I figured the twin threats of McCarthy & J. Edgar Hoover would be plenty enough reason for the Inspired to go underground. Most other nations, esp. the Soviet Bloc would have been even worse. Western Europe *might* have been a relative haven for the Inspired, but the nascent Cold War would muck that up quickly.

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Originally Posted By: Sprocket
Re: The Inspired & Joe McCarthy-
At least in the USA, I figured the twin threats of McCarthy & J. Edgar Hoover would be plenty enough reason for the Inspired to go underground. Most other nations, esp. the Soviet Bloc would have been even worse. Western Europe *might* have been a relative haven for the Inspired, but the nascent Cold War would muck that up quickly.


I figure that for most there's also the simple matters of age and family. Those Inspired who weren't ageless/immortal would be in their 50s in the late 40s and probably be prone to slowing down just by age alone. There's also the matter of what happens when you settle down and start making a family. Adventuring is fun but less so when it could leave your wife a widow and your kids fatherless (or widower & motherless as the case may be).

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Originally Posted By: jameson (ST)
I figure that for most there's also the simple matters of age and family. Those Inspired who weren't ageless/immortal would be in their 50s in the late 40s and probably be prone to slowing down just by age alone. There's also the matter of what happens when you settle down and start making a family. Adventuring is fun but less so when it could leave your wife a widow and your kids fatherless (or widower & motherless as the case may be).

Agreed.

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Definitely.

Also, it's my understanding the effect did diminish after the Hammersmith event, or rather it was like waves from dropping a pebble in a pond. I understood it to mean that the further out you get from the initial event the fewer and fewer people become 'special'.

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Agreed Fox. My personal touch was the waning of the powers of those who had them as well. I can actually imagine Divis Mal realizing his powers are starting to weaken and deciding that the "logical course of action" would be to recreate the Hammersmith Event lest he one day be left as just another normal old man.

From there I just extrapolated the rest along the remainder of the established timeline. Is it perfect? Maybe not, but I like it. laugh

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There has been some discussion that the detonation of atomic weaponry dissipated the telluric energy, or perhaps concentrated it into some key points around the globe, to be widely released again in '98 as part of Mal's experiment.

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Re: Interregnum #1-

OK, so we've got the following for the post Adventure! period:

1- a decline in the ambient Telluric energy levels from the Hammersmith vortex. Whether this will also reflect a decline of the Inspireds' powers will be left up to the ST as an optional element. In any case, Dramatic Editing could easily become more difficult if not impossible even with the Inspireds' powers remaining at full strength.

2- Worsening political/social tensions thanks to growing conservatism/authoritarianism & the developing Cold War.

3- Good reasons to hide one's Inspired status/capabilities/history from exploitation by governments, corporations, crooks, etc.

4- General effects of aging, settling down & having families, etc.

Anything to add?

Re Interregnum #2-

We've been given more detail on the Aberrant War & post-Exodus period, but if there are any blank spaces that need to be filled, now would be a great time for such suggestions. Otherwise I'll just be writing up a capsule recap of what's been written elsewhere.

Re: Nuclear/Atomic warhead detonations & Telluric energy-

I'm not sure how that would disrupt Telluric energy so as to cancel it out. That said, such testing could easily result in Divis Mal developing more Taint than he expected, giving him more reasons to engage in the Chrysalis prior to N-Day. That's just my speculation though - YMMV.

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Originally Posted By: Sprocket
Re Interregnum #2-
We've been given more detail on the Aberrant War & post-Exodus period, but if there are any blank spaces that need to be filled, now would be a great time for such suggestions. Otherwise I'll just be writing up a capsule recap of what's been written elsewhere.


I think the apparent decline in Nova/Aberrant eruptions after the exodus needs to be discussed. Novas were always rare and all but there were a few popping off every month at least and then the war, the exodus and ... apparently a decline. Maybe because those who had the potential popped during the war? Maybe because the casualty rate of baselines was enough to lower the eruption rate? Or maybe something else, maybe those who erupted quickly were hunted down and slain, or made their way to a blight zone, or fled via whatever means they could?

I've explained my personal thinking on it (a decline in ambient energies without Mal to keep things juiced), but there could be many an option for a potential ST.

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I was under the understanding that Mal was doing something to artificially increase the rate of people popping as Nova's as opposed to Psions. Also, doesn't noetic energy and quantum kinda repel each other so to speak?

When you combine those two factors then nova's popping after the exodus would be very rare on Earth, but even more frequent on Eden or whereever the other novas went.

Those popping after the exodus would have an ever greater chance of becoming Psions instead of novas as time went on.

And yes, I would assume every government in the world would be out for blood and hunting down any novas that erupted.

Also, I believe I recall reading some comments in trinity books speculating that some Aberrants/novas did stick around after the Exodus and just hid under the radar.

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Originally Posted By: Sprocket
Re: The Inspiration Goes Away-
AFAIK, there's nothing I've read to support this idea AFA already-manifested Inspired humans - once they've tapped into it, they'll keep their power until they either die or burn out somehow.


Actually the fact that much of the weirdness that occurs during the Adventure period not having proof in "modern" times really does support that whatever powered the weirdness during Adventures times does go away.

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Originally Posted By: jameson (ST)
Originally Posted By: Sprocket
Re Interregnum #2-
We've been given more detail on the Aberrant War & post-Exodus period, but if there are any blank spaces that need to be filled, now would be a great time for such suggestions. Otherwise I'll just be writing up a capsule recap of what's been written elsewhere.


I think the apparent decline in Nova/Aberrant eruptions after the exodus needs to be discussed. Novas were always rare and all but there were a few popping off every month at least and then the war, the exodus and ... apparently a decline. Maybe because those who had the potential popped during the war? Maybe because the casualty rate of baselines was enough to lower the eruption rate? Or maybe something else, maybe those who erupted quickly were hunted down and slain, or made their way to a blight zone, or fled via whatever means they could?

I've explained my personal thinking on it (a decline in ambient energies without Mal to keep things juiced), but there could be many an option for a potential ST.
IIRC it was stated explicitly th the Teragen splatbook that Mal's departure from Earth caused the eruption rate to drop, as he was personally jacking up the ambient quantum levels every decade or so.

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Originally Posted By: Mr Fox
I was under the understanding that Mal was doing something to artificially increase the rate of people popping as Nova's as opposed to Psions. Also, doesn't noetic energy and quantum kinda repel each other so to speak?

When you combine those two factors then nova's popping after the exodus would be very rare on Earth, but even more frequent on Eden or whereever the other novas went.

Those popping after the exodus would have an ever greater chance of becoming Psions instead of novas as time went on.

And yes, I would assume every government in the world would be out for blood and hunting down any novas that erupted.

Also, I believe I recall reading some comments in trinity books speculating that some Aberrants/novas did stick around after the Exodus and just hid under the radar.


Agreed on all counts, but with one note on the noetic/quanta conflict. Some psiads did manifest during the Nova Age, but they were heavily outnumbered by the novas thanks to Mal's weighting his efforts against them. I've no idea if that affected the numbers of daredevil manifestations, though.

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Originally Posted By: VileBill
Originally Posted By: Sprocket
Re: The Inspiration Goes Away-
AFAIK, there's nothing I've read to support this idea AFA already-manifested Inspired humans - once they've tapped into it, they'll keep their power until they either die or burn out somehow.


Actually the fact that much of the weirdness that occurs during the Adventure period not having proof in "modern" times really does support that whatever powered the weirdness during Adventures times does go away.
Agreed 100% AFA the lost worlds, dinosaurs etc. - once the ambient Telluric energy levels dropped back down to pre-Hammersmith levels, they all died off/disappeared. So much for Doc Zorbo's Chiquibul Crystals. firedevil That's also why I imagined that Dramatic Editing would either become more difficult or become impossible altogether with the dropping ambient Telluric energy levels.

As for the Inspired themselves, I imagine that the social pressures mentioned above would be enough to make the survivors of the Adventure! Era willingly slip into public obscurity on their own account. Making their own inherent powers begin to fade as well seems to be overdoing it. Besides, IIRC Enkidu's people not only survived the Telluric fading without reverting to standard nonsapient gorillas, but they went on to establish an aerial colony on Venus.

The sight of Indiana Jones as an 80(or 90?)-year-old man in that Young Indiana Jones TV series makes a perfect example of this. He may be elderly & has slowed down greatly, but he's still Indiana Jones... and hardly anyone who's alive either remembers him or will take his tales of adventure from his younger days seriously. That made for quite a contrast with the 1990's kids who were absorbed with their Nintendo Gameboys.

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Hello! I love the discussion in this thread and I agree with most points, except the split Max... I think the 'negative' Mercer is his son Michael as a time-traveler.

I'd like to present my personal explanation of the Aeon continuum. It revolves around the nature and interaction of Inspiration/Psi/Quantum/Taint and the consequences of their manipulation. Allow me to be pseudo-scientific.

The basic structure of the universe is energy. Sub-atomic particles, particles on the quantum level, are essentially energy with specific information. This information controls the properties and subsequent behaviour of the particles. The quantum world is a foam of energy and information constantly fading in and out from the background. The background energy of the universe, or the zero-point energy, also contains information but in an abstract way. This creates an information field that spans the universe; this is known as the Noetic Totality. Under probable conditions the information of the zero-point energy can become realized, creating a virtual particle that can vanish to nothingness.

Tachyons, for our purposes, are any particles moving faster than the speed of light in vacuum; they are created when matter is converted to pure energy. Ambient tachyons are created at the end of the universe, flowing in cyclical pulses to the beginning. Ambient tachyons move in the opposite temporal ‘direction’ than the physical universe, allowing tachyons to bring information and energy from the future into the past, warping the normal conceptions of physics and thermodynamics.

Time seems to be linear for the physical universe, in that everyone is going the same direction. However, for our purposes time is more like a great river with our physical universe being the very bottom. Everything else is alternate timelines, not an infinite amount but quite a lot. Hypothetical particles native to alternate universes move in a linear fashion, such that it would normally be impossible to actually observe any other universe.

Tangential tachyons are particles that are moving so much faster than the speed of light that they can no longer be bound within linear time; these tachyons are forced to move tangentially through space-time itself. Ultimately this can lead to paradoxes, which collapse all information involved, destroying the fabric of space-time and releasing additional tangential tachyons.

There are three main effects of tachyons: Intuitive, Reflective, and Destructive

Intuitive or temporal effects alter the time-stream by manipulating temporal flux; by sensing changes in the flux it is possible to change the time-stream.

Reflective or noetic effects alter the basic information in the fabric of space-time; by manipulating the information loop created by tachyons the Noetic totality can be accessed.

Destructive or quantum effects alter the normal forces that determine virtual particles; by energizing tachyons any particles with virtually any energies can be created.

Superhuman research produces a better picture of the subquantum world and the nature of the Noetic totality is revealed along with the existence of highly charged Quantum tachyon energies and over-energized tangential tachyon Taint energies. Superhumans who channel Destructive energies succeed in transforming themselves into beings capable of attracting and energizing tachyons into powerful Quantum energies, sometimes calling themselves Novas. Superhumans who can channel Reflective energies achieve transcendence and see the entire universe within the Noetic totality, transforming themselves to manipulate Noetic information fields directly by producing unique virtual particles called ‘psions’, sometimes calling themselves Psiads.

Highly energized tachyons, or Quantum, have been energized to the point where the temporal velocity vector is hyperbolic or curved in relation to the time-stream. These tachyons quickly degrade into virtual particles.

Tangential tachyons, or Taint, have been energized to the point where the temporal velocity vector is perpendicular to the time-stream. The tangential tachyon will move back and forth randomly in time roughly around the physical location where it was created; this causes random destruction and mutation; eventually this causes paradoxes that rip holes the fabric of space-time, releasing the zero-point energy as tangential tachyons.

Psions are special virtual particles created by organisms; the basic version is a meta-particle created as a side effect from the subtle entropic manipulations of cellular respiration. Appropriate biochemistry allows the manipulation of these particles into complex forms that manipulate noetic fields. Meta-particles are persistent particles that have a net zero energy with the background; they can be thought of merely as active components of the zero-point energy. Psions move faster than the speed of light and any linear direction through time.

Inspired people have a specific genetic mutation that, when activated by the presence of tachyon stimuli, codes for one of three protein strings. The genetic mutation is a double-redundant double-copy of a neuro-structural gene complex that also affects bone marrow. The normal gene gives humans Willpower. The mutation provides the structures to channel energy through the nervous system, although this doesn’t become possible until a Transformation happens. The protein string causes a cascading protein/prion reproduction cycle that converts and transforms the entire body. Afterwords the cascading protein string system is used to store and release energy.

Neutrals are initially in disbelief about the existence of super-humans; when Novas show up no one can ignore them, but they are met with open arms; the Nova age comes to an end with the greatest turmoil in the time-stream, the Aberrant War.

Aliens take a serious interest in Earthlings, and the way they can rip holes in the very fabric of space-time. These are the Doyen; a fully transcendental alien species, they are composed entirely of psion particles; after the Aberrant war 8 come to Earth and create the Proxies by inhabiting human hosts and infusing them with great power. The 8 Doyen of Earth influence their hosts and can take complete control, but they pledge to allow the humans to handle their own kind.

The Doyen found the Psionic Orders by engineering some BioTech for the Proxies. Eventually they create genetic modification tanks that can artificially transcend Latent humans into Psions. These tanks also infuse humans with Doyen genetics, focusing potential in one area but eliminating potential in other areas.

Humans are humans, though, and the Orders have infighting. The Quantakinetics are ordered destroyed, many killed, some rescued, fewer escaped. The Teleporters find a group of low-Taint Novas who live in symbiosis with a large human population but abandon the Orders after a paranoid backlash. Eventually events work to unify the Psionic Orders, including Quantakinetics, and the low-Taint Novas.

The Doyen ensure that the humans make contact with the Qin, a former servant race with advanced biotechnology. The Qin are happy allies with the humans. However, there are rogue Doyen who insist that the humans are too dangerous to keep alive; these Doyen have forcefully evolved a race of newly sentient hunters with high Psi potential called the Chromatics.

These superhumans become divided by racial tensions and power levels. Eventually there are many conflicts and wars and many attempts at preventing such tragedies.

As these loops go round and round different people try at different times to change or channel the temporal flux, effectively undoing something someone else has changed and usually affecting the entire time-stream in the process.

So many time-lines have crossed and collapsed at certain points that they have become temporal singularities, all time-lines cross through these points. They are the dividing lines between eras:

~1920 The first experiments harnessing tachyons could be conducted;

~1945 Nuclear Tests and Weapons create waves of tachyons;

~1975 Super-science attempts to enhance humans;

~2015 Novas learn that they can erupt Novas;

~2060 The Aberrant war nearly destroys humanity;

~2100 The Doyen create waves of psions;

~2140 A self-sustaining phenomenon is created that topples the power structure and unifies Earth in strong alliance with the Qin and the Edenites and other extrasolar colonies.

Edit: To recap, Inspiration is indirect ambient tachyon manipulation, Psi is direct noetic field manipulation, Quantum is direct manipulation of energized tachyons, and Taint is the consequence of over-energized tachyons.

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I like it. That's pretty decent pseudo science. Doesn't do anything to mechanically balance the three groups, but it does give good explanation on why things are the way they are.

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Originally Posted By: Mr Fox
I like it. That's pretty decent pseudo science. Doesn't do anything to mechanically balance the three groups, but it does give good explanation on why things are the way they are.

Thanks! Okay, a bit of balance... Some homebrew I left out:

Paradox loops are semi-stable temporal eddies where a time-travel event creates itself and pseudo-stable tangential tachyons are tachyons whose path through time has been bent into a paradox loop. By their nature paradox loops attract tachyons, eventually destabilizing the loop and collapsing the paradox. Pseudo-stable tangential tachyons create the Quantum rating for Novas, the M-R Node structures allow channeling of tachyons and by channeling a number of tangential tachyons into the pseudo-stable form the M-R Node creates a self-sustaining Quantum battery. Consequently, pseudo-stable tangential tachyons are the way Inspiration and Quantum batteries work.

So, this subtly gives Novas an inherent weakness: collapsing paradoxes. Overloading a Nova with tachyons could cause them to lose their juice, for a while. Similarly, temporal disruption could mess with Novas to various degrees. I understand that this has little canon basis, but I've always thought that Max Mercer had some kind of upper hand that Divis Mal never cared to explain, beyond respect or whatever. Maybe just proximity to someone who is unstuck in time disrupts Quantum ratings.

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