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Aberrant: Quantum Zero - QZ - XWF Rules and such

Alex Green

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OK, because I don’t feel like continually paging back to the pages where this was fleshed out, I’m going to reprint this in its own thread.

So, ‘Quantum Zero: Smackdown’ anyone? (Old-timers may well recall me thinking about something along these lines before, but not following through). Characters would take the roles of XWF fighters & the game would focus on both actual ‘shootfight’ matches between characters & out of the arena exploits between matches.

Character creation would basically be standard for my games (so 30 NP starting characters, no merits/flaw or strengths/weaknesses, or fan-written powers, etc.), with a few requirements & variations based on the premise of the game.


Backing [XWF]: this represents a fighter’s contract with the XWF (so all characters should start with at least 1 dot), as well as their starting ranking within the league. Rank will go up & down in-game based on how well characters do in their fights, & is based on win/loss ratio, as well as the number of fights a character has been in. Rank gained through Backing (either to start, or purchased later with XP) always represents the Nova fighter getting wins under their belt via (usually scripted) matches against ‘jobbers’ (basically mitoids who always loose), rather than shootfights against other Novas – those will be played out in-game.

Starting Backing

● The fighter has a rank 2, has fought (& won) 5 matches, & has been with the XWF for 3 months

●● The fighter has a rank of 4, has fought (& won) 15 matches, & has been with the XWF for 9 months

●●● The fighter has a rank of 6, has fought (& won) 25 matches, & has been with the XWF for 15 months

●●●● The fighter has a rank of 8, has fought (& won) 40 matches, & has been with the XWF for 2 years

●●●●● The fighter has a rank of 10, has fought (& won) 60 matches, & has been with the XWF for 3 years

Followers: a common Background amongst XWF superstars, Followers usually represents the character’s posse / entourage & can include financial managers, bodyguards (hey, someone to keep the crowds of fans back is always good), personal assistants, chauffeurs, etc..

Influence: there are two types of Influence characters can take in the XWF, one representing their public appeal, the other how well liked they are within the business. A character can take both types of Influence independently. With either type of Influence higher ratings require that the character has been with the XWF for a minimum amount of time, as represented by the Backing [XWF] Background. Influence 1 requires 1 dot of Backing, Influence 2 requires 2 dots of Backing, Influence higher than 2 requires 3 or more dots of Backing.

Influence [marks]: an XWF fighter’s Influence [marks] represents how ‘over’ (popular) they are with the fans, & can go up & down as the result of the fighter’s actions in (& sometimes out) of the ring. Each dot of Influence [marks] gives the character 2 permanent dots of ‘Glory’ (see below).

Influence [XWF]: this version of Influence represents how popular the character is within the XWF community, & can also increase & decrease based on the character's actions in game. Each dot of Influence [XWF] gives the character 2 permanent dots of ‘Honour’ (see below).

Mentor: a Mentor for an XWF fighter is usually an older trainer or manager type who looks after their ‘boy’ to the best of their ability. Such Mentors are rarely Novas, but are usually baselines with the connections, influence, & resources to make the fighter’s life easier. Sometimes a fighter’s dots in Mentor represent a team of trainers & instructors who impart their collective wisdom to the rising star (as per the Instruction ability from the APG).

Resources: XWF fighters get a seven figure contract, with prize money on top of that. Characters need to start the game with 3 or more dots of Resources to represent this (a character with only 3 dots presumably has large overheads – possibly from paying lots of Followers or a team of Mentors).

New Traits:

Three new Traits represent a fighters standing within the XWF: Rank (the character’s position within the league), Glory (how famous, or infamous, the character is amongst the fans & the general public), & Honour (how ethical the character is seen to be by those within the industry). Backing & the two types of Influence listed above set the character’s starting ratings in these Traits, but each can change as the result of events in-game as well (usually matches).


Rank is rated from 1 to 10, 10 being the highest. A rank 10 fighter is considered a ‘contender’ & is allowed to challenge the champion of his or her particular circle (silver, red, or black) in a title bout. Most Novas rise through the ranks quickly by defeating ‘jobbers’ in matches staged to promote the Nova & get the public interested – this is represented by the Backing the character starts the game with or buys with XP. However, shootfights between Nova combatants also effect the character’s rank, & are played out in-game.

Rank 1: fewer than 1 win per 20 losses.

Rank 2: fewer than 1 win per 10 losses, at least 5 matches fought.

Rank 3: at least 1 win per 5 losses, at least 10 matches.

Rank 4: 1 win per 3 losses, 15 matches minimum.

Rank 5: 1 win per loss, 20 matches fought (this represents the average number of bouts an XWF fighter will enter in a year).

Rank 6: 2 wins per loss, 25 matches minimum.

Rank 7: 3 wins per loss, 30 matches minimum.

Rank 8: 5 wins per loss, 40 matches minimum (on average, two years in the XWF).

Rank 9: 10 wins per loss, 50 matches minimum.

Rank 10: 20 wins per loss, 60 matches minimum (on average, three years in the XWF).

Rank is different for each of the three circles of fighters, if a character moves to a different circle (e.g. they become too strong to compete in their current circle), they start with a blank slate as far as Rank goes.


Glory has a permanent rating of 1 to 10 (10 being the highest) as well as a temporary pool of 1 to 10. To raise his Glory rating by 1 the fighter must attain 10 temporary Glory, and then maintain it for another entire ‘event’ – an event is usually a match, but can also be some notable public heroics or other such things (i.e. scenario-fodder). A character’s starting Glory rating is based on his Influence [marks]; spending XP on Influence [marks] indicates a determined publicity campaign on behalf of the fighter. Glory gained in-game as a result of the character’s action will lead to a corresponding increase in the fighter’s Influence [marks] Background: permanent Glory of 1 – 2 = Influence [marks] 1, 3 – 4 = 2, 5 – 6 = 3, 7 – 8 = 4, & 9 – 10 = 5.


Honour represents how ethical the fighter is perceived to be, how closely he follows the unwritten ‘fighters’ code’ of the XWF, how much of a ‘stand up guy’ people inside the industry think he is. Not taking advantaged of opponents, ‘jobbing’ (faking serious injury to make an opponent look good), & similar such activities all benefit the character’s honour. Honour has a permanent rating of 1 to 10, a temporary pool of 1 to 10, & effects the character’s Influence [XWF] in a similar manner to Glory (above).

Gaining & Loosing Glory & Honour


Not striking a dazed opponent [Honour +1, Glory +1]

Striking a dazed opponent [Honour -1]

KOing a dazed opponent [Honour -2, Glory +1]

Using a Lethal damage attack against an opponent who doesn't have one [-2 Honour]

Fighting against an opponent who has a Lethal attack when you don’t have one [+1 Honour, +1 Glory]

Killing an opponent [-1 Permanent Honour, -1 Permanent Glory]

Striking an opponent held by someone else, or restrained with powers [-1 Honour]

Using a maneuver to which your opponent has a vulnerability repeatedly in rapid succession [-1 Honour]


Accepting a challenge from a higher ranked fighter [Honour +1, Glory +1]

Challenging a higher ranked fighter [+1 Glory]

Challenging a lower ranked fighter [-1 Honour]

Winning & Losing:

Defeating a higher ranked fighter [+2 Glory]

Defeating a significantly higher ranked fighter (4+ ranks higher) [+3 Glory]

Getting beaten by a lower ranked fighter [-2 Glory]

Getting beaten by a significantly lower ranked fighter (4+ ranks lower) [-3 Glory]

Defeating an opponent in fewer than 3 turns (9 seconds) [+1 Glory]

Winning a match [+1 Glory]

Losing a match [-1 Glory]

Losing because you fought Honorably [+1 Honour]

Wining against two opponents at once [+1 Glory]

Winning against 3 opponents at once [+2 Glory]

Winning against 4 opponents at once [+3 Glory]

Defeating an opponent without taking any (perceived) damage [+3 Glory]

Defeating an opponent who has a Lethal attack when you don’t have one [+2 Glory]

Losing against an opponent who has a Lethal attack because you don’t have one [+1 Honour]


Taking a turn to pose / show off / work the crowd [+1 Glory if the character succeeds at the appropriate (Style or Intimidate) Ability roll: this roll is at +1 difficulty per dot of Influence [marks] the fighter’s opponent has above their own Influence [marks] rating]

Taking a turn to ‘job’ (fake serious injury to make the other guy look good) [+1 Honour if the character succeeds on a Performance roll at difficulty +1 per dot he has in Influence [marks] ]

Failing to take aggressive action for more than 3 turns (9 seconds) (e.g. performing only defensive actions, posing, faking injury, moving around, etc.) [-1 Glory per turn]

Away from the Arena:

Suffering injury while protecting an innocent [+1 Honour]

Running from a challenge [-1 Honour, -2 Glory]

Ignoring someone in need of help [-1 Honour]

Defeating a much more powerful foe [+2 Honour, +2 Glory]

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All XWF fighters are, essentially, created personas designed to get ‘pop’ from the ‘marks’ (& thus more ca$h for everyone involved). When the character is created several features of his or her gimmick must be decided (& noted on the character sheet):

Nova name: like Elites & T2Mers an XWF fighter needs a name for their public persona – ‘Joe Bloggs’ just doesn’t cut it, but Joe ‘The Butcher’ Bloggs may well go far.

Role: XWF fighters choose one of two roles they play in the ring, ‘face’ (a ‘good guy’ the crowd likes to cheer – like Core, La Araña, or Melinda Guzman), or ‘heel’ (a ‘bad guy’ the crowd like to boo – like Raja Ravana, Superbeast, or The Terminatrix). A fighter’s role has no effect on other Traits (such as Glory & Honour – heels can be just as popular as faces), but does effect the Ability the character uses when he attempts to ‘work’ the crowd (see above) – a face works the crowd with Style, while a heel works the crowd with Intimidate. A starting character need to take at least 3 dots in their corresponding role Ability (Style or Intimidate) to even land an XWF contract in the first place.

Signature Pose: a brief description of the character’s best known ‘pose’ when showing off to the crowd or celebrating victory – this could be anything from bellowing his name with his arms raised above his head, to politely helping his opponent up off the mat, to flying an aerial circuit around the arena… anything’s possible.

Catchphrase: a ‘sound bite’ the character is famous for (such as Superbeast’s eloquent ‘Step into my jungle, b!tch!’).

Finisher: although fighters can use any finisher they’re capable of, they’ll have one they’re particularly famous for. A ‘finisher’ is a particular Smackdown, Piledriver, or Power Max usually used towards the end of the fight to finish off the opponent. The most famous example is, of course, Core’s ‘Core Meltdown’ power max. Signature finishers need cool names & descriptions (so that the kiddies can hurt themselves trying to replicate them in the schoolyard, & the guys writing code for the XWF computer games have something to make people want to play your character).

Spending Nova Points

When designing an XWF fighter there are a few things to keep in mind:

1. The amount of damage the character can dish out & take sets which ‘circle’ they will fight in – 15 or less damage / Soak = silver circle, 15-20 damage / Soak = red circle, 20+ damage / Soak = black circle. Generally a character will be assigned to whichever circle is indicated by the higher of their damage / Soak scores – so characters with uneven scores run big risks.

2. Fights are scheduled to last between 15 & 30 minutes, & the audience (& promoters, & sponsors) expect a show – characters need to be able to do more than just rely on ‘Maintenance’ & similar low-duration, high QP cost powers. Maintenance powers get a slight break in the semi-real world of XWF combat – turns when both combatants are posing, jobbing, or otherwise not ‘in combat’ don’t take up precious turns-worth of activation. Still, most characters will want a few Mega-Attributes & other ‘QP free’ talents in order to be able to last the duration.


Basic 30 NP characters

No merits / flaws

No strengths / weaknesses

No fan-written powers, etc.

Background minimums: Backing [XWF] 1, Resources 3

Ability minimums: Style 3 (if playing a ‘face’), Intimidate 3 (if playing a ‘heel’)

Mega-Attributes / Quantum Powers enough to sustain the character through a 15 to 30 minute shootfight

So, questions, comments, interest?

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A couple of things I forgot in the Quantum Zero: Smackdown rules blurb...

You get +1 Glory for successfully using your 'signature finisher' in a match (just +1 per match though).

An important type of Follower I forgot to mention is, of course, the 'ringside babe' or 'eye candy' - if you want to enter the arena with scantily-clad big-breasted babes hanging off your sculpted musculature, you gotta' pay for the privillage... worth a few measley Background dots I say... ::devil

Other things you can add to your character's 'Gimmick' include 'grand entrance' (does he fly down from the roof, smash through the wall, ride in on a motorbike, get wheeled in in a cage, etc., etc.), & 'theme music' (Core has 'Enter Sandman' for example).

A successful pre-match Intimidation / Style roll can net the fighter a point of Glory before the combat even starts - the more dramatic his entrance, the easier the roll (ringside babes, of course, make the roll easier too... hey, they have to have some statistical value, right? ::sly ).

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Well, I'm aiming to have 'scripted' matches mostly 'off-screen' (when a character spends XP on appropriate backgrounds - like Backing, or Influence - that indicates he's taking part in more scripted matches against jobbers), whilst the real Nova Vs Nova fights will be played-out, & un-scripted. Of course, two characters can agree to make each other look good before the match, & characters get that Honour bonus for 'jobbing' & helping their opponent's image: also the fact that it's meant to be 'entertainment' should be taken into account too - just because you design a character who can down any opponent in the first move of a match, doesn't mean you should always do so (after all, Working Joe paid hard-earned ca$h for that pay-per-view match, he wants more than 3 seconds of combat followed by an hour of interviews & other 'padding').

That said, some scripted elements are just too fun to ignore: the bits to set-up 'heat' between characters can be real, but are often scripted (e.g. The Staff stealing your girlfriend could be real, or a scripted event ). However, since following a script to the letter isn't role-playing, I'll be aiming more towards setting the scene & letting the characters 'ad-lib', even when it's all just for the cameras (e.g. the camera 'just happens' to catch two fighters arguing in the locker room, or a security camera catches amazingly perfect images of several lesser fighters ambushing an up-&-coming star in the parking lot, etc.). Playing through 'Wrestlemania 21' on the X-box was quite an inspiration! (I love that pre-owned X-box games are now practically being given away ).

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Right now it's just a 'playback' of recorded entrances over the last season - i.e. an opportunity to introduce the characters (those mentioned so far aren't all gathered in the ring at the same time!).

Usual entrance (as far as I can tell from watching WWF stuff) is to walk down the ramp & into the ring (in some suitably impressive manner) - in the XWF there's obviously the vitrium 'screens' or 'partitions' enclosing the 'Combat Zone' (to protect the fans from the Quantum might in the ring) to negotiate as well (there's a door in them, but those who can, tend to prefer to go over the top in some spectacular manner - the 'ceiling' isn't enclosed).

The 'ring' inside the 'Combat Zone' can be configured in a variety of ways, from a 'basic' four-sided wrestling style ring to a six or eight sided ring or even stranger three-dimensional structures, but is generally larger than a standard wrestling or boxing ring (due to the increased scope of Nova level combat - ranged attacks & knockback, etc.). It can also incorporate moving platforms, pit-traps, & other 'hazards' as well. Vitrium screens can be raised in certain places to separate combatants if the ring doctors think it's wise (ironically this feature is more used to prevent Mite-crazy berserk jobbers going too far more often than it is to hold back real Nova combatants). In some 'themed' shows the Combat Zone will be decked out like a city street, wrecker's yard, or similar 'arena' - mostly to give the fighters things (like cars & lightposts) to swing at each other, & walls to punch each other through. Walls, moving platforms, & the like are actually usually built from relatively weak concrete - easy for Nova-level combatants to smash through, but still looks impressive with plenty of dust & rubble showering everywhere.

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XWF Unsuitable Powers

Okay, so this is something I perhaps should have made clearer before, but I didn't anticipate so many people trying for Clone based XWF characters & the like...

There are several powers which really aren't suited to the XWF style of doing things. First & foremost are any powers which inflict Aggravated damage - as per the XWF book, having one of these means you don't get to be in the Federation, period.

However, there are a few others which aren't really suited either - including things like Clone, Quantum Construct, & the Animation technique. Sure, these may fill the 'looks impressive' criteria, but they also blur the lines between what is the 'combatant' & what is 'outside interference'. For one thing, the marks don't have access to the Aberrant rule book - they see six or seven guys in the ring beating up one guy, then it's outside interference, cheating, & instant DQ - no matter that they saw the power 'manifest' or not. For another, such things can easily unbalance the delicately calculated fight odds: one guy with Clone could easily win each & every fight - in the 'outside world' it's a powerful ability, in the Combat Zone, where you know full well you're going up against a single individual, it's a guaranteed win. That's not fun for the marks to watch, & a total headache for the promoters to place - is Johnny Multiple, with a couple of Mega-Attributes & Clone really Silver Circle? Or, with the combined power of his little army, is he more likely to be Black Circle material? For those who follow the Elites thread, consider that OMA (One Man Army) would, technically, be a Silver Circle contender... ::blink

Tactics start to get squiffy too - if you know you're facing a Cloner, chances are you're going to try to take him out turn one, before he gets to pull his little fight-ending stunt (or, at least, during the single round 'window of opportunity' you have when he tries to summon his army). Again, chants of 'Boring!' & 'You Suck!' will start to fill the arena pretty quickly. Same thing with Quantum Construct. Animation isn't quite as powerful, but it's still in the same ball-park (if you animate one of the cars - left in the arena for combatants to hit each other with - into a friggin' autobot & have it pound your opponent instead of, or as well as, you doing it yourself, then the marks are going to see a guy using a friend to illigally help him win).

The criteria for 'putting on a good show' doesn't always just mean 'flashy' powers - as per the XWF book, Immolate may be a visually stunning power, but it's pretty sucky for the XWF. La Araña has to play it carefully using her Shroud power - sure it's combat-effective, but cloaking the Combat Zone in darkness for the entire fight (which she could do) is cheating the marks out of their show... & that's what it's all about in the end - the show: no show = no marks = no money.

Another thing to consider when it comes to XWF character powers is duration - powers like Clone or Quantum Vampire last for an entire fight... at the very least the promoters are going to take that into account & rate the character at maximum power when placing him (so a basically Silver Circle fighter with Quantum Vampire - Strength is gonna' find himself in Black Circle bouts, 'cos he can potentially have Mega-Strength 5 for the whole fight, & even 'power up' before he steps into the Zone if he wants to...). Looking at Clone again - once you have at least one Clone to fight for you, you can just step back & keep summoning them until you're out of Quantum Points (so, at least 30 Clones per fight...). Take Quantum Leech & just sit back & relax for the whole fight while your 'boys' do all the work. Sure, it's great combat tactics, but it's just not an XWF-style show. There has to be at least a pretence that this is a real sport, not a dog & pony show.

There are other unsuitable powers too - such as a character with permanent Density Control - Decrease at 5 dots, or a guy built around Sizemorph - Shrinking... Again, while these examples are 'flashy' enough, they're just not power sets which will make for good fights & good shows for the marks. The aim here in chargen isn't to create the most powerful character, or the one most likely to win every fight - it's to create a character who'll put on that show the marks want to see.

Another point which has cropped up - using weapons (apart from what's provided in the ring) is instant DQ: that, naturally, includes using Weave or Matter Creation or similar to make weapons. (Draco's 'protean scales' ability is based on the Eufiber / Weave rules, but isn't actual Eufiber, & to be honest considering his Mega-Strength & Black Circle status I decided to allow it as a 'power' anyway... a couple of extra dice aren't going to make any real difference in that case - it's mostly for the effect). Characters who want to use powers like Claws to 'summon' weapons should think carefully about the special effects too - if your Claws are, say, a summoned sword made out of flames then all well & good - everyone can see that's a power; if that same power is described as summoning a real katana, then it's going to look like a case for DQ as far as the marks can tell... & that's what it'll be.

So, when designing a character take into account the rules of the XWF (few though they are): no Aggravated damage, no 'foreign objects', no 'outside interference' - & try to imagine if any of the powers you're looking at buying would be seen as breaking those rules by the guys in the stands - i.e. the ones who don't know the difference between a Mitoid jobber & a real Nova... i.e. the fans...

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That doesn't really solve the base problem. If you place a bunch of Clones in a Circle where they can't actually hurt the other guy, then it's still a one-sided white-wash. Plus, as you indicate, after XP & the like you realise you've only delayed, not solved, the problem.

For those who follow the Elites thread, OMA is still a good example. With access to BFGs & the like he's a viable threat to guys like Alloy & the DMD; unarmed he's the red mist he so often seems to become (especially when standing near Alloy... ::wink ). Turned on its head though, would a lone Silver Circle fighter really want to go toe to toe with seven or eight OMA Clones in a bare-knuckle fight?

Take a hypothetical XWF fight, Johnny Multiple (the Clone using guy) Vs... well, anyone else:

The two fighters enter the Combat Zone, they have a few turns to pose & whatnot before the bell rings. Johnny creates 6 Clones (his maximum at any one time - he only bothered to pay 3 NP to take a single dot of Tainted Clone). The bell rings. Johnny's opponent is now facing 7 Novas. At the very least the opponent needs to have Quickness brought 6 times to match the raw dice pools being generated by the other side - but that's still taking 6 QP per turn to power, as opposed to Johnny's 6 QP for the entire match (plus it cost him 18 Nova Points to buy... 12 if he was willing to take a hit of 6 Taint). Even if the opponent had, say Temporal Manipulation at 5 dots & used the Accelerate Time technique, he'd still only have 6 full dice pools to Johnny's 7 - plus his speed boost only lasts for 30 seconds (& he's paid 15 NP to buy those 5 dots of Tainted Temporal Manipulation).

Now, Johnny's opponent may have an Area or MIRV attack... but this still doesn't even the odds - why? Because Circle placement means that Johnny's Soak (& that of his 'boys') should be pretty close to his opponent's maximum damage - even if the opponent wins initiative & hits Johhny's army with such an attack he won't down any of them in one hit (if he could down them in one hit, then someone's in the wrong Circle) - as soon as Johnny's turn comes round, then it's game over (man, game over!). Any way you look at it, unless it's Cloner Vs Cloner, then such fights are going to be one-sided. (If there were enough Cloners in the XWF you could have a separate division... there aren't).

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  • 4 weeks later...

After raiding wikipedia & a few other net resources for articles on professional wrestling, here are a few more XWF terms to a extend the glossary in the book...

Bad heat: unlike ‘heel heat’, where the crowd enjoys booing & jeering a heel fighter, bad heat means the fans really don’t like the fighter & don’t want to see them anymore – usually accompanied by a chant of ‘BOR-RING!’, & fatal to one’s career.

Blow Up: when a fighter exhausts their entire Quantum pool by performing too many high-power moves early in a match.

Bum: the lowest type of jobber (usually an ‘off the street’ Mitoid with minimal training) who is basically considered a disposable asset, just there to make the other fighters look good.

Bump: taking a fall to the mat or ground (i.e. a Knockdown), a good bump is a perfect time for the aggressor to pose while the victim sells the move.

Bury: the worked lowering of a fighter’s reputation, usually due to annoying the wrong people backstage (i.e. losing Glory).

Busted Open: bleeding / having taken Lethal damage.

Call: a hidden or whispered in-match instruction or direction between fighters.

Carry: when one fighter does most or all of the work selling the match.

Cheap heat: when a heel incites an easy crowd reaction by insulting them, the venue locale, local sports teams, local heroes, etc. (usable a maximum of once per show for a -1 Difficulty on an Intimidation-based pose roll).

Cheap pop: when a face gets an easy crowd reaction by sucking up to the crowd or local area (usable a maximum of once per show for a -1 Difficulty on a Style-based pose roll).

Chemistry: when two fighters work well together, selling a great show.

Colour: Blood (the British equivalent term being ‘Claret’).

Cue: a (secret) signal to fighters that something should happen or some reaction is expected (e.g. a fighter may cue her opponent to reverse a submission hold just before they tap out, in order to prolong a match).

Dark match: a non-televised match, usually before or after the main, televised, content to warm up the house crowd, introduce new fighters, & to send to local crowd home happy.

Dead Weight: failing to sell an opponent’s move, meaning they have to perform it stiff, or it’s prone to fail. This can result in a loss of Honour if the move was a pre-arranged spot, the dead weight cued it, or similar such ‘backstabbing’ is involved.

Death Match: unofficial term for a particularly bloody match between Lethal attack users.

Diva: a female fighter.

Dogging: putting in minimal effort. This generally results in a loss of Honour, & often Glory (if & when the fans pick up on the fighter’s lack of effort).

Feud: a drawn-out disagreement between two or more fighters – usually a worked angle, but on occasion based on real bad blood.

Fighter: the generic term for all XWF in-ring performers (male, female, Nova, baseline).

Five Star Bump: a bump (fall to the ground) from a massively elevated position – usually the top of the Zone barriers, or due to being dropped from a great height by a flying Nova opponent. Can result in a Glory gain for one or both fighters involved if particularly spectacular.

Flair chop: the signature Ric Flair chop across the opponent’s chest (a normal Strike attack) still draws a spirited ‘WOOOOO’ from most crowds…

Fluff: an attack which is pulled to zero damage; alternately (in the Mega-Strength dominated XWF) any fighter who lacks Mega-Strength completely.

Following: a fighter’s fan-base (i.e. the Influence [Marks] Background).

Gas: Mite; alternately Quantum energy.

Glorified Jobber: a Nova performer whose main role is still to lose to other Novas.

Go home: a comment made by ringside commentators meant to cue the fighters to end the match.

Go through: a (rare) time-limit draw.

Going into business for yourself: when a fighter ignores the script for a worked match & shootfights instead, usually for purposes of their own advancement. This inevitably results in a loss of Honour, but the advancement in terms of Glory & rank can sometimes prove too tempting for an up-&-coming fighter to ignore.

Good Hand: a high-Honour fighter others enjoy working with because they’re known for selling well, not working too stiff or light, & helping their opponents put on the best possible shows.

Green: a rookie fighter, usually one who still makes basic errors & mistakes.

Hardcore Match: unofficial name for a match where both fighters have (& use) Lethal damage attacks - the Red Circle hosts the majority of the XWF’s hardcore matches, whilst the Silver Circle hosts none.

Heat vacuum: an inability to get any crowd reaction, negative or positive.

Job: a scheduled / scripted loss (hence ‘jobber’).

Jobber to the Stars: a mid-card, non-Nova, fighter a cut above the regular Mitoid jobbers, who gets to win matches against lesser jobbers, but still loses to the big boys.

Juice: Mite; alternately Quantum energy; alternately blood.

Kayfabe: the old professional wrestling code that preserves the real inner workings of the business from those outside the business: i.e. maintaining the illusion that the fake stuff is actually real; also refers to anything which is worked, scripted, or otherwise fake. In the XWF breaking kayfabe is a serious no-no – unlike the later years of professional wrestling, most XWF fans really do believe it’s all real (after all, matches are – more or less – shootfights, Novas use real powers, & Mitoids are really super-strong… why believe the rest of it is fake?). E.g. Draco is a kayfabe dragon & Azuthul is a kayfabe demon (since they’re both really Novas), Core & Superbeast kayfabe hate each other’s guts (they’re actually close friends), jobbers are kayfabe Novas (since they’re Mitoids or other non-Nova enhanced people), etc.. Breaking kayfabe results in serious Honour loss.

Lead ass: a fighter who’s uncooperative in the Zone. Usually results in Honour loss.

Legit: the opposite of kayfabe – i.e. anything that really is real.

Light: pulling attacks too much & being seen to do so; happens when a pulled attack is botched & results in a loss of both Honour & Glory.

Loose: a pulled grapple (Clinch, Hold, Submission Hold) applied with less force than normal.

Lunch Wagon: a derogatory term for a fighter booked for size, not ability.

Main eventer: a Nova fighter.

Manager: a performer who accompanies a fighter to the ringside, gets involved in storylines & angles, & promotes / puts over that fighter in interviews & the like.

Marriage: a long, drawn-out, feud.

Meat Squad: collective terms for the show’s jobbers.

Mid-carder: a high-seniority, non-Nova, fighter with a certain amount of star draw themselves.

Monster heel: a heel promoted as being ‘unstoppable’ (until a suitably heroic face finally steps up to the ‘impossible’ challenge). Draco is pretty much a classic monster heel.

Mouthpiece: a manager who does all the talking, interviews, & promos for a fighter with little or no talent for such things themselves.

Muta scale: named for the old style professional wrestler The Great Muta this is an unofficial scale of the amount of blood lost by a fighter in a match, ranging from 0.0 (to blood) to 1.0 (maximum blood). Generally each Lethal wound suffered at one time (i.e. in-fight Regeneration doesn’t count) is measured as 0.1 on the scale (so losing 10 Health Levels to Lethal damage, without healing, results in a ‘perfect’ score of 1.0 on the scale).

No Hold Barred / No Disqualification / NDQ Match: a (usually brutal) fight which can’t be ended by disqualification – meaning that weapons, outside interference, leaving the Zone, etc. are all permitted – only submission or knockout end the fight.

No-sell: giving no reaction to an opponent’s attacks. Sometimes this is scripted (to make the fighter look ‘invincible’), sometimes it’s legit (the fighter really is that tough), but if it’s a case of ‘going into business for yourself’ or just failing to sell the move it can result in a loss of Honour.

Nova-class combatant: term used by the XWF to describe their fighters, to avoid legal hassles due to claims that all their fighters are Novas (since they aren't).

Novatron: the huge multi-screen video system suspended above the Combat Zone.

Over-sell: reacting too much to an opponent’s attacks & making it obvious; this happens on a botched Perform roll & results in a loss of both Honour & Glory.

Paying Dues: the idea that newer fighters must be hazed or punished inside & outside the Zone to ‘earn’ their place in the XWF.

Plant: a ringer placed in the audience for various reasons (e.g. to be the ‘victim’ of an enraged fighter’s attack).

Popcorn match: a fight the marks don’t care about.

Promo: a filmed promotional segment.

Push: the worked increase of a fighter’s reputation, commonly used to artificially elevate Nova fighters through the ranks so that they can more legitimately be seen as ‘main event’ contenders (i.e. gaining Glory). Opposite of ‘bury’.

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Rest hold: a loose hold maintained to extend the match while both fighters conserve energy, often used during commercial breaks so that the at-home audience doesn’t miss too much action. Time spent in a rest hold doesn’t count towards the duration of Maintenance powers. Rest holds in the XWF last no longer than 10 turns / 30 seconds (after which time the held fighter is considered to have submitted under the basic rules of the XWF), but sometimes fighters will spot a series of rest holds to stretch out the duration of a match.

Ring Rat: a fan with amorous feelings towards wrestlers who frequents live events in the hopes of flirting or bedding them (i.e. an XWF groupie). The Staff tends to spontaneously generate ring rats wherever he goes…

Roid Rage / Mite Madness: when a Mitoid goes berserk.

Rub: making another fighter look good; usually results in gaining Honour.

Run-in: when a third party enters the Zone to interfere with a match – usually a worked angle.

Sandbag: see ‘Dead Weight’.

Sell: the all-important performance given to make an opponent’s attacks seem real, powerful, & painful – usually used against pulled attacks & requiring a successful Perform roll; usually results in an Honour gain.

Slop Match: unofficial term for a match, traditionally between Divas, taking place in a pool of mud, baby oil, slime, or similar substance.

Smark: a ‘smart mark’ – i.e. a fan who realises which bits are fake, but enjoys the show for what it is anyway. Unlike the last days of old style professional wrestling, where more fans (over the age of twelve) were smarks than marks, most XWF fans are true marks who believe the whole thing is real.

Sports Entertainment: the way the XWF refers to itself, to avoid legal hassles involved with claiming to be a legitimate sport.

Spot: a planned, set-piece, move between two fighters.

Squash: a one-sided match where a superior (usually Nova) fighter wins in a very quick time. Core’s four-second win against ‘Butcher’ Moretti is the most famous ‘squash match’ in XWF history.

Stiff: full impact / damage attacks.

Stretch: full force / damage grappling moves.

Stroke: backstage influence (i.e. the Influence [XWF] Background).

Stunt Granny: an obvious (& therefore less effective) plant.

Superhuman comeback: when a Nova face sells being dominated for several minutes, then ‘miraculously’ draws on their ‘fighting spirit’, starts to no-sell their opponent’s attacks, & wins the match with a big finish. Can result in a Glory increase if sold well, but wears thin pretty quickly.

Superhuman: a face promoted as being ‘unstoppable’ (see ‘monster heel’).

Superstar: a male XWF fighter.

Tights: a fighter’s outfit, even when it’s not literally tights; ‘eww-tights’ is sometimes (but not often) used to refer to living eufiber outfits.

Token Offence: the meaningless attacks a jobber gets in before suffering a squash.

Valet: a female performer who accompanies a fighter to ringside & promotes him in interviews & the like (i.e. eye candy).

Vignette: an out of ring (e.g. locker room or backstage) event ‘caught’ on camera (usually a worked angle).

Vocal selling: making sounds to imply you’re hurt (i.e. screams, moans, curses, etc.). The banshee-voiced Terminatrix is the acknowledged Queen of XWF vocal selling.

Weekend Warrior: a low-level Mitoid jobber who only works for the XWF part time, often on a cash-in-hand, no-questions-asked, basis.

Work: a staged event or angle.

Worked Shoot: a real fight, but with worked spots & some level of fighter cooperation included too. Most XWF fights are, in fact, worked shoots – usually the fighters try to extend to the match by following each other’s cues, selling each other’s attacks, throwing fluff, & employing rest holds until it seems that the crowd is ready for the big finish, where (often) the kid gloves come off & the match becomes a real competition.

Workrate: the level of action & skill (as opposed to rest holds & posing) in a match; workrate turns always count towards Maintenance durations.

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One Dot Wonders

Okay, so we mention the ‘jobbers’ of the XWF quite a bit, but what can they actually do? How come the marks don’t notice the difference between them & full Novas, & what the heck does a jobber bout look like anyhow?

Well, the basic ‘jobber’ is a Mitoid, just like the one listed in page 283 of the Aberrant core rule book; there are other types of non-Nova jobbers (which I’ll get to later), but the lowliest scrubs & bums of the Federation are muscle-bound Mite-heads supplied by Yai Lokampang & his Heaven Thunder Triad connections. This doesn’t mean they’re all Asian gangsters or anything – just that the people who supply the illegal Mite trade are the ones who tend to know all the Mitoids around the world. Some of these hulking brutes will be die-hard bodybuilders, some ex-gang-bangers, others XWF wannabes who are willing to go a little too far to join their heroes in the Zone. Often they’re drawn from the country where the show is being staged, used for a few matches, then dropped when the XWF moves on – this type of ‘disposable scrub’ or ‘weekend warrior’ tends to have little training but great enthusiasm.

Once a Mitoid’s been accepted into the show they’re put through their paces, assessed for skill level, Zone presence, & other such relevant talents, given some basic training & instruction (mostly being shown how to not kill each other or themselves whilst fighting), packaged in whatever (often recycled) gimmick persona the PR boys come up with, & pointed towards the Zone. Such low-level scrubs can fight each other, mid-carders (to pad the more valuable asset’s records), or face Novas in squash matches.

The only real ‘superhuman’ aspect of a Mitoid is a single dot of Mega-Strength without any Enhancements. Whilst this may look pitiful against the dot-fest which is a PC’s character sheet, it’s enough to provide the high-energy show of movement & power which the marks come to see…

Jumping: With 10 dice in their Might pools, & 5 auto-successes from that Mega-Strength dot, a Mitoid averages 9 successes on any Might-based roll - this means that, on average, a Mitoid’s powerful leg muscles can propel him four & a half meters vertically, or eighteen meters across. That’s around fifteen feet high & sixty feet across in old money! XWF jobbers (just like the old pro wrestlers, really) spend a lot of time showing this off by leaping around the Zone – gimmicked Zone configurations, like platform matches or pit matches, exploit this aspect of their ‘power’ as much as possible, in addition to the ‘classic’ leaps off the top rope or the top turnbuckle of the ring. A good roll on a jump can carry a Mitoid within arm’s reach of the top of the vitrium barriers, allowing five star bumps from the top of the barriers (much like a death-defying pro wrestler leaping or being thrown from the top of a cage in an old-style cage match). The marks love this sort of stuff &, as long as the jump’s a controlled one (i.e. a jump rather than a real fall) the jobbers can usually get away with it without suffering too serious an injury.

Lifting: That 10 dice Might pool & one dot of Mega-Strength means that, on an average roll, a Mitoid can lift 1,800 kg above his head. This makes all sorts of large & impressive objects fair game as weaponry – such as cars, lampposts, or trees. Naturally, a typical arena doesn’t sport trees in the ring, but the ring itself is often designed so that (after a little damage has been done) it can be used as such ‘super-weapons’: e.g. the vertical poles in a platform match can be ripped up & swung like a lamppost. Quite a few Mitoid matches are also ‘themed’ to provide such ‘tools’ in the Zone: junked cars being a fan favourite (a ‘Junkyard Match’).

Throwing: A Mitoid can throw a 1,000 kg object up to fifty meters, anything less than 500 kg he can throw a whopping 250 meters (a full quarter kilometer)! Either is plenty enough distance to chuck things clear from one side of the Zone to the other – some XWF jobbers have been known to hurl tree-sized objects clear out of the arena the event is taking place in (although, due to the risk to the audience & bystanders, this is discouraged by the management). Using one of the many possible variations of the ‘Throw’ combat move a Mitoid can hurl his opponent a full fifteen meters (around fifty feet) – so actually throwing each other over the barriers & out of the Zone can, & does, happen!

Smackdown: thanks to that dot of Mega-Strength, a Mitoid can use both variants of the ‘Smackdown’ combat move – allowing them to utilise ‘finishers’ every bit as impressive as those of their Nova counterparts. A leap from the top of the barriers can even allow a Mitoid to make an Aerial Splash attack!

So, at the basic level, what do the marks see? Two mean-looking, hulking, bare-chested men dressed in tight-fitting leggings powering around the Zone with superhuman leaps, swinging at each other with phone-pole sized clubs, & hurling each other huge distances: i.e. Nova-class combat sports entertainment at its (almost) best!

The big downside of the Mitoids (apart from their tendency towards heart failure, & that whole going berserk thing) is their inability to Soak the punishment they can dish out. A typical Mitoid has 4 Bashing Soak… that’s it. If he goes nuts he doesn’t take wound penalties, but then again, if one or both Mitoids in a match go nuts, then it’s pretty much over anyway. Even two or three simple, average damage, stiff Strikes from another Mitoid is enough to KO a scrub jobber – smashing a car over his head can seriously damage his health (potentially killing him in one shot). This is where the old-style pro wrestling tactics come into play: generally marks come to watch the action more than they come to see someone getting seriously hurt (a minority are that sick, but most aren’t) – a match that lasts fifteen minutes is generally going to get a better reaction than one which lasts ten seconds. So, XWF jobbers are encouraged to thrown fluff & sell attacks… the problem is often that they’re just not that well trained – after all, the ability to realistically simulate attacks & injuries is a hard skill to master. The XWF tends to get around this flaw in their bum jobbers by getting them to spend a lot of time throwing things at each other (& missing), swinging wild, & leaping about. Not only does this highlight the fighters’ raw physical strength, but it’s a lot easier to do than real selling of supposedly full-contact blows. The basic skill the jobbers are taught before entering the Zone is generally that of pulling the auto-successes from their Mega-Strength when hitting each other. This results in real blows, but ones the jobbers have a chance to tolerate, & requires less acting skill that full-fluff attacks. The ringside commentary team play a big part in selling this illusion of full-on Nova-class shootfighting by referring to the fighters’ ‘superhuman ability to withstand damage’ when such blows land (e.g. ‘That punch would surely have killed a normal man!’ or ‘This fighter obviously displays some level of Nova-class invulnerability’).
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Building a Better Jobber

Beyond the low-level nobodies the XWF employ en-mass are the mid-card fighters with developed personas, actual wins in their win-loss records, & a certain level of genuine fan-appeal, fame, & following. These tend to be called up from the XWF development.

The XWF development is a series of recruitment & training programs which give hopefuls the chance to become a Nova-class combatant in the XWF. The (physical) trials to get in are brutal (with a day-one 90% drop-out rate), & the following six or so month training program even worse, but those who complete the course have a genuine shot at (minor) stardom in the XWF. An average trainee in the development starts out with 3 in each Physical Attribute & Appearance, 2 in all other Attributes, & 2 to 3 dots in Might & Endurance (& often Athletics, Brawl, &/or Martial Arts as well).

Training for the first four or so months is a punishing regime of weightlifting, squats, cardiovascular exercises, & other conditioning designed to build two things – muscle & endurance. Whilst going through this torture the recruits are also subjected to a course of Insulin-Like Growth Factor ‘steroid virus’. Unlike Mite, ILGF is in something of a legal grey area – it’s a controlled substance, but can be prescribed by doctors. The XWF training centres have vast medical staffs monitoring every aspect of the recruits’ health & physical development – getting a quack to sign-off on the treatment isn’t a problem. It’s expensive stuff, but the XWF usually gets a great return on its investment once the new fighter is ready. At the end of this initial training period those recruits who haven’t dropped out (or been dropped – which happens automatically if they suffer a heart attack due to the ILGF) will have attained scores of 5 in both Strength & Stamina, as well as 5 dots in both Might & Endurance (a top-notch staff of Instructors can work wonders). Unlike a typical Mitoid, at this point the recruits tend to look not so much like hulking monsters, but rather more like chiselled Greek gods – many could already pass as ‘Novas’ to the unenlightened.

The last two months or so of training focuses on the recruit’s other skills, developing an in-Zone persona &, in many cases, some elective surgery to get them looking even more like Novas. The Abilities of Athletics, Brawl &/or Martial Arts are raised, as well as the all-important Style or Intimidation (depending on the persona’s role) & those Perform skills needed to sell an opponent’s attacks. Surgery involves such things as glowing NovaEyez™ contact lenses being grafted to the corneas (the normal lenses have a tendency to get knocked out in fights), implanted LEDs under the skin in various places & patterns, & (if the fighter is destined for the Red or Black Circles) spine, blade, & claw-like projections being added to the body (generally organic looking, but usually made from high-tech Nova-age surgical steel or similar materials). Female fighters (yes, they develop Divas too) almost always get a boob-job to enhance the femininity of their sculpted physiques, & some get more extensive plastic-surgery as well (most Divas coming from the development have an Appearance of 4).

Compared to a scrub Mitoid, the fighters who come up from the XWF development are professional, trained, entertainers & athletes… they’re just not quite superhuman enough to compete. To address this issue, before a match one of two things generally happens: either the fighter drops some Mite, or they get boosted up by N’dolu Nyala – the Nova known as ‘The Power Monger’.

In the first case, because the fighter already has Strength & Might Traits at 5 each, the hit of Mite boosts their strength, temporarily, to Mega-Strength 1. The advantage over a true Mitoid is that the fighter doesn’t resemble a grotesque hulking mound of muscle – so many development fighters end up a ‘faces’ versus Mitoid ‘heels’. The disadvantage is that Mite is highly addictive – however, while a few development fighters end up as true Mitoids (although generally better looking – as they hit that permanent Mega-Strength one after losing just a single dot of Appearance rather than the usual two), they tend to have high Willpower scores (they made it through six months of training Hell after all), & the Mite is provided in limited doses - & only for matches & the occasional public display of power. This results in the fighter becoming more addicted to the XWF (since the orgasmic thrill of the Mite becomes psychologically linked with the rush from a physical match & the buzz of the crowd reaction) than they are to the drug itself.

In the second case Nyala’s Nova ability to Boost another person’s Strength, Dexterity, & Stamina, works well with the development fighter’s high Physical Attributes &, on average, results in a fighter with Mega-Strength 2 to 3, Dexterity 5 to Mega 1, & Mega-Stamina 2 to 3 – at least for the scene in which the match takes place. (At Quantum 6 Nyala is, technically, one of the world’s most powerful Novas – he’s also one of the most focused, his only real power being a single dot of Boost [strength] + Extra Attribute [stamina] + Extra Attribute [Dexterity] + Extended Effect + Other Person he’s developed over his years as an Elite, then an XWF Superstar, into a Level 4 power). While Mega-Stamina helps the fighter’s Soak & (sometimes) increases their Health Levels, it still falls short of making them a match for real Red or Black Circle fighters’ attacks – but they’re good enough to put on a great-looking show, & are employed to lose to the big boys anyway. In some instances (usually Black Circle matches) a fighter will take the Mite hit as well as being Boosted by Nyala - & a lucky roll by the Power Monger can always boost the fighter up to Mega 5 anyway – so ‘boosted’ jobbers can actually hit pretty hard on occasion… which is all the better for preserving the illusion that the XWF is a totally shootfighting league.

Matches involving the mid-card fighters from the development are generally much more impressive & popular than pure Mitoid versus Mitoid combats. Where Mitoids have the physical power to hurl themselves across the Zone in huge leaps, a development fighter can use that same leaping ability to perform incredible aerial stunts drawn from the old pro wrestling playbooks – moonsaults, shooting stars, flying crossbodies, & the rest all take on a new level of spectacle when the guy performing them can leap fifteen feet in the air! Mid-carders tend to have much better developed personas & Zone presence as well, playing to the crowds in a way the average Mitoid never masters. Sometimes they also sport gimmicks incorporated into their personas – anything from such tried & tested methods as a ‘mist’ attack (coloured water sprayed from the mouth into the face of an opponent, who reacts as if it were blinding acid, choking poison, or some such), flash-paper ‘fireballs’, or more high-tech such as a ‘lightning’ themed persona who has laser-electroshock technology secretly built into his costume so that he can be seen to ‘hurl lighting bolts’ around the place.

At the end of the day the XWF is sports entertainment – as long as the marks are cheering (& paying) then who cares if the fighters are really real Novas or not? ::wink
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