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Aberrant RPG - Alternate Taint System: "Inner Gods and Monsters"

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Okay, random idea I had for a complete overhaul of how taint works. . .

Basically, every nova, just like every person, has a light side and a dark side to their personality. Their virtues and vices, the things they believe in and the things they are not proud of. Unlike baselines, however, these aspects of their personality are more than just that, or can be: they can be the seeds to becoming more than human. . . or less.

So, every nova character picks a light side and a dark side to their Nature. Sort of like the more explicit split from the Adventure version of the Motivation rules, except that they don't have to go with a matching set. One's Nature could be "Light: Leader; Dark: Critic" or such, indicating what their more positive, constructive impulses are, as well as their darker, destructive ones.

In addition, every character has *two* progressions. We'll call them Chrysalis and Taint for the moment. Instead of gaining temp or permanent points through quantum botches and such, they gain points in one or the other by taking significant quantum-backed actions that fulfill one or both of their Natures. Ten temp points become one permanent, just like usual.

Accumulating Chrysalis means you are embracing your inner god, and transform appropriately. This doesn't involve social penalties intrinsically, but it does involve transformations that make you more and more obviously beyond human. Accumulating Taint. . . mostly does what it does in canon. In both cases, however, there should generally be an idea of the nova's destiny, on both paths. Perhaps even the exact aberrations and transformations should be worked out ahead of time, cooperatively.

Oh, and the maximum Chrysalis + Taint is 10. So, accumulating both results in some deep internal conflicts, that will eventually come to a head and have to resolve. . . one way or another.

Additional aspects:

-The rolls to gain temp chrysalis/taint depend on whether the character is embracing or resisting change in general, or a specific part of their personality in particular. I haven't settled on the details, but generally, chrysalis rolls are harder than taint rolls, and intentionally embracing taint is a *lot* easier than intentionally embracing chrysalis.

-Neither chrysalis nor taint is specifically permanent; by intentionally embracing the opposite aspect, and opposing the undesired one, you can eventually break a point of permanent chrysalis or taint. How easy this is depends on your relative balance; if you have one taint and five chrysalis, its relatively easy to break a point of taint, extremely hard to break a point of chrysalis.

-Similarly, your existing balance effects how hard it is to accumulate further points. The more imbalanced, the easier it is to gain further on the strong side, and harder to gain on the weak side. This means the best defense against taint is to vigorously embrace your godly potential, actually.

-Instead of higher quantum resulting in higher taint, it actually works the other way around: boosting your Quantum and Node and such beyond certain points, requires certain minimum levels of transformation as a prerequisite. The exact thresholds or boundaries and TBD, aside from my idea that, to hit Quantum 10? Requires either Chrysalis 10 or Taint 10. Basically, you have to have fully embodied your inner god or monster to the utmost to reach that level of universe-shaking power.

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The exact thresholds or boundaries and TBD, aside from my idea that, to hit Quantum 10? Requires either Chrysalis 10 or Taint 10. Basically, you have to have fully embodied your inner god or monster to the utmost to reach that level of universe-shaking power.

Ya. That sounds reasonable.

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I like this, I like this a lot. What is really interesting is that you could have other variances on transcendence than just Taint and Chrysalis if you really want to. I also like it because it less causes all novas to go insane evil creatures and opens possibilities of good eventualities. In addition, the multiple paths of Quantum, are like the multiple paths of Inspiration in Adventure! So yeah, I very much like this and would like to hear more.

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I don't really see there being more than two paths for any given nova. However, there's certainly plenty of flexibility for designing the two paths. Bear in mind I use 'Chrysalis' as a placeholder term; this usage of Chrysalis really has nothing to do with the canon version.

As for the rules for defining what would be a "god path" and what a "monster path". . . well, in most cases, it would roughly correlate with a virtue/vice split, but the way I see it, the most basic distinction is "ascendance according to my will" versus "otherwise." This means that a "god" might well be a horror, and a "monster" might be nice; the difference would be, the "god" has become a horror of and in his own free will, while the "monster" is a nice guy whose totally lost control of his own being.

Random aside: while insanity is entirely one of the possible, indeed likely, transformations arising from accumulating Taint and following your monster path, not so much for Chrysalis. However, what could be taken instead would be devotion. Basically, pick some belief or ideal that's connected to your particular path, and you are now devoted to it with sufficient strength that it takes an effort of will to go against it. This isn't insanity; you still perceive the world around you as it is, and are still capable of rational analysis of what you see and understand. You just believe in something strongly enough that to go against it would be to go against your own nature. Think 'Strong Psychological Limits' from Champions.

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