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Aberrant RPG - Actually Using Mentors


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I'm running Aberrant again for the first time in years with a live group of players who are totally new to the game. In an interesting development, every player put several dots into Mentor. The last time I ran this, nobody used Mentor, and I realized I'm actually at a bit of a loss as to how to get the most out of Mentor in story terms. They put dots into it, so I want to make sure it has relevance in the story.

The players are all members of T2M-North America, a new T2M branch created for my game. Slider hasn't been killed yet, and the players are all totally ignorant of the metaplot and have been asked not to Google it.

The Mentors are:

One player took 3 dots, and picked Antaeus as a Mentor, on the basis that he's powerful but most of the time is busy terraforming the Sahara.

Similarly, another character has the Fireman as a 3 dot Mentor; also very influential, but too busy running for President for too much direct involvement in the character's life.

A third player is totally new to RPGs; she took 4 dots in Backing (Aeon Society), and 4 dots in Mentor, but had no idea who to pick. She agreed to let me pick a mysterious benefactor for her; that being Max Mercer.

So -- three very influential and powerful mentors, who would be expected to have at least a passing interest in the story. The question is, though, how to actually integrate them? You don't want to just have them pop into a story randomly and solve problems for the characters. How have other GMs handled Mentors?


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Completely aside from other matters. . . Mercer should be at *least* a 5 dot Mentor. Even if he's remote and only occasionally touches the guy's life. Even if you assume he *isn't* a complete bastard and/or absolutely insane.

The character took a 4-dot Mentor, and I'm using Mercer as so remote the character doesn't even realize who's leaving cryptic clues for her. I probably still wouldn't have done it, except that she also bought 4 dots of Backing in the Aeon Society.

I should also note that my setting deviates in a few ways from the canonical version; for one, I'm scaling down and redoing the stats for virtually every NPC in the game, such that the players are as or more powerful than virtually all other novas on Earth; the half-dozen super-powerful ones like Pax and Antaeus are still more powerful than them, but still drastically scaled back. The only novas with Quantum above 5 are Divis Mal and Max Mercer (see below).

The other big change is that since I've got a bunch of players completely ignorant of the setting except for the in-character info I've given them, I'm free to mess with Trinity and Adventure; the big changes as follows:

* Mercer is a nova with Temporal Manipulation and Time Travel. Just because my players are still learning the setting, and on the chance they actually meet Max I don't want them worrying about other types of superhumans.

* The first time Mercer jumped to the future, he hit the Aberrant War... in 2008. Basically dropped right into Days of Future Past, with most of the world's governments openly trying to round up novas and put them in concentration camps, while the really powerful novas struck back in terrifyingly destructive ways. Horrified, Max decides to avert this.

* 1998 -- Mercer contacts the Aeon Society, and uses his future foreknowledge to set up Project Utopia, which is how they were ready to act when everyone else was still stunned in the immediate aftermath of N-Day. Max guides Project Utopia from behind the scenes, and for a while is extremely successful; by 2008 the world is entering a golden age rather than a dystopia. But as the decades pass and Taint begins to take hold, things eventually go to hell. Max tries desperately to save the world, fails, and the Aberrant War still happens around 2040. Decades older and more cynical, Max jumps back again.

* 1998 -- Operating through proxies and manipulating others, Old Max creates Project Proteus, convinced that he'd have been successful if Taint hadn't wrecked everything, and that it must be controlled by any means necessary. He tries very hard to prevent his younger self from finding out about Proteus' existence.

This is the timeline the story is taking place in; naturally, things are now playing out differently than they did in the previous iteration of events, and the younger, more idealistic and heroic Max is beginning to get an inkling that someone is corrupting his design for a better world. He's now attempting to nudge the PC in question into rooting out the source of that corruption, having no idea that it's a future version of himself.

Of course, it's entirely possible the players never figure out all (or any) of this -- if they decide to investigate in this direction, they can, but if not, it's all offstage.

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Actually I think you're doing very well so far. Well done.

RE: Mentors and what they do.

It's excellent that your players picked appropriate mentors. Think of them as a focused version of Contacts & Influence. Ideally a mentor is an excuse to create an NPC and have them show up every now and then.

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  • 1 month later...

If a PC is having a problem, then a Mentor is there for them to call for advice. Not to solve the problem, but to give you an opening to leak things to the PCs or give them a nudge in the right direction.

If a PC wants to learn something new, a Mentor is a good place for them to start. Even if they can't start the learning problem themselves, they can tell the PC who to talk to or what to start with.

If the PC finds themselves in a very sudden bind, some mentors

My first Aberrant PC, Michal, started with a 3 dot mentor - a baseline with three PhDs who was one of his college professors. Mostly, that was what his mentor was used for.

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