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Captether

Aberrant RPG - Project Tantalus Campaign

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Something that I havent found to be explored in the Aberrant setting is Project Tantalus. As this group researches "Paramorphs" (called Daredevils in Adventure!), they strike me as a very interesting subject in the Nova age, and later as well.

Seems to me that Paramorphs might be triggering all over the place in the Nova setting, and just coming off as low-powered Novas to the media and Baselines. They would be the Captain America/Batman types, able to do some incredible things, especially in regard to Ability Mastery related acts.

I see Project Tantalus gathering a number of Paramorphs to act as specialized agents and researchers into the nature of their own and other Inspired beings. Some extraordinary "baseline" characters in the setting might actually be paramorphs, such as Dr. Richard Toiho. It would certainly explain their super-advanced technological skills. Many villain types might also be paramorphs, particularly amongst the yakuza and the Megasyndicate.

But how to use Paramorphs in Aberrant? Rather than using the Inspiration system from Adventure, I was thinking of the following:

Player Characters

Paramorph characters are created identically to the “Human” stage of Nova characters as detailed on page 120 of the Aberrant Rulebook, though Paramorphs do not have a Quantum or Taint score. Rather than gaining Nova Points, Paramorphs (or Daredevils) gain 12 Transformation points, which may be spent as seen below:

Transformation Points

Trait Cost per dot

2 Attribute dots (max. 5 in Trait) 1

5 Ability dots (max. 5 in Trait) 1

Ability mastery* (max. three Abilities) 1

4 Background dots (max. 5 in Trait) 1

2 Willpower dots (max. 10 in Trait) 1

4 points in allowed Physical, Mental, or Social Merits

*A character must already have five points in an Ability to purchase Ability mastery. All rolls involving a Mastered Abilities count rolls of 4, 5, and 6 as successes, granting extraordinary success rates.

Merits and Flaws

As baselines, and perhaps a few Nova ones. What do you think?

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Looking at the info on Tantalus in the APG (p. 55), it seems that Aeon's definition of "paramorph" is strictly limited to the full-blown time travelers, namely Max Mercer himself. That shouldn't stop you from taking this idea & running with it, though - if anything, it probably just means that Aeon doesn't have the capability to note a connection between daredevils & Mercer, which gives you serious wiggle room.

AFA daredevils in Aberrant, I'd posit both Director Thetis and Mammon (of the Church of Astaroth) as likely daredevils. I also agree they have a place in the Nova Age, but I also doubt they'd be able to operate at the "stealth nova" caliber of Batman & Captain America. Without access to Dramatic Editing and/or Kuro-Tek-caliber anti-nova technology, daredevils are likely to be at a severe disadvantage when facing novas in combat. It has to be kept in mind that they're still operating at a pulp level, while most novas are at the level of full-blown superheroics (4-color or otherwise).

BTW, feel free to drop by the Mega-Physical project. Quite a few of your ideas for biotech items did make the cut. ::thumbup1

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Nice idea. Might I suggest allowing the purchace of extra health levels (mainly bruised) as well? Think of just how often heroes like Batman, Daredevil, Captian America and such took amazing amounts of beat down and kept on coming. Limits apply of course.

Perhaps also a point or 2 improvement in initiative and/or dodge chance. Nothing really super, but extraordinary.

Psi

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Looking at the info on Tantalus in the APG (p. 55), it seems that Aeon's definition of "paramorph" is strictly limited to the full-blown time travelers, namely Max Mercer himself.

From that source, I dont know about paramorphs only referring to time travellers. According to the White Wolf Wikia, paramorphs and Daredevils are the same. I personally feel that all of that "only one confirmed paramorph" business is a smokescreen. It is known that besides Mercer, "Danger Ace" Jake Stefokowski is certainly kicking around.

I was just going to have it that paramorphs are all over the place, but register to novas as "just" human and to the media as anything from low-grade novas or nutjobs. They cant stand toe-to-toe with Novas, but could certainly be a surprise if built well.

BTW, feel free to drop by the Mega-Physical project. Quite a few of your ideas for biotech items did make the cut. ::thumbup1

Will do.

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Presuming you have access to Adventure, it might not be a bad idea to give paramorphs access to the Heroic Knacks as Feats. I'm uncertain about pricing, though.

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Also, while not necessarily relevant, I always figured the best of the Directive operatives were probably paramorphs, even if unrecognized as such.

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Also, while not necessarily relevant, I always figured the best of the Directive operatives were probably paramorphs, even if unrecognized as such.

Oh sure. Trying to take down a Nova with a Baseline is awfully difficult. At least with one of the above paramorphs, you might be able to pull of some unusual moves.

As for Daredevil powers, I dont see why most wouldnt make for excellent "Paramorph Merits."

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As for Daredevil powers, I don't see why most wouldn't make for excellent "Paramorph Merits."
It would make things simpler for you to let paramorphs buy & use the Heroic Knacks in Adventure! as is. Add in the various homebrew Heroic Knacks here at EON & elsewhere, and I suspect you'll have plenty to work with without having to redefine them as Merits. If you're going with the "Paramorph = Daredevil" argument, it only makes sense. ::wink

Also, IIRC hasn't someone written up "updated" versions of the Heroic Knacks for the Aberrant & Trinity Eras? Those would be worth digging up just to read over AFAICT.

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There was an updated Stalwart knack list, but it was kind of slap-dash.

I suppose I could just nix the knacks and just allow Attribute mastery as per the Superiors from Asia Ascendant. Sure they would be pretty weak compared with Novas, but they would certainly be more than baseline in power.

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There was an updated Stalwart knack list, but it was kind of slap-dash.

Why am I not surprised... ::rolleyes Well, it's not like updating the Heroic Knacks would be all that difficult.
I suppose I could just nix the knacks and just allow Attribute mastery as per the Superiors from Asia Ascendant. Sure they would be pretty weak compared with Novas, but they would certainly be more than baseline in power.
::blink Just how weak are you wanting these guys to be? While Heroic Knacks wouldn't match nova capabilities, they aren't really meant to. AFAICT, the only reason that Superiors are weaker than other Daredevils is due to their synthetic Inspiration. From what you've posted, your players' characters would be 100% natural daredevils easily comparable to those found in Adventure!.

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::blink Just how weak are you wanting these guys to be? While Heroic Knacks wouldn't match nova capabilities, they aren't really meant to. AFAICT, the only reason that Superiors are weaker than other Daredevils is due to their synthetic Inspiration. From what you've posted, your players' characters would be 100% natural daredevils easily comparable to those found in Adventure!.

True enough. Dont want them at too much of a disadvantage. Besides, as daredevil knacks require no power costs, I dont have to port over another power system.

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Knacks that I feel are fine for these guys: Complete Privacy, Doughboy, Dramatic Entrance, Eagle Eyes, Enhanced Impact, Fists of Stone, Monolith, Trail Blazer, Indomitable Will, Instant expert, Jack of all Tongues, Lightning Reflexes, Master of Dissimulation and One-Man Army.

Tech issues.

Though daredevils cant make the quantum tech of novas, they can certainly alter existing tech and figure out nove gadgets just fine. Sadly, without using the full Inspiration ruled Gadgeteering is out (minimum Inspiration of 3). Still, being a master of science and/or technology goes a loooong way.

Though its in the works yet, there are planty of nifty gadgets presented in A New Flesh that I can see these guys using. Particularly cyberware.

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Looking at the info on Tantalus in the APG (p. 55), it seems that Aeon's definition of "paramorph" is strictly limited to the full-blown time travelers, namely Max Mercer himself. That shouldn't stop you from taking this idea & running with it, though - if anything, it probably just means that Aeon doesn't have the capability to note a connection between daredevils & Mercer, which gives you serious wiggle room.

From that source, I dont know about paramorphs only referring to time travellers. According to the White Wolf Wikia, paramorphs and Daredevils are the same. I personally feel that all of that "only one confirmed paramorph" business is a smokescreen. It is known that besides Mercer, "Danger Ace" Jake Stefokowski is certainly kicking around.

Believe me, I've had extensive conversations with Bruce et al. about this.

It was Andrew Bates' opinion that Mercer is the only paramorph. Daredevils are just humans who happen to be particularly lucky or skilled.

Bruce Baugh's opinion was that daredevils and paramorphs were the same thing, with Mercer being on a plateau beyond most typical daredevils. I prefer this explanation, myself.

In any case, the APG's reference is indeed supposed to be about Max Mercer. The problem with paramorphs is that, since their "powers" are practically indistinguishable from skill and luck, it's nearly impossible for Tantalus to find them. My personal theory involves them being surrounded by a "bubble" of quantum/subquantum which has the effect of manipulating probabilities, but such a "bubble" contains roughly equal mixtures of both energies, so they'd still read as neutral to any scans. It's doubtful even the technology available to the Trinity Era would be able to identify such individuals, let alone the Aberrant Era.

Captether mentioned my Wiki (I always like to hear that people are using it). I do have an article on Project Tantalus. It's short, but I included a symbol I created for the Project, if you want to use it. Likewise for Pandora (psions) and a symbol for Proteus.

I've also got 'em kicking around for Argonaut and Cyclops, but they haven't been uploaded anywhere.

Also, IIRC hasn't someone written up "updated" versions of the Heroic Knacks for the Aberrant & Trinity Eras? Those would be worth digging up just to read over AFAICT.

I believe Asia Ascendant, and to a lesser extent Terra Verde, have some "Aberrants" which use stalwart or daredevil knacks.

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In any case, the APG's reference is indeed supposed to be about Max Mercer. The problem with paramorphs is that, since their "powers" are practically indistinguishable from skill and luck, it's nearly impossible for Tantalus to find them. My personal theory involves them being surrounded by a "bubble" of quantum/subquantum which has the effect of manipulating probabilities, but such a "bubble" contains roughly equal mixtures of both energies, so they'd still read as neutral to any scans. It's doubtful even the technology available to the Trinity Era would be able to identify such individuals, let alone the Aberrant Era.

Nice idea, cheers. In my campaign the PCs have touched up the idea of investigating paramorphs, they found out a while ago but prioritised other things. This description will be great if they do get move involved.

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Nice idea, cheers. In my campaign the PCs have touched up the idea of investigating paramorphs, they found out a while ago but prioritised other things. This description will be great if they do get move involved.

I was reminded yesterday that I had posted a small essay about how I feel paramorphs (and Z-rays) work, right here on EON.

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Though it's in the works yet, there are plenty of nifty gadgets presented in Aberrant: The New Flesh that I can see these guys using. Particularly cyberware.
One point on the hardtech cyberware in that book: By Trinity-era Nihonjin standards, it is laughably obsolete!

If you remember the old Atari gamesystems from the late 1970's/early 1980's, compare them and their associated games to those of today's Xbox gamesystem. That's pretty much how the hardtech cyberware in AB:TNF stacks up to what Nippon's Superiors are using in the 2120's - the items of 2015 are clunkier, more obvious, underpowered and much more limited in utility than what's seen in Trinity: Asia Ascendant.

That said, the "biotech" cyberware in AB:TNF might still be useful *if* examples of it survive in cold storage somewhere. I'd be dubious that Daredevil inventors could develop it from gene sequences & blueprints, though.

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