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Aberrant RPG - Changing the Future to the Eden outcome

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A campaign idea:

In the Trinity future, a cadre of Edenite-like novas decides that the by-far better-outcome timeline for humanity is one where True 2nd Gen novas are allowed to proliferate since the start of the Nova Age, and their own moderate version of Teras becomes the mainstream nova philosophy. Broadly speaking, Alt-Teras upholds the freedom of novas to be independent from human laws and either separate from humanity and set up their own society, or to become distant providers or benevolent overlords for mankind, on their own terms, but it also teaches social responsibility and the noblesse oblige obligation to respect basic rights of baselines as much as possible, and it cherishes Chrysalis as an handy remedy to Taint, which it loathes, but does not see it as a desirable goal in itself.

It desires either to avoid the Aberrant War, or to ensure that it is as brief and bloodless an affair as possible, and that novas win it, and in either way establish a benevolent rule over mankind, and led it to create a loosely unified interstellar empire, where mankind is spared the horrors of the old-timeline Aberrant War and Taint-crazed novas, can keep enjoying the fruits of nova-driven super-tech and the freeely given services of nova providers/overlords, and novas are spared baseline exploitation and the accumulation of unchecked Taint and allowed the freedom to build their own separate social contract, or to keep providing services to baselines, but on their own terms. In short, they seek to reshape all of humanity in Eden's image. Such a unified, True Novas-led interstellar human empire would also be able to withstand malevolent alien species like the Doyen.

For ethical concerns (they want to "rescue" as many past novas and humans as possible), they eschew the simpler route of using Universe Creation or Crosstime Travel to locate or create an alternate timeline or universe where the outcome they desire manifests, and instead choose the harder route of using Time Travel to rewrite the "main" or "default" timeline (whatever that means in rubber-science cosmological terms; loosely speaking, they want the highest-probability timeline in multiversal terms to become their Edenite interstellar empire) to suit their goals.

Therefore, they use a mix of high-quantum nova powers and gadgeteering to send a cadre of agents in the past, at the beginning of the Nova Age. For <handwavium> reasons, they are unable or unwilling to send their agents further back than the explosion of Galatea, and they deem the following approach as the best to change the TL. A number of True 2nd Gen. novas is cloned from their number, quick-grown to adolescence, raised and trained to have a very high degree of dedication to their mission, given a memory implant historical database, and sent into the past to infiltrate aborning nova society and enforce the necessary TL changes. They are charged to disguise themselves as native young talented novas, and enforce necessary changes to the TL without revealing their true origin (which would cause unpredictable and uncontrollable historical changes)

It is deemed that sending them as 75-NP, pre-Apotheosis True 2nd Gen novas strikes the best-available balance between high resistance to Taint, long-term great power potential, present effectiveness, and relative unconspicousness. Such novas develop quantum-related traits according to the table on page 45 of ABA, shall experience Apotheosis (and gain an extra 100 NP) in a four-year biological span. Normal pre-Apotheosis adolescence power caps are in force.

At the start of the mission, the nova agents are sent to early 1999 to prevent the creation of the Proteus sterility retroviruses. They reap a complete success (they kill and destroy the body of the unlucky nova the retroviruses were first copied from, destroy the lab where they were being developed, kill the involved scientists, and destroy all the records), preventing Proteus from sterilizing nascent nova population for all time. However, the backlash from the massive temporal change causes a bizarre cosmological accident (kinda like a minor second Hammersmith event, which mostly goes unrecognized by contemporaries, except as an odd upsurge in the rate of eruptions, being so close to Galatea) that "jumps" them forward in the TL, to 2008 (or 2015). They are thus prevented from enforcing the other planned changes to the TL as the first 1-2 decades of the Nova Age unfold, and have to scramble to enforce them as best as they can, in the transformed TL, from their new temporal point.

Optional twist: the temporal accident makes the agents amnesiac: they only keep unconscious awareness of their origin and mission. I tentatively assume that this could be represented with the Flaws Amnesia, Obsession, and Intolerance.

Some questions:

A) How would the TL transformed from the lack of the sterility virus ?

B) Which other changes the agents should try and enforce, for their goals ? Loosely speaking, I identify: destroying Proteus and the Directive as much as possible, steering the development of Teras towards a more moderate "Edenite" philosophy, minimizing the influence of Teragen extremists and of Project Utopia alike. What else ? And which specific "keypoint" TL changes (and mission objectives) could be identified to accomplish them ?

C) How would the agents deal with Max mercer, Divis Mal, and the other nova luminaries of the age (without revealing their future origin, that would create unpredictable TL changes) ?

D) Which possible "butterfly" unwanted TL changes could manifest, as a result of the initial no-sterlization change, and of the following changes the agents make to the TL, and how could they be possibly be remedied, in turn ?

E) Optional twist: assuming another rival cadre of agents shows up from the future, to prevent or reverse the TL change, who they would be, and which would be their nature and agenda ? High-powered psions in the service of Aeon and/or the Doyen ? Sub-aberrant agents of the Colony ? Something else ?

It is assumed that the freak cosmological accident in 1999 puts the lack of sterilization beyond the possibility of future transtemporal agents to reverse or remedy. How else could rival agents try to keep TL on their desidered track ?

F) Which campaign starting point does look best ? Alt-2008 or Alt-2015 ?

Last but not least, any other comment or suggestion to the campaign idea and the above guidelines ?

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That said, I would say the best possible 'rival' time travellers would be Aeon affiliates from the future. It sets up the maximum meaningful philosophical conflict, as if the PCs succeed, *they prevent the Aberrant War*. Thus, presuming the PCs are careful and productive, the argument becomes not whether they will screw up the timeline, but whether the outcome timeline is desirable or not. And presuming the PCs maintain a high level of ethics, they can even be morally outraged by such statements as "the Aberrant War must happen!"

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A) How would the TL transformed from the lack of the sterility virus ?
At a hand wave, marriage and children bring a lot more stability to a situation. Thus fewer elites and more scientists. This is actually pretty huge since many of the negative parts of Abby feed on each other. Few elites means fewer teras, etc.
B) Which other changes the agents should try and enforce, for their goals ? Loosely speaking, I identify: destroying Proteus and the Directive as much as possible, steering the development of Teras towards a more moderate "Edenite" philosophy, minimizing the influence of Teragen extremists and of Project Utopia alike. What else ? And which specific "keypoint" TL changes (and mission objectives) could be identified to accomplish them ?
IMHO you don't want to "destroy" the Directive, you want to make it less racist and less nationalistic. Law enforcement is a good thing, it's probably the key point to integrating novas into society.

Thus... one of the key things would be that when Geryon shows up, T2M should be waiting for him. Yes, the laws he was there to "protest" were wrong, but murder and terrorism can't be tolerated by society.

C) How would the agents deal with Max mercer, Divis Mal, and the other nova luminaries of the age (without revealing their future origin, that would create unpredictable TL changes) ?
Ignore Max, he's probably trying to help you... and he'll probably figure you out anyway.

Ignore Mal. Divis will declare victory no matter what you do. Ideally you'd kill him before he comes out of C, but you've probably missed that chance with the jump.

If you know who the Colony is you probably want to kill him or give him a non-stressful job.

E) Optional twist: assuming another rival cadre of agents shows up from the future, to prevent or reverse the TL change, who they would be, and which would be their nature and agenda ? High-powered psions in the service of Aeon and/or the Doyen ? Sub-aberrant agents of the Colony ? Something else ?
The Doyen are most likely since they wouldn't be retroactively erased. The Colony and the Teragen are probably not all that well organized.
It is assumed that the freak cosmological accident in 1999 puts the lack of sterilization beyond the possibility of future transtemporal agents to reverse or remedy. How else could rival agents try to keep TL on their desidered track ?
Start nova wars. Nova terrorisms.
F) Which campaign starting point does look best ? Alt-2008 or Alt-2015 ?
2008

And I like it all. It does a lot for the setting.

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Actually, the trick with Divis is, basically, to phrase your activities and goals in such a way that he can't/won't oppose them directly. If he's convinced you are, in fact, acting in the name of novakind, he'll probably leave you be. . . particularly if your counter-Teragen activity is carefully targeted. After all, his tolerances for various of the Teragen factions seem predicated at times on a combination of "novas must be allowed to choose their own destiny" and "we're in a war, we need warriors."

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Yeah. Short of "you suck", Mal will accept whatever happens and declare it's what he wanted to happen.

The only except would be something like the Doyen. They'd hit all his buttons the wrong way. They can't be his followers, they're not his children, and their successes can't be claimed as his own.

In straight direct combat Mal would win of course... but maybe more importantly, a lot of novas might be able to. In theory we're basically made of their "kryptonite". Thus there's no way they could possess a nova.

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The problem with the Doyen is, they have indeterminant but large numbers, they all have proxy level psionic abilities across the board, they have biotechnology at a presumptive level a magnitude beyond anybody else in the Trinity era, and also, psychic powers can be used in coordination. So, I could actually see the Doyen being a deadly menace to, well, almost anything, even Q8 Divis Mal ( though he would be practically the worst case catastrophe scenario for the Doyen ). Which is, IMO, what they were planned to be if the Trinity line had continued.

That said, they also provide another way to remove Divis Mal from the equation: if you assume he didn't know about them circa 2008, providing detailed information about them would likely as not result in him leaving to do something about them.

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In an alternate timeline, there is no reason why the Doyen might not be able to effect Novas in a more potent manner. If quantakinetics can exist, and use biotech, there could easily be some Doyen built nova-buster technology/creatures that could show up.

On the subject of the Doyen themselves:

Doyen (in Aberrant terms)

IPB Image

Nature: Alien

Attributes: Strength (Powerful) 4, Dexterity (Fast) 5, Stamina (Resilient) 5, Perception (Observant) 5, Intelligent (Rational) 5, Wits (Cunning) 4, Appearance (Disturbing) 4, Manipulation (Arrogant) 4, Charisma 3

Abilities: Academics 3, Awareness 5, Athletics 4, Bureaucracy 4, Brawl 4, Command 5, Endurance 4, Engineering 5, Etiquette 3, Intrusion 3, Investigate 1, Intimidation 5, Legerdemain 3, Might 3, Meditation 5, Science 5, Stealth 4, Survival 5,

Backgrounds: Allies 5, Cipher 5, Contacts 3, Followers (Chromatics) 5, Influence (Chromatics) 5, Node (no Taint) 5, Status (Doyen 3).

Advantages: Willpower 9, Psi 9, Psi Pool: 43 (possibly unlimited)

Mega Attributes: Mega Perception (Subquantum Awareness, All-Round Vision) 3, Mega Intelligence (Analyze Weakness, Eidetic Memory, Enhanced Memory, Mathematic Savant, Mental Prodigy-All) 5, Mega Wits (Lie Detector, Natural Empath) 2, Mega Appearance (Awe-Inspiring) 3, Mega Manipulation (The Voice) 4, Mega Charisma (Dreadful Mein, Natural Agitator) 3.

Psionic Powers: Animal/Plant Control 5, Body Modification (Space Adaptation, Subdermal Senses-full version), Bioluminescence (lncreased Spectrum) 5, Cyberkinesis 3, Disorient 3, Disrupt (Extra Power) 5, Domination (Telepathic) 5, Elemental Mastery (Cold, Fire) 4, Elemental Mastery (Electricity, Light) 3, Empathic Manipulation 5, ESP (Distant Scan) 5, Flight 5, Force Field 4, Holo 3, Invisibility (Enhanced Effect) 3, Mental Blast (Aggravated, Armor Piercing, Burning) 5, Mirage 3, Premonition (Others) 3, Psychic Link 5, *Psychic Regeneration 5, Psychic Shield (Aggravated) 5, Sensory Shield 4, Shapeshift 5, Strobe 3, Telekinesis 4, Telepathy (Surreptitious) 5, Teleport 5.

Diminished Damage: Doyen only suffer half damage from standard attacks (Bashing or Lethal). Psionic attacks deal normal damage, while quantum attacks cannot be soaked.

Psionic Nature: Doyen are composed of psionic energy, and thus have a far greater connection to the psionic medium than to psions. Because of this, Doyen recover spent psi at a rate of 10 psi points every 15 minutes, and treat all power expenditures as thought the power had the Diminished Cost extra.

*As Quantum Regeneration.

I based this guy off the one that was using the Chromatics as shock troops against Earth in Trinity. I based his powers off of that critters stated psi modes, using the psiad rules in Aberrant as a guideline.

With a psi rating on 9, these guys are serious bad-asses. If Divis Mal is any indicator, they probably don't have to spend many psi points at all, and recover from any expenditure very quickly. Also, they should be able to affect things with their powers at a tremendous range. I imagine a collective effort of these guys being able to psychically assault an entire star system or more. And this is before psi-boosting bioapps are applied.

As for minions and technology: How badass would a Doyen VARG equivalent be? I imagine huge bio-titan vessels with Quantakinetic powers and piloted by a Doyen.

Fun, fun, fun.

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IMHO...

No way should these guys have a mega-wits rating, or even a wits level above 2. One of their big weaknesses is they think slowly.

Also they hit my radar as having Proxy level power rather than Pax (much less Divis). The lack of the Mastery extra for high level psions is a serious handicap. (Which admittedly you did correctly on the sheet).

So, I could actually see the Doyen being a deadly menace to, well, almost anything, even Q8 Divis Mal ( though he would be practically the worst case catastrophe scenario for the Doyen ).
If he weren't howling at the moon crazy I'd bet on Divis in a landslide.

In theory he just teleports around and kills every one of them before they can get organized. The problem is a lack of organization is also one of his weaknesses.

And BTW the worst case isn't Q8 Divis. The worst case is Q10 Divis. ::laugh

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Oh, in theory he could teleport around ganking them all, but I'm willing to grant that a whole race of pathological cowards have probably taken considerable measures to conceal their existence and whereabouts. And while Divis Mal is incredibly powerful, even he has limits, logistical if nothing else. Which gives them time to notice the great screaming angry god-shaped mass of quantum in their Clairsentient visions, and start hauling out the psychic gestalts and moon-sized biotech superweapon ships and such.

As for Q10 Divis Mal. . . despite it making no sense and having no basis in canon or characterization, I am forced to envision Mal forming his plasma into a giant robot, to confront a composite noetic slimeball the size of a galaxy, while screaming "Who the hell do you think I am!". . . *cough*

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At a hand wave, marriage and children bring a lot more stability to a situation. Thus fewer elites and more scientists. This is actually pretty huge since many of the negative parts of Abby feed on each other. Few elites means fewer teras, etc.

I agree that fertility should bring more social stability (and indirectly, less Taint) to the nova population. I have more trouble seeing how that would radically diminish the appeal of elites and teras, beyond a point. Elitedom is not just mercenaries fighting in pointless conflicts seeded by Aeon. Every time a nova performs a service in a freelance contractual obligation, he's working in the elite framework. That should not be diminished by lack of sterilization. Moreover, less Taint may easily diminish the appeal of Teras somewhat. As long as there are baseline agencies seeking to exploit novas, most of the appeal of Teras shall remain. Moreover, from the Edenites' POV, neither elites (in the broader sense) nor Teras as a philosophy are a bad thing, quite the contrary. From their POV, it is far preferable for novas to perform services to baselines, if ever, on their own terms, rather than being slaving cogs in baseline organizations that only tend baseline interests. And they only have a problem with the excesses of Teragen (esp. glorifying and seeking Taint for its own sake), not with a self-responsible interpretation of its core philosphy, which is akin to their own in many ways.

IMHO you don't want to "destroy" the Directive, you want to make it less racist and less nationalistic. Law enforcement is a good thing, it's probably the key point to integrating novas into society.

Make it as you want, the Directive shall never be an agency that cares for the novas' best interests. The Edenites know it, therefore they deem it an enemy, which seeks to exploit novas for crass baseline interests. From their POV, if novas must play cops for baselines, far better that novas have ultimate word about the laws that nova cops enforce, and nova cops are elite-like freelance agants, and not minions of baseline governments.

Thus... one of the key things would be that when Geryon shows up, T2M should be waiting for him.

Surely not. Aeon/Utopia is the worst enemy of what the Edenites seek to accomplish. Geryon may have his own questionable spots and foibles (such as when he lets his personal antipathis come in the way of seeking an mutually-beneficial alliance between Teragen and Aberrants), but from the Edenites' POV, the deeds of Nova Vigilance are not fundamentally wrong. If some application of violence is necessary to bring down the cogs of baseline abuses and exploitation of novas, so be it. Among the Teragen, the Edenites would much more find their enemies with the likes of Leviathan's Taint-junkies and the Apostle's zealots, rather than Geryon's vigilantes.

Yes, the laws he was there to "protest" were wrong, but murder and terrorism can't be tolerated by society.

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Taint-maddened gratutitous violence is one thing, a well-executed revolution is another. Remember, the Edenites still want to build a novocracy (for those novas who are interested to stay around and be caretakers of humanity), albeit a benevolent one where baseline basic rights are preserved. They seek an end to baseline rule.

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Actually, the trick with Divis is, basically, to phrase your activities and goals in such a way that he can't/won't oppose them directly. If he's convinced you are, in fact, acting in the name of novakind, he'll probably leave you be. . . particularly if your counter-Teragen activity is carefully targeted. After all, his tolerances for various of the Teragen factions seem predicated at times on a combination of "novas must be allowed to choose their own destiny" and "we're in a war, we need warriors."

I agree with your basic judgement. Divis is giving ample enough leeway to different interpretations of Teras that it should be easy enough to win him to a less self-destructive restructuring of the Teragen movement. And in the light of what the Edenites would try to accomplish, they only need to implement a selective culling of the Teragan. They do agree with their basic transhuman/separatist/supremacist agenda, they only seek to realize it in the most productive and advantageos way possible, under the circumstances. They could probably regard themselves as Teras, done right (without the indulgence in Taint self-degeneration).

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...Which gives them time to notice the great screaming angry god-shaped mass of quantum in their Clairsentient visions, and start hauling out the psychic gestalts and moon-sized biotech superweapon ships and such.
Assumes facts not in evidence.

A race of cowards isn't likely to build such things for the same reason that Saudi Arabia's army sucks. First thing that happens after you build a tool like this is it gets used on yourself. Divis is so unique that you can't assume they've been spending thousands of years getting ready for him.

Further, if they had the ability to confront Divis on anything like an even field, then humanity would already be extinct.

As for Q10 Divis Mal. . . despite it making no sense and having no basis in canon or characterization, I am forced to envision Mal forming his plasma into a giant robot, to confront a composite noetic slimeball the size of a galaxy, while screaming "Who the hell do you think I am!". . . *cough*
I feel like I should recognize this.

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I have more trouble seeing how that would radically diminish the appeal of elites and teras, beyond a point.
Being elite means you have a good risk of dying. Most wives and children aren't good with that. More, instinctively men do stupid and dangerous things up to the point where they're married.

Where this reduces teras is the entire elite mindset tends to feed into teras. "We're unique. We're stronger/better than the rest. The rules don't apply to us." This is over and above less stress leading to less taint.

Add children to the mix and the desire for rules that do apply to everyone increases. In the night of long knives, the nursery is doomed because everyone has been trained to be ruthless and to act without regard for the rules.

Make it as you want, the Directive shall never be an agency that cares for the novas' best interests.
Nonsense. I'm a nova and I'm being harassed by another nova (maybe telepathic or whatever).

Without the Directive or something like them, my *only* alternative is to go outside the law. Maybe with friends, maybe with someone else, but the if the law can't help me I basically need to form a death squad to look after myself. Further, this is also true for baselines. If they feel they need to form death squads to deal with novas, then they will.

This is what happened in a lot of South American countries. The law couldn't protect people so they created death squads to kill the people who were threatening them. Then of course the squads themselves, because they weren't bound by law, became problems themselves.

Surely not. Aeon/Utopia is the worst enemy of what the Edenites seek to accomplish.
Only because one of the authors didn't like Utopia. Ultimately what they're trying to do is to head off the war and make a world where novas and baselines can live together.
Geryon may have his own questionable spots and foibles (such as when he lets his personal antipathis come in the way of seeking an mutually-beneficial alliance between Teragen and Aberrants), but from the Edenites' POV, the deeds of Nova Vigilance are not fundamentally wrong.
Yes, Geryon's deeds are fundamentally wrong. Ignore what he's trying to do and what he wants to do. What he actually does is reject the rule of law. So if you have a problem with a nova, you need to kill them. This very quickly leads to war.
If some application of violence is necessary to bring down the cogs of baseline abuses and exploitation of novas, so be it.
And what "baseline abuses and exploitation" would you be talking about?
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
And what is the Teragen fighting for? The right for any nova to commit any crime without fear of consequences?

There are freedom fighters who are also terrorists, but that's not the Teragen. They don't want to rule anything, they don't want rules at all.

In an Anarchy, the strong abuse the weak. Not all novas are strong, and the ones that are can find out that they can lose.

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Moo ::smile

That said, they also provide another way to remove Divis Mal from the equation: if you assume he didn't know about them circa 2008, providing detailed information about them would likely as not result in him leaving to do something about them.

My game started before the Slider death, and since one player bought all the books we agreed to deviate from the cannon timeline.

In in 2009 after a lot of investigation the existence of Doyen was uncovered, and that they had been interferring with the development of humans to reduce the threat of Novas to them. Divis was outraged and has gone off-world to hunt them down. It is now 2010, and Divis has been gone for over a year and people are getting worried ::wink

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In a setting where Novas are the primary transhuman group, other aliens than the Doyen should probably be used. Two alien races that come to mind were made by the talented Ander Sandberg:

The Entities: Quantum powerhouses that live in bulk space, the many dimensional void outside the three-dimensional brane where the known universe exists. They are vast and powerful beings that cannot exist within the limited brane. Their structure, thought processes, everything is based on physics entirely unlike ours. Game Notes: These guys are impossible to take down in direct combat, even for Mal. The only hope is to close down their probes into reality.

Star Dwellers: The Dwellers are a kind of beings that use stars as their habitat: within the plasma cores they form complex societies, building elaborate infrastructures and sending messages using neutrinos and gravity waves. Game Notes: I ndividual Star Dwellers easily on par with post Chrysalis Novas.

Other Aliens

Once upon a time, I was involved with the Millenniums Edge project (far future of the setting). I lost my notes, but we had a crystalline race that sucked up quantum like a sponge (and killed Aberrant's by accident). We also had a squid-like race that all erupted as lower-order Novas.

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Ya. When you have aliens that can reasonably squish the universe, that's a problem. ::devil

I love having a terrible foe from "outside," lends a real H.P. Lovecraft edge to it all.

The doyen might have other reasons besides their fear of taint alone. The Entities mentioned above can create Novas and gain greater control over them as Taint grows (after which the entities can evolve them in a manner similar to Chrysalis- but far quicker).

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Honestly, I have a hard time buying *anything* being higher power than Q10, certainly not entire races. If I wanted to create notable competition at that scale, I'd much rather use singular beings, or radical post-singularity species whose collective resources allow them to compete *collectively* with Q10ers.

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Honestly, I have a hard time buying *anything* being higher power than Q10, certainly not entire races. If I wanted to create notable competition at that scale, I'd much rather use singular beings, or radical post-singularity species whose collective resources allow them to compete *collectively* with Q10ers.

Well, in the case of the above Beings, Mal would likely really be just a Quantum meat puppet once he emerged from his first Chrysalis, being the first of many gates into reality. Makes his name of "Dark Messenger" even more ominous.

Besides, concepts such as individuality and race are irrelevant when referring to beings outside our understanding of physics. That there is a force from those "realms" reaching into this universe is enough.

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At which point, your diverging to the point of incompatibility. If chrysalis is not merely a double-edged taint mechanism, but a literal gate for the Great Old Ones to get back into reality, then the consequences for the setting are catastrophic. I really can't see the universe surviving. . . or logically, at least, it *shouldn't*.

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At which point, your diverging to the point of incompatibility. If chrysalis is not merely a double-edged taint mechanism, but a literal gate for the Great Old Ones to get back into reality, then the consequences for the setting are catastrophic. I really can't see the universe surviving. . . or logically, at least, it *shouldn't*.

I *really* hate the WW cop-out of Mal making a universe and going to live in it. Seems alot of the best creative energy went out of WW by the time the WoD was geeked.

Personally, I would rather have had Mal go down dramatically or succumb to taint madness. Having him and his closest allies destroy themselves to keep from being used to collapse the universe is far more satisfying to a story in my opinion.

I certainly agree that a superhuman intelligence whose collective technological might equaling Q10 would be awesome! Zep's having such uber-tech would be cool, and they would be very alien in mindset as well.

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Eh, Mal doesn't need Redemption in Death. What he really needs is "Redemption in Killing Mercer", or perhaps "Redemption in Going Back in Time and Arranging Mercer's Death Shortly After the Aeon Society Was Formed, So the Society Can Go Own with Mercer as a Fallen Martyr, Without Having to Suffer his Crappiness."

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Eh, Mal doesn't need Redemption in Death. What he really needs is "Redemption in Killing Mercer", or perhaps "Redemption in Going Back in Time and Arranging Mercer's Death Shortly After the Aeon Society Was Formed, So the Society Can Go Own with Mercer as a Fallen Martyr, Without Having to Suffer his Crappiness."

Given the viewpoint attributed to the "Aberrant-timeline Max Mercer" in Ian Watson's Trinity Storyteller's Handbook wiki (see "Schrodinger's Max" for details), I have to second that recommendation. Anyone who condones what that lunatic Director Thetis has been doing via Project Proteus is a putz, no matter how much of a good guy he was in the Adventure! Era.

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A) How would the TL transformed from the lack of the sterility virus ?
Most likely, there will be fewer combat elites, and more emphasis on mega-socials and mega-mentals. This is a double-edged sword, as undoubtably some sphinxes will start plans to put their progeny 'on top' as it were, leading to a whole new shadow war.
B) Which other changes the agents should try and enforce, for their goals ? Loosely speaking, I identify: destroying Proteus and the Directive as much as possible, steering the development of Teras towards a more moderate "Edenite" philosophy, minimizing the influence of Teragen extremists and of Project Utopia alike. What else ? And which specific "keypoint" TL changes (and mission objectives) could be identified to accomplish them ?
The Edenites would want to co-opt Utopia and the Directive as much as possible. With no Thetis/Proteus, and no sterility virus, their main thing is going to be fostering cooperation between humans and novas, and in the first decade of novas, nobody does that better than Utopia. (For that matter, is it set in stone somewhere that the original Edenites were Terats? Because IMO, it makes more sense for them to be early, more idealistic Utopians who got kicked out of the fold as the Aberrant War drew closer.) As far as the Teragen goes, then need to minimize, if not utterly eliminate, the Harvesters and the Church of Mal. Also, what Alex said about taking out the Colony early and anonymously.
C) How would the agents deal with Max mercer, Divis Mal, and the other nova luminaries of the age (without revealing their future origin, that would create unpredictable TL changes) ?
Do they even know about Maxwell? If they do, then it's possible they already know what he did re: time travel. If they don't, there's nothing they can do about him. For Divis Mal, as said, best thing is to convince him that their version of Teras is best for the movement as a whole, preferably as a fait accompli.
D) Which possible "butterfly" unwanted TL changes could manifest, as a result of the initial no-sterlization change, and of the following changes the agents make to the TL, and how could they be possibly be remedied, in turn ?
Like I said before, I think that the family increases will increase mega-social and mega-mental development. Also a thing to consider is that a number of novas do live the "rock star" lifestyle, banging multiple groupies a day, so the number of nova half-breed children is going to be pretty massive. Depending on when their powers appear, nova children/teens with powers, trying to be controlled by their baseline single moms sounds like a wonderful recipe for disaster.
E) Optional twist: assuming another rival cadre of agents shows up from the future, to prevent or reverse the TL change, who they would be, and which would be their nature and agenda ? High-powered psions in the service of Aeon and/or the Doyen ? Sub-aberrant agents of the Colony ? Something else ?
Most likely culprits for this are Doyen controlled mooks, and Maxwell himself. Given that they already destroyed Proteus' most important project, Aeon-of-the-future is likely a more kind organization.
It is assumed that the freak cosmological accident in 1999 puts the lack of sterilization beyond the possibility of future transtemporal agents to reverse or remedy. How else could rival agents try to keep TL on their desidered track ?
It's still possible to put out a sterilization agent, the problem is that once nova kids appear, a sudden lack of them will be obvious. Otherwise, opposing agents likely have to go into PR, looking for the worst nova-human incidents and doing their best to blow them out of proportion. Also, they will likely support CoMA with tactics, hardware (including futuretech), and organization.
F) Which campaign starting point does look best ? Alt-2008 or Alt-2015 ?
I'd say 2008 personally.

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As far as the Teragen goes, then need to minimize, if not utterly eliminate, the Harvesters and the Church of Mal. Also, what Alex said about taking out the Colony early and anonymously.
Right, I'd forgotten about the Church. Kill "D" and it all goes away.

The Harvesters are a different problem. 10k novas means some of them will be high taint.

Like I said before, I think that the family increases will increase mega-social and mega-mental development. Also a thing to consider is that a number of novas do live the "rock star" lifestyle, banging multiple groupies a day, so the number of nova half-breed children is going to be pretty massive. Depending on when their powers appear, nova children/teens with powers, trying to be controlled by their baseline single moms sounds like a wonderful recipe for disaster.
Excellent point.

The Harvesters and the whole "rock star" thing make me think that Project Proteus is seriously mis-judged and/or mis-written. Dirty deeds HAVE to be done, so the authors took the obvious (but stupid) short cut and make Project Pro *Evil*.

Project Pro makes a lot more sense as a group of good people, doing bad things, for the right reasons. Instead as they're written they're a group of bad people doing bad things for the wrong reasons.

Over on NPrime we had a group of PC novas go back in time and found Aeon... and one of the things we had to do was take actions that viewed from afar would look a lot like Proteus. We used mind control to make elected officials do things that prevented the great depression and WW2. One of us killed Hitler (which I thought was pointless) and we destroyed Stalin before he really got going.

The point to all this is that a group of time travelers is probably going to end up looking a lot like Project Pro.

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Eh, I would say the main problem with the Cult of Mal is Delorimier. Kill him, and it will still exist, but odds of it becoming one of the Teragen extremist factions drops.

Re: taint and Harvesters, you probably do have to do some fairly ruthless stuff to deal with the worst cases, though if you marginalize the Harvesters within the Teragen, that helps. Cutting down on the Project Utopia taint overcharging helps too.

Re: "rock star", that just means you need somebody actively providing nova child services. Keeping an uncontrolled nova child dosed on mox would be, IMO, a valid medical action.

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Right, I'd forgotten about the Church. Kill "D" and it all goes away.
Pretty much. He's certainly the driving force behind most of their misdeeds.
The Harvesters are a different problem. 10k novas means some of them will be high taint.
The problem isn't with them being high-taint, it's with novas who are already in the 8-10 range encouraging others to rack up Taint quickly as part of their "evolution." If you want an Eden-like society, then you need to discourage Taint acquisition, and help high-Taint novas deal with their aberrations or even set aside areas where they can be themselves without risking baselines (or weaker novas).

Proteus, as written, is all of the sociopathic thugs who Utopia needs, without any kind of oversight. Bahrain could have been a far more benevolent medical facility without Thetis urging everyone to take Mengele as a guide. There is no good reason to dose everyone with the sterility virus that I can think of. Taking out Slider to frame Corbin wasn't a good idea, and they botched it as well. Also, Proteus didn't have a detailed breakdown of what would cause problems - just that eventually there would be a human v. nova war that would devastate the planet. Had they more detailed knowledge, I don't think they would have been so ineffective.

[edit] Also, Alex, clearly your group needs to re-read Bulletin 1147. ::biggrin

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RE: 1147

Like it. Thank you!

If you want an Eden-like society, then you need to discourage Taint acquisition, and help high-Taint novas deal with their aberrations or even set aside areas where they can be themselves without risking baselines (or weaker novas).
IMHO you also need to establish the idea that too much taint leads to the termination of the nova in question.

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Realizing that taint exists as such, and needs to be mitigated, is half the battle. After all, there are no good solutions to taint *yet*. . . but the only guys in the 21st century who know about it are the Teragen ( who have their own goals ), and Project Proteus ( who do not impress me with their research efforts ). I still like my idea of "quantum coma therapy": if not using powers causes you to slowly bleed taint, and dorming down causes you to bleed taint faster, presumably putting the entire body into nigh-total shutdown would bleed taint even faster.

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Re: 1147-

::laugh LMAO! Time Travel, where knowing your own geneaology - and not just the "prettied up" version of it - is mandatory!

Realizing that taint exists as such, and needs to be mitigated, is half the battle. After all, there are no good solutions to taint *yet*. . . but the only guys in the 21st century who know about it are the Teragen ( who have their own goals ), and Project Proteus ( who do not impress me with their research efforts ).
AFAICT, it's a pretty safe bet that Dr. Toiho (the head scientist at the Bahrain Rashoud clinic) has been operating beyond his competence level for some time. The fact that mitigating Taint via Nova Age medicine is like trying to make a gun from chipped flint doesn't help, but he seems to be deliberately trying Mengele-style tactics in order to find anything that's even remotely effective. So not only is his work a body of atrocity, it's near-useless atrocity. If anything, the only benefit that could result from it is the knowledge that none of it did a bit of good.
I still like my idea of "quantum coma therapy": if not using powers causes you to slowly bleed taint, and dorming down causes you to bleed taint faster, presumably putting the entire body into nigh-total shutdown would bleed taint even faster.
If that could be packaged as some sort of device, I can definitely see them being popular among many novas wanting to bleed off temporary Taint quickly. That's provided the nova patients' physical safety is guaranteed during the process. If a nova goes to a shady operation, he could wind up waking up one piece at a time thanks to being dissected for organ harvesting for either transplants or making nova-derived drugs.

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Oh, yeah. I was thinking something vaguely like public anti-taint clinics, wherein you basically lock yourself inside a vault before going into quantum coma, with security devices designed to rewake you if the vault is tampered with.

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I have more trouble seeing how that would radically diminish the appeal of elites and teras, beyond a point. Elitedom is not just mercenaries fighting in pointless conflicts seeded by Aeon. Every time a nova performs a service in a freelance contractual obligation, he's working in the elite framework.

1) Having kids allows for a certain level of immortality; destroy that, and you create much more fatalistic characters, ones that are more interested in dying gloriously in combat. Ergo, if you throw kids back into the mix, you'll see a much more stable population.

2) Although "Elites" can refer to any freelance nova (note DeVries), the general connotation is that it refers to the combat mercs, or at least those using their abilities to pacify baselines. Again, put kids into the mix, and you'll see fewer freelancers (any kind of freelance work is a gamble, even for a nova, and parents don't like gambling).

Make it as you want, the Directive shall never be an agency that cares for the novas' best interests.

Sort of a duh-sitch; The Directive was set up to insure that baselines could take on novas. It's not that it's necessarily anti-nova, it's just more pro-baseline.

Surely not. Aeon/Utopia is the worst enemy of what the Edenites seek to accomplish.

In what way? As per the Stellar Frontiers book, Aeon is more than willing to work with Eden, at least their version of it. And Utopia is willing to work with novas, as long as the common good of humanity is allowed for. Note that almost all of the bad stuff has happened either accidentally, or as part of an effort by Proteus....

Geryon may have his own questionable spots and foibles (such as when he lets his personal antipathis come in the way of seeking an mutually-beneficial alliance between Teragen and Aberrants), but from the Edenites' POV, the deeds of Nova Vigilance are not fundamentally wrong. If some application of violence is necessary to bring down the cogs of baseline abuses and exploitation of novas, so be it. Among the Teragen, the Edenites would much more find their enemies with the likes of Leviathan's Taint-junkies and the Apostle's zealots, rather than Geryon's vigilantes.

Er....HUH? A group that's looking into accepting who they are is better than a group that espouses violence as the sole answer to everything? If I were looking to establish a more stable timeline, I would probably be more interested in eliminating the violent group than the one that is purposely marginalizing itself.

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Taint-maddened gratutitous violence is one thing, a well-executed revolution is another. Remember, the Edenites still want to build a novocracy (for those novas who are interested to stay around and be caretakers of humanity), albeit a benevolent one where baseline basic rights are preserved. They seek an end to baseline rule.

Although I appreciate the semantics, Geryon isn't about well-executed revolution; he's more about well-executed revenge. And wouldn't it be better to find a better way than killing everyone who happens to disagree with you if you wanted to establish that you were about benevolence? "Kill 'em all dead" isn't exactly the best slogan for your organization...

FR

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Er....HUH? A group that's looking into accepting who they are is better than a group that espouses violence as the sole answer to everything? If I were looking to establish a more stable timeline, I would probably be more interested in eliminating the violent group than the one that is purposely marginalizing itself.

Although I appreciate the semantics, Geryon isn't about well-executed revolution; he's more about well-executed revenge. And wouldn't it be better to find a better way than killing everyone who happens to disagree with you if you wanted to establish that you were about benevolence? "Kill 'em all dead" isn't exactly the best slogan for your organization...

Geryon himself isn't a huge problem; some of the other Nova Vigilance folks (like Shrapnel) are more so. Any group trying to bring about a world where novas are the benevolent dictators of the planet need to have their own strong-arm types, willing and able to take any group of baselines who defy nova rule and make a quick, bloody example of them. IIRC, Geryon's biggest beef is with folks like CoMA and politicians like the Tampa mayor who tried to pass a "No Novas Here" law. The politicians can (probably) be worked around without the violence; CoMA are just terrorists. Geryon is just the one sent in to negotiate. ::sly

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