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Aberrant: 200X - House Rules, Certified New Enhancements and Powers


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  • 1 month later...

The following Background trait changes have been made:

  • Followers - Has been altered to the Adventure! version. For those that don't have the book in question, the number of followers is as follows: 1 dot - 2 average individuals or 1 exceptionally skilled. 2 dots - 5 average or 2-3 more capable minions. 3 dots - 10 ordinary followers, or a fewer number of exceptional ones. 4 dots - 18 average followers, or again a smaller number of improved ones. 5 dots - 30 average minions, or a smaller number of elite ones.
  • Reputation - Also from Adventure!, this Background can be taken multiple times, as well as earned and lost by a character's actions. Unlike Influence, it doesn't reflect personal pull, but it can add dice in certain Social situations depending on what the Reputation is for. For example, in addition to being an XWF star, Bombshell may have a reputation, deserved or not, for being a 'bimbo nova', whereas Jael Carver has one as a fun-lovin' party girl (Read: giant nova-ho, or so her friend Shelly says wink ). Note that Reputation can be a detriment as well - Having a rep as a hotshot elite means that people buy you drinks in merc bars and that N! raves about you, but it also marks you as a target in battle. Every elite out there wants to be the one to take down Totentanz, even if they rationally might not actually want to fight him.

    The number of dots in a Reputation stat indicate how widespread that particular reputation is. 1 is very localised or in a narrow subculture, whereas 5 is global.

    Given the starting power level of PCs in 200x, all characters begin with 3 points of Reputation to assign as they please. It's highly unlikely that individuals of that power aren't at least known by rumor and gossip, if only in small subcultures.

  • Sanctum - A lair. A Batcave. A Fortress of Solitude. The more dots of this Background, the more exotic and useful the place and the harder it is to find, as each level of Sanctum acts as a level of Cipher for anyone trying to find it. 1 dot is a few secret rooms under your house, whereas 5 dots could be a base in Antarctica fully stocked with all sorts of things you need, or a shielded orbital asteroid (provided you have the means to get there).

    Naturally, Pulp-style Sanctum types that don't fit in the Nova Age setting are not allowed. Undersea bases, orbital bases, and high-tech mansions tucked away in the mountains are fine

Adventure! Background Enhancements: These are permitted, but on a case-by-case basis and under Moderator review. The Enhancements should be earned in story through good writing and through paying 12 XP. No starting character is to have them.

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House Rules: Power Maxing

In 200x, Power-Maxing works thusly:

Taking a round to focus, during which they can do nothing else save speak, the nova pays a flat rate of 3 quantum pool, and takes 1 point of Temporary Taint. In exchange they get a number of 'boost points' for the power, mega-attribute etc equal to their Quantum score. These work similarly to how successes on the Quantum roll work in the core rules. This can be repeated multiple times for higher gain, ie. spending 9 quantum pool and taking 3 Temporary Taint for Quantum x 3 boost points. Regardless of how high a boost is called on, it still only takes 1 round of concentration.

The boost points can be used in the following ways:

Effect: Each point spent increases the Effective Rating of the Power being used by 1 dot to calculate the chosen effect. This can increase a rating beyond the normal Quantum imposed limits. This is purchased separately for each effect: Dice Pool, Damage, Range, Soak, or Area.

Example: A nova with Quantum Bolt 3 and Quantum 4 spends 3qp, takes 1 Temp Taint, and increases her Quantum Bolt to 7 for one shot for damage purposes only, meaning it does [Quantum x2]L + (7x4)d10L damage.

Add an Extra: 3 points can be used to buy a temporary Extra.

Increase Duration: 2 points will increase the duration 1 step from Instant to Concentration to Maintenance. Effects at Maintenance level or with a set duration are doubled in duration per 2 points spent.

Mega-Attribute: Spending 2 points will raise a Mega Attribute 1 dot for one use (be it a combat turn use, or a scene long exertion). This is not limited by Quantum, but the nova in question does need to have at least 1 dot of the mega attribute already, you can't Max Out something that isn't there after all.

Enhancement: Spending 3 points will gain the character a new enhancement for 1 use (be it a combat turn use, or a scene long non-combat exertion). Enhancements with prerequisites still require all prerequisites (which may be purchased via additional points if need be).

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House Rules: Taint Social Penalties

Social Penalties and Intimidation attempts:

The Taint Social roll difficulty penalties do not apply to Intimidation rolls. Unless the nova is deranged enough to consider smearing themselves in custard a valid form of intimidation (which is a function of the aberrations, not the Taint itself), the language of threat display is universal enough that even the most alien of creatures can understand it. The difficulty modifier does not apply.

Social Resonance

As written, Taint of 4 or higher imposes a social difficulty penalty regardless of the nova, the situation, the other people around her.

The aim here is to focus that Taint penalty through a lens of perception. Gods and monsters both seem inhuman and have difficulty relating to humanity, but the reactions of humanity to them are very different. This proposal is to simply assign the levels of difficulty penalty into one or more 'Resonances'. These are semi-deliberately modelled on the Teras archetypes. Mechanically, there will be little difference in the way the penalty plays out. This proposal is to assist mainly from a role-playing perspective.


  • Empyrean - Like Evil Ex Number 3 here, Empyrean-resonance novas are 'just better'. They're glorious, divine, angelic, terrible, and daunting. Also like our pal there, they can be absolute douchebags, but that's not necessarily a requirement. The Empyrean nova, usually being free of casual cares and woes, finds it harder to understand or relate to human frailty. They probably find baselines a little ugly, weak and fragile, not to mention slow or stupid in the case of mega-mental novas. The nicer amongst them likely feel sorry for humanity and gladly use their gifts to help out, not always waiting to be asked - which leads to confusion and anger on their part when the ungrateful wretches slap them with lawsuits or try to arrest them for taking the law into their own hands. And the stalkers! Don't get them started about the stalkers!

    The less altruistic side of the Empyrean leads them to tend to be cult leaders, heartbreakers, media idols and the like. They are superior to humanity - why not act like it? Human laws are somewhat constrictive - fair enough that they want to protect themselves, but must they be so tiresome about it? No matter, for those with power and beauty, pretty much any human-drawn line in the sand can be shifted a little. Not broken, just bent to allow one to stretch their wings.

    For humans around Empyreans, the social penalty reflects elements of unease, overawe, resentment and worship. They want to gawk, but not to get close. They feel that the nova is different to them, alien. For some, the reaction is one of resentment - "How dare this freak walk around normal people, making them feel inadequate!" Or fear - "The nova is strong and perfect and powerful: what happens if they judge me and find me lacking? What if they decided one day to just take over?"

    Empyrean-resonating novas usually have showy physical aberrations. Unearthly beauty, glow, anima banner, energy emission, androgyny and the like are the norm. Mental aberrations like delusions of godhood, sociopathy, megalomania and the like are also common, along with hormonal imbalances. Larger-than-life figures typically have larger-than-life lusts and rages.


  • Outsider - These novas are just plain weird. They are the alien, the outlandish, the freak-factor. When you think of the classic Taint-making-novas-incomprehensible method, these are the novas tha fit that bill. They are utterly sexless, or they feed on people's sweat, or they consider swallowing people whole and holding them inside their bodies to be a sexual kick (not naming any names there wink ). Unlike the Terat Portent, whom they resemble, the Outsider didn't choose their oddness - Taint made them that way. Maybe they can't hold a conversation with a human for longer than 20 seconds before getting bored, but for some reason speaking to bacterium is fascinating.

    For the Outsiders, human standards tend to become less and less relevant. Strange creatures, so numerous and intelligent, yet they don't appreciate the joys of sitting on the bottom of the Marianas Trench? Ah, the tingling feel of crushing pressure clears the mind. Eating magma? Why yes! It's delicious. I recommend the Vesuvian - it feels so good sliding down the multitude of tiny throats in my tentacles.

    These novas are constant reminders to both humans and other novas of how weird things can get. They give people the quiet creeps, pure and simple. Their aberrations don't make them threatening or imposing necessarily, they're just ODD as hell- No! No that's alright. I don't want to be petted reassuringly by... by whatever THAT is. Thank you. Yes, I'm going over here now. I'll be... right back. Phew.

    Outsider novas tend to have Mega-Mental attributes (further alienating them from baselines), and the oddest aberrations, physical, mental or quantum-based. Disturbing Voice and odd feeding requirements at the lower levels, to sexlessness (or hermaphroditism), Allergies to harmless substances, Masochism and then finally to total disassociation with reality, Taint bleed, etc.


  • Maelstrom - Unlike the Outsider, whose aberrations are largely harmless if weird, the Maelstrom is a destructive force created by Taint. He might be gleefully malicious villain trying to hide his monstrousness or a reluctant fiend - Bruce Banner or Henry Jekyll fighting against their inner demon - but sooner or later the Maelstrom's power will break free and people will be hurt. The difference between the Maelstrom and the Terat Monster is one of intent and focus. The Monster takes deliberate actions to assert his inhumanity, whereas the Maelstrom has little choice - sooner or later the beast will rampage.

    To note, the 'beast' is not always literal. A nova with an uncontrollable or permanently 'on' destructive power is a Maelstrom. Cyclops from the X-Men could be one if the flaw in his power was Taint-derived - his power can only be contained by a certain substance, otherwise it runs wild and destroys all he looks at.

    To the Maelstrom, the world is either a playpen or a valley of woes. Those that revel in their monstrous nature can always find some corner of the world where their appetites can thrive. Those that try to reign in their horrible compulsions or uncontrollable powers have less options - they need to arrange their entire lives to account for their aberrations, taking jobs and living places where their problems won't become other peoples.

    For baselines, the Maelstrom is the nightmare, the monster under the bed, the uncontrollable and unreasonable force that destroys and takes life. At best, from a distance they pity him as a tragic, frightening figure who has no control over his actions. At worst, they fear and shun him, maybe even hunt him if his actions, witting or not, cause death and destruction. Just being around the Maelstrom is frightening - there's no mistaking the danger he represents. For lower Taint novas the reaction is similar, if less visceral. The Maelstrom is the visible reminder of what possibly lies within all of them - a victim of his power and it's corruption, a figure both tragic and fearful.

    The Maelstrom's aberrations are usually the most unacceptable to those around them - he bleeds gamma radiation, he eats human flesh, he feeds on the emotions of people dying or in pain. He's a sadistic psychopath, or an Entropic controller with uncontrollable powers who just can't be around others, or someone with a permanent Disintegrating touch. Perhaps he has a Permanent Parasitic Domination power, forcing him to take over a host just to exist. A combination of deforming aberrations and the Hormonal Imbalance: Lust leads to a monstrous rapist. The possibilities are endless.

How It's Used: A character's aberrations, taken together, should give a decent overview of which of the three a character falls into, and that determines the manner in which the social penalty is roleplayed out. Some novas straddle the divide between two archetypes: A Maelstrom who is both terifying and disturbingly compelling, or an Outsider who's apparent oddness hides darker impulses. Each +1 of Social penalty becomes a dot next to the appropriate Resonance, which at a glance tells us what sort of vibe the nova gives off. Remember, in the case of most PC novas there won't be any more than +3 total. +4 would mean Taint 10, and that's an NPC.

On a character sheet, it should look like this:

Example: Sunshine, Taint 7, +2 Social difficulty.




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House Rules and Guidelines on Chrysalis


The Ups and Downs of the Teras Path

First things first, an author's note on what this revision and tidy up of Teras is not intended to be.

It won't be nerfing Teras, or making it cosmetic. Terat players go through a lot of sweat, strain, danger and adversity (from pretty much everyone including other Terats at times). They don't need those of us who don't believe in transcending humanity to pat them on the heads and say "Good nova, have an RP cookie whilst you brood in splendid isolation."

It won't be making Teras the be-all and end-all of 200x. YES, Terats are potentially very powerful. YES, it's unfair that non-Terats don't get the same lovely benefits. NO, there is no alternate to Teras where you can push the envelope of your evolution and still get to go frolic with the Utopians. They will mistrust you, fear you, and want to dissect your brain to figure out how to do what you do without the whole "Serving humanity isn't the point" mindset.

"Yes, I channel Chrysalis, but I don't inhale." isn't an option. If you're in it to evolve past your inner humanity and become more than a 'mere nova', you're in it all the way. You can be a Terat and not go into Chrysalis, or seek out Taint to channel. Orsaiz does that rather well, though many Terats consider him an effete playboy for not practicing Teras physically, his dedication to the ethics of Teras and his chosen peer group is beyond reasonable question.

Okay, okay. I get it. So, how does Teras work in 200x?

Remarkably similar to how it already does.

The Chrysalis Trait represents the evolutionary power of quantum in a nova’s body and mind. When a nova uses one of the Archetypes of the Teras philosophy to shape her actions, she can slowly affect her subconscious use of quantum. This can eventually trigger a second eruption, called the Chrysalis. When she encounters a situation in which she would normally gain temporary Taint as a result of actions taken in line with her Archetype, she can spend quantum to gain temporary Chrysalis instead.

Rules Alteration: Channeling Taint

Rather than costing a flat 7 QP to channel Taint, a Terat's willpower plays a part. For every 2 successes on a Willpower roll, the quantum point cost is lowered by 1. This allows the nova's force of will to play a part in the channeling of Taint through the Node and filtering it into Chrysalis. The strongest-willed novas on their best day will perhaps manage 10 successes on this roll, but they will still need to pay 2 QP for the effort involved.

The Moderators, with assistance from the other players as requested, are the final arbiters on whether the situation is in line with the character’s Archetype, using the guidelines provided under the Archetype descriptions. The first few times a character does this, she will also need to be under the tutelage of a mentor until they have accumulated their first permanent dot of Chrysalis.

Note: As this game is supposed to be narratively based, with Moderators rather than a Storyteller, a player can ask flat out whether or not a proposed action would allow them to channel Chrysalis in the Moderator's opinion. The character might still do it and make the mistake, but the player will have the choice.

The Terat gains aberrations and Social resonance from Permanent Chrysalis as with Taint, beginning at 4 and every 2 points thereafter. The Social Resonance penalty is added to whichever resonance archetype best suits the nova's Teras Archetype. The parallels are obvious there. Remember that ALL social difficulty penalties gained from Taint and Chrysalis are cumulative. When the Terat enters the Chrysalid state and their permanent Chrysalis score goes back to zero, the penalties accrue again starting at Chryalis 4. Needless to say by this point the nova is going to have trouble relating to any non-Terat.

Archetypes and Triggering Chrysalis

The Archetypes are fine as they stand. I have a few words of advice on the channeling of Taint and the triggering of the Chrysalid state, though.


Originally Posted By: Teragen Book
Marvels routinely push themselves to the limit, wanting to prove their superiority over others. Anytime a Marvel gains Taint after using his powers in a flashy or unnecessary way, he may try to convert it into points of Chrysalis. While Power Strain is the most common way, it is not enough merely to push one's power to the limit - the Marvel must make a spectacle

of the action, asserting both his power and pride.

Fairly self-evident. But I'd like to stress that, particularly in a story-oriented setting like 200x, I would like to read good fictions built around the spectacles that the Marvel performs. There has to be an element of premeditation and purpose to the show other than 'look what I can do', which cheapens the Marvel archetype.

Flying randomly across the city and Maxing Out to throw a huge flashy strobe effect to score some quick Chrysalis is out. Maxing out your Hypermovement to outrun the baseline fighter jets and their flying novas who insist on trying to curtail your self-determined right to go where you please is more acceptable. Like it says on the package: assert your power and your pride. Pride is only a sin for baselines - for you it's a way of life.


Originally Posted By: Teragen Book
For a Monster to channel Taint requires a certain ritualistic element such as sacrifices or ritual scarification. The key is in premeditation: The Monster must act, not react. Likewise, causing fear in others, thereby proclaiming one's inhumanity, is another way to channel Chrysalis.

Again, fairly simple on the surface. The only reason I'm commenting is to hammer home the concept of premeditation. For all three Archetypes, in all stages of the Chrysalis process, the point is in deliberate action rather than hasty reaction. When Geryon walked in and killed Mayor Rupert, a cold-blooded act of premeditated terror, that would have been the perfect time to channel Chrysalis. When Shrapnel goes out for a drink, converses for hours, and then kills her old mentor/lover in 'Cautery' at the start of the Teragen book, that was a deliberate cutting away of her baseline weakness, the 'Alison' she used to be.


Originally Posted By: Teragen Book
Anytime a Portent gains Taint from trying to understand something beyond her current knowledge - what a perennial enemy’s next move will be, how to construct a particularly devastating weapon, why a serial killer chooses children as his victims, etc. - she can try to gain Chrysalis.

In case it needs to be said, because there is invariably one person who claims "But you didn't say so!" ...

No. Reading someone's mind to find out their favorite underwear colour does not count. Make the fic about something interesting, or don't waste thread space on it. grin

Unleash the Pupa Power! (Revenant's term. I'm borrowing it.)

Okay, so you've gotten your 5 or more permanent points of Chrysalis. You've written an epic fiction (it had better be!) detailing your character's quest to find and meet a challenge worthy of triggering her personal evolution. The Mods are cool with it. Go, go, quantum coccoon!

What if I Botch my 'enter Chrysalis' roll?

Um. Don't? Seriously. This is where the risk really comes in for Terats. Sure, you stand to gain great power, nifty tricks lesser novas can only envy, and even Quantum 6(!) But if you Botch, you are screwed. You go into the Chrysalis and don't come out without serious outside help. And if you do, you'll be changed a little more than you expected. Caveat Terat.

Now that the scary question is answered...

The rest of Chrysalis works just as in the book. You gain 3 'XP' for each point of permanent Chrysalis. You can spend other XP that you've stored up in preparation. You get the nice reduced cost chart. And yes, if you have the XP you can buy Quantum 6. You also spend 1 week in the cocoon for every point of XP you spend. Now the last little harsh bit.

During this time in Chrysalis, your character is effectively suspended. He gains no XP for time passing. You can post flashback fics or little updates from the friends he has watching his cocoon if you like, but the character gains no XP for them. None. Zip. And that state persists until the requisite number of weeks has passed in real time from the date your character went into Chrysalis.

If you don't have an alternate character, this may be the time to make one.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Combat Styles & Respec

As of the recent vote, all Combat Style rules from The New Flesh are implemented into 200x, retroactively. Characters with combat skills as an important part of their makeup are allowed a respec under the following guidelines:

It's fair to say that this respec only covers reallocation of points from the rest of the sheet to combat styles and related merits. We expect people to keep a small log attached to their sheet of the date they made the changes and what those changes were.

We don't want to see people respecing to put points into mega-atts, atts, powers, enhancements, and skills. The ONE exception: shifting some pts from Martial Arts into Brawl or vice versa is fine. Anything else is questionable. If your character didn't have MA or Melee before, we don't want to see it pop up now. This respec is primarily aimed at characters with combat skills who would reasonably and logically have certain styles. Please don't abuse that.

The Nova-fu style of Golden Gunplay is available to any who wish to take it.

Qi Meng is available, however no current character is allowed to respec to take it. If you want your character to find the Sifu then you'll have to write and roleplay that, and if you want to make up a character who is the Sifu's apprentice, that requires majority Moderator approval of the sheet and history.

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