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Aberrant RPG - Regarding 'Taint'..


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I have a few questions regarding the whole 'Quantum backlash' disorder. None of my players have developed significant Taint, nor do they have any intention to do so. They rarely max their powers or buy powers Tainted, so I've yet to see the result of such abilities.

1)What exactly causes the social difficulties with Baselines when permanent Taint is built up? Is there an actual sense of 'otherness' that the Nova seems to emit, or is the penalty caused by the aberrations of the character?

2)If a character hasn't taken any mental Aberrations by the time that he/she has reached a permanent Taint rating of 10, should he/she be removed from play? Understandably, the character would be very distant from his peers, even amongst Novas, but what if he was a fairly mentally stable person and could cope with his massive changes.

3)Would you ever allow permanent Taint to be removed? Or to generate rules that reduce the effect of Taint on the physiology and psychology of Novas? (I'm not talking about Chrystalis)

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The follow on game called Trinity (which came out before AB, just like AB came out before A!) postulates an interconnection between all things. In the Trinity age it's called Noetics and occurs at a level below even that of the quantum. In many ways it's strikingly similar to the "Force" from Star Wars although they didn't go into "good" and "bad" flavors like Stars Wars did. And just like Star Wars there are those that can actually manipulate the force, they're called Psiads, and this forms the basis of "psi" powers and manipulations.

1. The social penalties are apparently caused by the fact that aberrants (novas with increasing levels of taint) find themselves cutoff from this noetic field. It's the penalty for being a god. Those that are still connected sense this instinctually and draw away.

2. Game considerations aside; the rationale behind removing them from play at taint 10 is that they've become so "other" that there's no way to represent their concerns, goals and desires effectively. Right or wronge, their use of power has taken then beyond the ken of man.

3. We never (really) did in my games but there have been instances. In Trinity there was a massive effect that did all sorts of weird things with Taint and noetic/quantum potential.

And we did run up against some kind of "aberrant" that our characters surmised was was traveling back in time from the future and seemed to "feed" on taint. It was apparently powered by it. Of course anyone that it drew it's taint from had to roll versus stamina or was killed. And even if they lived, those with powers purchased with taint lost the powers.

If I were to ST an AB game I think I probably wouldn't allow a mechanic to remove it. Taint really is easy enough to avoid if you truly want to and one of the game assumptions is that the characters are choosing to accumulate it. It's the penalty for being god. You can be one if you like but the cost is all else that you hold dear.

PS: you can't use html in a signature line.

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Well, their is away to deal with taint the the teragen have.

There isaway in Trinity.I forget what time but some time aroudn 2110+ the come up with a wave fo sorts that cleans taint

But those are in book you can look up.In a game Iw as in their was away to purge yourself of taint witch if done long enough either kills you,or turns you into a powerful psaid..it refomate the M.R. Node and blends it into the rest of the body.The proxies were once novas. But that is jsut a house game.

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First off, you get the interaction penalty just for the taint. If their aberration is physical, it should be higher. For instance, a walking pillar of fire is not going to make too many friends. Neither is someone who has to eat living flesh.

To counter this (some what) let the taint-monkey develop cultists who are attracted to their disturbing aura. Hey, they are crazy, but then, so is your nova (or he/she soon will be).

Okay, at taint 9, you have picked up two low-, two Medium-, and two high-level aberrations. That makes things rough.

Now, don't let your players just pick any ole aberrations. Make the aberration fit. I swear, if I see one more set of Aberrant eyes, I am going to cry.

Make the aberration fit the powers. If they want aberrant eyes, state that from that moment forward, their quantum bolts-o-death come from their eyes.

I have seen taint 10 novas ascend, die from cancerous growths (rapidly), and explode. It depends on the ST. I don't think the players should know until it happens to one of them.

As for taint accumulation, I let players 'buy' temporary taint for successes, usually linked to their power level or appropriate mega-stat.

When the NPC's start doing it, the PC's are something in a bind. Do they escalate with the villians or do they lump it and avoid the taint? Just a suggestion.

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Here's how I've handled it.

1. The player gets no say in aberrations picked up during game play. Those are mine and mine alone. I don't see why not, the character doesn't get to pick, why should the player?

2. Taint possessed at character creation. In this case I give the player a bit more say because it is their character concept being discussed. I still want control over half of the aberrations.

3. As an ST, decide from that moment what the characters Taint 10 form is going to be. Change it if the character for some reason changes drastically, ie. A character created as a mentalist changes gears and becomes a fire thrower (don't ask me, I'm just making shit up here.) should have his ultimate Taint 10 form changed. This Taint 10 form should have some very good reasons as to why the character is unplayable and they should have been led up to at Taints 6,7,8,and 9.

For example, in my TT game I had a player running a character by the name of Denny 'Citadel' Henderson. He started the game at Taint 8 with among other aberrations, Permenent Power:ForceField. As another Aberration, his Forcefield extended out 1 foot in all directions, so his body was permenently encased in an 'energy coffin'. He roleplayed the condition exceptionally well, and figured out that eventually (Taint 9) his energy self (The ForceField) which was his actually self at this point, would finally completely reject his body. It was my intention that at that point, his character would lose his attunement and dormancy backgrounds and his Adaptability enhancement to his MegaStamina would transfer to his field only, leaving his body to suffocate and die within the field. At Taint 10 my plan was that his field would lose cohesion and he would be an energy being traveling outward at lightspeed in all directions. Storywise, he would be told that he could eventually re-coelesce, but that it would take hundreds of years.

As for the removal of Taint. I urgently suggest a big, fat NO. Taint is a very important part of the game. If you don't want to play it, play Marvel, Mutants and Masterminds, or some other super game. They are fine and don't have the 'power costs' concepts for you to deal with.

Chrysalis can remove Taint yes, but BOY, is it expensive and difficult from a system perspective.

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Ah. So Taint is actually seperating yourself from the normal 'flow' of things?

I went over the section on Chrysalis last night and I realized that rather than aiding in the elimination of Taint, all it did was distance yourself further from others, really. But I guess that's why it's in the Aberrant: Teragen book. wink

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  • 2 months later...

Prodigy said:

"Chrysalis can remove Taint yes, but BOY, is it expensive and difficult from a system perspective"


t's actually amazing how this is not the case in some of the games my friend has run

First of all, we had a game where two Terats were temporal manipulators. One of them had a power, which to this day has only been referred to as the "ill-defined power" (a technique for Temp. Manip.) They used this power to speed up a terat's chrysalis in the game world by placing them in a bubble of fast time and maintaining it until the chrysalis was complete. This combined with something a player character came up with called "Quantum-cising" ( a process in which a charater does only those things with his powers that fall along his archetype and thus gaining bonus exp points for chrysalis) enabled 3 player characters to go through a chrysalis with roughly 110exp points each session for about 3 sessions. The limit of 3 was due to the fact that only 3 have been played.

Now I realise that there are storytellers who wouldn't have allowed any of what i'be mentioned above to ever transpire in their games. So i propose this alternate strategy to those who wish for quick accumulation of chrysalis: Anytime your character is about to max out a quantum power in any way that is related to his archetype enough that a botch would mean chrysalis, then split your die pools in as many ways as you can until you get down to your last action being performed with one die. The chances for botching increase and so does the ammount of temporary chysalis a person might be able to gain. An example.

A character maxes his quantum and wishes to add an extra and do something with his quantum bolt that would fall in line with his archetype. He's got 10 dice to fire with, so he splits:

1st shot 5 dice

2nd shot 4 dice

3rd shot 3 dice

4th shot 2 dice

5th shot 1 die

Actually to add to the chance of botching one should only spend two quantum on maxing a power to roll 2 dice. If you botch, hey more chrysalis, if not well you have enough to purchase an extra. Win/Win

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Yeah, I can see how that system would be faster. But that isn't the Chrysalis system as written. That is some home brew stuff. That's not a problem, that's just how you handled your game. And honestly, I do think that if Chrysalis is used the ST needs to do a little something to 'adjust' the process.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I would like to add, if you do not have house rules that gives players the Oppurtunity to gain additional taint, it is alomost impossible to get temp Taint. This is gained from maxing, some powers, Rapid Recovery. And in the game I had most people did not max.. "roll my quantum of 4, 2 success.. YES ig et to add TWO die of damage to my [20] 12 quantum Bolt.... does not seem like much of a benefit. yes you can add area, or explosive extras, range etc... but for a willpower, and 1 qp per Quantum trait used... usually 4-5

Quite frankly unless a ST really uses the maxing rolls for cinematic levels. it is not desirable... I will hold my 4 qp and hit with Q bolt twice more...

Taint should be considered a thing to either embrace, or to fear in the terms of characters... Permanent taint, IMHO, is how all Nova's who desire to be powerful, how the push themselves in everything they do, to explore their novahood. Get more for less time(exp) Yes Taint can prove more appealing to make you character look "neat"... so can body alteration.

As to the difficulties, the social difficulty from taint is seperate from the aberration. Taint in its self is more of a detachment from humanity, the aberation is a physical manefestation of both that detachment and that Nova's Quantum signature and nature...

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