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Aberrant: StarGate Atlantis - Custom Powers/Enhancements and Rules


Dawn OOC
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Here's how I'd like to talk about the custom powers and rules we want. some of them are going to be an easy up-down, yes-no vote. Others I'd like to talk about a bit. Here's the first thing:

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Breaking Adaptability into Pieces

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Tireless Enhancement (A:PG) - In addition to the endurance bonus, Nova no longer requires sleep (the enhancement is a pretty minor one without the addition), to simulate no longer requiring sleep.
Health Enhancement (A:PG) - To simulate the resistance to diseases, poisons, and drugs.
Unaging Enhancment (TNF) - To simulate the increased or infinite lifespan.
Invulnerability: Temperature Extremes - To simulate resistance to hostile environments. Could be made as an enhancement as well, I suppose, granting an extra success or two per dot of M-Stamina versus temperature extremes/hostile environments. Being Space Worth, if one wants that, can be a Body Mod (which I think is written down somewhere).
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Naturally, I approve of breaking Adaptation down into pieces.

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To round out the rest of what Adaptation does, might I suggest two new Enhancements, both using a similar mechanic, for simplicity's sake? (Not sure if they have ones that do similar effects in other fan books)

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Fortitude - Multiplies the length of time and the time between checks for resisting Starvation and Thirst by M-Sta +1.

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Deep Breath - Multiplies the length of time one can go without breathing or resist Suffocation by M-Sta +1. Considering the length of time you can hold your breath is one minute per rank of your Endurance Skill (which is Stamina + M-Sta + Endurance), I think this gives a reasonable amount of extra time. But it is still a minor ability (doesn't seem to crop up often), so can just say the enhancement negates the need to Breath entirely.

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no

That was mind numbingly unhelpful.

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Here's the problem with Adaptability: It offer too much for 5XP or 3NP but offers way too little if divided up to qualify spending 5XP on 5-7 different little enhancements. Shit, I know I wouldn't.

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The simplest solution would be to simply remove the enhancement and transfer all the bonuses to Body Mods, each costing . 1 nova point to purchase or 2 to 3 XP per purchase.

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Environmental Resistance: Pick a particular environment when this power is selected, high temperatures or low. By spending 1 quantum point every 12 hours, you can endure temperature extremes between –50º and 140º Fahrenheit (depending on which you chose) without suffering lethal damage (as described in the Core book page 257).

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[Anything beyond those temperatures and you're into the realm of Quantum Powers or extremely potent attacks like liquid nitrogen, napalm, chemical fires, etc... which Adaptability should not make you immune to (in theory, that's what Invulnerability is for), but technically it does if you take it how it's worded in the Core Book.]

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Hyper Metabolisim: You can live off of your own quantum reserves. When you spend 1 quantum point, you don’t need to eat, sleep or breathe for 6 hours, although you must relax or rest as normal to regain spent quantum points. You are immune to most poisons, gases, diseases and drugs, and gain your [Quantum] as a bonus dice on all resistance checks to resist particularly virulent diseases, particularly potent weaponized gases or nova-derived poisons, e.g. anything created by a quantum power or administered by something with a Quantum score of 1 or more, like a mutant scorpion with incredibly deadly poison or developed by a mad doctor with a Quantum score. Quantum points spent fueling this enhancement do not replenish until the character has shut this ability off and taken time to breathe, eat, or rest.

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[some virulent gases may bypass this ability altogether at the story tellers option. Keep in mind, the most weaponized gasses are not of the inhaled variety, they are absorbed through the skin and eyes. If the gas, toxin, or disease has a damage effect rating higher than the characters Quantum score, assume they are not immune but they still get their Quantum score added to their resistance roll.]

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Bulwark of Resistance: By spending 1 quantum point, you can endure, without harm, extremely hostile environments — the vacuum of space, the bottom of the Marianas Trench, the heart of a volcano, the core of a nuclear facility — for one scene or your quantum score in hours/minutes, if the Storyteller prefers.

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[Particularly nasty environs should tax the nova more that others. The vacuum of space (which is what Adaptability was really designed to allow) should be relatively easy to survive (1 point every several hours or so, while allowing the character to relax and regain points as needed), but harsher climes like the heart of a volcano, or the melting core a nuclear reactor (or ground zero of a nuclear blast) should require to spend one (or more) points per turn/minute/hour. Keep in mind that this protects you from the environment, not the effects on the environment, so if you were at ground zero of a nuclear blast, you might be protected from the radiation but you are still subjected to the damage of the explosion.]

Timeless Body: Your lifespan increases dramatically — your body ages as if each decade were only a year. This requires no quantum point expenditure.

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Just some ideas, toss em around. Take em' for a spin, treat em' nice, have em' home by 9:30.

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I like Reven's idea(s). That's really all there is to say; I could go into details why but he's laid out some pretty good reasons.

And as a note: I would appreciate feedback to have a bit of reason to it. Even if it's, yes, I like the enhancement 'Gobsmacker' to grant 3 bonus dice instead of 2 because 2 is too few to match what I think the power can do. It helps the dialogue. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Addendum - Though I like the idea of Adaptability being broken down into Body Mods, I'm not fond of them taking Quantum to utilize - they might as well be enhancements or powers then.

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Might I offer these suggestions instead?

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Environmental Resistance (1np/2xp): As proposed earlier, but it is always active and costs no Quantum. Being immune to either high or low temperature extremes isn't an overwhelming ability and buying both for 2np/4xp is slightly cheaper than buying a full enhancement, which seems reasonable considering this is a broken down piece of one.

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Hyper Metabolism (2np/4xp): As proposed, but instead of putting off the need to eat, sleep, or breath, instead choose one of: Eating, Drinking, Sleeping, Breathing. You no longer require that necessity. This Body Mod can be bought multiple times, eating time eliminating another necessity.

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Bulwark of Resistance (3np/6xp): Well, there is High Pressure Tolerance in the The New Flesh book, which not only lets you survive the depths of the ocean, but also breath water for the same cost as I proposed, and IIRC, there is a Space Worthy Body Mod somewhere, I just don't remember where, neither of which require Quantum. Otherwise, most of these extreme environments I feel should be resisted with Invulnerability, which also costs the same NP/XP as I proposed for the power.

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Timeless Body (2np/4xp or 3np/5xp): This is perfectly fine, just added the higher cost for someone who has a truly unlimited lifespan, which costs the same as buying the Unaging Enhancement.

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Other Enhancements and Body Mods I am interested in, though I don't necessarily want all of them, or at least not right away

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Unfazeable (Brainwaves, p. 52)

Details
Bah - can't seem to copy the block of text from the PDF. Let's you roll Wits, with each success adding a die on Willpower rolls to resist Fear, Intimidation, surprise, as well as conceal their fear or surprise.
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Stalker (The New Flesh, p. 145)

Details

Stalker (Mega-Perception)
Some Mega-Perceptive novas have an uncanny instinct for hunting down people that they’ve come in contact with. People who find themselves as the quarry of such a nova can run for as long as they like, but they cannot hide. The nova can unerringly track anyone she has “tagged” to the ends of the earth, and possibly beyond.

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System: The nova must touch the target, then spend 1 quantum point and make an Awareness roll. If successful the nova can plant a quantum “tag” on the target, after which the nova will be able instinctively know the distance and direction of the target in relation to herself for one week per success. A nova is limited to “keeping track” of a maximum number of targets equal to her Mega-Perception rating. Targets who know they are being pursued by the nova may make a Willpower roll to reduce the duration by one week per success.

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Combat Awareness (The New Flesh, p. 147)

Details

Combat Awareness (Mega-Wits)
Mega-Witty novas with this enhancement are able to put their superhuman quickness of thought to full use in combat and become expert at predicting their enemies’ moves before they make them. Such novas tend to appear almost precognitive when in combat.


System: The nova spends a quantum point and rolls(Wits + Mega Wits). If successful, Combat Awareness grants a +3 bonus to the nova’s Initiative and the nova suffers one half the normal penalties for fighting multiple opponents (round down). In addition, while Combat Awareness is active, opponents the nova can perceive do not gain any bonus to accuracy for attacking the nova from the flank or rear (see Aberrant core book p. 245). Also, when defending against an ambush the nova gains an additional 3 dice to his Awareness roll. This enhancement lasts for one turn if 1 quantum point is spent or for one scene if 3 quantum points are spent.

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Unbreakable (The New Flesh, p. 197)

Details

Unbreakable
By and large, Mega-Strong novas aren’t terribly keen on the melee weapons used by baseline combatants. Instead of using traditional bladed or blunt weapons that will likely break under the stress of a Mega-Strong blow, they tend to go for more durable weapons such as lampposts, trees and ground vehicles. A nova with this enhancement doesn’t have that problem, as she’s able to use any melee weapon she cares to with her full superhuman strength without risk of breaking it. Researchers into nova powers have claimed that this is due to the nova unconsciously emitting quantum energies to strengthen the weapon, similar to the process which allows a Mega-Strong nova to pick up a ship without having it break apart.

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System: A nova with this enhancement can use any melee weapon she cares to with the full force of her Mega-Strength, without any risk of breaking the weapon. In game terms, the nova can ignore the “Strength Maximum” rating for any melee weapon she uses (see Aberrant core book, p.274). Please note that this enhancement does not do anything to protect the melee weapon against the quantum powers of other novas. It’s also possible to take a second level of this enhancement, which allows the nova to use any item, no matter how fragile it would ordinarily be, as a melee weapon with her full Mega-Strength. This enhancement is considered to be always on, and has no quantum point cost.

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Bioenergy Buffer (The New Flesh, p. 211)

Details

Bioenergy Buffer
Just as many ordinary lifeforms develop defensesagainst parasitic organisms, certain novas with Mega-Staminahave developed a defense against paranormal forms of parasitism. While most novas with this enhancement use it to resist “lifeforce”-draining attacks, some have developed this innate resistance to the point that it will defend against almost all forms of paranormal parasitism.

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System: Whenever someone or something attempts to drain the nova’s Health Levels or Traits (typically via the Quantum Vampire power), he can automatically negate 1 success per dot of his combined Stamina + Mega-Stamina ratings on the would-be parasite’s attack roll. It’s possible for
the nova to purchase a second level of this enhancement, which will increase its scope, allowing it to protect the nova against effects that would drain his quantum points, including the Quantum Leech power. (It won’t protect against the “parasitic possession” form of the Domination power,
though.) This enhancement is permanent and has no quantum point cost.

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Improved Skeletal Muscles (The New Flesh, p. 223)

This is almost perfect for how I picture some of the physical changes Yseult has undergone with her enhancement.

Details

Improved Skeletal Muscles: (three nova points / six experience points)

The skeletal muscles of baseline humansare composed of both fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers,with the prior used for quick bursts of activity and the latterfor long-lasting effort. The skeletal muscles of a nova withthis body modification are different, as they are composedof a single type of muscle fiber which can function as eitherfast-twitch or slow-twitch fibers as needed and are superhumanlyefficient to boot. In game terms, the nova gains+3 extra dice on both all Athletics rolls that involve quick bursts of strength (such as sprinting) and on all Endurance rolls that involve long-distance exertion. As a pleasant side
benefit this body modification also inhibits the nova’s body from gaining weight and becoming obese, even if she’s kept physically inactive.

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Analytic Scent (Aberrant Compendium, p. 10)

Yeah, I know, it's one of the bad books, but this enhancement looks more or less equivalent to the Analytic Scent/Touch Enhancement in the Core Book, arguably less extensive, since it only hits one sense. Also, was looking for something that expanded on the scent related abilities of Bloodhound.

Details

Analytic Scent
A nova with this enhancement has developed his sense of smell to superhuman levels. Aside determining distinctive odors for just about anything he encounters, the nova can sniff out poisons, drugs, and explosives (among other things) with unequaled accuracy. Some novas with this enhancement have done quite well working as “super-noses” in the perfume and wine industries – or as narcotics agents.


System: The nova can determine distinctive odors for just about anything he encounters and can differentiate between (and recognize) people, places, and things by scent alone. The nova can distinguish the component scents (and therefore the ingredients) of a given odor with near-perfect accuracy. If the Storyteller decides a substance is present only in trace quantities, she may require a Perception or Awareness roll to allow the nova to detect it. The nova can also roll Perception to determine the emotions of a person via their scent. The nova gains a minimum of +3 extra dice when making any Perception roll based on scent, including use of the Bloodhound enhancement. Finally, the nova can halve any penalties relating to darkness by scenting other beings around him.
This enhancement is always on and costs no quantum points to use.

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Parabolic Hearing (Aberrant Compendium, p. 11)

Was looking for an Enhancement that could model the Telescopic Senses knack in Scion. This, plus Electromagnetic Vision is a reasonable approximation. Also, I wanted a Hearing Enhancement, but not interested in all the additional effects in Hyperenhanced Hearing. As an aside, I'd suggest the bonus to Awareness rolls from this enhancement doesn't stack with that from Hyperenhanced Hearing.

Details

Parabolic Hearing
Novas with this enhancement have essentially “telescopic hearing” – by focusing in on a given location, they can hear sounds from incredible distances. They can also hear sounds so faint as to be inaudible.


System: The nova spends a quantum point to activate this enhancement for [Perception + Mega-Perception] turns. While doing so, the nova gains an additional 3 dice on any roll related to hearing. (This is cumulative with Hyperenhanced Hearing.) The nova can “magnify” sounds (to his own hearing) by a factor of 10 for each dot of Mega-Perception the nova has. (x100 at Mega-Perception 2, x1000 at Mega-Perception 3, and so on.) The nova can also automatically home in on the source of any sound he can hear without a roll. Use of this enhancement can negate range penalties if used with the Sonar function of Hyperenhanced Hearing, and also negates difficulty penalties for striking at novas with the Sizemorph (Shrink) power.

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That's all for now. ;) I'm sure more will occur to me... Oh, how about Body Shift (The New Flesh, p.227), would that be allowed? Not that I'm intending for Yseult to get it yet or even soon.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’ve poked through the two suggestions given by Moreau and Evana’s players. I like ideas from both. Two things factored into what will be my final call: erring toward greater customization of PCs and whether a body mod is more active or passive—whether the body is doing something to cause the effect or not. I don’t know if I’m even making sense on paper so I’m sure they’re be questions.

Environmental Resistance: I see this one as an active resistance to an environment. The body has to act to do something to defend against the extremes of temperature, sweating or shivering or just toughing it out. We’ll use Dave’s suggestion on that one.

Hyper Metabolism: I’m going to split the baby on this one. We’ll use Asa’s suggestion for eating, sleeping and hydration—no quantum cost. For breathing, you have to spend the 1 quantum per six hours.

Bulwark of Resistance: As Dave wrote it.

Timeless Body: We’ll go with the two types like Asa suggested.

On to the other ideas:

Unfazeable: I’ve seen this in play before, I’m fine with it.

Stalker: Fine, with the caveat that it will not work through the Gate – you wil not magically know the gate code to dial. :P

Combat Awareness: I’m going with a no on this: it gives too much stuff (4 different things) for the cost.

Unbreakable: I’m not giving a final judgment on this, because I’ve thought it unnecessary. It seems to me that attuning a weapon to yourself means that it is unbreakable. I can see that the second level would be handy (“I kill you with glass chopsticks!”) but then it should be the first level. Discuss!

Bienergy Buffer: A big no, for the same reason that it was a mistake for Alex to confer immunity from the Z on the supers in DR.

Improved Skeletal Muscles: First, this is a prime example of why fan-stuff isn’t that great. The last line of it is what I’m talking about: as far as I knew, a nova can’t gain weight, that they were at their perfect body-fat ratio just because they were a nova. So having these as a “benefit” doesn’t make sense. I approve of the rest of it though.

Analytic Scent: No to this one as well, mostly because it allows you to have half of Emotional Manipulation, as well as mimicking or imitating other Enhancements, either whole or in part.

Parabolic Hearing: Fine with this; it won’t stack with Hyper Hearing.

Body Shift: I’ll consider the use of this power on a case-by-case basis. So it’s allowed, with the understanding I’ll be watching it much like I would watch Bodymorph.

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Sounds good, Carver. I really wasn't expecting Bioenergy Buffer to be allowed, was just asking to be sure about it. :)

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What I was thinking with Unbreakable was it would mean you wouldn't need to spend the time or quantum to attune something you just pick so you don't risk breaking it.

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I would like to offer a counter-proposal for Analytic Scent, however, which I compared to Analytic Taste/Touch (incorrectly listed above as Analytic Scent/Touch).

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Analytic Scent: Strip out the ability to detect emotions with it. Instead, either make it a new enhancement that requires Analytic Scent as a prerequisite, or use the Enhanced Vomeronasal Organ Body Mod to approximate a similar effect (or make the Body Mod an enhancement instead). The power doesn't let you track people like Bloodhound, but does let you differentiate scents to a greater degree, so still grants you a bonus on Perception/Awareness rolls relating to scent, including uses of Bloodhound. Analytic Scent would be a prerequisite for Bloodhound (or vice-versa, but doesn't make as much logical sense to me).

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As for reducing darkness penalties, I'd like to point out the Analytic Taste/Touch Enhancement in the Core book does the same thing, plus adds 2 dice to detect stealthy opponents like invisible novas by detecting changing air currents on the skin, in addition to adding 3 dice to Taste and Touch related perception rolls and making those senses more acute.

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I'm perfectly fine taking this out and leaving it in the realm of the Blindfighting Enhancement (maybe house-ruling the same for Analytic Taste/Touch). Maybe replace it with a minor increase to scenting ranges (multiply by M-Per +1?) instead?

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Enhanced Vomeronasal Organ (A Breed Apart, p.51)

Details

Enhanced Vomeronasal Organ (two nova points / four experience points)


The nova has an augmented vomeronasal organ (also known as the Jacobson’s organ), which grants him an increased ability to detect pheromones by their scent. Not only can the nova consciously detect and interpret the unconscious pheromonal signals of other humans, but he can “listen in” on the interspecies pheromonal communications of the rest of Earth’s animal and plant populations. In game terms, the nova can detect pheromones and decipher the pheromonal communications of humans and all other Terran organisms (and certain alien ones, at the Storyteller’s discretion) with an Awareness roll. These communications will be extremely basic, with most of them indicating the organism’s physical (and in the case of the higher animals, emotional) state. The range of these pheromonal communications tends to be very short; in the nova’s case he will be able to detect pheromones within a number of meters equal to the nova’s (Perception) + (Mega-Perception x 2). Finally, with this increased ability to notice pheromones comes a better chance to resist their effects, as the nova will automatically notice any pheromone-based effects that others may try to use on him.

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As this body modification allows the nova to detect and interpret the natural pheromone signals given off by other humans, it’s very useful for evaluating both potential mates and potential sexual rivals. The nova can detect both the status and fitness (in terms of reproduction) of humans of both genders. A subject’s reproductive status will include facts such as actual gender, sexual maturity, and current fertility. If the subject is female, the nova can also detect whether she’s pregnant or lactating. Reproductive fitness will include the presence (or lack of same) of problems such as genetic damage, disease, drug abuse and chemical contamination. It’s also possible for the nova to detect when his or her partner is most fertile with an Awareness roll; with every 2 successes scored allowing an additional conception roll to be made per month. This will
require the nova to stay close to his or her partner on a 24 hour, 7-days-a week basis until the partner reaches a point of peak fertility. Couples attempting to conceive at that time will receive a +5% bonus to their combined fertility rating. Alternatively, the nova can attempt to detect times of peak fertility in any potential mate he or she meets and gain the same bonus, although whether or not that tactic is successful is up to random
chance (and the Storyteller’s whim). At the Storyteller’s discretion, the nova may also determine the general nature of a problem that makes a subject reproductively unfit (disease, drug abuse, a serious genetic defect, etc.) with an Awareness roll.

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Let's try a different angle on this: list out the desired effect you're looking for with the power/enhancement. At this point, I don't know exactly what you're looking for. You want her to be able to smell really well, but you're willing to drop out the ability to track and use emotions. I'm not sure what's left that you want. It's going to be a lot easier for me to help you build a power/enhancement if I know the end result.

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Well, I was saying the ability to track was covered by the Bloodhound enhancement in the Core book. But that enhancement is very basic and vague, just saying you can track people. I was looking at Analytic Scent to allow the PC to distinguish scents from people, places, and things far more clearly and to a greater degree, which would help with the Bloodhound enhancement.

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Instead of just being able to say Bob went this way, the PC could say Bob went this way, is sweating and bleeding, wearing leather and apparently had a really nasty burrito for lunch. ;)

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If you think I've stripped out too much from the Analytic Scent enhancement, we can but the emotion scenting capability back in. :) I was just trying to be amendable and break down the enhancement to make it more balanced.

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So, Bloodhound for actual tracking. Analytic Scent for a much greater degree of sensitivity that Bloodhound doesn't seem to grant, and possibly sensing/tasting basic emotions/needs (or if you think that is too, make it another Enhancement or Body Mod as mentioned above). Left out the reduction to Darkness-based penalties to leave it for the Blindfighting Enhancement.

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I hope this makes my intention more clear.

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