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Aberrant RPG - Taint, Quantum, Maxing Out, and my house rules for all of it


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Dumping some house rules ideas here for discussion.  Those of you who recognize bits and pieces of these, yeah, I was inspired by some earlier posts around here.


My thoughts as I was laying this out were several-fold:


  • To give my players a reason to actually use Last-Ditch Defense and Power Maxing, 'cause I just named two things they never bother to use because let's face it, the canon rules for them suck. Solution: Give them notably more bang for the buck.
  • To actually make Taint a part of the drama, but only by player choice, because another consistent buying pattern is that nobody Taints up anything and takes all the Taint Resistance they can get.  So I wanted to increase the opportunities to get temporary Taint, and make it more tempting to risk temporary Taint, while at the same time making it harder to get permanent Taint except by racking up enough temporary Taint to kick you over.  I realize that other people have different interpretations of Taint, but this is mine. Solution: Make temporary Taint an inevitable consequence of power maxing (you take temp Taint instead of spend Willpower to max), but make the recovery/downtime period to roll to lose temporary Taint shorter. (The reason to make temporary Taint recovery easier is to increase the temptation to risk getting some, while still allowing people to occasionally powermax without automatically becoming Taint monkeys, while also still allowing for 'Taint is what happens if you push your powers too long' because the rest period is still not trivial to arrange for in the middle of a big project or a war or something.)
  • To make it slightly more tempting to take permanent Taint at chargen because let's face it, nothing is worth it. Solution: Significantly increase the XP cost to raise permanent Quantum after character generation and forbid people to purchase Quantum with bonus points at chargen, but make permanent Quantum bought Tainted cost zero.
  • To let people use their quantum powers more freely, so that fights don't have a strict endurance cap, while at the same time not allowing infinite use. Solution: The 'Quantum Flux' trait, which some of you have probably seen before (I think Steve Kenson's Aberrant house rules originally came up with it.)


Unt zo...


Changes to Quantum Pool and Quantum Points


Quantum Flux


All novas have an additional trait called Quantum Flux. Their Quantum Flux is equal to half the quantum expenditure granted them by their Node rating. This is an amount of energy the nova can draw upon each turn to power quantum abilities. Quantum point expenditures each turn below this threshold are essentially free; the energy comes from the fabric of the universe, not from the nova's personal reserves. Points spent from Quantum Flux do not count against the nova's quantum expenditure limit per turn as determined by his Node rating.


Example: Jason has Node 1, allowing him to spend up to 8 quantum points/turn. His Quantum Flux trait is therefore 4, and he may spend 4 'free' quantum points per turn.


Quantum costs above the Flux rating (up to the nova's Quantum Expenditure limit) come from the Quantum Pool as usual. Quantum costs from Maxing Out and quantum lost to effects like Quantum Leech always come from the character's Quantum Pool.


A nova must have at least 1 quantum point remaining in their Quantum Pool to use their Quantum Flux. Otherwise, they lose access to their Quantum Flux trait until they have recovered at least 1 quantum point.


Quantum Pool


A nova's Quantum Pool is equal to their [permanent Quantum] * 4.


Changes to Merits


Taint Resistant [5 point Merit]
Taint Resistant novas do not receive double temporary Taint for botching a roll while Maxing Out, accrue no temporary Taint for failing a roll for rapid quantum recovery, and receive only a single point of temporary Taint for botching a roll for rapid quantum recovery.

Quantum Recovery [1-3 point Merit]
Each level of Quantum Recovery increases a nova's Quantum Flux trait by one.


Changes to Last-Ditch Defense


A Nova may always pay 1 or more quantum points (up to their Quantum expenditure limit) to subtract 1 health level of damage from a single attack after soak. This may reduce an attack to 0 levels of damage. If the amount of damage the nova takes would have otherwise have killed the nova if last-ditch defense was not used, then the nova adds 1 temporary Taint.



New Advancement Costs


Permanent Quantum now costs (Current Rating x 12) XP to advance, not CRx8. A level of permanent Quantum can be purchased Tainted for zero cost. The cost to purchase permanent Quantum at character generation remains 5 nova points.


Due to its increased usefulness via Quantum Flux, dots in the Node background now cost double, both during and after character generation.


Changes to Taint


Starting Taint

Characters are limited to a maximum of four permanent Taint at character generation.

Taint, Quantum, and Node

No permanent Taint is automatically gained for obtaining high levels of either permanent Quantum or Node. A quantum 5 node 5 nova with zero taint is entirely possible.

Buying Powers Tainted

Permanent Quantum (and only permanent Quantum) may be bought Tainted, at a cost of 1 permanent Taint per dot. Doing so allows it to be obtained for a cost of zero XP or nova points. How much of your humanity will you sacrifice for power?

Losing Temporary Taint

Due to the new Maxing Out rules, it is far easier for novas to gain temporary Taint. Therefore, the time period for losing temporary Taint is reduced to one day of downtime (either dormed down or utilizing all quantum powers and Mega-Attributes at a maximum of half normal strength, and botching no rolls), not one month. A nova receives +1 automatic success to the Willpower roll for losing temporary Taint if they spend the entire day dormed down.

Botching a roll to lose temporary Taint adds one temporary Taint on a botch, not one permanent Taint.


Changes to Maxing Out


To Max Out, the nova first takes one point of temporary Taint. In return, the nova gets a number of automatic successes equal to their permanent Quantum rating or a flat 3 successes, whichever is greater. (You will always be able to add at least 1 extra or 3 successes if you max out, even as a puny Quantum 1 nova).

Additional successes may be obtained by taking more temporary Taint (gaining additional sux equal to their permanent Quantum each time), or by spending 2 quantum points per success (up to their normal quantum expenditure limit per turn). A nova may not exceed (Permanent Quantum * 3) successes on a Max Out, by any means, without specific GM permission.

If a nova botches a roll while Maxing Out, the amount of temporary Taint taken from Maxing Out doubles.

The nova does not need to pay double quantum cost to activate the power being Maxed Out.

Increase Effect: Each success spent increases the Effective rating of the Power being used by 1 dot to calculate the chosen effect. This is purchased separately for each effect: Dice Pool, Damage, Range, Soak, or Area. This explicitly allows the nova to violate the cap on the rating a power can possess at his Quantum rating.
Add an Extra: 3 successes spent will add a new, temporary extra to a quantum power the nova possesses. This explicitly allows the nova to violate the cap on the # of extras a power can possess at his Quantum rating.
Increased Duration: 2 successes spent 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 successes spent.
Increased Mega-Attributes: 2 successes will grant an additional dot in a Mega-Attribute for one use (be it a combat turn use, or a scene long exertion). This may exceed the normal Quantum limits. The nova must have at least 1 dot in the Mega-Attribute already.
Add an Enhancement: Spending 2 successes will gain the character a new enhancement for one use (be it a combat turn use, or a scene long exertion). Enhancements with prerequisites still require all prerequisites (which may be purchased via additional sux if need be).

(Acknowledgement: Yeah, most of this one was swiped straight from the Taint discussion thread on 200X and slightly tweaked.  Good work there, guys.)

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Smurfing smurf... my upcoming game is 'no Teragen', so I entirely didn't put a minute of thought into how this would interact with Chrysalis.


*sighs*  OK, so, I need to redesign them rules.  And I have no idea how!  Yet.  


*goes back to the drawing board*


Add: Wait a minute, no I don't.  Teragen PCs could already go all Chinese buffet on Taint simply by spamming Node Spark, which my powermax rules basically are (a sort-of variant of Node Spark, that is).  And in order to be eligible for Chrysalis, you have to be acting strongly in line with your archetype anyway, and can only convert a single point to Chrysalis at a time no matter how much temp Taint you are gaining.


Guess I'll just let 'em load up then. A successful Chrysalis takes them out of the game for months anyhoo.  *g*

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