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Aberrant RPG - My grinds with Aberrant... (Not work Safe)


Mary Masters
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I am at my wit's end. In fact, I'm completely spend over Aberrant. And this is fairly recently. I have several problems with Aberrant, and the Aeonivers that I feel I need to address.

1: Metaplot or METAGAME?...

When dealing with white wolf games, I have seen the Metaplot mentioned numerous times. the WoD metaplot works because it was an unfolding metaplot that everyone didn't know how it was going to go down. Thus giving Gamers and Storytellers equal freedom to develop a playing world. In Aberrant, and just as much in Adventure, the game is locked in Canon, and if the players or the Storyteller stray from it, woe to the person behind the infraction. This is even more so in Aberrant. Where the player has the potential to change the timeline in an infinite number of ways, yet if he does, he "destroys" the game. When all he's doing is playing his character within the rules and ignoring "Metagame Thought". Metagame thought comes in too much in Aberrant, and from what I gather, Adventure is no better. Trinity is a little more open-ended because it has an unwritten future.

Quite frankly I'm tired of having the canon-istas howling because I went to point A when on page yadda yadda, paragraph whozitz, I was supposed to be at point C. I'm in control of my character, not the fucking book!

2: The world itself.

Quite frankly I am unable to make heads or tails of it. This world shops itself as a "Superhero" game, yet it is far from the genre as a whole. It is one where it seems the players are supposed to change the world, yet I find more and more a rigid world that will run you down if you try to reshape it. Finally, what does it matter, what your player does, when in sometime in the future of the game world it all falls apart anyways?

3: The rules.

The most glaring thing are the contradictions. For instance, I will bring as an example the whole "You can't be an Iron Man" example raised in the APG. While they SAY you can't, the rules, although dumb as all hell, clearly show you the path to being just what they claim you cannot be. If you don't want something poping up in your world, don't write it in your rules.

There are others, but I have too much of a headache to bring them up as well.

Then there is somethings here at N!Prime that I have recent issues with. But I will raise them in the proper forum.

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Well, there are a couple of issues here.

1. There is no storyteller in charge. Therefore it has to be a cooperative environment. We can only use the story provided, canon. I'm a canonista here. Fine. I've run my own game and shit went on that was far from canon. Why? Because it was a small, static group with one person as the facilitator. That isn't the case here. Thus we simply have to accept more limitations. If this isn't for you, sorry.

2. You're right, Aberrant is not a superhero game. It's a superhuman game. Big difference, one that apparently you don't like.

3. Yes, sometimes the rules are bogus. Mastery is bullshit. The gadget rules are bullshit. It is up to us as players not to abuse the holes in the system. Sometimes it happens anyway.

Hope you're still around to read this.

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What I'm getting out of this, and your other post, is your main arguement is that there is a future and you are unhappy with that. In your personal game, you are free to change that connection, as many here have done.

At no time has Aberrant ever been billed as a "Superhero" game. If you want to play a straight up supers game, play one of the other games you own, because that isn't Aberrant's strength.

There are faults aplenty with Aberrant, and I probably have more than most people here. While it may not have been expressed properly, as KB had a tendency to do that, what I think was intended is that Aberrant is about beings that have gained incredible powers, where they source of their power is their node. Other games allow you to play aliens, mystics, divine, tech based, etc. characters, but Aberrant primarily relies on 1 source of power, which is a nova's node. While other options exist, I don't think they wanted to take the emphasis away from novas.

And for your personal games, never listen to how someone else tells you to run your game. It is your world, so do whatever you feel is necessary to have fun with it.

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Actually, I'd go on record saying that Aberrant IS a superhero game... or rather, it can be. It can be many things, superheroic one of them.

I mean, you have a bunch of tights-wearing people with superpowers who try to make the world a better place - several groups of them in-game - and that's pretty close to the traditional definition as written in my book, the prototypical and archtypical hero created 65 years ago by an American and a Canadian.

There is absolutely no obligation to follow this model in the game world but it IS there, and I believe it becomes even closer to the essence of the genre if being a superhero isn't the default lifepath for a superhuman - if it's something you choose.

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3: The rules.

The most glaring thing are the contradictions. For instance, I will bring as an example the whole "You can't be an Iron Man" example raised in the APG. While they SAY you can't, the rules, although dumb as all hell, clearly show you the path to being just what they claim you cannot be. If you don't want something poping up in your world, don't write it in your rules.

Yes, the rules suck. The APG created two problems for every problem it was supposed to fix.

The biggest hurdle to jump on this board is that it is a cooperative environment. We have to want to work together and get along. One of the biggest examples from last year was when Sandy Davis casually mention burning up the Eastern Seaboard of the US.

Let's say Apep, Ashnod, Prodigy, Jager, Endeavor, Sphere, Doc Troll, Codex, and V were all in a Table Top game along with Sandy. Chosen, having lost his damn mind, is running this.

How long do you think it would take for the rest of the PC's to decide to jump Sandy Davis and kill her?

That happens in TT games.

In this environment, we have to look for other options, and other ways to deal.

Could Endeavor create world-breaking tech? Yes. Could Jager cross the room and break her neck without her ever knowing he was there? Yes.

This isn't the type of game either one of us, hopefully, wants to play in.

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That is Exactly where my confusion lies. I could make "World Breaking" tech, but not for the purpose of breaking it. Pretty much just having the tech is bad in this world. Because then I open up too many cans of worms dealing with it.

The whole thing is, perhaps I have been acting with blinders on, yet the stuff I have should be right in front of me and I'm no paying attention to it.

I guess that's one of my problems.

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Well Foxy, you'd be disagreeing with the guy who actually wrote the game. Yes, the game can, if you so decide to make it, be a superhero game. It can also be a game in which you are all baseline Directive agents. Here, it happens to be closer to the base setting of the game, that of a superhuman game. It is this way based on how most of the characters have been posted.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Neil Preston:

Let's say Apep, Ashnod, Prodigy, Jager, Endeavor, Sphere, Doc Troll, Codex, and V were all in a Table Top game along with Sandy. Chosen, having lost his damn mind, is running this.
My fellow cubicle workers would like to request that you not make me laugh like that. It scares them.
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Quote:
Originally posted by Lemmy Chillmeister:
Well Foxy, you'd be disagreeing with the guy who actually wrote the game.
Y'mean Blackwelder? I didn't think he came in until later - a ways later - into the development. I don't see his name listed in the credits for my copy of the Aberrant main book.

And Blackwelder can call it whatever he wants, but the book references superhero books endlessly when calling upon styles of play, has superhero-style art, superhero-style NPCs, superhero-style powers, superhero-style combat maneuvers, and even the discussion on 'realism' talks about realistic superhero comics (whatever that means.) In my experience, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, swims like a duck, and wears a sign that says 'I'm not a duck' it's pretty safe to call it a duck. smile
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"It dresses in tights and capes"

Really?

Corbin

Orzaiz

Geryon

Mathmetician

Skew

Portman

The Directive

Synapse

Reignofevil.com

Psyche

Pursuer

Tank Choulat

And that's off the top of my head. Yes, you can find some mask and cape wearing characters. Many of them XWF or Utopians who are wearing a costume for PR purposes. Where are the classic superheros in this superhero game? Look at Year One. 17 NPC listed. El Muerte, Zam, The Avatar and It are pretty much the only ones who can be identified as having anything close to a 'costume'.

Yes, some folks wear costumes. But this is a world where comic books existed. They aren't doing it without some sort of cultural predisposition. Those that do, do so for PR purposes and marketing purposes. It's pretty evident. Elites have created a source of pride around their masks, but again, it's tied to brand recognition.

As for the art. I take it you mean the art with little continuity? The art where it appears that artists were given very general descriptions and then told to go for it? Half of the art pictured has absolutely nothing to do with anything being discussed in the book.

Where are the groups that banded together for the common good? Utopia? Bullshit, they talk incessently about how much those guys get paid. Where are the supervillains? The book outright states that there should be almost no 'supervillains' unless you want to play a distinctly four color game.

Where is Blackwelder mentioned? As the developer in Worldwide Phase II, XWF, Teragen, the Aberrant PG, Elites, Project Utopia and The Storytellers Guide. Robert Hatch is developer in the base book and Year One. I don't have WW Phase I, the Church of Micheal Archangel, Reignofevil.com or Fear and Loathing available to me right now, so I can't claim those. Basically, the guy responsible for most of the books (though less the PG, rumor has it he'd stepped back by then for the most part) is the guy who said it wasn't a superHERO game. It is a superHUMAN game. If you want to play it as a superhero game you can. It's a free world. But the base setting for Aberrant is as it says in the book, 'mostly realistic' and is compared to Watchmen, most definitly not a superhero book.

My .02

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To me, canon is what happens without the Players' involvement.

Here, here.

My personal belief about the nature of the game lies somewhere between superheroes and superpowers. It's refreshing to see a game in this genre where costumes are only really worn by Elites and their ilk. That said, the artwork on practically every page of every book in the series are of Novas in superhero-style costumes.

In the game I run I had my Players all tricked out in cool business suits with concealed armour. They all looked at me with puppydog eyes and asked for costumes "like General Zod's in Superman 2!". I have yet to break.

I thought KB's essay at the start of APG was more than a little patronising, although it was a valid reminder that not every Nova in the Aeonverse is an Elite or Proteus operative. However, he did seem to be insisting that to play the game as anything other than Nova chefs or Nova film-makers was childish and pointless.

My Players and I only get together once a week, so call us shallow if we want to spend that time exploring the more exciting parts of the Aeonverse and it's metaplot.

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OK let's be honest here, we to clarify terms a bit. Any game, story, tv show, movie, radio drama, etc. that protrays superhuman beings acting in a superhuman way could be called superheroic. However, the term that has become common usage for what people think of when it comes to the genre (i.e. superheroes in the vein of Superman) is Four Color. Aberrant is not a Four Color world. Morality in Aberrant is not as simple as in the Four Color type of setting. The big good guys (i.e. Utopia) really aren't that good & the big bad guys (i.e. the Teragen) aren't bad.

Most nova's do not fight crime or become supervillians, they get real jobs. Even elites have more in common with modern mercenaries then they do Batman. grant they do wear masks but their profession can hardly be called superheroic. Individuals may break the mold, but being a mercenary is dirty business.

Now as to the board game I have never played it. As to the canon in general, it is a guide not a straight jacket.

Lastly as to making world breaking tech, according to the rules of the game you can do that. However it only works for you & really is no different then a quantum power & there are plenty of novas with worldbreaking powers out there.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Vixen:
I figured that an inclusive definition like "it can be this way but doesn't have to be" was good enough for people.

I guess I was wrong.
Now how about you take the chill pill, okay?

Yes, Aberrant 'CAN' be a superhero game. My contention was with the first part of your claim, that is 'IS' a superhero game and therefore the default setting is superhero and ergo, that those of us who are playing it as a superhuman game are up in the night.

If you play your game as fourcolor goodness, good on you. Glad that your having fun with it. I love superhero games myself. Playing one right now and for the past five months. Nothing in the world wrong with them. But, default setting for Aberrant is not four color. Those people in spandex and tights are doing so because they've been exposed to the superhero archtype. The dudes in Mexico dress as luchadores and the people in India act like gods. Despite these trappings, their behavior doesn't follow the fourcolor mold. Yes, an ST can alter the flavor and make a great fourcolor, superheroic game. But it would require alteration. Alteration I don't hope to see on the OpNet.
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My $.02

It's nothing about being wrong, it's about having valid but different interpretations clashing. Aberrant CAN be a superhero game, yes. Examples of superhero comics are given because predominantly that medium is the only one that explores the superhuman and transhuman conditions.

While Aberrant CAN be a superhero game, nominally, in most of the flavor of how the world is described and set-up, it isn't meant to be.

pg 266 of the main book.

The default realism level for Aberrant can be summed up as "mostly realistic" - there are some people who dress up in uniforms, adopt nom du guerre and try to save the world. However, most novas use their powers to achieve fame and fortune through more "normal" channels...and there isn't much of a tradition of supercriminals...

It goes on to give examples of more comicbook-esque settings, and more realistic settings. There's nothing wrong with playing Aberrant as a superhero game.

Mostly, however, N!Prime is played as the default, canon world, where it really isn't all that superhero-esque. Again, there's nothing wrong with playing a character who wants to be that way, but please realize that the world the character inhabits at N!Prime doesn't really work like traditional superhero settings.

It's not about having "one way" to interpret the book. The rules of the ST system expressly tell you that you should modify the setting to best please your players and/or conform to the story you wish to tell for them. We don't have a "storyteller" here to design the setting, so it's the default, "mostly realistic" one, that we've been using.

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Ashnod, my position on the matter is written in that quote: "There are some people who dress up in uniforms, adopt nom du guerre and try to save the world."

And that's on the DEFAULT setting. THAT is what I'm talking about. Even on the default setting it still CAN be superheroic, if you define superheroics slightly wider than KB does. (And really, that's not that difficult. When only one of the three most iconic superheroes fits the APG-rant definition, and even then only barely, I would postulate that said definition is worth shit.)

Yes, there are very few super-villains, and therefore you can't exactly have a conventional toss-them-in-jail final page wrapup, but that is only a genre convention, not the whole of the genre itself, and the genre holds up just fine without it. My favorite two Superman stories, for example, don't feature supervillains at all and I feel they're the definitive portrayal of the Man of Steel, showing him at his most heroic.

I feel this has to be purely a matter of perspective, 'cause we're basically saying the same thing but are still at each other's throats. All I can say is that if someone who fit the above description did show up on the OpNet boards, I wouldn't feel for a moment that they were out of place.

And that's all I've got let to say on the matter.

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I'm more of the opinion that a character can be superheroic in the setting, rather than the setting being superheroic itself.

I apologize if it appears I'm arguing Vixen, that was never my intent. I wasn't aware that we were at each other's throats, unless you just mean the participants of this thread in general.

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Guys, guys, sorry. I started this in the first place. If there was anyone that needs to apologise, it's me. I can deal if it's just debate, but when it gets into arguing, I'm responsible. Alot of people told me this after I said what I said; "It's a game."

Quite frankly, I took the time this time to think about what I like about Aberrant, and the Pros outweighed the cons.

I guess sometimes I should just be chained from my keyboard...

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  • 2 months later...
Quote:
Originally posted by Sakurako 'Endeavor' Hino:
Guys, guys, sorry. I started this in the first place. If there was anyone that needs to apologise, it's me. I can deal if it's just debate, but when it gets into arguing, I'm responsible. Alot of people told me this after I said what I said; "It's a game."

Quite frankly, I took the time this time to think about what I like about Aberrant, and the Pros outweighed the cons.

I guess sometimes I should just be chained from my keyboard...
I just recently found this forum, attempting to find other support for a game system that almost works. I like the system. I am a veteran gamer with over 25 years of playing just about every system you can think of and many you have never even heard of since I was asked for recomendations. I cut my teeth on D&D long before Gary Guygax was a "household" name. When he published his games in his garage.

WW screwed it up tying it to a World setting that had some promise, however they spent so much time (and paper) on settings. If they put more effort into making the game system work, the product could sell itself.

I was first attracted by the idea of normal everyday people becoming Superhuman, i.e. Novas. How would people deal with powers beyond normals? How would their lives change? How would they change?

The idea is how to stay human in personality, while coping with powers that could quickly get out of control.

The basic system was promising for a Superhuman character without becoming an Accounting Nightmare.

I wouldn't worry too much Sakurako 'Endeavor' Hino about what is not really a cause and effect situation, i.e. you make a statement that turns into a huge debate (I think some people want to have more postings and increase their rank). Seems like all of the various game forums out, there always is someone willing to show how intelligent they are by pointing out how wrong you are. "The sky really is not blue (on a bright and sunny day). Our atmosphere absorbs the blue portion of the light spectrum, making it look blue when actually the sky has no color at all." All the while ignoring the beauty that surrounds them just to show how superior they are. Just in case anyone wants to know http://www.sciencemadesimple.com/sky_blue.html

When the system works ok, you could play just about any way you want to. Superhero, "Dark Angel" (low level Mega-Attributes and limited Powers), "Superhuman" (even a Nova Chef could get caught up in the intrigue surounding some of the conspiracies), etc. the basic game has the capability to take the characters anywhere the ST wants to take them.

Gaming is all about putting yourself in the place of someone that has unlimited potential, i.e. Nova powers which can grow with time, prcatice and experience. Rules merely give us a point of reference in which to interface with this character.

If I know on any given day my character can lift 1000kg and that if I push, I can maybe double that, then I am able to quantify it in the real world. "I can't. It's too big." "Judge me by my size? And where you should not! For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it." Luke and Yoday. What is ironic is that in my experience I have done things in the real world that I should not have been capable of doing. Moving objects that I later learned where hundreds of kgs like they were on 50 kgs.

Humans have untapped potential. Never appologize for tapping into yours, which is what you do when you question things. You expand your mind, your potential and see things in a different way. That is also what these folks are doing in showing you different ways of seeing things is helping if you take it for that. They too must see it from your perspective or you are the only person to grow from it. Some people help others in growing in a way that is taken better than others.

But I am waxing philosophical. A wise man once said "You are a fool to take offense when offense wasn't meant. You are a fool to take offense when offense was meant."

I will say this, most of the debates on this forum seem to have much more substance and thought than some of the other forums I have been on. I for one enjoy most of the perspectives so far, so do not get upset by what you think you caused, for you did not. The power of the Atom has always been there. Oppenheimer did not create that power, he only released it.
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jager:
So, you know what Blackmoor is, and do you remember the Temple of the Frog God?

Empire of the Petal Throne RPG?

Space Opera?

First Generation Traveler?
You really are old wink I haven't heard some of those names in a Decade or more!

One of the things I liked about First Generation Traveler was the math belive it or not. I wanted to be an Astronaut. The math was real Astophyisics math. My math scores in school went up because of it. I used to have the original copies...I wonder if I can still find them.
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  • 4 weeks later...

I like Aberrant on two levels...

1 - The game, for all its flaws, is a cool game with alot of potential... never gets old, even if a bit unbalanced/stacked/railroaded... etc...

BUT...

2 - If Aberrant were a series of Novels (which it almost is) that would be the shizzy... Id love to see where the meta plot goes and read intimate stories about the characters and what not. I like the idea that the world can be different and that, barring it actually BEING different, this is what would happen with the characters we know of. Id like to see a chapter on Orziaz when he met Mal, on the home life of Cestus Pax, of Gabriel Melchoir and Psyche and Sophia Russeau and Aurthur Aningsly... stories, as opposed to just scenarios...

I think that the writers of the game were as interested in story telling as they were in designing a system and... well, how can we truly fault them for that?

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