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Aberrant RPG - Aberrant

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ABERRANT

corebook.jpgYour Legacy Is Our Future

Golden age — or Hell on Earth? To the residents of the Trinity Universe™, the 21st century was a monstrous era when mad gods ran rampant across the world. But is this truth — or OpNet propaganda? What was the Age of Aberrants really like? Find out the truth. It’s not what you expect.

Age of Hope, Age of Sacrifice

Aberrant is a core rulebook and prequel to the Trinity™ science-fiction game that deals with the Aberrant Era. Set in the early 21st century, before the devastating war against humanity, this new complete roleplaying game allows you to be one of these doomed beings of vast power, and to experience their struggles to avoid the coming cataclysm. This unlimited-issue softcover edition contains an out-of-control full-color setting, and original art from some of comics’ greats, including Tom Fleming and Christopher Moeller.

Retail Price: $24.95 U.S.

Page Count: 296

Authors: Justin R. Achili, Andrew Bates, Robert Hatch, Sheri M. Johnson,

Steven S. Long, Mark Moore, Ethan Skemp, Fred Yelk

But it Now

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Aberrant Review
" Baptized in quantum fires,

reborn as incarnate gods,

drunk with fame, sacrificed on the altar of power.

We are your heroes, your legends, your icons.

Beware. Your legacy is our future. "

So reads the teaser written on the cover of Aberrant, White Wolf Game Studio's second foray into non-horror roleplaying and the prequel to Trinity. For those unfamiliar with Trinity--White Wolf's futuristic space opera--aberrants are the boogiemen of the 22nd century. Powerful godlike beings who emerged at the dawn of the 21st century, once human themselves but transformed, possessed of incredible superhuman power. For a time, they worked with the human race, but gradually their power corrupted them and they turned on their former charges. It was only through a last ditch plan--a threat to nuke the entire planet--that 12 years of bloody conflict were ended and the aberrants left the Earth. So reads the history of the world of Trinity. But as any student of history knows, it occasionally lies. . .

In Aberrant readers get to learn the truth behind the lies. How a freak explosion of the space station Galatea bathes the world in radiation, and (seemingly) causes the eruption of ordinary men and women into superhuman beings. These novas, as they come to be called, possess the ability to manipulate the quantum energies of the universe to perform amazing feats. To defy gravity, to create fire, to move mountains. . .all these things and more. How these men and women used their incredible abilities for gain or altruism, and became the world's media darlings. Some novas used their powers to try and better the human condition, usually under the auspices of the powerful philanthropic Project Utopia. An organization dedicated to righting the wrongs of the world, and backed by the mysterious Aeon Society, Utopia cures disease, stops crime, and heals the Earth. Other novas became elites, superhuman soldiers of fortune, hiring their powers to those with the most capital. Still others, believing themselves to have evolved as far away from humans as humans themselves from monkeys, declared themselves a species apart and live outside of human society and law. These Teragen, under the leadership of the charismatic nova known only as Divis Mal, follow their own path. . .and heaven help any who try to stop them.

Aberrant opens in the year 2008, in the wake of the murder of Slider, a popular Utopian nova. No one knows who killed her, though many suspect the anti-human villains of the Teragen. But in the wake of her death, a new faction of novas calling themselves Aberrants (an ironic use of a derogatory slur) claim that a sinister cabal within Utopia ordered Slider's death. Is this claim true? Or do the Aberrants possess their own agenda? That's where you come in. As a character or storyteller in this new and rich roleplaying setting, you have the power to literally change this world. What will you do as a nova? Help others or merely yourself? Power and responsibility go hand in hand with this game. We all know the (somewhat cliched) saying of "with great power comes great responsibility", but what would you do if given superhuman power? Maybe even godlike power?

When I first heard of Aberrant, I initially thought it to be White Wolf's take on superheroes. I couldn't have been more wrong. While the game incorporates some of the mythology of superhero comics, Aberrant focuses mainly on the issues of power and its consequences. While there are some truly altruistic novas out there using their power to help humanity, most merely use their quantum abilities to garner fame and wealth. Which, one has to admit, is probably what many of us would do if given the chance. And so it goes, with novas the superstars of a newer and brighter world. But nothing lasts forever, and things are starting to change. Novas who abuse their powers come away with strange. . .aberrations. Mutating forms and psychological problems await those who squander their gifts. Some call this force of mutation taint, and the more one gains the less human they become. This sets the foundation of the darkness to come. By 2049, tensions between humans and novas will lead to the 12 years of hell known as the Aberrant War and the future we know of in Trinity.

This game is remarkably engaging and entertaining. From the colorful setting material and exposition, to the imaginative and cool quantum powers your character can possess. The game is rich and heavy with story and setting and awesome abilities, but as with most White Wolf games the sheer boundless energy of the roleplaying tends to leave the concrete rules of the game in the dust. While certainly adequate, certain aspects of the rules leave much to be desired. Concrete rules on bashing and lethal soak (aka health levels for your character) are hard to find at first, and even then the system can be confusing. A quick find table of contents might have been useful. Also, given the sheer power the characters will have at their disposal, it's all too easy for the game to devolve into a "hey! Let's fight!" fest rather than a true roleplaying experience. Finally, given the game's comic book trappings, many serious gamers may pass it up, thinking it to be just another genric superhero game.

Despite these flaws, Aberrant is still one of the most entertaining RPGs I've encountered, and is easily one of the coolest concepts to come down the pike in a long while. It is a game where not only can you have exciting adventures, but can literally change the world, as later supplements have proven. In Aberrant you feel like part of the story, and that is one of the true joys of gaming.

That, and blowing stuff up, of course. wink

Rating: Must Buy.

Review courtesy of Stacy Dooks, aka Defender.

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