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Aberrant RPG - Making Sense of Divis Mal


Caldorian
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Hi there. ^_^

My first post... and such a long one. Excuse any rambling in this post, but I need your help!

Well, I'm running this Aberrant-Series on a weekly basis now; the idea is that the PCs are among the first "test run experiments" of Divis Mal's planned N-Day. The series has started mid-1997, when both characters erupted, and is planned to go on until (at least) WW Phase II. Now the story has advanced up until shortly before N-Day.

Anyhow, I want the PCs to be among the movers 'n' shakers of this world, en par with Caestus Pax, Antaeus or Sophia Rousseau.

In addition, they are supposed to get to know all of the background story --basically the ideological struggle between Mercer and Donighal-- and to get between their factions.

Now I'm trying to flesh out Max Mercer and Michael Donighal, since they are going to be very important in this series. Mercer a bit less so, because his influence during the Aberrant-Era is rather indirect. The PCs might get to know him, but he won't be such a problem to present -- he is covered quite well in “Adventure!”.

The real problem is Divis Mal... (and I'm pretty sure, I don't tell anything new here!)

I really love the idea of this character, but unfortunately he is utterly inapproachable as presented in the books. Almighty, hyper-intelligent, inscrutable, invincible, idealistic, yet myopic to the extreme. He has all the characteristics of a supervillain (à la Magneto), but some books do everything to present him as a well-meaning idealist. Actually, he doesn't make any sense to me. Not because he is supposed to be in a grey area between good and evil, but because he is just a two-dimensional character. “Adventure!” helped a lot in that respect, but it is only a beginning. I want a three-dimensional Divis Mal; someone the PCs can encounter, someone they can relate to – in any way. I want the approachable, “human” Divis Mal, who has dinner with his boyfriend and a friendly couple--Andy Vance and Jake Korelli--as presented in the APG. Unfortunately most of the sources present him as the “godly” Über-Nova who is too insightful to get involved.

What I’d like you to to help me with is an iconoclastic approach to the “godly” Divis Mal, a demystification of him. All his godly powers have to be stripped away from him, until only a normal human being remains. And from that human being, from that basis we could reconstruct a believable and likable Divis Mal. Let me make a beginning:

Michael Donighal is (despite all claims otherwise) neither almighty nor infallible. At his core he has this annoying combination of egocentrism, little patience, arrogance, aloofness, alienation and resulting loneliness, over-sensitivity to the old hurts from an unrequited love. He could be a bodhisattva of the Nova age, but he rather prefers to be a petty god. At his worst, he reminds me of a whining and rebelling teenager.

Then there is the fascist angle, I’d find interesting to explore. As far as my series is concerned, Donighal has had a strictly authoritarian education and was more than sympathetic with the Nazis later on. Due to his taint, Dr Primoris developed into a split personality, a ruthless and emotionless scientist who sided with the Nazis in order to do his experiments on humans. Sort of Mengele on Quantum. Although Donighal lost the Primoris personality after his first Chrysalis, the deep-rooted fascist tendencies remained. These tendencies resurface again in his iconography, when he approves of the personality cult around him, or when he initiates the Night of the Long Knives.

Another thing that bothers me is that Divis Mal doesn’t seem to have an adequate number of aberrations: Either he has a means to lose them or he should have at least about a dozen of aberrations. I thought about the possibility that he has Aberration Transfer with the Permanency Extra, but somehow I think this explanation is very cheap. On the other hand, I have tried to give him 18 aberrations and the result is quite gross. He’d be no monster, but he certainly couldn’t have the looks as presented in the books either. How many and what aberrations would you give him? Do you think Divis Mal would use Aberration Transfer, if he had it (regarding Teras)?

How have you portrayed Divis Mal? How could he be portrayed at all? How do you approach a character that was so badly designed?

I’m really at a loss here… the more I try to approach this character, the more he eludes me.

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Well, I always played Mal as not being a nova. He is rather something like a nova,and novas as we know them are copies of himself. It is in fact soemthing that goes hand and hand with most of white wolf's stories. He sought to bring human to the next level and failed. Instead of making "Gods", he made "gods". They are copies of him, yes, but not prefect copies.

Like Kain,and his children. Lilith,and Mages...

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Two problems:

One, you're assuming Divas has bunches of Taint. He needn't. Buys down whatever taint he acquires during his Chrysalis. Only ones left over are from his Chrysalis. Minimum of 2 minor aberrations from each go through. That's six minor.

Unearthly Beauty

Anima Banner

Aberrant Eyes

That's three easy ones right there. The other three could have been combined up to one medium and one minor. Make them easy to deal with ones. This is Chrysalis aberrations you're talking about. He is the one who was in control.

That's the easy one.

The second one is that you're looking at Adventer and Aberrant. Two different games with two different sets of developers who weren't necessarily talking to each other. And in the long run I don't think Divas is really a character. He is a primal force, a plot device. You're going to have to make him up out of whole cloth I suspect.

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Two things to consider:

1) One of Mal's goals is to create superbeings like himself that he can relate to.

2) Mal's other goal is to force the Aeon Society to lead mankind. In Adventure, the AS has a councilship role in society. They advise, show the 'right' path, and do the heroic thing.

From Mal's perspective, mankind needs to be LED into the future, not advised. He believes in the 'Strong Man' theory of leadership, and that Maxwell Mercer it that man. That goes back to Mercer's mentor role during the creation of the Aeon Society.

Creating novas and the problems they in-turn create, is part of his plan to bring Max and the AS to the fore.

As for Taint: I think many of Mal's problems are on the inside. For one, he is wracked with indecision. He doesn't have Multiple Personality Disorder, but instead will start a project, but be unable, mentally, to take it to conclusion. Not only is he undecided in what the end product should be, he is afraid that he will somehow screw it up.

Not an aberration? Think about it from a Hypergeniuses point of view. It would be maddening.

I also agree on Prodigy's list of minor aberrations.

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Ick! wink

Just joking. Prodigy is right about those being different games but they can be used to build a composite. Taint is a sticking point only if you consider that Michael wasn't one of the ten novas born every century (btw-anybody else love the idea of century children?) and just not progressing quite as fast as we're see in Aberrant.

If he were one of the ten or so, and ground zero at the Hammersmith explosion, he might not be the same as other novas. Taint resistant up to higher levels of power is just one thing to consider. If you go down that road, he might not have foreseen the possibilities of taint when he began his quantum experiment since he suffered from it lightly or not at all.

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See, there would be a big problem:

Teras and the Chrysalis make only sense, if Donighal realised at one point or another that he changed -- to the worse. That’s the only reason for developing such a arduous physical, mental and spiritual process; because he needs to, if he wants to remain sane.

If Donighal wasn't affected by Taint, he wouldn't have done it.

Although I love the idea of "century children" (to the point I considered making Jenny Sparks and Elijah Snow NPCs smile ), in such a case there wouldn't have been a need for Donighal to develop the philosophy of Teras and the Chrysalis in the first place.

As a matter of fact, it doesn't make much sense, if he is not just another Nova.

And even if he wasn’t, why give him a Quantum score? Why give him powers that are accessible to all other Novas with enough experience? They could have made him like an Antediluvian in the old V:tM. Without stats, beyond the rules. (And don’t tell me, Antediluvians were “just” vampires with 10 dots in Disciplines…) Well, they didn't do it; they made clear statements about his Quantum progress and about some of his abilities.

Second point: He could buy off Taint… Of course he could and probably did so, but he would still keep his aberrations. And again, the same as above holds true here. Donighal wouldn't have gone so far as to develop Teras, if he hadn't realised the bad side-effects of Taint. Therefore you can assume that he must have had a Taint of at least 6+ at one point; only then aberrations really go beyond the "cosmetic". That would make 2 minor aberrations and 1 or 2 medium aberrations, before he started (!) to develop Teras. Then let’s assume he transformed all his Temporary Taint into Temporary Chrysalis and didn’t buy any tainted powers. He underwent four times the Chrysalis, i.e. four times he went up to Chrysalis 5 -- which makes at least 8 further minor aberrations. And that is a most conservative estimate… I reckon he would at least have gone above the necessary five Chrysalis points once or twice. Otherwise, how would he be able to teach the Chrysalis to other Novas, if he understood it only barely himself?

Well, even with this conservative estimate, we would have about 10 minor aberrations and 1 or 2 medium aberrations...

And I want to stress it: Teras is nothing you develop on a lazy Sunday afternoon! Donighal might be a genius, but that is not necessarily something that helps you in spiritual practice like meditation (which is one means --as reported in the Teragen book-- to achieve the focus on one’s Archetype).

@Jager: The Indecision Aberration is a good idea! smile

Do you really think Donighal wants Mercer as the one to lead mankind? I would have guessed he wants to be the leader himself…

And, yeah, the Multiple Personality thing is just my interpretation of the Aeon/Primoris-conflict. So this is something specific to my Series.

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Chrysalis is not simply a tool for getting rid of taint. As you mentioned it is a sprititual and philosophical process as well. It is a tool for a Nova to be able to better understand their evolution and to control it.

Asfor wracking up taint, he could have developed Chrysalis while still possessing a very low level of taint.

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You guys are going to hate this. smile

Teras is suppose to be a way to teach human thinking novas a non-human perspective. Chrysalis might have been an accident when he took his meditations to the ultimate conclusion in striving to "become" the god he half believed he already was.

Taint could have been the driving force behind it all or it could have been an accident that he found gave an option to uncontrolled taint expression. Is there really a way for even the most godlike intelligence to know or quess the unknowable? He could have hoped, believed and had faith but was there anyway to really know where the chrysalis would take him?

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I see that Fong is the one to merge Chrysalis with Teras meaning that prior to her encapsulating the Teragen as it is now Marvel, Portents and Monsters was not required to enter Chrysalis? It's one thing I dislike about Chrysalis, how propietory it is. No one outside the organization is EVER going to come up with it on their own? Please...

I could name a handful of Nonterats in Cannon who would likely figure it out on their own.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Caldorian:
See, there would be a big problem:
Teras and the Chrysalis make only sense, if Donighal realised at one point or another that he changed -- to the worse. That’s the only reason for developing such a arduous physical, mental and spiritual process; because he needs to, if he wants to remain sane.
If Donighal wasn't affected by Taint, he wouldn't have done it.
You are right, no need to develop a way to focus your power. No need to make a way to change your way of thinking.

Also note that chrysalis may work for Mal on another level than it does for other novas.For Mal it could be second nature for him. But another reason Mal, if he wasn't as tainted as other novas would make chrysalis,is because he see Novas as his children. I would be scared to death knowing that my children would go insane and die or spend their lives as meaningless masses. I would rather give my children a chance for greatness.If this greatness comes with a price,so be it. But I will be damned if I don't not make the risks a small as I can make them.
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Fong took Mal's Chrysalis and merged into the archetype philosophy that the founding members came up, yes.

It is assumed that Mal and Scripture probably forged what was essentially the Marvel archetype before the founding members actually gave it a name. Which would mean they were following an archetype while developing Chrysalis, but not "formally" as it hadn't been laid out on paper as yet.

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No.

How long do you want to postulate that Mal was a nova before going through his first Chrysalis?

20 years? 30?

I don't see it just happening to anyone.

he's been doing it longer than anyone else, and it's a fair bet he was mega-intelligent to a pretty high degree during it. It's not a matter of intelligence or determination as much as it is acceptance of taint, evolution, and the willingness to give up being human.

Can another nova do it? In theory, a nova can do anything. Should it happen without investing the same time Mal did to develop it?

No.

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Okay for the record I am not trying to diminish or cheapen the whole concept. However I could see someone like Anteaus going through it on his own easily. It's a known fact he has divorced himself from humanity and is embracing what he is now.

If some unenlightened idiotic zealot like Delorimier can do it I am sure someone like Anteaus who KNOWS he is beyond far humanity can. My argument is that Chrysalis is a natural extension of being a Nova and anyone can reach it if the follow the correct path it doesn't have to be on the Teragen party line that they manage it. Even if it is a close parallel to what the Teragen are teaching.

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Big mistake.

Kraig Blackwelder couldn't even seem to make sense of Divis Mal.

What makes you think you'll fare any better? :P

That aside...

We're trying to guess the motives and capacities of someone who's illustrated as GOD.

Further, we're trying to establish a single standard in White Wolf.

I'm actually unsure which is the more fruitless venture.

Mal and Mercer are plot devices. They break the rules in Aeon, Adventure at the very least.

Now. Why was Mal statted up? I could armchair psych my way through some guesses as to KB's motives, but it really is futile. Needless to say, it was a mistake, as Mal is slated as God for the purposes of Abbie.

Why doesn't he follow the rules?

White Wolf. NPC. Do we really need to say more?

You can adapt him to follow ALL the rules, but with Chrysalis, the rules don't seem to apply in the same way. That is, if Mal IS in fact a regular Nova. My assumption, the way I run it in my game, is that he's more advanced. There was talk about him being second gen Nova, and taint resistant, and all that stuff. He was exposed to Hammersmith, he evolved through Stalwart into Nova, which is a little more natural than the jump from baseline to channelling massive ammounts of quantum through a tumour. Natural, of course, being used rather loosely, but presuming we DO have the capacity to evolve into a higher tainalicious being, his road was a lot safer than a lot of 'em, one could presume.

Still, power comes at great costs. Mal's deeply emotionally and mentally troubled, through taint and the experience of living both. He may have a low taint, but at some point, he did garner taint most likely, and I run with the presumption that he did. He likely has something akin to Megalomania, albeit kept rather well in check. His desire for trancendence seems like a "well-rationalised" grab for more power.

Then again, second guessing a man of mega-intelligence 8+ (if one existed) would be like an ant second guessing Einstein's opinions on Relativity.

In the end, he's still a plot device, statted or no.

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As one who's first RPG book was Deities and Demigods I like to think the gods are ultimately hackable. They got 700 HPs? You just get a bigger sword. Plot device is just a weak way of saying I am to lazy to stat him out. I do so enjoy killing the unkillable even if the earth pays the price for it!

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Unlike Antes in Vampire, you are meant to be able to interact with Mal. I mean, you can supposedly work your way into the Pantheon, thus interact with the entity called Divis Mal.

Thus, he is killable. It is that the odds of pulling it off suck.

Thus, there is an indication that he "plays by the rules" to a degree. I can buy that Mal and Scripture came up with the Chrysalis process, but it took Fong to reverse-engineer the process so that others could also master it.

I would also point out that Mal doesn't want to rule the world. If he did, he could do it. He plays on a continent wide level ... in 2008. Waiting around would make less sense, as more and more novas become powerful enough to challenge him (to some small degree).

I would add to that argument this: Why would you want to kill Mal? By the time you have lived long enough, and accumulated enough power to have a shot, why would you want to throw it all away on taking on Mal?

Beyond all this blather, I would have to agree with the "White Wolf. NPC." comment.

WW staffers can't count.

They wouldn't understand game balance if it came up and smacked them upside their heads.

From the beginning, the come up with the concept, then dress up some rules to sort of fit with it.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Jager:

I would add to that argument this: Why would you want to kill Mal? By the time you have lived long enough, and accumulated enough power to have a shot, why would you want to throw it all away on taking on Mal?
I think it's more the PC pathology of "I could take 'em."

Sure, there are reasons you might want to take him on, but there aren't really a lot. Mal does have an image as a bad guy though. He's rather harmless most of the time, but he is a big freakin' sword of Damoclese dangling overhead to a lot of people. He's also the de facto leader of the teragen, a group villainised by the public.

Still, most rational people wouldn't bother unless he became a threat. However, we know, roughly, that he doesn't really DO much in terms of constituting a threat for most of the history of Aeon. People in game don't have that luxury. Or the luxury of knowing he's at least Q 8. They don't get to look at him and specifically think "God." There are humans who think they can tackle Novas, I'd imagine some people would take a shot at one of the big dogs. After all, Novas are still human deep down, and Mal's just a Nova, right? They don't know he's a plot device...

Quote:
Originally posted by Jager:
Beyond all this blather, I would have to agree with the "White Wolf. NPC." comment.
WW staffers can't count.
They wouldn't understand game balance if it came up and smacked them upside their heads.
From the beginning, the come up with the concept, then dress up some rules to sort of fit with it.
And if you don't like cobbled mechanics, you're obviously a bad roleplayer, a twink, etc.

Sorry, just more frustrated with White Wolf than usual thes days.

I don't think it's that they can't count, I just think they're uninterested in putting forth a full effort. Mechanics are, a you mentioned, an afterthought. Wouldn't be as bad if they worked. I try and run dice-light games. Mostly, dice are for combat, or when someone can't accomplish something through roleplaying alone. I prefer my gamers acting most of a scene out. I'd just rather they not act out blowing up my living room. Ya know?

Still, when I break out those D10s, I'd like to see the mechanics match the story.
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You know, my problem with Divis Mal is less that he has no stats. I can make them, should there be the need for them. Same with the question whether he can be killed. Of course, he could be killed – somehow. But that’s not the intend of the story I want to tell. I wouldn’t allow the PCs to do that. After all, he is a plot device in many future stories.

Actually, my problem is that *I* as a storyteller am absolutely at a loss at portraying the character Divis Mal.

You see --as Jager already pointed out-- the PCs are supposed to be able to become part of the Teragen Pantheon. This possibility exists in my game more than in any standard Series, simply because I raised the power level for the PCs to make them equal to the powerhouses.

Hence, there will come a point in my Series (or every Teragen Series) when the PCs encounter Divis Mal. And not only as the "wise man from the mountain" who speaks some cryptic prophecies and disappears (à la the Antediluvians in Vampire), but as someone they can have a real and good conversation with.

Of course, I could play him as a god, same way I would play a god in Exalted or in another fantasy world. Incomprehensible and beyond mortal ken.

Then he’d be an Archetype, two-dimensional, boring. The PCs could worship him or leave him alone.

On the other hand, I could play him as a person. With a history that keeps on influencing his decisions. With feelings, joys and problems. With the possibility to fail or to make wrong decisions. With regrets, worries or petty feelings like envy or greed.

In the books, he is portrayed as the first. But I want the latter.

This is what I meant with an iconoclastic approach to him: Tear down the godliness of Divis Mal and see what personality remains under all these powers!

First thing I tried to do was to give him a history. I used an integrative approach to his history, due to the fact I love the “Planetary” comic books (i.e. let the PCs discover the past glories of the A! era) and that I see no need to change something that’s not broken. Keep in mind that I have no need to integrate any mechanics from A! into my Aberrant Series; I can accept that the powers in both books have nothing in common. Should it become necessary, I will reinterpret the A! powers in Aberrant rules. I can also accept that A! has a completely different theme and tone than Aberrant, but if Warren Ellis can make it work in “Planetary” I can make it work in my Series, too! smile

After I have given him a history, I now want to give Donighal a personality. What is he like? How does he react to other people? How does he feel about his surroundings? About new people? Does he get excited if he meets somebody interesting? What are his goals? What are his worries and his regrets? What does he cling to? How much does he actually love Scripture? Is Scripture just a convenience, is he a substitute, is he a real loved one? Is Jeremiah like a child to him or does Michael see him as an equal? Can Michael Donighal be self-ironic, can he be silly, can he lose his gravitas? Would he want to do that sometimes? Does he care about what impression he leaves?

And don’t give me an answer like: “He has Mega-Int, therefore his personality is unfathomable!” What if Michael Donighal dormed down? How would he be?

Whenever I read into the Aberrant books I get lost in his mystification, in his personality cult, in his philosophy. Surely, all that *is* Divis Mal, but it’s definitely not Michael Donighal -- who’s still deep inside that awful Divis Mal construct.

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Hehe, indeed.

Well, I made an outline of his history. Until I realised that it becomes the more difficult to flesh it out the less I know about his personality. Evidently, both biography and personality are interdependent.

That's why I need your help. Because I'm totally confused how much of the godly Divis Mal and how much of the more human Michael Donighal I should put into all this... I try to stick to canon as far as it suits my needs. But the canon is somehow inconsistent.

Of course, I could make it all up, but would it take Mal into a direction that changes him too much, make him incompatible?

It's as if you had these two completely different personalities that had to fit together in one character, but they do not. And now you oscillate between both all the time: That's how I feel when I know I have to portray him in my game.

confused

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I like to think of Divis Mal as a man driven by passion. I believe he loved Maxwell Mercer, then suffered a broken heart when he was turned down and began the long track to evolution.

I also believe that Scripture is his equal in the relationship. Without him, Mal might have gone off the deep end a long time, and it is Scripture who reaffirms Mal's self-faith.

I could imagine a slightly more approachable Mal than the ones presented so often in games. I could see him sighing wistfully whenever Raoul Orzaiz enters the room or sitting down with Scripture and having a good pash while listening to the latest Alejandra love song. Uber-powerful doesn't always equal unfathomable. Look at Pax; he's a total ass and everyone knows it.

By the way, I *love* your Divis Mal pictures at Elfwood, Caldorian. Great work!

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Well, I always liked the idea that Mal is a failed father.He sees his children and wants to help them,but fear smothering them. He seeks to gain peers, but finds the more he inter acts with those not ready for him,the more they become fallowers.He doesn't want followers, he wants companions. He wants to be among Equals,and as such he is waiting for the right time to take an active role in the world.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Caldorian:
Hehe, indeed.

Well, I made an outline of his history. Until I realised that it becomes the more difficult to flesh it out the less I know about his personality. Evidently, both biography and personality are interdependent.

That's why I need your help. Because I'm totally confused how much of the godly Divis Mal and how much of the more human Michael Donighal I should put into all this... I try to stick to canon as far as it suits my needs. But the canon is somehow inconsistent.
Of course, I could make it all up, but would it take Mal into a direction that changes him too much, make him incompatible?

It's as if you had these two completely different personalities that had to fit together in one character, but they do not. And now you oscillate between both all the time: That's how I feel when I know I have to portray him in my game.

confused
People often put on fronts.
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King and father. Not Mal, just a thought. You could have a man who is a king with all the responsibilities that entails and also a father. Trying to reconcile the apparent personality of the person ordering the bombing of his neighbors with the man that sits playing with his daughter on the floor might seem impossible but its the same man.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Liam Stewart: TAG:
King and father. Not Mal, just a thought. You could have a man who is a king with all the responsibilities that entails and also a father. Trying to reconcile the apparent personality of the person ordering the bombing of his neighbors with the man that sits playing with his daughter on the floor might seem impossible but its the same man.
Unless you know of any such instance, this argument's kinda academic, ainit?

I mean, are there a lot of people out there ordering the bombing of their neighbors while playing with their daughters?

Is there even one?

But assuming that's true, it's easier to reconcile someone who hates someone (or is idealistically opposed to, or is at war with), but loves their daughter than it is to reconcile Mal. Mal's one tough nut to crack, but he's a work of fiction. He's pretty larger than life, even by Aberrant Standards. Archvillain, misunderstood hero, lover scorned...He is what you make of him.
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RE: Taint & Chrysalis

In 2002, He already has Q8 & Q-Supreme. Mal can develop any powers he wants to with a snap of his fingers (Q-Authority). Then with Q-Supreme he can give himself *permanent* nova points.

The only possible reason for him to enter Chrysalis is to reduce his taint. Getting rid of taint is the *only* thing that Chrysalis can do but his normal powers can't.

RE: Mal's Aberrations

He probably has a truck load, they just aren't spelled out. But there are clues.

I would start with both Megalomania & Schizophrenia. With Taint Resistance and Mega-Int 8, & a willpower of 10, he is pretty functional, but he deserves to have his picture next to the entries in the core book.

Mal's got his own church, dedicated to worshiping him, headed up by his lover. His plans involve reshaping the world in his image in one fell move (N-Day). He does things like taking over all of the world's airwaves, or fight Pax in front of the world. Sure, you can argue he deserves it, but he's still got it.

As for Schizophrenia, he's got M-Int 8, at least a 3 in all the social Megas, and he thinks the way to deal with Pax is to beat the tar out of him in public? He is the ultimate in "hands off" in leadership to an insane degree (remarked upon several times in the Directive book). His plans don't work all that well because he just isn't dealing with the real world. Sure, with unlimited power he can't lose, but look at his talk with his followers after he came out of Chrysalis at that dinner. He isn't happy that things aren't going according to plan.

I would also give him

Obsession: His theories

Glowing Eyes (from the pictures)

Anima Banner (his powers always seem to use flame).

Inhuman Beauty (from Trinity's news clips)

"Addicting Presence" (remarked upon by Bounty when he is in Chrysalis).

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"The only possible reason for him to enter Chrysalis is to reduce his taint. Getting rid of taint is the *only* thing that Chrysalis can do but his normal powers can't."

Actually, that's not exactly true. Chrysalis doesn't have any other mechanical benefits, yes. However, the process of Chrysalis in and of itself causes the nova to go further along their 'path.' Ab: Terragen discusses how a post-Chrysalis nova feels much more divorced from humanity than a pre-Chrysalis nova, and how a multi-Chrysalis nova feels distanced from pre-Chrysalis and single-Chrysalis novas.

It is possible that Divis Mal would have begun moving along that path purely out of a desire to embrace his nature - leaving his humanity behind as dead weight. And that actually addresses his 'schizophrenia' as well. I think it is specifically mentioned somewhere in Ab: Terragen that Mal has difficulty interfacing with less-'evolved' novas, and that Scripture (having gone through more Chrysalises than most but not as many as Mal) often has to act as a mediator because of this.

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Quote:
Alex Craft: ...that actually addresses his 'schizophrenia' as well. I think it is specifically mentioned somewhere in Ab: Terragen that Mal has difficulty interfacing with less-'evolved' novas, and that Scripture (having gone through more Chrysalises than most but not as many as Mal) often has to act as a mediator because of this.
Point. Only the Mega-Perceptive Scripture with Information Control + Mastery can translate what's going on inside Mal's head.

Makes me wonder how much editing Scripture does during the translation. BTW, this isn't an indication of sanity, nor does it speak well of Mal's leadership abilities.

I think there is a line in the manifesto where Mal mentions that whatever path the terats take they will find Mal waiting for them. Meaning that he will define as victory whatever happens.

It is very easy to look at the war, the terat novas leaving Earth, etc and think it was "Mal's plan". The problem is we have *no* evidence that events went according to Mal's plans and a fair bit of evidence that they didn't.
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Pax didn't come around. Eventually Mal had to kill him (that's from the developers).

After Mal came out of his 4th, he was extremely disappointed with what his followers had done (AB:Teragen)... and then he follows that up by not giving any constructive advise to anyone but encourages them all equally.

That the night of long knives was even necessary indicates some (many) of his people continued to get it wrong.

That several of his core members were plotting against the Teragen isn't a good sign.
...and this is with Math boy's advice.
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Originally posted by David 'Dr. Troll' Smith:
As for Schizophrenia, he's got M-Int 8, at least a 3 in all the social Megas, and he thinks the way to deal with Pax is to beat the tar out of him in public? He is the ultimate in "hands off" in leadership to an insane degree (remarked upon several times in the Directive book). His plans don't work all that well because he just isn't dealing with the real world. Sure, with unlimited power he can't lose, but look at his talk with his followers after he came out of Chrysalis at that dinner. He isn't happy that things aren't going according to plan.[/QB]
This seems more like a combination of his megalomania (disappointment in the fact that his brilliant plans don't seem to work) and hormonal imbalance: <s>PMS</s> severe mood swings. whether the latter is part of an Aberration, or merely a biproduct of being created by White Wolf is up in the air.

However, it doesn't sound schizophrenic to me. He's brilliant. He knows it. He's so in love with his own ego that he tends to make Sherlock Holmes-esque leaps in logic. The only problem is Sherlock never missed a beat. Mal seems to go for quick solutions, and sometimes glosses over important steps. They may dwarf Holmes in grandeur, but they fall short in the thoroughness department.

He does seem almost to have multiple personalities at points. Then again, people with severe depression/manic-depression/bipolar issues can seem like two totally different people at times.

The only question there is how much Prozac do you perscribe for a God?

Again, this is my spin on the character. He doesn't need to be detached from reality...Just too attached to his own ego to notice the nuances of reality. Since he's got no solid rules behind him, we don't know for sure, and each person will put their own spin on him...
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Originally posted by David 'Dr. Troll' Smith:
I think there is a line in the manifesto where Mal mentions that whatever path the terats take they will find Mal waiting for them. Meaning that he will define as victory whatever happens.
Or possibly, meaning "eventually, you monkeys will bang out the works of Shakespeare."

Do I actually believe that? Not really. It's possible that he is looking at his interactions with man- or Nova-kind as a method of sparking evolution, but largely leaving it up to the people in question.
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Originally posted by Mortriden:
Holy God! That's my quote!

I think that he suffers from some sort of bipolar disorder. If nothing else the depression of knowing that only one person truly understands you would be severe; or maybe not depression... frustration maybe?
Glad I could give you that thrill of knowing your signature's put to good use.

Someone on here mentioned him being turned down by Mercer. One of my gamers made a similar concept, and constantly refers to Mal as a "lover scorned."

Now, we all know what this can do to a normal person. Imagine what it would do to someone whose psyche is being twisted like taffy by Quantum.

Bipolar seems to make more sense than depression, to me. I also think he has a MASSIVE love-hate relationship with Mercer, Aeon, and everything related.
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Kane Knight:It's possible that he is looking at his interactions with man- or Nova-kind as a method of sparking evolution, but largely leaving it up to the people in question.
Then why the disappointment? It's obvious he's got how it is supposed to work planned out in his head, but when his followers don't 'mix pollitics and enlightment' correctly, he gets bent out of shape.
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Originally posted by David 'Dr. Troll' Smith:
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Kane Knight:It's possible that he is looking at his interactions with man- or Nova-kind as a method of sparking evolution, but largely leaving it up to the people in question.
Then why the disappointment? It's obvious he's got how it is supposed to work planned out in his head, but when his followers don't 'mix pollitics and enlightment' correctly, he gets bent out of shape.
Why?

Well, if he finds people to be going in the "wrong" direction...

Like I said, I think he has Megalomania. It leads him to make short sighted conclusion that nudge X will lead people Y into direction Z. Mal is a god. How do you think Gods react to being wrong?
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Originally posted by Kane Knight:
Like I said, I think he has Megalomania. It leads him to make short sighted conclusion that nudge X will lead people Y into direction Z. Mal is a god. How do you think Gods react to being wrong?
Megalomania is a big part of it, but if that was all he had I don't think he would need Scripture to translate. I also think he is badly wrong more often than his Mega-Stats should allow.

I mean... he has infinite power and the smarts to back it up, but he seems to be wrong on some really basic things.
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