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Trinity RPG - The Enemy Abounds


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<H1>The Enemy Abounds</H1><H2>Building baddies your player characters will respect</H2>

<H3><A HREF="mailto:kevin@modempool.com">By Kevin S. Taylor</A></H3>
Aberrants. Chromatics. Doyen. These words if mentioned by the right ST can bring fear into the heart of the most jaded Trinity player. So, you ask, how do I make these things feared by my players who have been playing the same character since the game came out in that old plastic wire bound tome?

Easy, you hit em where it hurts.

You make up new variants on the same old stuff. Nothing will scare and confuse players more when the Aberrant that they have been chasing all over Luna turns out to be 6 inches tall. What I hope this article does is help you make variants on villains and antagonists for your Trinity games.

This article focuses on Aberrants, but could also be adapted to other types. So, we'll start with the basics.

<HR><H2>The Basics</H2><H3>Part 1 -- why?</H3>I see a lot of good plots in movies, books, and games go to hell for this reason. They have a powerful villain, with a good plan, and not a stinking reason why. Contrary to popular belief, most Aberrants do not go breaking stuff and killing people just because they are "evil." This is the 21st century and we know that there is no black and white, only shades of gray.

So why does that Aberrant with four arms and warp gates keep raiding medical facilities? Maybe he has someone he cares about that is sick, and he can't help him or her. Or how about the one that keeps impersonating people in an attempt to get into the Chicago Cube? Maybe he's looking for answers instead of just out to kill someone?

And remember, as strange as it sounds, Aberrants have families too.

<H3>Part 2 -- when?</H3> Yep. When. Not just, "We're gaming this Friday," but "The Aberrant in question was first sighted in the Blight in 2095." Knowing how long the enemy has been around can give great insight into how they think and why they do the things they do. Maybe the Aberrant that keeps destroying military facilities remembers the horrors of the Aberrant War and doesn't want anyone else to have to suffer that way. Sure, the FSA and Aeon make him seem bad, but when the players start digging into his past...

<H3>Part 3 -- where?</H3>Just as important. Where IS the antagonist? Not likely waiting in plain sight with a neon sign that says, "Legionnaries can suck my [tentacle]." More than likely the smart Aberrant (and remember, mad or not, Mega-Intelligence goes a long way) is hiding behind a wall of followers, in a hard to hit place. Best place to hide from opponents with weapons of mass destruction is IN their population centers...

<H3>Part 4 -- what?</H3>This is the fun part. What is the Aberrant in question? Is he an old one, from before the Aberrant War? Is he a newer one, still dealing with the use of his powers? Is he one who was "made" by others as cannon fodder, and doesn't like the idea? And most importantly, what powers does he/she/them/it have? Which leads us into the next part...

<HR><H2>Building the Better Bad Ass</H2>Now, after considering those above questions, how do I make the stats for the Aberrant(s) I want?

Well, depends on that answer to the "what" question. That will determine what basic "template" you want to use from this list. For this article, I categorize Aberrants into three basic classes, Veteran, Leader, and Fodder. The following table sums up how to figure out what type your Aberrant(s) falls under:

<TABLE CELLPADDING=4 BORDER=0 WIDTH=400><TR> <TH><nbsp></TH> <TH>Leader</TH> <TH>Veteran</TH> <TH>Fodder</TH></TR><TR> <TH>Age</TH> <TD>Was alive before 2047</TD> <TD>Erupted post-Exodus</TD> <TD>Most recent Aberrants made/born</TD></TR><TR> <TH>Taint</TH> <TD> Has moderate (6+) Taint due to controlling their power, butcan be higher in some cases</TD> <TD>Has high (8+) Taint </TD> <TD>Has lowest (1-5) Taint </TD></TR><TR> <TH>M.O.</TH> <TD>Usually leads others, but often works alone as well </TD> <TD>Sometimes leads raiding parties </TD> <TD>Likes to live to see the next battle</TD></TR><TR> <TH>Notes</TH> <TD>Usually have long term plans and goals </TD> <TD>Often have other motives </TD> <TD>Being of the most recent generations looks least human andis most twisted by its taint </TD></TR></TABLE>

After you know what kind you want, then you get to make them.

<H3>Leaders</H3>Often called "1st Caste" Aberrants, these are the movers and shakers, the ones that VARGs and other heavy weapons are needed to kill. When I make these, I use the Aberrant Core Book and make them from the ground up with these changes.
  • Nova Points: I move it up to 40 or 50 because these guys have been around for a while.
  • Freebie/Bonus Points: move that up to 20 for the same reason.
  • Instead of Buying "Quantum" and dealing with a new attribute in Trinity, I buy points of Taint at Quantum cost, and use Taint as the roll for powers, like in "normal" Trinity. In this case, I always buy powers at Tainted cost, which makes them real EVIL bastards to kill, cause they get a lot to play with. However, these are rare threats, and should be treated as such. Maybe one in a year of gaming and the players should have to work at it to EVER even see their opponent.

<H3>Veterans</H3>These are the more common ones. For these I use the "normal" Trinity Template with adaptations from Battleground for the powers. Bullethead from Luna Rising would fit in this category. If you don't have Battleground, there are powers listed <A HREF="http://www.geocities.com/Area51/4063/9812/9812how.html">elsewhere</A> that were made extra for the game. And now, you can get it cheap cause they are clearing it out.

Things to remember with Aberrants at this level:
  • Attributes above 5 are "enhanced" but not Mega. So, while an Aberrant with Strength 9 will really mess up an Average Psion, he's not likely to toss a Drake MN-114 around like a rag doll.
  • Keep the taint around 6-8 in these cases, unless you have a reason to take it higher (powers cost lots of Taint to use, simply want to scare players, etc.)
  • When converting from Battleground, use the following guidelines: <UL>
  • Add three to four dice to the damage of attack mutations.
  • Add one to any Armor mutation the Aberrant possesses.
  • Adrenaline Sac: adds one action per 2 successes on Taint Roll
  • Regeneration: Allows healing of one level of health per 2 successes on a Taint Roll. In some cases, an Aberrant may be required to absorb living matter to use this power (requiring a successful clinch/hold attack and inflicts one level per level healed to the target).
  • Reduce Taint costs by 1/3, rounding down. So a 3 cost power costs 2 in Trinity. If that takes it down to less than one, it's free to the aberrant (still counts as an action).
  • Add 3 to 5 dice to the damage of the power, or add its pool to the Taint of the Aberrant.
  • In the cases of non-combat powers, use fair judgment when deciding how the power converts (the Battleground game is close enough to Trinity that often you can actually follow the text, I've found.)
</UL>Conversions are graphical estimates only. Feel free to alter, change, and or abuse these suggestions as you see fit. These are Aberrants after all.<H3>Fodder</H3>These are the most common Aberrants. Not that they are not threats, but compared to the other two, they are not nearly as bad. The guidelines for them are simple.

  • Use the Template Straight from Trinity.
  • Note that Attributes are "enhanced" and not Mega if over 5.
  • Use the following ideas, or come up with your own, to add to the powers/mutations from the main book. Pick up to three or four powers/mutations. Give them a real ugly description. And most importantly, throw them at your players with abandon, so they worry about what kind of Aberrant is willing to sacrifice all these Squids to accomplish their goals. <UL>
  • Air Pollution/Poison
    Taint Cost: 1
    Damage: See below
    System: Roll taint. The Aberrant exudes a gas into the surrounding air that is potentially harmful. Roll Taint as Lethal damage if toxic, Bashing if non-lethal, or as a modifier effect if simply confusing (smoke or "laughing gas", etc.)

  • Cancerous Growths
    Taint Cost: 0
    Damage: 3d10L
    System: The Aberrant is covered with cancerous sacs that upon being struck will burst and spray a corrosive agent on nearby people. Count as an area effect with a 90-degree "firing arc" from the point of impact.

  • Infection
    Taint Cost: 3
    Damage: See below
    System: Fairly rare but dangerous, this power infects the victim by biting or clawing with a Taint based disease.

  • Kamikaze
    Taint Cost: 2
    Damage: 20/10/5d10 L
    Range: 50/30/10 Meters
    System: With this power the Aberrant literally blows himself up with his own power. Often referred to as the Wycoff Effect.

  • Machine Control
    Taint Cost: see below
    Damage: none, see below
    Range: Sight
    System: The Aberrant takes over surrounding hardtech by a "Quantum Remote Interface" and uses it as if they were extensions of his own body. Guns can be turned on their users, computers can be controlled, and ships can be set on crash courses. The Taint cost varies with size, 1 for 5 kg or less, 2 for 6 to 100 kg, and 3 for 100+ kg. Items over 30 tons can not be controlled. The roll is Taint vs. Fail-Safe. If no fail-safe is listed, assume 1 die.

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