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Aberrant RPG - D20 Aberrant


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Ok... long term fan of Aberrant... havent read the D20 Version...

Assuming I do not wish to be sold on the mechanics (I do not care for levels or hit points or the d20 system) what interesting setting/plot and/or character information is in this book?

Im always looking for the tidbits to help fill in gaps/flesh out the excellent (but not without holes) setting and meta-plot.

Anything story-wise would be sweet...

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Actually, that's incorrect - Aberrant d20 has some minor tweaks to the setting. There are some bits and pieces that have been changed, mainly to place the Aeon Society somewhat more prominently into the setting (as opposed to Project Utopia), as well as the rather large change of the addition of Margaret Mercer into the setting. The reappearance of Max Mercer is also played up much more.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Hello.

I reply to this post lately, but I just want to say I think AberrantD20 is great.

Choices made by the staff were a bit... stupid (especially about Taint), but I find D20 System much more playable than WW's.

In fact D20 core is a good basis for a GM, but there is a lot of work to do.

One more thing: I apologize for my bad english, but I'm French (no, no, put that gun!!!...)

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Actually, I would argue that d20 is "more playable" than Storyteller only if your game is centered almost exclusively around combat. d20 is, when you boil it down, nothing more than a combat engine with a very, very thin RPG veneer wrapped around it, and has been ever since it clawed its way out of the old spiral-bound Chainmail game in the early '70s. A level-based combat-heavy system is a dreadful match for Aberrant.

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i agree with timeslip. The D20 system is bad for anything other than rpging combat. There is a reason that AD&D games are often more that "lets kill it!" (NOTE I SAID OFTEN THERE HAVE BEEN GAMES I HAVE PERSONALLY PLAYED THAT ARE GREAT)

The D20 system is not nuanced and makes only slightly more entertaining generic system than its competitor BURPS (Banefully Unimaginative Role Playing System).

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA- best superhero system - wheeze - HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Yes let me get my vat of d6's.... yatzee!!!!

*whew*

ok now that thats over whith. I am sorry HERO was the first popular superhero rpg not the best unless you happen to have a scientific caluculator to help with character creation.

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Anyway, I think Aberrant setting is all about politics, metaplots and secret agenda, so interactions involving PCs and NPCs are very important, sometimes of utmost importance in many scenarii.

But, once again, I never want my players rolling a die when they are supposed to play a character, so I don't really need a clever system about social interactions.

In a combat situation, I want a more playable system than the "rolling 18 dice" WW's.

There is a Gurps Aberrant on Net, and as a matter of fact it's not very good (and it's very short).

There's one thing I regret about D20: I can't use the very good stuff I read on this site without having a lot of work to do.

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When choosing any system to play any sort of game, one should ask many questions about the system they're working with. When comparing two systems with the same setting, many of these can be thrown out, but in the difference between AbST and AbD20, I think the following questions should be considered:

1) Do I wish to emphasise the Social element of Novas?

Whether you like it or not, ST by far has the advantage in this contest. ST works hard to place social abilities into the realm of mechanics, and the three Social Attributes allow for a far better differentiation of ability that d20's single Charisma Ability.

2) Do I want exceptional power at the start, or do I want to warm up to the power?

This is an important question. Those looking for phenomenal power should probably lean towards ST. The Nova Point system allows for astonishingly capable novas right off the bat in a default Char Gen. At D20's default (Level 3), You're unlikely to have such an impressive amount of power, though you're still likely to be capable of a lot. This is, of course, easily remedied by increasing the starting Level, so it's not as bad as people might think.

3) Do I want a fast, simple combat system, or do I want a complex, more flexible but slower system)

This is a question that only you can answer. Some people like to abstract combat down to the lowest possible amount of rolls, others like to get more involved, and there are pros and cons to either. From my view of both systems, d20 wins hands down on speed, and is quite simple as a rule. To do this, however, it sacrifices some detail and abstracts a lot of the combat process. Storyteller's combat resolution system takes the other tack, slowing down the combat a lot in order to reduce the amount of abstraction.

As a note, both systems are combat-oriented, as an artefact of the times they were born. I know a few of you are going "WTF?" in regards to ST, but I'll note that the Aberrant book devotes an entire chapter to combat and damage rules, and has optimised a lot of Aberrant's Enhancements and Quantum Powers so they are more useful in a fight. ST's conflict resolution out of combat is pretty much on par with d20's, and are both equally simple. ST2.0 was built during a time where the prevaling paradigm was still "Roll for combat, Role for social", and it shows quite badly*. It also shows badly for d20 as well, but at least they freely admit it.

Other notes

Some other notes that don't necessarily move into questions, but may be useful either way to those deciding which ruleset to use:

* Due to the mechanics of the system, many character concepts cannot effectively translate from one system to another - there is a definite range of power and character concepts that each system can handle, and this is mainly due to system assumptions, several of which are noted above.

* d20 is far more familiar to many players, and Aberrant d20 does hew fairly closely to the d20 model. If your players are reluctant to change systems, this may be a good reason to stick with the one they are comfortable with.

* Price-wise, ST wins over d20. ST requires only one book, d20 requires two. If you already own d20, however, this goes out the window.

<hr>

*As a brief note, no, this isn't the only paradigm. There are many systems now being released where social situations must be played by the rules, and the rules are specifically optimised to allow this. There are other paradigms out there as well, The superhero game Capes, as an example, works on the paradigm that it's not what you're doing that's important, it's why you're doing it, and this distinction is imprinted in the rules.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Rorschach:
But I don't think D10 is more realistic than D20.
Really? Since you like the system to focus on combat, let's take a look at that, shall we?

Hitting someone in close-in combat:
d20: Modified by strength and level. Passive "dodge" reflected by improved Armor Class.
ST: Modified by strength or dexterity and by the appropriate skill (brawl, martial arts, melee). Active dodge reflected by challenged roll to avoid being hit.

Dealing with armor:
d20: All or nothing -- it improves the chance of not gettting hit.
ST: Damage mitigation -- it doesn't keep you from getting hit, but helps to reduce (or even eliminate) the damage that gets through to the wearer.

Damage from a really decent success at hitting:
d20: Exactly the same as from barely hitting.
ST: Extra damage dice in proportion to your overage.

And the most telling example -- how you perform as you take damage:
d20: 100%, 100%, 100%, 100%, 100%, dead.
ST: 100%, 80%, 60%, 40%, 20%, unconscious, dead.

The realism-in-combat award goes to Storyteller.
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Yeah, you're right! D10 is more realistic. D20 is NOT, there's no doubt about it (it's NOT his purpose of course).

Anyway, I don't say D10 is a bad system because it's not realist, 'cause I think realism is a very difficult thing to obtain when writing rules, and it doesn't matter, 'cause every player is aware of that.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Rorschach:
Both systems try to play... something, that surely is NOT in the simulation biz.
Well, no. Both attempt a simulation of a kind of reality, but merely quibble as to how deep into the simulation they go. d20 chooses to abstract a lot more of the reality because it's designed to be played more as a game than a world, and thus they need to improve the speed of the system.

Storyteller, on the other hand, chooses to push much further into the simulation of it's reality, giving the player far more opportunities to choose what it is they're doing. In doing this, they inevitably lose a lot of speed, since the extra choices and complexity.

Of course, which is more realistic is a fool's question. Neither of them are at all. No system can properly emulate reality, and a Superhero game shouldn't!

People don't typically think in three-second brackets. People don't typically choose not to dodge when someone's aiming a bullet at them, because they know it's not going to kill them outright (certainly, a valid option in Storyteller). There aren't 6 basic archetypes from which all personalities and ways of life spring (well, there are many who have made such archetypes, but in reality they too are artificial constructs). People neither have no injury issues until they conk out or have issues do to pain in eight easily delineated stages.

Reality? Bah! No system is "real". Storyteller is less abstracted than d20, but is no closer to "reality" because of it.
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But the rules and the story in the storyteller system work more.

Half the Eruptions of the charatcers on this board would end in death in D20.

Half the starting charatcers in the story teller world would be around level 10-15.

Most of the NPCs in story teller world can't be made in D20.

I would point out that, of all the NPCs in the D20 book, only I think 2 could be made by the rules. Note that the rules don't have go above level 20, and a lot ot the NPcs are clearly high levels than that. The biggest point being Divis Mal who would have a level of aorund 80 with just the powers on his short list. I think he would need around 1,620K EXP to get to level 80.

The problem is that, the game is set in a world where youa re trying to play a god. The rules in 20 make it so that, a wizard from D&D is roughly as powerful as you. For a long time, a man with a gun does about the same amount of damage as a nova. It is just rather scary.

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I would note that by the book, ST Novas are exceptionally unlikely to ever reach the level of Trinity Aberrants. Taint, by the rules of ST, is as such that you must actually work hard in order to attain it. d20 Aberrant, on the other hand, makes it far more likely that one will accrue enough taint to go insane.

Of course, it's worth noting that your major exception, Divis Mal, may very well be around that level, considering he erupted in 1924, and was far from inactive for a sizable majority of that time. And, of course, I did note that there are several concepts which do not translate between the two systems. This does not mean that one is more realistic than the other, merely that d20 is not capable of supporting those concepts. As a note, there are many concepts in d20 that cannot be supported in ST as written. Really.

Oh, and as a brief note, taking two characters from different worlds is a poor comparison, considering the two games do work on slightly different assumptions. And remember, you can always up the level of starting novas if you feel the default (L3, as a note) is inappropriate.

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I don't typically - I find d20 somewhat lacking in a few areas. That doesn't stop me from noting, however, the things that d20 does well (and it does a lot well! I won't deny it!). It also doesn't stop me from noting the things Storyteller does well (and again, it does a lot well!). That said, I do know the problems with both systems, even in their most basic form (ie without the bells and whistles), and I like to think I have an appreciation for which ones are more appropriate for a given game.

It's why I'm constantly trying to look at new systems. There's a lot of good games out there, each with interesting new ideas in their systems. I'm happy to look at all of them.

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Kirby, the problem is that the fluff didn't change. The world didn't change. Only the rules did. So you want to make a good lawyer..In D20, the best Lawyers inthe world can some how beat up swat team memebers..Cause in law school they teach you kung-fu! You can't make a nova who is really only good in one feild,and making a jake of all trades is a joke.

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Well, of course. I actually agree with you that the change to d20 probably should have involved some story change, to better integrate the two. ST has far better setting/system integration, because it was designed with that in mind.

That said, in ST it's just as difficult to make characters who are competent only in one field. Jacks-of-all-trades are easier in Adventure! and Aberrant, but only because the sheer number of skill dots one can acquire. I actually made several attempts to create an "average" human using the system as written - it's not really possible. You'll always end up with exaggerated features, seeing as ST is designed to build better-than-average characters. As a note, d20 shares this issue. To build an "average" person, you should pay no attention to the usual CharGen procedure.

WoD2 looks like it may possibly reverse this, but I've yet to get a good look at the entire system.

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"WoD2 looks like it may possibly reverse this ..."

Not really, from what I've seen. I've only played in one game, though (and that with a serial killer as a character), so I may be mistaken. It seems like the point balances are still in favor of distinctly unusual characters, even with the basic mortal build.

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Which in a lot of ways makes sense - a default of "normal" character would probably be rather boring to play all the time, really. Most character concepts focus on some sort of unusual feature, and most systems work on the general assumption that you will be facing competition stiff enough to stymy ordinary people.

Roleplaying more often is about exploring the unusual, rather than the ordinary...

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One point. I agree with Dreamer : when playing in d20, your 12th level Lawyer would have at least +6 Base Attack Bonus: Hugga!!! That's pretty tough!!!

I don't know what Unisystem is, but I changed my mind: still thinking d20 is better, I'll now use d10 in my Aberrant game. Easier, and supplements are so great!!!

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