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Aberrant RPG - What the heck is THIS???


Rorschach
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I just read this message from Max Mercer, p55 in the Player's Guide.

He's writing about that Project Pandora he's checking. pandora deals with Psychomorphs, the Psiads...

Project Utopia deals with Exomorphs, aka novas...

And Tantalus is supposed to deal with a 3rd category of metahumans, known as "paramorphs".

What is this??? Never heard about it.

I'm almost sure they're NOT daredevils because Adventure! clearly states that in fact daredevils are COMPLETELY HUMAN: no scientific research could discover them, 'cause in fact there is nothing to discover.

Those "paramorphs" are described by Mercer as something "between" psi and novas... Could this be the quantakineses? I thought quantakinesis was the result of Doyens' researches set in XXII century, and wouldn't appear "naturally" in humanity before millenia....

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There's disagreement regarding what paramorphs may or may not have been intended to be.

Some (such as developer Bruce Baugh) felt that it was another name for daredevils in Adventure!, and returning in Trinity as the artifically-created "Superiors" produced by the Nihonjin Nakamura Process (in Asia Ascendant, pg. 72).

Others (such as developer Andrew Bates) held that the term "paramorph" referred specifically to Max Mercer, who was something entirely unique. Mr. Bates was of the opinion that daredevils were just ordinary people who are particularly skilled and lucky.

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The message on page 55 of the Player's Guide isn't from Maxwell Mercer, it's from Margaret Mercer, his granddaughter. I know it just says "M. A. Mercer" but the same letter appears in the D20 Aberrant book and the name is expanded to be "Margaret A. Mercer" so it's her.

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From this Wiki site:

"In Trinity Universe terms, a paramorph is one of three types of supernormal entities (the others are eximorphs and psychomorphs). Known to the denizens of the Adventure! Era as daredevils, they are typefied by having extreme luck and/or skill.

In general, paramorphs can be said to exhibit subconscious control over perpendicular time: probability. Theoretically, with a sufficient influx of power (such as that experienced by Maxwell Anderson Mercer caught at the centre of the Hammersmith Incident) a paramoprh could be "bumped" past the normal limitations of their abilities to a new plateau of power: conscious control of linear time. Hence Mercer's ability to manipulate time and to travel through it. "

Very interesting.

So Mercer would be a Daredevil, but in the way Donighal is a nova

smile

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Here is a quote from the original Trinity Devleoper, Andrew Bates.

,,
Quote:
Max Mercer is a paramorph -- or, I should say, he is THE paramorph. It was always my intent that he be the only one in the Aeon Continuum with the unique ability to become "unstuck" in time.
I think it was stated that Tantalus was created to look into anything that didn't fit with the confines of the psionic or nova categories.,,
Quote:
Though from a behind-the-scenes design

standpoint, there was never any plan to have any other paramorph in the Aeon Continuum. You should be able to be put everyone else into one of the other categories. Max Mercer is the lone exception.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Zero:
See I dont get what makes Mercer not a nova...

He has powers of time control. That seems somewhat cut and dry to me. It would just make him a fairly specific nova.
It's a matter of how he is doing it. For example some inspired characters from Adventure! can conjure flame from nowhere, regrow entire limbs (Regneration/Healing), read thoughts (Telepathy) and move things with thier mind (TK), but they are not novas. It is a matter of how they are accomplishing the effect, not the effect itself.
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Just because you can move an object without touching it doesn't make you a psi user or even a telekinetic. A nova could impart and control momentum which had not been there to an object to make it move, or use magnatism/paramagnatism to effect material.

Fast regeneration could be high mega-stamina, the healing quantum power, high levels of Adaptation and Psychomorphing, or a low/midlevel Iatrosis (sp?) affect.

As Noir said, it's all about how you do that thing, not that you can do it.

The other factor of note is that Mercer's time manipulation appears to be direct control over Temporal energy (or whatever) and that he is drawn toward periods of great flux (the WW2 era, nova era, abberant war, Process 418, etc.)

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I believe what often confuses people is WW developers will break their own rules on internal logic and consistency in the game setting. In this case you have four groups, one of which is strictly "NPC" in the extreme. There are the psychomorphs who manipulate noetic energies and range from mesmerists to psiads. They are followed by the exomorphs who control quantum energies and range from stalwarts to full blown novas. Then there is/are paramorphs of which Maxwell Mercer is the sole known example. Lastly there are those unbelievably lucky people known as "daredevils" who have no "unusual abilities" even though probability favors their actions.

Around the time Adventure! was released there seemed to be a willingness to label those lucky normal humans called daredevils as paramorphs. My opinion is that came about simply there were three designations (psychomorph, exomorph and paramorph) and three character choices. It seems logical but its a mistake to do so. The designation "paramorph" is for Mercer alone, has nothing to do with daredevils who aren't distinguishable from other normal people in any manner, and was likely tossed in just to provide background on Mercer.

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Here's an interesting idea for what Mercer's ability is based on. Calabi-Yau manipulation. From studies being done now in theoretical physics it would be manipulating dimensions, even Planck Time, by direct action. "Below" both Quantum and Subquantum realms.

Would sort of go well with the meaning of the term "Paramorph"

A form beyond anything else known.

Though it seems as though Mercer's ability deals only with time, and it is not even certain that it is under his complete conscious control, C-Y shunting would explain the Paramorph nicely.

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Ok.

You all tend to speak Mesmerists and Psiads, Stalwarts and Novas, as different beings, but they are NOT, are they?

I mean a Mesmerist IS a Psiad, and a Stalwart IS a weak nova, aren't they?

And if not, does it mean a Stalwart has NO NODE?

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Mesmerists are not psiads, and stalwarts are not novas. Though they manipulate the same energies, they do so in different ways.

A Stalwart does not gain Taint, does not get 3 free dice in Endurance and Resistance, does not have starting nova points, does not have Node, does not have Attunement, does not have nova metabolism, does not have natural Lethal soak based on Stamina, etc.

When Divis Mal created the N-Day Quantum Wave in 1998 (or whatever you want to call it) he channeled it's energies towards the Quantum "spectrum" of things, specifically to trigger novas like himself. That's why stalwarts don't appear in the Nova Age.

Here's a quote from Trinity's Asia Ascendant about the Venezuelan Phenomenon that might have some relevance:

,,
Quote:
The Venezuelan Phenomenon is a self-feeding turbulence in the noetic medium. It's not the first of its kind.

Doctor Sir Calvin Hammersmith created such a disturbance in 1922, and its echoes swept the world for several years. (See Adventure for a far more detailed treatment of that episode's consequences.) Noetic - and quantum - power infused not just people, but plants and animals, and even portions of the landscape. The world changed dramatically in some areas, in ways that were difficult to explain at the time. Was the Earth always actually hollow? Did the forces unleashed by Dr. Hammersmith open connections to alternate universes? Was it something else? By the time anyone had even the rudiments of a comprehensive theory, much of the excess power was draining away, leaving behind less than sufficient evidence to study.

Dr. Michael Donighal, who'd begun calling himself Divis Mal sometime in the latter half of the twentieth century, deliberately created a more powerful quantum disturbance in 1998. The so-called Galatea Incident was not an accident at all, but the result of careful planning and years of preparation on the part of Donighal and his allies. Unlike the Hammersmith incident, the 1998 disturbance was concentrated almost exclusively in the quantum medium. Dr. Donighal had apparently learned enough about Hammersmith's work through various channels, including studies of Donighal's own growing power, to concentrate on producing a more limited range of effects. Thus there was no boom in the population of psions to correspond to the sudden increase in the ranks of novas.

(Unlike Dr. Hammersmith, Dr. Donighal didn't rely on machinery to create his disturbance. He built up the power to do it in himself, with assistance from others in the still-secret Teragen movement. Instruments helped Donighal look for auspicious moments in the quantum medium, but the work itself was an act of sheer nova-class will.)

Where the Hammersmith event took a few years to wind down, Donighal's effect lasted for decades. Some scholars of the Trinity era speculate that he and/or others renewed it from time to time; at this point it's impossible to say for sure, since nobody in a position to discuss workings of Teragen inner councils remains both alive and available for examination in the 2120s.

Until August 3rd, 2122, this was all largely a matter of historical interest.

From what I can understand, the Inspired were simply affected differently by Hammersmith's wave than novas were by Divis Mal's wave.

So if you're asking if stalwarts have an M-R Node or not, I would say "not." I have no proof for this, because it's never been discussed, but it just seems logical given that they aren't novas and don't use the same ways to affect the universe (though they still manipulate Quantum).

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Quote:
Originally posted by Rorschach:

I mean a Mesmerist IS a Psiad, and a Stalwart IS a weak nova, aren't they?
Let's say the answers to those questions are generally of the "yes... and no" variety. Blue Thunder goes a little further in his views than I would but we both follow the same line of reasoning. At the lower level of power Mesmerists and Stalwarts transact on, there is no natural antipathy between noetic and quantum forces. To some degree it can be reasonably argued Telluric energy or Inspiration is in fact a manipulation of the composite of both of those forces. As the power level increases beyond the 1.5 dots of effect established as the design limit for Adventure! by the developers, a sort of polarization occurs. I think of noetic and quantum energies coexisting with a fragile membrane between the two seperating them. Manipulations beyond the 1.5 dots of effect tear the membrane, rupturing it, and then strange things begin to happen such as taint.

Yes Stalwarts probably do have MR tissue, likely in their brain, but the density isn't high enough to form a node as we understand it in the aberrant game. Could a Stalwart ever become a nova outside of a Hammersmith event? That can be argued from both sides but I would say they are less extremely disposed towards quantum manipulation than are novas. That is a Stalwarts limitation but then again its also an advantage since they will not acquire taint.
Quote:
Originally posted by Blue Thunder:
From what I can understand, the Inspired were simply affected differently by Hammersmith's wave than novas were by Divis Mal's wave.
True enough. My understanding based on comments made by Baugh and other developers is Donighal spent much of his time not only researching Hammersmith's theories but also refining them. Donighal likely believes novas to be the true evolutionary future with the noetic users and the lucky daredevils being little more than a curiosity. When Mal finally felt ready and initiated the Galatea event, he'd already refined the Hammersmith process to the point it would mainly point to the nova end of the spectrum. This is very likely related to why Galatea didn't create more "Lost Worlds".
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And it doesn't seem like the Venezuelan Phenomenon has created any Lost Worlds either. So while it has created Inspired just like Hammersmith's wave did, it doesn't seem to have infused the physical world with psi and quantum in the way that Hammersmith's wave did. The Norca were experimenting with Hammersmith's research, after all...they're not even sure what they did (or how to replicate it) but it didn't turn out exactly the same.

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According to your definitions, Director Thetis could he a Stalwart in 2008 : she's described as having "something close to a node", but she never really Erupted.

About Divis Mal, I don't want to look sneaky, but didn't he use to be a stalwart ( a pretty tough one)?

Is he really a nova after all?

It sounds not so bad: he doesn't seem to be tainted (hurmf, there was another post about this some time ago...). His Chrysalis could plausibly fulfill another purpose than taint release.

He might be closer to godhood than novahood after all smile

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Godhood is a matter of definitions not scientific classifications. wink

Regarding Thetis; there is some inconsistencies in the canon material. For instance novas ranging from municiple defenders to members of Team Tomorrow are asserted to have "secret identities" yet in other areas its heavily implied secret identities are nonexistent because the media would always find out the truth eventually. Other examples include whether there are children of novas: there should be but there is nothing provided definitively one way or the other. I bring these examples of canon ambiguity up because Thetis another where one developers vision seemingly doesn't, quite, synch with that of other developers and previously published material. Thetis has a "latent node" meaning she has apparently not erupted. To me this reads as a developer envisioning a node as always present and eruption is the process of the node "switching on" as opposed to developing in the process of eruption. I think the real take-away to this is a story teller is suppose to interpret the material to create a chronicle rather than consult the canon books as though they were the encyclopedia brittanica.

Yes, Thetis could be a Stalwart. Or she could be a latent. Or she could be a nova that's subconsciously repressed a desire for quantum abilities. It all depends on how you would like to define things in your game.

As for Mal, I personally believe he was one of those with the genetic potential to be a nova. He might even have been one of those lucky once in a century ones that actually erupt into a nova. Had he not been present at the Hammersmith demonstration he would still possibly have found himself as either a Mesmerist or Stalwart, and I say either because its the same genetic switch that controls both. Instead he was standing at ground zero of the Hammersmith event, closer than even Mercer, and he became what he became. As to what he actually became; one school of thought is he became the ultimate expression of the genetic potential possessed by Stalwarts, i.e. a nova. Another school of thought is he is the ultimate potential of a nova and as far beyond novas as novas are beyond Stalwart. The reality is something that cannot be proven definitively and is subject to interpretation. In developing Adventure!, Baugh said he treated Donighal as a 10-15 nova but notice the keyword is "treated". He never said Donighal/Primoris/Mal actually was a 10 point nova only that they treated him as such in the game.

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Ill buy that Thetis is a Stalwart...

I think a Stalwart is simply Nova-Lite... doesnt manipulate the universe, only their bodies, but also doesnt accrue taint.

I think Mal is just a really powerful Nova. And also, just because Mercer hasnt BEEN classified doesnt mean that he doesnt fit into a classification. It simply means nobody has figured it out yet.

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No, I clearly remember reading in Adventure somewhere that Mercer does not fit into any of the three known categories. He is unique.

I took the comments about Thetis to mean tha she is simply a strong latent. I seem to remember a book saying "though she has yet to erupt, she remains a powerful latent" or something to that degree.

I also think it is said that Donghal erupted as a nova during the hammersmith wave, bt I cannot confirm.

Sure wish I had my books here to confirm my assumptions...

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I do

"Mercer is unique in that its unknown what type of inspired he actually is" page 232

also, referring to Michael Donnighal

"He is most certainly a Stalwart, but one as far beyond the typical Stalwarts power as a Stalwart is beyond the common man"

also, referring to Thetis

"Director Thetis' baseline status surprises many who work for her. Although her IQ tops out at over 190, she uses no quantum powers, and her Mazarin-Rashoud node, while developed, remains latent."

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Here is a thought regarding Thetis.

She is fairly old, though not as old as Mal. What if she was a pre-1998 nova that somehow got on the bad side of Divis Mal/Primoris and got "Neutralized" via Quantum Supremacy?

It would explain two things. Why she has a developed, yet non-active node, and also why she wants to do what she does to Novas..... Revenge.

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Its a good idea but I think there are two major flaws in it

1 - its a big contrived. That seems such a major event that goes into back story between two major characters before the game started involving pre 1998 novas... too much

2 - Thetis is, arguably, the most dangerous non-nova on the planet... at least to novas. By her words, Novas live and die. If Mal had enough of a row with her to un-erupt her, he SURE as hell would be keeping enough track of her to make sure she wouldnt be in the position she is in.

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Unless of course it was the personality of Dr Primoris that wanted her in power. Or for that matter that neutralized her. Conceivably Mal may not even be consciously aware of it....

Personally though, if I got a chance to use a level 5-6 quantum power on Thetis, it would not be Quantum Supremacy.....

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...there is some inconsistencies in the canon material. For instance novas ranging from municiple defenders to members of Team Tomorrow are asserted to have "secret identities" yet in other areas its heavily implied secret identities are nonexistent because the media would always find out the truth eventually.

It isn't ambiguity. The media does try. It is very hard. Most people don't have cipher. But its also canon that some people have non-public IDs (Divis, Geryon, etc). They go to extreme lengths to maintain a non-public id. They also have either special training, special powers, special resources, or some combination.

However, most people do NOT have cipher. The 'true' Secret IDs are pretty rare in this day and age, especially if you aren't with the Teragen. I.e. if you don't have those "special" resources/training/whatever you get outed fairly quickly.

But "eventually" can be a long time. If Geryon is captured and/or unmasked then N! could fairly claim that his id is now public. But he had a good run. Or in other words, eventually cipher will fail given unlimited resources and enough time spent against it.

Oh, and "secret ids" don't have to be all that secret. Ask anyone what Totentanz looks like and you'll hear about the mask. If you look hard you can probably find a picture of his real face, but so what? Most people don't care all that much about the face behind the mask. That presumably also holds true for T2M and the other costumed foke. Pax could be recognized outside of his uniform... but could the untainted members of T2M? Especially if they only appear in public in a mask and don't have Mega-App?

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In the Trinity Player's Guide, there is a new Background called Identity which let's you have a fake ID as someone else.

With a bit of tweaking it could go from "a spy's secret identity" into "a nova's real identity"

I would also like to point out that people in Aberrant forums seem to think Caestus Pax has a secret identity, when his real name is revealed twice in the books. And is publically known too. The first is in Project Utopia, where his name is revealed to be Shelby, and then again by Ironskin in the Player's Guide QNA conversation.

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I would also like to point out that people in Aberrant forums seem to think Caestus Pax has a secret identity,

Not I. I just used him as an example of someone who doesn't, and unless he has lots of dorm, probably can't. Which also brings up that the true secret ID is fairly expensive. Dorm 5 + Cipher 5 is a lot of background points, and personally IMHO Resources 5 is more fun.

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I am aware of the specifics of how the cypher mechanic works, that not all novas are sterile, and Thetis has a node which by definition makes her a nova. I am somewhat less clear on why you choose to see cypher as a static condition with attempts to pierce the veil as being dynamic but dfferent interpretations will yield varying results.

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Quote:
Originally posted by Dr. Zero:
I do

"Mercer is unique in that its unknown what type of inspired he actually is" page 232

also, referring to Michael Donnighal

"He is most certainly a Stalwart, but one as far beyond the typical Stalwarts power as a Stalwart is beyond the common man"
Was just wondering if I could get the book reference and page numberfor the bit on Michael Donnighal.

Quote:


also, referring to Thetis

"Director Thetis' baseline status surprises many who work for her. Although her IQ tops out at over 190, she uses no quantum powers, and her Mazarin-Rashoud node, while developed, remains latent."
And the book and page number for this tid-bit as well.

TIA!
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Tommy, I agree with you about some ambiguities, resulting from differents writers writting at dieffrent times probably, and I think the universe is still very coherent ... when GM makes a few choices, as you say.

But about the "secret persona" ambiguity, I don't see it anywhere. Of course media would probably find many clues related to totentanz or Gothic knight civil ID, but in fact they don't really try to : it's not glamour enough, and would drop selling rates, you know.

It's all teasing and marketing plans, and that's for sure very coherent in a so hysterical, grimmy world as us, sorry as Aberrant's smile

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Quote:
Tommy Tomorrow:I am somewhat less clear on why you choose to see cypher as a static condition with attempts to pierce the veil as being dynamic but dfferent interpretations will yield varying results.
In theory you could lose dots of cipher from misplaying things, appearing without your mask, that sort of thing. But let's ignore that for a moment and assume that the player role plays his cipher (which is not something I've seen very often BTW).

Normal existing and actions should gradually reveal more and more about the character, but in theory cipher is supposed to prevent that. That's why Superman's/Batman's/Spiderman's ID is still pretty much a secret even years after they step into the public ring. In Batman's case it goes even further, even his existence is a matter of theory, not established fact.

This is where RL diverges from role playing. Over time, in theory, cipher should decrease. Over time the police should learn more and more about Geryon (just like they do with any other serial killer). Information gained doesn't go away, it just links up with other information. Most STs don't like the idea of punishing PCs simply for existing, so stripping away dots of cipher simply because lots of people are checking you out and you've been active for a while seems unlikely to happen.
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This is just an idea:

If in the case of Geryon, you loose dots in Cipher, you could replace them with dots in an Adversarial Background like "Wanted" (they can be found in Forceful Personalities). These backgrounds give you experience, rather than costing XP. The storyteller can use these to offset the 'punishment' of losing dots in a certain area. Of course being on a wanted list comes with its own hazards.

Sometimes, actions do have consequences.

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This is all about the way you conceive your game: some GM think that their universe follows the rules of the GAME itself. They'll follow the game mechanics even when they are strikingly illogical. Considering this point of view, a character with a secret ID and Cipher5 COULD go unnoticed even if the only effort he does is to put glasses on his nose when he's "off duty", 'cause the rules state that Cipher would protect him.

I just want to say that I don't "condemn" this kind of game : I use to play D&D just his way. I just think it's not very suited to Aberrant smile

Some GM will state that logic will superseed rules, so pcs will need to make some effort to conceal their IDs, even with Cipher 5 (they'll ahve to be "worth" of their Cipher). This kind of game is often more realistic BUT there are 2 big problems:

1) It calls upon logic and common sense, and there are often as many logics and "common senses" as there are players. So GM decision might get contested.

2) It is a bit unfair : the most adaptative, sneaky and intelligent PLAYERS will be rewarded, like in reality in a way, but don't forget it's just a game smirk

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