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Aberrant: Mutant High - Ultimate Aberrant: OOC Thread


Dave ST
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Let me pick your brains for ideas...

This was mentioned in chat some time ago and I thought I'd finally toss it out here. The concept is simple and complex all at once so bear with me.

Premise

Ultimate Aberrant. It's a game that is run just like a superhero game, it the antithesis of everything Aberrant stands for because quite frankly it is superfriends.

Concept

The PCs are high school aged 'mutants' (a la Marvel's mutants) and are stuck during a difficult time in their life: the discovering of their powers in a world that doesn't want them. With talks of Mutant & Supers Hero Registration the public seems to rally against them as 'their kind' does more and more property damage and harms the innocents caught in the cross fire every day.

Sent to a special, private academy away from the rest of the world (in quiet upstate New York, where else!) they learn to master their abilities and bond with their new family; the others at the school with them.

When the dangers of irresponsible mutants and other (dropped in vat of goo, and bitten radio active bugs) villains the students rise up and accept the challenge that if they are going to show the world they're the good guys, they can't do it if they're sitting on the bench.

Sounds like a Marvel game.

Basically. Except Marvel only serves as a means of reference so those who do not read comics could still relate. The technology is off the chain because of the super brains, and all the 'supers' are what we make them. The game will not be 'canon' Marvel, it will M&M with Aberrant's rules.

What kind of characters could we expect to see? Who're the villains?

There are 209 unused characters in the Aberrant: N!Prime section. I'm sure we could think of something. Imagine the super teams that could be born from them.

Awesome! Count me in!

Slow your roll there, I'm not proposing to run anything (yet). I'm trolling for ideas and input. Frankly I think it's an idea everyone could enjoy, but with the sheer amount of games going on around here I'm hesitant.

I would prefer to see an Open World game where everyone can contribute to the over all storyline (playing heroes who all go to the school together). Because honestly we haven't had a lot of games where we can get wacky with explosives and teenage angst. Plus, several people have wondered what Aberrant would be like under my guidance.

This theme and idea was the one I used that gave rise to Revenant and Artemis and a host of over 72 NPCs (like Primal and Contessa). It was zany, crazy, fun and filled with everything from adventure and excitement to love and drama (extra helpings of drama from time to time, they were High Schoolers after all).

Discuss, I want to hear ideas and opinions. I also want to hear any questions you have for me.

Oh, and for those curious, no. This has nothing to do with my 're-write the rules' project. That is just something I'm doing for grins and giggles on the side.

But, as you all know, I'm a notorious rule bender.

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If this turns into an open world game I'd be there in a snap. *slows his roll*

The question does arise, however: why not use M&M? I personally don't like d20. Aberrant would be more comfortable for me, but I think I am in the minority in that regard. M&M has a lot of good points and you admit that this really is more to the Mutants and Masterminds side of things than the Aberrant side.

I want to know more about backgrounds. Is there some overarching theme? Does everybody have a 'node'? Or can backgrounds be wildly different, as in...I think it is Joani's game? Can one guy have fallen in a vat of toxic waste and another be a 3000-year-old alien from Planet Trogdor? Your post seems to imply that this is possible, but I'm wondering if you or anyone else has a 'meta-explanation' in mind. Personally, I could live without one.

How four-colour? Ultimate is not Golden Age. How much camp is too much?

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I'd be for a game like this, though I do have questions.

1) Would this be an open world game with no real overarching plotline or not?

2) Would this game have moderators to act as arbitration between players?

3) Would the rules of the game be able to be changed if a majority of the players and/or moderators saw the need for it?

4) Am I correct in assuming there could be more than one school, or would there just be one?

I have others, but those mostly refer to character creation, any special rules we may or my not be applying, things that really don't matter till after the decision to hold this game is made.

I like the idea of it, and i believe this could be very fun. I would like to see this happen, and stay alive. Too many games start brilliantly, flare brightly, and die.

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The question does arise, however: why not use M&M?

Good question.
1. I hate the d20 system for super powers. It rubs me raw.
2. I've ran Aberrant as a 'Marvel' game before and broke about every damn rule they had just to make fun PCs and NPCs. I can work because I've done it. It was play tested for over a year and an a half with very little problems.

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I want to know more about backgrounds.

Let's start small, I might have to edit or redesign a few. For now let's back burner this one.

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Is there some overarching theme?

Good guys kick bad-guy ass and then stress frantically because their final is due by Monday.

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Does everybody have a 'node'?

No. Your abilities are completely genetic, no node. You are a mutant. If you need to know more about what a mutant is, read or wtch the X-Men.

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Can one guy have fallen in a vat of toxic waste and another be a 3000-year-old alien from Planet Trogdor? Your post seems to imply that this is possible

My post implies that the PCs would be mutants.

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How four-colour? Ultimate is not Golden Age. How much camp is too much?

If you mean 'can I be from the future'? No. You are a teenage mutant... maybe a ninja... turtle would be a stretch.

I've used Sentinel-like robots, laser tech, nanite war bots, and ever a 2-year old were-wolf mutant who kicked the crap out of someone for taking away his G.I. Joes.

The story is what the players would make it, but you knowledge of Marvel 'canon' would be of no help since this is not Marvel. I chose 'Ultimate' because it is a bit darker and more 'with the times' than some of the others. I especially like the Ultimate X-Men series, it's full of drama and dark, painful consequences.

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1) Would this be an open world game with no real overarching plotline or not?

Open world with about a real plot line as any comic... those things go on forever. The heroes finish one hurdle in their life and move on to the next threat three issues later.

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2) Would this game have moderators to act as arbitration between players?

Yes.

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3) Would the rules of the game be able to be changed if a majority of the players and/or moderators saw the need for it?

Yes.

I changed several during the 1.5 years we played through this at the table.

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4) Am I correct in assuming there could be more than one school, or would there just be one?

Why? Is there some reason you'd be too good to go to the same school as everyone else?
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This looks like it could be interesting, but like the others, I have a few questions.

How would powers work? I mean, would you be required to stick to a theme? (IE - Lava, Gravity, Magnetics, Entropy, Telepathy, Powerhouse, Energy Controller, etc) Or not?

What about Nova Points, if your going to use the Abberant system, going to set a certain number of NP's to buy things? If you don't have a node, still going to use the Node/Quantum background for the power source, just call it something different, or do you have another idea in mind? At that, what about the NP costs, sense those can vary?

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Just about everybody else has covered my questions. Just to make sure though, this is using (at least the basics) Abby rules. Just not using anything else abby (meta, plot, terms, etc.).

Question: Does this have to be an open world game?

Opinion: I think this is a great idea, if it's a ST driven game. And I would like in. If it's an open world game, I still think it's a good idea, I just won't be able to join you.

Comment: Could you give us a little more meat as far as the rules/changes would go... though, like Long said, those really don't matter until it's decided that you're going to run the game.

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I'm not generally a fan of 4 color stories, but this idea could be fun. Sounds to me like for this to be a success it will be greatly dependent on the players making their own fun via intra-character interactions.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Rev (should he choose to run/mod it) could throw some interesting plot at the players, but this kind of game will need lots of character driven interaction to be a success.

Most of my question have been expressed above. Will wait to see how this develops.

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Quote:
How would powers work? I mean, would you be required to stick to a theme? (IE - Lava, Gravity, Magnetics, Entropy, Telepathy, Powerhouse, Energy Controller, etc) Or not?

Yes, the characters would need to stick to some sort of theme. In fact, the best way to look at is to emulate a hero already in existence. Originality is dead, most of the 'themes' have been done before.

Revenant for example was originally modeled off of a cross between Rogue and Gambit. Through 'Soul Searching' he stole others' powers, was an accomplished thief, wore a trench coat, and lobbed kinetically charged 'Soul Orbs'. He stuck to that theme and added in some enhanced dexterity & Wits (Gambit) and some Stamina (Rogue).

He did not have super strength or invulnerability (he took that from his opponents) and I wasn't looking to make a god, just a guy with super powers. Over the course of the game Revenant had his butt whipped several times, but then again, all the villains and heroes get defeated. His lack of willingness to work as a team caused himself and others to fall victim to his pride.

Primal was modeled from Sabertooth, Edena Rime (NPC) was modeled off Emma Frost she just used organic ice instead of organic diamond. I had a guy modeled from Deadpool, Spider-Man, and our grand villain was a lot like Magneto except he used Gravity instead of Magnetism (Yes, he even ran a group of mutants called The Brotherhood just because I liked the name "The Botherhood").

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What about Nova Points, if your going to use the Abberant system, going to set a certain number of NP's to buy things? If you don't have a node, still going to use the Node/Quantum background for the power source, just call it something different, or do you have another idea in mind? At that, what about the NP costs, sense those can vary?

Calling nova points something else just because we're doing the game a different way is semantics. Their purpose doesn't change and they're only used for character creation anyway. What they're called isn't relevant.

Node/Quantum - A good question there. Originally the backgrounds and traits had their name changed, but their purpose was the same (except 'Node Pinging' was removed completely). Node was called 'Genome' and it represented the amount of power a mutant could draw upon from their reserves of energy at once.

'Quantum' was changed to 'Focus'. Now that I've read Trinity I can see that Focus and Psi are very close to each other in function. It's not like Aberrant where once you hit 'Focus' 6-10 you are summoning planets to smite your foes. 95% of the 'metahuman' (i.e. Mutants) population ranges in Focus from 1-5. It shows how much control your PC has over their powers affecting duration, range, and over all 'kick'.

Powers would remain relatively unchanged, except that 'Quantum Minimum' is removed. So, yes, you can have Temporal Manipulation at 'Focus 1'. It might seem broke, but everything the power relies on (duration, damage, range, etc.) all rely on this trait.

Elemental Anima and Mastery remain unchanged for the most part but all their suite powers are pretty much interchangeable. The reason for this is because it makes sense. Pyro can manipulate fire (Anima) and do pretty much whatever he likes with it, but can not make it from nothing. Johnny Storm can create fire, even while not bodymorphed (Mastery) but like Pyro can pretty much do anything he likes with it.

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Just to make sure though, this is using (at least the basics) Abby rules. Just not using anything else abby (meta, plot, terms, etc.).

Correct.

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Question: Does this have to be an open world game?

Opinion: I think this is a great idea, if it's a ST driven game. And I would like in. If it's an open world game, I still think it's a good idea, I just won't be able to join you.

Well, this can go either way honestly. Here's my views.

Play By Post - If I did this play by post there would only be about three people playing. I wish I had the time to keep up with things here but a PBP game would be incredibly difficult for me to keep open and run for several players to all enjoy it.

Open World - I prefer Open World for a very simple reason: it's open to everyone. People are free to participate, or not at their leisure.

The point of RPG-Post is to give geeks like us a place where we can all have some fun. If Declan wants to run a story-line involving some villain from his past, he can. If Malachite wants to get with Jasmine and Fox and investigate Fox's PCs mysterious origins in some abandoned lab site, they can.

The open world can 'run itself' with a mod (or mods) making sure things don't get too convoluted or messed up along the way (like nixing Fox's idea that he's a clone of the 7 greatest mutants that ever lived and no longer needs to follow a theme once he discovers it, sorry Fox. smile ).

I want it to be a place where all players are welcome, plain and simple. The only reason someone could no participate is through their on inaction (barring RL reasons).

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Comment: Could you give us a little more meat as far as the rules/changes would go... though, like Long said, those really don't matter until it's decided that you're going to run the game.

Balancing the Abby system is difficult but I made several 'on the fly' rules at the table that removed a lot of the problems with high soaks and 'pinging'.

For the most part though the average PC or NPC only had about an average of 17-25 soak (I think Reven's was only like 12 or so). That might seem odd to you but we weren't playing to 'win'. I have this knack for taking down people who make 'Me vs. the ST' characters.

While the powers were flying all about no one actually died simply because it wasn't possible. I nixed death and we just accepted that once in awhile our team got creamed. We'd ll wake up in our cells and proceed to devise some awesome escape attempt, so on and so forth.

We nixed 'Damage Adds', using them as a means of bypassing armor but never contributing as automatic damage. Most Powerful blasts would bypass soak completely (since [10] or [25] is a lot) but the randomness of the die roll for damage was still there (Sure loved those 2 successes out of 18 dice nights).

Special moves were incorporated, a spectacular attack that drained more energy than most but had added variables. Like Artemis's "Feral Wrath" that allowed her to unleash a barrage of enraged attacks (Quickness with no initiative penalty, every attack could either stun, knock back, or knock down). Or The Unholy's (NPC) "Feast of the Fallen" which allowed her to absorb health levels in a wide area reflexively instead of through activation. These abilities generally broke the rules and cost a lot more Energy (quantum points) than normal to use, but turned the tide of a battle a great deal.

The point is if we didn't like something, we changed it. We found a way to balance it and just went on. We cared more for the game than the rules. Trust me peeps, I've had some real stinkers in my day when it came to ideas and while running a game I just go with the flow change what needs changing, even if it needs changing 6 times until we get it right.

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Sounds to me like for this to be a success it will be greatly dependent on the players making their own fun via intra-character interactions.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure Rev (should he choose to run/mod it) could throw some interesting plot at the players, but this kind of game will need lots of character driven interaction to be a success.

I simply quoted this for the simple truth of the matter. Well said Fox.
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The question about NP's wasn't really about changing their name, but more as, were you going for the basic 30 NP creation system, or there were any tweaks you had in mind.

That said, the rest of your answer clarified it enough, should you do this, I'm in, Open world or not.

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Sounds like a cool idea, and I wish my own DM would make more on-the-fly judgements, if only to keep the game going, Rev. Most people have already asked what I wanted to ask, but I have one.

Eufiber: does it still exist, signifying that someone has a better Bulletproof Spandex suit than someone else, or did you just get rid of it?

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Eufiber existed. Simply because what's a super hero without his tights, right?

We went far beyond Eufiber though. Some stored Energy for you, some provided soak and was armored, other changed their shape into clothes (but usually not all three) but we invented a whole lot more..

I made Venom's Symbiote suit that boosted his atts while he wore it (and was actually the powers too), holographic array suit that cloaked you with a hologram to appear human (reduced social penalties for appearance)...

Basically, while we didn't think of a better name than Eufiber we had over ten different uses for pretty suits of spandex.

Mechanical costumes though (Iron-Man's armor, Rhino's armor, Scorpion's suit, etc...) were devices, not Eufiber.

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Quote:

The open world can 'run itself' with a mod (or mods) making sure things don't get too convoluted or messed up along the way (like nixing Fox's idea that he's a clone of the 7 greatest mutants that ever lived and no longer needs to follow a theme once he discovers it, sorry Fox. smile ).


Bah, foiled my evil plot!!! grin

Definitely sounds interesting and I like the way you describe your ST style on it. While sometimes the fun of a game can be the points and the 'growth' of the character over time; that takes a back seat to a good story and interaction between the players. When the players and ST/Mods are both on the same page about making the game fun then the points and such just become details and inconsequential.
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I want it to be a place where all players are welcome, plain and simple. The only reason someone could no participate is through their on inaction (barring RL reasons).


Or, someone can't RP in an Open World setting. I, for one, am not story teller enough to play in an open world game.

I can do all sorts of crazy things and come up with out of the box ideas for my PC; but when it comes to NPC's or dealing with the setting and/or deciding how the world reacts... that's just not something I can do.

I'm not ST enough for an Open World game; so I guess I'll be missing out on this.

Still think it's a really good idea. I hope someone will make a similar ST run game.
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Originally Posted By: Stargaizer
Still think it's a really good idea. I hope someone will make a similar ST run game.


You could always, y'know, give it a try. wink And, honestly, if Rev does get this going, why would someone make a campaign-driven game like it? We have few enough players/writers as it is.
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I can do all sorts of crazy things and come up with out of the box ideas for my PC; but when it comes to NPC's or dealing with the setting and/or deciding how the world reacts... that's just not something I can do.

Open world settings are no different than PBP settings. Open World is still a collaborative writing environment where players work together to write a story, in fact it's no different.

Open world setting provide the option for all players to ST scenarios, not just one. The game will not be short of STs, I hope. I run scenarios in WoD:A and it's open world. In fact, I spend more time STing in WoD:A than I do playing my character, and you'd not believe the amount of prodding I get because I'm not moving fast enough or coming up with ideas to cover all three plot threads that might be going on at once.

I'm one person, I want a world that requires little maintenance. WoD:A is complicated and more 'real' than a game of mutants running around playing hero and getting into brawls at breakfast because Revenant pushed Player-X's head into their oatmeal... again.

At the risk of sounds cold Star, if I had the option of pleasing one person over pleasing several, I'd go with several every time. If it's not being able to think of things for your character to do than I can assure you there are over 15 writers (myself among them) on hand here at RPG-Post who would be more than happy to help get you in the game, all it takes is a willingness to try.
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Let's look at it mathematically.

Look at an average like this simple form.

1) Average Attribute is 2. Assume a skill of 2 for this exercise.

4 * 4/10= 1.6 sux.

2) Average Attribute scaled up is 4. Same skill.

6* 4/10= 2.4 sux.

Now crank it up to Maximum!

For assumptions, max attribute and ability skill.

1) 5 Attribute + 5 skill= 10

10 * 4/10 = 4 sux.

2) 10 attribute + 5 skill = 15

15 * 4/10 = 6 sux.

Essentially, making it 1-10 allows for a higher powered game, though it somewhat depends on starting creation rules.

I have no preference, just laying facts out for others to mull over.

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1-5 is perfect human (technically 1-4 is human range).

1-10 permits super strong 'perfect human' characters without Mega's. I could name off several 'perfect humans' who posses high atts, but no megas. Wolverine does not posses Mega-Str but is capable of great feats of strength (in the 6-7 range).

If we went 1-10, NPs would only grant 1 Att dot at character creation, not 3.

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Just to be clear, Megas do still exist and can be purchased?

Also, I know how much Rev and others here hate max stat characters. Do we want to institute a rule that only one or two stats can be max'd at creation and that others have to be in normal ranges?

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1-10 Attributes sound like a neat idea, just a few concerns about how they interact with Mega-Attributes. First off, what's stopping anyone with a Mega-Attribute from buying a normal attribute above 5 and stacking the effects.

The other is thing is, will buying normal attributes be cheaper? Because when you start going over 5, they will cost more then the Mega-Attributes, even though it seems you'll be getting less benefit.

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Megas still exist (how else can we lift 100 tons?) but are still limited by your Focus (Quantum) score per the book.

So if your Focus is 3 your Intelligence can be 7, but you Mega-Intelligence is maxed at 4 (Focus +1, per standard rules).

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First off, what's stopping anyone with a Mega-Attribute from buying a normal attribute above 5 and stacking the effects.

I don't get it... if you have Dex of 6 and Mega-Dex 1... you'd roll like normal.

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Sorry, I was picturing normal Attributes above 5 as the realm of 'perfect' humans and Mega-Attributes for 'superhumans'.

I guess there is no real problem with them stacking, but I'm still curious about XP costs. Raising Dex to 6 for example, would cost 20 xp, whereas buying Mega-Dex 1 and 2 would cost only 11xp total. That seems like a steep price to pay for sticking to your concept.

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Well, standard rules still apply.

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Megas still exist (how else can we lift 100 tons?) but are still limited by your Focus (Quantum) score per the book.


So largely except for the semantic renaming of certain terms and theme requirements, plus Ability 1-10, things work just like regular Abby?

Either way, I'm definitely in.

Curtis' Ult. sheet is nearly done in rough draft terms.
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Keep in mind that Powers like Boost require you to increase your Att above 10 before it starts to give megas.

I'm fine with Fox's idea as well, seems reasonable. Keep in mind that Attributes are a part of themes as well, just because you can go to 10 doesn't mean you should go to 10. This is not Aberrant Core where perfect people are shat out because they have a gene others do not. Most mutants are regular people, soft and squishy, and it's their powers and skills that keep them safe.

Perfect 5s across the board will earn you a kick to the junk. As most players will most likely begin as youngsters new to their powers they'll be more likely to have average stats, with perhaps one or two above the human norm.

Revenant for example would prolly have 3-4s in psysical Atts, but a 4-6 for Stamina (Undead Fortitude) while his other atts would range in the 2-4 range.

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Looking on it, if progress in this game is awarded in NPs instead of XPs, then my concerns about the Normal Attribute 1-10 and Mega-Attributes go away, since the people who want to stick to Normal Attributes aren't getting shafted.

Oh, and since this seems to be open world, I'd be willing to join in the fun, since I could post at my own pace, mostly. grin Starting to get stretched pretty thin.

I'd probably revamp either Bombshell or MegaGirl for Mutants-High, if no one has any objections. Leaning more to MegaGirl at the moment.

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