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Aberrant RPG - Nuclear Warfare


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I posted this over on the WW Trinity Universe forum, but since I went to all that effort (minutes, really, whole minutes!) I thought I'd post it here too, to be preserved for all time (well, a bit anyway).

Ok, someone had to do it I guess... I've written up some stats for a 1 megaton nuclear explosion. These are based on information from the article "Nuclear Warfare" by Steven S. Long in the "Hero System Almanac 2", which in turn draws on the book "Weapons" by the Diagram Group. Since people's RL opinions vary a lot on all this stuff you may well want to adjust things as you see fit (if you even care about this stuff...):

Immediate Radiation (Neutrons & Gamma rays): Out to a 1 mile radius this inflicts 1 unsoakable level of Lethal damage per turn, between 1 & 2 miles radius this becomes 1 level of unsoakable Bashing damage per turn (see Aberrant p.257). This effect lasts for about an hour before dropping off (see below).

Novas with Adaptability, Absorbtion (Energy), Invulnerability (Radiation), or Mega-Stamina 4+ are protected against this damage.

As an option STs may want to have this effect inflict temporary Taint as well, I'd suggest rolling 12 dice per character, each success inflicts one temp' Taint (with the posibility of temporary aberrations if 3+ points are gained at once, see

p.149) out to 1 mile, half that or less between 1 & 2 miles.

Flash: Effects a radius of between 13 & 27 miles in the day, 53 to 70 miles at night. This effect lasts for a turn. The damage it does lasts much longer - treat as a 15

dice "Lethal" visual Strobe attack. That means the Strobe successes take the equivalent amount of time to heal as that amount of Lethal damage, 8+ levels means permanent blindness (save for Regeneration or Healing powers).

Thermal Blast: This effect lasts 1 turn & inflicts levels of Lethal damage, amount based on how far away you are (a certain amount of variation for these ranges is offered) -

0-2.25 miles = [34]

1.8-3.5 miles = [24]

3.25-7.1 miles = [16]

5.1-8.0 miles = [7]

7.5-10.2 miles = [5]

9.25-13.25 miles = [4]

11.5-18.3 miles = [3]

(Wearing black increases the damage you take by 3 levels, wearing white decreases it by 3 levels, light & dark colours could have a lesser 1 to 2 level effect).

Electro-Magnetic Pulse: Effects a 12 mile radius (up to 50 miles for an airburst detonation). Roll a 12 dice EMP effect (Aberrant p.207 - 208).

Blast Wave: This effect lasts for 2 turns. Dynamic pressure (winds) causes most of the damage (from thrown debris, etc.) to people, static overpressure causes additional damage to hard / solid objects (like buildings & certain Novas). (Damage Dice) apply to all targets, additional [Damage Levels] apply only to non-soft / malleable objects -

Up to 1.4 miles = 670 mph winds = (34) [34]

to 1.8 miles = 470 mph winds = (24) [24]

to 2 miles = 380 mph winds = (19) [19]

to 2.5 miles = 290 mph winds = (15) [15]

to 3.1 miles = 225 mph winds = (12) [12]

to 3.8 miles = 160 mph winds = (8) [8]

to 4.8 miles = 116 mph winds = (6) [6]

to 5.9 miles = 70 mph winds = (4) [4]

to 10 miles = 48 mph winds = (3) [3]

(Damage from wind speed / debris is based on the rules for Vehicle Slams, Aberrant p.251).

Knockback rules (p.249) are recommended!

Negative Pressure: last for 4 turns after the Blast Wave ends, & inflicts 4 dice Lethal damage to the whole 10 mile radius (as air rushes back in to fill the vacuum created).

Fires: Between a 5 to 10 mile radius fires up to the "Raging Inferno" level (Aberrant p.256) will spontaneously spring up. Stamina rolls may have to be made to avoid loosing dice due to dizziness & overheating.

Lasting radiation, fallout, etc. are more plot devices than anything, but estimate that radiation levels drop to 1/10th each multiple of 7 hours (i.e. after 7 hours you take 1 Level of damage per 10 turns [30 seconds] in the area, after [7x7=49] hours you take 1 level of damage per 100 turns [5 minutes] in the area, etc.).

Don't forget to wear shades... ::cool

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Probably best to say, "Go on I dare your characters to survive!", since playing with weapons-grade plutonium at home is bad for your health... ::wink

Maybe it's best to just describe the device, then tell them the timer is going, "5... 4... 3... 2... 1...", & see how quickly they start powering up Warp & Hyperspeed! ::devil

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::sly I suppose that's as good a way as any to end a tired series. Right.. Ayre, you rolled a 6, a 9 a 3, and a 1, so that's- Oh, god, I can't take it anymore. A nuclear* bomb goes off in the players' vicinity; they all die agonizing deaths.

*Nucular no! Nuclear yes!

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To quote our game far too often to remember:

\"Go on Roll your soak...\"

You don't roll Soak in Aberrant, just one of the reasons I prefer the system to the WoD. Still, if it makes to soon-to-be-nuked PC's feel better... ::wink

I'm bored, so I thought I'd add to this with some thoughts on a nuke-proof Nova:

1. Get Mega-Stamina 1 + Adaptability. It stops the radiation damage, & helps against the secondary effects of the fires, etc..

2. Buy Sensory Shield 5, then add Regeneration to the Mega-Stamina as well. This should help prevent blindness from the flash. The Flash will probably average about 8 successes, so Sensory Shield 4 might cut it, but who want's to risk their eyes?

3. Get a Lethal Soak of 34 (68 to assure no damage), but avoid anything that redefines your character as "hard" or "solid".

So Bodymorph & Denity Control (Increase) are probably out.

Armour alone won't cut it (with a max Soak bonus of 19 if Superheavy is taken) & is often "hard".

Invulnerability would have to be taken for both the Thermal Blast & the Blast Wave / Negative Pressure & gets too costly. Still a 5 dot Invulnerability to Thermal Radiation is a good idea, since the Blast Wave damage is rolled (unless you're not a soft object) & probably going to be the lesser of the two evils. To have an Invulnerability to the Blast Wave would probably need the broad category "physical" since it's quite a varied effect (wind, debris, pressure).

Best bet is probably Force Field, so boosting that Mega-Stamina is a good idea.

With Quantum 5, Stamina 5, Mega-Stamina 5, & Force Field 5 we get an average Soak bonus of about 25. Add that to the base Mega-Stamina 5 Lethal Soak of 5 & we get 30. If we Max the Force Field he can probably up that to 34.

So, for a staring character, we spend 14 Bonus Points on Quantum, +10 Nova Points, to get Quantum 5. 15 Nova Points give us Mega-Stamina 5, 15 more give us Force Field 5, & another 5 give us Sensory Shield 5. The extra Enhancement costs 3 Nova Points. We presume a Stamina 5 from base Attribute allocation. That's 48 Nova Points! Darn. By Tainting the Quantum we can save 4 Nova Points. That's 44 Nova Points, but Tainting the Mega-Stamina or Force Field can only net us a saving of 1 Nova Point per dot, we'd end up with 17 Permanent Taint!

I'm guessing that there's no-way for a starting charater to be "nuke-proof". That's probably a good thing. ::confused

Anyone else got any ideas?

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Still bored. ::sleep

Name: Ronald Albert Durham

Nova Name: Mr Nukey - the living A-Bomb, AKA Ground Zero

Nature: Survivor

Eruption: Accident

Strength 4, Dexterity 2, Stamina 4

Perception 3, Intelligence 2, Wits 3

Appearance 2, Manipulation 2, Charisma 2

Brawl 5, Might 5, Athletics 3, Pilot 1, Endurance 5, Resistance 3, Awareness 3, Academics 1, Computer 1, Medicine 1, Science 1 (Nuclear Physics), Survival 3, Intimidation 3

Attunement 1, Backing (Nuclear Power Inc.) 1, Dormancy 2, Node 2, Resources 1

Willpower 5

Quantum 4

Quantum Pool 28

Taint 5 (aberrations: Glow, Bad Temper)

Initiative 5

Walk 7m, Run 14m, Sprint 26m

Quantum Powers:

Nuclear Blast:

Immediate Radiation: Poison 1 + Explosion (linked -3) [3+3 NP = 6]

Flash: Strobe 1 + Explosion (linked -3, range: touch -5) [1+3 NP = 4]

Thermal Blast: Quantum Bolt 4 (Tainted)+ Explosion (linked -3, range: touch -5) [2+3 NP = 5]

Electro-Magnetic Pulse: Magnetic Mastery EMP Technique 1 (brought as a Level 2 power) + Explosion (linked -3, range: touch -5) [1+3 NP = 4]

Blast Wave / Negative Pressure: Telekinesis 4 (Tainted) + Explosion (linked -3, range: touch -5) [2+3 NP = 5]

Costs 6 Quantum points per blast.

[Note that the Level 2 powers, except for Poison are all reduced to Level 1 by 5 Levels of Weakness - reduced range. All powers buy the Explosion Extra for 3 Nova Points + 3 Levels of Weakness - Linked, Simultaneous, no dice-pool penalty]

Bonus Points : +2 Quantum [14], Science Speciality [1]

Nova Points: +1 Quantum (Tainted) [3], Quantum Powers [24], +6 Ability dots [1], +2 Willpower [2]


Ronald erupted whilst at his job as a technician for a nuclear power company when a Nova supported terrorist group attempted to hold the plant to blackmail the government with. T2M assaulted the terrorists, & the reactor was breached. Bathed in deadly radiation Ronald should've died, but instead erupted - & what an eruption it was! His body spontaneously generated a miniture nuclear blast, laying waste to his surroundings. In the confusion of the blast & the battle no-one identified the angry glowing Nova as Ronald (the security cameras had been taken out by his EMP), & he escaped the scene. Eventually he managed to Dorm-down, &, after the clean-up at the plant, went quietly back to work, trying to forget about what happened.


Ron's power is singular, devestating, & almost completely useless (or so he thinks). He can generate a small nuclear-style blast from his body. The effects all happen at once, & are, for the most part, instant. Only the Telekinesis portion lasts for 6 turns (2 turns of Blast Wave, 4 turns of Negative Pressure), & the Poison portion (radiation sickness) lingers in the area. Even with the more variable Powers (like Poison or Telekinesis) he can only use them for his own specific nuclear blast effects. That's it.

Ron spends all his time Dorm'ed, & just wants to keep his head down in a dangerous world. He was a bit of a wimp before the accident, so he quite enjoys his new strength & might, even if it's not Mega-level, but he's afraid someone may notice the change in him & report him for blowing up part of the plant.

By himself Ron's pretty harmless. The problems might start if either: a) someone else finds out about his power & manages to control him somehow, or B) something really ticks him off - in his Nova mode he's mad, bad, & very dangerous to know!


Immediate Radiation: (6 Dice) + [4 Successes] Vs victim's Resistance to inflict radiation sickness

Flash: (4 Dice) visual Strobe

Thermal Blast: (16 Dice) + [8 levels] Lethal damage

Electro-Magnetic Pulse: (4 Dice) EMP Vs machine's "Stamina" equivalent shielding

Blast Wave / Negative Pressure: (6 Dice) + [4 Successes] worth of TK pushing everything away at the rate of 40 meters per turn for 2 turns, the pulling everything in at the rate of 20 meters per turn for 4 turns. This does as much Bashing damage as TK successes gained, although that may become Lethal if there's a lot of debris in the area.

All effects loose 1 success per 3 meters the target is away from the 3 meter diameter "ground zero" centred on Ron.

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In all honesty, I think that damage is WAY too low.... ::biggrin

Most of the players in my game would happily stand at ground zero with that if they knew what damage was going to be kicked out.....

And I don't really consider my players all that powerful (no-one has more than 3 dots in any given power, bar Density Decrease for one guy).

Frankly, I don't think players should be looking at a nuke and be thinking "hmm... if I max my forcefield, I can knock that down to about 3 dice damage.... Survivable!". IMO, they should be thinking "oh cr@p, it's a NUKE!!!". I've used a nuke in my game, as a time-bomb. The way it was dealt with? One of the Novas has Temporal Manipulation, so he did Time Stasis (he ain't proficient with it) for about 3 days as the mountain was excavated and a bomb squad was brought in.

Mechanics wise, a nuke is an explosion that begins at the Atomic level. Atoms are ripped apart. This would result in a massive burst along the Quantuum spectrum (including Strong/Weak forces).

As for real-world, we can't yet measure Sub-Quantuum energies (I think, not 100% on this).

Just for scariness-factor, I'd add in [100] damage from a Noetic energy burst. Unless you have INSANELY powerful Novas, they'll respect the nuke from here on out. ::devil

As a pointer, in the timeline, Bahrain get's nuked. Most Novas have been fighting a war for over a decade at this point, and most likely developing more and more powerful attacks and defenses. All the same, no-one survives Bahrain. Considering that I have Novas in my game (2009) that routinely have soak of 40+, how potent do you reckon the combat novas of 2062 will be.... ::nervous


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Quite simple really.

Stam 5 + Mega Stam 3 (resilient) = Lethal 6

Eufibre 3

Force Field 3 (8 dice, +3 mega) = Average 15 (3 successes, +1 mega success, +5 quantuum) (successes being doublied)

Armour 2 = 6

Total: 30 on an average Day

This is, of course, not counting a max for ForceField, rerolls for 10s, or a good roll.

Then there's the guys with Density Increas, plus Super Heavy Armour.

Perhaps I should have said "routinely getting 30+", but the guys usually roll well, usually hit at least one 10 and frequently Max their Forcefields (though mostly for duration).

I did see soak 60 in one session though. Just the once mind... ::cool

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Sorry i meant routinely 40+ soak, in the single session of "ridiculous" aberrant i ran, one of the players set up a character designed a mostly soak based pc that could take all but the meanest attacks and his lethal soak was 21 i think, maybe 23 and i was impressed, hell i was impressed by the other pc's soaks of 16 and 12.

By the way it was called ridiculous as it had many characters from Earthworm Jim, The Tick, and one of the most lethal super villains was Billy Ray Sirus (may God have mercy on his black, black soul! ) with his singing strobe attack.

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Hmmm, taking your 30 Lethal Soak guy (we'll presume he's got Adaptability with his Mega-Stamina):

He get's permanently blinded by the Flash (unless all your PCs buy Sensory Shield), just blinded for a long time if he's lucky &/or has Regeneration.

The Thermal Blast does him 4 levels of Lethal.

The Blast Wave does him 4 dice for 2 turns, so an average of about 4 more levels.

He can ignore the effects of the Negative Pressure (his Soak is more than double the damage dice).

Still, 8 levels Lethal kills a normal guy, but we need 9 levels to kill a Mega-Stamina 3 guy. But wait! There's more!

We don't know the guy's Might pool, so we'll give him 10 (unless all your PCs have Mega-Str). The Blast Wave throws him 48m per turn for 2 turns (Aberrant p.249) - a total of 96m Knockback. That inflicts a minimum of 48 dice of Bashing, if he doesn't hit anything else. After his Soak that's an average of about 9 levels of Bashing. (Technically a Lethal attack does half Knockback, but this probably comes into the realm of an "extremely potent" attack). In this case, on "average" he's still dead.

Now, if any of that Soak has also redefined the character as "hard" in any way (e.g. the Density Control - Increase + Superheavy Armour guy) he takes a bit more:

Still blinded, still takes 4 levels from the Thermal Blast, but then we get the Blast Wave. Now he's taking 34 Dice + 34 levels of damage. After his Soak that's 34 Dice + 4 Levels, we'll say an average of 21 levels of Lethal damage! Plus the Thermal Blast's 4 that's 25 Levels of Lethal - have your PCs got 25 Health Levels each?

Now take another look at the write-up: it's a 1 Megaton nuke. Even today there are nukes in the 50 to 100 Megaton range - what sort of damage do you think they do?

On the other hand, for certain novas this nuke write-up is pretty survivable (if not survivable whist remaining pretty ::tongue ). To make it even nastier just count the Thermal Blast levels & the Blast Wave dice together as a single attack in the first turn.

::devil ::devil ::devil ::devil ::devil

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well D&D players anyway, always complain that storyteller system has too many dice and die roles wait 'till they see this!!!

Umm.... I AM a DnD player/DM.

And no-one in my groups complain about the insane amout of dice, they think it's quite cool. ::cool

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sometimes it's cool having to collect all of your dice, then all of your friends' dice, and then re-rolling some.

but the most fun game i have going right now (the loooong prologue to my aeon crossover game) is with a player character whose max dice pool in anything is five.

it's cool because he's amazingly well-rounded.

that in contrast to the other trinity player who's super-focused.

and on topic, when i use nukes it's a countdown and then either death or evasion.

you may survive a nuke, but you won't survive all twelve.

you can't survive nukes, you can only hope to get far enough away from them.

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