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Aberrant RPG - System Questions


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moving to this new post I will.....post my new questions, both from myself and some of my players wanting a second opinion.

Willpower and Mega-Socials.

First Impression:: Can A Nova burn a Willpower to NOT like the person and be immune to the effects of First Impression.

Soothe:Same question except to resist being calm and acting violently with a Willpower point blown.

Or would you simply allow them to roll if they spen a willpower as the mechanics state that it is automatic?

Then, as far as some of the other mental/social megas that are automatic or unresisted, can a willpower point allow a resistance roll or auto resist? For instance; Lie detector enhancement. It states that the expenditure of a quantum allows the Nova to AUTOMATICALLY know if a lie is being told.

And I have more where those came from. eek

[ 03-07-2002: Message edited by: Asche Lonn ]

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You should be aware that the underlying assumption, a nova using willpower to brute force resist the impulses and desires caused by being subject to mega-socials and enhancements, is fraught with peril. Any player that takes this approach will eventually be wadded up like a gum wrapper and tossed in the trash.


Because statistically any nova have more quantum points than willpower points. Nova A burns a quantum point to activate an enhancement while nova B burns a willpower point to resist. Guess who runs out of points first?

And of course this applies only to novas. Generally speaking, baselines don't even get the chance to use willpower this way. Life isn't fair and neither is genetics.


First impression;

Immune? No. You want to be immune then you should have bought your mega-socials at a higher level so you could laugh at the puny attempts of inferior beings.

Resist? Now that's a different story. You could spend the point of willpower to resist acting in accordance with how you feel about the individual due to how likable they are and how much you want to please them 'cuz they're such swell guys. This is a very important distinction.

In other words, the player is burning the willpower point to act contrary to the way they want to act and damn the consequences. Note that this is not carte blanche to 'dislike' the individual; only to resist their urges and act (possibly) as if they dislike them for a short period of time.

So, if someone were attempting to resist their inclination to like a nova using first impression, they should have a good reason why they would choose to do so before the enhancement is used on them. Personally, I want to see the player roleplay this and explain his actions in character. If he fails then he needs to find a hobby more commensurate with his limited roleplaying skills like... Checkers.

Possible house rule(s):

1. I have seen a group use a house rule that anyone possessing mega-attributes at twice the level of those being used against them may resist in a straight resisted roll. This rule I sort of liked.

2. A house rule that stipulated that if you possessed an identical enhancement you could activate it and then be allowed the opportunity of a resisted roll. The theory was that the competing enhancements cancelled each other and thus it came down to raw power of mega attribute vs mega attribute. I thought this was cheesy but it takes all kinds.


The answer is already in the description. You may want to re-read it.

In General:

It's up to the ST to decide whether spending a point allows the possibility of a willpower roll or simply negates the effect for a turn. Personally, I don't think it really matters since either way you go with this, it's eventually going to come back to haunt you. Usually when you least expect it. My personal opinion? Make them burn tthe point. I'm not a big advocate of ST's screwing over the players but the bottom line is that nova powers are either pretty awesome or they're just cute abilities. It depends on the flavor of game you want to run. If you allow willpower rolls you are going to lessen the impact of nova powers and players are going to complain about how they can't do anything. If you force them to burn a willpower point that (a) gives them an option for resisting while not (B) lessening the incredible reality bending affects of being able to manipulate quantum energies mentally.

Special Case (Lie Detector):

I think you need to re-read the sub-paragraph labeled System which can be found under the enhancement description. This enhancement does not automatically enable the nova to know if a lie is being told. There are shades of variation and conditions placed on it.

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One house rule I read that was pretty kewl was that yes, you can spend willpower points to resist MegaSocial effects for 'one scene' by spending willpower points. One point spent for each point of MegaSocial the nova influencing you has. This can be pretty expensive, especially if the nova in question has the one-two punch of MegaCharisma and MegaManip.

"You don't find me irrisistable and charming? Fine, then how about I just try to convince you?"

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One thing to note about these mega-social enhancements is that almost all of them are short-term effects. You might like someone using 1st Impression for the scene that the enhancement is active, and for as long as you remain in their presence...

But that doesn't mean you'll keep liking them afterwards. Indeed, most people will realise how they were manipulated and be a bit ticked off about it.

One reason why, in the games I've played, mega-social enhancements weren't used much to "make friends"...just to influence people.

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Stheno: you said:

"One thing to note about these mega-social enhancements is that almost all of them are short-term effects. You might like someone using 1st Impression for the scene that the enhancement is active, and for as long as you remain in their presence...

But that doesn't mean you'll keep liking them afterwards. Indeed, most people will realise how they were manipulated and be a bit ticked off about it."

But the Core book states in First Impression: ".....The good impression will remain with the other person until the Nova does something to ruin it...or OTHER people convince the target of first impression that he has the nova all wrong."

So, with Firsat impression, you will never get ticked off about it as you will never know what happened. Only that some others might not like the nova and you got a different idea about him/her. Its powers like that one which concerned my players as the characters individually DO NOT know they are being played and thus cannot willfully resist liking them. Pair that with Soothe and some other socials and Blammo!! Mega Socials rule the world.

BTQ...lie detector was referrenced correct by me above. It tells the user if a Lie is being told. Period. No way to resist it, Only the Nova using it MIGHT be required a Wits roll to determine if a lIe is being told if the target is particularly good at lying.

I'm back into square one.

[ 03-10-2002: Message edited by: Asche Lonn ]

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BTQ...lie detector was referrenced correct by me above.

You're quoting the enhancement description and not the system definition of how the enhancement works. I agree that the system explanation does not provide the answer that you desire but that's not a defect of the enhancement. And it still doesn't prevent your statement from being incomplete and therefore inaccurate in the assertion that the enhancement will detect a lie -period-.

If your players want to be able to stymie this enhancement then they need to;

1. Buy the enhancements that would allow them to overcome it.

2. Brush up on their roleplaying skills and figure out avoid actually lying.

3. Make themselves crazy enough to believe that they're actually telling the truth.

4. Work through intermediaries that they have convinced that the lie is actually the truth therefore insulating themselves from the nova that could figure out they're lying through their teeth.

5. Or; you need to toss the enhancement out the window as being too disruptive to your particular game.

Besides, what is with this willpower roll kick? Another way to characterize this situation is as a player bitching that he's not allowed to make a willpower roll to stymie the effects of a polygraph test, which is what the enhancement basically is. Why would they be allowed to make a single willpower roll irregardless of how the power is defined by the nova possessing the enhancement? Why would they be able to make a single roll, with no skills augmenting, to be able to control their unconscious and / or biochemical reactions to every possible permutation of this enhancement?

Now if the enhancement is defined by the nova as his being able to hear the micro-stresses in the voice when a lie is told then the nova that bought the Voice enhancement is golden, isn't he? He gets to have phenomenal control of his voice and if he thinks to use it then he gets to place the lie detecting nova at a considerable disadvantage.

I'll be honest here, Asche. I'm not giving you crap for the fun of it. I really can't figure out what your difficulty is on this. The system description shows you the means to confound the enhancement if that's what you really want to do.

Nova A bought an enhancement that gives him insight into a particular and highly narrow aspect of the universe which leads to nova B is bitching that he can't stymie the enhancement with a simple die roll? Sounds pretty pathetic on the part of nova B. Drop the power, re-engineer it to avoid the aspects that are giving your players so much heartache, or tell the players to spend the points on things that would allow them to confound the enhancement. That seems to cover the possible permutations pretty neatly.

Just to insure you're not misunderstanding me here; when I say re-engineer the power I am also saying that if you as the ST feel everything should allow a willpower to resist then bloody well do it. The gaming cops aren't going to kick in your door and demand that you do it 'right'. Golden rule baby, ain't it beautiful.

Personally, I think you're going find that your player's are suddenly genning characters with willpower significantly above the bell curve average but what the hell. It's your game.
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There is of course another option which it suddenly occurs to me that you may not have thought of. Toss the mega-socials if they're becoming that problematic in your game. Straight out the window, do not pass, do not collect two hundred dollars.

Almost all of these affects could be done with actual powers so you're golden. Again, just in case this didn't sink in before; I don't understand why this is such a problem to you. But since it's your game and not mine, I don't have to.


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I am not being a bitch here at all. I want to get advice form people that are at least on the same page with me however. You said "You're quoting the enhancement description and not the system definition ....", well my friend, that IS form the system description. My book is right here in fromt of me.


I am not having a problem with Lie detector; I am having problems with this.

Mega Social Nova "A" walks into room and met Novas B and C. "A" has first impression and B and C have never heard ANYTHING about "A". B and C now think A is the best thing since sliced bread.

Sometime later, "A" meets B and C again. "B"s player wants to act mean and Hostile to "A". Well "A" has Soothe, Perfect Guest, and Dreadful Mien.

B and C want to act mean and hostile. Soothe says otherwise as "A" has made all his rolls.

Can not playes "B" and "C" blow a willpower to get a resistance roll for thier Novas even though thier characters REALLY DO not WANT to resist? I mean, they have no reason to act hostile and harbor ill-will. What is the justification in letting them blow Willpower. Its Bad role playing isn't it, for them to say that their Characters (B and C) want to hate "A" ?

Was that clear? I hope so.

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I think we're getting bogged down in a semantic issue. You mean resist in the class saving throw/means of negating the effect such as burning a willpower power point to resist. I mean anything that would cause a less than classically perfect result; such as possessing a number of enhancements, being a consumate liar, or actually believing what you are saying is true.

It's the old drill with a lot of possibilities. For example:

Nova A: (burns his quantum for lie detection and asks a question)

"Were you trying to kill me?"

Nova B: (Being skilled at subterfuge actually answers the question 'do you hate gaming?')

"God no! How could you ever think such a thing?"

The ST decides that this is good role playing for Nova B, who is described as a twisted bastard, and makes appropriate use of nova B's skills of subterfuge and manipulation. Therefore the ST makes Nova A roll a wits role vs a subterfuge roll by Nova B. The results are irrelevant but note that Nova B was very IC and that the 'resistance' cost him nothing but a roll.

This pretty much sums up all the ways to resist based on factors relevant to Nova B. There are permutations of course. In this example Nova B got to actively resist the enhancement based on his own skills, attributes and even mental condition like being a pathological liar.

This is also an example of why I say the statement 'this enhancement detects lie period' as being inaccurate.

Here's a teeny-tiny real world example BTW. About 15 years ago there was an FBI agent that was selling national secrets to the Russians. Knowing he was going to take his annual polygraph test soon, and that he would fail, he contacted his handlers and asked for assistance.

His handler's told him (quote) The best thing you can do is eastablish a rapport with the polygraph operator. Act friendly and be sympathetic.

In real life, he took the polygraph test and failed. It was reported as an equipment error by the operator and that the machine required calibration. The operator later admitted that liking the individual, who he had never met before, was a large factor in deciding the test result was unreliable.

Go figure.

On to your example though. I understand it but in light of the example I'm not sure what you're asking. You seemed to sum it up when you said it was bad role playing. So why are you trying to incorporate a mechanic that would allow the players to commit bad role playing and get away with it?

That's the part I'm having trouble with here. On the face of it, it sounds like you have the situation well in hand and need to turn this back over to the players to figure out the justification for the characters involved. If the justification is good then let'em blow their willpower point and take action. If it's poor then letem do it and then refuse to reward experience to the players involved at the end of the scenario.

Other than that, it sounds like you already want to make a house rule that allows them to burn the willpower point to resist for a turn. If it makes sense for your players in your game then go ahead. Like I said before, I think that overall it changes little since eventually any house rule the players make use of will be made use of by their opponents.

Of course really creative role players would quickly figure out that liking someone is not the same as kissing their ass. I mean, if they wouldn't give the access codes to Proteus Computers to their best friend that saved their life in childhood, then they probably aren't going to give them to nova A just because he's as well liked as their childhood friend. It sucks sometimes, and nobody likes feeling coerced but just turn it back to them to figure out the answer. They may surprise you and come up with some convoluted explanation that would allow them to act the way they want. If they can't and do it anyway then penalize them with the EPs.

Last time I saw this happen in game it got pretty ugly but the player figured a way out of the situation.

Sounds like a done deal to me.

[ 03-10-2002: Message edited by: Jack Chance ]

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