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Aberrant

A superhero RPG in the 'Trinityverse', taking time in a slightly different modern era with Novas (derigatory term Aberrants) being superpowered beings.

Inspired by comics such as Watchmen, the Authority and Astro City the game Aberrant attempts a more realistic approach to world building - novas commonly hold down “ordinary” jobs and many have a world-reaching impact. All share the same mutation which grants superpowers - a mutated organ (node) in the brain.

Like many superhero RPGs, Aberrant is a classless system. It is based on the Trinity (Exalted) version of the Storyteller system.

Mechanical features of note:

  • Mega-dice: Similar to the ordinary dice, Mega-attributes granted special, more effective dice which granted 2 success on a regular success and 3 on a 0 (Trinity Storyteller has 7+ as a single success, 0 as an exploding die success)

Game testing

Creating characters

  • The basics are simple - distribute dots according to preference for a basic human (with points-buy for additional customization), then there is points-buy(nova points) for super powers
  • The hero idea is that people will want to buy things cheaper to have decent powers with the Aberration mechanic. In practice, since it halves the cost rather than grants a set amount of points, people will only buy the most expensive things with it
  • Mega-attributes are comparatively cheap (3) per dot while powers depending on level are rather expensive (1, 3, 5).
  • Modifications I've personally used: Powers cost according to level (so 1, 2, 3 nova points instead of 1, 3, 5)
  • Modifications I've considered: Mega-attributes granting auto-successes or being a boost mechanic, the Aberration mechanic granting points (and not just during character generation), separate and more generic NPC mechanics.

In play

From a player perspective, the game runs mostly smoothly. Mega-attributes do slow the game down a lot, which is helped by having differently patterned dice for them. Also, as with Trinity and Exalted, marking the dice differently on 1, 7-9 and 0 speeds up success-counting - however apparently this was obscure technology back in 1999 so official dice for this game aren't marked like this (it's a mix of 6 dice in one colour and 4 in another).

From a GM perspective, I find it can get really bogged down generating NPC stats and powers if you're using the rules in the book (which are the PC rules) rather than throwing them out and winging it.

Summary

Verdict (Max Raven): Probably the best superhero of its era, but with several flaws. I like it slightly more than More than Human, but that's because I find Volt rather unwieldy as a basic system. I'm sure there are better superhero games out there, I just haven't played them yet.

Supplements:

  • Aberrant Storyteller's screen and companion (Gamemaster's screen with adventure & background sourcebook)
  • Aberrant Worldwide: Phase I (adventure book)
  • Aberrant Worldwide: Phase II (adventure book)
  • Aberrant Players' Guide (background and rules expansion)
  • Aberrant: Year One (setting book)
  • Project Utopia
  • Teragen
  • The Directive
  • Elites
  • Underworld (solely available in electronic form)
  • Brainwaves (unpublished manuscript released by author Steve Kenson, solely available in electronic form)
  • Exposé: Aberrants (mini sourcebook)
  • XWF (mini sourcebook)
  • Fear and Loathing (mini sourcebook)
  • ReignofEvil.com (mini sourcebook)
  • Church of Michael Archangel (mini sourcebook)

Published by White Wolf in 1999. Currently owned by Onyx Path. Discontinued.

Links: Official Onyx Path site

aberrant.txt · Last modified: 2017/03/10 07:36 by maxraven

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