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Aberrant DRYH - Don't Make Your MR-Node Explode

Christian A

Wyrm no more
Validated User
(as I said before, not good with thread titles ..)

Let's do Aberrant next!

This is a companion piece to my Werewolf and Vampire DRYH threads. As with Vampire and Werewolf, it's not a straight conversion to the DRYH system, there are also a few of my own setting ideas in there.

Key points:

SIMPLICITY - there are no attributes. No skill lists. Character generation should, in terms of systems and rules, take a couple minutes at most. During gameplay, there is one simple mechanic for dice rolling that governs skill checks, uses of quantum powers and everything else. It's always the same roll.

MORE POWER = TAKING RISKS. All novas can do things baselines can't, but they still have ways to go above and beyond "safe" uses of their abilities. By calling upon more and more quantum energies, forcing their MR-nodes to tap into the basic energies of the universe, novas get to do grand, terrible things - at a price. Tapping the greatest of their powers carry great risks to a nova's mind and body.

POWERS ARE FREEFORM - although powers still have dots, each dot doesn't have a distinctive effect. Powers come with a general description of the things they can be used for in the game - it's up to the player to come up with specific effects. This is also connected to the "simplicity" key point as mentioned above.
 

Christian A

Wyrm no more
Validated User
Players need a number of coloured 6-sided dice to play novas - 3 white (Control), 6 red (Energy) and 6 black (power dice) at the point of character generation.

Novas are defined as a whole by three traits - Control (white dice), Energy (red dice) and Powers (black dice). In addition, they have a pool of power points, called Quantum; as well as a point mechanic representing the overuse of their powers and the assorted dangers, called Stress.

Novas have Mega-Attributes and Powers (supernatural abilities that aren't human abilites greatly increased to superhuman levels). Mega-Attributes are powered by their Energy dice.





Character Generation:

Think up an interesting character!

Your starting Control is 3 (meaning that you'll start with 3 white dice)

Your starting Energy is 6 (meaning that you can get up to 6 red dice).

Select one of the three available builds for novas

a) Choose one Mega-Attribute. Pick four Powers, and give one of them 6 dots, the next 5, the next 4 and the last 3 dots.

b) Choose two Mega-Attributes. Pick three Powers (6, 4 and 2 dots).

c) Choose three Mega-Attributes. Pick one Power at 6 dots.

Your starting Quantum points (Quantum is your power pool) are 3, you start with 0 wounds, a Stress of 0 and no Energy dice.

That's it!

Example character sheets:
Recently Erupted Bollywood Actress
Control 3
Energy 6 - Charisma, Appearance, Wits
Shapechange 6
Quantum/6:
Wounds 0
Stress 0
XP 0

Your average combat-focused Elite
Control 3
Energy 6 - Strength, Dexterity
Telekinesis 6
Quantum Bolt 4
Force Field 2
Quantum/6:
Wounds 0
Stress 0
XP 0

Directive Spy
Control 3
Energy 6 - Perception
ESP 6
Information Manipulation 5
Telepathy 4
Psychic Shield 3
Quantum/6:
Wounds 0
Stress 0
XP 0
 

Christian A

Wyrm no more
Validated User
Dice pools and rolls:

When rolling an action, always roll all Control and Energy dice available to the character. If the use of a power is appropriate, you may add a number of black dice up to your power rating.

Prior to rolling, you may choose to call on your Energy and take one additional Energy die. This gives you a better chance of success, but it also brings you a little closer to overload.

Use 6-sided dice. Each die that comes up with a result of 1, 2 or 3 is a success. The number of successes determines success or failure of the action.

After having counted the number of successes, check for dominance of a dice pool. The highest dice of each color the player rolled are compared to determine whether Control, Energy or Power dominate.

If Control dominates, you may add 1 to the number of successes OR discard one Energy die OR discard one point of Stress.

If Energy dominates, the storyteller can either inflict mundane, non-quantum related difficulties on the player, or he'll give the player one additional Energy die (which makes it even more likely that Energy will dominate in the future).

If Powers dominate, the storyteller can either inflict quantum-related difficulties on the player, or he'll give the player one point of Stress.

The player may choose to spend one point of Quantum to ignore the effects of Energy or Powers being dominant.

Discard the black (Powers) dice after your roll, but keep all white (Control) and red (Energy) dice.

Should the number of Energy dice in your pool ever increase above your Energy rating (6 for starting level characters), bad things happen. The character experiences overload and is considered inactive for the rest of the scene.

The point is, your Control (white) dice pool is your 'safe' dice pool, but it's also the smallest pool. You increase in effectivity by taking Energy (red) die, but they also carry the risk of Energy being dominant and of you being forced to take even more Energy dice, until you'll eventually snap.

You can also increase your dice pool by using Powers - but those carry the risk of you gaining Stress points and the associated problems and madness.
 

Christian A

Wyrm no more
Validated User
Mega-Attributes:

Mega-Attributes represent mortal abilites that the nova can use at superhuman levels. Mega-Attributes can be used to further augment your dice pool. There are minor and major uses of a Mega-Attribute.

Minor uses can be used for free - take one additional success.

(Example: the Bollywood actress uses her Appearance Mega-Attribute to charm a possible contact. She rolls her Control dice - 3 - plus her current Energy dice - 2. There are 3 successes. Due to her performing a minor use of the Appearance Mega-Attribute, she effectively has 4 successes.)

Take one additional Energy die to your pool when performing a major use of your Mega-Attribute. After rolling, you may add the number of Energy dice in your pool as additional successes.

(Example: Count Raoul Orzaiz uses his Strength Mega-Attribute to strangle some assassin the Directive was stupid enough to convince to try to kill him. Seeing that he has decided to perform a major use, he adds a Energy die to her pool. He then rolls his Control - 4 white dice - plus his current Energy rating - 3 dice - for 4 successes. He gets an additional 3 successes (his current Energy dice pool) from his major use, so he's at 7 successes.

You'll notice how novas don't have skill lists - this is because (human) skills matter less to novas in the context of this system than their Mega-Attributes and Powers. A nova's skills are determined first by context and and by the nova's background and education, and secondly by his Mega-Attributes.

Here's a list of all available Mega-Attributes - as fans of Aberrant, you might find this list familiar:

Strength
Dexterity
Stamina
Intelligence
Perception
Wits
Charisma
Manipulation
Appearance







Stress points:

Stress points represent the character's overuse of his quantum Powers. Stress points are the price a nova pays for invoking his Powers and using too many dice.

For each 4 Stress points a character has, the character must exchange one white (Control) die for a black (Powers) die. This increases the chance of Powers being dominant in future rolls, making it even more likely to accumulate Stress points.

Stress points are the storyteller's arsenal for influencing a nova in thematic, appropriate ways.

.) A storyteller may dictate that the nova's appearance changes for the rest of the scene, making her look decidedly inhuman. People who see her will instantly know her as a nova. The player may discard 2 Stress points.
.) When a nova uses a Power and fails, the storyteller may dicate that the Power backfires and causes negative, unpleasant (interesting) effects. The player may discard a number of Stress points as per the gravity of the effect (usually somewhere between 1 and 3).
.) When a storyteller wants a character to act in a particular way that is detrimental to the nova's goals, the player may choose - if he agrees - to play his character as per the storyteller's wishes. This is a reflection of the momentary lack of restraint and insanity caused by the character's Stress. The player may discard a number of Stress points that the storyteller allows. The player's actions need be thematically appropriate and in some way detrimental to the character's goals, or at least distracting. The player can opt not to adhere to the storyteller's wishes, but then he doesn't get to discard Stress points.







Quantum points:

Quantum points are a nova's "power pool". Novas may possess up to their Energy rating (6 for starting characters) in Quantum points. Quantum points can be expended by buying off Energy or Powers dominances.

(Example: the Directive Spy currently has 5 Energy points. She makes a roll. Energy dominates. The storyteller tell her to add a Energy die to her pool. This would bring her awfully close to overload, so she spends a Quantum point instead.)

Quantum points can be regained in various ways.

+ (Control) Quantum points at the beginning of each day
+2 Quantum points when meditating for at least one hour - this can be attempted only once per day
+3 Quantum points when choosing to take 1 Wound - this Wound cannot be regenerated by the use of any Power.
 

Christian A

Wyrm no more
Validated User
Powers

This is where the fun is!

Powers can be used to achieve various supernatural effects corresponding to the thematics of each Power. The dice pool is as usual - a nova's Control (white) plus his Energy dice (red) plus a number of Powers dice (black) he chooses to use, up to his number of points in the Power in question.

(Example: The Bollywood Actress has a rating of 6 in the Shapeshifting Power. She can roll up to 6 black dice when using the Shapeshifting Power, in addition to her Control (white) and Energy (red) dice)

More black dice means more successes and more power, but also a higher chance of Powers being dominant, which give a nova Stress points and associated madness.

Some supernatural effects might require a nova to have a certain minimum rating in a Power. The storyteller has the final decision in the matter.

(Example: with her Telepathy rating of only 4, the storyteller doesn't allow the Directive Spy player to attempt to find very specific, narrow, well hidden memories of a particular Project Utopia operative.)

Some powers are more broad, thematically, than others. A nova might burn someone alive with both the Quantum Bolt power and the Elemental Mastery: Fire power. In this case, I recommend using a very simple rule: the more specific the power, the more potent its application. When burning someone down, 5 successes for Quantum Bolt are more effective than 5 Elemental Mastery: Fire powers. Narrow powers are more potent, but less, well, broad in scope.




Here's a non-exhaustive list of powers:

Absorption
Animal/Plant Mastery
Armor
Body Modification
Bodymorph
Claws
Clone
Cyberkinesis
Density Control
Disintegration
Domination
Elemental Mastery
Empathic Manipulation
Entropy Control
ESP
Flight
Force Field
Gravity Control
Healing
Holo
Immobilize
Immolate
Information Manipulation
Invisibility
Luck
Magnetic Mastery
Matter Chameleon
Matter Creation
Mental Blast
Molecular Manipulation
Poison
Pretercognition
Psychic Shield
Quantum Bolt
Shapeshift
Shroud
Silence
Sizemorph-Grow
Sizemorph-Shrink
Spatial Manipulation
Telekinesis
Telepathy
Teleport
Warp
Weather Manipulation
 

Christian A

Wyrm no more
Validated User
Taint

Taints are aberrations and deformities of a nova's physique or mind. Novas who possess a Taint look invariably inhuman and, barring effective power use, cannot be recognized as baselines.
Taints can also be weaknesses and vulnerabilities towards certain stimuli.

A Taint should never be a good thing, narratively - Taints make a nova's life more difficult.

Any nova may accept a Taint at any moment. The nova permanently marks the Taint on his character sheet. The storyteller instantly awards a player with a number of XP that can be spent when gaining the Taint or at any time later. The number of XP should be determined as per the severity and gravity of the Taint - somewhere between 6 and 10 XP.

Novas may possess up to their Control in Taints.

Taking on a Taint is a very quick route to power that any nova can follow at any time - but it carries obvious downsides. Taints aren't fun.





Health, healing wounds and Stress

Characters have three Wound levels. Getting hurt means switching to the next Wound level (0 -> 1 -> 2 -> 3). Characters with more than 3 wounds are inactive or dead, depending on storyteller decision.

Characters lose (Wounds minus one) successes of all rolls as wound penalties. Thus, a character who has 2 wounds has one less success on all rolls.

Novas heal 1 Wound every day.

Novas who possess the Stamina Mega-Attribute possess 3 plus (their Energy divided by 2, round up) Wounds. They heal (their Energy divided by 2, round down) + 1 Wound every day.

Energy dissolves in times of peace and calm - the storyteller may give the character the choice to discard a number of Energy points per scene.

Stress disappears through sleep and rest - 2-4 points of Stress per night of sleep, depending on how much rest the nova gets. Novas may choose not to sleep without penalties - in which case they don't discard Stress.






Experience

Characters receive
.) 1 XP for free at the end of each session
.) 1 XP for achieving significant goals
.) 1 XP if the character rolls a failure and decides to transform it into a dramatic failure (up to once per session).
.) 1 XP if the nova has experienced overload at least once during the session
.) 1 XP if the nova has had 4 or more Stress points at least once during the session

Buying 1 extra Control dice - 10 XP
Increasing one's Energy rating - 1 XP for each Mega-Attribute the character possesses
Additional Mega-Attributes - the character's Energy rating in XP
Increasing one's rating in a Power - 1 XP for Powers below a rating of 7, 2 XPs for Powers higher than 6.

Example mid-level character
Count Raoul Orzaiz
Control 4
Energy 8
Mega-Attributes: Strength, Stamina, Charisma
Luck 8, Empathic Manipulation 8
30 XP

Control is fairly expensive because it's powerful - one extra Control die means one extra die for all rolls. It also increases the chance of Control being dominant, meaning that it's safer to use those Energy dice and your Powers.

Your Energy trait defines how much use you can get out of your Mega-Attributes.

Higher Power ratings means you get to use more dice when using your Powers - they also give you more flexibility as to how you use your Powers.





Baselines

Baseline humans generally only exist in terms of dice pools. A human character doesn't have a Control or Energy trait, he has, for example, an "Empathy" dice pool of 4 or a "Close Combat" dice pool of 5; whichever is appropriate. When I think up NPCs, I generally write up three appropriate dice pools and improvise the rest.

Example:
Anne, baseline sister of one of the PCs
Tough girl: 4 dice
Socialize: 5 dice

Humans should always have less than 6 dice in their pools - anything beyond that is nova-level ability.
 

TheRoleplayer

Nowhere Man
Validated User
Still need to digest the whole thing (spot the subtle differences between these and the other hacks), but let me say you've got yourself a big fan here. These conversions are quite inspiring, to say the least. You should totally add them to your signature.
 

Christian A

Wyrm no more
Validated User
Glad to hear! I'll post more DRYH conversions once I'm back from vacation, assuming I survive meeting the wife's parents.
 
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