Aberrant game, using the 2.1 ruleset and possibly some ideas I never managed to get to, like making other people spend your NP for you.
- 1 Background
- 2 New Concepts
- 3 Characters
In 2010, N-Day happened, bringing superhumans to a world that had until then been... not entirely prosaic, but certainly not this interesting. Heroes had come and gone, gracing novels and movies with their actions, remembered long after their retirement. But never before had there been such a massive effect on the fundamental operation of the world. The ones who came before were powerful, larger-than-life, more than capable of making great innovations or championing great causes, but never before had men and women been given the power to turn over the social order overnight. The Daredevils, Mesmerists, and Stalwarts were better than human-but still far closer than the next generation of man, the Nova,
The World of Adventure
The World of Adventure! is not entirely our world. In the 1920s to the 1940s, mad science and crazy inventions ran amok, heroes fought against villains on top of war-dirigibles using tesla rays. Nazi Germany had a successful genetic engineering program. In the 1980s, another unexplained explosion of men and women acting beyond mortal ken shaped many incidents in history. But in the thrust of things, everything happened largely the same. There were just more big names, and 80s action movies were more often than not based loosely on true stories.
Just how long the Moon has been inhabited by the Selenites is unknown, though its believed that the first inhabitants came from China more than four thousand years ago. Just how this feat was accomplished is likewise unknown, though presumably via some form of early psy abilities misattributed to 'magic'. Subsequent migration waves from the ancient Mediteranian, Scandanavia and Japan diversified the population; subsequent intermarriages have completely obliterated any historic racial differences and the Moon's population has been ethnically homogeneous for two thousand years.
Far more perplexing is the transition of conventional, historic humanity to the so-called Moon Rabbits (Homo Sapiens Selenus). Selenite myths speak of ancient, primordial ur-humans making the trip to the Moon, recognizing their historic differences. However, neither oral histories nor archeology shed no light on how the mysterious genetic mutation occurred or popagated so quickly and so evenly in all migration waves. The Japanese wave was the final migration and dates from circa 600-500 BCE, which was the only contact the Selenites would then have with Earth until the British starship Glory touched down in 1889.
The crew of the Glory discovered a coastal civilization ringing the shallow Lunar seas, with virtually all of the Selenites living in the dense forest within 50 km of the edge of the marias. A small number, mostly hunters and trappers lived in the mushroom forests of the highlands. Selenite technology was pre-industrial and its people were peaceful and welcoming; by 1899 the British had effectively taken control of the moon.
Victoria Land, as it was known, remained under British occupation from 1899 to 1942. The British made English the official language and forced all Selenites to learn it. Plans were drawn up to Anglicize the natives but the limited number of Wells-Effect starships and Aethersuits (particularly after the Battle of Tyche between the Sternsflotte and the Royal Star Navy) meant that the successive local governors instead simply opted for extracting valuable Tylium ore and keeping the natives from becoming too restless.
British influence came to an end in 1942, when Imperial Japanese forces moved in and seized Lunopolis, destroying the last of the British Wells-Effect fleet and claiming the moon for their own. Japanese plans to instill Japanese values in the newest colony of the Emperor faltered when the occupational governor found out that the Selenites practices a strange syncretized version of ancient Shinto. Attempting to mold them to return to their clear primordial Nipponness, the Japanese occupation long outlasted the war proper and it wasn't until 1972 the the Japanese Moon finally surrendered to the Americans at the end of the American-Lunar War. By then the Imperial soldiers had long intermarried with the locals and had adapted to many local customs.
The past seventy years have seen the moon have free elections and a written constitution in the American style, but it wasn't until after N-Day that regular travel between the Earth and the Moon became possible. Today, Earthnoid tourists are a common sight in the larger cities, wearing their stereotypical bubble helmets in the thin Lunar air.
A project to prevent the ever-decreasing ages of military-service novas, Empyrea is a pristine manmade wonder found in the Atlantic ocean approximately 30 km offshore from Rio de Janeiro, a climate controlled citadel that shows that even disparate forces such as the Teragen and Project Utopia can find themselves cooperating, by virtue of the Teragen's Doctor Primoris and the head of Project Utopia, Margaret A. Mercer.
In 2025, the investors of the Aeon Society of Philanthropy (renamed from the Aeon Society of Gentlemen, renowned for their actions and their former heroes), chose to fund the most ambitious project yet known to man, finding funds from a half-dozen organizations that they had influence from, paying the most powerful novas who would listen to produce an everlasting symbol of cooperation, unity, and looking ever forward to the future. And so a new nation was born, one where novas could, in theory, learn to achieve their full potential without significant cost, and get away from the endless militarization of novas at ever-younger ages.
A roughly circular floating city kilometers in diameter, its surface dotted with towers stretching over 500 meters skywards, Empyrea is a testament to what can happen when groups with disparate goals find common ground. Climate controlled via thermoregulation elements woven throughout every building, using 3-D greenhouses and protein factories to generate food, and powered by hyperfusion reactors, Empyrea is utterly self-sufficient, allowing it to function with no interaction with any other world government. Any nova (or similar superhuman) is welcome, as long as they are not dangerously insane, gathering an endless procession of tutors, scholars, and guardians to maintain its idealized state and teach the next generation. As a city and philanthropy project, it has further picked up many non-nova refugees and asylees from various countries, men and women who have become its workforce for those things which can be done by baselines.
At its heart is the Newfield Academy of Posthuman Development, a school dedicated to teaching the next generation of novas to find their own path, and hopefully become a decent (post?)human being, no matter what their path is or where they go. Its defenders claim that they are reversing the trend of endless nationalistic jingoism and propaganda, the militarization of novas as young as 15, allowing immature young men and women with great talent to discover that talent at their own pace rather than be forced into servitude. Its critics see it as a training camp for a pan-national army that seeks to conquer all in their path. They aren't entirely wrong, as many of its graduates go into Project Utopia, supporting UN resolutions and peacekeeping, or find their way into the Teragen movement for the advancement and improvement of the nova condition and perhaps, in the end, a universal ascension to godhood.
Travel To And From
Ferries maintain a daily schedule between Empyrea and Rio for large cargo, but most everyday to-and-from travel is done via the hypertensile bridge connecting Empyrea and Rio, stretching the full length between Rio and Empyrea. Not designed for cargo transit, the bridge is more than sufficient for students or staff on holiday or just visiting Rio on weekends.
As Empyrea is inside international waters a Brazilian visa or other form of access is not necessary to stay in the floating city, but is necessary for entry to and from Rio.
A powerful quantum force-field generated by a self-healing Device ringing the city, the Shield is a protective bubble which isolated and insulates Empyrea from outside conditions, rated for environments from -100 to 200 C. The shield also protects from various potential threats, although its ability to stand up to human attackers has never been quantified.
Powered by a self-sustaining quantum siphon and capable of repairing itself, the Shield is intended to last for an eternity.
A massive magnetic launch system, the Spike is used for experiments involving acceleration tolerance, orbital launches for the resident full-size rocketry club, and commercial leasing by various corporate entities who find that Warpers and the similar facilities in America, the EU, China, and India are all overbooked. A kilometer tall, the Spike supports payload masses to geosynchronous orbit of up to 500 tons at normal acceleration settings.
As excessive and advanced as the rest of Empyrea, the athletics complex includes a mixed martial arts arena (with gravity that can be set from anywhere from -1 to 10 G and atmospheric conditions anywhere from 'vacuum' to 'Venusian'), a large reconfigurable field which has been used for various sports such as football, rugby, and giant robot dueling, and a state of the art medical facility with the best paraphysicians in the world. Included but not technically part of the complex is the track that runs the circumference of Empyrea, which does not have adjustable gravity conditions (although runners can check out inertial belts to do the same thing). A large subsurface gymnasium rounds out the complex, with basketball, raquetball, and tennis courts, a gymnastics setup (for nova-level gymnastics), and various exercise machines tuned up to nova standards.
Under the surface of Empyrea a cutting-edge manufactory with heavy automation and rapid prototyping capacity sits, including an extremely prototype nanoassembly system that is only allowed to run under the constant supervision of a nova with Magnetic Mastery or Cyberkinesis in the event the system goes into exponential self-replication. Although most often used by the Aeon Society, reserved by external corporate payers (and sometimes even government research agencies, when they get rare approval), the Newfield Academy gets some level of access to it. Being given minimally supervised manufactory access as a student is considered an extreme privilege, and even most of the engineering candidates at the Newfield Academy fail to be given this accolade.
Most of the living accomodations in Empyrea are built inside the skyscraper towers of the city.
The Newfield Academy
The brainchild of Margaret Mercer and Michael Dhonigal, the Newfield Academy is a place where novas can grow into their powers, an environment where learning can be done at as quick or as slow a pace as is necessary to maximize a pupil's efficient development. Due to the massively differing capabilities of novas, the classes are not segregated by age, and it is common to see mature men and women sitting in on the same classes as child prodigies. Offering courses of study in almost any field and first-rate resources, the Newfield Academy is nova-only but open admission besides that. No matter who you are, how old you are, what you can do, and when you erupted, you can go there and learn.
However, not every nova takes that offer. Some already have opportunity in their home countries, others have obligations that attending would not allow them to discharge, yet others have their own reasons for not choosing to attend.
As interesting and accelerated as the academic curricula offered is the on-campus life. The clubs of college or high school still exist, but amplified by the godlike power every member in them holds. The robotics club builds and trashes actual giant robots, the computer science club has been trying (without any success yet, but they swear they're getting close!) to create Strong AI, and after that embarassing incident in Greenhouse #4, nobody really wants to talk about the Botany Club. Similarly, even with godlike power, novas are still largely human, and cliques still exist. Of course, these extracurricular clubs and cliques are not funded by the school. Much of their income consists of deals with corporations and governments, handing down technology in exchange for royalty payments or lump sums, providing favors of various sorts in exchange for the money needed to, say, run a gene sequence off a supercomputer. This has led to many students becoming quite wealthy during the course of their schooling, although hoarding money for personal use is typically frowned upon and it is far more socially acceptable to either donate or become part of an interesting extracurricular club.
Elysium Tower contains the majority of the classrooms and accommodations for the Newfield Academy, as well as the Lover's Leap park. Penthouse suites are reserved for faculty, but student accommodations in Elysium are still luxurious, with a variety of single, double, and suite (4-6 students to one) setups dependent on friends, desire for privacy, and ability to compromise to live with others. All accomodations are set up with free high-speed internet and satellite TV access thanks to Utopia's influence, and for young novas with aberrations suitable accomodations which provide them comfortable living can be assigned.
As the Academy deals with the most potentially unstable novas out of all other areas of Empyrea, Elysium Tower is also set up as the office and treatment center for paraphysicians, allowing students with odd quantum-related ailments to seek treatment that mitigates or hopefully provides at least some relief. Although no 'cure' for aberrant syndrome exists, the paraphysicians of Empyrea have some methods to keep it under control, the most drastic of which is teaching Teras.
An indoor park on the 200th floor of the Hyperion Tower, Lover's Leap occupies the entire 200th to 204th floors, with an indoor arboretum, a large lake for swimming, a botanical garden and miniature zoo, scenic jogging routes, and world-famous architecture. For more competitive types, a handful of 'outdoor' sports fields are also in the park, with artistically recessed shield generators to protect the windows from over-enthusiastic novas. Like all of the simulated-outdoors areas in Emyprea, the 'windows' are photo-active and capable of projecting simulated sunlight, allowing for natural illumination even in sunless arctic winters.
A massive underground shopping facility, The Landmark is where the inhabitants of this floating city go to sate their consumerist appetites. Primarily catering to the wealthy novas with too much money to spend and too little time, seemingly every luxury retailer is locked into a battle of all-out corporate warfare to get a slot in this prestigious shopping mall, the result being that it is crowded from floor to floor with an endless parade of items targeted for the noveau riche, only occasionally interspersed with more tasteful displays of wealth. For those students who do not have the luck to manage multimillion-dollar contracts with corporate beneficiaries in some sort of work-study program or patent exchange program, offerings are relatively sparse but do exist, mostly on the bottom few floors where a food court and a handful of more 'budget' stores reside. Competition for those slots is, if anything, even fiercer.
With the assistance of Doctor Michael Dhonigal (the Teragen claim that the opposite was true, that he merely needed their resources to finish putting together his theory), Triton Medical has isolated several potential genetic markers for nova latency, allowing the reliable prediction, if not the engineering, of eruptions. This knowledge has spread throughout the world, with parents seeking to have their children tested for the gene. Potential candidates are almost always given an invitation to Empyrea, so that their eruption can be achieved in a relatively safe, controlled environment.
Even if it goes wrong, with the sheer weight of novas on the city and its durability, a 'bad' eruption can be contained and the nova can be put through rehabilitation.
A joint NATO-Russia project to deal with the potential threat increase created by several countries suddenly gaining tens of thousands of demigods almost literally overnight, the Psion project (Codename: WINTERGREEN) was based off of KGB and CIA research into psychic powers that had been ongoing through the 1960s to 1980s on "Inspired" individuals. This technology has born fruit, allowing the extremely slow conversion of soldiers into Psions. Psions are superhumanly durable due to the improvements made by the Prometheus Process and capable of channeling superficially similar powers to novas-although the source of their energies is different. Resistant to quantum powers, Psions have made the best strategic counterpoint to the proliferation of Middle Eastern, African, and Asian novas.
Rarer than these fixed-effect supersoldiers are Psiads, naturally occurring psions. A few Psiads have made it into Empyrea, but the vast majority stay in their home nation and do their own thing, as it is not entirely comfortable to be close to so much quantum for either party, as psiads seem like holes in a nova's quantum awareness, and vice versa for novas to a psiad's noetic senses.
As @cademy is set in a setting where certain backgrounds are difficult to integrate, and interpersonal relations as, if not more, important, than abstracted 'backgrounds', backgrounds no longer exist. Instead, a character gets 5 points of Merits, to be spent on mental, physical, or social merits as desired. Characters may gain additional Merit points at the ratio of 1 NP per 3 merit points.
Node (1-5 pts): Identical to the node background.
Eufiber (1-5 pts): Identical to the Eufiber background.
Attunement (1-5 pts): Identical to the Attunement background.
A character gets three types of significant relationships to organizations or people: Beneficial, Neutral, and Adversarial. Neutral relations are largely character fluff and worldbuilding, while both Beneficial and Adversarial relations have game effects. A character may invest multiple relationships into one organization or party, which can result in a strange love-hate relationship, among other things. A relationship is basically a one or two sentence description of how this organization or person interacts with your character and affects your character's life. Relationships are unique-investing multiple relationships into the same area modifies and increases the complexity of the relationship between your character and the organization or person in question. The strength of relationships is entirely up to fluff.
Characters have 8 'points' to split between their beneficial and adversarial relationships, and up to 5 additional neutral relationships. Relationships do not correlate precisely with backgrounds. A relationship may provide more (or much more commonly) significantly less than their equivalent in background dots.
Beneficial Relationships: Beneficial relationships mean the character gets something good from the relationship. Money, an ally, contacts, influence, global recognition, whathaveyou. Beneficial relationships do not have to be mutually beneficial, nor do they even have to be healthy. Having someone paying you cash under the threat of their life being ruined is technically a beneficial relationship, although that person in question is probably also an adversary (unless he/she's really spineless). Beneficial relationships may provide the effective equivalents of the Contacts, Cipher, Allies, Mentor, Influence, Resources, and Backing backgrounds. They may also provide backgrounds that do not exist in Aberrant but do in other iterations of the Storyteller system, such as Secret Weapons, Backup, and other weirder things.
Neutral Relationships: Neutral relationships are those which provide no significant benefit but also do not provide huge problems. Neutral relationships describe the vast majority of relationships a character will have. However, the listed ones should be only the significant relationships a character has, long-standing friendships, acquaintances, and even rivals.
Adversarial Relationships: Adversarial relationships are Bad Things for your character. But for you, they're good, as whenever they come up and significantly hamper you (or another party member), you (or that party member) gets 1 XP. Adversarial relationships include enemies, bitter rivals, overarching militant conspiracies who stole your girlfriend and shot you in the head, the robber who killed your parents after the opera, feuding rival families, the military of that third world country you pissed off, etc.