Aberrant 2.0 Mental Systems
- 1 Mental Rebuild
- 2 Science (or is it SCIENCE!)
- 3 Anticipation
Science (or is it SCIENCE!)
To fully clarify, there are three "types" of technical advancement in Aberrant. Conventional science, super-science, and Devices.
Conventional science is stuff that fully meshes with the laws of physics and requires no exotic ingredients, nor does it play with the nigh-magical forces that the Inspired possess. Conventional science creates things like suborbitals, advanced body armor, railguns, powersuits, the occasional robot, fusion reactors, pollution-eating microbes, genetic enhancements, the list goes on and on. Anyone, baseline or Inspired, can advance conventional science.
Super-science isn't the same thing as cutting edge science. It's research and development which requires exotic, Nova-created ingredients or perhaps uses Noetic or Quantum forces (as opposed to small-q quantum). Super-science can be duplicated by baselines with the right materials, but cannot be advanced by baselines. Super-science developments include FTL drives, Soma, Eufiber based infrastructure, hypercore rounds, and several varieties of free-floating active nanotech.
Devices are handcrafted systems which are unique to the creator and their harnessing of Quantum or Noetic forces. Devices can be created by the Inspired but cannot be duplicated (although there are Devices that are similar enough to have identical game effects) because they are personal expressions of power, rather than technical advancements per se. In fact, some Devices may not even pretend to be scientific systems, rather being invested in power via pseudo-mystical New Age methods. The Haitian school of the Aesculpians is somewhat fond of using strange herbal concoctions as Vitakinetic devices, although how much of that is belief and how much of that is purposeful provocation of Montressor is unknown, and in the Nova Age there are many Novas who build fantastical magical wands and "enchanted swords" for interested parties with the money.
No man is an island, or a nation, and although a Nova can give a good show at being one, it's always easiest to accomplish tasks with assistants. A lab assistant must have a minimum rating in one of the abilities used for an advancement or gadget of 2+, making them reasonably competent in the area, but most lab assistants are more skilled than the bare minimum, and provide commensurately better benefits. However, project management is limited by both a Nova's personal skill in management, and the Nova's scientific acumen. A Nova may have no more than (Charisma + Command) or (Charisma + Science), choose the lower
A lab assistant provides a minimum of +1d in bonuses, plus more for every qualification they meet below. All bonuses in this case are cumulative.
- Lab Assistant has a rating of 4+ in at least one of the abilities used: +1d
- Lab Assistant has a rating of 6+ in at least one of the abilities used: +1d
- Lab Assistant has a rating of 2+ in at least two of the abilities used: +1d
- Lab Assistant has a rating of 4+ in at least two of the abilities used: +1d
- Lab Assistant is Inspired and the project is either Super-Science or a Device (Novas, Superiors, and Psions all count for this, as do the original 3 Inspired): +1d
- Lab Assistant has Mega-Intelligence 1+: +1d
- Lab Assistant has Mega-Intelligence 3+: +1d
- Lab Assistant has Mega-Intelligence 5+: +1d
- Lab Assistant has applicable Enhancement (Inventive Genius, Scientific Prodigy, etc): +1d per Enhancement
Large amounts of assistants are not simulated in this system, which primarily deals with the idea of a small group of gifted scientists a la the pop culture image of the Manhattan Project. But scientists do not function in a vacuum, and a large and well-stocked facility is critical for the most effective advancement of science. Labs can modify the difficulty and roll interval of an Advancement or Device roll. Lab techs are not highly qualified assistants, but rather just guys who can do the grunt work such as poring through experiment results and comparing models, fetching coffee, and so on.
- No Tools: +9 difficulty, roll interval increased by 2 steps (day -> month, week -> year, month -> decade, anything with a roll interval higher than that is impossible)
- No Lab (basic tools and things like magnifying glasses): +6 difficulty, roll interval increased by 1 step (day -> month, week -> year, month -> decade, anything with a roll interval higher than that is impossible)
- Poorly Equipped Lab (your average high school science lab, a lab tech or two): +6 difficulty, doubles roll interval
- Basic Lab (a handful of useful specialist tools, most general purpose tools are available, a dozen or so lab techs): +2 difficulty
- Standard Lab (a broad array of relevant tools, enough lab techs exist to remove most of the grunt work): +0 difficulty
- Advanced Lab (more or less every currently available tool in the lab, 50-200 or so lab techs): -1 difficulty, halves roll interval
- Top of the Line Facility (LHC, ITER, Montressor, costs exorbitant amounts to maintain, costs even more to build): -2 difficulty, roll interval reduced by 1 step
- Reality Bubble (Planck Scaling): -5 difficulty, roll interval reduced by 2 steps (year -> week, month -> day, all other rolls take 1 day to complete)
To create an advancement (either mundane or super-science) a character must have sufficient dots in the ability to make an advancement, typically 4+ in the primary ability and 3+ in at least two related abilities (so a character attempting to develop a fusion reactor needs Science[Physics] 4 and Engineering (Nuclear) and Computers 3, for example).
Minor advancements (inventing the iPod, assembling already-existing technology into a new product) use 1 week as an interval for the roll, while major ones (developing sentient AI, creating a new species, curing aging, etc) require 1 month per roll interval. Note that all examples of advancements below are major advancements.
Super-science advancements require the character to be Inspired and use a roll interval of 2 months. Baseline lab assistants for super-science must have 4+ in the primary ability and 3+ in at least two related abilities, while Inspired (Nova/Psion/Paramorph) lab assistants may use the standard rules instead.
Advancements generally take anywhere from 10-30 (a new iPod model) to 200+ (nuclear fusion) to develop. In general anything which won't hugely change the geopolitical landscape (cheap transhumanism, nuclear fusion, cheap space travel) should probably cost closer to the first than to the second.
These are ones with immediate mechanical results, rather than things like "build a cleaner gasoline-fueled engine", which should use the vague guidelines above.
A weapons advancement takes over the interval of 1 month per roll, and requires a base number of successes per project equal to (Weapon Cost + 1) * 5 for most weapons, or (Weapon Cost + 2) * 5 successes for heavy weapons. Weapons advancement projects can be attempted "back to back" for additional improvement on a firearm, but each additional advancement becomes ever harder as the tech envelope is pushed farther than the technology base of society can sustain. Double the final cost in successes of R&D for every additional project iteration.
- +1 Accuracy (limit 3 levels per project): 3 successes/level
- +1 Damage (limit 3 levels per project): 5 successes/level
- + Damage level (limit 3 levels per project, heavy weapons only): 7 successes/level
- +50% ammunition capacity (limit 3 levels per project): 3 successes/level
- +50% RoF (limit 3 levels per project): 5 successes/level
- +50% Range (limit 4 levels per project): 5 successes/level
- -1 Conceal Rating (from O to J, J to P, min P): 10 successes/level
- Concealable (from N to O): 5 successes, 50 successes for a heavy weapon.
- Ultralight Materials (halved mass, limit 1 level per project): 15 successes
- +1 Disguise (adds +1 difficulty to discern item's true nature, limit 4 levels): 5 successes/level
- Change Damage Type (from lethal to bashing or back): 5 successes
- Change Damage Type (to aggravated): 30 successes or more
An armor advancement takes place over the interval of 1 month per roll, requiring a base number of successes equal to (Armor Cost + 1) * 5 for unpowered armors, or (Armor Cost) * 10 for powered armors such as the VAS/BioVAS and the two Mini VARGs. Note that armor hardening cannot be greater than the armor's actual soak scores.
- Modern Materials (lethal soak is no longer halved against firearms for archaic armor): 1 success
- Note that if this is the sole improvement being made to the armor, the roll interval is per-day rather than per-month.
- +1 Destruction (limit 5 levels per project): 1 success/level
- +1B soak (limit 3 levels per project): 3 successes/level
- +1L soak (limit 3 levels per project): 7 successes/level
- +1 HL (limit 3 levels per project): 7 successes/level
- Ultralight Materials (halved mass, limit 1 level per project): 15 successes
- Disguised (+1 difficulty per level to detect as armor, limit 2 levels per project): 10 successes/level
- Concealability (Unconcealable -> Hidden under heavy clothing -> hidden under normal clothing -> hidden under scanty/tight clothing, limit 1 level per project): 20 successes/level
- -1 to Mobility Penalty (limit 3 levels per project): 10 successes/level
- Autoinjectors (injects one drug chosen by user, limit 4 levels per project): 5 successes/level
- +1 Strength (limit 2 levels per project, powered suits only): 15 successes/level
- +1 Dexterity (limit 1 level per project, powered suits only): 40 successes/level
- +1 Stamina (limit 1 level per project, powered suits only): 20 successes/level
- +1 Perception (limit 2 levels per project, powered suits only): 20 successes/level
- +1d Automatic Medical Systems (automatic medicine pool for first aid, limit 4 levels per project): 10 successes/level
Vehicle advancement uses the interval of 1 month per roll, and requires a base number of successes per project equal to (Vehicle Cost) * 10 for most vehicles. Advanced aerospace vehicles and warships may require as many as (Vehicle Cost) * 20 successes base above and beyond a vehicle's advancements.
- +25% Passengers (limit 4 levels per project): 2 successes/level
- +25% Cargo (limit 4 levels per project): 2 successes/level
- +25% Speed (limit 4 levels per project, affects safe/max speeds): 10 successes/level
- +1 Maneuver (limit 3 levels per project): 10 successes/level
- +1 Armor (limit 10 levels per project): 5 successes/level
- +1 Stealth (limit 2 levels per project): 20 successes/level
- Conceal Existing Armor: 1 success/point of armor
- Personal-Scale Weapons Mount (i.e. machine gun, PD laser, limit 4 per project): 5 successes/mount
- Vehicle-Scale Weapons Mount (i.e. tank cannon, limit 2 per project): 10 successes/mount
- Capital-Scale Weapons Mount (i.e. heavy laser bank, limit 1 per project, capships only): 20 successes/mount
- Conceal Weapon: 3 successes/personal-scale, 5 successes/vehicle-scale (only on larger vehicles).
- Luxury Living Quarters for 1 (large vessels only): 3 successes/quarter
- Living Quarters for 4 (large vessels only): 2 successes/quarters
- Mobile Laboratory (large vessels only): 20 successes/lab
- Support Facilities for Small Craft (large vessels only, limit 2/project): 20 successes/hangar
- +100% Fuel Efficiency (limit 5 levels/project): 10 successes
- Alternate Movement Method (battleship with treads, subfighter, aerospace fighter, amphibious tank): 50 successes
Drug advancement uses the interval of 1 month per roll, and only requires the total successes necessary for R&D to advance. Unlike weapons or vehicles, drugs are not built on existing items but rather constructed from scratch. When not otherwise stated, a drug's effects last for a scene. This is for independent development of any of these drugs. Most of them do exist in some (somewhat more limited) form.
- Increased Potency (+1 difficulty to resist, max 5 levels): 2 successes/level
- Attribute Enhancement (+1 to an attribute, max 3 levels): 5 successes/level
- Reflex Enhancement (+2 to Initiative, -1 to multiple action penalty, max 3 levels): 10 successes/level
- Advanced Poisons (3d lethal damage/turn for 5 turns, max 3 levels): 20 successes/level
- Interrogation Drugs (-3 to target temp and perm willpower, max 2 levels): 30 successes/level
- Healing Enhancement Drug (heal bashing and lethal damage at 2/4/8 times normal for levels 1/2/3, max 3 levels): 60 successes/level
- Regeneration Drug (heal aggravated damage or double aggravated damage healing rate for novas): 100 successes
- Anti-Agathics (divide aging rate by 5/10/20 for levels 1/2/3, max 3 levels): 270 successes/level
Human augmentation advancement requires an additional number of successes equal to (10 - process cost) * 5 successes. Cheap, universally applicable genetic modifications require decades of lab work, while personalized modifications are much more expensive but easier to develop (for those, you could go down to anywhere as low as 1 day per roll).
- Muscle Augmentation (+1 Strength, max 3 levels): 20 successes/level
- CNS Reconstruction (+1 Dexterity, max 2 levels): 40 successes/level
- Endurance Improvement (+1 Stamina, max 3 levels): 20 successes/level
- Sensory Enhancement (+1 Perception, max 3 levels): 20 successes/level
- Cognition Boost (+1 Intelligence, max 2 levels): 90 successes/level
- Reaction Boost (+1 Wits, max 2 levels): 90 successes/level
- Cosmetic Modification (+1 Appearance, max 3 levels): 10 successes/level
- Socialization Alteration (Subterfuge) (+1 Manipulation, max 2 levels): 40 successes/level
- Socialization Alteration (Leadership) (+1 Charisma, max 2 levels): 40 successes/level
- Improved Trauma Tolerance (+1 -0 HL, max 3 levels): 20 successes/level
- Dermal Thickening (+2B/1L armor soak): 20 successes
- Vital Organ Shielding (+1B/3L armor soak): 60 successes
- Minor Transgenic Features (i.e. animal ears, whiskers, cat eyes): 20 successes/alteration
- Significant Transgenic Features (i.e. tails, altered hand/foot structure, etc): 60 successes/alteration
- Extreme Transgenic Features (i.e. multiple arms, multiple legs): 120 successes/alteration
Oftentimes in Aberrant people will play characters smarter than they are. Far smarter, in fact. Due to this, a player may not consider an element in the story or predict a turn of events which the character, by all rights, should have been able to predict and prepare for. Modifying the Anticipation system from nWoD: Mirrors, this section covers how a Mega-Intelligent (or in certain cases, Mega-Witty or Mega-Perceptive) Nova may be able to alter a situation to their advantage.
To be capable of using Anticipation, the character must have a relevant Mega-Mental attribute. If the optional Ability Mastery rules are used, characters may also use this system if they have an Ability Mastery in a relevant Ability. A character may do this a number of times per scene equal to (1 + Highest Mega-Mental Attribute). Being able to predict a situation isn't just about raw intellect, after all. Someone superhumanly perceptive can twig onto extremely minor changes in tone or disposition which might betray future plans, while someone with superhuman thinking speed and poise can run through a half-dozen scenarios with their merely human intellect. At the ST's discretion, having any mental ability at a low level may prevent the use of Anticipation without spending WP, or forbid it entirely. Planning is not all about perception, or thinking quickly, or thinking well. It requires all three elements.
Alternatively, characters without a relevant Mental Attribute may attempt this if their total (relevant Attribute + Ability) dice pool is above 7 and they spend 1 Willpower. They may only do this once per scene. Only the extremely skilled are going to have sufficient actual genius in the field for them to be capable of doing such feats.
During a situation where the player thinks their character could have anticipated, the character may roll a Mental Attribute and Ability combination which makes sense. Examples would be "Wits + Rapport" to plan for a social encounter or predict the actions of a hated nemesis, "Intelligence + Tactics" or "Intelligence + Intrusion" to have a safehouse already set up when you're on the run, "Wits + Computers" to have infiltrated a virus into the security system ten minutes ago when you were at that unattended terminal, so on and so forth.
Successes on that roll translate to points which can be used to access effects. These effects must make some degree of sense. Effects include bonus dice, inflicting penalties, having equipment accessible, so on and so forth. The opponent may attempt to counter as per the rules, either canceling out anticipation successes, or using his own anticipation successes to alter your desired outcome.
- 1 success: Having a small item on hand ("I thought we might run into guys with guns, so I happened to be wearing a bulletproof vest")
- 1 success: +/- 1d on any one dice roll (yours or the opponents), cannot add more than +/-3 to any one roll ("I could see that he favored his right eye. If I made a run for it when he was only looking at me with his left, I'd have a better chance.")
- 1 success: Define a minor element of the scene ("There happens to be an abandoned building a block away which is pretty empty, we could hide there.")
- 2 successes: Having a larger item on hand ("I thought we might face that guy. Fortunately I have a RPG over here somewhere.")
- 2 successes: 1 temporary background dot (Allies, Followers, Resources/etc) for the scene
- 2 successes: reroll any one failed or botched roll for the scene.
- 3 successes: Define a major scene element ("You just happened to have stepped into a minefield." "I shut down the security five minutes ago.")
- 3 successes: Change an already taken action ("Okay, I read about the minefield and so I don't step into it, but hose the ground down with high-explosive 30mm shells instead.")
Complications are added per effect, not as a total of all the changes one wants. An ST is in their rights to add additional difficulty if the sum total of the anticipation results is exceedingly unlikely, unbelievable, or just plain dumb.
- +1-4: Desired effects are extremely unlikely ("You want me to believe that you, a law-abiding citizen, happen to have stashed a RPG and a half-dozen reloads in your car's trunk?")
- +2: Repeating the same effect again and again. Don't be boring!
- +2: Desired effect does not mesh with setting ("You're in an affluent neighborhood. An abandoned building nearby? Really?")