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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

RPG Chopshop VI: Savage Aberrant

This is kind of an odd one. Aberrant is a system I'm familiar with but I've never played before. I've only recently gotten ahold of the books and begin checking it out. Savage Worlds is a system I love but I quickly concluded that it doesn't handle super-humans very well. 

So why am I converting one to the other? Well as far as Aberrant goes it doesn't take me very long to see that it is way, way unbalanced. Upon using the system to stat up what I considered a fairly average super-powered martial artist (mild mega-strength, mega-stamina, 3 dots of mega-dex, some claws, lots of skill) I quickly realized that I could probably tear the party tank limb from limb while being relatively untouchable. Aberrant's system is broken and it's broken pretty hard. However, that's the system I'm slated to start playing in a few weeks (The Order of Magnitude game is going on a hiatus while one of the players attends culinary school for 9 months). Another GM is taking over and the general consensus was a supers game. So from his collection that means Aberrant. I'm taking a look to see if there's any alternatives that we're already familiar with that might be a good substitute. My normal go-to supers system is Truth and Justice but I do own Savage Worlds Supers and I've been pondering that combining some elements from both systems might actually produce a more balanced and interesting game. 

This is going to be quasi-generic Aberrant. No Taint mechanics built into the game, minimal setting assumptions, etc. However, it'll still follow some of Aberrant's Quantum themes. 

So...lets start. 

Your "Baseline" character is going to be tougher and generally better than your standard SW character. 
  • Attributes start at d6 rather than a d4 and you receive 5 points to improve them.
  • 15 Skill Points as normal. 
  • Nova Toughness: +1 to Toughness and +2 to recovering from Shaken. 
  • Quantum Rating of 1. Characters receive a number of Bennies (Quantum Points) equal to 2 plus twice their Quantum Rating at the start of a game. They recover Quantum Points at the rate of 1 per in-game hour. More on Quantum later on.
  • Edges and Hindrances function normally. You can purchase "Inferior" as a Hindrance. This drops one starting Attribute by 1 die type to a d4. Buying it once counts as a Major hindrance. Purchasing it again is only a Minor hindrance.
 There are some new Edges based on the Aberrant setting. Appropriately these are pretty much all Background Edges.


You can attune objects of up to Spirit x 2 lbs to work with your powers. Attuned objects are immune to damage due to a character's powers and will stretch or conform to match any changes to shape or size. Attuned weapons won't be destroyed by a character's Mega Strength. Attuning an object requires the character to expend a Quantum Point but it remains attuned until destroyed or the Nova chooses to de-attune it. 

You can "turn off" your super-powers to avoid any detection as a super-being. Switching your powers "off" takes a turn of concentration and powering back up requires the same (although while you are "powering up" you have access to any defensive Powers to prevent you from being sucker punched). If you choose you may have a "powered form" which looks completely different from your human one.
You own a costume of natural Eufiber which is mentally adjustable and shapeable and is immune to the nova's own powers in the same was as Attuned materials (see the Edge above). Eufiber is quite tough and provides Armor 2 for any area it covers. Attuning to Eufiber costs 1 Quantum Point, after which it is permanently attuned until another Nova spends a Quantum Point to attune it to themselves. 

You have an exceptionally developed M.R. Node. A character with this Edge recovers Quantum Points faster at the rate of 1 every half hour. You can also detect Quantum energy, making a Notice roll (TN 8-Nova's Quantum rating) to detect other Novas or the presence of Quantum energy. The range for this is 20".

Your Node is really, really big! You recover Quantum Points at the rate of 1 every 15 minutes and your detection range increases to 50".
Mega-Attributes (3 PP/step):
 This power replaces Super-Attributes (although you can still spend 1 PP to buy an extra Attribute point up to a d12). Mega-Attributes are rated just like regular ones (d4, d6, d8, etc) and they cannot exceed your corresponding regular attribute (thus someone with a d8 in Strength could not purchase Mega-Strength of a d10). Mega-attributes add directly to corresponding mundane Attribute rolls and any Skills that are linked to the attribute. So if a character has Agility 1d10, Fighting 1d6 and Mega-Agility 1d4 then he rolls 1d10+1d4 for any Agility checks and 1d6+1d4 for his Fighting skill checks. In addition each Mega-Attribute has other properties noted below:

Mega-Strength: When rolling damage for strength-powered weapons you double your Mega-Strength for purposes of inflicting damage. For example, a character who has Strength 1d10 and Mega-Strength of 1d6 would roll 1d10+2d6 when punching someone. In addition Mega-Strength dramatically increases the amount you can lift. To determine your lifting weight take the sum of your Strength and Mega-Strength and multiply it by 50 for M.S. of d4, by 500 for M.S. of d6, 5000 for M.S. of d8 and so on. So the character above has a load limit of 8,000 lbs and a Max Weight of 32,000 lbs (or 16 tons). Damage inflicted by Mega-Strength is considered a Heavy Weapon.

Mega-Agility: Every level in Mega-Agility adds 1 to your Parry and subtracts 1 from any ranged attacks made against you. You may also add your Mega-Agility to your running die (although it will not Ace).

Mega-Vigor: Each point of Mega-Vigor adds 2 to your Toughness. So someone with Vigor 1d10 and Mega Vigor of 1d6 has a Toughness of 11. In addition each dice grants a "-0" Wound Level. This is obviously a pretty big change from normal Savage Worlds which may be foolish. We'll see I suppose. 

Mega-Smarts: You can also draw an additional initiative Card for each Mega-Smarts level. 

Mega-Spirit: You gain 2 points of Charisma for each die-type of Mega-Spirit. Mega-Spirit is significantly less grand than other Mega-Attributes because it grants so many automatic bonuses (namely Quantum Charging).

Mega-Attributes and Other Powers: As a general rule, any other power that grants bonuses to attributes will begin to grant Mega-Attribute dice after the baseline attribute has reached d12.

Most of the other SW powers can remain relatively untouched. If I can think of any other changes I'll certainly post them. Super-Edge and Super-Skills are an exception. Super-Edge only costs a single PP. Both Super-Edge and Super-Skill are explicitly not super-powers and simply represent "trading" Power Points for normal abilities. 

You can also purchase Quantum at the rate of 4 PP per point of Quantum to a maximum of Quantum 5.


Your Quantum rating is the maximum number of "levels" you can purchase powers at. You may not have any powers or mega-attributes at a level higher than your Quantum +1.

You have Quantum Points equal to 2+ (2x Quantum). These Quantum Points can be used for anything that a Benny could normally be used for: rerolls or soaking for instance. You can also spend Quantum points to "super-charge" many powers. When spending a Quantum point in this way you make a Spirit roll. A success grants +2 virtual Power Points that can be used to upgrade the power's effects for a single action, each Raise grants 2 additional PP. This can be used to add additional "levels" to a power (but can't exceed Quantum x2 levels) or to add power enhancements.

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