Go to my Home page.
Go to my Gaming page.

Version 5.7






Aberrant: Sin City


by


Rodford Edmiston





      This work is set in White Wolf's Aberrant role-playing game universe. While the plots, events and many of the characters are mine, everything else is theirs.



Player Information



Intro

      People tend to forget that many odd things happened on Monday, March 23, 1998. Sure, they talk about the Galatea, and the Fireman and a few other Novas who erupted on that day. They forget that many bizarre incidents occurred which have never been directly connected to either the Galatea tragedy or the appearance of activated Mazarin-Rashoud Nodes.

      To quote one news report "...freak accidents and catastrophes are erupting all around the world..." Now, many of these events are things which we're pretty sure would have happened anyway; it's just coincidence they happened then. Other events appear to have mundane explanations, but having them happen then stretches coincidence to political magnitudes. And a few are just too weird to explain by any known means.

      So let's keep in mind the larger situation of our world on that day. Jumping to conclusions can result in jumping through hoops later to justify them.

     

      Excerpt from guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice, on the fifth anniversary of the Galatea disaster and the appearance of the first Novas.


Basics

      (Note: The material in this section is what the typical player character knows at the beginning of play. During the process of role-playing new information will be revealed which will expand on, clarify or even contradict what is given here. That is deliberate.)

      Aberrant is not a super hero game. It instead takes an assumption from nearly all role-playing games - that player characters and primary NPCs are special people, more competent and capable than the normal folk around them - and studies how having obviously superior people in the real world would affect it. In this game the most common name for these people is "Novas." The appearance of Novas in a population is currently unpredictable; while there is a subtle and complex genetic predisposition (something suspected but not proven at the start of this module, in April, 2003) this gene sequence has an effectively random distribution in all populations studied. Most - though certainly not all - of the people who become empowered were typical members of their society and/or social subgroup before their manifestation of superhuman abilities. How they deal with this sudden gift of power can be compared to other instances of ordinary people acquiring some great good fortune, such as winning a major lottery prize. That is, some can handle it better than others.

      The first confirmed Eruption of a Nova was on March 23, 1998, when Randel Portman, a New York City fireman, absorbed the flames threatening a loaded school bus. That this occurred shortly after the tragedy on board the space station Galatea (See the Recent History section, below.) appears to be more than coincidence. Other displays of superhuman abilities were soon confirmed all around the world. The press quickly picked up on both these bizarre events and the Galatea explosion and made the obvious connection. Early on, most scientists rightly urged restraint in regard to such speculation. Today, the consensus is that the Galatea explosion did trigger the appearance of Novas. However, eruptions of new Novas continue in spite of the fact that the radioactive contamination from the Galatea accident has faded to undetectability. The rate of Eruptions varies wildly but is never particularly high. A few hundred people a year, scattered around the globe, Erupt. Some of these events are precipitated by traumatic experiences, others by exposure to the powers of those who have already Erupted, and some just seem to happen. While there are clusters of eruptions, these are explained either by exposure to some Nova event or simple coincidence. There simply aren't enough Novas to draw more than a few statistically valid conclusions from the data their history provides. So far.

      Becoming a Nova inevitably changes a person's life, and almost always dramatically. Some become public heroes or villains, some become celebrities, some are literally worshiped as gods, and some are victims of exploitation or prejudice. One thing all Novas have in common is that they can never return to their previous way of life. Novas simply stand out too distinctly from Baseline humans to hide. (Or that's the official line, anyway. As noted above, reality is often different from what both authorities and public opinion say it is.)

      Play begins on April 1, 2003, during a period following the fifth anniversary of the Eruption of the first known Nova, The Fireman. Player characters will not necessarily Erupt on that date, though. Players will first create their characters as normal humans, who then experience an Eruption. This may have occurred before the beginning of play (up to a month earlier) or be role-played as occurring during play. If the last option is chosen, the Eruption will take place not long after the begin date, unless the player has a good reason for delaying the event. The circumstances of the Eruption may be role-played, or simply described as part of the background, at the player's choice. Where the character is from will depend on the history developed by the Player. However, the character should have a reason for being in or coming to Cincinnati, Ohio, since that is where play will be focused. The reason could simply be that this city has the nearest concentration of Novas and people who know about them.

      Players have several decisions to make before completing their characters. The most basic one is whether to focus their Nova points on a specialty or two or spread them around. The first type of character will be world-class in the area of specialization, but relatively weak in other areas. The second type will not be a match for a specialist in any one area, but will be able to use other approaches, where the specialist may be no better than a normal human.

      The second decision is how their characters will live after becoming Novas, something which will largely be determined in play but which the player should at least consider during character creation. There are very few Novas who have managed to actually become costumed super heroes, at least in the classic form. Most who have tried that option either changed their plans very quickly, were soon outed, or died. Two semi-exceptions are The Fireman and Lone Wolf, whose customized firefighter and paramedic uniforms (respectively) can be considered costumes. Even they never tried maintaining a secret identity. (Though both have secrets they have managed to keep.) Still, there are stories, of varying reliability and detail, of mysterious strangers with more than human abilities who help during a crisis, then disappear. Intriguingly, some of these date to well before the Galatea disaster.

      Some Elites (Nova mercenaries) have managed to keep their true names and appearances secret. So have some corporate Novas. For the most part, though, Novas who participate in public activities are celebrities, whose legal names are widely known even if they commonly go by a code or "mask" name.

      As a general rule, any attempt at anonymity is futile for Novas.

      Most Novas become either government or corporate employees. The most famous of these are Team Tomorrow, sponsored by Project Utopia, itself an agency of the United Nations. Novas are a valuable commodity, and even someone with mediocre powers can earn huge sums, though whether they actually get to keep most of the money is another matter. Some Novas have been swindled out of fortunes by unscrupulous agents or employers. The fact that cheating someone who can punch a hole in a tank might not be wise is slowly reducing such opportunism, but it still continues.

      Other Novas become pure celebrities, in many ways not unlike live versions of popular action movie heroes, or perhaps the more successful professional wrestlers. Some powers are useful for entertaining, making even previously untalented singers, musicians, artists and such into the best there is in their field.

      In both of the above cases, success depends as much on personality as powers and appearance. With good marketing even an unpleasant Nova of mediocre abilities can become a popular (and wealthy) figure. Just look at some of the Xtreme Warfare (XWF) stars. An intelligent, personable Nova with marketable powers and a good manager can become bigger than Elvis.

      By the second quarter of 2003 there are officially fewer than 2500 Novas in the world. Given the small number, their unique status and the "Quantum Vibes" factor (discussed below) many Novas have an interest in socializing with other Novas. Given their powers, they generally get around easily, and so can associate with other Novas. Even if the player characters have no other reason to associate or be involved in the same adventures, the assumption is that they will want to hang out with other Novas, including the other player characters.

      Also, while the physical distribution of Eruptions is apparently random, Novas tend to congregate in large cities. (Many for the same reasons which led Clark Kent to Metropolis.) So the Nova population of, for example, Cincinnati is much higher than the overall one-in-two-plus million proportion implies.

      Early on in the Nova era, Cincinnati became a focus of metahuman activity. This was due to one of the first Novas - and the only one then in the region - foiling a bank robbery in the city within weeks of the Galatea disaster, and the local FBI office director very smartly taking advantage this to recruit her. Taking the name Argent, this Nova went on to become a low-key but very effective operative in law enforcement, especially when the law breakers or victims were Novas. Because of her, several other Novas soon arrived in Cincinnati, many of them wanting to also work in law enforcement. This began a cascade effect. Today, Cincinnati has one of the highest per-capita Nova presences in the world. Small wonder one of the first Rashoud Facilities outside a major city was opened in Cincinnati. (Read Argent's adventures at: http://www.dcr.net/~stickmak/Transformation/FlammaArgenteaOne.html )

      Novas manipulate Quantum effects. This simple statement carries huge implications. The one being focused on here is resonance, or "Quantum Vibes." The M-R Node (a brain structure associated with Nova abilities) senses Quantum as part of manipulating it. Novas give off Quantum under most circumstances. This radiation (using the "R" word at the risk of panicking the ignoratti) is manipulated by the M-R Node and can be sensed by it. Like desert animals being more peaceable around a water hole, Novas are more comfortable and at ease in places with high Quantum levels.

      Raw Quantum has no known effect on non-Novas. However, it could trigger an eruption in a potential Nova.

House Rules

      Play will begin on April 1, 2003 and advance from there. While an attempt will be made to follow the general timeline in the Aberrant books, both player actions and Storyteller plans may cause history to proceed differently from what is printed in the official works.

      Some of the material below is additions to or clarifications of materials in the rule books, but much is simply a convenient reproduction for those who don't have them, as well as a grouping in one place of materials distributed through several of the official books.

      Please be sure to read the rule book notes which accompany each level of a Mega Attribute. There is important information in there about how such superhuman characteristics affect the play of the game.

Backgrounds

      Here is the Storyteller's official list of Backgrounds, some of which aren't in the players' book. As usual, reasonable alternatives will be accepted. Definitions are only given for those which are non-standard to the main run of White Wolf games, or for which the Storyteller has a different concept.

Allies

Attunement      The capability to have powers affect objects besides the user, including other people

Backing     

Cipher      The character's background is concealed in some manner

Contacts

Dormancy      An ability some Novas have to dampen their Quantum signature

Eufiber      Pseudo-living fiber which Novas can manipulate, and which is therefore often used to make their costumes

Followers

Influence

Mentor

Node      Allows more use at once and quicker recovery as well as the sensing of Quantum

Resources

New Merits and Flaws

      Many of these are specific to Aberrant or my campaign, though some can be applied to White Wolf games in general.

Annoying Fan (Flaw)

      One point for each obsessive fan, up to 7. These people do not commit any illegal acts, but are extremely annoying in their behavior. They write gushing letters (Lots of 'em!) create online tribute pages which may contain embarrassing images or personal information, are noisy at the character's public appearances, spread rumors, pester the character for autographs and memorabilia, etc.

      Dense Tissues (Merit)

      The Nova's tissues are denser than normal. This causes the Nova to be stronger and tougher than Baseline humans, even without Mega Strength or Mega Stamina. (Note that this Merit only takes effect after Eruption.)

      For 5 points Strength and Stamina may be purchased at the standard Nova Point cost or half the usual Experience Point cost (rounding up), and may be increased beyond the Baseline five-dot limit. Standard and Lethal Soak are calculated as normal for Novas without Mega-Stamina. Note that each dot of Strength or Stamina above 5 increases the true weight of the Nova by 5% over that of someone without the Merit of the same height, build and apparent physical condition. Even two dots over mean the Nova will sink in ocean water without actively swimming or a using floatation device.

      The primary benefit here over normal Mega-Strength or Stamina is that the increased Strength and Stamina are due to altered physiology and are not dependent on Quantum or the operation of a Mazarin-Rashoud Node. These increased (and potentially superhuman) characteristics are therefore not affected by Moxinoquantamine or anything else which would dampen other Nova abilities. Note, however, that the Nova does not get the bonuses inherent to the equivalent Mega Attributes, even after exceeding the normal maximum of 5 dots for non-Mega Attributes. There's no automatic successes for Strength/Might attempts and rolls and close combat damage die pools, no increase in healing rate, no reduction in the need to sleep, and no free initial Enhancement.

      This Merit does allow the Nova spend to spend 3 Nova or 5 Experience points to purchase the Hardbody Enhancement for their non-Mega Stamina, which operates as normal except that it doesn't cost Quantum to use. Whether other Enhancements may be bought for these Attributes is up to the Storyteller.

      For 7 points Dexterity is also included, the rationale being that the denser nerve tissues transmit signals more quickly and the denser, stronger muscles respond more rapidly.

Dispersed Node (Merit)

      The M-R Node tissue of someone with this Merit is dispersed instead of being all in one lump. For 5 points there is an undersized Node in the usual location with small clumps of Node tissue dispersed throughout the brain. For 7 points the usual M-R Node location has only a vestigial lump, and small clumps of Node tissue are spread throughout the central nervous system.

      A dispersed Node provides several benefits. First among them, the side effects of a growing M-R Node are greatly lessened. Additionally, anything which reveals the size of the M-R Node shows it to be quite small for those with this Merit; it may even be missed completely. This could easily lead to the Nova's power level being seriously underestimated. Finally, if something damages the M-R Node - including surgical removal - the character would still have Nova abilities, at a reduced level, and possibly be able to regenerate the missing tissue. (The reduction in the Quantum score accompanying M-R Node destruction/removal would be two points [to a minimum score of one] for the level 5 Merit, and one point [to a minimum score of two] for the 7 point version.)

Knack (Merit)

      For six points the character has one automatic success on any roll for which the specific Ability chosen can be applied. The character does not need to be taught this Ability (though dots in it may also be purchased) and can not teach the knack portion of the Ability to others or even explain how it works. For some reason, they just have a knack for it.

      Note that because of this automatic success the character cannot botch a roll on this Ability.

Permanent Physical Change (Flaw)

      Some Aberration or other Quantum-connected physical problem is a permanent physical change, rather than due to the active process of channeling Quantum. Dorming doesn't remove it. Neither does being doped up on Mox. Shapeshifting and similar powers would cover it over, but without a concentration success every ten minutes the aberration will "bleed through." The only way to get rid of the Flaw permanently is to pay it off with Experience Points. (Note that this does not affect the use of Dormancy to cover Taint.)

      3 Points: One Low-Level Physical Aberration is affected.

      4 Points: One Medium-Level Physical Aberration is affected.

      5 Points: One High-Level Physical Aberration is affected.

Reflexive Response (Merit)

      The character's reflexes are hardwired for certain responses, specified on purchase of the Merit. This gives the Nova the ability to successfully perform some simple physical task (such as any of the defensive maneuvers in the main Aberrant book, P. 242) even when severely distracted or under mental domination. As long as the specific function can reasonably be triggered by something in the environment, the action is physically possible and the Nova isn't consciously trying not to do it, it will take place. (To get an idea of how this works, think about a dusty environment triggering a sneeze. Someone mind controlled to stay still and quiet would still sneeze, since this is a reflex triggered by nerve circuits not normally under voluntary control.)

      One common application of this Merit is to provide an automatic dodge. If it is at all possible for a Nova to sense an attack - even at the last moment - and be able to physically react, the Nova will apply the dodge maneuver, as per the combat rules. (Beginning on P. 233 of the main Aberrant book.)

      Cost is three points per specific reflex action.

Stalker (Flaw)

      Two points for someone who simply spies, and occasionally takes photographs. Three points for someone who trespasses and occasionally steals small items. Four points for a stalker who is actively trying to interact with the PC. Five points for one who commits crimes to get the attention of, honor or "help" the PC. Six points for a stalker who is trying to physically harm the PC or someone close to them.

Support (Merit)

      For whatever reason the character has a government agency, major business or influential person looking out for him or her. Maybe the character was a material witness in a court case. Maybe they did a big favor for someone. Or maybe an old friend of the family is a highly placed and/or influential person. Whatever the reason, for each point in this merit the character may, no more than once a month, have an extra dot in Allies, Backing, Cipher, Contacts, Influence or Resources, the distribution of dots being chosen by the player for the particular use. (These dots can be applied to any of the listed Backgrounds; even those the character does not normally have.)

      An alternative version is that each point can be traded for two dots to be applied to the above Backgrounds once per month (or one dot per point twice per month, the option being specified during purchase) but the character is expected to repay the favor at a time the Supporter specifies. (Failing to repay the favor reduces the Merit by two points; failing to do so at the time asked reduces it by one point.)

      The assumption is that someone who wants the character to succeed will provide resources which can be used to achieve a goal. They might provide information, persuade someone to help, suggest someone to call, arrange single-use access to a new cipher program, give an infusion of cash off the books, or even call in the Marines.

      No matter how many dots the character has in this Merit it may only be used once a month (or twice for that variation). The dots can be distributed as needed among the 6 Backgrounds for each use, but all must be applied to the same general purpose. (For example, someone with four points in Support who needs to "Get the goods on Artie" may apply one dot to Allies, two to Cipher and one to Contacts.) This benefit cannot be saved if not used for a month. If the Merit is not used in a particular month, that month's worth of use is lost; never existed, actually. In desperate situations this Merit may be used again before the month is up at a cost of one of the dots in the Merit.

      To improve this Merit the character must, in play, develop contacts who owe him or her favors, or have a productive working relationship with an appropriate NPC. Optionally, a Storyteller may require the character to cultivate the Supporter or risk losing points from the Merit, or have its use reduced to once per two months.

New Aberrations

Cosmetic Disorders

Appearance Drift      The character's physical appearance shifts through time. For a low-level Aberration a significant change could take several days and old alterations would fade back to the character's original state as new ones appeared, so the Nova would vary around a base state and always be recognizable. As a medium-level Aberration the changes would be faster as well as cumulative, but remain within normal human bounds. A high-level version of this would allow extreme, cumulative alterations and require less than a day for a substantial change in appearance.

      The low-level and medium-level versions add no inherent social penalties, though there may be some penalties due to the details of the character's appearance at a particular time. The high-level version has an automatic one-dot penalty for social interactions; not only are the changes more extreme, but many of them are fast enough for the change to be perceived in progress.

Mental Disorders

      Easily affected by emotional stimuli the character's emotional response to certain stimuli is exaggerated.

      For a low-level aberration this would be something like a particular scent or piece of music causing a strong, emotional reaction. A single success on a Willpower roll is needed to overcome the effect. A simple failure means the character goes last during Initiative sequences, or has a one-dot penalty on successes in non-Initiative situations. A botch means they fail to act in initiative situations and have a two-dot penalty otherwise.

      For a medium-level aberration two successes on a Willpower roll are needed to overcome the effect. Otherwise, the character suffers the same penalties as above.

      For a high-level aberration this causes the character to have a strong and even debilitating reaction to normal environmental stimuli. A song which might otherwise make the character sad instead sends him or her into a deep (but brief) depression. A colorful sunrise might cause ecstatic, joyful weeping. Three Willpower roll successes are needed to prevent this. Failure means the character misses a round of Initiative, or fails at any but the most simple and routine tasks. A botch means the character is helpless until able to make a Willpower roll with 5 successes.

Physical Disorders

      Triggered Reflexes      Certain responses are hardwired into the Nova's body. For reflexes which are annoying and embarrassing but unlikely to cause harm this would be a low-level Aberration. (Think Tourette's Syndrome.) If the reaction would cause severe embarrassment or possibly harm someone, this would be a medium-level Aberration. If the response could easily harm the Nova or bystanders, it is a high-level Aberration. (Seizures when exposed to bright, flashing lights would count here.)

Power (Quantum) Disorders

      Environmental Sensitivity      The character is sensitive to something about his or her environment. They cannot do their best except when in that place, situation or condition. The more uncommon the particular environment and the greater the effect, the higher the level of the Aberration. For a low-level Aberration there is only a two-dot penalty to all use of powers and Mega-Attributes. For each extra two dots of penalty the Aberration may be advanced one level. Note that this is a physical and not mental Aberration; even though the physical cause may not be obvious, there definitely is one.

      Needing a common environment to function properly - such as a shopping mall or city street - is a low-level Aberration. An uncommon environment - such as a thunderstorm or a baseball game - is a medium-level Aberration. A rare environment - such as a menhir or the Oval Office - would be a high-level Aberration.

      A location for which the character is unsuited - such as a nuclear reactor, the bottom of the deep ocean or outer space for someone with no specific ability to withstand radiation, pressure and vacuum, respectively - would count as a rare environment.

Die Rolling

      The target for die rolls is always 7, with the sole exception being when a Mega-Attribute is used to lower this (the process is detailed below). Roll the target or higher on a ten-sided die and you have a success. The number of dice depends on what Attributes and Abilities the character has, as detailed below. For ordinary actions only one success is needed. However, difficult or complicated tasks may require additional successes. A roll of 1 does not counter any successes; however, if there are no successes and a 1 is rolled the player has botched.

      Standard rolls are made by adding the Attribute and Ability scores (plus 1 for each applicable Specialty) and rolling that many 10-sided dice. For non-stressful situations where a character's score total is 7 or more the Storyteller may simply declare an automatic success. This only applies where a single success is needed.

      Any Ability may have up to 3 Specialties. A particular Specialty may only be purchased once. Each appropriate Specialty adds one to the dice pool.

      Spending a temporary Willpower point will grant a single automatic success. This may only be done once per action.

      For extended actions - those taking more than one turn to complete - extra successes may be kept to offset poor rolls in later turns. Each of these banked successes will counter one failure, with two being required to completely counter a botch. (One will reduce a botch to a failure.)

      Using Nova powers works the same way as above; the player adds the appropriate Attribute and Ability scores (plus 1 for each applicable Specialty) to determine the number of dice rolled. Use of Mega-Attributes is covered below.

Enhancements and Extras

      Enhancements are modifiers for Mega-Attributes, and cost 3 Nova points or 5 experience points each. There is a specific list of Enhancements given with each Mega-Attribute. A Character's Mega-Attribute may have as many Enhancements as exist for it, and some Enhancements may be bought more than once. Purchase of the first dot in a Mega-Attribute automatically includes one Enhancement. All subsequent levels of Enhancements must be purchased separately.

      Extras are modifiers for powers. Some are specific to particular powers; some are general and may be purchased for any power. Each Extra increases the effective cost of the power by one level, whether they are being bought with Nova points or experience points. That is, a Level One power effectively becomes a Level Two power, and a Level Two power becomes a Level Three. Level Three powers cannot be improved this way, since there are no Level Four powers (at least in the basic game; some of the books - specifically the Aberrant Players' Guide have information on higher level powers and higher level Extras). Level Two powers may only receive one Extra. Level One powers may have up to two, which increases their cost to that of a Level Three power.

      Note that some powers come with a selection of potential sub-powers, or Techniques. The rules for purchasing these are given with the particular power.

      In games where powers above Level Three are allowed, apply the rules on P 120 of the Aberrant Players' Guide.

      For the Enhancement of Regeneration the correction in the Player's Guide states that aggravated damage may be healed for three times the cost. I am interpreting this to mean that the normal Enhancement can heal aggravated damage if three Quantum points are spent for each level of aggravated damage. House Rule: Additionally, during character creation a nine-Nova-point variant of the Enhancement can be purchased which will treat aggravated damage as the basic version of this enhancement treats Bashing and Lethal. (This one cost also gives the base benefits without needing the base version as a prerequisite.)

Weaknesses, Strengths and Tradeoffs

      See P 141 of the Aberrant Players' Guide for the basic list of Weaknesses and how to apply them.

      Additional Weaknesses are described below.

      Shapeshifting:

      A Weakness which limits forms to a general class - such as only humanoid forms - would be a two point Weakness.

      A Weakness which limits forms to one species - such as all humans - would be a three point Weakness.

      A Weakness which limits forms to a subgroup within a species - such as adult humans of normal shape and size - would be a four point Weakness.

      A Weakness which limits forms to one - such as a specific human - would be a five point Weakness.

Mega-Attribute Usage

      For dice pool rolls Mega-Attribute points can be applied in either of two ways, or split between them. (No, you can not use the same points for each in one roll.)

      First, as a separate, bonus roll, where rolls of 7 to 9 add two successes to the base roll, with a 10 adding 3 successes.

      Second, each dot applied reduces the number of successes required by one. This cannot reduce the number required below 1 success. Neither can this be used to reduce the target number.

      Where the range, area of effect, number of affected targets or etc. depends on an attribute for which a character has a Mega-Attribute score, each dot in that counts as two standard attribute dots.

      Note that while even Novas cannot raise standard attributes to above 5 dots (with the exception of those who have the Dense Tissues Merit) the abusers of the drug Mite can. This is because the drug forces their bodies to operate in an overload condition. As might be expected, their long-term health ranges from poor to nonexistent.

Chrysalis     

      In addition to the rules in the Teragen book (starting on P. 120) there are other ways to enter a Chrysalis, with the same range of options for results. These methods almost always require a long period of preparation, with in-character meditation and appropriate actions for a span of months (game time), plus bringing the permanent Chrysalis Trait (or an equivalent) to 5 or more. The Archetype trait is not necessary for non-Terats - and, indeed, they are very unlikely to posses it - but having it or something like it (perhaps a trait based on their Nature) makes the process of entering and completing a Chrysalis easier. However, not using the Archetype trait - or using something less elitist in its place or perhaps developing other Archetypes which are not so unhuman - reduces the dehumanizing effects of Chrysalis which typify many Terats. While the general effects and specific results involved will usually be similar regardless of method, creativity should not be discouraged. If a player has an interesting concept for his or her Chrysalis and a good reason which fits their character and the circumstances, the Storyteller should definitely consider it.

      Chrysalis has functions beyond channeling Taint and increasing one's level of power. It is also a way to access entirely new powers, as well as advanced modifications of existing powers. The powers from the list beginning on page 125 of the Teragen book may only be purchased by someone who has experienced at least one Chrysalis. Also, to acquire a power with a level above 3, or an Extra for a power above Level Two, the character must have - besides the requisite experience points - completed a minimum requisite number of Chrysalises, or experienced some similar transformative process. To purchase an Extra for a Level Three Power one Chrysalis is needed. To acquire a Level Four Power two are needed. To purchase an Extra for a Level Four Power the character must have undergone at least four Chrysalises. To purchase a Level Five Power eight Chrysalises are needed. An Extra for a Level Five Power requires sixteen Chrysalises. And the minimum requisite for a Level Six Power is thirty-two Chrysalises. (The number is the cumulative total, not what is needed between purchases.)

      As can be seen from those requirements, acquiring truly awesome powers through the Chrysalis process is possible, but difficult and time consuming.

      Note that while many Terats claim a Nova's Eruption is their first Chrysalis (see below) that event is not counted in the total required above. However, especially successful or especially long Chrysalises may count as two or even three, at the Storyteller's option. There are also rumors that other experiences besides a Chrysalis may have the same effects, at least where acquiring high level powers and Extras is concerned.

      Expanding on the insect analogy, some Terats (and a few others who are familiar with the teachings of Divis Mal or have independently come to similar conclusions) believe that an Eruption is simply the first stage in a series of "pupations" or "moltings," with each requiring a casting off of the old shell before the new form inside can emerge. In this view, Taint is simply the deterioration of the old, outer self, which has done its job and is no longer needed. Disposing of this not only gets rid of the Taint, but allows the new, more advanced form to emerge.

      As an option, with each Chrysalis the player may purchase an additional Flaw or Merit, for an Experience Point cost or award of three times the point value.

Downtime Experience For PCs And NPCs

      Characters who survive their adventures should get experience for them, even if they're NPCs. For encounters between Player Characters and Non-Player Characters the method of awarding Experience to the NPCs is the same as that for PCs. However, your NPCs - whether villains or heros - should have a life apart from those of the PCs. Also, if you make NPCs with history you should award them experience based on their lives before they encounter the PCs.

      Characters who have been Novas for a while will naturally be better at using their powers than they were immediately after their Eruption. Through practice and training they will be more powerful, and able to make more effective use of their power. Also, if a character returns after a long period of absence it is safe to assume they haven't been just sitting around. Below are guidelines for how to apportion experience points to characters for non-play periods.

Points to Spend      Inactive      Mild      Moderate      Very      Extreme

Per Week                0           1           2           4      N/A

Per Month                1           2           3           4      5

Per Year                10           18          24          28      30

      Use the Per Week values for periods of less than a month and Per Month values for periods of less than a year. The Per Year values are lower than the Per Month and the Per Month lower than the Per Week because of the inherently greater difficulty of maintaining a high level of activity for a long period. Also, anyone maintaining a long period of high activity will be paying a proportionally higher amount of "maintenance," which eats away at their rate of improvement.

      While these guidelines are intended for helping to keep the NPCs on a par with the PCs, they could also be used to bring a returning player's character up to par.



Individuals of Note


Public

Name      Gender        Center of Operations      Notes

Antaeus      M      Team Tomorrow Central      Environmental researcher Nova

Arborghast,      M      New York City      Church of Michael

Reverend Milo     

Archangel

Avatar      M      New York City      Founder, Followers of the Avatar

Axeman      M      Cincinnati     

Bathgirl      F      Bath, England

Black Annis      F

Blue Avenger      M

Blue Cat      F

Bobby Double      ?

Boggler      M      Cincinnati     

Booster      M

Broker, The      F      Cincinnati      Popular local Nova employment agent

Bronzegal      F      Cleveland      Local hero, sanctioned

Caestus Pax      M      Team Tomorrow Central      T2M leader

Combat Master      M      Varies      Popular self-defense trainer

Debow, Steve      M      Team Tomorrow Central      Background Nova

Dragon      M

Escapade      F      Cincinnati

Finder      F      Louisville

Fireman, The      M      New York City Randel

Portman, the first acknowledged Nova

Gadgetive      F      Chicago     

Hyperactive inventor in early twenties

High Beam      M

Invicta      F      Detroit      Popular but non-sanctioned local hero

Kid Dynamo      M      Columbus      One of the youngest known Novas

Kreigsherren M      Stuttgart      German NATO general and tactical/ strategic Nova

Lady Lightning      F      Columbus Kid Dynamo's mom

Lapine      F      Cincinnati Lightning      M      Team Tomorrow Central      T2M operative

Living Wreck      M      Detroit

Lone Wolf      M      Cincinnati     

Mal, Divis      M      Unknown

Mentalist, The      M      Unknown      Arguably most powerful psi known

Mors Ab Alto      M      Cleveland      He's nuts!!

Mumpsimus      M

Mustang      M

Myna      M      Boston      Sanctioned local hero

Rio      F      Venice, CA      Celebrity and occasional hero

Saint Louis Moe M

Slider      F      T2M Americas     

Stallion      F

Stripes      F      Cincinnati

Texeira, Ana G. F      T2M Americas     

Totentanz      M      Varies      The Nova Elite mercenary

Ultiman      M      Project Utopia Europe      Nova stuffed shirt

Valence      M

Vector      F

Wilder      M

Zephyr      F

Organizations of Note

                               Center

                                 Of

Name      Date of Founding      Operations       Notes      

Argus Agency      03/24/2003     

Australis      2002      Sidney      Australian Nova team

Church of the      1998      Book of Kalpa       Founder Chrystian Kalpa disappears in 2004, but is replaced by the recently

Immanent Escheaton, The                         Erupted Gabriel Melchior

DeVries Agency      New York      Nova employment agency

Nippontai      03/23/1999      Japan      Japanese Nova team

Nordlysene     

04/08/2002      Scandinavia      Scandinavian Nova team

Project Utopia      08/13/1998     

Team Tomorrow     

01/01/1999      Geneva     

Teragen      Still being planned      Only being talked about at this time, but at game start already frightening some of the people who have heard the talk.

Triton Foundation     

0214/1994      CEO Ryan Gill


Recent History



      (Note that the information presented here is neither complete nor necessarily correct. It is what well-informed people on the Aberrant Earth would know about their world and what has been happening in it lately. Characters with appropriate Backgrounds or skills may know more details or have more accurate information. Conversely, those with certain Backgrounds or Flaws may have other "information" which is totally fallacious.)

Date

07/12/1996      An international consortium of scientists, headed by renowned theoretical and experimental physicist Adam Kuggler, expresses alarm over the increasing problems with the plans for the International Space Station. Ignored by NASA, the President and Congress, they present a proposal before the UN for a very different structure. Though much bad blood is generated by this move, their plan is so obviously much better than the debacle which the ISS program has devolved into the governments involved with the ISS reluctantly abandon that plan and sign on to this one.

      The new station derives over half its power from an experimental isotopic reactor, code-named Migma (though it has nothing to do with the infamous Migma process). This and other features promise to make construction of the station - now named Galatea - cheaper and quicker than even the most optimistic claims for the ISS. Some scientists and politicians object to the plan on various grounds, but it goes ahead regardless.

03/23/1998      At 12:18 PM EST the experimental nuclear reactor on board research space station Galatea explodes. The first Novas appear. (To this day Kuggler - along with many others - insists that the reactor his group built was not to blame. He states flatly that it could not have exploded, being an inherently safe design, and that while the telemetry data shows the disturbance beginning in the reactor area that it didn't start in the reactor itself. Something from outside the reactor or even the station - perhaps an explosive device or chunk of satellite debris - damaged the station and the reactor, beginning a cascade of events which lead to the destruction of both. He also notes that the elemental and isotopic signatures of the debris from Galatea contained anomalies which could not have come from anything which was supposed to be aboard the station.)

05/1/1998      UN announces a partnership with the Aeon Society for studying the phenomenon of Novas.

05/28/1998      Zuhin "ZAM" Alhazred Mohammed of Karachi, Pakistan, Erupts. He becomes the major factor in his small nation's transformation into a major economic power, and a paradise for its citizens.

06/30/1998      The UN overwhelmingly passes the Zurich Accord, declaring Novas to be human beings.

07/18/1998      Dr. Henri Mazarin and Dr. Farah Rashoud announce the discovery of a distinctive new lump of specialized neural tissue present in every Nova examined. The M-R Node is soon verified as being unique to Novas.
08/13/1998      At the urging of the Aeon Society the UN forms a special task force to handle Nova-related problems. This includes several prominent Novas. The group is named - apparently spontaneously, during a press conference - Team Tomorrow. Plans are already underway for a law enforcement arm.

October, 1998      Term "Baseline" coined.

12/04/1998      Drs. Mazarin and Rashoud release their initial report on Nova physiology and biology.

01/01/1999      Team Tomorrow officially announced. The group had actually been created months earlier and was well trained by the time of the announcement.

01/03/1999      First Team Tomorrow raid, on Iranian terrorist base.

      Drs. Mazarin and Rashoud complete their project to study Novas and go their separate ways. Though they continue to disagree on several aspects of the Nova phenomenon, their parting is cordial. Dr. Rashoud soon joins Project Utopia as director of Nova-related medical research and procedures, while Dr. Mazarin returns to his post at the University of Kentucky to work on non-Nova research.

01/08/1999      Project Utopia opens the first Rashoud facility in midtown Manhattan.

02/18/1999      Boris Yeltsin dies, which sparks the greatest one-day drop in market prices ever. Throughout the following months various - and sometimes drastic - measures are taken to alleviate the crisis. Project Utopia, as an arm of the United Nations, becomes a major force in feeding the starving, quelling riots and rebellions and restoring basic utilities to stricken areas.

03/01/1999      Microsoft hires Nova Mungu Kuwasha for his ability to interface with electronic devices.

05/18/1999      United States Nova Development Program created.

09/06 - 08/1999      His Excellency, Count Raoul Orzaiz and Pedro (The Mathematician) Santiago arrange a meeting with two other Novas, Marcel Delorimier (who takes the name The Apostle in early 2004) and Caroline Fong, whom they see as having interests and beliefs similar to their own. Together, they lay the foundation for the Teragen organization.

      (Doctor Altaz Zia joined this core group on 2001, and later took the title The Apothecary of the Harvesters. Divis Mal joined in early 2003, and energized and transformed the movement.)

10/15/1999      Ten people, including three members of the heavy-metal band Nails of Faith, are discovered ritually murdered in Gjøvik, Norway. This first so-called "Blood Garden" presages several more mysterious mass murders, which continue to occur apparently at random in both time and location. Several of the victims have received the famed Norse "Blood Eagle" treatment, not usually reproduced in subsequent Gardens. (ReignofEvil.com, P. 3.)

01/01/2000      The Y2K bug surfaces, despite measures taken to prevent it from causing problems. Project Utopia and many non-affiliated Novas step in to help, a public-relations boon.

03/15/2000      In the Congo, Lambert Asani - a Nova who Erupted in November of 1999 - assumes the title Mobutu and begins assembling a Tutsi militia.

03/21/2000      The primary surviving US criminal family teams up with most powerful surviving Russian syndicate to agree to aid each other in resisting the crime-busting efforts of the newly organized Project Utopia. (Camparelli and Zhukhov.)

04/08/2000      Fidel Castro dies. After a brief but turbulent period, Cuba emerges as a democracy interested in normalizing relations with the rest of the world.

05/23/2000      Adrenocilin released for Nova use.

08/10/2000      United States Armed Forces announce a Nova recruitment program.

11/03/2000      Robert Schroer is elected President of the United States in a narrow margin over Al Gore. Schroer's moderate stance is popular with the voting public but drives the extreme right wing of the Republican Party to break off and create several fragment parties.

01/04/2001      Lambert Asani begins recruiting Novas for a coup in the Congo, becoming the Father of Elite warfare.

03/29/2001      Founding of the Russian Confederation.

04/13/2001      Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States form the Directive, a covert organization designed to apply Nova abilities for the combined benefit of the members. (This grew from a Russian-only precursor, also called the Directive. Great Britain joined forced with the Russians in late 2000.) This agreement was met with profound disinterest from the majority of the world press, though a few paid attention, some worrying in public about the new organization's purpose. For the most part, the Directive remained unnoticed. Which helped greatly during its formative period.

      Patterned roughly after Interpol, the Directive is a low-profile law enforcement agency whose operatives are (at least technically) recognized as authorized officers of the law in all member states.

      In the United States, all federal, state and local agencies are ordered to treat officers of the Directive as if they were agents of the FBI and Federal Marshal's Service combined. How well this order is obeyed depends on the specific people involved. Given the Directive's low profile, however, there are few cases of conflict of interest.

      Germany was invited to join in 2004 but declined. However, there has been considerable unofficial support from the G.D.R. Sometimes from high government officials who have no permission or authority to give it.

05/02/2001      First documented use of Novas in warfare, as several sub-Saharan nations add "Elites" to their military forces. A number of brushfire wars sweep through the area soon after. While Novas are generally used only against other Novas, collateral casualties are high. The UN finally sends members of Team Tomorrow in to try and stop the fighting, with mixed results. A cease-fire is eventually negotiated.

06/18/2001      New York v. Gambione extends "gift horse" evidence to Nova abilities.

08/07/2001      Anibal Buendia creates eufiber.

09/11/2001      Novas rally quickly after a heavily loaded airliner strikes the North Tower at the World Trade Center. Eighteen minutes later, as they and Baseline police and firemen race to extinguish the fire and rescue survivors trapped on upper floors, the horror is compounded as another airliner is seen heading for the South Tower. Several Novas working together manage to divert the plane at the last moment, but it comes apart in flight. Only a few passengers are saved, none of them highjackers. In spite of their heroic efforts, Novas are unable to prevent aircraft debris - much of it on fire - from raining down over a widely scattered area, adding to the property damage, injuries and deaths.
      Forty minutes later news spreads that yet another airliner has crashed into the Pentagon. A few Novas already on their way to New York divert there.

      Through incredible work by both Novas and Baselines, the fire in the North Tower is extinguished. Emergency structural reinforcement barely prevents the tower from collapsing. Similar efforts at the Pentagon are less significant, but Nova efforts still help reduce the toll.

      News is now heard that a fourth airliner had been highjacked, but landed safely on a Pennsylvania Interstate through the efforts of the passengers, one of them a Nova. Those on board had already heard of the other highjackings and the resulting crashes, so when the terrorists diverted the flight the crew and passengers took action. Three passengers and the pilot were killed, and twenty others were injured, but the plane was saved, as well as the majority of passengers and crew, plus the target. None of the highjackers survived. One unusual aspect of this part of the terrorist attack is that much of it was reported over cell phones as it happened. Those who took the plane back from the terrorists are hailed as heroes.

      When a count is finally taken, over 1500 are dead and nearly that many seriously injured. Many of these are firefighters and police officers. At least three of the dead are Novas. Estimates are that twice that many might have died without Nova efforts.

09/14/2001      Flaming letters spelling out "You shall not kill" in elegant, archaic Arabic script appear in the sky over Kabul, Afghanistan. Taliban leaders interpret this as Allah's approval of their actions against the American infidels.

      Shortly after they announce this, Novas from all over the world begin staging raids on Afghanistan, with varying degrees of effectiveness and amounts of collateral damage. Pleas from the UN and many governments to stop go mostly unheeded. Many gifts of documents and records taken from Taliban facilities - most of them worthless but a few providing valuable information - make their way to various agencies. A number of known terrorists are dropped off at the UN, the CIA or other places. Unfortunately, so are many apparently innocent men and women. Most of these people are dead; none are healthy. Announcements of Novas being killed in such raids are repeatedly made by the government of Afghanistan, but only a few bodies in colorful costumes are shown and none of these are verifiable as recognized Novas.

      Cries from Afghanistan and its allies calling on Arab Novas for help in resisting these attackers are generally either answered with venomous rhetoric that Novas are not part of Islam, or silence. In Europe and the US, experts who answer this question by explaining that Islamic Fundamentalists have rejected Novas as agents of Satan are accused of racism and of being anti-religion. They are also denounced by some of the same Islamic fundamentalists who previously stated that Novas cannot be Muslims.

      By the time the United States formally declares war, there is little fight left in the Taliban and its Afghanistani puppet government. Though several top Taliban leaders escape, the country is soon in US - and then UN - hands. Some praise the actions of the Novas who softened up Afghanistan's defenses. Others claim those same Novas were far out of line and actually hampered legitimate military and intelligence efforts, and demand that those who participated be found and prosecuted. Some even claim that casualties and collateral damage would have been less with modern, precision-guided weapons, but they are generally derided.

      In spite of all of this, Osama Bin Ladin remains at large. Rumors abound that he is a Nova.

11/14/2001      President Schroer announces that Iraq is harboring Taliban refugees from Afghanistan and some of their terrorist allies. Saddam Hussein denies this, and says the US is using the claim as a pretext for further sanctions against Iraq, or even military action. He declares that in spite of the unholy alliance between the people of the United States and the demonic Novas that Iraq will stand firm against the infidels.

01/012002      Team Tomorrow splits into two teams, T2M Europe and T2M Americas.

03/30/2002      CNN breaks a gay sex scandal story involving President Schroer.

04/21/2002      President Schroer declares war on Iraq, an action widely decried by nearly every politician and member of the news media. Many claim he is doing this as a declaration of manhood in response to the scandal. Over the next several weeks forces are gathered in preparation for a major military strike. However, the first attack is from a force of nearly a hundred Novas, many of them members of Team Tomorrow. The President has struck a secret deal with the UN, which had previously been opposed to military action against Iraq. The Novas surgically disable all important military facilities in under two days, occasionally aided by US air strikes. They locate and capture Saddam Hussein and most of his high level government officials within a week and turn them over to the UN.

      A multinational military force - which includes many Novas - then occupies the country. With the help of the Novas and what they uncover, evidence of horrible atrocities is made public. While no terrorist camps or weapons of mass destruction are found, enough components and plans are retrieved to unnerve those in the know. The UN and the US settle in to bring democracy to the country. They soon find themselves bogged down with insurgent attacks and civil unrest.

05/05/2002      The author of an article for The Economist coins the phrase "The India Syndrome" after the tendency for the uneducated or simply gullible to see Novas as literal gods.

06/15/2002      Cyrus Katrak forms the Daedelus League, a group of Novas who dedicate their efforts to space exploration.

07/07/2002      The Equatorial Wars Erupt. Nova Elites soon become major players. Totentanz makes a name for himself as The Nova mercenary.

      Team Tomorrow Europe and T2M Americas attempt to intervene, but their inexperience leads to their first and (so far) only decisive defeat. Totentanz alone kills Slag and Pursuer and severely wounds Pele. Project Utopia, at the urging of the UN, declares victory and withdraws. (Most people believe they won, even when these facts are pointed out to them.)

      Project Utopia subsequently adopts the policy of not sending T2M personnel into a fight involving mercenary Novas unless they have at least twice as many Novas of roughly the same power level as the "bad guys." While this makes pragmatic and tactical sense, the policy is kept quiet to avoid adversely impacting the team's public image.

07/21/2002      A London bank sends two Novas to seize General Pervez Musharraf - who had only recently become Premier of Pakistan in a military coup - and bring him to Britain for trial for defaulting on a $20 billion loan. Musharraf, unable or unwilling to pay, had declared the debt invalid because of Islamic prohibitions against charging interest. Apparently, he hoped to rouse support among Muslims this way. Instead, he leaves a power vacuum filled by General Rashid Qureshi, who immediately sends troops into Kashmir.

08/12/2002      First eufiber communications cable in operation.

09/15/2002      A tense, three-way standoff over Kashmir between India, Pakistan and China is cooled by placing members of Team Tomorrow in the area. Though war is prevented, many lives are lost in hit-and-run skirmishes. Kashmir, under UN surveillance and T2M enforcement, becomes a no-fire zone.

      This was the fourth major use of Novas in armed conflict, and the second time Team Tomorrow intervened in a conflict of this type. The results were much more favorable for T2M this time. Two days after the conflict started, T2M personnel arrived with nearly twenty Novas, many of them reserve members or non-T2M volunteers, most from Project Utopia. Acting as a single force, they focused on each enemy Nova or small group of Novas one at a time, often outnumbering their opponents 4-to-1. This application of overwhelming force proved successful not only in stopping the battle but in reducing casualties, both Nova and Baseline.

      The Chinese-employed Novas were taken out first, in a battle lasting nearly an hour. The end result was almost every Nova used by China being taken prisoner. India's Nova team, seeing this, quietly withdrew back to their country. The Pakistani Elites weren't so reasonable, due in part to a grudge between one of their leaders and Shelby (Caestus Pax) Eisenfaust. The subsequent battle lasted 10 minutes, and resulted in a resounding defeat for the Pakistani hirelings.

10/31/2002      The Bangkok Conference on Mental Potential is disrupted by a Nova attack which leaves only 5 survivors from the attendees, and causes heavy casualties among non-members in the area. One of the conference founders, Dr. Martin Bailey (a.k.a. the Mentalist) immediately organizes a retaliatory strike which, later the same day, results in the death or long-term disability of every Nova who participated in the attack. Later, Dr. Bailey is seen at the corporate headquarters of Avalon Industries. Over a dozen high-ranking members of Avalon's board of directors are killed, rendered insane or simply vanish. Documents and computer files left for the police prove the company's complicity in the attack on the conference, though the question of why is never answered.

      Dr. Bailey himself disappears from public view after this action and is still officially missing.

10/15/2002      Moxinoquantamine released for Nova use, as an adjunct to Adrenocilin.

11/08/2002      The Scorpion VTOL craft is revealed to public. Using an aviation version of the hypercombustion engine, it has long range, a high-subsonic cruise speed and precise hover capabilities. Many civilian and military variations follow. (Sales of conventional automobiles plummet in the months before the first ground vehicle with a hypercombustion engine goes on sale. However, only a few models with the new engine are offered and those are exorbitantly expensive due to the tooling costs for the new engine. Stock prices of Ford, GM, and most other automobile manufacturers sink and surge repeatedly, and several merge, arrange substantial loans or simply sell for the best price they can get. Sales of old-style cars drop precipitously as people put off buying new cars in anticipation of getting one with a hypercombustion engine. Then demand rises far above supply as most of those delaying see how few and expensive cars with the new engine are. This causes the prices of used cars to rise, as well, since there aren't enough new ones to meet demand. Politicians and commentators blast the auto companies for mismanaging the situation.)

01/01/2003      The N! Channel debuts, specializing in covering Nova matters for both Novas and Baselines.

0201/2003      Space Shuttle Orbiter Columbia breaks up during reentry. Engineers at NASA had suspected the protective heat tiles were damaged and spoken with a space-faring Nova from the Daedelus League about making an inspection, but NASA administrators cancelled the request, claiming that having this "amateur" fly near the Shuttle could endanger it.

02/10/2003      The International Olympic Committee announces that the 2004 games will have special track and field events for Novas.

03/09/2003      Shamed by the Columbia disaster, which was largely caused by a failure of upper management to respond properly to warnings from their engineers, the Schroer administration instructs NASA to revamp its internal communications policies. President Schroer himself requests the UN to form a special advisory panel whose purpose is to consider ways to acquire and disseminate information of potential and rapidly emerging problems more quickly. The idea is to provide the earliest possible notice to Team Tomorrow and other appropriate Nova groups about situations where their aid is needed to prevent or respond to disasters. The organization which emerges is modeled after the Center for Short-lived Phenomena.

03/24/2003      The Argus Agency is opened. A rival to DeVries, its founder is a precognitive Nova who uses his abilities both to put his people in the right place at the right time and to keep them safe. Where DeVries specializes in mercenary Elites, Argus tends to seek troubleshooting and emergency management jobs. The founder specifically cites President Schroer's request to the UN as part of the motivation for creating his company. In this respect it is more like Team Tomorrow than DeVries.

04/01/2003      After much discussion and negotiation between auto manufacturers, banks and governments, a plan is announced to stabilize the automobile market. Until every company which plans to convert to the hypercombustion engine (which is most of them) does so none will mass produce a car equipped with it. Current production of any one model with the engine will be kept under a thousand units per year, with no one company producing a total of more than five thousand per year for all models. Additionally, an 8% surcharge is placed on all new cars sold to help finance the conversions. The market responds with some relatively minor vacillations, then stabilizes, though with much muttering on the part of stockholders and customers. Politicians and commentators blast the auto companies for collusion and accuse them of establishing a monopoly.

Terminology

      Note that these definitions are neither necessarily the formal ones used by professionals in the appropriate fields nor the legal ones used in courts. Neither are they always the same as the game mechanics explanations. They are certainly not the entirety of what is meant by the word or term being defined. These definitions are what typical people in the Aberrant Earth think of on hearing the word or term, what they already know or can easily learn about these things, and include some used for game purposes only. Characters with appropriate Backgrounds or skills may know more or better.

      Note that many of them have more than one common meaning.


Word or Term      Definition

Aberrant      Alternate term, generally derogatory, for someone possessing an active Mazarin-Rashoud node and the associated abilities. (See "Nova.")

      A Nova not part of a recognized government or commercial agency. A freelancer, a vigilante, a loose cannon.

     

Adrenocilin      Drug used to control Nova powers. A proprietary development of Project Utopia, its immediate effects are similar to those of Moxinoquantamine (see below) but it works by aiding control of powers instead of damping them. It is mildly addictive and for short-term use only. Novas are advised to take Adrenocilin for the first week or two after their Eruption, and for at least a few days after any significant increase in or addition to their powers. Those with persistent problems may have to take it the rest of their lives.

      The vast majority of black market "Adrenocilin" is actually Moxinoquantamine with additives. However, besides the doses manufactured by Project Utopia itself, the real formula is also made in small quantities by a handful of pharmaceutical companies, most of them in countries without Project Utopia ties.

Aeon Society      A philanthropic society founded in 1923, based out of New York City.

      One of the primary organizations behind Project Utopia and Team Tomorrow.

Anima      A Nova's "special effect;" a usually-visual accompaniment to many Nova abilities.

      The field of energy which surrounds Novas and which often becomes apparent to unaided vision when powers are used.

Bahrain Facility      Founded in 2003 (and still under construction at game start) this Project Utopia installation is dedicated to studying Taint.

Banned Technologies      Items or processes deemed disruptive or harmful by the experts at Project Utopia.

      A.k.a. Blacktech or Shadowtech.

Baseline      A non-Nova human.

Camparelli-Zhukhov      International crime cartel, named after the two founders.

DeVries Agency      Employment agency for Novas. Primarily focuses on military or security applications.

Elite      A Nova who fights in a military organization, most often used to refer to mercenaries who possess activated Mazarin-Rashoud Nodes.

Enhancements      Augmentations applied to a Mega-Attribute. One comes with the first dot; subsequent Enhancements must be purchased.

Extras      Augmentations which may be purchased and applied to Nova powers.

Eufiber      A fibrous substance, first formed by Nova fashion designer Anibal Buendia and later synthesized for large-scale marketing. Strong and tough, it comes in two forms. The original is secreted by Buendia himself and has the added property of responding to Novas who are attuned to it.

Fog      Street name for a new drug, rapidly rising in popularity. The name is derived from the fact that it is administered as an aerosol mist which is inhaled. A wide number of different methods are known to exist for creating the mist. Unconfirmed rumors state that some rock bands have used stage-effect fog machines to dose concert attendees and illegally boost the effect of performances.

Flare      A Nova of low ability, with roughly half the average power level of the medium-powerful Novas.

Inert      Derogatory term for Baselines, or non-Nova humans.

Mazarin-Rashoud Node      Bundle of glandular and neural tissue found in all Novas and no Baselines. A.k.a. M-R Node or Node.

Medellin Cartel      South American criminal syndicate, specializing in cocaine. The leader is suspected of being a Nova.

Mite      A super-hormone developed from study of Nova mitochondria. A controlled substance in most countries, it has the same effect on Novas ordinary steroids have on Baselines. In Baselines it acts as a powerful euphoric as well as temporarily increasing strength and stamina. Repeated use causes an increase in muscle mass with a dramatically rapid onset and long-term duration.

      Mite is highly addictive, and often used by gangbangers and other criminals. Prolonged use causes the euphoric effect to be accompanied by violent outbursts of anger.

Mitoid      A user of Mite; most often, someone who uses it to aid in criminal activities.

Moxinoquantamine      Drug used to dampen Nova powers. Newly Erupted Novas often have trouble controlling their powers, and may take this until they are more experienced. It is also used to control Novas who have become a danger to themselves or others. The larger the dose the greater the inhibition of Nova abilities, but also the greater the chance of serious side effects. Enough Mox to block a Nova's powers completely could easily be lethal, depending on the particular Nova.

      Though not physically addictive, some Novas with dangerous powers become psychologically dependent on it.

      In doses scaled for Baseline use Moxinoquantamine is a safe and effective mild sedative. However, a Nova-level dose would very quickly put a Baseline in a coma or respiratory arrest, and could cause anaphylactic shock.

      Some of the metabolites of Moxinoquantamine persist in tissues for weeks, and are quite distinctive, being easily revealed by appropriate medical tests.

Municipal Defender      Nova hired by a city or group of citizens to be a resident protector against disasters and criminal acts. The details of the arrangement vary with each participant, but often involve deputization.

N!      A highly rated television channel with integrated Internet (and, later, OpNet) functions. It is dedicated to fact and fiction programs involving Novas.

Nova      A human possessing an activated Mazarin-Rashoud node in the front of the brain. This node is the only uniform physiological feature distinguishing between Baselines and most Novas.

      Less generally, a Nova of medium-range power level, between a Flare and a Supernova. See: Paragon.

OpNet      An advanced communications network derived from the Internet but incorporating advanced technologies largely derived from discoveries by or about Novas.

Paragon      A Nova of moderate abilities, greater than those of a Flare and less than those of a Supernova. See: Nova.

Project Utopia      An organization formed by the United Nations and the Aeon Society. The sponsors of and managing authority over Team Tomorrow. Its purpose is to monitor and - when necessary - control Novas, and to use Novas for the benefit of society. Their Team Tomorrow group of elite Novas has performed many beneficial - and some questionable - actions. Many other Novas operate for Utopia in a second-line capacity. There is a substantial Baseline membership of both field operatives and support personnel. PU is largely self-financed through licensing products and technologies produced by its members.

      As of early 2003 roughly 1300 Novas are either employed full-time by Project Utopia or are on retainer with that organization.     

QuanTech      See Valamid fibers.

Quantum      A vague term which is generally used to describe the mechanism through which Nova abilities work or their power source. In a sense it is a measure of the power a Nova possesses. The word is loosely associated with the concept of quantum mechanics.

      Quantum comes in a variety of "scents," "colors" or "flavors" (something which several Novas have confirmed but which physicists are still arguing over) one of which is apparently unique to Novas. To those with Quantum Attunement or some other reasonable way of getting detailed information on quantum signatures - such as a high Node score and enhanced perception without Quantum Attunement - the fact that there are different shades of quantum is obvious.

      The terminology associated with Quantum is still vague and not yet standardized.

      Every Nova begins with a Quantum score of one. More dots can be purchased during character creation or with experience points.

      Remember that raw Quantum has no known effect on non-Novas. However, it could trigger an eruption in a potential Nova.

Quasar      A proposed classification for Novas of ability beyond even that of the Supernova. Since there is little consensus on whether even Supernovas exist this category is mentioned only in the interests of completion.

Rashoud Facility      These Project Utopia-associated centers for studying and training Novas are distributed in major cities throughout the world.

      As of early 2003, Project Utopia is in the process of constructing a Facility in Cincinnati, to open by the end of the year. It will be small, and double as a Project Utopia and Team Tomorrow field office and short-term dormitory, for use in local and/or regional emergencies. Though the city population of 450,000 is small for a Facility, Cincinnati is located roughly in the middle (in terms of transportation access as well as geography) of an area with a large population but few large cities.

      Currently the Facility nearest to Cincinnati is in Indianapolis.

Soma      Illegal and officially nonexistent Nova enhancing drug. Often confused with Mite, Soma - assuming it existed - would be a stimulant for Novas, rather than acting as a steroid, as Mite does.

Spike      Illegal narcotic. Produces a brief "spike" of intense, pleasurable sensation, during which the user is incapacitated. This fades quickly to a nice buzz which can last for hours. During this time users may seem normal or mildly distracted, but are actually emotionally and intellectually disconnected from external events.

      While a Spike user in this state is non-violent, they may harm themselves and others simply because their judgement is impaired. One Spike addict drove her car through the sliding glass door of an eldercare hostel, crushing, maiming and killing over a dozen. She calmly got out of her car, pushed a bleeding and pleading elderly man off the windshield, got back in, turned around (driving over several bodies in the process) and left the way she came. Witnesses say she was smiling and humming a pleasant melody the whole time.

      Spike is normally administered by inhalation of a solution in normal saline through the nose in mist or aerosol form. Swallowing Spike results in a much slower uptake with a milder peak but a prolonged buzz. When injected Spike achieves the same results much more quickly and with far smaller doses but the buzz only lasts a few minutes. This has led to several overdoses by users attempting to prolong the afterglow.

      There are rumors of a Spike patch but none have been officially confirmed.

Supernova      A Nova of superior ability, perhaps twice to three times the median level of the mid-range Nova/Paragon. Not all authorities on the Nova phenomenon agree that Supernovas exist.

Taint      A deformity or unusual characteristic of a Nova which results from using Nova abilities.

Team Tomorrow      Group of elite operatives organized by Project Utopia. These are the frontline agents, the troubleshooters, for the UP.

Team Tomorrow Americas      New World branch of T2M, headquartered in Mexico City.

Team Tomorrow Asia/Pacific      T2M branch headquartered on Talaud Island.

Team Tomorrow Central      T2M's main headquarters, originally located in Geneva. (Moves to the Addis Ababa Utopia Complex in 2006)

Team Tomorrow Europe      Headquartered in Venice.     

Triton Foundation      Medical research organization, famous for using Nova resources. The Foundation is intimately associated with both Project Utopia and the Aeon Society.

      Dr. Farah Rashoud is an Associate of the Foundation, and it supplies most of the medical personnel for her Rashoud Facilities.

Valamid fibers      Fibrous material of extreme strength. A.k.a. QuanTech.

Vella      Environment-friendly paper substitute. Made largely from farm and industrial waste products, for production facilities of the same size it is slightly cheaper to produce than traditional wood-pulp paper, while creating far less in the way of pollution and actually removing some materials seen as pollutants from the environment. It is 100% recyclable and non-toxic.

      The one drawback to Vella is that burning it releases some of the pollutants it is made from into the environment.

Xtreme Warfare Federation      An entertainment consortium similar to television wrestling, but with Novas. A.k.a. XWF.

Zurich Accord      United Nations resolution declaring Novas to be human.


Game Mechanics Basics



      The target die roll for success is always 7. Rolling the target or higher succeeds. All lower rolls fail. A 1 results in a botch only if there are no successes. (See Aberrant, P. 108.) Rolls of 1 do not negate successful rolls.

Combat

      The rules begin on P. 239 of Aberrant. Initiative is determined by rolling a 10-sided die and adding the score to the total of the character's Initiative Rating (total of Dexterity, Wits (Mega included) and bonuses). In cases of ties the character with the highest Initiative Rating goes first. House Rule: If characters are still tied use Dexterity as a tiebreaker for physical actions, and Wits for mental. If there is still a tie, have those involved roll again. (This second roll is only to break the tie. It does not affect the original Initiative roll, but only determines who among those with the same total goes first.)

      A character with a held action may interrupt someone else's action. However, if the target has Mega-Dex this is not automatic. All involved must make Dex rolls; the highest score goes first. If this is the target, the action is not interrupted.

Dramatic Systems

      The basic rules for combat are described beginning on P. 233 of Aberrant. Lifting rules are on P. 234. The Combat Summary chart is on P. 242.

      Stage 1: Initiative (Dex + Wits + Bonus)

      Initiative is determined by rolling a D!0 and adding the Initiative rating. Players then declare actions. The highest total goes first. For characters with the same total, the highest Initiative goes first. House Rule: If Initiative ratings are the same the highest Dex goes first.

      Following Initiative determination declarations of planned actions and intent to spend Willpower or perform multiple actions are made. Dice pools are allocated for multiple actions.

      Stage 2: Attack

      Combat rolls are made. Characters may abort to a defensive action (block, dodge or parry) at any time before their last action if a successful Willpower roll is made. For Close Combat use Brawl, Martial Arts or Melee. For Ranged Combat use Firearms or the appropriate quantum power skill total.

      Stage 3: Resolution

      Subtract defender's soak roll from the attack's bonus points (see below) then - if there is any soak left - from the attacker's dice pool. Determine total damage. Note that each additional success on the attack (to hit) roll allows an extra die to be added to the damage effect, up to a maximum of 5.

      Repeat as needed.

      Mark Bashing damage with a /, Lethal damage with an X and Aggravated with an asterisk. House Rule: Brawling damage may at the attacker's choice be either Bashing or Lethal, but choosing to do Lethal damage adds one to the required successes to hit. Martial Arts techniques may be Bashing, Lethal or Aggravated, at Character's choice, but choosing to do Lethal damage adds one required success to the hit roll, and choosing to do Aggravated adds two required successes.

      Soaking (P. 241 Aberrant) allows Baselines to subtract one die from the attacker's damage pool per point of Stamina*, but only for Bashing damage. Novas can likewise soak Bashing damage, and also half that amount - rounded down - in Lethal damage. Mega-Stamina and some powers allow additional Lethal soak, as does armor. A few attacks will do Aggravated damage.

      *Soak is subtracted from automatic damage (damage bonuses) before being applied to rolled damage.

      Combat General Maneuvers are on P. 242 of Aberrant.

      Combat Defensive Maneuvers are on P. 243 of Aberrant.

      Close Combat Maneuvers are on P. 244 of Aberrant. (This is where damage for things like punches and kicks is given. In general, a punch does Strength + 2 and a Kick Strength + 3. Each dot in Mega Strength adds 5 automatic successes.)

      Offensive and Defensive Maneuvers start on P. 242 of the main Aberrant book, and include difficulty and damage modifiers for called shots (Targeting). The maneuver summary table is on P. 250.

      Damage application is on P. 253 of Aberrant.

      Recovery is described on P. 254 of Aberrant.

      For the Enhancement of Regeneration the correction in the Player's Guide states that Aggravated damage may be healed for three times the cost. I am interpreting this to mean that the normal Enhancement can heal Aggravated damage if three Quantum points are spent for each level of aggravated damage. House Rule: Additionally, a nine-Nova-point variant of the Enhancement can be purchased which will treat Aggravated damage as the basic version of this enhancement treats Bashing and Lethal. (This one cost gives the base benefits without needing the base version as a prerequisite.)

      Material damage capacities are listed on P. 257 of the Aberrant book.

Maxing Out

      The base rules are on P. 147 of Aberrant.

      House Rule: Maxing Out also applies to Mega Attributes.

      Maxing Out allows characters to build up a short-term charge of Quantum for application to extreme efforts. If the character chooses to max, a point of Willpower is spent, then the character takes a turn to concentrate. For each dot in the character's Quantum score the player can roll a die, spending a quantum point for each. Each success on the roll creates a Max Point which the player may use to boost their next action in any combination of the following ways:

      Each Max Point spent on a power can be used to add one damage die to an attack power or one success to a mental power. (House rules: Each point spent on Mega-Strength can be used to add one damage die. Each point spent on Mega-Dex can be used to add one die to the to-hit roll. And so forth.)

      Each success spent in defense adds one to the soak against both bashing and lethal damage.

      Each success spent on increasing the area of effect for an Area or Explosive power doubles it.

      Each success spent on increasing the range or speed of a power doubles it.

      Each success spent on increasing the duration of a power effect doubles it.

      Two successes may be spent to add either the Extra: Area or the Extra: Explosive to an attack which does not already have it. (House Rule: adding both costs 8 successes.)

      There are dangers in this practice. A botch on either the Quantum roll or the dice pool roll for the power will cause the character to gain temporary Taint. (See P. 148, Aberrant.)

      Optionally, with five successes the character may reduce the Quantum cost by one. Two additional successes over the base Maxing Out five allow the use of any applicable Extra to the power or Mega Attribute. For each additional three successes another Maxing Out option may be chose. These include choosing an auto-success for an attack power, changing a power's duration category from Concentration to Maintenance, or any of those listed in the main book (Aberrant, P. 147).

      Besides the other benefits, for each session in which a power or Mega Attribute is Maxed Out the character earns one experience point to be used specifically for improving that power or Mega Attribute.

Quantum

      Rules for Quantum use and recovery are on P. 146 of Aberrant.

      Every Nova has at least one dot in the Quantum Trait. More can be purchased during character creation or with experience points.

Taint

      Basic rules are on P. 148 of Aberrant.


The Plexus



      This is a family dance club and restaurant located in a converted movie theater, co-owned by Amber Thervallia and Cecilia "The Broker" Prader. The name has a double meaning, one referring to the network of connections the Broker maintains, the other being a pun on the term used for modern, multi-theater movie complexes. The business tries for an all-ages patronage, and largely succeeds. Besides dining and dancing with live music, there are special function rooms for arcade games, Internet access and private parties. Hours are 4 PM to 2 AM Monday through Thursday, and 3PM to 3AM Friday and Saturday. Though the club is closed on Sundays, the restaurant upstairs is open, and Amber may take special appointments.

      The sloping floor where theater seats were once mounted has been covered with terraced platforms, the largest and lowest of which holds the dance floor. The stage is used by performers who entertain the customers. Ramps formed by the simple expedient of not putting platforms in two strips up the floor allow access between the levels, the concrete there covered with bright orange neoprene high-traction flooring. A well-stocked bar is on the left side of the lowest level, near stage right. Food is available at tables on the non-dance terraces as well as upstairs, where the ticket booth, lobby and old concession stand have been removed to create a small but quite nice restaurant. The latter is open 10 AM to 10 PM Monday through Sunday.

      Amber can usually be found either behind the bar or running some errand around the building. While she trusts the people she hires to do their jobs well and right, she likes a hands-on approach to running her business. She also likes to socialize with her patrons. Besides being the manager (which involves keeping the books, ordering supplies, arranging entertainment, hiring and firing, etc.) she also helps out in crunches, and continually patrols to make sure both her customers and employees are okay. While she can mix the simpler, more common drinks, anything obscure or complicated she leaves to Jake McGilvey, the bartender.

      The two sets of double doors in the upper part of the dance club lead into the restaurant and the kitchen, respectively. There is a three-section bulletin board on the back wall, between the two sets of double doors. On it The Broker posts notices on employment opportunities, jobs wanted and events of note, each in the section set aside for it. Unauthorized posts will be removed as soon as they are spotted.

      Near the outer walls at the back there are also two doors onto stairways leading up to the hallway behind the balcony. The one on the left is kept locked, though it can be opened from the inside. The other is openable from the inside but from the outside requires a key or being buzzed through. From the hallway upstairs visitors can enter the balcony through either of two doors (a sign on the balcony door across from the debarkation of the right-side stairway has a sign reading: Cecilia Prader, The Broker). Locked doors in this same hallway lead to the old projection booth - now the enterprise's business office - and other offices and some storerooms. The two largest rooms have been converted into function space, with a folding wall between them. Cecilia keeps trying to get businesses, clubs and government agencies to rent this space for meetings, but so far has been unsuccessful.

      The balcony is the domain of the Broker. There she conducts her business, and keeps an eye on the place and her partner. Access is by permission only for non-staff, who have to be buzzed through after announcing themselves on an intercom in the wall by the door at the foot of the stairs. (Staff have access through a door into the club's business office.) Occasionally someone with flight abilities will simply go straight up to the balcony after receiving permission. No-one tries entering the balcony area without permission more than once.

      The basement has been left pretty much untouched, except for being cleaned and having one relatively small area set aside for current storage. It still contains several old projectors and parts of various vintages, as well as other equipment and furnishings left from the movie theater days. The Broker has actually made a tidy sum selling parts to both theaters and collectors.

      Entertainment varies at the Plexus, usually depending who Amber can get without violating the boycott too badly. Tuesdays and Thursdays are theme nights, with contests held a week in advance for which theme will be used. The Surfer/Hawaiian theme nights are very popular, with lots of colorful clothing, fake leis and surf music. The winner of each contest gets their choice of a free meal for two or 1% of the night's gross. This generates a strong incentive for good suggestions.

      Outside, the marquis has been cleaned but otherwise left intact, and is used to announce the name of the club and current entertainment. A sign under the marquis marks the entrance to the restaurant, as well as noting that there is access to the club through there. There are eight parking spaces on the street in front of the club. Another, larger sign notes that Plexus parking is around back. The main entrance to the club is through a back door opening onto the parking lot through a remodeled utility entrance. There is no entrance fee, no minimum and no cover, but there is a large jar at the bar and by each exit for performers' tips. These are clearly labeled, with a note that server tips should be left on the table, as per the usual custom.

      One thing making this club popular is that several Novas frequent the place. While Baselines may socialize with Nova guests (at the particular Nova's choice) they are not allowed to pester them. One of the function rooms is reserved for Novas only if they need privacy.

      Anyone who spends much time at the club will realize that Amber and Cecilia are partners in more than business. The two had a serious commitment well before the first Novas appeared, and this looks to continue in spite of those. Because of their relationship the club welcomes - though does not advertise for - people of alternate sexuality. Both Amber and Cecilia are members of the Queer Nova Alliance, though they don't promote this fact.

      Unfortunately, these factors and others have made the Plexus unpopular with the city's anti-Nova, anti-minority government. Several attempts have been made to shut down or somehow restrict the club. Each has died aborning, thanks largely to the owners' abilities. When Amber's own high intelligence, degree in Business Administration and stubbornness aren't enough, The Broker's Mega-intellect, contacts and determination are called on. Her polite but firm manner, brace of successful lawyers on retainer, and the fact that she both knows many of the city's secrets and has performed significant covert services for the current administration make such attempts futile. But they keep trying.

      The Plexus has good food, good entertainment and a good bar. The management makes sure that this is a place where people can come to forget their troubles for a while. They also take care of their customers, making sure someone who has been drinking has a safe way home, keeping those underage from drinking, and maintaining good security both inside and in the parking lot. It is well lit for a club, in large part as a safety feature because of the terracing. Goths avoid the place.

      Amber Thervallia appears to be about thirty years old, and is actually 32. She is blond, tall, lithe, and very (and openly) sexy, often dressing in daring outfits. She is also a high-level (though non-Mega) genius with a knack for finding and using opportunities unsuspected by most others. The Plexus was her idea, and her baby. She is thrilled that not only is it doing well, but that as part of this she gets to work closely with the love of her life.

      Amber has trained hard over the last two years, and has had several sessions with the Combat Master. She is quite adept at self-defense. However, her greatest asset in a crisis - especially one involving Novas - is surprise. And the fact that she is a switch hitter with the aluminum baseball bat kept under the bar.

      Attempts to read or influence her mind will probably fail, and almost certainly be noticed. Two-plus years of living with a powerful telepath have stimulated Amber's defenses (treat her as having the power of Psychic Shield).

      Cecilia Prader, also known as the Broker, is short, slim, elfin and moderately attractive. She appears to be in her early twenties, but is actually 36. In public she usually wears her long, dark hair in a braid. Her business clothing is modest and functional, and includes big glasses with thin frames which reduce the apparent size of her unusually large, green eyes. Her ears are slightly pointed and her eyes slightly slanted. If she took those glasses off, let her hair down, wore something which flattered her impressive figure and applied a little makeup she'd be gorgeous. Which may be why she's only seen that way after business hours.

      She runs her connection service in a professional manner, though not without much good humor. She is an expert at putting people in touch with the right employer or employee, and she enjoys her work. Her database of contacts is kept entirely in her head, which is one of the most secure facilities available.

      Amber usually refers to Cecilia as Ceese, or occasionally Ceese and Desist. Cecilia refers to Amber as Amber.

      Neither Amber nor Cecilia is strictly monogamous. Amber occasionally has a minor fling with someone (male or female) besides Cecilia, though most of the times she takes another partner it's for a threesome with her lovemate. Cecilia is more active with other partners (almost always female, though she'll occasionally invite a male to join Amber and herself for the former's pleasure) though this is largely due to her libido being increased as a side effect of her Nova abilities. Both women look at Cecilia's dalliances as "taking the edge off" so that they can enjoy each other in a more leisurely manner.

      The two women plan to start a family soon, and are looking for a sperm donor. Which of them will carry the fetus is still being discussed. Often heatedly...

The Broker's Services

Function      Fee     

Find someone a long-term job      10% of yearly gross salary at end of first year, due at end (six months or more) of first year. Otherwise, 10% of total earned
Find someone for a medium-term job      10% of the starting salary, up front
Find someone a short-term job      10% of total earned within one month of job end     
Other services are also available.

      If someone turns down a job or an employee they are expected to explain to the Broker why. If this happens five times without a very good reason she will no longer do business with them.

      The Broker will evaluate Novas' abilities and requirements, and recommend appropriate jobs. She will then arrange interviews with prospective employers. She will also help her customers obtain training they want or need, often persuading an employer to pay for it. Her recommendations do take into account the desires of the customers, both employees and employers, but she won't hesitate to suggest a better course of action if she thinks of one. Anyone who ignores her advice and has problems because of doing so will pay extra the next time.

      She will also help Novas having trouble with their powers to get Adrenocilin and Moxinoquantamine if they need it, but will strongly urge them to use t only under medical supervision.

      Cecilia will help Novas interested in joining Project Utopia to arrange interviews and trips to Rashoud Facilities if that's what they really want. She will not hesitate to try and dissuade them from this course, however. "I generally look suspiciously on any organization which requires you to take a powerful drug before they'll hire you. They say it's harmless, but anything strong enough to affect Nova metabolism is bound to have side effects."

      The Broker is similarly critical of the famed DeVries Agency. "Yeah, you might get a high-profile public-image job. Or you might be sent to Nicaragua to kill peasant kids conscripted by the bad guys."

      She also provides legal services for her clients, having a pair of very talented young lawyers on retainer.

      Bob "Axeman" Bettie is of Cajun extraction, though he has lived most of his life well north of Louisiana. He is openly a Nova, though most people have the wrong idea about his powers, both how they work and their magnitude. While the improvement to his physical and mental processes have made him a better musician, he was already quite accomplished before his recent Eruption. His primary power is generation and control of sound, and he has it at a Supernova level. He could split open a bank (the building, not just the vault) with a single, proper note. He does not need his guitar for this, though the familiar instrument makes use of his powers easier. A snap of his fingers can shatter glass and break eardrums for blocks. Bob's favorite instrument is the 12-string acoustic guitar, and he has a fine one, nicknamed The Dude. However, he always selects an instrument appropriate to the music being played.

      Bob is a regular act at the Plexus, where the club band "The Plexors" is both skilled and familiar with his performances and does a fine job at backup. One of his favorite - and most popular - routines is to play the Simon and Garfunkel song "Cecilia" while staring longingly up at the balcony.

      Bob plays at flirting with Cecilia, pretending to be the tragic lover, determined to win her. Both know this is a gag, as does just about everyone else who is a regular in the club. However, Bob does have a bit of a crush on Amber. He will not approach her directly, though, deciding that his best chance is to have Cecilia advance the invitation. Meanwhile he plays the field, and plays the clown with Cecilia. It's fun, and it's part of the act.

      Axeman particularly likes to play the Plexus on the Tuesday and Thursday Theme Nights, which allow him to show off his versatility as a guitarist and singer. One of the most popular of these is Surf Night, which comes around about once a month. These events always include a contest for the loudest Hawaiian shirt.

      The Plexus does not tolerate the extremes of clubbing; for that people have to cross the Ohio River into Northern Kentucky. No S&M, no black metal music, no sadism, no humiliating domination, no lewd performances. The owners and regulars want real music, which entertains and pleases, and which people can dance to. The Plexus is for people who want to have a good time, mutually. The fact that this loses them a few customers to such places as the recently opened Black House (ReignofEvil.com) bothers Amber and Cecilia not at all. They don't need those kinds of customers.

      Unfortunately, Black House and its minions have an abiding hatred for such "nice" places as the Plexus. When its leaders consider how many of the club's patronage might drift their way if it were shut down...

      Ironically, some of the other opponents of the Plexus are also major opponents of Black House and all it stands for.

      Part of the reason Amber and Cecilia were able to afford the old theater and the surrounding property is the ongoing tourist and entertainment boycott against the city. The theater is in a mixed-race neighborhood which normally has a good economy but has been hurt by the recession, as well as the boycott and connected measures. By buying a depressed property and hiring locals to help with the repairs and operations they produced a much-needed boost to the neighborhood cash flow. By making it clear that they would also welcome all comers as both customers and employees, and would focus on local talent for the entertainment, they hoped - rightly - to make a further good impression.

      Indeed, though the boycott continues the Plexus has few problems getting talent for its stage. Additionally, it is generally accepted by the people in the neighborhood that these two white girls are good folk. Even if one of them is a Nova. By taking precautions to reduce the chance of any of their customers or employees causing trouble with the locals they have improved their image even more, while actually easing race relations in the neighborhood, which is about a third white.

      Most people don't care that Amber and Cecilia are a couple. Or if they do, doing something about it is well down on their list of priorities. However, two groups of fundamentalists - one white, one black - on opposite sides of the boycott issue have decided to make examples of the women and their "den of iniquity." The fact that none of them know anything about the women or their said "den" does not deter them. Though the fact that the two groups immediately began a continuing squabble, each accusing the other of stealing their righteous wrath for their own devious purposes, has greatly weakened their attempts.

      Bizarrely, another thing weakening these attempts is the apparent inability of some people to distinguish between the Plexus and Black House, a recently-opened night club in the country just southwest of the city. This is owned by the Church of Astoreth, a group of self-proclaimed Satanists, who say they're preparing for the end of the world. They attract thrill seekers, and kids who think they're bad, or who are looking for some meaning in their horrible lives.

      Reports of the activities there have sometimes resulted in warranted searches of the Plexus. Several of these legal documents have actually used the name Black House. This has led to an injunction against both the city and four non-government groups to prevent harassment of the Plexus and its customers. A side effect of the injunction is reduced police presence in the neighborhood, further endearing the club and its people to the inhabitants.

      In spite of all these troubles, things could have been - and could still be - much worse. Anyone to whom it has occurred that Novas might get involved in any of the occasional conflicts - on any side - has breathed a prayer of thanks that none has.

      Amber and Cecilia live in a modest home about a block from the club.

      Jake McGilvey is the main bartender. He recruits and trains all the others. His normal shift is 6 PM to 2 AM Monday through Saturday, with an hour off from 11 to 12 for a meal and whatever else he needs. Sundays are his.

      An older man, in his early sixties, he used to think he'd seen it all. Since coming to work here when the place opened - nearly two years ago, now - he knows he has. Gruff but not hostile, blunt but not unkind, he is loyal to his bosses, who know enough to let him do his job the way he wants to. He has impressed a number of Novas - especially the older ones - by not treating them as something special. Interestingly, this leads them to feel that they can trust him.

      Jake is a man of above average intelligence, but he has a vast storehouse of knowledge and wisdom. He's well informed on many subjects, especially anything which he might have encountered in nearly fifty years of bar tending. Which covers a pretty wide range.

      Timothy "Tiny Tim" Adrian is the bouncer. His first nickname is ironically obvious; his second came early in the club's history, when a mildly intoxicated young man accidentally bumped into him, looked up in alarm and yelped "It's Grunt the Barbarian!"

      Tim is big even for a Nova muscleman, and looks like he could spit through a tank. He's strong and tough enough to handle the vast majority of Novas who might cause trouble, especially after the Broker arranged for him to have training under the Combat Master. She has also schooled him in mental defense techniques, which make him unusually resistant to attack and manipulation through that medium. He takes his nicknames with good humor, though folks who know him don't use either of them except to occasionally tease him. Tim is the only full-time Nova employee at the club.

      Tim is very strong and tough, but has no other superhuman abilities. He doesn't want to join Project Utopia or become a mercenary, and his overspecialization makes other well-paying jobs uncommon. Outside the club, he mostly does temp stuff - special work where someone needs a lot of force in a small package for a short time. He's content, if not ecstatically happy.

      One of Tim's favorite pranks is "adjusting" badly parked cars.

      Lately, Brenda (Lapine) Louvis has joined the staff. Brenda changes jobs about every eight months, and this is her latest. Though she is only a Flare, the Broker is hoping her Mega-Perception and Power of Intuition will be a help in Cecilia's business.

      Tinker is Mega-genius, specializing in gadgetry. People joke he has the world's most dangerous basement. "When it comes to the laws of physics, he's a wanted man!" Tinker lives several blocks from the Plexus, but makes a point of dining there several times a week. He and the Broker often trade information, or engage is friendly intellectual contests. Their version of Trivial Pursuit often leaves the heads of bystanders swimming.


Weapon Damage


      Strength

Weapon      Type      Dice      Add      Min      Max     

Antitank, Light      Ranged      10      L      8      **

Antitank, Heavy      Ranged      12      L      10      * (on mount)

Automobile      Melee      Str + 6/10      B      M      MMM

Ax      Melee      Str + 4      L      **      *****

Canon, 20 mm      Ranged      7      L      5      * (on mount)

Canon, 30 mm      Ranged      8      L      5      * (on mount)

Canon, 105 mm      Ranged      15      L      10      * (on mount)

Chain      Melee      Str + 5      B      *      M

Club      Melee      Str + 4      B      *      *****

EM Launcher, Sm      Ranged      11 (solid)      L      **

EM Launcher, Sm      Ranged      9      (shot)      L      **

EM Launcher, Ve      Ranged      20 (solid)      L      * (on mount)

EM Launcher, Ve      Ranged      15 (shot)      L      * (on mount)

Flamethrower      Ranged      10      L      ***

Grenade Launch      Ranged      Varies      **

Handgun, Light      Ranged      4      L      *

Handgun, Heavy      Ranged      5      L      **

Knife      Melee      Str + 2      L      *      *****

Lamp Post      Melee      Str + 6/10      B      M      MM

Laser, Portable      Ranged      13      L      12      ***

Machinegun, Med      Ranged      7      L      1      * (on mount)

Machinegun, HVY      Ranged      7      L      2      * (on mount)

Mortar, Light      Ranged      10      L      8      * (on mount)

Rifle, Light      Ranged      4      L      *     

Rifle, Medium      Ranged      7      L      *     

Rifle, Heavy      Ranged      8      L      **

Rifle, .50 BMG      Ranged      8      L      1      ***

Rifle, 20 mm      Ranged      8      L      2      * (on mount)

SAM, Shoulder      Ranged      12      L      12      ***

SAM, Heavy      Ranged      15      L      15      * (on mount)

Shotgun, 12 Gau      Ranged      6      L      **

Staff      Melee      Str + 6      B      **      *****

Submachinegun      Ranged      6      L      **

Sword      Melee      Str + 5      L      ***      M

Thrown Object      Ranged      Special      B           See Aberrant P 275

Tree      Melee      Str + 6/10      B      M      MMM

Truck      Melee      Str + 1/12      B      MM      MMMM

      For grenades, both launcher and hand, see P. 277 of Aberrant.

      Tranquilizer and other less-lethal weapons are described in P 108 of Aberrant: Year One.



Storyteller's Notes




Secret and Future History

Date      Event     

10/12/2002      Dr. Jennifer Portman (wife of The Fireman) formalizes her theory of Sphinxes; hyper-intelligent Novas who are guiding the world in the direction they want.

0202/2003      Proposal is made to the heads of Proteus to dose Moxinoquantamine with sterilizing agent in the same way Adrenocilin is. Due to practical considerations this idea is dropped.

04/19/2003      Queer Nova Alliance formed. Membership is officially secret, except for those who choose to act as speakers for the cause.

05/06/2003      President Schroer, dissatisfied with the decision by the UN to have Project Utopia address all emergencies regardless of type, makes a speech appealing to industry and major aid organizations to work together to create a system for handling rapid-onset emergencies.

05/19/2003      Montreal Nova Reynard is found murdered in a downtown public place. All Nova offers of help in finding the killer(s) are firmly refused, including those by Team Tomorrow. Montreal subsequently becomes an informal no-man's land for Novas.

05/20/2003      Development of a device for blocking mind reading, psionic emotion control and similar effects is announced. An early version is on the market by the end of the year, with improved models - produced by both the original developer and others - appearing every few weeks after that.

05/23/2003      Project Utopia announces plans to turn the devastated Ethiopian Highlands into productive farmland. The effort will be so extensive that many are referring to it as terraforming.

06/11/2003      Bolivar Santolina, well-known major philanthropist, announces that a group of wealthy individuals calling themselves the Tragedy Task Force are working with the heads of several major aid organizations to create a special agency dedicated to using the best available resources to handle emergency situations. This is the only significant response to President Schroer's speech

06/15/2003      President Schroer, in spite of a recovery in the polls due to his successful actions against Afghanistan and Iraq, declares he will not seek a second term.

06/24/2003      Greenwar formed.

09/25/2003      Terrorists detonate a crude and dirty fission bomb in Sao Paolo. Over 30 city blocks are leveled and hundreds killed. Project Utopia is instrumental in helping with the cleanup, but no suspects are announced.

10/02/2003      Team Tomorrow North America headquarters in Mexico City vandalized.

10/07/2003      Triton Foundation announces AIDS vaccine. A massive program begins which results in 90% of the world's population being vaccinated within 3 months.

11/15/2003      Military coup places Yaroslav Radocani in charge of Macedonia.

12/12/2003      The Tragedy Task Force announces that the organization they are founding will be dedicated to responding quickly to emergencies all over the world. Though placed under the nominal control of the much respected aid organization International Rescue, it will essentially be an independent operation. This will be called the Rescue Team. They will use all available resources - including Novas and advanced technology - to address their chosen task. Initial funding has been provided from several sources, most of them private. Much of the operational funding will come from licensing the advanced technology being developed for the organization.

01/12/2004      The United Nations forms the Global Media Council.

01/14/2004      First documented public action by Directive Nova operatives, with a hostage situation being handled by Novas Karma and Tombstone. Citing federal authority, the uniformed operatives ordered all others - including a CBS news crew - away from the site. Within minutes the situation was successfully resolved. How is unknown; the Directive isn't talking, and the hostages and hostage takers don't remember.

03/29/2004      Gabriel Melchior erupts.

04/20/2004      Vir-Gogs (virtual reality goggles) appear on the market.

05/05/2004      Team Tomorrow accepts the invitation of Addis Ababa to place their African/Middle Eastern headquarters there. A major research and technology facility of Project Utopia is also located on the same ground.

06/16/2004      UN grants Project Utopia's Science and Technology Department authority to regulate the development and application of new technologies.

06/17/2004      Fermilab announces the discovery of a new meson which has an unusually long lifespan and a slightly different path through the detectors than typical. These results are soon confirmed by other accelerator programs. This could lead to the development of practical catalytic fusion.

07/22/2004      The Newsman Incident. German media magnate and rogue Nova Heinrich Keld arrested for plotting to overthrow the democratic government of Germany. (His plans were actually much grander, but that's what the public was told.) The Directive was instrumental in this triumph, especially Nova agent Lucas Barrows. This was their first major case to be brought before the public eye.

08/11/2004      The Protectors begin quietly recruiting.

10/18/2004      Caroline Fong kidnaped from her home in Bath, England by T2M member Saxon and transferred to the Bahrain facility.

11/23/2004      The Rescue Team unveils its center of operations, on an abandoned WWII Army Air Corps base in Nevada. Construction is already well underway, with living and research facilities the first priority. General plans for the rest of the facility, as well as the specialized equipment needed, are being finalized.

11/03/2004      President Lauren Pendleton elected first female President of the United States, and the first Libertarian one.

12/26/2004      A major earthquake under the Indian Ocean off the northwest coast of Sumatra previously predicted by Antaeus occurs. Though informed that tsunamis are approaching, most governments in the area affected are unable to spread the word. Only half-hearted efforts are made to warn people, largely because giant waves strike the coasts of these countries so rarely that there are no mechanism in place for announcing them. Some of those few who actually hear the warnings head for the shore to watch the waves come in. The death toll is staggering. Somehow, many find Antaeus to blame.

01/7 - 17/2005      Extensive flooding along the Ohio River exacerbates friction between the Ohio and Cincinnati governments and local Novas. The politicians demand that the Novas who are recognized Urban Defenders "do something" about the floods. The Novas respond that controlling the flood itself is beyond their powers and that they are busy helping rescue people and protecting property. Likewise, unusually heavy rains in southern California during the same period cause numerous mudslides, with Novas there also being criticized by some for not stopping them.

04/19/2005      A large Team Tomorrow force attacks the headquarters of Yaroslav Radocani in Macedonia. Radocani's military is rendered ineffective, his weapons of mass destruction are captured and the dictator himself taken prisoner. Thousands of "ethnic undesirables" are freed from prisons, many needing substantial medical aide. Paths are cleared for UN forces to enter and occupy the country.

05/15/2005      Preliminary flights of the Rescue 1 prototype are successful. This is a sortie vehicle, capable of suborbital hops, ground-to-ground, anywhere on Earth in under 90 minutes. It is designed to carry up to 4 people and a metric tonne of supplies. Several other pieces of custom equipment have already been successfully tested, and enough for initial use produced.

      Some politicians and members of the press question why so much money is being "wasted" on high-tech equipment when people are starving and dying of disease. A few even accuse the backers of the project of creating it as a cover to develop military equipment through a tax-deductible charity. Speakers for the group point out that hunger and disease are largely political problems, so why haven't the politicians already solved them? They also note that if their equipment had been available in time for the Indonesia earthquake and tsunamis thousands of lives could have been saved.

06/06/2005      Trans-Tanzanian Conflict.

07/21/2005      The Gestalt is formed (Aberrant Players Guide, P. 170). The Mentalist is one of the founding members, but remains behind the scenes and is officially still missing.

08/03/2005      On their first operational mission, the four-man crew of Rescue 1 #1 land on an isolated island in the Philippines to set up seismographs and other monitoring equipment, in order to gather data on an erupting volcano. While they are not able to prevent the eruption, by working with expert vulcanologists they provide early enough warning to get the native population off the island before the danger becomes too great. No lives are lost in the effort, but unfortunately Rescue 1 #1 is destroyed in the eruption.

08/29/2005      Hurricane Katrina pummels much of the US South, with Louisiana especially hard hit. Large parts of New Orleans are flooded as levees give way in several places. Critics of Novas demand to know why they did nothing to divert or quell the storm. Count Raoul Orzaiz points out that even the most powerful Nova is like a leaf in the wind before such forces. President Lauren Pendleton is also lambasted for her choice of FEMA director, when that agency is criticized for a slow response to the disaster. As more information becomes available, the press realizes that there is plenty of blame to go around at all levels of government.

      Nova cleanup efforts after the storm passes do much to answer the critics, but many remain certain more could have been done.

09/24/2005      Rescue 1 #2, affectionately known as Sled Dog, takes a large supply of polio vaccine to an isolated region of Namibia, directly from the manufacturer. This is used to head off an outbreak. Credited with saving as many as 300 lives with this quick response, team leader Chuck Preston announces that this is only a sample of what the team can do.

      Local and national leaders in Namibia express outrage at this intrusion on their sovereignty by the UN and its lackeys, and voice suspicion over just what was in the vaccines. Claims are made that tests of some vials found female hormones and several toxic substances. Veiled and not-so-veiled accusations of poisoning and infecting with HIV are made. The UN responds that A) they have nothing to do with the organizations involved beyond relaying the request for aid and B) the help was requested by government authorities in both the area and the Namibian capital and C) if they would just accept the new vaccinations against AIDS they wouldn't have such a high incidence. This response is largely ignored.

10/08/2005      An earthquake occurs in Kashmir at 8:50:38 AM, Pakistan Standard Time, within eight seconds and half a kilometer of when and where Antaeus predicts four days before. In spite of his warning almost nothing was done to prepare. Thousands die of direct effects of the temblor; many thousands more die from the after effects. Team Tomorrow and many other Nova groups arrive to help, many without official permission from the Pakistani government. Damage to roads and airports in the affected area hinders even Nova efforts.

      The Tragedy Task Force sends several Rescue 1 vehicles to the area. The VTOL capabilities of these craft allow them to access areas cut off by destroyed roads and bridges. After their initial deployment, many Rescue 1 vehicles are used for ferrying people and supplies in and the injured out. Several Project Utopia members note the usefulness of these pieces of equipment and express an interest in acquiring some units. Construction of the Rescue 2 craft is given a higher priority by the Task Force management.

10/31/2005      Publication of the Null Manifesto. Divis Mal overrides world broadcast signals on a wide range of frequencies to deliver his vision.

11/12/2005      Rescue 2 is publicly unveiled prior to its maiden flight. Unlike Rescue 1 there are currently only plans for one of these huge craft. A hulking brute of a machine capable of carrying large loads long distances at a cruise speed of Mach 5, it will be equipped before launch according to what members of the Rescue 1 teams sent to a disaster situation first learn about the emergency.

      The vehicle includes ground refueling capability for the Rescue 1 craft.

2006      Through much of this year, Count Raoul Orzaiz plays the public face of Teragen, calming Baseline fears in public appearances while also secretly recruiting more Novas for the cause.

02/22/2006      Appellate Lexington (Nova name registry) formed by Jacob Lexington.

05/22/2006      Self-declared Satanist Stanley Jason Weltey (a.k.a. Brother Elias, of the Church of Astaroth) sentenced to six consecutive life terms for kidnaping and apparently eating 6 young children, in Springfield, Missouri.

05/26/2006      Operation Eden concluded successfully. Team Tomorrow moves its main base to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, naming that establishment Team Tomorrow Central. The original main headquarters becomes the home of Team Tomorrow Europe. Additionally, Team Tomorrow Asia/Pacific, based on Talaud Island, is created.

07/30/2006      Pakistan heats up again, with China attacking and Novas on all sides becoming involved.

08/18/2006      The Second Pakistan Nova War ends quickly, but with huge numbers of casualties and collateral damage, due to the Karachi Disaster. In a major battle between conventional and Nova forces on several sides, Chinese Nova Mu Lung dies, most likely by accident. His death unleashes a nuclear level explosion which results in several hundred deaths, including at least two other Novas. The shock of this causes an immediate cease-fire. Though rhetoric still flies two years later, armed conflict has not resumed beyond a few minor skirmishes.

10/07/2006      Peaceful Teragen rally in Toluca, Mexico.

11/08/2006      The Protectors begin their Antarctic base.

11/23/2006      Divis Mal enters his fourth Chrysalis.

04/2007      Nova Sluice arrested in an act of civil disobedience: defying the ban on Novas in Tampa, Florida.

04/13/2007      Project Utopia terraformer and Nova Rafia Bhakra killed while working alone in the Ethiopian highlands. Rumors of foul play are soon silenced by a thorough investigation, which found that he simply didn't see the avalanche he apparently triggered until too late. "Even Novas can have accidents," Caestus Pax states sadly.

04/22/2007      Nova Domenic Thule vanishes while on a spacewalk test of his powers for NASA.

May, 2007      Media attention is focused on a streak of Teragen terror attacks which lasts for several months. However, there are only five such attacks definitely committed by Teragen members.

06/06/2007      Travius Diaz opens the Amp Room in Ibiza, Spain.

07/06/2007      In the first example of how the Rescue Team plans to become financially self-supporting, a deal is reached with the European Space Agency to license the technology used in the Rescue One craft to create the first stage of a fully-reusable two-stage to orbit launch vehicle.

      When criticized for not offering the same deal to NASA, the Rescue Team states flatly that they went to NASA first and were rudely rejected. NASA representatives quickly arrange a press conference in which they state the offer was declined because they were already committed to a better design. The design presented is, indeed, more ambitious, a fully-reusable single-stage to orbit space plane with spectacular performance. This turns out to be a four-year-old proposal from the Daedelus League which NASA had previously rejected as technically unfeasible.

08/02/2007      UN Grants Project Utopia permanent advisor seat status.

12/16/2007 Raoul Orzaiz is interviewed on N!, as part of their documentary The Man Without a Mask: An Interview with Count Orzaiz.

01/12/2008 James (Geryon) Booth, Natalya (Swarm Queen) Dornova, and two other members of Nova Vigilance attempt to enter the UN building in New York. They are stopped by Montoya-Bernal, Jennifer (Slider) Landers and André (Bender) Corbin.

01/20/2008 Germany announces that given the success of the Transrapid maglev train service, an ambitious project will be started to link all the nation's major cities with similar rail lines.

02/27/2008      While in pursuit of a fugitive, Nova Tenor accidentally shatters the Second Narrows Bridge, built of Vitrium superglass.

02/29/2008 Boeing Aerospace unveils the first civilian hypersonic jet, the 797. Top speed is around Mach 20. Custom modified versions will later be able to use rocket boost for suborbital hops. The engine and cooling technology are licensed developments of those used in the Rescue One design.

03/21/2008      Gabriel Melchior, charismatic Nova evangelist, makes an impassioned (and final) broadcast with vague but dire warnings that the end times are at hand. He subsequently vanishes for almost a year.

05/10/2008      Terrorist incident with Nova involvement on both sides in Amsterdam. Three hostages are killed before T2M agents neutralize the hostiles.

05/13/2008      Jennifer "Slider" Landers murdered in her Calcutta apartment.

05/19/2008      Project Utopia involved in scandal over covert use of Novas.

05/21/2008      Andr Corbin abruptly breaks off his eulogy at the funeral for Jennifer "Slider" Landers and flees the scene.

05/25/2008      T2M operative Saxon captured by Teragen.

05/30/2008      Sophia Rousseau contacts Andre Corbin. Together they begin the Aberrants.

June, 2008      Somali pirates become far more active and daring, seizing entire ships - passenger and cargo - in the Gulf of Yemen and holding the passengers and crews for ransom.

06/06/2008      Divis Mal emerges from his fourth Chrysalis.

06/06/2008      Teragen begins circulating accounts of their origins and beliefs in public fora.

06/12/2008      Saxon reappears in a public venue; on N! Nova Morning Live. In an obviously agitated state, he rants about how Project Utopia is deceiving everyone and Teragen is the only true voice for Novas. He is eventually subdued by representatives of Project Utopia and taken into custody.

      Meanwhile, anonymous sources have provided CNN with information connecting Saxon to the deaths of over a dozen Bangkok prostitutes in the past year and a half.

06/12/2008      ILGF (insulin-like growth factor) virus approved by FDA for treatment of certain muscle-wasting diseases. It is already being used illegally for muscle building. (P. 78, Aberrant: Year One.)

08/05/2008      Presidential candidate Mark Green presents a doctored version of a journal kept by Randel Portman to the Senate Committee on Nova Affairs. After a brief flurry of scandal-mongering, the effort rebounds against Green. Reliable witnesses report Portman complaining about the journal being missing ahead of time, and a member of Green's staff who was involved in the theft, doctoring and release resigns in disgust and reveals the scheme.

09/22/2008      Thousands of desperately poor citizens of the African kingdom of Lesotho swarm the Tlokoeng Airport where a recently discovered 478 carat diamond valued at roughly USD12M is being loaded on an airplane for transport to Belgium. Despite heavy security and hundreds of them being killed, the place is overrun and the diamond vanishes.

10/08/2008      The Directive determines that a mentalist Nova used the desperate poverty of the people in Lesotho to foment the airport riot, in order to steal the diamond. "The diamond wasn't even public knowledge until after it was in Antwerp," says the chief investigator for the case. "Some of these people even came in from South Africa! This was no spontaneous riot, but something carefully planned, with those actually killed or arrested used as dupes. The survivors I've interviewed from among the attackers are confused and remorseful."

November, 2008      Randel "The Fireman" Portman elected President of the United States.

04/19/2009      Sluice, a Nova criminal with ties to Teragen, escapes from Project Utopia's Bahrain Facility.

08/07/2009      Project Utopia announces Operation Genesis, a terraforming project to be carried out in Nigeria. (Aberrant Worldwide: Phase I, P. 45.) Utopian biologist Antaeus performs a public opening feat of causing a fig tree to grow from seed to maturity in minutes to open the project. However, he does not participate any further, effectively vanishing from public view.

08/27/2009      Nigerois Nova Harmattan joins Project Utopia's Operation Genesis to aid his homeland.

09/16/2009      Eighteen year old Nova Mashala "Harmattan" Kader is officially declared missing after vanishing in a sandstorm five days before. (Rumors that Harmattan was a Teragen and caused the sandstorm himself are roundly and uniformly denied.)

09/17/2009      Antaeus goes missing from his quarters in Project Utopia's Addis Ababa complex.

09/23/2009      Antaeus creates a base and workstation in an abandoned town in the Sahara. From here he plans to carry out the greening of the desert his way. Though disappointed with Utopia, he holds no animosity towards its members. He meets peacefully with them and others in his new base. After hearing everyone out he announces that his decision stands, and that he will continue with his present course of action.

12/14/2009      Gabriel Melchior - after being captured by Project Utopia and drugged and brainwashed into helping with Operation Eden, shaking off the drugs and conditioning and escaping - resurfaces in Nevada, at the headquarters of the Church of Immanent Escheaton, near Boulder City. He gathers some followers and begins agitating about the evils of the world and how something dire needs to be done. Finally, his activities become public enough that both allies and enemies note his return, and his increased mania. Everyone realizes something needs to be done about him but no-one is sure what that should be.

08/03/2010      Spectacular brawl between Caestus Pax and Divis Mal in Bahrain. Pax loses, his first public defeat.

      Frantic efforts by Proteus prevent exposure of the true purpose of the Bahrain Facility, despite accusations from the Terats and others that it is used to experiment on Novas. However, some in Project Utopia are beginning to realize that all is not as it is supposed to be there.

07/20/2011      Teen Tomorrow (a.k.a. tn2m) formed.

05/15/2015      A Project Utopia raid on the Amp Room in Ibiza, Spain results in mass destruction and confusion. The fight spreads outside and through the city, accompanied by significant collateral damage. Making matters worse, the battle and the chaos left in its wake spark riots in the city. The death toll is in the low hundreds and climbing.

02/02/2017      (Candlemas) The supposed date when "The Great Beast Astaroth" will rise. (ReignofEvil.com, P. 6.)



Terminology



Word or Term      Definition     

Bahrain Facility      Founded in 2003, this Project Utopia installation is dedicated to studying Taint. However, it is also Proteus' center of operations.     

Chrysalis      A technique developed - or perhaps discovered - by Divis Mal to remove Taint in a process which radically improves a Nova's ability to channel Quantum. The technique places a Nova in a state of suspended animation, while body and mind undergo the process. According to advocates, undergoing a Chrysalis aides a Nova in moving to the next level of development, and may even be necessary to acquire certain types of powers. (See P. 120 - 131 of Aberrant: Teragen.)

      Those who have undergone a Chrysalis describe the process as being similar to their initial Eruption, only far slower and more controlled. Once emerged from their Quantum cocoons, Novas who have undergone Chrysalis are not only more powerful and less affected by Taint, but have access to powers outside the reach of other Novas. (In game terms, this is the only way to gain powers beyond Level 3. See detailed notes below, under House Rules.)

     

      Divis Mal is the first person known to have undergone this experience, and one of the few among even those who know of it or have themselves experienced it to suspect it can be achieved more than once. He will be trying to trigger his second Chrysalis during the last third of 2003, finally succeeding shortly after New Year's.

      There is some evidence that several early Novas with such powers as Insight and Mega-Intelligence developed similar methods of dealing with taint.

Eclipsidol      Synthetic neurotransmitter which induces seizures in a Nova's Mazarin-Rashoud Node. Its existence is classified, as is that of the counteragent. It is used only as a last resort, since the explosive triggering of powers it sometimes causes may be worse than any deliberate damage the Nova subject is capable of.

Eu-Freeze      Aerosol which "freezes" eufiber in its current shape. The effect lasts a bit under a day; less if the fiber is dry-cleaned or otherwise treated with an appropriate solvent. Not water soluble.

Fog Street name for a new drug, rapidly rising in popularity. The name is derived from the fact that it is administered as an aerosol mist which is inhaled. A wide number of different methods are known to exist for creating the mist. Unconfirmed rumors state that some rock bands have used stage-effect fog machines to dose concert attendees and illegally boost the effect of the performance.

      The truth is that many different types of drugs can be taken in this way. "Fog" is not a new drug, but a new way of taking drugs. The effects vary as widely as the drugs used. While inhalation increases the speed with which a drug takes effect, and can even increase the effect with some drugs, others are less effective or even completely ineffective when taken in this way. Many drugs can cause severe lung damage when inhaled.

Forgotten City, The      See: Omsk, below.

Nova Development      US program to harness Nova resources. Unfortunately, every military organization and Program major government organization ignored the program and started its own.

Nursery, The      Teragen facility in Zaire, established by Bounty in 2005. Bounty's powers, combined with techniques developed by her and others, improve Nova fertility and increase the chance of a full-term pregnancy. This is true even for Novas sterilized by Adrenocilin-I, although success is far from assured even for those who have never taken the drug.

Omega Division      Deep cover branch of the Directive.

Omsk      Left empty by the drastic measures needed to rebuild the Russian economy, the Siberian city of Omsk was taken over by the Directive in 2003 to use as a detention facility. Known unofficially as the Forgotten City, Omsk also serves as an important training ground for Directive operatives.

Project Proteus      A covert arm of Project Utopia, not officially recognized or sanctioned, which uses clandestine means to further Project Utopia's goals.

Red 7      A combat-enhancing drug recently developed by the US military. While reasonably safe to take in small doses, it tends to stimulate aggression. It provides many of the benefits of Mite with far milder side effects. However, it is still far from healthy for the user.

      For a standard combat dose (which is based on user body weight) the drug has the effect of adding two points each to Strength, Dexterity and Stamina. Note that if any of these go over 5 the user has a good chance of cardiac arrest. Moreover, when the drug wears off there is a similar chance of shock. In both cases the character must make a base (except as noted below) Stamina roll with a +1 penalty for each point over 5 cumulative between all three Attributes. If the character fails a roll then the same roll with an extra 2 point penalty is required to recover without immediate medical attention. If the user isn't seriously injured and does not strain excessively (ST decision) then points of Stamina above 5 are not counted in the penalty total, and may be used for the recovery checks.

      Mild doses tailored to bring a particular individual to no higher than 5 each in Strength, Dexterity and Stamina will have no short term harmful effects on healthy users, aside from pulled muscles and the like. Taking more than one dose in 8 hours (even tailored doses) places an intense strain on the internal organs and can lead to shock or even death. A dose half again as large as the standard doubles the chances of cardiac arrest and shock described under the standard dose, while providing no extra benefit. A double dose would kill a Baseline in seconds of onset unless immediate and high-level medical aid were given.

      When taken orally the drug normally requires about 15 minutes to begin working, and then kicks in like a supercharger. Duration of effect is 80 minutes minus 5 minutes for each point of base Stamina the user has. (That's right; the less robust a user is the longer the benefits last.) After the drug wears off - and assuming there is no shock effect - the user will count as Wounded, with a -2 penalty to actions. An inhaled version of the drug takes almost immediate effect, but long-term use can damage the lungs.

      The effects of Red 7 on a Nova are similar to the effect several strong cups of coffee have on most Baselines.

Spatial Stress Indicator      Developed in late 2007, this Project Utopia device detects spatial distortions. (Aberrant: Worldwide, Phase I, P. 114.) Earlier devices, much bulkier, less sensitive, shorter-ranged and less discriminating than these units, were available as early as late 2002. They were largely deployed in geosynchronous satellites and major Project Utopia facilities. Through triangulation they could locate a spatial distortion to within a few meters, but this took approximately half an hour and the units were not portable.

Teragen      Nova terrorist organization.

      A philosophy or movement founded by Nova Divis Mal which expresses the belief that Novas are inherently different from Baselines, and should have different rules to govern them, written and administered by them. Apologists claim that they are a separatist movement, rather than a superiority movement, though the words and actions of many self-proclaimed members contradict this.

Teras      The philosophy of the Teragen.

      Alternately, the regimen of meditation and self-discipline exercises those of the Teragen practice to control and channel their Taint.

Terat      A member of Teragen.

VTP Dart Gun      Developed by the Triton Foundation in early 2008, the Virally Tailored Poisons darts are tailored to specific individuals. This requires having a sample of their DNA to work from. (Aberrant: Worldwide, Phase I, P. 115.)

Nova Events



Numbers of Various Types of Novas:

Project     

Utopia Guide      Class A      Class B      Class C      Class D

Teragen Jive      Stage 1      Stage 2      Stage 3      Stage 4

Directive     

Threat Level      Beta        Titan         Demigod      Deity

CCS*              Flare      Nova/Paragon    Supernova    Quasar

Number of Beginning

Nova Points        (15)        (30)           (100+)      N/A

Number Working For Project Utopia

1998                  400           66.7%      190       31.7%       10       1.7%      1      600           200

1999                  905           67.0%      430       31.9%      15       1.1%      1      1350           500

2000                  1200          66.7%      580       32.2%       20       1.1%      2      1800           720

2001                  1350          64.3%      725       34.5%       25       1.2%      2      2100           950

2002                  1575          63.0%      900       36.0%       25       1.0%      2      2500          1250

2003 (Projected)      1750          62.5%      1020      36.4%       30       1.1%      2      2800           1540

2004 (Projected)      1870          62.3%      1100      36.7%       30       1.0%      3      3000           1500

2005 (Projected)      2250          64.3%      1215      34.7%       35       1.0%      3      3500           1580

2006 (Projected)      3150          65.6%      1615      33.6%       35       0.7%      3      4800           2110

2007 (Projected)      3900          65.0%      2065      34.4%       35       0.6%      4      6000           2580

      *The Carstairs Classification System.

      The classifications of Nova ability are tentative and not universally agreed on, even as to breakpoints. As time passes and the database increases this chart will be considerably refined. Note that not only is the fourth class mere speculation at this point, but even the third is not universally recognized.

      The number of Novas in the world is an official estimate by Project Utopia officials. It is widely disputed, and generally believed to be far too conservative. However, the current PU number is the one most often quoted by members of the press and government officials.

Some Potentially Important Non-Player Characters



Name      Category       Gender      Usually Found In/At      Note

Amber      Flare      F      Plexus

Antaeus      Supernova      M      Project Utopia Sector 3

Arborghast, Human      M      Church of Michael Archangel Reverend Milo

Argent      Nova      F      Cincinnati      Nova FBI Agent (Read Argent's adventures at: http://www.dcr.net/~stickmak/Transformation/FlammaArgenteaOne.html )

Avatar      Nova      M      New York City      Founder Followers of the Avatar

Axeman      Supernova      M      Cincinnati

Bathgirl      Flare      F      Bath, England

Berger, Chad Nova      M      Detroit      Working      stiff Nova                                                                                           "The Living Wreck"

Boggler      Flare      M      Cincinnati

Booster      Nova      M      Lexington      Adaptive

Broker, The      Nova      F      Cincinnati      Popular local Nova employment agent

Can-O'-Man      Flare      M      Chicago      Municipal      Defender                                                                                        (Richard Kennoman)

Cassant, Baseline      F      Chicago      Researcher into Nova physics Dr. Phylicia

Combat Master      Flare      M      Varies      Popular self-defense trainer

Dame, Kimberly      Nova      F      Sings in clubs Few know she was born in 1898

Escapade      Nova      F      Cincinnati

Finder      Flare      F      Louisville

Fireman      Nova      M      New York City      Randel Portman, the first acknowledged Nova

Frontline      Flare      M      Cincinnati      Tough cop

High Beam      Nova      M      Dayton      Trying to complete physics degree

Kid Dynamo      Nova      M      Dayton      One of the youngest known Novas

Kreigsherren Nova      M      Stuttgart      German general and tactical/strategic Nova     

Lady Lightning      Nova      F      Columbus     

Lone Wolf      Flare (Nova)      M      Cincinnati      Most think he's a Flare

Mal, Divis      Supernova      M     

Melchior, Supernova           M      Nevada      Erupts 2004 Gabriel

Mentalist, The      Supernova M      ?      Arguably most powerful psi known

Mors Ab Alto      Nova      M      Wherever      Likes throwing things. Big things. 'Way up high...

Pax, Caestus Supernova      M      Team Tomorrow Central

Rousseau, Supernova      F Wherever she wants to be Sophia      Extent and even type of powers unknown

Slider      Nova      F      T2M Americas     

Texeira, Ana G.      Nova      F      T2M Americas

Tinker      Nova      M      Cincinnati      Strange little guy who builds stuff

Totentanz      Nova      M      Varies      The Nova Elite mercenary

Umbriago      Flare      M      Unknown      Huh?

Valentine      Nova      ?      New York      Androgynous shapeshifter with emotion control

Amber and Cecilia

      Amber Thervallia is a Flare, something which only a few people know. She appears to be about thirty years old, and is actually 32. She is blond, tall, lithe, and very (and openly) sexy, often dressing in daring outfits. She is also a high-level (though non-Mega) genius with a knack for finding and using opportunities unsuspected by most others. The Plexus was her idea, and her baby. She is thrilled that not only is it doing well, but that as part of this she gets to work closely with the love of her life.

      Amber's Flare abilities include overall enhancement of her physical and mental capacities to human maximum limits or a bit below (and a bit above for some), plus an ability to adjust her metabolism. Although she is "only" a Flare, Amber has trained hard over the last two years to both master her abilities and improve them. This has included several sessions with the Combat Master. She has realized that she is the physical superhuman resource match to Cecilia's mental. Her training and determination, and a few applications of her abilities in situations where they were needed, have pushed her into low-end Nova status. Yet no-one suspects she's a Nova; she doesn't even look like a Flare. Her greatest asset in a crisis - especially one involving Novas - is surprise. And the fact that she is a switch hitter with the aluminum baseball bat kept under the bar.

      Attempts to read or influence her mind will probably fail, and almost certainly be noticed. Two-plus years of living with a telepath have stimulated Amber's defenses; she actually has the power of Psychic Shield.

      Cecilia Prader, also known as the Broker, is short, slim, elfin and moderately attractive. She appears to be in her early twenties, but is actually 36. In public she usually wears her long, dark hair in a braid. Her business clothing is modest and functional, and includes big glasses with thin frames which reduce the apparent size of her unusually large, green eyes. Her ears are slightly pointed and her eyes slightly slanted. If she took those glasses off, let her hair down, wore something which flattered her impressive figure and applied a little makeup she'd be gorgeous. Which may be why she's only seen that way after business hours.

      She runs her connection service in a professional manner, though not without much good humor. She is an expert at putting people in touch with the right employer or employee, and she enjoys her work. Her database of contacts is kept entirely in her head, which is one of the most secure facilities available.

      What only a handful of people know is that Cecilia Prader is an invented identity. Originally Chester Prather, (s)he was, with Amber, at a costume party, both of them in drag, in early 2001, when a rogue Nova burst in looking for hostages. He was startled by the bizarre garb of the occupants, which allowed the FBI agents pursuing him a chance to open fire. The Nova (who hadn't been around long enough even to adopt a mask name) died instantly, but in death his powers flared bizarrely. His body vaporized, and the room was filled with wild streamers of energy. Several people were injured; two died. Chester Erupted. And changed gender. Amber - bisexual and very much in love with Chester - was a significant factor in helping the involuntary transsexual adjust to life as a female.

      The FBI, feeling at least partly responsible, helped Chester go through a complete identity change, similar to those used in witness protection programs. In return Chester (now Cecilia) agreed to a complete examination, with occasional checkups, performed by an agency of the CDC which is studying Novas. Genetic tests showed that Chester now had a normal XX chromosome set. However, a pre-Eruption hair sample showed that Chester had been XXY, something he hadn't known. Whether this caused the sex change, or the fact that Chester was very much into the role being played was responsible, a combination of these, or something else entirely, is unknown. Whatever the reason, there was little left to tie Chester to his old life. Fortunately, he had no close relatives still alive and few close friends, making the transition easier. Chester Prather was declared to be among the dead at the party, and a cheap casket was placed in the family plot shortly afterwards. Amber and Cecilia soon moved to Cincinnati as part of the identity change.

      Not long after Cecilia was allowed to enter her new life, Amber announced to her lover that she had also Erupted, apparently also during the party. When asked by a dumbfounded Cecilia why she had kept this from her (knowing her well enough to understand why she hadn't told the feds) Amber gently kissed her on the cheek and said "You had enough to worry about."

      While not as diligent as Amber at training, the Broker does exercise and has taken self-defense courses.


House Rules


Campaign Notes



Notes About Gaining Power

      There are other ways to gain increases in power besides experience and Chrysalis. One of the more interesting is exposure to concentrated doses of Quantum. Just as the Quantum emissions of a Nova can trigger an Eruption, higher doses can increase a Nova's power level in various ways. However, the side effects on the Nova are considerable.

      The most common change is an increase in the Quantum Trait. However, each such increase results in far more Taint than would be garnered by the normal improvement process, as outlined in the table below.

      To Increase      

      Quantum Trait      Taint      Minimum Quantum Level

      From        To     Gained      of Exposure Required

           1      2           1           3

           2      3           2           4

           3      4           4           5

           4      5           6           6

           5      6           8           7

           6      7           10           8

           7      8           12           9

           8      9           14           10

           9      10           16           11

      The Minimum Quantum Level of Exposure Required is roughly equivalent to what would be given off by someone with a Quantum score that high Maxing Out. Note that even exposure to higher than the minimum level is unlikely to boost someone by more than one dot, though if the level of exposure is twice the minimum required or more that could happen.

      To successfully channel this flood of Quantum the Nova must roll their Quantum Trait score plus their Node Background score. The number of successes required is the To score plus three. That is, if:

      (Quantum + Node) => (To + 3)

the Nova increases their Quantum score by one dot. (To increase by two dots double the number of successes required. Whether to go for one dot or two is left to the player.)

      A failure means no change. A botch means the Nova gains the Taint without a change in Quantum score.

      Note that for the purposes of this roll the Quantum Trait and Node Background do not count as Mega characteristics. Also, each Chrysalis the Nova has undergone reduces the difficulty by one.

      The most common source of high-intensity Quantum is pieces from the Galatea. The size of the piece is only a rough indicator of the level of Quantum. Metal pieces tend to have a higher score than other materials. A small metal piece (say, the mass of a dollar coin) would typically have a score of from three to five. A large metal piece (nothing bigger than a manhole cover has been found) could go as high as 10.

      Such fragments are rare, but not unheard-of. The Galatea was a large structure, and much of it survived re-entry. (See reports of the re-entry of Skylab for examples. Balance the much larger size of the Galatea against the explosion which broke her into pieces while still in orbit.) The distribution of these fragments across the surface of the Earth is essentially random. Also, most of them would of course have landed in water.

      Remember that raw Quantum has no known effect on non-Novas. However, it could trigger an eruption in a potential Nova.

The Infertility Plot

      Adrenocilin officially has only one production variant. However, at some point all Novas who acquire their supply from Project Utopia (which is just about everyone) are given a dose of Adrenocilin-I. The "I" is interpreted as "improved," "instead," "immune," "intervention" and a few other things. The original meaning, however, was "inhibiting." It performs a clever biochemical trick which causes a Nova's immune system to recognize their own sperm or egg cells as foreign bodies and attack them. This effectively renders all Novas who take Adrenocilin-I infertile. A single dose is enough for an effect lasting at least several years, and probably a lifetime... even a Nova's lifetime. Since the substance causes no direct harm, warning senses and similar Nova abilities will almost never twig to it.

      Only a handful of top Project Utopia administrators and medical personnel know that Adrenocilin-I even exists. Only a handful more suspect that it or something like it is being used to sterilize Novas. Any samples of Adrenocilin allowed to reach examiners outside the Project are basic Adrenocilin, occasionally referred to as Adrenocilin-H (for "harmless" or "humane" or even "h'ordinary") by those in the know. None of these people are likely to slip up and refer to this version as anything except Adrenocilin, in speech or writing. The only place where there is any mention of standard Adrenocilin as one variant are in some early medical research notes, and all these are held in secure storage. (Or so those in the conspiracy think...) The formula for Adrenocilin-I and the records of to whom it has been administered are kept in two officially non-existent secure storage areas, one in Project Utopia headquarters and the other in the private laboratory of Dr. Abdullah Abu Yasir, the head of medical research, and which is only entered through his office. One other copy of the formula exists, in a secure vault at a remote location, used by Project Proteus for safekeeping important documents, information and artifacts.

      As part of the quality control for Adrenocilin, random bottles are pulled from the line for sampling. To make the counts come out right and ensure that no-one is shorted, each bottle removed is replaced with another from a batch produced separately in the research lab. These bottles are identical to the regular production containers. Even the serial numbers are in sequence, since the program which chooses which bottles to pull does so by serial number. Labels identical to those on the main production bottles are printed and put on the replacement bottles beforehand, making it easier to ensure that a specific bottle is changed. (The justification for this odd process is to maintain a true double-blind testing procedure. This theoretically prevents anyone from knowing which bottles have been sampled, except for those in charge of the process, who thereafter have no contact with the sample. So it's just an extra step in the precautions.)

      That's the official story, and it is completely true. What few know is that in addition to bottles replaced for sampling, some are replaced to provide a dose of Adrenocilin-I to a carefully selected target. When the experts determine that a particular Nova is due a dose of Adrenocilin-I it is placed into the supply flow under the pretense of random sampling by one of the three Project Utopia medical personnel who know about it.

      Some might think it odd that bottles are assigned by serial number to specific Novas before they are even filled, but anyone asking about this is told this is simply the bureaucracy's method and nobody knows why, it's just policy.

      Grumbling is often heard among workers at Rashoud Facilities who are in charge of securing and distributing Adrenocilin about the amount and strictness of the record keeping required. Not only is security tight and paperwork exacting, but the bottles are distributed in a process which assigns particular Novas specific serial-numbered bottles well before they are filled. The justification is that this helps prevent abuse, and that is certainly true. However, the elaborate and tightly controlled process also goes a long way towards making sure each Nova gets at least one dose of Adrenocilin-I within the first year after their Eruption. If the wrong Nova gets the bottle with Adrenocilin-I no real harm is done; they're either already dosed, or due to be treated soon, anyway. Another bottle of Adrenocilin-I will be on its way to the original target once the mistake is discovered. No difference in appearance or strength of effect are noticed between the two variants. There is a very slight difference in viscosity and taste, due to less saline being added to the Adrenocilin-I to make the volume identical. The differences are too small for most normals to notice. (Note that while the drug is normally administered orally it is packaged in sterile containers and can also be injected.)

      The only real concern of those in charge is that someone outside their control will, somehow, analyze a bottle of Adrenocilin at random and accidentally get Adrenocilin-I instead. So far, several years into the program, this has not happened; control procedures are much too strict. Project Utopia doesn't quite have a monopoly on Adrenocilin, but the majority of legitimate users get their doses from the Project's labs. Since the ratio of -H to -I produced is well over 10,000:1 the odds of someone outside the group analyzing a bottle of the latter by accident are low, and of getting a second bottle of Adrenocilin-I to confirm their results vastly lower.

      Recently (as of early 2003) a similar adulteration of Moxinoquantamine has been proposed. The idea being that having two pathways for sterilizing Novas is better than having one. (Of course, having two such substitution operations also doubles the chance of something going wrong...) However, the Project doesn't have a near-monopoly on Mox the way it does Adrenocilin. Since this is a secondary project, the smaller population the altered Moxinoquantamine will reach is not considered a problem. The initial plan is being developed but won't be put into effect until near the end of the year. One of the places where its use will be tested is the newly constructed Cincinnati Rashoud Facility.

      The fact that most Novas have not been able to reproduce is generally thought to be a side effect of being a Nova, most likely due to their heightened immune systems. Since all Novas - even the ones who never take Adrenocilin - have experienced difficulty fathering or carrying children few question this. (Many Baselines are actually relieved by it, since it reassures them that the world won't be flooded with the offspring of Novas.) Some of the few Novas who have had children have also taken Adrenocilin (though not all of them Adrenocilin-I, at least not before having a child) so the few inquiries into whether the drug might be the cause have determined that it isn't. Only a few people outside the actual conspiracy - most of them paranoids or conspiracy freaks - think that the infertility of Novas might be deliberate.

      While Dr. Rashoud (primarily a biochemist but also having extensive backgrounds in neurology and genetics) went on to work with Project Utopia and organize the testing facilities named after her, Dr. Mazarin (primarily a neurologist but with extensive backgrounds in biochemistry and genetics) stayed with Project Utopia for a while, then in early 2003 returned to the University of Kentucky research organization they were both working for when they discovered the Node named after them.

      Dr. Mazarin is now the senior researcher there, and primarily manages others, but he still keeps his hand in on many projects. Only a few of these involve Novas, but they remain an interest of Dr. Mazarin's. He also knows many of the researchers in Project Utopia on a first-name basis, and they certainly know him. He helped create the Project Utopia database on Novas and gets updated copies every week. He occasionally decries the generalizations and oversimplifications of Project Utopia's announcements to the media about what Novas are and do. He is well aware that with less than a decade of information on Novas any firm conclusions are likely decades away.

      He also suspects that the official number of Novas is grossly underestimated by the Aeon Society. Many Novas have non-obvious abilities, regardless of power level; they and low-level Novas (Flares, Stage 1s, Betas, Class As, etc.) may simply go unnoticed.

      He shares Dr. Rashoud's belief that any Nova can potentially use any power, but that they are limited by their concept of themselves and their abilities, though he is less intimidated by the idea.

      Dr. Rashoud knows about the plan to sterilize Novas, and in fact helped create it. Dr. Mazarin does not know of any active plan, but does know of the biological trick which can render them sterile. It was discovered during studies of Nova immune systems, one of which he was directly involved in. Dr. Mazarin is both honest and preoccupied, but not naive. Someone asking him questions concerning Nova fertility might be told about the results of those early experiments, if he thinks their purpose is legitimate. Otherwise he'll keep quiet. He knows there are people who would like to hurt Novas by denying them children. He has no suspicion someone already is.

      Note that many of those in Project Utopia who are knowingly participating in the Adrenocilin sterilization plot think they are doing so under secret UN orders, and know nothing of Proteus.


Session Notes





Who's Where

                                                                             Years

Mask                    Legal Name        Current                            Since

Name      Gender      Last      First      Class      H/V      Location      Eruption      

Amber           F      Thervallia      Amber (1)      H      Cincinnati            2      

Antaeus      M       3      H      Project Utopia      5 Sector 3     

Arborghast      M      Arborghast      Milo 2      V      Church of Michael, Archangel                                                                       Rev.

Avatar            M      2      V

Axeman            M           2      H      Cincinnati       3

Black Annis F      1      V

Blue Cat, The F      1      V

Blue Avenger, M      2      H                                                                                                                                 The

Bobby Double ?      2     

Boggler           M           1      Cincinnati

Booster           M           2      Lexington

Broker, The F      Prader Cecilia      2      H      Cincinnati            2

Bronzegal      F      Griggs Sylvia      2      Cleveland

Combat Master M     
      1           4

Dame, Kimberly F     
      2     

Debow, Steve M           1      Team Tomorrow Central

Dragon           M           1      V      Cincinnati

Escapade      F           1      Cincinnati

Finder      F           1      Louisville

Fireman      M      Portman Randel
      2      H      New York City      5

Frontline      M           1      H      Covington

High Beam      M           2      Dayton     

Invicta      F      2      Detroit     

Kid Dynamo      M           1      Columbus

Kreigsherren M      2      H      Serbia            4

Lady Lightning F           1      Columbus

apine      F           1      H      Cincinnati

Lightning      M           2      H      T2M Central

Living Wreck M      Berger Chad      2      H      Detroit

Lone Wolf      M      1(2)      H      Cincinnati           3

Menschenjaegger      M      1      H     

Mumpsimus      M      1

Mal, Divis      M           3     

Mentalist, The M           3      H     

Mors Ab Alto M           2      V      Cleveland

Mustang           M           2      V     

Myna           M           2      Boston

Pax, Caestus M           3      H      T2M Central

Rio           F      Cuviera Rhianon      2      H      Venice, CA

Rousseau      F      Rousseau Sophia 3      H

Slider      F      2      H      T2M Americas

Saint Louis Moe      M           2      V      Saint Louis, but wanders

Stallion           M      2      V

Stripes           F      1      H

Texeira, Ana G.      F      2      H      T2M Americas

Tiger           M      2      H      Central KY

Tinker      M      1      H      Cincinnati

Totentanz      M      2      V     

Ultiman      M      1      H      Project Utopia Europe

Valence      M      1      H     

Vector      F      1      H      Covington

Wilder      M      1      V      Maysville

Zephyr      F            H      Louisville

     
Here is the News
(Important events from in and around Cincinnati.)

04/01/2003      Early this morning the burned and badly damaged fuselage of a 707 airliner crashed nose-first into the plaza of a large, downtown shopping center, injuring at least 15 people. It impacted a decorative fountain, demolishing that and showering the area with debris.

      Rescue workers soon realized there was something more than a simple airliner crash involved, since there was no-one inside. Neither could the wings and landing gear be found. Moreover, no flights were reported missing. Eventually, the owners of a decommissioned airport southwest of Cincinnati declared that the plane was theirs. They have a large area set aside for rescue training, and this old plane - minus wings and fuselage - had been bolted to concrete footings there for fire practice.

      A child prostitution ring in Cincinnati has been broken. In announcing the news the Mayor bragged about the good work done by his police force, but most of the credit is actually owed to the FBI. In fact, FBI officers involved in the case have complained about interference from the Cincinnati police force, and even intimated that many upper level city officials partook of the ring's services.

      In connection, the Mayor rants about the evils of "white slavery" even though most of the children abused by this group were black or Hispanic.

      A "Blood Garden" has been discovered in Carroll County, Kentucky, in a forest cleaning east of Carrollton. Of the seven people found, three are from Cincinnati or communities near there. One victim is from Columbus, two are from Covington Newport, and one is from Louisville. All had been reported missing at least three days before they were killed. Two - both from Cincinnati - had gone missing 6 days before their murder. All were in their late teens or early twenties. None were given the "Blood Eagle" treatment.

      The Cincinnati Arts Council has announced that in an effort to ease the tensions between their organization and the boycotters, they will stage an all-black production of Porgy and Bess.

04/02/2003      In what may be the first violent crime involving Novas in Cincinnati, last night an individual known only as Dragon attacked a popular dance club. Fortunately, the club is also popular with Novas, and there were several on hand to stop Dragon's rampage.

      Dragon was injured in the resulting confrontation but this didn't stop him, on the way to the hospital, from trashing the ambulance. Fortunately, the senior paramedic in the ambulance was none other than Cincinnati's own Lone Wolf, who promptly restrained the miscreant. A judge quickly issued a court order to keep Dragon sedated until he can be arraigned.

      The Mayor, in response to these events, has announced a plan to register all Cincinnati Novas, to prevent a recurrence of such incidents in the future.

      An extortion letter signed "The Gust" was received by the Greater Cincinnati International Airport, in which the author claimed responsibility for the 707 incident. He threatened more such, with modern aircraft, if not paid one million dollars. At the drop site, police capture a young man who claims he was simply picking up a package for someone.

04/04/2003      Dragon is again in the hospital, though this time both sedated and on Moxinoquantamine. He escaped from jail after being taken there following his release from the hospital. The fact that he is not known to have seriously injured anyone (the worst injury at the jail in connection with his escape was a concussion) despite several tries is being used by his attorney to request leniency and reduction in bail. So far without success.

      The "messenger" who arrived to pick up the extortion payment demanded by The Gust has confessed that there is no such person, and he sent the letter. He denies having anything to do with the unscheduled flight of the old 707, or knowing anything about how that happened. So while one mystery is solved, the larger one remains.

      There is a new Nova in the area, a brash young man calling himself Wilder. Though not overtly violent is both powerful and careless. He has already caused several thousand dollars worth of damage in a handful of accidents. Authorities think he is a minor, but haven't been able to identify him beyond his self-appointed mask name.

04/07/2003      And in the international news, German Nova Creaks Heron, leader of NATO forces in Serbia, announced at a press conference that resistance was increasingly fragmented and weakening rapidly.

      That's Kreigsherren, you illiterate moron! And he's head of the German NATO troops, not the whole operation!

      Excerpt from guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice

04/08/2003      Covington-Newport Municipal Defender Vector is missing and presumed dead after a massive explosion destroyed the drifting barge on the Ohio River she was asked to investigate. The explosion was so powerful twenty-three other people were injured, even though none were closer than half a mile away.

      A beauty, in spirit as well as body. We mourn her loss.

      Excerpt from a guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.

04/09/2003      A furor erupts in the local news media following confused accounts of a major Nova battle in downtown. There are reports of "mortar explosions" and running battles with automatic weapons, as well as "special effect Nova attacks." Attempts by the police to correct the misconceptions are sabotaged when the office of the Mayor declares a curfew and orders police to arrest known Novas on sight. (The police decide to ignore that last bit.)

      Oh, wonderful. A small firefight resulting from miscommunication between Project Utopia and the local authorities causes a flurry of rumors, and His Honor believes the hysteria instead of his own police chief.

      Excerpt from a guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.

04/10/2003      Previously unknown Nova The Reaper attacks Totentanz while the latter is examining the scene of a battle in the Kongo. Totentanz quickly and efficiently kills the man.

      There's stupid, criminally stupid, and terminally stupid.

      Excerpt from a guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.

04/11/2003      Wife of recently killed Nova The Reaper goes to the media, claiming he had been hired and trained by Project Utopia, then brainwashed into attacking Totentanz.

04/13/2003      This Sunday morning, following several local incidents of violence involving Novas, one of them requiring the intervention of Team Tomorrow, the Mayor of Cincinnati announces that all Novas living there must register with Project Utopia. "If they don't have anything to hide, they don't have anything to worry about," said the Mayor, fervently. "If they do, they better!"

      Within hours the ACLU, several other civil rights organizations and a number of individuals - few of them Novas or involved with Novas - announced that if this were enforced actions would be taken which would make the current entertainment embargo look like a game. "If they get away with registering people just because they have an extra lump of tissue in their heads, what's to keep them from registering people just because they have extra melanin in their skins?!" demanded a speaker for the AFL/CIO.

      "Maybe that's not such a bad idea!" snapped the Mayor, on being told about this comment. "This thing with the Novas is a test case. If we can get this to work, troublemakers of all kinds had better watch out, 'cause we're on to them, and we'll know who they are! If they're not gonna behave like human beings, why should we treat them like human beings? We're mad as Hell, and we're not gonna take it any more!"

     

      This is the pot telling the kettle it needs a thorough washing.

      Excerpt from guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.

04/14/2003      A speaker for the city has - in regard to a comment yesterday by the Mayor - stated in a press announcement that the Mayor had not heard the speaker for the AFL/CIO correctly, and hadn't realized that his response could be taken in the context of the question as racist. When asked by a reporter later if he would issue an apology, the Mayor snapped "Hell, no! Why can't these people learn to speak good English, like the rest of us?!"

      Senator from Indiana Bryan Carstairs, openly a Nova since his eruption eight months ago and the only Nova currently serving as an elected official in the United States, holds a press conference denouncing the "intrusion and interference on the sovereign soil of the United States by Project Utopia and Team Tomorrow personnel" in regard to two recent incidents in southern Ohio. Both T2M and the non-T2M Project operatives are described as "arrogant, close-minded and exhibiting a belligerently superior attitude" and that they were "defensive when caught in a mistake, to the point of refusing to admit it until forced to."

      Project Utopia representatives respond by publicly apologizing to the Senator, and stating that the confusion which caused the incident illustrates the need for closer communication between Project Utopia and federal, state and local governments. They further state that they are already working on this, in part by assigning Novas from the area to the nearest Rashoud Facility to act as liaisons.

      Apologies mean nothing when they're a matter of convenience rather than sincerely meant. I smell mollification, here, and not repentance.

      Excerpt from guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.

04/15/2003      Lunar eclipse.

04/16/2003      Scientists at the Sudbury Solar Neutrino Observatory in Canada announce that their machine is producing results incompatible with previous observations, both those made there and those made at other facilities. Moreover, readings made at the same time by different devices in different locations are showing increasing discrepancies. Identical units in different locations produce different results, even when components are exchanged between them. Yet detectors calibrated at nuclear reactors or other artificial neutrino sources produce counts well within the margin predicted by theory.

      Managers of other solar neutrino detectors in South Dakota; Baksan, Russia; Gran Sasso, Italy; and Kamioka, Japan have all confirmed that their projects are showing currently inexplicable results.

      While there has historically been a long series of baffling events associated with neutrino observations, this new situation implies that something about the way neutrinos behave is changing. Dr. Adam Kuggler (yes, that Dr. Kuggler), spokesman for one of these projects, stated at a follow-up press conference that while discrepancies between theory and observations, and even between different observations, were known before the Galatea accident, that since then the oddities have become increasingly pronounced as well as different in kind. He further says that a number of theorists believe that something about the actual structure of space has changed in the last few years, and that they are planning to ask some space-faring Novas to help them make measurements at various points around the solar system. When asked by a reporter whether any of this could be connected to Novas, Dr. Kuggler looked solemn and stated "That very well could be. But which is cause, and which effect?" He then ended the press conference without answering any further questions.

      Within five years, further of analysis of data going back to the eighties on periodic variations over many years in the decay rates of silicon-32 and radium-226 leads to a new clue. A report from August, 2008 says that the observed changes in the decay rate are synchronized with each other and with Earth's distance from the sun. Some theorists think the sun produces a field which changes the value of the fine structure constant at the Earth as its distance from the sun varies. That would certainly affect the rate of nuclear decay. Another idea is that the effect is caused by some kind of interaction with the neutrino flux from the sun's interior which also varies with distance. This may not only explain Novas, but differing values for the decay rates of some radioactive materials.

04/18/2003      Senator Bryan Carstairs was shot dead this morning outside his suburban Indiana home by an unknown assailant using a high-powered rifle at long range. Found at the scene was a hand scrawled note reading "There will be no non-humans in our goverment [sic] as long as we have guns." and signed "The Human Protection League." There are several small crank groups which go by this name or something similar, but none have claimed credit for the murder.

      These people are not only ignorant of history, they can't - or won't - even learn from their own mistakes. Or how to spell.

      Excerpt from guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.

     

04/19/2003      The formation of the Queer Nova Alliance is announced by Andy "Ironskin" Vance at a press conference in Ibiza, Spain. Membership is officially secret, except for those who choose to act as speakers for the cause. Among the latter are two Novas in the tri-state area, one of them Cecilia Prader. (See Aberrant Players Guide, P. 181.)

      More evidence that Novas are just like the rest of us, only more so.     

      Excerpt from guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.

04/21/2003      On hearing of the QNA and learning that some of the founding members are local the Mayor of Cincinnati gives a press conference. "This just goes to prove how badly Nova registration is needed in this town. These people - living in our own backyards - are admitting that they're not normal, then demanding that we treat them like they're normal. Well, you can't have it both ways!" He then publicly demanded that the QNA turn a list of local members over to the city government.

      Speaking of not learning from his own mistakes...

      Excerpt from a guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.

04/23/2003      Nova Wavelength is found not guilty of property damage and assault on the owners and managers of a major US spam operation. "She did the world a favor," one juror fervently announced, in a post-trial interview. Editorials appear in multiple media denouncing this "vigilante action." The prosecution has promised to appeal.

      These idiots could have settled out of court, but they were convinced they were in the right. Which demonstrates just what we've always known; owners of spamming agencies - along with those who run telemarketing operations and television network executives - are either insane or not truly human. Oh, and a vigilante is someone who is part of a group which enforces laws when the local government can't or won't. Not an outraged individual. You'd think journalism majors would know this...

      Excerpt from a guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.

04/29/2003      An undercover reporter for a major German newspaper writes an expose of Mnner des Eisens (English translation: Men of Iron) a German neo-Nazi political organization which claims to be a completely legal, above-board civil rights advocacy group. The most alarming document obtained by the reporter during his time with the group is Das Nova-Manifest (The Nova Manifesto). In its first section this pamphlet claims to reprint documents from an unnamed Nova group, which details its plans for world domination. The second part contains guidelines from Men of Iron for fighting this "Plot." Among these is a list of things to look for to uncover "secret" Novas among neighbors and coworkers. This pamphlet, in particular, sparks a huge outcry against the group, which is accused of milking concerns over Nova criminals to foment paranoia and turn neighbor against neighbor. A speaker for Men of Iron denounces the criticism, and the reporter, claiming the man never attended any MDE meetings and simply invented all the "evidence."

      Are you now or have you ever been a Nova? Can you open jars no-one else can open? Can you fit into jars no-one else can fit into? Can you kill with a dirty look? Did you wake up this morning and find yourself in another country without knowing how you got there? Did you wake up this morning and find yourself in another body without knowing how you got there? Do people run screaming when you leave the house? Do you have more than two eyes/ears/arms/legs/heads? Have you ever had wheat rust?

      Excerpt from a guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.


05/13/2003      A freak thunderstorm late in the afternoon is responsible for a number of emergency calls, the worst being a multi-vehicle accident on I-74 a few miles west of I-75. Due to the storm, the number of calls and the backed-up traffic, few emergency personnel are able to respond to the scene on the Interstate. One of those is Lone Wolf, who carries nearly half a tonne of equipment from where he and his partner had to leave their ambulance to the scene. While the Lone Wolf's partner - Julie Fraiser - sets up triage in the parking lot of an out-of-business gas station, Lone Wolf hurries to a burning RV. Lone Wolf receives moderate burns over much of his body ripping a large propane canister free and tossing it away from the flames. He extinguishes the fire, then sets to work freeing the occupants of the RV and other vehicles nearby.

      A handful of other rescue workers, aided by citizens on the scene, are kept busy treating and transporting those freed by Lone Wolf, who works for over an hour without rest. Finally, heavy rescue equipment begins to arrive and Lone Wolf takes a break, nearly collapsing from exhaustion. His injuries are already nearly healed but that healing, plus the effort he had expended, has taken a huge toll on his reserves.

      The manager of a convenience store located next to the gas station brings ice for treatment of the burned and for cooling of beverages, as well as a wide variety of drinks. Lone Wolf downs nearly a gallon of sport drink in just fifteen minutes.

      All firemen have my admiration, but this guy especially. As a Flare he could have taken it easy and still done the work of any three other rescuers. Instead, he risked his life to do much more than that, then continued to push himself until he saw that the need to was past. Other rescue workers on the scene were open in their honest admiration of his efforts, with no signs of resentment or envy.

      Excerpt from a guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.

05/15/2003      Reports of a giant werewolf begin to surface, but so far aren't given much credence.

05/23/2003      Several science magazines carry an article by Dr. Adam Kuggler and some of his associates in which they claim that the probability of neutrinos changing flavor (that is, type) has increased dramatically in the last five years. Furthermore, an associated effect increases the probability of muon neutrinos interacting with normal matter. A large part of the discrepancy in the detector readings noted earlier in the year is due to the distance solar neutrinos travel through the mass of the Earth before reaching the detectors. The longer the path, the greater the effect allowing the absorption of the incoming solar neutrinos before they reach a particular detector.

      The cause of this change in neutrino behavior is still unknown, and few reputable physicists are willing to speculate. However, some of them - along with many crackpots - are guessing that this phenomenon has something to do with Novas. One Nova with Mega-Intelligence and a background (though no degree) in physics has published a paper stating that something he calls "neutrino trapping" not only explains the changes in neutrino behavior but also where Novas get at least some of the energy they need for their powers.

06/16/2003      This Monday, employees of the Internal Revenue Service discovered that over the weekend all of their computer hard drives were wiped clean of files, including the operating systems. Commercial software in boxes was untouched, but anything installed or entered was gone. Even the tape and disk backups are blank.

      Of course, since they now have no record that any of us have ever paid taxes, they'll simply make us pay all of them all over again.

      Excerpt from a guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.

September 25, 2003      Angered by an unfavorable local court decision in re. concealed carry of firearms, about a hundred Cincinnati citizens carry guns openly in a peaceful demonstration. They are led by a retired Cincinnati police lieutenant. (Open carry is legal in Cincinnati.)

      This law would let private citizens who have been trained and approved by the government carry firearms. How paranoid is it to not let people you have approved for an activity carry through with it because you don't trust them?

      Excerpt from a guest editorial by Gadfly in The Cincinnati Free Voice.


November 2003      A series of shootings begins in and around Columbus, Ohio. Most of the targets are vehicles on freeways, though one bullet found in a school matches some of those recovered from vehicles.

January 28, 2004      With cooperation from space-faring Novas a series of measurements of both neutrino activities and "space strain values" have been made at multiple locations around the solar system. A consortium of physicists - including Dr. Adam Kuggler and several Mega-intelligent Novas - is analyzing the data thus provided. While final results may be years away, they say they have already determined that an infrared dwarf with unusual properties and emissions is passing the edge of the solar system. These emissions may have nothing to do with the Nova phenomenon, but they are unlike anything seen before, in nature or the laboratory.



        This material is Copyrighted 2010 Rodford Edmiston Smith, who can be reached at: Stickmaker@usa.net.