Friday, December 6, 2013

Fate of the Nova Age: Secret Societies & Superhumans

The world needs a change
Power is needed to change the world
Power demands a horrible price
What Will you do with the power of a god?

Character creation

Forged in quantum fire, wielding powers beyond the dreams of mankind. Novas are at once terrifying and awe inspiring, Genius beyond human thought, these beings are power incarnate. Simply by existing the change the world around them. Whole new fields of science became viable just knowing Novas were possible. Some claim they are the next step in human evolution. In fact they are one possible path, a powerful and dangerous path. Novas recently came to the public's attention in 1998. The space station Galatea exploded and Randal Portman erupted in the middle of New York city in front of hundreds of cameras. Novas come about when the right human is placed in jeopardy. The stress causes their powers to erupt. As of this moment their are approximately six thousand Novas world wide. that sounds like a lot, but it is a rather small number compared to the entire planet. If you are a nova, odds are good you have met a good percentage of the Novas in your area, and a few from far away. 

Novas have the Nova extra. This costs one refresh and allows you to take Nova stunts. These stunts represent your Nova powers and abilities. Those listed are there to showcase what the limits and possibilities would be It also give you access to a secondary consequence list. This is your Quantum Taint Consequence list. you can take a Quantum Taint consequence along side a stress box and a regular consequence. This allows you to take quite a bit more stress than a baseline human, However this can lead to some serious deformities and derangements. You can also gain a consequence by Maxing a roll. this represents pushing your limits as far as you can and then pushing further. How it works is this. You can add a number to your roll equal to the consequence you are taking(plus two for mild, plus four for Moderate, and so on). Quantum Taint consequences take twice as long to recover from. Should you ever take a Quantum Taint extreme consequence your character's high concept must become more inhuman and strange, representing your disconnect from the rest of the human race.

Psions can invoke your Taint consequences to shut down your aberrant stunts for a round. They cannot stop you acting, but they can negate your powers for a moment.

Aberrant stunts
Here is a list of sample stunts for Novas. Feel free to make up you own. 
Mega_____: You can take this stunt as many times as you have skills, but only once per skill. What it does is allow you to set one of your fudge dice to + before the roll when using that skill. you are just plain better than most folks. you can use your skill at beyond the peak of human ability. You can take this up to four times per skill. Basically you would automatically get a +4 on every roll then.
Epic_____: You can take this as many times as you have skills, but only once per skill. This allows you to do part of that skill more, superhumanly more. When you choose this stunt take one of the following effects: the skill is used far faster than any human could do it(you can use this to do most skills in a single combat turn), The skill can do far more(you can use the skill in a way that is flat out impossible perception sees through walls, athletics lets walk on the ceiling, that sort of thing), or needs no tools when you use it. basically this stunt removes the overcome obstacle roll for certain circumstances with the skill. Should you face another being with Epic____ in the same area in a vs overcome roll, they cancel out and it comes down to a roll, though the two with Epic___ are going to go far more/better/faster than any other competitor. Requires you have Mega_____ or Elite____.
Elite_____: when you use this skill you replace one of your Mega____ skills automatic pluses with a D6. You are better than most Novas. Your ability is able to do things that are impossible for anyone else. This skill requires and replaces Mega______. You may take this as many times per skill as you have taken Mega____.
Warp: You can bend space, ripping a hole in the universe between here and there. the further away, tho more difficult it is to do[+3, or a roll vs your opponent, to leave the immediate area(leave the conflict zone areas), +6 from the earth to the moon, +8 from earth to Oort cloud, +10 to Alpha Centauri]. Use Lore or Notice(Lore for far jumps, notice for combat initiative, defending, and dealing with obstacles) to roll to warp. Combat Jumping is pretty much always going to work so long as you have a sight line to where you are going, you only need to roll to defend against incoming attacks. You can start each turn in whatever zone you like. The only way that your opponent can resist is to build advantages that would block your line of sight, or hinder you in a similar manner.
Mind control: Use either will, perception, or lore(pick a skill at the time of stunts purchase) to make a mental attack. If you take your opponent out you can change their high concept, trouble, or give them one preprogramed action they must take.

Dangerous Mind: Requires Mind Control. Treat your Mind Control attack as being a weapon.
Mind Reading: Use perception, Will, or Lore(choose at the point of picking the stunt) to read the surface thoughts of another thinking being. They resist with will.
Mental Shield: You mind counts as having Armor.
Flight: You can fly, this negates some obstacles and give you more movement options for creating advantages. You use athletics should you need to maneuver,
Matter Transmutation: Use Lore to change matter from one thing into another. the difficulty is based on the amount of matter to be changed. +3 for changing something small enough to fit in your hand, +5 for anything smaller than the human body. +7 for anything less than a ton. +9 for anything larger than that but less than a city block in size. Larger than that would require Epic Lore related to matter transmutation.

Create___: Use Lore or Craft to create energy or matter of one sort. The amount you can create is the same difficulties as Matter Transmutation.
Quantum Blast: you can use shooting without a weapon. you can fire out two zones without penalty. Each zone past that decreases you roll by one.
Quantum Blast2: This ability has the prerequisite of Quantum Blast. When you take this ability you can choose one of the following abilities:
    1. Supercharge: your blast does an an extra two stress on a successful hit

    2. Combustion: you can attack a whole zone, roll your shooting at -1 to attack every target in the zone.
    3. Alternate defense: Your opponent must defend against your blast with some other skill(choose the skill when you choose this ability.

    4. Burn: After a target has taken stress from the blast attack, the target continues to take one stress per turn until they take a turn to make an overcome roll(vs static difficulty +2) to put the flames/acid/mind-bleed/whatever out.
    5. Powerful Blast: Your Quantum Blast counts as a weapon.
    6. Piercing Blast: Your Quantum Blast counts as Armor Piercing. Requires Powerful Blast.
    7. Extended Range: You may shoot your quantum blast out an additional two zones without penalty.
Armor: Gain Armor against physical actions.( I will detail weapons and armor in the next post)
Disrupt: You can halt another Nova from using there abilities. Roll your Will vs your opponents will. If you succeed, your opponent cannot use one of their Nova abilities unless they spend a round to roll their will vs Fair(+2) difficulty.

Needs of the Flesh: You can ignore hunger, thirst, Sleep, pressure, temperature extremes(non-attack), lack of oxygen, age(pick three). This stunt can be taken twice.
Claws: Your hands count as weapons.(I will post the weapon rules in the next post)
Claws 2: You may use any of the options from Quantum Blast for your Claws, save for Extended Range.

There are some people who have no apparent powers, no special abilities. Yet even with this obvious weakness, they stand taller than their fellow men. They seem to be luckier than most, always in the right place at the right time with the right skills. They are both  blessed and cursed. Cursed to live in interesting times. Blessed in that they can face that danger head on. They are the daredevils. Singular individuals with the skill, luck, and desire to walk where angels fear to tread.

Daredevils are the second evolutionary branch of mankind, able to bend probability to their unconscious desires. They live in a world where Fate exists and it loves them best of all. Daredevils reshape reality in subtle yet powerful ways. They fit into powerful archetypes that resonate with the world around them. To represent this Fate bending ability the Daredevils get an extra base refresh which they can use as normal. This represents their innate luck or intense specialization(if they use it to take extra stunts).

Daredevil focused stunts
Death Defiance: Gain an additional mild consequence. Should you raise your physique or will to five, you gain an additional mental or physical(depending on the skill) moderate consequence.
Forgettable: gain a +2 to rolls involving blending in with the crowd. Any nameless NPCs automatically fail any roll to detect you.
Indomitable Will: When some one seeks to read or control you mind(via psychic or aberrant power) should you succeed with style on your defense roll you can choose to do two mental stress to that person rather than gaining a boost.
Navigation Hazard: On a successful pilot roll to attack(ramming, sideswiping, etc) you can spend a fate point to increase the level of consequence inflicted(mild to moderate, moderate to severe). If they would not normally take a consequence, they take a mild consequence.
Perfect Poise: You are immune to normal fear of any kind. You gain a +2 to any roll versus psychic or aberrant effects that cause unnatural fear.
Resilient: You heal consequence as if they were one level lower.
Untouchable: Nameless NPCs do not get a teamwork bonus against you.

The third branch of the human genetic potential, Psions are very rare in the Nova Age. The abundance of Quantum Taint makes it more likely that humans will transform into Novas rather than Psions. There are still a few however. They come about naturally only rarely, but there is the possibility of a prometheus chamber existing out there in the world. Whether it was devised by the Alien Doyen, or by some Terrestrial mad genius only you and your GM can say.

When you wish to play a psion, you must subtract one from your refresh, and pick a psionic aptitude. This aptitude is the only way you can access psi. Once you have picked an aptitude that is your only psionic power from then on, you can never use another aptitude. You must also have something in your high concept related to being a psion.  

Psionic Aptitudes
I have reused my old material on the psionic aptitudes here, as I think they are pretty neat and still work just fine. I will probably monkey with them a bit as this project moves forward.

 Mostly this is used for creating advantages, and overcoming obstacles by changing your shape, altering your internal organs, and the ability to adapt to hostile environments. You cannot directly attack and defend with this power, you have to have prepared an advantage before hand to represent the changes you make to yourself.

Aggressive Shape-shift:  You can use your Biokinesis skill to attack physically within the same zone.
Carapace/redundant organs/ defensive shape change: you can use your biokinesis to defend physically.
Master shifter: You gain a +2 bonus when rolling to create an advantage.

Use this to create advantages and overcome obstacles either through looking into the past or the future. Directly attacking is impossible and defense is defined by creating an advantage and then using that to defend or justify a defense.

Programed moment: you use clairsentience to avoid a blow by predicting the scenario.
Cosmic dice: You gain a +2 bonus when rolling to create an advantage.
Planned hit: you saw the damage coming ahead of time and used that knowledge to lessen the blow. once per conflict you can spend a fate point to use a consequence as if it were one higher.

Advantage, and overcome actions, only related electricity and light(photokinesis).  

Lightning bolt: you can use Electrokinesis to attack. For each zone outside your current one reduce your roll by one.
Technokinesis: you can use your electrokinesis when using computers, or interacting with machines that have an electric current.
Power Surge: when attacking a machine gain a +2 to your roll.

You can make attack actions and overcome actions for kinetic and thermal energy.

Remote manipulation: Use psychokinesis to create an advantage.
Freeze: you can create  a barrier around a person or thing(see Storm calling in the Magic Toolkit), like the attack action for glacier calling(pg 15).
Burn: when making an attack action you can attack every target(except you) in a zone. you take a minus one to the attack roll to do so.

You can overcome and create advantages dealing with understanding the mind and emotions. you can read thoughts and emotions. Telepathy is the least common of the psionic disciplines.

Phantasm: +2 to create advantage rolls involved with illusion
Mindstorm: use Telepathy to make a mental attack.
Mental fortitude: telpathy defends against mental attack.

You can overcome obstacles and create advantages related to the healing. you can speed up the healing of yourself and others, you roll psi vs a difficulty equal to +[the combined level of the consequences you are trying to heal], should you succeed at the roll treat the consequence(or consequences) as one level lower for the purposes of healing times only. If you succeed with style it counts as two levels lower(can't be lower than minor).

Algesis: you can use vitakinesis to attack within the same zone(you must touch the victim of the attack).
Regeneration: +2 to overcome rolls to heal yourself.
Negation: when an ally(or enemy I guess) takes a consequence you can roll your Vitakinesis. If your roll is higher than the attack roll that player can treat a consequence as a higher level of consequence for purposes of negating damage.

You can roll overcome and defense actions involving teleporting, either yourself or others. Overcome action to move distances. the bigger the object and the less you know about the location, the more difficult it is. Roll defense action to avoid physical damage by a short hop out of the way of the damage. 

Object Jump: reduce your roll by one to teleport an object and everything in it(like a space ship, or a house) over a long distance.
Transmass Shield: my altering the way space folds around you you can roll teleportation to defend everyone in the same zone as the Teleporter.
Master of the Long Jump: you gain a +2 to overcome rolls to teleport.

Here are the first two power groups in the Game. I will be adding more groups in the next few posts. If you have any thoughts as to plot hooks/threads or locations I should add please let me know and I will add them in.

The Aeon Society is a conspiracy of super humans (nobody knows Daredevils exist, Psions are really rare, and Novas used to be rare until the Galatea explosion) who are engaged in a shadowy conspiracy to control the course of human history. A conspiracy to make the world a better place. They dream of an enlightened and evolved humanity heading out to the stars and spreading throughout the galaxy in peace. Basically they want to see the star trek ideal come to fruition.

The people behind Aeon are some of the most talented and dedicated people you are likely to meet. They may not be able to slug it out with the biggest Novas head on, but they are as brilliant as any implausibly smart Hollywood smart guy you care to name; they are Sherlock Holmes, Tony Stark, Lex Luthor, and Hannibal Lector level brilliant people. And they are insanely lucky. And they have the Mercer Codex. A journal written by the founder of the Aeon Society that is an eerily accurate prophecy of things to come. From 1924 to 2120s there are a great many predictions, all have come to pass in one form or another. Some Claim the Mercer is still around, somehow unstuck in time. Some say he is on the move again in the world. Of course those are just silly rumors.

That's where the PCs step in. You have a cabal of brilliant people who know that someone needs to do something about this crisis over there right now, but can't focus enough attention to fix it themselves, so they gather a handful of misfits whom they have a hunch would be useful and throw them at the problem. Basically they are UNIT, with Mercer as the Doctor dropping in with advice on occasion

Home Office: Constructed in downtown Chicago, the home office for the Aeon Society has not been used for years. Mostly it serves as a storage facility for old files and the like. In the last year there has been a bunch of activity around it again. the rumors are true Mercer is back and he has taken up residence back in the Home Office once more. He plans on gathering a group of likeminded idealists and trouble shooters to help him sort out what has gone wrong since he last disappeared in the seventies. This will be that groups home base. Filled with old trophies and souvenirs of the strange past f the world, surrounded by reminders of how strange the world really can be, this will be where this small band of heroes tries to set things right.

Plot threads
Find the lost files of the Aeon Society: For nearly fifty years the Aeon Society published a yearly journal of their adventures. they kept out the really dangerous secrets, but they tried to be as open as they could. The Aeon Guide was what the true explorers read rather the Ponatowski's trite digest, Our World, which was often just a bunch of lies and exagerations. Since the last Aeon Guide was published all volumes have disappeared. Was is even more startling is that all the original files the books were based on have also disappeared. 

Corruption within and without: When Proteus broke away they did so during a tumultuous time in the Aeon Society. Mercer had disappeared again, and much of the leadership had died of natural causes or strange accidents. As of today, no one in power at the Aeon Society knows that Proteus ever belonged to Aeon. Or so it seems. Yet every time you get close to a proteus secret things fall apart. It is almost as if someone in power is feeding Proteus your plans.

Proteus is what happens when the ideals that founded Aeon go rotten. For decades they had been dealing with strange threats and unusual problems. Often at the end of these threats Aeon would end up with terrible technologies and horrible secret. They needed a place to store these things, a place to keep them out of the wrong hands. THey built Proteus to do just that. Proteus has dirt on everyone, it has access to technologies far beyond anything currently known, and it has taken over the world. 

That is not an exageration. Something happened in the late seventies within Proteus. No one knows what. From then on Proteus has been blackmailing, bribing, and assassinating its way into power. Throughout the eighties they instituted what they called Project Rewrite. They began to systematically rewrite the history of the western world. The erased all mention of Z-Waves, Telluric Energy, and the Unique Individuals who had made the twentieth such a strange century. By 1998 Proteus had nearly convinced the world that it was a banal and mundane thing with nothing special to show for it.

The Eruption of Randal Portman changed all that. It was public, it was loud, and it was not an isolated incident. Proteus could not cover it up, nor could it cover up the throngs of others that erupted within those first few months. Novas were here to stay, and the careful control of Proteus had been unbalanced, if only a little. Now Proteus does what it has always done. It seeks to control these new assets on the board. If it can't control them, it seeks to distract or destroy them. So far few outside of Aeon even know it exists. With this brave new world, Aeon has begun a brand new offensive against Proteus. Director Thetis is uncertain what has brought on this renewed vigor, but she is convinced Proteus will weather this secret war.

Bahrain Facility: the secret Nova research facility is part prison and part laboratory. Here Proteus houses the worst Nova criminals that have ever been captured. Within this facility Proteus scientists are delving into the Nova Phenomenon as only those without ethical oversight can. They have sold many of their finds in secret to Triton industries, a multinational pharmaceuticals company that has recently been on the rise with their genetic therapies for treating several forms of cancer. 

The Vault: All of those death rays and lightning guns have to be stored somewhere. That somewhere is deep below the antarctic ice. The Vault is where they store all the devices that they have no use for yet. Think Warehouse 13, but really really evil.

Potential Plot threads
Control, Distract, and Destroy: This plot thread is kind fo the core plot if you are using Proteus. Basically this is the mustache twirling evil conspiracy. So get out you favorites, black helicopters, new world order, FEMA, Nova Sterility Cocktail, JFK, Sao Paolo Bombing, Slider's Murder, take your pick. Heck they could be in league with aliens and all that. grab one and go for a short run game. Grab ten and go for a longer form game. The main focus would be on the conspiracy to control Novas, but you could also do a secret archeology game where you are digging into all the things that Proteus has covered up in the last century or so.

Something has gone wrong in the Vault: Just what it says on the tin. Something has gone wrong. Perhaps someone has taken control and the PCs are the team Thetis thinks she can trick into saving her precious Vault. Maybe some horrible pathogen, or genetically constructed monstrosity has gotten loose and the PCs accidentally or on purpose overheard the distress call. This would be the worlds nastiest Dungeon Crawl. The same can be done at the Bahrain Facility.

Someone wants to come clean: The PCs get contacted by someone in high authority. He tells them he has to come clean at all the horrible things he has done, but he needs protection. He asks the PCs to meet him at a secure location. Depending on how you feel like letting this go he could be dead when they arrive(mystery scenario), He could come under attack when they protect him(action scenario), or something even stranger could occur.

So that is it for todays post. The next post I will be putting equipment rules into the game, and adding in the Terragen, and team Tomorrow. Let me know what you think. Comments, concerns, questions, and critiques are is praise too I guess, though it doesn't really fit in the whole alliteration thing I had going there.

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