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Tabletop Game: Aberrant

Aberrant is a role-playing game created by White Wolf in 1999, set in 2008 in a world where super-powered humans started appearing one day in 1998. It is the middle setting in the greater Trinity Universe timeline, chronologically situated about 90 years after Adventure!, White Wolf's Pulp era game, and over a century before the psionic escapades of Trinity/Ĉon. The game deals with how the players' meta-human characters (called "novas") fit into a mundane world when they most definitely are not mundane, as well as how the mundane populace react to the sudden emergence of novas. The original Aberrant product line was discontinued in 2002, though a d20 System version was released in 2004. A new edition was announced in 2012.

This role-playing game provides examples of:

  • And a Diet Coke: A character being interviewed about the nova's increased metabolism mentions ordering fifty Whoppers and a small Diet Coke at Burger King.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: Greenwar
  • Apocalypse How: The Aberrant War amounted to Planetary/Societal Disruption.
  • Atrocious Alias: Aberrant, being a deconstruction of superheroics, touches on this: the rise of superpowered Novas, many of whom think they're now required to don costumes and take up aliases, have spawned a budding fashion industry dedicated to not only making non-stupid costumes, but also to come up with fitting and stylish names a Nova can use without feeling silly or raise Unfortunate Implications. A few sucky names still crop up, though.
  • Badass Gay: Divis Mal, by far the most powerful nova in the world. His partner Jeremiah Scripture is also in the top ten. "Ironskin" Andy Vance and his husband Jake "the Dragon" Korelli are less powerful, but also qualify.
  • Beware the Superman
  • Big Eater: As implied above, Novas tend to become this due to the amount of energy their powers take.
  • Blood Knight: Totentanz, or any other Elite.
  • Body Horror: There is a power set that lets you permanently grow a extra arm or 3, just for starters. The Teragen take this further, developing physical aberrations as a part of their transhumanist philosophy.
  • Bullet Catch / Dodge the Bullet: Sufficently high levels of MegaDexterity will allow a character to do this. (For a simple bullet dodge, "sufficiently high" is defined as "any MegaDexterity at all".)
  • Coca-Pepsi, Inc.: ViaSoft, a megacorporation formed by a merger between Viacom and Microsoft.
  • Deconstruction: Aberrant deconstructs the superhero genre, often abandoning or defying many of its standard tropes.
  • Die or Fly: The most common way novas erupt.
  • Emergency Transformation
  • Fictional Counterpart: The N! network, which is for Novas what E! is for celebrities in entertainment.
  • Flying Car: Flying cars exist, but their use is restricted to police, emergency services and the military.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The Aberrant War is waiting to happen in the future, at least canonically.
  • From Bad to Worse: Taint doesn't seem that bad to begin with bad can neon pink armpit hair be?
  • Government Drug Enforcement: All newly erupted novas are secretly fed sterility drugs along with the drugs given to help them control their powers in order to prevent the breeding of a superpowered race.
  • The Group: The Directive
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Aberrant is set in a world where the main way of getting superpowers is by surviving a near-death experience that triggers a change within you. Needless to say, between the sheer joy of having powers and the celebrity-like status that comes with some supers, there are a lot of... unhappy accidents.
  • Immune to Drugs / Never Gets Drunk: A side effect of nova powers.
  • Internet Incorporated: The OpNet is the system that esentially replaced the internet (due to better Applied Phlebotinum) and requires its users to be licensed.
  • Knight Templar: Project Proteus. Many of the Teragen. Let's just say there were a fair few.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The metaplot is very clear from the beginning; there will be an Aberrant War that destroys everything that humanity and novas built together and drives the novas away from Earth.
  • Lovecraftian Superpower: One of the many consequences of taking high levels of Taint.
  • Magic Feather: An actual disadvantage.
  • Making a Splash: Splash is a well-respected member of Team Tomorrow with the ability to control water and transform her body into water.
  • Malfunction Malady: The Yin/Yang enhancement enables a nova with Mega-Appearance to switch between male and female forms. If the nova gets pregnant (a rare event), this enhancement will shut down at a certain point in the pregnancy, locking the nova in female form.
  • Metaplot: Given that the game is a prequel, this is a necessity. The game was most certainly being written towards the Aberrant War and the loss of everything good that had come from novas.
  • Most Common Super Power: Explicitly lampshaded in the graphic for the Mega-Appearance attribute.
  • Muggle Power
  • Mutant Draft Board: Project Utopia.
  • My Suit Is Also Super: Eufiber, a material produced by a particular Nova, is the material of choice for Novas who don't want to end up naked - it shifts to fit their form, and is nearly indestructible. The Aberrant Players' Guide even introduces the Weave skill, which allows a Nova to reshape their Eufiber suit with just their will.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Duke Rollo is basically Hunter S. Thompson, the name riffing on Thompson's alter ego Raoul Duke. As a Shout-Out, the title of a supplement collecting some of Rollo's columns is Fear and Loathing.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: During the early Aberrant period, nova powers are a good thing, and the technological advances built on their powers generally do lead to the world becoming a better place. The problem is, it all gets screwed up when humanity and the novas turn on each other.
  • Prequel in the Lost Age: To Trinity. While it's not more technologically advanced (generally speaking), life is usually much better for everyone and the mood is much more optimistic.
  • Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything: The explanation for nova powers.
  • Screw Destiny : A significant portion of fans ignore the canon lead up to Trinity.
  • Screw Yourself: The player's handbook contains a chapter with various superhero teams and similar groups across the world. One is the Queer Nova Alliance, an informal group of Novas with "alternate lifestyles". One member is Tommy Orgy, whose selection of powers includes self-cloning. Or, as another nova observes, "Gorgeous, gay, and able to duplicate himself; it's a wonder Tommy Orgy ever leaves his house." When Tommy tells another nova to "Go fuck yourself", the other retorts, "I thought that was more your forte, Thomas." A listener adds, "Well, according to every other fanfic I read on the OpNet, anyways..."
  • Shockwave Clap: The Mega-Strength enhancement 'Thunderclap' allows a character to do this.
  • Shout-Out: "Node Phage" aberration means that the nova affected by it has to examine M-R nodes of other novas to increase their own power. Read: take superhumans' brains to get their abilities. Hmm, sounds a lot like that guy from Heroes...
  • Super Human Trafficking: Some novas are hunted by criminal syndicates who kidnap them and harvest their organs to make superpowered drugs.
  • Super Registration Act: A rather underhanded variety. While there is no official law requiring Novas to register, their powers tend to be hard to control without specialized training and medical care. Both are available only from Project Utopia, so most of them end up there, policing their "unenlightened" brethren. In the process they're also unknowingly sterilized. It should be no surprise that the setting concludes with every Nova on Earth discovering this fact and going on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that pretty much wrecks the entire world - after which the authorities destroy all records of their crimes, claim that all Novas inevitably go insane, and systematically kill them from that point on.
  • Wave Motion Gun: Although Aberrant characters are generally played at a much lower level of power, akin to your average Marvel Comics character, the game has Quantum powers at levels 4, 5, and 6 (which could only be acquired after a very long campaign if you play by the standard rules.) One of the least broken level 6 powers is Quantum Inferno which allows the character to fire a Quantum Bolt capable of punching a hole, hundreds of kilometers wide, clean through the planet (which needless to say is the immediate predecessor to the planet's destruction.)
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Project Utopia, directed behind the scenes by Max Mercer, is trying so very hard to avoid the Bad Future by helping the novas who work with it make a better world... while the black ops subdivision is secretly sterilizing them permanently with a tailored virus so they can't breed more and possibly stronger novas, and murdering those who find out about the program.

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alternative title(s): Aberrant
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