A set of three linked tabletop RPGs from White Wolf, the people who brought you The World of Darkness games. They're set in a science-based world where heroes with extraordinary powers arise during various eras, each time manifesting in a way that fits their era. Like most White Wolf games a edge of He Who Fights Monsters and World Half Empty form the periphery of the world view to varying degrees. (It's almost entirely absent in Adventure!, and most powerfully expressed in Aberrant.)Official game lines:
Aberrant: Some seventy-five years after the events of Adventure!, the explosion of the space station Galatea imbues people all over the world with superpowers, turning them into "novas".
Ĉon or Trinity: In the 22nd century, humanity is rebuilding from the Aberrant War under the "guidance" of the Ĉon Trinity.
Trinity and Aberrant were eventually cancelled due to low sales. Adventure! only managed to get its core-book, while the other two have a small number of splats. D20 versions of the core-books were released in 2004.All three games have been acquired outright by Onyx Path Publishing, a company set up to handle WW's tabletop publishing side, who plan to bring out new versions under the collective title of the Trinity Continuum, as well as exploring other time periods outside the main three.Not to be confused with the PS3 Game of the same name.
This RPG series provides examples of:
Anachronic Order: Of the three games, Trinity was released first and Adventure! last. The pattern holds for the new version, too.
Well, by Trinity. In Aberrant it's only 80+ years old and in Adventure! it's about 2 years old.
Badass Normal: Daredevils, under one interpretation. The other interpretation makes them superhumans with control over probability and time.
BFG: A sufficiently strong Nova can wield a cut-down 30mm gatling gun (normally found on A-10s) as a (super)man-portable weapon. In Trinity the Chameleon BioVARG is a 2 meter tall suit of Powered Armor that can mount a single mecha-sized weapon.
China Takes Over the World: Well, not quite. But they are by far the most powerful nation in settled space by Trinity. At one point China held the Earth at their mercy with nuclear satellites to get the Aberrants to knock it off already, but they were good enough to disarm them once the Aberrants left Earth.
Cut Short: The psi order books ended prematurely when the Trinity line was cancelled - "Asia Ascendant", the Ministry order book, had been written, but lacked art and official layout. Free versions can be found floating around the net. ("India Underground", the Quantakinetic order book, is a fan supplement.)
Likewise, there were plans for more Aberrant books before cancellation hit.
Cyberpunk: Trinity hews very closely to classicCyberpunk mixed with Space Opera and attempts to justify many of the more dystopian elements of the genre. In particular, the game generally rejects the idea that technology will always make life better and that information will become freer over time.
Post-Cyberpunk: Aberrant, by contrast, provides a setting that's rapidly building towards a utopia, as novas use their abilities to rapidly advance science and technology, terraform the Sahara, and decide the fates of nations by shootfighting on global TV. Of course, all of this is set up so that it can be torn down in the Aberrant War.
Doing In the Wizard: The publishers are quite adamant that the games — especially Adventure! and Aberrant — do not involve magic in any way, shape, or form. All superpowers possessed by the characters are due to the manipulation of new forms of energy ("Z-waves" in Adventure!, "quantum" in Aberrant). Given the properties ascribed to these energies, of course, it ends up working out basically the same way.
Fanon Discontinuity: Invoked in the Aberrant book. The writers made it very clear that they knew that players were going to ignore the part of the metaplot where most of the Aberrants turn on humanity, and expressly gave them permission to do so in the book.
Humongous Mecha: The Danguard Armored Warrior from Aberrant, and the VARGs from Trinity.
Metaplot: A metaplot that stretched over three different game lines, no less!
Organic Technology: Any Psion can attune to powerful biotechnological devices. Also, the Eufiber used by Novas is actually living bacterial colonies which are extruded from the body of a powerful nova fashion designer.
Reed Richards Is Useless: Averted quite fiercely in Aberrant — superintelligent novas have revolutionized every industry you can think of (and several you probably can't), and any large corporation will have at least a few novas on their payroll. Not to mention that they've turned Ethiopia green, eliminated pollution, and generally done awesome stuff.
Also averted in Trinity: most industries have applied noetic science (the scientific theory behind psychic abilities) to their various fields in order to go further than would be possible without psionic talent. One of the Psionic Orders is a corporation, and yes, they do indeed make products for the mass market using psionics. Humanity in the 22nd Century has things like interstellar space travel and colonization solely because of psionic powers such as teleportation, including biotech "jump ships".
Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Trinity takes a middle ground; it's about hope, sacrifice and unity in a Crapsack World, and the players really can make a difference. Aberrant, by contrast, is exceedingly cynical; the novas are destined to destroy the utopia that they were building through a combination of Taint, revenge and plain old ego. Adventure! tries to be idealistic (as befits the pulp atmosphere), but Max Mercer's noble effort still won't end well.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Being a nova is awesome, until you acquire so much Taint that you either go crazy, turn into a hulking abomination, or have your powers go wildly out of control. (Sometimes all three.) Of course, acquiring Taint is necessary for a nova to attain true power...or, at least that's what the Doyen and Ĉon Trinity say. Actually, it depends on the time period, the rulebook used, and the nova in question. Not all novas go insane, but most do, especially because accepting Taint is a far quicker road to power than trying to control it.