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Tabletop Game / Æon

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Æon (later Trinity, thanks to a run-in with MTV, who saw it as challenging trademarks on Æon Flux) is the first game in Trinity Universe (White Wolf), and the chronologically latest.

Set in the 2120s, you play as a psion, one of a select few humans gifted with extraordinary psychic abilities standing in humanity's defense, not least against the monstrous Aberrants, who seek to reclaim Earth as their own.

To become a psion requires having latent psychic potential. When the psi orders pick up on someone with the appropriate potential, they test them according to each order's own particular set of standards, then put them through a Prometheus Chamber, which triggers their latent abilities. A considerable number of psions stick with an order after triggering, though not all.

Each psi order is based in a particular geographical region, specializing in a particular type of Psychic Powers, and modeled on a type of organization - if they're not one in practice. Each order is headed by a proxy, a psion with abilities above and beyond those of their fellows.

The psi orders are:

  • Æsculapian Order - A network of hi-tech medical clinics, with the original based in Basel, Switzerland. Specialize in vitakinesis, the healing of body and mind. Revamped in the new edition to focus on providing emergency services.
  • ISRA (Interplanetary School for Research and Advancement) - Situated on the Moon, ISRA is modeled on a monastic order or New Age commune, though that doesn't stop members from going out and exploring the universe. Specializes in clairsentience, extending the senses through space and time. Tweaked a little in the new edition to focus on serving humanity.
  • The Legions - Specializing in telekinesis, the Legions are a freewheeling private army headquartered in Sydney, Australia. Revamped to be nominally under United Nations Military Command in the new edition.
  • The Ministry of Psionic Affairs - A ministry in the Chinese government, serving a variety of roles therein. Specializes in telepathy.
  • Norça (Nova Fôrça de Nacionales - the New National Force) - Based on a South American crime family. Specialize in biokinesis, the ability to transform their own bodies. The new edition has them originate from a radical environmentalist movement.
  • Orgotek - A biotech corporation headquarted in New York, FSA (Federated States of America). Specializes in electrokinesis, the manipulation of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Upeo wa Macho - An interplanetary non-profit organization, focusing on space exploration and emergency action. Originally based in Nigeria, now on an extra-solar colony world. Specialize in teleportation.
  • Chitra Bhanu - The so-called "dark psions", the fallen order. A research institute based in Mumbai, India, specializing in quantakinesis, the control of quantum forces. They studied Aberrants, who tap quanta directly, and were eventually wiped out by the other orders for alleged Aberrant collaboration. While some quantakinetics still survive, no more can be created.

Received a second edition as Trinity Continuum: Æon, which changes up some things, and had a successful Kickstarter in February 2018.

If you're looking for the band, they're here.

This role-playing game provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Origin Connection: In Trinity Continuum: Æon, Saraswati Kaur Bhurano is retconned to have originally been Dr. Hammersmith's Indian servant Sara Kaur, one of the three people closest to the Hammersmith Event that inaugurated Adventure!, along with Max Mercer and Michael Donighal. Where Mercer gained enhanced time/probability powers, and Donighal gained enhanced quantum powers, Bhurano gained enhanced noetic powers, eventually starting to develop what became Quantakinesis by the 22nd century - meaning that each of the three Inspired types, Talents, Novas and Psiads, had a Super Prototype representative at the Event who'd play an important part in the keystone eras to come.
  • Alternate Continuity: TC: Æon to the original edition. It's similar in the Broad Strokes - keeping the eight psi orders and their proxies, the 22nd century's nations, the alien races, etc - but a number of things have been changed or added.
  • Always Chaotic Evil:
    • Novas aren't this, though it's an understandable mistake on humanity's part. Aberrants are at best too alien to truly relate to humans and most of them are actively malicious toward humanity. And nearly all novas on Earth are Aberrants; even new eruptions are usually Corrupted from the beginning.
    • Explicitly done with the Coalition Progenitors in 2E - while every other member of the Hive Caste System is a slave who can be freed (and is playable), the Progenitors are the slave masters who purposefully made them that way and regularly cull their numbers between conquests; redemption of them as a species is only likely after complete social breakdown forces then to change.
  • Antimagical Faction: Nippon is very much anti-psionics. Psions aren't forbidden from visiting, but they're not welcome, biotech is absolutely forbidden, and Japan secretly either neutralizes potential psions inside their borders or turns them into government-affiliated Superiors. Ironically, Nippon isn't quite as hostile toward novas as the rest of the world, having sheltered a few in secret during the Aberrant War.
  • A Protagonist Shall Lead Them: Otha Herzog, ISRA's proxy, is regarded as a messiah by a faction within his own order, something he's deeply uncomfortable with.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: So, about the Norça's full name in the original edition: it's correct in Catalan, but it is not correct for most anyone from a South American background, which the Norça are. For the new edition, it's been changed to Nova Força Nacional, which still abbreviates to Norça.
  • Augmented Reality: In TC: Æon, almost everyone has access to the OpNet via augmented reality.
  • A World Half Full: Aeon is an After the End world set in the ruins of the Nova Age, facing multiple civilization-threatening invasions from outside, but its themes are hope, sacrifice and unity. There's a very real chance that despite alien interference and human bickering, this time humanity will keep its shit together, throw back the invaders and take its place among the stars, and there might even be a place for novas in the new humanity.
  • Balkanize Me:
    • In Europe, this is pretty normal after the Esperanza incident. France is nonexistent, while Spain, Germany and Austria have fallen apart into their component provinces. The Balkans, incidentally, are called "the Shatter" because they'd fallen down to the city-state level even before Esperanza, but now they're reversing this trope in the face of Turkey's Rising Empire and are refounding their component nations.
    • Downplayed by Australia. There's almost a hundred countries on the continent, but almost nobody really cares about the micronations' claims of sovereignty in the Outback; it's just a longstanding Australian tradition since the founding of the Hutt River Province.
  • Big Brother Is Watching You: The government in many states has its eye on you, even in some democratic nations (like Nippon). And where it doesn't, it still has assets combing over the omnipresent sousveillance and social media.
  • Biomanipulation: The Aesculapians and the Norça both have this power, split in half: The Aesculapians can manipulate other people's (and their own) bodies psionically in order to heal them or hurt them, while the Norça can manipulate their bodies psionically in order to do things like disguise themselves or grow gills (or Wolverine Claws) to better survive a situation.
  • Biotech Is Better: Zig-zagged with the availability of many bio-tech devices that can replicate modern appliances, and some of the most sophisticated devices of the setting (like the jump ships) making major use of it. On one hand, they can replicate the appliances' work just as well and Psions can bond with them and get them to work a bit better. On the other hand, they have higher maintenance, are much harder to fix, people are not comfortable using them (the fluff explicitly says that many biotech devices are sold with normal-looking exterior shells), computers are still better as hard tech in 1e, and if Psions get attuned to too many biotech devices, they develop junkie-like symptoms.
  • Black Box: China's 108 Auspicious Legislations are a social nova-tech institution. They allow China to successfully function as a large, centralized, semi-communist dictatorship, but how they hold together is unknown and any attempt to tinker with them or implement them outside of China is doomed to fail.
  • Blatant Lies: In the Trinity Player's Guide, each type of team has a real-life movie used as an example of the kind of missions that that team goes on. The section ends with an assurance that the fact that each film's mission goes completely to hell doesn't mean anything, "really."
  • Brainwashing for the Greater Good: In 2108, faced with opposition from a coalition of militant atheists in the Chinese government who were trying to ban Christianity and Islam, Proxy Rebecca Bue Li dropped a telepathic hammer on their leaders, causing them to do an about-face and support equality and freedom of religion. She was completely open about doing this, and defended herself against criminal charges with more of the same. Since then, the Ministry prefers more subtle methods of doing the same thing.
  • Bread and Circuses: China likes to control their people, and they realize that the most effective means of doing so is to keep them happy. Accordingly, a lot of the Ministry's work involves serving the people; arranging love affairs to help troubled people, fixing a neighborhood by ensuring that the right person gets hired for the right job, and otherwise maintaining social harmony in China's many communities. Of course, when these methods don't work, there's always the option of Psychbending criminals into model citizens.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Discussed in the Storyguiding section of 2enote . The book advises that unless players are in a deliberately air-gapped facility or deep in an alien wilderness, cell phones should be useful, and instead discusses how to deal with players having a surfeit of public information at their fingertips.
  • The Chessmaster: All over the place, notably the Doyen and a number of the proxies.
  • City on the Water: Part of the country of Oceania in TC: Æon.
  • The Corruption: Aberrants have the power to corrupt humans and other creatures (but not psionic beings) into twisted sub-Aberrant mutants. In addition, the Quantum Flux on Earth left by the Colony's attack can cause nova eruptions, and in this era, that usually means a swift slide into Aberrancy.
  • Cyberpunk: In the second edition, this best applies to the White Sectors of Nippon, fringe settlements in an arcology where the law and the benefits of society are absent, where anything can be had for a price and where superpowered creations of mad science carve out new lives for themselves.
  • Cut Short: The first edition was cancelled just as "Asia Ascendant", the Ministry splatbook, had been written (fortunately, it was made available as a free PDF). Had the line continued, there would also have been an aliens book, an Africa book, and then an update to bring things in line with Aberrant.
  • Cyborg: The Jinketsu of Japan draw their powers from cybernetic modification. Actually, the cybernetics are mostly for show. Their actual abilities come from a super-science process applied to nova genes.
  • Dirty Coward: The Doyen, especially in 2E, are driven by rabid fear of their own mortality, willing to commit genocide on entire species simply because they could threaten the Doyen. Under Alien Skies confirms they're so xenophobic, they're outright infanticidal, since any Doyen born as an Energy Being does not register as Doyen to the post-organic race.
  • Disaster Scavengers: The "Child of Nova Ruins" path is for those who grew up in ruined Nova Age cities, surviving by scavenging Lost Technology for their own use. While they're not capable of making nova-tech themselves, they're very good at keeping it repaired.
  • Dump Stat: In the original game, there are only two Skills each that use Strength or Appearance. Strength only comes into play in melee combat (in a game where everyone has psychic powers) or Might rolls (which usually applies in situations that can also be solved with psychic powers). Appearance is slightly more useful, as its Skills are Intimidation and Style, the latter of which can be used to build disguises, but it's still a very limited palette.
  • Dying Aptitude: With the destruction of the Chitra Bhanu (and their Prometheus Chamber) there is no way for new Quantakinetics to be made. At least, as far as anyone outside the order knows. The survivors managed to steal the core and are reverse-engineering it.
    • And as noted in "Aurora Australis", the Legions are also running a risk of this due to the sheer wear and tear put on their Prometheus Chamber.
  • Empire with a Dark Secret: Nihon figured out a lot of the setting's secrets — the psi orders being of alien (and very likely malevolent) origin, that novas were not inherently unstable, etc — thanks to figuring out which of their Novas were not going to go insane during the Aberrant War, and sheltering them. Three of them were super-scientists who figured out a treatment to suppress nova/psionic latency, and eventually refine it so it instead created a third form of superhuman they call a "Superior" — which in first edition, unknown to them, are actually the "Daredevils" from Adventure; in second edition, only a fraction are Talents, the rest being their own type of Inspired. Suffice to say that there's a reason the Nihonjin are being very careful about reintegrating with the noetically-influenced rest of the world.
  • Faking the Dead: S. K. Bhurano survived the Chitra Bhanu purge along with a handful of her most trusted Quantakinetics in Second Ed. She also managed to retrieve the core of their Prometheus Chamber and worked with the Norça Proxy in secret to make a new Chamber and revive her order.
  • The Gift: Psions require two overlapping gifts: the ability to gather subquantum energies, and the "gateway" ability to channel them. Having the former alone is called latency, and the latter gift can be granted by a Prometheus Chamber, creating a psion. In the unusual circumstance that someone is born with both, they become a psiad, developing psionic abilities naturally without the restrictions (or the power) of the Chamber. There's also those born with psychic gateways but without latency - this "power" is roughly equivalent to having a car without a gas tank, but tech exists that can fuel their psychic potential.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: How Florida got drowned, as recounted in "America Offline": during the Aberrant War, a young Aberrant with power over the oceans was concerned about climate change in Florida, her home state, and attempted to stabilize the Gulf Stream. Unanticipated resonance resulted in massive ocean waves that killed millions of people, including the Aberrant herself.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: The Ministry.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: As of the Aeon period, Divis Mal is still the last word in Aberrancy, but he hasn't been seen since leaving Earth, and it's likely that he has no further interest in humanity and is busy seeking The Singularity. On the other hand, his ally The Colony hates humanity with a genocidal passion, and it's the latter who is leading the Aberrant attack on Earth. And really, he's not nearly as much of a threat as the Doyen, who are this by preference.
  • Guilt-Free Extermination War: Chromatics actually have a formal term for this, "black" or "dark" war, eradication of a savage group that cannot live in peace with them, due to their experiences with Howlers. By contrast, "blue" or "bright" war is fought to the point of a surrender or truce against a less evil opponent. This is part of the reason that captured Chromatics are so recaltrant - they think they're in a black war with humanity, and a successful communication means a terrible fate for their friends and families. Realizing humanity just wants to know why they attacked is liable to make them realize it's a blue war and be open to peace talks.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: Orgotek isn't completely honest, but one of their employee pitches is their cheerful willingness to buy voting rights for everyone they employ without reservation, and their outspoken critique of the abysmal civil rights record of the FSA, which the junta in control can't censor due to their own plutocratic legal control. Adventures for them are often about forcing reforms through the FSA at gunpoint.
  • It Only Works Once: If you try to use another Prometheus Chamber after your Psionic abilities are activated, you'll die.
  • Long-Lived: For those with acces to the best in modern vitakinetic or Nihonjin medical care, the average life expectancy is around 160 years.
  • Mega-Corp: "Metacorporations", referring to companies with celebrity status, and/or with responsibilities not directly related to profit-making.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The Novas on Eden have made it clear they have no intention of harming humanity or even coming back to Earth unless invited.
  • New Technology Is Evil: A downplayed In-Universe meme, specifically regarding hardtech. Because so much of the past century's technological advancement was nova-driven, outside of Nippon, new technologies that are "too advanced" are regarded with suspicion and can be grounds for arrest unless the inventor can prove they're not relying on Aberrant knowledge. Furthermore, Muggles and psions can't easily tell the difference between Inspired Science and something based on a Nova Age black box. As a result, most of the truly innovative tech of the last generation has been noetic biotech (which everyone knows is Aberrant-free).
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Of the proxies, the Upeo Wa Macho proxy was the only one other than the Chibs who even considered a peaceful solution to the returning Aberrants, involving making peace with the sane Novas that colonized other worlds. The other Orders began talks of dismantling their order as a result.
    • The Norça proxy is the only one who has any kind of clue that the fall of the Chibs was due to outside interference and has been doing some digging. He also keeps many of the remaining chibs alive in secret.
  • Oppressive States of America: The fascist Federated States of America that arises in the aftermath of the Aberrant War. Restructured along the lines of a militaristic plutocracy, and having annexed much of Canada and Mexico, it is a long way away from the old United States.
  • Organic Technology: Biotech. The alien Qin take it well beyond human capabilities.
  • Promoted to Playable: In the original editions, full Quantakinetics were off the table, deemed appropriate only as NPCs, although the Trinity Players Guide made their first-level powers available to other psions as secondary powers they couldn't raise higher, and fan supplements gave them full PC writeups. For the new edition, full Quantakinetics were made available as PCs in the main book. It also made the Chitra Bhanu - as in the actual psi order - a playable option too. Also in 2e, all psiads (natural-born psychics) are capable of quantakinesis (in 1e, the ability was off limits to psiads).
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Chromatics, a photokinetic froglike species that are culturally equivalent to a theocratic collection of Bronze Age feudal civilizations, but advanced enough in biotech to be spacefarers, and who possess a genocidal fear of humanity for reasons unknown. It's because they were attacked by Aberrants masquerading as gods just as they were becoming agrarian, and the Doyen tricked them into thinking humanity at large is Always Chaotic Evil- their tech is actually Doyen tech. They have always been a Proud Warrior Race though - as they co-evolved with a species that favors cannibalism. Their culture being based around being an organized military was a survival trait, as was the idea that sometimes, an entire species has to die.
  • Psychic Powers
  • Repressive, but Efficient: In 2e, Ukraine and China are both authoritarian states where the trains run on time and the Sinister Surveillance has its eye on you. In China's case, it's an actual first-world country where everyone is at least modestly well-off (just remember to smile for your Tracking Chip), while Ukraine has very little in the way of luxury goods, but the food always reaches the table and the army is surprisingly powerful for a third-tier power.
  • The Reveal: There're a number, but a notable one involves the Chitra Bhanu. Bhurano had been possessed by a Doyen - afraid of her power over Quantum, which is deadly to the Doyen - for the duration of the original Chitra Bhanu's existence. When the Doyen discovered what Quantakinesis was capable of - cleansing Aberrants' Taint in the original, killing Doyen in 2nd ed - they were horrified, and manipulated things to engineer the Chitra Bhanu purge. However, in 2nd ed, Bhurano survived, along with the core of the Quantakinesis Chamber...
  • Sapient Cetaceans: The neocetaceans are the result of a genetics program from the Nova Age. By nature, they tend to be Friendly, Playful Dolphins, but they know that humans (particularly the Federated States of America, in whose waters they reside) are unlikely to be friendly, so they're taking a very cautious approach and avoiding communication until they know they can trust people.
  • Science Fiction Kitchen Sink: Pretty much every major area has its own genre: Europe is After the End, North America is Cyberpunk, etc.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The Upeo did this in fear of ending up like the Quantakinetics. Effective when their bag is Teleportation.
  • Shout-Out: "America Offline" to AOL, aka America OnLine.
  • Show Within a Show: Quite a few, most notably Strike Team Psion and Jake Danger: Aberrant Hunter. There's a mini-supplement about 23rd century media.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Among other nations:
    • Every citizen of China has their own personal Tracking Chip, and this works with sophisticated computerized assistance and the Ministry's literal thought police to ensure that every citizen lives harmoniously within Chinese society.
    • Nippon, despite being partially democratic, has a surveillance state as extensive as China's, at least in public, with the Gentle Guide SIs (sub-AI computers) always ready to advise a citizen that they're violating custom or to alert the Special Police to any psionic activity.
  • The Sociopath: Vitakinetics' powers make them intimately aware of the physical and mental health of people in close proximity to them. Quite a few find being surrounded by so much pain and decay so overwhelming that they voluntarily undergo a process that turns them into sociopaths, just so they can get on with their jobs without being constantly crippled by empathy with their patients. (This isn't a preferred option for most docs, though.)
  • Underwater City: The other part of the country of Oceania in TC: Æon.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Chromatics, to the Doyen - if they became aware the gods of light were evil manipulators, it's canon they'd sue for peace with humanity and end the pointless war.
  • Uplifted Animal: Crabs and cetaceans in 2e's Terra Firma.
  • Urban Segregation: Nippon is pretty much a giant Arcology, but the designers didn't plan for Nippon having a major population die-off in combination with a low birthrate. As a result, large areas of Nippon's arcology were abandoned, and in turn the abandoned districts were colonized by fringers and dissidents. While most Nihonjin live in an advanced nation with one of the highest standards of living on Earth, hundreds of rogue settlements exist on the fringes of Nippon, piggybacking off of Japan's power and water resources and living a hardscrabble, subsistence lifestyle.
  • Whatevermancy: The various psionic aptitudes, particularly Biokinesis, Vitakinesis, Electrokinesis and Quantakinesis.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity:
    • In this era, as far as anyone knows, Aberrants go insane. This is largely because the only ones who become novas in the present day were exposed to tainted Quantum Flux, and because The Colony's Aberrants are all extremely Tainted and enforce taint on others.
    • Superiors were created to defy this. Creating a Superior is an off-ramp for a potential nova, allowing them to develop superhuman abilities on a small scale without risking Taint. (Becoming a psion is another off-ramp, but Nippon doesn't trust psionics at all.)

Alternative Title(s): Trinity