East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

An old friend, found again

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One of the perks of being (occasionally) a game creator, is the trickle of revenue coming my way via DriveThruRPG, whenever someone buys a copy of Hope & Glory. I am not swimming in gold, but this means I can afford to buy a new game once or twice a year – it is much more convenient for me to spend these money as credit against purchase rather than cashing them in (expenses would erode an already modest figure).

And so I went and bought me a game that’s been on my wishlist for a long time: Trinity Continuum, the revamped/redesigned/refurbished new edition of the old Trinity games. A system and a universe I am very fond of, and that now is back in print with a new, streamlined game system.

To me, going back to Trinity is like meeting an old friend all over again.

For the uninitiated, Trinity was a trio of roleplaying games published about twenty years ago by White Wolf, and, really, the only White Wolf product I truly liked (I never really cared for the World of Darkness). The game revolved around the evolution of the Aeon Society, from a club for pulp daredevils in the ’20s (in Adventure!, still the best one-stop pulp RPG out there), to an organization managing superheroes in the ’90s /in the blockbuster Aberrant) to a sort of adhocracy coordinating the psionic-powered adventurers of a spacefaring future (in Trinity).

The new Continuum follows more or less the same lines, updating the timeline with current events, and streamlining a system that was already very light – but that’s OK, because we are not here for the engineering, we’re here for the adventure.

The system is dice-pool based – roll Skill+Attribute in d10, 8 or more is a success, if you’ve got enough successes you succeed, higher numbers get you special effects. Complications make actions harder, Enhancements make them easier. And this is more or less it. resolution is fast, satisfactory and as those guys say, “cinematic”.

The big new thing in this game’s iteration, however, is the Character Creation section, that while reprising some core concepts of the original, seems to be much more freeform, and adds the idea of Paths, that provide backgrounds, enhancements and connections to the character at the moment of creation, for the player to spend in game.
While not rocket science, it does require a modicum of attention for game masters coming from older systems.

Characters in Trinity Continuum come in three main flavors – Talents (the pulp heroes of Adventure! of old), Novas (the superheroes of Aberrant) and Psions (from Trinity – that now goes by its original name of Aeon) , and while the core rulebook covers all the basics, as a standalone it allows you to play a game of modern Talents – think new pulp, technothriller, very near-future SF.

If you were looking for a game that would allow you to play, say, a Jack Reacher sort of game, or anything from Clive Cussler, or maybe a Kingsman-style spy caper, but also weird stuff like the Read or Die manga and anime series, or Lupin III, or some low-level cyberpunk (Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon and Reamde are mentioned in the resources section as inspiration) this is a good starting point, that comes with its own universe, its own rationales and rules.

For the alien races, the star colonies and the biotech ships of the Aeon era, you’ll have to get the Trinity Continuum: Aeon handbook and possibly a few of the expansions (there is a lot of community content for Aeon out there), that are next on my shopping list, because I played the old Trinity to death, and so there goes. And we’ll have to wait for the Trinity Continuum: Adventure! book, to finally bring back the glories of our old pulp games.

So, here’s what I will do during lunch break for the next few days. Study this baby, and then look for a few story sales, so that I’ll be able to afford the Aeon handbook.

Life is good.

Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

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