In a time when I find myself disenchanted with many of the directions that tabletop RPGs have been taking in terms of production values, I have found the White Wolf Updates for both Trinity and Aberrant a breath of fresh air. The idea is simple: small, pamphlet-sized books made on the cheap that detail areas of a game universe that otherwise wouldn't get any play. With Exposé: ABERRANTS we see the very best and worst of this production style.

Aberrants are novas (the ABERRANT version of a supernormal) who are part of a conspiracy against Project Utopia, a seemingly civic-minded group claiming to be dedicated to improving life for all humans. Things are not as they seem, of course, and Exposé: ABERRANT wades hip-deep into the central mystery of the entire ABERRANT metaplot.

So we have a 24-page book, of which the first 11 pages are flavor text. Now, we all like flavor text on occasion...hell, some of us may have even smoked the stuff in college. But nearly 45% of this book is flavor text, which lends it the quality of an advertisement or news magazine in the "Entertainment Tonight" style. I'd be incensed if this was a $25 hardback, but in a $5 pamphlet it fits--except that this critically injures efforts to describe who the Aberrants are as an organization.

Greg Stolze has an impossible task, and he does a reasonably good job at it. The place he shines are the NPCs who populate the book--a man with no subconscious, an ancient torch singer turned young again by her eruption--but we never really get much of a feeling for the organization. There simply isn't time in this thin book to cover the topic assigned, and it certainly doesn't show how the Aberrants should relate to other organizations in a day-to-day fashion.

White Wolf scored a hit with the Trinity pamphlet supplements, which focused on psionic law, Oceania and other tertiary areas that could use development. By shifting their focus in ABERRANT to doing Exposés on major plot points and organizations, these pamphlets become a must-have source of information that their small size can't fulfill.

Finally, a quibble: there are two pictures of Novas who are obviously overweight (Renaissance Man and The Living Wreck) which the main Aberrant rulebook goes to great pains to explain is impossible, as Novas burn all their calories. I always thought this was a dumb idea, but lets have some consistency, people--one or the other, please.

The Verdict

A fun read, but so light you can skim it at your local game store and have done with it. This is material that should have seen light as part of a larger sourcebook on conspiracies in ABERRANT.

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