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Trinity [2]

Entry updated 14 January 2019. Tagged: Game.

Role Playing Game (1997). White Wolf (WW). Designed by Andrew Bates, Ken Cliffe.

Trinity was the first to be published in a "thematic trilogy" of games, followed by Aberrant (1999 WW) designed by Justin Achilli and Andrew Bates, and Adventure! (2001 WW) designed by Andrew Bates and Bruce Baugh. (Originally the first game was to be called Aeon, and Trinity was to be the name of the trilogy, but the game title was changed after a copyright conflict with the Æon Flux animated series.) The three games are intended to represent hope (Adventure!), sacrifice (Aberrant) and unity (Trinity). Each has strong genre affiliations: Trinity is set in a Hard SF milieu and Aberrant in a Superhero one, while Adventure! is based on stories of pulp heroes such as Doc Savage and The Shadow.

Together, the three games span two hundred years of Alternate History, from Adventure! in the 1920s through Aberrant in the early twenty-first century to Trinity in the twenty-second. Throughout this period, the secretive Aeon organization guards humanity from threats hidden and overt. In Adventure!, the release of an unknown form of "telluric energy" causes the appearance of gifted individuals throughout the world, whose actions have the potential to change history. By the time of Aberrant, another mysterious event has triggered the development of "quantum" powers which allow characters (known as novas) to develop superhuman abilities. These abilities are tied to an individual's self image; for example, an ecological activist might only be able to affect plants. Unfortunately, quantum powers have a flaw; as their possessors grow more powerful they begin to experience "Taint", a slow distortion of their mental and physical selves. By the time of Trinity, all novas have left Earth after a catastrophic war between psychopathic Tainted Superheroes and ordinary humanity. The Aeon organization and dedicated Orders of Psionic talents are guiding Earth's reconstruction and expansion into interstellar space. This complex history is potentially problematic for gameplay, since it suggests that no Adventure! players can actually have a major impact on their world, and all Aberrant characters are likely to become insane mass murderers at some point in the future. However, it is possible to play each of the games without reference to the others in the series.

All three games are noted for the evocative nature of their background material, particularly Adventure! As is true of many White Wolf games, morality in the Trinity universe is painted in shades of grey, and characters' primary motivations originate from the factions they are associated with rather than from any absolute definition of good and evil. The first editions of each game used White Wolf's "Storyteller System", but for a second release in 2004 they were converted to d20 (2000). An interesting feature of all versions is the ability of players to spend points to influence local continuity as defined by the Gamemaster, by having an acquaintance appear just in time to perform a vital rescue or some similar device.

Related works: Trinity: Battleground (1997 WW) is a miniatures-based Wargame set on an extrasolar planet in the twenty-second century, featuring combat between Tainted novas and members of the psionic Orders. [NT]

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