It isn’t much to look at. It’s just a lump of grayish flesh about the size of a marble. It can grow bigger – some have been recorded which were the size of an apple or baseball – but it’s still just a mass of tissue with a few blood vessels, nerve endings and tendrils extending from it. Yet it holds the key to the powers of the universe.
The Mazarin-Rashoud node is what gives novas their power. It provides them with the ability to channel quantum energies. But at the same time it can affect their psyches and their bodies in strange, often deadly, ways.
A character with this Background has a well-developed Mazarin-Rashoud node. Note the words “well developed.” All novas, even those without this Trait, have a Mazarin-Rashoud node. Most novas don’t take the Node Background; they get by with the basic M-R node that all novas have. Node as a Background signifies that the nova’s M-R is better developed, or channels quantum energies better, than the typical node. Thus, a nova with Node tends to be more powerful than others of his kind. He can use more quantum points per turn, can recover them quicker and possesses certain other powers. In general terms, he is more efficient at processing quantum energies than other novas. However, he is also more likely to suffer from Taint.
For example, a character with a fifth-instar Node (Node 4) gains two points of Taint. Aberrations associated with the Node Background are typically mental or psychological ones. As the node grows, it presses upon other parts of the brain. In some cases it even causes the nova’s forehead to bulge slightly. This pressure on the brain can result in mental problems for the nova. The larger the M-R node, the more likely that problems will occur, and the more extensive those problems are likely to be. By the time the node reaches the fourth instar, a problem of some sort is guaranteed. The human body and brain, even when augmented by quantum powers, are simply too Fragile to handle the awesome energies coursing through them without being changed in some way.
Other effects of having a highly developed Node include:
As mentioned under Quantum, a nova with Node recovers spent quantum points more quickly than one without, adding her Node rating to her normal rate of quantum-point recovery. Many novas think of the Node as a recharger that juices up their quantum batteries quickly.
As a receptacle for quantum energies, a Mazarin-Rashoud node also enables a nova to detect sources or conduits of quantum energies. Typically, these sources are other novas, though nuclear reactors, cyclotrons, generators or other large power sources might also be detected.
To detect a quantum source, the nova takes a Full turn to concentrate, then the player rolls her Node rating as a dice pool. Range of the attempt is 10 meters per dot in Node. Difficulty is typically standard, though the Storyteller can increase it in the case of trace amounts of quantum energies. Success indicates the nova detects a source of quantum energy in the area. Succeeding on this roll does not let a nova pinpoint an invisible or hidden character, but it does enable her to detect a shapeshifted or “dormed down” nova for what it is.
The player of a nova with the Dormancy Background may roll his Background rating in a resisted roll against any attempt at quantum detection; successes on this roll cancel out the scanning nova’s successes on a one-for-one basis
|0 (1st Instar)||Can spend 6 Quantum Points per turn||0|
|1 (2nd Instar)||Can Spend 8 Quantum Points per turn||0|
|2 (3nd Instar)||Can Spend 10 Quantum Points per turn||0|
|3 (4th Instar)||Can Spend 12 Quantum Points per turn||1|
|4 (5th Instar)||Can Spend 15 Quantum Points per turn||2|
|5 (6th Instar)||Can Spend 20 Quantum Points per turn||3|