Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"G" is for "Grizelle"


No. Enc.:  0 (1)
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement:  150' (50') 
Armor Class:  4
Hit Dice:  9
Attacks:  4 or 3 (2 claws, 1 gore, 1 bite, or 2 kicks, 1 sting)
Damage:  1d6+1 / 1d6+1 / 2d4 / 2d6, or 1d6 / 1d6 / 1d4 + poison
Save:  L5
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  3,100

Many a predator in the Mutant Future is drawn to the frail, helpless grizelle as it limps along, alone and terrified and bleating for its herd.  These predators don't live very long.

Found in praries, scrublands, and barren wastes, grizelles appear as slight antelopes of garish coloration that stand in stark contrast to their surroundings.  They hobble about and cry forlornly, seemingly oblivious to danger.  But when other creatures approach and get within 10'...

...a grizelle's mass shifts and its skin ruptures, and a fanged, muscular, gore-drenched beast the size of an Ancient horse bursts forth from within (Surprising on a 1-5 on 1d6).  It attacks in a savage frenzy of teeth, horns, and claws, and its tail barbs inject a Class 1-6 (determined randomly) poison.

Once a grizelle has fed, it shrinks and regenerates its concealing skin, and begins the hunt anew.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form ("Skin-Shifting"), Toxic Weapon (Venom)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"D" is for "Dynok"

Dynok  ("Kleptile")

No. Enc.:  1d4 (2d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  195' (65') 
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  5
Attacks:  3 or 1 (2 fists, 1 bite, or weapon)
Damage:  1d4 / 1d4 / 1d6, or by weapon
Save:  L5
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  VII, VIII, XVI, XXII
XP:  800

Dynoks are agile, 5' tall bipedal reptiles with 4 eyes and enlarged, dextrous hands.  They travel in organized packs, and communicate with a series of chirps and whistles that emanate from their elongated nostrils.

Dynoks are drawn to technology and artifacts of the Ancients...and the shinier and better preserved, the better.  In combat, they target those wielding the most tech, and try to disarm them.  Anyone struck by a dynok's claw attacks must make an Ability Check Versus Strength or Dexterity (whichever is higher) with a -1 penalty; failure indicates that they have lost their weapon...and will most certainly have it used against them the next round.  Dynoks are just as likely to kill their foes as they are to simply loot and flee.

While dynoks clearly seek out artifacts, what they do with them is another matter entirely.  They never arrive on the scene with tech of their own, and they have proven too fast and wily to follow; no one knows where they stash their purloined goods, and communication has proven fruitless.  Some posit that dynoks are amassing weapons and gadgetry to create an unconquerable reptilian army.  Others believe they are religious zealots akin to Archivists, Restorationists, or Seekers.  And some even claim they are invaders from another world!

Mutations:  Increased Sense (Sight), Increased Sense (Touch), Quick Mind

Friday, May 27, 2011

"O" is for "Oxidont"


No. Enc.:  1d2 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  150' (50') 
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  5
Attacks:  3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d4 / 1d4 / 2d6 + special
Save:  L3
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  650

Oxidonts are stealthy predators with builds and temperaments like Ancient big cats.  Their eyes are atrophied to just a series of nerve clusters, and their oversized craniums barely contain their dripping, tusk-like fangs.

An oxidont's saliva rusts metal on contact.  Anyone bitten while wearing metal armor finds their protection disintegrate around them, as each bite increases a target's AC by 1 (75% chance) or 2 (25% chance).  [Ex: someone in chain mail has an AC 5, but an initial bite shifts it to AC 6 or 7.]  The armor is completely destroyed when it reaches AC 9.  Furthermore, there is a 35% chance per bite that any carried metal artifacts are also corroded into uselessness.

The deviant Labwraths sometimes use oxidonts as guard animals.

Mutations:  Increased Sense (Smell), Toxic Weapon ("Oxidizing Saliva"), Vision Impairment [D]

Thursday, May 26, 2011

"F" is for "Flensefin"


No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d10)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  6' (2')
         —Fly:  150' (50')     
     —Swim:  90' (30')
Armor Class:  4 (or 9)
Hit Dice:  3
Attacks:  1 (slice)
Damage:  2d6
Save:  L2
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  VII
XP:  125

Flensefins are 5' long amphibians with flattened bodies protected by razored "scales" and spines.  They lurk at the edges of bodies of fresh and/or polluted water, and in shallow pools.  Flensefins wriggle into the mire, but spy on their surroundings with telescoping eyestalks that extend to lengths of 5'.

When flensefins detect prey, they explode from the water (Surprising on a 1-4 on 1d6) and soar around their target, lacerating with abandon.  Anyone thus sliced suffers an additional 2 Hit Points damage per round from blood loss until the wounds can be properly bandaged.

Ungainly when grounded, a flensefin's AC rises to 9 when it is feeding or scuttling on land.

Their hides are prized by weaponsmiths and armorers.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form (Telescoping Eye), Night Vision, Psionic Flight

Monday, May 23, 2011

"A" is for "Anenomouth"


No. Enc.:  1 (1d2)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  45' (15') 
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  7
Attacks:  1 + 2d6 (1 bite, 2d6 tentacles)
Damage:  1d10 + 1 hp per tentacle + poison
Save:  L4
Morale:  11
Hoard Class:  VI, VII
XP:  1,840

Anenomouths are terrestrial predators with huge jaws and 10'-12' long, slug-like bodies covered in flailing tentacles.  They slither across the landscape in a never-ending search of prey, hunting by body heat (up to a range of 60') instead of sight.

Each successful tentacle strike injects a Class 1 toxin that is particularly harmful to Mutant Animals of fish- and crustacean-based stock, as they suffer double damage from its effects.  (For expediency, one overall Saving Throw Versus Poison can be made for the cumulative attacks.)

Anenomouths' body cavities frequently contain the undigested belongings of their victims.

Mutations:  Increased Caloric Needs [D], Sensory Deficiency (Blindness) [D], Toxic Weapon (Venom), Unique Sense (Thermal Sense)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

"C" is for "Cryena"


No. Enc.:  2d6 (2d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  120' (40')
Armor Class:  7
Hit Dice:  4
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  3d4
Save:  L3
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  VII, VIII, IX
XP:  410

Cryenas are matriarchal pack hunters with stocky builds and spotted bluish coats.  They crave and absorb ambient heat, and dwell in the hottest climes—savannahs, badlands, deserts, and even burning oilfields.

Intelligent and erudite, cryenas view themselves as caretakers of the Mutant Future environs, and it is their noble duty to weed out the weak and infirm.  Any time cryenas encounter sentient beings (including, of course, PCs), the creatures attempt to negotiate via telepathy—they offer their treasure and safe passage in exchange for the life of the party member with the lowest CON score and/or Hit Points.  Cryenas find this arrangement perfectly reasonable, and if talks go sour, they conclude that they're obviously dealing with the mentally weak and infirm....

Mutations:  Energy Ray (Cold), Epidermal Susceptibility (Cold) [D], Metaconcert, Neural Telepathy, Reflective Epidermis (Heat), Temperature Control (Cold)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rebranding! All New...And Improved!

I expanded my Post-Apocalyptic Naming Guide, and tried to put it into convenient table form...but creating a table in Blogger is a nigh-impossible nightmare. 

After too many hours and too many web searches, this is the prettiest I could make it.  I apologize in advance for its clunkiness, and the inability to print it.  I guess I can email the original table, if anyone wants it.

I also posted a link (under Radioactive Resources) off to the side, so y'all can find it later.

You know the drill.  Roll 'em, or mix and match to your heart's content.  (Some sound more gender-specific than others, but I didn't want to limit them like that.)  Be sure to scroll up and down on the chart itself, as the numbers go 1-20.

And I gotta say that Bic Marlboro—Raygun For Hire gives me the giggles.

"S" is for "Shatterbird"


No. Enc.:  1d3 (1d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  210' (70')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  4+1
Attacks:  3 or 1 (2 claws, 1 peck, or head-butt)
Damage:  1d6 / 1d6 / 1d4, or 2d4
Save:  L2
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  VII, XIV
XP:  215

Standing an impressive 6'-7' tall, shatterbirds are flightless avians with garish plumage, and their heads sport bony crests and prominent wattles.  They dwell almost exclusively in Ancient ruins and wreckage yards, and bound across rubble and debris with uncanny speed and nimbleness.

Shatterbirds feed on glass, and they possess a terrifying mutation that facilitates their dietary needs:  they project beams from their eyes that transmute organic carbon into silicon, effectively turning their targets into glass.  This ability functions like the Energy Ray Physical Mutation, with two key differences.  First, each successful hit raises a target's AC by 1d3, and secondly, it doesn't do direct damage; instead, the Mutant Lord secretly tallies the damage done by the beams.  When a victim takes enough damage to equal or exceed its Hit Points, it solidifies into a lifeless crystalline statue.  [The Mutant Lord should use flavor text to describe the effects of the beams, like "innards turning to ice" and "heavy, lifeless limbs" and such.]  Inorganic matter is unaffected by this process, as are targets protected by force screens and/or powered armor.

Shatterbirds attack with beaks and wicked claws.  They also use their crests as crushing mallets, or battering rams (when combined with a Charge maneuver).

Mutations:  Unique Mutation ("Glassine-Beams")

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Z" is for "Zotz"


No. Enc.:  1d6 (2d10)
Alignment:  Lawful
Movement:  120' (40')
         —Fly:  150' (50')
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  6
Attacks:  3 or 1 (2 claws, 1 bite, or volley)
Damage:  1d4 / 1d4 / 1d6, or 1d8
Save:  L6
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  VII, XVI
XP:  2,320

The Zotz (both singular and plural) are a race of nocturnal beings that form colonies in cave networks and Ancient ruins.  They have lanky, lean physiques, and range from 4'-6' in height, with wingspans of 12'-16'.  Their skin is so thin as to be almost transparent, and their forearms are covered with long quills (which can be hurled up to 50').

Lacking eyes, the Zotz rely on hyper-keen aural and radio-detection senses; in fact, sound is the center of their existence.  They are drawn to Ancient military installations, radio stations and towers, satellite beacons, and sites with active broadcasting technology.  Some tribes found monastic enclaves at these locales, where self-professed "Prophets of The Voice" deliver auguries derived from Ancient programming.  The Zotz zealously trade for noise-related artifacts (digital players, phonograph records, instruments, etc)...and they can be quite insistent in their negotiations.

Zotz are master mimics, and can flawlessly replicate any sound—including voices, animal cries, and modulated "computer speak"—upon hearing just the briefest of snippets.

Due to their hollow bones, they take an extra +2 per die of damage from clubs, hammers, flails, and the like.

Mutations:  Echolocation, Frailty (Crushing Implements) [D], Increased Sense (Hearing), Sensory Deficiency (Blindness) [D], Shriek (Greater), Spiny Growth (Large), Unique Sense (Detect Radio Waves)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"B" is for "Bloodbloom"

Bloodbloom ("Harpoon-Plant")

No. Enc.:  0 (1d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  0' (0') 
Armor Class:  9
Hit Dice:  5
Attacks:  1d6+4 (barbed vines)
Damage:  1d6 per vine + drain
Save:  L3
Morale:  12
Hoard Class:  VIII, XIV
XP:  500

Found in swampy and tropical environs, bloodblooms are hearty plants with thick, squat 2'-3' tall stems and stunning 5'-7' diameter flowers.  They appear harmless enough, but whenever a humanoid or animal closes within 90' of the plant's optic bulb, 1d6+4 hollow barbs stealthily emerge from beneath its petals. 

Once the prey closes within 60', the bloodbloom launches its barbs...which happen to be connected to tube-like vines housed in the underground portions of the stem.  Bloodblooms can target up to 4 victims at a time, and fire multiple spurs (but no more than 3) at each.  Every successful hit imbeds a spur within the torso of the victim(s), and after the initial piercing damage, the prey suffers a sustained 1d4 damage per thorn per round as the lifeblood is sucked away.

Bloodbloom vines have an AC of 7, and can be severed if sustaining at least 6 hit points of damage in one strike (resulting in a gory geyser of fluids).

Once the victims are dead, the plant retracts its vines with the corpses attached, and drags the bodies underground to use as additional sustenance.  These remains, and their corresponding possessions, constitute the bloodbloom's "treasure".  It takes 1d3 full turns to dig out a dead bloodbloom and unearth its "loot".

Mutations:  Full Senses (Thermal Vision), Projectile Thorns (Modified)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"K" is for "Karkhan"


No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d6)
Alignment:  Any
Movement:  120' (40')
     —Swim:  60' (30')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  10
Attacks:  3 or 1 (2 claws, 1 bite, or weapon)
Damage:  1d8 / 1d8 / 3d6, or by weapon
Save:  L10
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  XV, XVI
XP:  7,300

The Karkhans are a race of 9' tall piscine beings possessing great physical strength (with average STR scores of 13+1d8) but even greater mental might (average WIL scores of 15+1d6).  They have broad, toothy heads, prominent crests and fins, and rough hides.  While equally at home in fresh and salt water, they aren't limited to aquatic environs, and frequently venture inland to pursue their own diverse interests—exploration, looting, hunting, etc.

All Karkhans are adorned with 1d8 small, sucker-headed parasites called memoras.  These creatures share a psychic link with their hosts, as all of a Karkhan's memories and knowledge are jointly shared between them.  When different bands of Karkhans meet, they exchange parasites, thereby instantaneously transferring information, emotions, and experience amongst themselves.  And placing a memora (via a successful melee attack) on an intelligent being of a different species allows its Karkhan owner to communicate telepathically with, or take mental control of, the target.  (This requires a successful Mental Attack made immediately after the initial melee contact.)  They can also use the parasites as long-range "communication devices"; exchanged memoras allow telepathic communication over distances of up to 5 miles.

Despite their intellectual prowess, Karkhans still succumb to primordial ancentral tendencies.  When any Karkhan is reduced to 15 or fewer Hit Points, its fellows enter a frenzied state and savagely turn on it, devouring the wounded individual alive.  Only when the injured Karkhan is killed and its bones picked clean (in 1d3+1 rounds) will the survivors resume attacking their original foes.  Karkhans of Lawful and Neutral dispositions are deeply ashamed of this behavior, as the act of consuming a fellow Karkhan—and, naturally, its memoras—removes that individual's "soul" and "essence" from their collective species memory.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form (Gills and Lungs), Force Screen, Increased Sense (Smell), Metaconcert (Modified), Mind Reflection, Mind Thrust, Neural Telepathy (Modified), Parasitic Control (Modified), Temperature Control

Sunday, May 15, 2011

"G" is for "Gutterfly"


No. Enc.:  1d6 (2d12)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  18' (6')
         —Fly:  90' (30')
Armor Class:  7
Hit Dice:  1
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  1d3 + poison
Save:  L1
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  VI, IX
XP:  22

The fetid insects known as gutterflies are drab creatures with 1' long bodies and 2' wide wingspans.  They infest Ancient ruins (particularly medical facilities), cesspits, and abandoned sewers, and while primarily feeding on offal and biological waste, they also drain blood from living prey.

Gutterflies attack with piercing proboscises, and anyone bitten must make a Saving Throw Versus Poison.  Those that fail become infected with gutterflu within 1d6 hours, taking Class 7 poison damage and suffering a temporary loss of -1d4 STR, -1d4 DEX, and 1d4 CON for 1d4 days.  The sickness isn't deadly, just debilitating; anyone reduced to 0 or less Hit Points by the poison damage is instead reduced to 1 Hit Point, and multiple bites aren't cumulative.  Those that become ill are thereafter resistent to the effects of gutterflu from new bites for 2d8 weeks.

Gutterflies are immune to all known toxins and diseases, but deathly afraid of open flames.

Mutations:  Phobia (Fire) [D], Toxic Weapon ("Diseased Bite")

Saturday, May 14, 2011

"S" is for "Spackal"


No. Enc.:  1d6 (2d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  150' (50') 
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  1
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  1d6
Save:  L1
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  13

Spackals are small canines that stalk praries, deserts, and badlands, but they sometimes venture in to urban areas and Ancient ruins.  They have milky-gray eyes and sticky, matted fur.

When attacking, spackals spit globs of quick-drying adhesive mucus at their prey at a range of up to 15'.  Each successful hit reduces both a victim's Strength and Dexterity by -3, and Movement Rate by -40' -(15').  These reductions impact appropriate Ability Modifiers (ex: a 16 STR reduced to an effective 7 drops a +2 bonus to a -1), and if values drop to 0 (or below), that Ability is unusable—0 STR prevents melee attacks, 0 DEX prevents ranged attacks, and 0' (0') Movement means the target is stuck in place.

When a target is entombed and rendered helpless, spackals close in for the kill.  Their saliva contains a compound that dissolves the paste-like adhesive, so they can devour their prey alive...bite by agonizing bite. 

The paste disintegrates naturally in one hour, and assuming they're still alive, a victim's Abilities return to normal.

Some tribes collect spackal saliva and for use on the tips of arrows and bolts, as the liquid adds an additional +1d3 acidic damage.

Mutations:  Toxic Weapon ("Adhesive Discharge")

Friday, May 13, 2011

"N" is for "Nuculusk"


No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d10)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  30' (10')
Armor Class:  9
Hit Dice:  4
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  1d3
Save:  L2
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  125

Congregating in toxic waste dumps, ruined reactors, and abandoned laboratories, nuculusks are rubbery slugs that feed on radiation. Their thick, black bodies reach anywhere from 2' to 4' long, and continually glow with a pale green light (meaning they never Surprise opponents with visual senses). They have no difficulty clinging to vertical surfaces and ceilings.

Nuculusks, when agitated, fire beams of intense radiation from their antennae, ranging from Class 5 to Class 10 (determined at random on 1d6—Class 5 on a 1, Class 6 on a 2, etc.). And nuculusks can detect radiation at distances of up to mile away...meaning they are frequently drawn to the nuclear power sources of Basic Androids.

Mutations: Bizarre Appearance (Luminescence) [D], Optic Emissions (Gamma Eyes), Reflective Epidermis (Radiation), Unique Sense (Detect Radiation), Ultraviolet Vision

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"A" is for "Anglion"


No. Enc.:  1 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  120' (40')
      —Swim:  90' (60')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  5
Attacks:  3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d4 / 1d4 / 1d10
Save:  L3
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  VII, VIII
XP:  800

An anglion (rhymes with "ganglion") is a bizarre predator roughly the size of an Ancient big cat.  It has large jaws, 4 eyes, a scaly hide, a mane and tail-bristles comprised of rows of poisoned spines, and a prominent bulb jutting from its forehead.  They prefer wet environs (being equally at home in fresh and salt water), but also prowl swamps, grasslands, forests, caves, and ruins.

While capable hunters, anglions prefer lying in ambush, and luring prey with their strobing bulbs.  Their bioluminescence can be seen up to half a mile away.  The light has a peculiar effect on sentients, as any seeing it within 50' are hypnotized on a failed Saving Throw Versus Stun.  An entranced victim shambles up to the lurking anglion, and stands helpless as the creature gets in one free round of attacks, at which point the victim awakens...

...however, anyone successfully striking an anglion with a melee attack—whether unarmed, or with a weapon—must immediately make an Ability Check Versus Dexterity to avoid the beast's quills.  Failure indicates being stung and injected with venom of Class 1-10 (determined at random on a 1d10).  Truly, the only safe way to combat an anglion is from a distance!

Anglions also use their bulbs to generate a disorienting flash, which acts as the Optic Emissions (Bright Eyes) Physical Mutation.

While there are distinct physiological similarities between anglions and the larger bearcudas, they are not related; it's simply convergent mutation in action.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form (Gills and Lungs), Dermal Poison Slime (Limited), Optic Emissions (Bright Eyes), Unique Mutation ("Hypno-Bulb")

Monday, May 9, 2011

"ALL HAIL THE SHELLED GOD!!!" (or, "Insert Gamera Joke Here")

Yesterday was the inaugural session of my Don't Mess With Wrexus campaign.  It was a doozy.

Due to illness, my player pool went from 6 to 3 at the last minute, so I scrapped my ruin-crawl adventure and went with the tried-and-true "rescue the kidnappee" plot.

Our cast:

Penny The Craw:  Not only is she obsessed with fashion and finding Ancient toys for her allicat, Baxter, she's also the precocious teenage daughter of Carl Clawson, one of Gone-Woe's key leaders on The Council Of Seven.  Her big brothers Dave and Steve are elite scavengers in the Forager's Guild.  Penny is convinced that her parents don't love her, because she never gets to go on adventures.

Grabthar:  Grabthar is a 16'-tall humanoid turtle with a razored beak, GigantismEnergy Ray (heat-breath), Neural Telekinesis, Poison Susceptibility [D], Reduced Immune System [D], and below average Hit Points for his Constituion.  [When rolling him up, he rolled Gigantism twice, and ended up being 44' tall.  That was a game-breaker, so I had him re-roll the extra, and he got another Drawback instead.  Seemed fair to me.]  Because of enormous size and health woes, Grabthar was abandoned by his people (the Galapagon tribe, who are now long gone in the wilderness) as a tike, and was found by the Clawsons.  So...Grabthar is Penny's adopted kid brother.  And everyone calls him Sniffles.

Hobodeath:  In Real Life, Hobodeath's player is a tough-as-nails-but-lady-through-and-through army sarge, so it seemed a natural fit that she wanted to play a combat-centric Basic Android bounty hunter with Energy Ray (Cold)Killing Sphere, and Natural Armor.  Gleeful visions of gun-toting robo-babes from Heavy Metal and 2000 AD came to mind...but here's how she succinctly described her character:  "Like 'It's Pat' from 'Saturday Night Live'."  So, she's an androgynous, lumpy murder-bot...who wears a tattered black Ancient concert shirt that reads "Hobodeath".  Oh, yeah—she's traveling the Mutant Future in search of a mate(?!), thus bringing her to Gone-Woe.

The Adventure:  After setting the stage about Gone-Woe, Wrexus, with a little presentation about the game world, the economy (it's based a conglomeration of scavenged compact discs, credit cards, aluminum cans, and barter), and name-dropping some key NPC residents, the adventure began with an alarm at the main gate.  A lone member of the Forager's Guild was there, battered and bloody.  Turns out his team was ambushed by raiders to the south, and had their loot stolen...but they all escaped despite their injures.  However, just 5 miles from the safety of town, they were ambushed again and, weak and vulnerable, they were dragged off into the forbidden woods surrounding Camp Strike (an old recreational area of The Ancients now overgrown and overrun with critters).  Only he escaped, and his final words before passing out were: "Swamp gobblers."

The fact that the carnivorous xottle people had kidnapped them was bad enough, but things took a personal turn because Dave and Steve were amongst those take!  Oh, the horrible fate that awaited them!

While The Elders and Security Guild squabbled about how best to proceed, Penny and Sniffles recruited Hobodeath with the promise of a pet crawdog (for use as a hunting animal) to lead them into the ruins of Camp Strike.  They crept from the village (as only a 16'-tall tortoise-teen, a crawdad-gal, and andryno-borg can) and into the wilds.

Random encounter time!  The group ran into 3 radpoles drinking from a pond, and while Penny really wanted to talk to them "because they might have valuable information," the others talked her out of it.  [I would've LOVED to see how that played out.]  The group crept past, leaving the glowing amphibians alone.

The group pressed deeper, and discovered some cement slabs on the ground, and then some rotting shacks.  One had a faded sign hanging by rusted chains, and on the sign was a strange logo and the letters DSA (or maybe BSA...it was too faded to make out) that looked like this:

They decided to rummage through the buildings [which involved Sniffles just lifting the roofs off one by one and peeking inside like they were cookie jars]...and that's when they disturbed a nest of 8 leapteeth!

Combat ensued, with Hobodeath and Sniffles slaughtering beasties left and right, and Penny missing every attack and getting repeatedly chomped about the face and neck.  She was demoralized by her lack of combat prowess ("Maybe dad is right...I'm just a dumb girl who can't do anything!"), but her teammates did their best to cheer her.

After killing the beasties, the PCs uncovered two 3'-tall, non-human skeletons with enlarged, toothy skulls that had all been picked clean and gnawed.  Swamp gobbler remains?!  One had a small sack tied to its waist, and it contained some ambiguous dried-out meat, a few scratched up silver discs with holes in the center (one reading "Billy Joel's Greatest Hits"), and a small black metal box with colored bulbs on its front, a suction cup on its top, and wires coming out of the back.

Exploring the cabin, they also found a rusted file cabinet, and inside were some soggy, tattered, 1-inch cloth discs:

With the sun going down and many dead leapteeth to snack on, the group made camp in the shacks.  Penny and Sniffles fell asleep, and the all-business Hobodeath ventured out to explore the woods further.

The robot was soon drawn to the rhythmic sounds of drums and the flickering glow of a raging fire, and she crept to a clearing where she spotted a horrifying sight:  over 25 diminutive swamp gobblers (including li'l foot-tall xottlings) chanting and dancing around a giant boiling pot, while others assembled an over-sized roasting spit.  Overseeing this spectacle was an atypically spiny, spiky xottle with a feathered headdress, and a 4' tall xottle with a crown sitting in a throne made of bones and rubble.  And just beyond the firelight was a cage with the captives!  Oh, the horrors!

Hobodeath rushed back and awoke her companions, and the group sped back for a rescue with this plan in mind:  the robot would create a diversion at the sound end of the clearing, and while she was dealing with the gobblers, Sniffles and Penny could free the hostages at the north end.  The dialogue ended like this:

Penny:  "But how will we know when you give the signal?"
Hobodeath:  "Oh, you'll know...you'll know."
Penny:  "But how are you going to handle them?"
Hobodeath:  "Oh, you'll see...you'll see."

So the group split and took their positions...and just in time, too, for as they settled in, a bubbling, wheezing voice echoed through the clearing:

"...and it issss with great pleasure that I, the humble Sssshaman Goiglug, blessss thissss great feasssst to honor our mighty Chief Kagluushk and commemorate the glorioussss day of his sssspawning!  Let ussss feed!"

At that, the guards unlocked the cages so as to drag their captives to the pot and spit...

...when out of the southern darkness zipped a crossbow bolt that hit the chief square in the shoulder, and pinned him to his throne [Hobodeath rolled a 17, and max 8 damage].  The chief wailed in agony, the xottles froze in surprise...

...and then Hobodeath strode into the clearing, and in the most pitch-perfect, Schwarzenegger-ean deadpan this GM has ever heard, said:

"Happy birthday." 

And then she shot the chief again, pinning his other shoulder to the throne...and his wailing went up enough octaves to shatter glass.  [She rolled a 19, and 7 damage!]

At this point the 20+ xottles went berzerk, and surged across the clearing to get at the robot.  She lowered her crossbow, and stood there confidently with nothing but a smirk on her face.

Penny and Sniffles decided that had to be the signal in question, so they attacked the two cage guards from behind. With the snicker-snack of claws and chomp of jaws, there were now two headless xottle bodies that fell limply to the ground.

Chaos reigned.  A fanged pink tidal wave of fury surged at the robot, Goiglug struggled to free the mortally wounded [he had 2 HP left] Chief Kagluushk, and Penny and Sniffles freed the captives.

On her turn, Hobodeath still stood rigid and smiling, because her REAL PLAN was about to unfold—she intended to lure all the xottles to her end of the clearing, and then activate her Killing Sphere.  (Her allies didn't know she had it, you see.)  Sniffles and Penny watched as the robot's eyes began to glow a bright, phosphorescent silver-white, and the glow radiated across the forest...

...and then there was a sudden pop, then some sparks, and then steam poured from Hobodeath's eyes.  The android went dormant, and was instantly buried beneath a horde of furious, gnashing amphibians.  Polymerized flesh, lubricants, and Hit Points geysered into the air.  [I had Hobodeath roll a Mental Attack against the collective mass, and she only needed a 6...but she rolled a 4.  Even worse, she rolled an 11 to determine how many combat rounds she'd be helpless.]

Holy crap.

Sniffles and Penny stood paralyzed as chunks of Android went flying.  But movement caught Sniffles' eyes, and he saw the shaman still struggling to free the mortally wounded chief...and a proverbial lightbulb went off over his head.  From the darkness, Sniffles stood, opened his mouth... 

...and with a flash of red, a shrieking, squirming, fiery amphibi-man soared across the clearing and out into the swamp like a burning comet.  [He rolled a natural 20!]

The xottles froze, and stopped their mangling of the robot just as the giant turtle boy lumbered into the clearing right in front of the throne.  Sniffled bellowed, pounded his chest, looked down at the equally helpless and horrified xottle king...

...and leaned in and bit off his head, Jurassic Park-style.  Sniffles then spit it, crown and all, into the boiling pot.

A hushed silence fell across the clearing, and Sniffles, Penny, and the captives prepared for battle...

...but then 25+ xottles collectively fell to their knees, and with arms stretched high, started basking and bowing in reverence, and croaked in exhaltation as one:  "ALL HAIL THE SHELLED GOD!!!  ALL HAIL THE SHELLED GOD!!!"

Sniffles was struck absolutely, positively dumb.

The seconds ticked by, and the xottles maintained their worship.  Trying to get a handle on things, Sniffles sat down on on the throne to get his bearings...and utterly smashed it beneath his girth.  The xottles rushed before him in supplication, still singing his praises.  Females began to fawn at him and dance seductively around his shins.  One infant shimmied up his shell, and latched onto his head with little suckered fingers and tentatively gurgled, "DADDY?!"

Some others dragged out a chest, which contained a sealed spindle of those silvery discs, a pile of colored plastic cards marked "Master" and "Discover", a blue plastic cube [a Firestarter Cube], and some red-tinted lenses on a strap [Infra-Red Goggles].

No one heard Dave and Steve utter, in unision, "...the hell?!"

Post-combat interaction ensued.  Hobodeath clinically (and quite robotically) wanted to eradicate the xottles ("Don't these things infest your town's lakes every spring and eat up all your fish?" ), but Sniffles explained that he knew the pain of being unwanted and alone, and there was no way he could kill the parents of the helpless little xottlings and leave them orphaned, much less outright kill the babies.  Penny decided that an alliance was in order, and did her best to explain to Grickle, the now-senior xottle, that a peace treaty was in order.  If the tribe would act as scouts and front-line guards for Gone-Woe, then the two settlements could could establish a joint trading alliance for fish, supplies, and medical aid.  The xottles enthusiastically agreed ( "Love fissssh!  LOVE FISSSSH!!!" ), and Sniffles gave Grickle one of his badges as a token of faith to seal the deal.  Penny fished the chief's crown from the pot ("It'll look great with my wigs!"), and the party and hostages returned to Gone-Woe just as dawn broke.

Upon their arrival, there was much celebration, as a search party was just about to head out to find the wayward teens.  And the Foragers were safe!  However, lecturing and haranguing by The Elders set in, but before things could get too heated, the alarm bells started ringing again...

...and all returned to the gates to see a swarm of xottles sitting outside, proudly displaying a 4' tall turtle effigy made of mud, reeds, and saliva.  They were chanting Sniffles name, and wanting their fish.

His new family had followed him home.

Epilogue #1:  Sniffles went out to the xottles, and got frustrated as he realized they really didn't seem to understand the concepts of "trade" and "alliance" and "treaty".  He tried to explain that he didn't want to be their ruler, and incinerated the sculpture in an attempt to show them they didn't need gods.  That backfired, though, and the creatures fled screaming back into the wilds.  Vexed, he sat down at the city wall, started smoking a cigar he kept hidden in his shell, and exhaustedly sighed...just as a lone female xottle cozied up to his ankle and sighed, too, while fluttering her gill-fronds ever so suggestively.

Epilogue #2:  That night, at the site of now-abandoned xottle feast, a broken, blackened figure dragged itself by one arm into the clearing.  It inched across the ground to the ruined throne, pried a leather bag from the wreckage, and pulled a plastic cylinder from within.  A switch was flipped, and from the tip of the cylinder came a narrow beam of yellowish light...which the figure held up and beneath its chin.

From between gritted fangs and cracked, blistered lips came a gurgling hiss equal parts agony and rage:  "Goiglug will have vengeance.  Oh, yessssss...GOIGLUG WILL HAVE HISSSS REVENGE!!!"

Mutant Lord's Commentary:  I have to confess that I was totally nervous about the game, as not only did I have to cobble together a scenario (and a cliched Very, Very Cliched First Adventure, at that) on the fly, but I don't think I've GM'd something that didn't involve superheroes in well over a decade.  My concerns were unfounded, as the game was an absolute scream from start to finish.

The group consisted of one experienced LARPer (Sniffles), and two newbies who only have 3 RPG sessions under their belts.  The gonzo post-apocalypse was new to all of them, but everyone seemed to have a blast as they recognized familiar modern-day environs and items (and they are anxious to figure out what the black box is).  And unbeknownst to me, Sniffles' player was/is an Eagle Scout, and actually spent summers at the very real Camp Strike Strake.

As for the climactic showdown?  It was AWESOME.  Thanks to their rather sweet (and totally random) mutations, Chief Kagluushk and Shaman Goiglug were supposed to be combat machines...but they never got a chance to actually do anything.  The party had an amazing plan, and Hobodeath's unexpected bungle—she just needed a 6!—only heightened the drama.  And no one—NO ONE—anticipated that Sniffles would end up as King Of The Swamp Gobblers (who came across in play like Spielberg's gremlins). And Goiglug getting blasted into the off-camera ether with just one lone Hit Point?  That, friends, is just pure gaming gold.  (Oh, yeah...during Goiglug's little vow, I actually held up a flashlight to my face; I had it with me for something else that didn't transpire, but it sure came in handy.)

Speaking of random—everyone seems to be enjoying how everything is ol' school haphazard.  The PCs rolled their stats randomly, I'm randomly building the monsters and corresponding treasures, and it's all working out quite peachily.

And a confession?  It wasn't until about 10pm after the game was over that I re-read the Killing Sphere description, and realized I may have made an error.  While the Mental Attack rules [on p. 47 of the Mutant Future Core Rules] state that psionic combat requires a mental test roll between the antagonists, the actual mutation description says that the Field seemingly goes off without any complications.  Everything worked out thanks solely to the players' creativity, but I would've felt terrible if my mistake had doomed them all.  (And I can't make up my mind if I want Killing Sphere to actually require a roll or not; I'm leaning towards not.)

But when all was said and done, mutants were vanquished, Ancient artifacts were plundered, and Gamera cracks flew fast and furious.  All the players said they can't wait for the next session, and I'm right there with them.  This is gonna be a hoot AND a holler!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mutants In The News — Nightmare Fuel Edition

I can't tell if the addition of the word "Swedish" makes the following headline more or less terrifying:

"Swedish Insect Shoots Larvae Into Victims' Eyes."


"B" is for "Bearcuda"


No. Enc.:  1d4+1 (1d8+2)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  120' (40')
      —Swim:  60' (20')
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  5
Attacks:  4 (2 claws, 2 bites)
Damage:  1d6 / 1d6 / 1d10 / 1d10
Save:  L3
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  VII, VIII
XP:  650

Equally at home on land or submerged, bearcudas are scaly, toothy carnivores that never stray far from bodies of fresh water.  They make their lairs in burrows or underwater caves, and sometimes find their way into cavern complexes or ruins.  They stand 3'-4' at the shoulder, reach lengths between 5'-7', and weigh around 450-600 pounds.  Unlike most ursines, bearcudas have difficulty standing up on their hind legs.

Bearcudas attack with surprising speed, and are able to accelerate in short bursts, bumping their land movement rate to 180' (60') and swimming rate to 120' (30') for up to 3 consecutive rounds once per turn.  And during those 3 rounds, the creatures get a +1 To Hit bonus for each attack.

They are always encountered in familial groups (called a "battery"), consisting of pairs of mated adults and their offspring.  For every 2 adult bearcudas, there will be at least 1 cub.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form (Gills and Lungs)

Friday, May 6, 2011

Brand Names, Brand Identity

In the Mutant Future, baby-naming books have long turned to ash.  So how do proud, post-apocalyptic parents-to-be go about naming their little radioactive bundles of tentacular joy?

They dig through the rubble and ruins to find junk, artifacts, trash, and signage with the snazziest, jazziest labels and logos on them, that's how.

So here's some charts with random first and last names.  Roll away, or mix and match to taste.  Tweak the spellings as desired (and some are already altered below).

First Names
  1. Alka
  2. Amway
  3. Arby
  4. Brawndo
  5. Calgon
  6. Chee-Toh
  7. Draino
  8. Exxon
  9. Faygo
  10. Jeep
  11. Kellogg
  12. Manwich
  13. McRib
  14. Mel-O
  15. Nextel
  16. Quizno
  17. Reebok
  18. Rolex
  19. Shiner
  20. Trojan

Last Names
  1. Audi
  2. Bacardi
  3. Boy-R-D
  4. Coke
  5. Colgate
  6. Del-Monty
  7. Dentyne
  8. Fanta
  9. Funyun
  10. Google
  11. Honda
  12. Jolt
  13. Kodak
  14. Kroger
  15. Nissan
  16. Pibb
  17. Pringle
  18. Snapple
  19. Supreme
  20. Yel-O

Mush Pot
  1. Atari
  2. Avon
  3. Bose
  4. Duracell
  5. Eebay
  6. Folger
  7. Hershey
  8. I-Max
  9. I-Pod
  10. Jheri
  11. Kotex
  12. Lego
  13. Noxema
  14. Sansabelt
  15. Shasta
  16. Slimjim
  17. Twizzler
  18. Whopper
  19. Zenith
  20. Zima

You can guarantee that my players in the upcoming Don't Mess With Wrexus campaign will encounter an Exxon Honda, a Jeep Supreme, a Manwich Snapple, a Reebok Bacardi, and a Quizno Pibb, whoever they happen to be.

(Special thanks to Idiocracy.)

UPDATE:  The above lists have been expanded here.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

"S" is for "Slaguar"


No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  150' (50') 
Armor Class:  3
Hit Dice:  5
Attacks:  3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d4+2 / 1d4+2 / 1d8+2
Save:  L5
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  V, VII
XP:  1,100

Slaguars are 4' tall, 750-pound felines that stalk mountainous badlands and urban ruins.  Instead of conventional pelts, their bodies are coated with fine iron filaments.  White-hot molten saliva drips from their jaws.

Slaguar teeth and claws are made of piercing alloys that radiate intense heat; consequently, the beasts get +2 To Hit and +2 Damage with all melee attack rolls.  And 3 times per day, a slaguar can exhale a cone of molten metal 15' long and 10' wide at its end.  All targets successfully struck take 2d6 damage per round for 1d6+1 rounds, and they are also entombed in a metallic shell and considered Paralyzed for 1d4 turns (or until making a successful Ability Check Versus Strength, which can be made once every turn).

The beasts feed upon meat and metal, and find Androids to be particularly tasty.  As they compete for the same food sources, slaguars and chromodos are natural enemies.

Mutations:  Energy-Retaining Cell Structure (Heat), Frailty (Cold) [D], Frailty (Electricity) [D], Reflective Epidermis (Heat), Unique Mutation ("Molten Breath")

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"S" is for "Sluggernaut"


No. Enc.:  1 (1d3)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  45' (15') 
Armor Class:  9
Hit Dice:  16
Attacks:  1 (bite or trample)
Damage:  2d12 or 4d10
Save:  L8
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  3,300

Sluggernauts are slime-dripping behemoths that reach heights over 20', lengths over 40', and weights in over 10 tons.  They favor open grasslands and expansive wetlands in order to graze on plant matter, carrion, and offal, but they sometimes slither into underground cavern complexes.

Thanks to their thick, resilient hides, sluggernauts only take half damage from conventional melee weapons and firearms.  And their four eyestalks grant 360-degree vision, meaning they're only Surprised only on a roll of 1 on 1d6. 

While relatively docile, sluggernauts bite with toothy maws or Trample with their prodigious bulk when threatened.  And warlike tribes train them for use as relentless (albiet ponderously slow) combat mounts, strapping massive howdahs—equipped with ballistae and cannons—onto their backsides.

Any given sluggernaut has a 25% chance of possessing the Dermal Poison Slime Physical Mutation, with the effect class determined at random.

Mutations:  None

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"P" is for "Prowlasite"


No. Enc.:  1d6 (2d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  120' (40') 
Armor Class:  7
Hit Dice:  2+3
Attacks:  3
Damage:  1d3 / 1d3 / 1d6 + drain
Save:  L2
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  59

Slimy and pungent, the horrid prowlasites stalk swamps, forests, caves, and Ancient ruins.  They are similar in size and build to Ancient hounds, and their hairless, rubbery skin comes in a variety of unpleasant hues.  They continually make a slurping, suckling sound that is the stuff of nightmares.

Prowlasites hunt in packs, and attack by pouncing on victims with claws and razored fangs.  With a successful bite attack, a prowlasite latches onto its prey, doing automatic gnawing damage each round plus an additional 1d4 blood-drain damage until it or the victim is dead.  After feeding, all that's left of a prowlasite's meal is a mound of bones bound by loose skin.

Saliva continually drips from their maws, and contains a numbing agent so strong that anyone bitten by a prowlasite has a 20% of contracting the Pain Insensitivity Drawback.  This saliva is highly valued for medicinal purposes.

Mutations:  None