Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"N" is for "Neon King"

Neon King

No. Enc.:  0 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  30' (10')
     —Swim:  60' (20')
Armor Class:  3
Hit Dice:  9
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  1d6
Save:  L6
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  5,200

Neon kings are hefty aquatic beasts that reach lengths of 12'-15' and weights over 2 tons.  Their smooth, supple shells and hides (which feel almost velvety to the touch) are usually dark and drab, but glow with an unearthly fluorescence when exposed to ultraviolet light.

The creatures feed primarily on poisonous seaweeds and venomous jellyfish, and such a diet makes them immune to all known toxins.  Neon kings also absorb ambient radioactivity.  They congregate near submerged power plants and sunken atomic vessels, and make their nests on contaminated beaches.

Twice per day, a neon king can snort a cloud of salt in a cone 20' long and 15' wide at the end, which induces Blindness for 1d4+1 rounds with a failed Saving Throw Versus Stun.  The salt has two additional effects:  it causes 2d8 damage (this value doesn't double) to anyone with the Pain Sensitivity Mutational Drawback that isn't currently healed to maximum Hit Points, and it also acts as a Class 7 poison against Mutant Plants.

Mutations:  Energy Ray (Radiation), Optic Emissions (Gamma Eyes), Reflective Epidermis (Radiation), Toxic Weapon ("Salt-Spew"), Ultraviolet Vision

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mutants In The News — Leakin' Like A Sieve Edition

Those muckrakers at the AP are at it again, reporting on prolific leaks of radioactive contamination from aging reactors.

"Radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping...."

Here's an evocative quote, just ripe for any Mutant Lord wanting to set an adventure in a ruined reactor itself:

"Like rust under a car, corrosion has propagated for decades along the hard-to-reach, wet underbellies of the reactors...."




(Image courtesy of Boing-Boing, by way of Jay's awesome Gamma World War! blog.  He's got more maps there, and I wouldn't have known such pix existed without his amazing find.)

"T" is for "Thotter"

Thotter

No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  90' (30')
     —Swim:  60' (20')
Armor Class:  2
Hit Dice:  2
Attacks:  3 or 1 (2 claws, 1 bite, or by weapon)
Damage:  1d2 / 1d2 / 1d4, or by weapon
Save:  L2
Morale:  7
Hoard Class:  VII, VIII
XP:  74

Thotters are sleek, sinewy creatures that reach lengths of 3'-4', and they never stray far from water.  They possess enlarged craniums that house cunning—and impish—minds.

With their nimble digits, thotters are adept with small tools, and they have an almost savant-like ability at understanding both the theories behind, and applications thereof, Ancient technology.  That said, their quadrupedal anatomy isn't conducive to actually using most Artifacts, and they suffer a -3 To Hit penalty with hand-held weapons.  And unlike the effusive Meen'go, thotters usually don't share their technical knowledge without suitable compensation....

A thotter's slick, greasy fur provides protection from temperature extremes and associated damage.

Mutations:  Energy-Retaining Cell Structure, Neural Telepathy, Precognition, Quick Mind, Reflective Epidermis (Cold, Heat/Fire)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mutants In The News — Rules Were Made To Be Broken Edition

According to the Associated Press, federal regulators ensure that the U.S.'s nuclear reactors are operating within safety guidelines by simply altering said guidelines as necessary.

"...aging reactors have been allowed to run less safely to prolong operations. As equipment has approached or violated safety limits, regulators and reactor operators have loosened or bent the rules."



Monday, June 20, 2011

You Can't Have A Mutant Future...

...without a Mutant Past, apparently.

I just discovered this, so I apologize in advance if I'm late to the party. If you have 15 minutes to kill, take a gander. It's a multi-media piece created by artist Isao Hashimoto, entitled A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945.



Someone needs to do an identical work tracking all known movie documentary appearances of giant atomic bugs, CHUDs, and assorted kaiju.

"B" is for "Briarbear"

Briarbear

No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  90' (30') 
Armor Class:  4
Hit Dice:  5
Attacks:  3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d4+3 / 1d4+3 / 1d6+3
Save:  L3
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  VI
XP:  1,400

Briarbears are ambulatory, bipedal plants that prowl forests, jungles, and Ancient ruins.  They stand between 5'-7' tall, and their stocky, woody bodies are covered in prickly thorns and burrs (which do 1d6 damage per successful strike to anyone who attacks them bare-handed).

In combat, briarbears can "take root" in the earth with their hind claws and posterior spikes.  While this makes them immobile, it increases their leverage and balance, and adds an extra +1d4 damage to their claw attacks.  They are also immune to the effects of Neural Telekinesis when rooted.

They possess rudimentary intelligence and minor psychic attunement, and some briarbears have been trained as guards and hunting animals.

Rumors persist that briarbears are able to hybridize with vinosaurs, but the existence of such frightening offspring hasn't been verified.

Mutations:  Carnivore, Combat Empathy, Free Movement, Full Senses, Natural Armor (Plant—Extreme), Natural Vegetal Weapons, Projectile Thorns

Sunday, June 19, 2011

"N" is for "Narl"

Narl

No. Enc.:  0 (1d6+2)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  120' (40') 
Armor Class:  4
Hit Dice:  6
Attacks:  1 (tail-slap, head-butt or trample)
Damage:  2d4, or 2d6, or 2d8
Save:  L3
Morale:  7
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  1,070

Narls are grazing animals the size of Ancient rhinoceroses.  They have thick, mottled hides, and each possesses a distinctive 10'-13' long horn jutting from the snout.  Narls form close-knit familial herds, and are equally as comfortable in arctic climes as temperate savannahs.

When threatened, a narl Charges and Tramples its foe, or discharges a jet of concentrated steam from its blowhole.  This vapor forms a cloudy cone 15' long and 10' wide, and causes 2d6 damage per round and Blindness until dissipating 1d3+1 rounds later.  All narls are immune to the effects of such steam.

Thanks to their hardiness and even temperaments, narls are utilized in many communities as beasts of burden, pack animals, and mounts.  And some enterprising farmers have figured out how to use the narls' bony-spurred tails as makeshift plowshares.

Mutations:  None


Designer's Note:  Modified to reflect the comment of Mr. Quibish.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"G" is for "Gunkey"

Gunkey  ("Oozape")

No. Enc.:  1d6 (3d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  120' (40') 
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  2
Attacks:  3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d2 / 1d2 / 1d4 + special
Save:  L4
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  VI
XP:  56

Gunkeys are foul little beasts that stand about 1.5'-2' tall, and their gelatinous bodies continually drip noxious goo.  They congregate in forests, Ancient ruins, and toxic waste sites, and feed on any and all organic matter.

The microorganisms that comprise gunkey slime are highly infectious.  Any living thing (excluding all Androids but Synthetics) bitten by a gunkey must make a Saving Throw Versus Poison, with failure indicating transmission of the spores.  Those afflicted begin to slowly and agonizingly liquify, taking 2d6 Hit Points of damage per turn until dead...and 1d6 rounds after death, the deceased's puddled remains sprout 1d4+1 new gunkeys.  Burning the wounds with open flame is the only way to stop the spread of the infection, but it's a risky proposition, as the heat damage total must exceed that caused by the protozoa; even then, there is only a 40% chance of survival.  The "cure" often causes death faster than the disease.

Gunkeys are immune to all conventional damage except that inflicted by fire.  But immersion in salt water will instantly kill them, as their unique cell structure breaks down on contact.

Mutations:  Regenerative Capability, Epidermal Susceptibility (Salt Water) [D], Toxic Weapon ("Slime-Bite")

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mutants In The News — Death On The Wing Edition

Helping sheep-eating, vehicle-wrecking birds to better use tools...what could possibly go wrong?


Oh.  Right.

Biting The Wax Tadpole

Someone found my blog using the following search keywords:

"Break psychic link parasite"

I'm #4 on Google's list, right above...The Psychic Vampire Resource And Support Pages.

That's awesome.

"O" is for "Okai"

Okai

No. Enc.:  0 (2d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  150' (50') 
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  3+1
Attacks:  2 (2 kicks)
Damage:  1d6 / 1d6
Save:  L3
Morale:  7
Hoard Class:  IX
XP:  275

The Okai are a race of intelligent quadrupeds that reach heights of 6' and weights of 400-500 pounds.  They have multiple ears, and striking striped patterning on their fur.

The Okai are the unwilling keepers of secrets.  They have no control over their Neural Telepathy, and are continually bombarded by the thoughts of beings outside their species.  This, when coupled with their delicate constitutions, puts the Okai at a severe disadvantage in the Mutant Future; consequently, they form secretive enclaves in the deepest, densest hearts of forests and jungles.  To fend off insanity, they dedicate their lives to meditation, the study of Ancient texts, and exploration of the Arts (both Ancient and Post-Apocalyptic).  How they procure such materials is a mystery.

When an a shaman or medic describes a disease as having "no known cure"...they've clearly never met an Okai.

Mutations:  Control Light Waves, Force Screen (Greater), Increased Sense (Hearing), Neural Telekinesis, Neural Telepathy (Modified), Reduced Immune System [D]

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"M" is for "Mamalegs"

Mamalegs

No. Enc.:  1 (1d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  120' (40')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  6
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  1d10 + poison
Save:  L6
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  IX, XIV
XP:  2,070

"Don't be the child that bullies, don't be the child that begs, don't be the child that lies and steals...or you'll meet ol' Mamalegs."  —  Mutant Future rhyme

As horrifying as giant, sentient, psionic arachnids are to the average denizen of the Mutant Future, the beasts known as mamalegs are particularly terrifying...because they steal children in the night to rear as their own.  A mamalegs can detect the brainwaves of pre-pubescent Pure Humans and Mutant Humans of distances up to 3 miles, and they are particularly drawn to the "unhappy" and/or "ill-behaved".  A mamalegs believes it is better suited to nurture, heal, and discipline such wayward souls than their obviously unfit parents, so it creeps into a residence (Surprising on a roll of 1-4 on 1d6), tranquilizes the occupants (with its Class 12 narcotic venom), and absconds with a child or two in its 4-pronged mandibles.

No one knows what happens to those taken by the mamalegs.  Some suggest the children are transformed into arachno-beings themselves, while others believe they are eaten alive.  Others say that there are entire subterranean cities—complete with schools, playgrounds, and medical facilities—full of the she-spiders and their humanoid charges. 

Covered in prickly fur, mamalegs have low-slung bodies that reach 4'-6' long, but their limbs can reach heights of 13'-15' or more.  They are highly sensitive to light, and suffer a -3 To Hit penalty in daylight combat, and -2 To Hit in well-lit interiors.

Mutations:  Empathy, Mental Phantasm, Night Vision, Toxic Weapon (Venom), Unique Sense ("Inno-Sense"), Vision Impairment (Light Sensitivity) [D]

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"LEARN THE WAYS OF SNIFFLES!!!" (Part 2)

When we last left our trio and their Xottle henchmen, they had just "secured" the services of Bruno, an independent ferryman.  The group crossed the river, and dragging the raft behind them, headed further south down the broken Eye-45 road.  Nightfall was a few hours away, and they still had no way of treating Sniffles' extremely serious wounds.




Random encounter time!

C) The Cryena Game
The farther the party ventured down Eye-45, the more congested the road became with debris (primarily rusted-out and stripped Ancient transports), and they wound through a veritable maze of junk.  Upon breaking through to a clearing, they saw two canine creatures sitting calmly in the middle of the road ahead.  The animals were bright blue, but Penny noticed they looked almost indigo-black through her IR goggles.  The group slowed, and decided to walk in a wide berth around the two beasts.

And then they heard voices in their minds.


In cultured, sesquipedalian dialogue, the cryenas apologized for startling the PCs, and introduced themselves as the caretakers of the local environs.  They complimented the group on their attire, and championed their courage for clearly venturing so far from the comforts of home.  They then expressed condolences about how "their cyclopean reptilian colleague" was in such ill health, and offered up a helpful solution to the group's problems:

They would gladly strengthen the party's chances of furture survival by mercifully and painlessly putting Sniffles out of his misery...and they would be doing him a kindness, as even at his healthiest, they could smell that he suffered from debilitating health woes [both Poison Susceptibility [D] and Reduced Immune System [D]].  They promised to give Sniffles the most sombre of funerary rituals, and dispose of his body in its entirety.  And to ameliorate any bad feelings or guilt, they even offered up a sack of functioning Ancient artifacts.

The PCs were decidely unenthusiastic about the proposal.

While further telepathic banter ensued, the Xottles readied their weapons and faded into the nearby wreckage, clearly preparing for things to take a turn for the worse.

Despite the cryenas maintaining their calm and reasonable demeanor, the party got increasingly angry...and Sniffles finally had enough, and launched a surprise attack:  he let loose a blast of fire-breath, engulfing the canine duo in raging flames...

...and was dumbstruck as the inferno vanished into nothingness.  (Through her goggles, though, Penny saw that the flames were seemingly "sucked" into the cryenas.)

Unphased, the cryenas continued talking like nothing had happened. 

Angry, Sniffles threw his now-lit Firestarter Cube at them...and it, too, was extinguished the very second it landed.

The cryenas sighed, and thanked Sniffles for the wonderful snacks...and repeated that their hearts set on another meal.  They realized, though, that negotiations had broken down, and no compromise was in sight.

It was at that point that the cryenas said that they'd let the group pass unharmed, and carry on their way.  However, they added that they'd be keeping a close eye on the group, and following their exploits from a safe distance away...

...and then five more cryenas appeared at various points in the wreckage, each carrrying a mighty Xottle warrior in their jaws like a mother cat with a kitten.  These newcomers dropped their captives, and the little amphibians scampered back to the group with nothing injured by their pride.

The cryenas wished the party well...and as they slinked into the shadows, said they looked forward to speaking again very, very soon.

Whew.

Exhausted and dispirited, the PCs decided that shelter was the best option, and the group hunkered down in some ruins just a little farther to the south.  Hobodeath volunteered to stand watch...

...but as soon as everyone was asleep, she sneaked out into the darkness, hoping to find medical supplies.  She had previously spied some buildings a few miles back with a familiar red t-shaped logo (like at the Red Crossing), and planned to check them out.  Before heading north again, though, she saw a building about a mile to the south that emitted a rhythmic glowing pulse.  She ignored it.

Upon reaching her destination, she entered an expansive building with an open atrium.  She crept into some corridors and random rooms, grabbing whatever loose items she could find in various drawers and cabinets.  While doing so, she pushed open a swinging door...

...and almost knocked over a glass sculpture right on the other side.  It was human-shaped, with arms outstretched.  Oddly, parts of the statue had "accessories" etched into it (like rope and boots and a hat), while a plastic bandolier of daggers was hanging across its torso.  Hobodeath took the daggers, and tried to study the statue further...

...but that was when she heard the birds.

Clucking and squawking sounds were echoing through the facility, and closing fast.  She fled the building, and upon looking back, saw silhouettes like this at the entrance:



Hobodeath had no idea what they were, and didn't stick around to find out.  She returned to her sleeping companions.

D)  Bowling For Domars  (or, The Terror Of The Tenpins)

No one ever noticed Hobodeath left during the night, and the group had a pleasant breakfast of dried frogs and fish.  [Oddly, the Android never shared her items found at the hospital ruins with the group.   No idea if she was hoarding them for real trouble, or forgot about them.]  Bruno was getting surly again, though, so Penny re-zapped him, and he calmed right down. 

Sniffles:  "I'm still surprised you can do that.  I never knew."

The group headed for the major ruins, but Hobodeath veered them towards the aforementioned glowing building.  As they neared the structure, the only distinguishing features were some letters and a faded red triangle painted on a crumbling wall:


They saw a wide opening into the building, and a very, very faded glow shone from within.  The party lined up side to side, and marched into the entrance.  They spent only just a few seconds in the darkness, letting their eyes adjust...

...when a sudden blazing strobe seared into their retinas.

When his vision cleared moments later [he was the only 1 of 9 to make his Save Versus Stun!], Sniffles beheld a terrible sight:  all his companions—Penny, Hobodeath, the Xottles, and even Bruno—were marching in zombified lock-step into the dark recesses of the building.  He tried to stop them, but they didn't reply to his cries.

Lumbering forward, Sniffles grabbed Penny and Hobodeath, and but they wriggled out of his grasp.  He tried to grab them again...

...but then was a terrible roar, and from the darkness came a lightning-flash of razored jaws and claws...

...and Bruno was no more, as his body erupted in a geyser of limbs and innards.

At that point, all hell broke loose as the building's resident over-sized anglion jumped into the party's midst, trying to devour everyone and everything.


And then a furious—albiet ridiculous—battle ensued.  For at least 4 rounds, every single attack from every combatant missed [which the GM blamed on the buckled wooden floors being slick with gore], but then the anglion got in a few hits on both Penny and the beleaguered Sniffles [who was now down to about 5 Hit Points].  Fortune smiled, though, as the PCs hitting with a series deadly strikes [multiple Natural 20s], and the Xottles started rolling black orbs found nearby at the beast, tripping it.  Penny even landed a lucky blow [another 20!] that severed the anglion's hypnotic lure.  The beast went down, and it went down hard.

The group collapsed in exhaustion, and called it a day.  They didn't even have the energy to check for loot!



Mutant Lord's Commentary
I've been behind the screen most of my gaming career, and 90% of the games I've run have involved comic book superheroics.  And to paraphrase one of the best GM's I know on the genre, it's a purely reactive one; the villains drive the plot, and force the heroes into action.  With Mutant Future, though, I'm striving for a pure sandbox campaign, as I want the characters to explore—and, more importantly, shape—the world as they see fit.

And this group is doing a bang-up job.  They've set their own course for adventure, and I'm reacting to their plans and actions.  I had no warning at all that they'd want to recruit the Xottle henchmen, or want to "adopt" and educate the tribe (despite them being, as Sniffles' player described, "...like slimy Smurfs, but even more gross.") with such gusto; I've had to handle all that on the fly.  The PCs actually feel responsible for the little guys, and they've embraced them as part of the team.  (After the big brawl with the anglion, Penny said, in ever-so-serious tones, "If that monster had killed any of my Xottles, I'd have been pissed.")

Another thing that's been fascinating to watch has been Penny's development as a character.  If you recall her bio, the only thing noteworthy about her is that she really, really likes wigs.  But over the course of play, more facets have appeared, like that she's the youngest daughter of a very prominent family in Gone-Woe, and that she's vain and bossy.

But in Session #2, her realization that she has the Empathy mutation put an entirely different spin on things.  Maybe Penny isn't just the spoiled baby of an over-protective family...instead, she may be a cold, calculating brat who's used her mental powers to manipulate people her entire life.  Penny's player's complete forgetfulness of what's on the character sheet inadvertantly opened up more roleplaying opportunities.

Oh, yeah—that bit with the cryenas?  That was 100% pure random encounter goodness.  I couldn't have been luckier on the dice, as those specific creatures were the perfect threats to appear when the party was seriously vulnerable.   The group was off-balance the entire encounter, as they weren't used to such calm, rational, and loquacious monsters.  And now the PC's are scared, as they know the cryenas are lurking on the fringes, and who knows when they'll pop up again...?

On top of all the above, the inter-party banter has been great.  The Android has talked smack to her organic companions, and they've lobbed insults right back.  They really have the "real people" rhythms down.

Here's two of my favorite quotes, utterly free of any context whatsoever:

Penny:  "I snacked on some carrion along the way."

and

Hobodeath:  *dismissive snort* "You wouldn't last one day in Gunspoint."



I am simply ecstatic about how the game is going.



PS:  I forgot to mention that during the cryena encounter, Penny's player started talking to her compatriots at the table through clenched teeth and semi-moving lips.  Her words came out muffled and completely unintelligible ("Mrrmph-murrrph-brmm-krllll-mmmmrmmm!!!"), and the overall effect was like a lousy ventriloquist's routine.  No amount of asking her to repeat herself cleared it up.

Finally, exasperated, she sighed and said, "I'm trying to tell y'all things without saying or thinking them...BECAUSE THEY CAN READ OUR MINDS!!!"

Hilarity ensued.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"LEARN THE WAYS OF SNIFFLES!!!" (Part 1)

The second session of my Don't Mess With Wrexus campaign was Saturday, and it was an absolute scream from start to finish.  This GM is having some of the most fun of his 28-year gaming career.



The Prologue
A few weeks passed since Hobodeath, Grabthar Sniffles, and Penny had their run-in with the Xottles.  While Hobodeath spent her days being repaired by Tic-Tac (Gone-Woe's resident Meen'go mechanic), Sniffles and Penny took up training with The Scavengers, the town's elite scouts and foragers.  Thanks to their heroic actions, the teenage brother/sister duo were embraced with open arms into the fold; however, their father (Carl Clawson, a powerful figure in the town's leadership) was decidedly displeased with their dangerous career choice.

During this time, no Xottles had been seen, but they were clearly afoot, as small, turtle-shaped effigies were periodically found outside Gone-Woe's gates, along with shoddily-woven baskets filled with dead frogs, dried-out fish, crushed bugs, and flowers.

Penny, ever the diva, came up with a grand plan to procure metals and gemstones to make fancy gauntlets for her pincers. 

Hobodeath: "You want to bedazzle your claws?!"
Penny:  "I want to look stylish."
Sniffles:  "You're the chav of the crawfish community."

But the resources simply weren't available in town, so this meant only one thing:  an expedition into the wildlands!  Humoring her, the trio decided to accompany The Scavengers on their next run.  They would head en masse to Red Crossing (a ruined hospital at the outermost safe zone around Gone-Woe, and waystation-slash-field hospital-slash-safehouse for looted goods), split up from there, find a ferryman to take them across the river, venture to the forboding and flooded "island" ruins to the south, and then regroup a few days later.  They packed their gear, and left the next morning.

The band (consisting of our heroes, plus the rescuees from last session:  Dave Clawson, Steve Clawson, the Pure Human Hummer Google, and lady Mutant Human So-Nee Twizzler) made small-talk en route, and noticed more "gift baskets" left at quarter-mile intervals, along with more turtle-sculptures.  Never ones to turn down free meals, Penny and Sniffles took the offerings with gusto, and our Android Hobodeath was utterly disgusted with the habits and rituals of "you mammals...or whatever you are."  They arrived at Red Crossing, and got a history lesson of the place from the senior Scavengers.  Some of the more experienced hands wanted to accompany the trio to the south, but the threesome insisted they'd be fine...and had their own plan on flesh out their ranks:  it was time to put Sniffle's Xottle followers to good use! 

[This came as a complete and total surprise to the GM....]




A)  Return To Camp Strike
The group tromped into the ruined campgrounds, but noticed things seemed a little...less ruined.  Underbrush had been cleared away, and paths were easier to traverse.  Ancient signage had new colors (ink?  dye?  blood?) sloppily applied.  The group wasn't sure what to expect...

...but they certainly didn't forsee stumbling through a tripwire trap that caused a volley of wobbly spears to bounce harmlessly off of Sniffles' shins.  Moving more cautiously, the group encountered a wall of mud and debris blocking their path; however, they just stepped over it—it was only 3' tall, you see—and then made their way to a clearing, from which emanated the familiar croaks and gurgling grunts of agitated Xottles...

...except they weren't agitated at all.  Instead, they were stomping about in formation and chanting in unison, and practicing stabbing each other with spears.  All while dressed in tiny, grimy, tattered blue uniforms.



Our heroes were dumbstruck.

Turns out the Xottles had been so inspired by their god and his earthly subjects that they decided to model their own village after Gone-Woe.  They tried to build fortifications.  They tried to organize their troops.  They even made attempts at agriculture...

...which consisted of some tubers and fruit half-buried in the dirt.  Clearly, the Xottles were going to need serious help.

After some whispering, the heroes came to a decision, and Grabthar The Shelled God bellowed a decree: "Your five mightiest warriors are joining us to explore the ruins to the south.  The rest of you?  Go now to Gone-Woe, so that you may learn the ways of Sniffles!!!"

The five mightiest Xottles [Gulb!  Fooj!  Zoobosh!  Krabble!  Quish!] assembled proudly, and the rest of the village scampered into the woods. 

Our heroes then strode southward to adventure, leading their mighty army!

[GM's Commentary:  I don't think I can adequately convey how hilariously this whole side-trek into the camp played out.  Not only was it completely unexpected from this side of the GM's screen, but the players' coversations (both in and out of character) were both hysterical and completely sincere.

Penny: "Do you see those fruits in the dirt?  That's just so very, very sad.  We're going to have to send them to farming school, aren't we?"
Sniffles:  "We should probably get them better weapons."
Penny:  "And maybe teach them to read...?  Are they going to have to move in with us?"
Sniffles:  "This sounds like a ton of work.  And Dad's going to be piiiiiiissed." 
Hobodeath:  "S-I-G-HHHHHH.  I knew this would happen.  I told you to wipe them out them last time, but would you listen...?  NOOOOOOO."

The discussions then veered off into socio-economical-political territory, about how they'd go about shifting the Xottles' tribal mentality into something more "enlightened"....

So awesome.  So very, very awesome.]

A-1)  Flying Fangs Of Furry Fury
The group marched through the woods, and Penny decided to put on her fancy new eyewear [the Infra-Red Goggles found last adventure].  In the shade of the woods, she discovered that they weren't ordinary lenses, as living things appeared "bright" while other objects seemed "darker"...so when she'd periodically spy little critters in the grass, she'd giddily snatch them up and gobble them down.

Penny:  "I HAVE SNACK-DETECTING GOGGLES!!!"

Nightfall approached, and the group bedded down at the edge of the woods.  Penny had the first watch (but Hobodeath didn't trust her to stay awake, so she secretly stood guard, too), and was bored silly for a few hours until her goggles bespied two furry shapes peering from the undergrowth.  These intruders were interested in the frog-and-fish filled backpacks, and crept into the clearing to rummage.  Penny tried shooing them away, but then four more appeared from shadows....

Penny stabbed at one with her trident, grazing it.  At this point all six creatures started growling, and a whirring sound filled the woods...

...and then, too her horror, all six furry, surly beasts took to the air.  Oh, no—pozzooms!
  



The night was suddenly filled with slashing and swearing and stabbing and screaming.  Grabthar and Penny were swarmed, and our giant turtle boy was cut to ribbons.  [In a fluke of terrible luck, this GM rolled nothing but 17s-20s for multiple attacks, and almost entirely maximum damage.  Sniffles lost over 70% of his Hit Points right off the bat.]  Xottles scattered in panic, and Penny missed every attack.

At this point, Hobodeath unleashed another of her secret armaments—a hole opened in her throat to reveal a small cannon, and she started blasting away with cold-beams.  This dropped some pozzooms, and rallied the our heroes.  The tide turned, and the varmints were vanquished (and some even exploded like hairy piƱatas, as they had trinkets hidden in their pouches, which Hobodeath surreptitiously gathered).  It was time to tend to Sniffles' serious wounds.

And then the group realized that the didn't pack any first aid equipment.

B)  Don't Pay The Ferryman
The trio was terrified of staying in the woods near the site of so much bloodshed (particularly since Penny smells delicious to predators), but they also didn't want to return to Gone-Woe in shame and defeat.  They decided to continue south, and limped out of the woods in the hopes of finding a ferryman with some medical supplies they could barter.

Luckily for them, the encountered a grizzled old coot named Bruno with a pontoon raft...but precious few supplies.  They would have to cross the water, and hope for the best in the southern ruins.  In exchange for a piece of Sniffles' gear [a functional power-chisel, rolled on some Random Junk Tables at the beginning of the campaign], Bruno would "ferry them until the sun next set."  On account of Sniffles being 16' tall and almost sinking the boat, the group had to make two separate trips across the river, taking most of the afternoon.  But, finally, they made it to the other side, and Bruno was prepared to depart back across...

...but then everyone remembered that that the major ruins driving their quest were surrounded by marshes and water, meaning they would need a boat again...

...so they decided to hold Bruno to his bargain.

Group:  "You said we could use your boat until the sun set.  It's still light, and we can make it if we hurry...so you have to come with us to the next crossing."
Bruno:  "No, that's unreasonable."
Group:  "But you set the terms.  You have to adhere to them."

Bruno started to get belligerent, and it looked like Hobodeath might get violent...

...but then Penny's player asked, out of character, "Hey...what are these things at the bottom of my sheet?  Mutations?  What does Empathy do again?"

It was at this point that Bruno got Jedi-mind-tricked into following the group to the next river crossing.

And Sniffles smugly took his power-chisel back.



To be continued!

"L" is for "Landloach"

Landloach

No. Enc.:  0 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  75' (25') 
Armor Class:  8
Hit Dice:  6
Attacks:  1 (head-butt)
Damage:  1d6
Save:  L4
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  820

Landloaches are sleek, cold-blooded creatures found in subtropical climes.  They reach lengths of 30' long (or more), and stand as high as Ancient horses.  While evincing characteristics of their aquatic lineage, the multi-legged landloaches are fully adapted to terrestrial life, and spend their days languidly grazing on vegetation.

Thanks to their hardiness and docile temperaments, landloaches make excellent mounts and pack animals.  They will Trample when threatened, however.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form (Multiple Limbs), Gigantism

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"M" is for "Manaconda"

Manaconda

No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  105' (35')
      —Swim:  75' (25')
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  11
Attacks:  3 or 1 or 1 (2 fists, 1 bite, or 1 tail-slap, or weapon)
Damage:  2d6 / 2d6 / 1d8, or 3d4, or by weapon
Save:  L9
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  XVIII
XP:  6,000

The Manaconda are a race of sentient reptiles with hulking, hunchbacked, humanoid torsos and serpentine lower bodies.  They can reach heights of 8'-10' tall and lengths in excess of 20'.  Manacondas dwell in semi-aquatic dens near lakes, rivers, swamps, and submerged ruins.

If both fists successfully strike in the same round, a Manaconda squeezes its target in a bone-breaking hug that does an additional 2d10 damage.  They can also distend their jaws and Swallow targets of human-size or smaller on a biting Attack Roll of 19-20, and those ingested suffer 2d8 damage per round until perishing at the end of 6 rounds.  Manacondas get a +2 bonus to both Attack Rolls and Damage Rolls when using melee weapons. 

Because of their sheer strength and fierce loyalty, they make excellent bodyguards and soldiers.  And Manacondas always speak in the first person.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form (Gills and Lungs), Force Screen (Greater), Thermal Vision

Friday, June 3, 2011

"Always Make The Audience Suffer As Much As Possible."

Hitchcock
Psychotic Scaly Cinephile

NPC
Character Type:  Fishman
Alignment:  Chaotic

Level:  8
Armor Class:  5
Hit Points:  38
Movement:  120' (40')
      —Swim:  90' (30')

Abilities
STR:  13
DEX:  17
CON:  8
INT:  16
WIS:  8
CHA:  9

Modifiers
) To Hit / Damage (Melee):  +1
) To Hit (Missile):  +2
) AC:  -2
) Initiative:  +1
) Radiation Save:  -1
) Technology Rolls:  +30%

Saving Throws
Energy Attacks:  9
Poison / Death:  8
Stun Attacks:  10
Radiation:  9

Mutations:  Chameleon Epidermis, Epidermal Susceptibility (Requires Immersion Every 2 Hours) [D], Intellectual Affinity (Tinkerer), Mind Thrust, Optic Emissions (Gamma Eyes—Class 5), Prey Scent [D]

Attacks / Weapons
) Bite (2d6)
) Axe +3 (1d8+3)
) Vibro Dagger (+2 To Hit, 1d4+6, 51 minutes of charge)
) Light Crossbow +2 (1d6+2 + Class 9 sleep poison, 14 quarrels)
) Revolver (1d10, 3 shots)

Equipment
) See Below

XP:  3,560

Description
The being calling himself Hitchcock is a 5' tall fishman [see p. 72 of the Mutant Future Core Rules] with greenish-gray scales, bulging eyes, and prominent barbels.  He is quick and wiry, and stronger than he looks.

Shunned by his tribe more for his obsessive-compulsive, selfish personality than his atypical physicality and mutations, the creature once known as Lurghhg set out on his own in the Mutant Future.  After a near-deadly encounter with predators, he holed up in a ruined megaplex, and set about fortifying and repairing the building and its derelict equipment.  It wasn't long before he discovered the marvels and magic of Ancient cinema ("NOW IN NERVE-RATTLING, BRAIN-BLASTING CEREBR-O-RAMA 4-D!!!"), and took the name of the director (whatever that is) of his favorite "documentaries" from Ancient times.

Hitchcock spends his days repairing the building (due to the constant incursion of giant vermin drawn by his scent), scavenging from local shopping centers, refurbishing and building gadgets, and taking quick dips in the rooftop rain-catchers to rehydrate.  But he spends his evenings watching film after film, transfixed in rapt wonder.

And he absolutely loves encountering strangers, and welcomes them into his home with open flippers.  He enthusiastically offers shelter, food, and first aid, and giddily holds court with his knowledge of Ancient entertainment history.  Hitchcock's only request is that his guests spend a few hours with him watching movies in one of the refurbished theatres.  He'll smugly escort them past the "crowds"—he's filled up the vacant seats with mannequins and junked androids—to the "best seats in the house", and start up a show.

All is fine until his guests tire of his hospitality and prepare to depart, however...because Hitchcock won't let anyone leave.  He'll play the good host, and offer any excuse to persuade his guests to stay, but the more insistent they are, the more agitated he'll get.  Ultimately, tensions rise, and violence ensues.  Hitchcock genuinely tries to keep his unruly guests alive, and attempts to subdue them with restraints and/or drugs.  If that doesn't work, he'll try to pick them off one by one with his speed and camoflage, or lure them into the snares and traps he has hidden throughout the cineplex.  But if his efforts fail, he will coldly kill them all, and use the corpses to fill more theatre seats...

...as they're not all mannequins, you see.



Hitchcock's stronghold contains valuables galore.  He stockpiles comestibles in the main concession area and its corresponding kitchen, and his stash includes:  15d20 canned goods, 2d6 cartons of Scientologist National Tofurters, a half-ton of Atomic Pop! brand popcorn kernels, 10d20 bags of crystalized cotton candy, and 20d100 boxes of never-decomposing sweets.

He also has film-related relics worthy of a museum, including:  1d4+2 functional projection devices of all tech levels (reel, digital, holographic, and synaptic), 10d100 films on assorted Ancient media (celluloid reels, DVDs, holo-vids, synapto-spheres, etc.), a crate of 500 pairs of Cerebr-O-Rama 4-D neural-goggles, and 8d20 paper, digital, and holographic posters in various conditions.  The total value of his collection is in the tens of thousands of GPs (especially to Archivists and Restorationists), but transporting such fragile and bulky matter is problematic.


"Z" is for "Zanhorr"

Zanhorr

No. Enc.:  1d4 (2d8)
Alignment:  Any
Movement:  90' (30') 
Armor Class:  7
Hit Dice:  7
Attacks:  2 or 1 (2 claws, or 1 weapon)
Damage:  1d8 / 1d8, or by weapon
Save:  L7
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  XVIII
XP:  1,840

The Zanhorr (both singular and plural) are a race of 8'-10' tall sentient plants with distinctive optic orbs and long, tapered bodies.   They stand on wriggling tendrils used for both locomotion and feeding, as through them they leech moisture and minerals from soil and biomatter.  The hollow tentacles on their heads are used for breathing and vocalization, and when a Zanhorr speaks, it sounds like a chorus of multiple susurrant voices.

A Zanhorr's wicked claws inject a toxin that causes Blindness for 1d4 hours upon a failed Saving Throw Versus Poison.

While many Zanhorr exist as peaceful hunter-gatherers and traders, the cruelest of their kind operate as brigands and slavers.

Mutations:  Animal Limbs (Arms and Hands), Free Movement, Full Senses (Vision), Injected Poison Sap ("Blinding Toxin")



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mutants In The News — \m/ METAL!!! \m/ Edition

According to Australian Geographic, great white sharks know how to rawk.

"Matt's research was inspired by dive operators on Guadalupe Island, who discovered playing music underwater for clients also caused changes in shark behaviour...when the great whites heard the AC/DC songs, they swam up and rubbed their faces against the source of the music."



I wonder what they think of John Williams' scores?


"R" is for "RANAbot"

RANAbot

Hit Dice:  3
Frame:  Armature
Locomotion:  Legs (Multiple), Propeller (Water) 
Manipulators:  None
Armor:  Alumisteel (AC 4)
Sensors:  Class VI
Mental Programming:  Programming
Accessories:  AV Recorder, AV Transmitter, Magnetic Feet, Self-Destruct System, Weapon Mount
Weaponry:  Laser Pistol Mk1, or Plasma Pistol, or Stun Pistol
XP:  125

Small swarms of amphibious Recon And Naval Assault robots were used by The Ancients to infiltrate and attack enemy warships and submerged installations.  They stand 2' tall, and can leap considerable distances.   RANAbots possess full arrays of visual and recording sensors, and their small frames each house one collapsible, pop-up weapon.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"A" is for "Apocra"

Apocra

No. Enc.:  1d6 (3d6)
Alignment:  Lawful
Movement:  75' (25')
         —Fly:  120' (40')
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  8
Attacks:  3 or 3 (2 fists, 1 bite, or 2 fists, 1 sting)
Damage:  1d10 / 1d10 / 2d6, or 1d10 / 1d10 / 1d6 + poison
Save:  L8
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  XVII
XP:  1,560

The Apocra (both singular and plural) are a race of insectoid beings with hunched, strong, ape-like bodies and reddish-yellow fur.  An average specimen reaches 6'-7' tall and weighs over 450 lbs.  They dwell in grasslands, low hills, and forested regions, and build waterproof, compartmentalized, papery huts out of a mixture of plant fibers and their own saliva.  Apocra raise and breed giant insects for food, and also consume nectars and vegetation.

An Apocra's stinger injects a Class 6 poison; however, it is particularly nasty to those who suffer from the Poison Susceptibility Drawback.  Such stings trigger an anaphylactic reaction, and instead of the normal -4 to Saving Throws Versus Poison, Apocra venom causes a -7 to Save.

Apocra "paper" is highly valued in the Mutant Future, as it retains dyes and inks, and is highly resistant to weather and vermin damage.  Many communities establish trading agreements with the Apocra just for this precious resource.

Mutations:  Simian Deformity [D], Toxic Weapon (Venom)