Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"V" is for "Var-King"


No. Enc.:  1d6 (3d8)
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement:  75' (25')
  —Burrow:  30' (10')
  —Fly:  60' (20')
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  6
Attacks:  2 or 1 (2 claws, or weapon)
Damage:  1d6 / 1d6, or by weapon
Save:  L6
Morale:  7
Hoard Class:  XVIII, XXI
XP:  1,570

The Var-King are a subterranean race of cunning, nasty, and duplicitous beings that are infamous for their hoarding and greed.  They stand 4' tall, and have long tails, long tongues, and leathery, purplish hides covered in coarse hair.  The Var-King favor arid climates.

Treachery is an institutionalized vice virtue in Var-King society.  One of their favorite schemes is to sell overpriced artifacts to remote villages, and then sneakily tunnel up from below to steal the devices back to sell all over again.  Essentially, the Var-King are the twisted reflections of the Meen'go, and the two races despise—and frequently wage war against—one another.

When venturing to the surface, the Var-King wear protective goggles and sensory gadgets to counteract their Vision Impairments.  And they keep their Psionic Flight and Teleport mutations secret, and spring them on their foes at the most advantageous times.

Racial epithets directed against the Var-King abound in the Mutant Future, including "var-cons", "aardvillains", "sand-swindlers", and "var-crooks".

Mutations:  Intellectual Affinity (Tinkerer), Prehensile Limb (Tongue), Psionic Flight, Teleport, Vision Impairment (Light Sensitivity) [D]

Monday, September 26, 2011

Friday, September 23, 2011

"J" is for "Jawg"


No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  105' (35')
  —Swim:  75' (25')
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  5
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  2d8
Save:  L3
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  650

Jawgs are amphibious, 10'-12' long beasts with stocky bodies and oversized, toothy, piscine heads.  They appear in a variety of colors and textures, and the most vibrant have a 35% chance of possessing Dermal Poison Slime.  The creatures breathe through their hides, and correspondingly suffer +1 extra damage per die / +1d4 rounds of effect from gaseous-based attacks.

Ravenous carnivores, they snare prey with their 20' tongues.  On a successful hit, they yank  man-sized (or smaller) beings toward their mouths for a biting attack; on a Natural 20, they Swallow their prey whole.  Those swallowed suffer 1d10 damage per round until digested.

Jawgs can be used as mounts by only the most dominant—and foolhardy—individuals.

Mutations:  Frailty (Permeable Skin) [D], Increased Sense (Smell)

Designer's Notes:  Credit for the concept goes to Luke H., who is joining the group this weekend.  His character niche is "Cyborg Swamp-Pirate", and since bog-buccaneers need transport, he wanted a snazzy airboat.  Not only is he just 1st level, but the original PCs just got a fancy boat of their own, and I didn't want him biting their style.  I talked him into a mount of his own creation, and his exact words were: "I want a fish or an octopus-thing—no, wait—a shark-frog."

And then came Jawg!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"D" is for "Drearwig"


No. Enc.:  1d6 (2d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  150' (50') 
Armor Class:  4
Hit Dice:  3+1
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  1d6
Save:  L4
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  VI
XP:  170

Drearwigs are 3' long, flightless insects that disrupt natural weather patterns with their mere presence.  A lone drearwig can only create vision-obscuring mists and fogs (causing all within the area of effect to suffer a -2 To Hit with all combat rolls), but multiple creatures can generate violent storms, winds, and even blizzards.

Due to their rapacious appetites and turbulent abilities, drearwigs are the bane of farming communities; however, some technical-minded villages utilize the creatures to drive mills and turbines.  And sea captains have been known to use them to "power" sailing vessels.

Drearwigs are immune to the effects of temperature extremes, and take -2 damage per die from mutations like Energy Ray (Heat/Cold), Temperature Control, etc.

Mutations:  Control Weather, Energy Ray (Electricity)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"B" is for "Bombfrog"


No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d4)
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement:  120' (40') 
Armor Class:  4
Hit Dice:  4+1
Attacks:  1 or 2 (1 bite, or 2 projectiles)
Damage:  1d8, or by projectile type
Save:  L3
Morale:  11
Hoard Class:  VII
XP:  665

The spindly, slimy abominations known as bombfrogs are hideous bioweapons devised by the maddest of Ancient scientists.  The grotesque creatures stand 12'-14' tall on their bifurcated legs, and their height and extra eyes combine to give them a +2 To Hit bonus with all ranged attacks.  They are never Surprised.

Through demented surgeries, bombfrogs are outfitted with a variety of projectile weapons.  Roll twice on the chart below to determine any given bombfrog's payload:

1:  12 micro missiles (7d6 damage, 30' blast radius, 1500' range)
2:  6 mini-missiles (50 HP damage, 60' blast radius, ½ mile range)
3:  6 blood agent grenades (1d6 damage per round for 1d3+6 turns, 30' blast radius, 200' range)
4:  6 concussion grenades (Stunned  for 1d4 turns, 10' blast radius, 200' range)
5:  6 frag grenades (5d6 damage, 20' blast radius, 200' range)
6:  6 photon (lethal) grenades (Death on failed Save -2; reduced to 1 HP and Stunned for 2d4 turns with successful Save, 30' blast radius, 200' range)

There is a 75% chance that, upon dying, a bombfrog will explode in a fireball that does 8d8 damage in a 50' radius.  And even if one doesn't explode, only an individual with the Intellectual Affinity (Tinkerer) Mental Mutation can successfully remove a bombfrog's weaponry for reuse.

Bombfrogs require constant hydration to maintain stable internal temperatures, and are prone to overheating.  There is a hardier, dry-terrain subspecies known as "turret toads" that lack such weaknesses, but these lumpier, slower specimens have -1 HD and reduced 60' (20') movement.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form ("Launcher-Pods"), Aberrant Form (Multiple Limbs), Epidermal Susceptibility (Requires Immersion Every Hour) [D], Epidermal Susceptibility (+2 Per Die From Heat-Related Attacks) [D]

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"The Pig?" "The Cow?" "You're Waaaaay Off. Think Smaller. Think More Legs."

Here's the cover of the Mutant Future 2e core book.

And here's some pictures from the interior of said book:

Now, some images from assorted vintage (1st through 4th editions) Gamma World products:

Finally, here's artwork from William McAusland's awesome new game, The Mutant Epoch Hub Rules:

The unifying theme is obvious:  in post-apocalyptic games, multiple parts—eyesballs, limbs, and even heads—are commonplace.  Mutants are CRAZY with additional anatomy.

But the official Mutant Future rules make extra body-bits almost impossible for Player Characters to acquire. 

Let me drop some SCIENCE! on this travesty, and attempt to right this egregious wrong.

Here's the Mutant Future Random Mutation Chart from the core book:

From the list, any given mutant has a 2% chance (10-11 on d100) of being Dual-Headed.  That's pretty much in line with every other mutation...but not really all that much fun.

Sure, you also theoretically have another 2% (01-02 on d100) chance of having an Aberrant Form, which includes the non-noggin multiples...

...but that really boils down to just a .5% chance, given that roll of 5-6 on d8. 

All said, any given PC has a fraction of a tiny percent to get Extra Parts that aren't face-based.  Madness!

Figgerin' that out made me realize that I have other problems with the whole Mutant Future Random Mutation process.

Look at the Drawbacks.  Any given mutant has a 43% (roll of 58-100 on d100) of having a physical disability.  I get that the Mutant Future is a cruel and horrible place, but that seems somewhat excessive, particularly when compared to the granddaddy of all post-apoc games, Gamma World.

Let's break Gamma World and its Defects down by edition.

Here are the First Edition Random Mutation Charts:

If you exempt the "Roll Again" freebies from the list, you have a 31.1% chance (28 out of 90) of getting a Defect.  Harsh.

But Second Edition is even more cruel...

...because you have a 36.1% chance (35 out of 97) of a Defect.

Mutatin' ain't easy, yo.

Third Edition takes a kid-gloves approach:

Only 5.6% odds (5 out of 90) of being defective?  That's some shamefully candy-ass, weak sauce.

Fourth Edition cranks it back up again... something a bit more brutal, with a flat 20% (18 out of 90).

Clearly, Gamma World 2e was the most unforgiving with dishing out the pain at 36.1%...

...but that pales when compared to Mutant Future 's 43% of being flawed. 

Combine that with MF's complete removal of any chance of picking your own mutations with a 90+ percentile roll, one thing is clear:  Dan Proctor and Ryan Denison are monsters!

[Brief digression.  Looking at same four charts, multiple body parts were also relatively rare in the Gamma World days.

1e:  2.2% (2 out of 90).
2e:  3.1% (3 out of 97).
3e:  2.2% (2 out of 90).
4e:  5.56% (5 out of 90, but actually slightly higher if you factor in how New Body Parts allows a 1 in 10 chance of a second head).

Huh.  Who'da thunk it.]

Another issue I have with the Mutant Future Random Mutation Chart is its whole "Roll High, Get Hosed" design scheme. 

With the (much debated) exception of Armor Class, OSR game systems—including Mutant Future itself—adhere to the "The Higher, The Better" ethos.

Our current chart just violates the whole concept.

So, after all that bellyaching, what do I propose?

Simple.  I made my own custom Random Mutation Chart that fixes all my issues, with just minor tweaking.

I reorganized the list, with Drawbacks listed at the low end.

I got rid of Dual Headed, and just lumped it in under Extra Parts.  (Aberrant Form can still work as written, I reckon.)

I retooled the numbering scheme a bit.  Not only does this better  allow for a bevy body parts (at a flat  5%), but it also dropped the percentage of getting a Drawback to a more comfortable 36% (which is in line with Gamma World 2e).  [An added bonus:  I reduced the chance of rolling Density Alteration (Self) to only 1%.  That mutation is just too complicated with too little bang for the buck, when compared to the relative simplicity of its fellows.]

I also added in Seizures to the Mental Mutations list as a shout-out to early-edition Gamma World disadvantages (Epilepsy [D] and, obviously, Seizures [D]); plus, it let me have each Mental Drawback come in at a flat 2%.

New Mutation

Seizures [D]:  When faced with a stressful situation (especially a Surprise attack), character has a 15% chance of having a fit that acts as Paralysis for 1d4 Turns.

Oh, yeah.  When Shriek is rolled, there is a 1-3 chance on d6 that it is the standard version of the mutation, and a 4-6 chance that it is my own custom Greater Shriek.

I apologize that Blogger won't let me do up a prettier version of the chart.  But if anyone wants the Excel file, I'll happily email it out.  (Contact info is in the "About Me" box on the sidebar.)

When it comes to RPGs, the very last thing I am is a Rules Guy, so this post was really outside my usual comfort zone.  Go hog wild with any and all comments and criticisms.

"V" is for "Vespot"

Vespot  ("Yellow Tyrant")

No. Enc.:  1d4 (3d10)
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement:  75' (25')
         —Fly:  105' (35')
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  10+1
Attacks:  3 or 1 (2 claws, 1 stinger, or 1 weapon)
Damage:  1d8+1 / 1d8+1 / 1d12+1 + poison, or by weapon +1
Save:  L5
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  VII, XXI
XP:  5,200

Vespots are imperious, towering insectoids that stand 9'-11' tall.  They possess human-like extremities, and are quite adept at utilizing Ancient technologies, and modifying them to their needs.  Vespots build elaborate subterranean complexes, often using slave labor (including repurposed Androids) in the construction.

Vespots are highly vulnerable to toxic compounds, including those of their own kind.  It is a capital offense in their culture to sting one of their fellows.

They relish devouring intelligent Mutant Plants...preferably alive.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form (Humanoid Hands/Feet), Gigantism, Increased Sense (Touch), Mind Thrust, Poison Susceptibility [D], Toxic Weapon (Venom)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"G" is for "Gammel"


No. Enc.:  0 (2d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  150' (50')
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  4
Attacks:  2 (1 bite, 1 kick)
Damage:  1d4 / 1d6
Save:  L5
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  245

Gammels are luminous ungulates found in the most unforgiving environs.  They continually emit Class 6 radiation, so only the hardiest of individuals can utilize them as mounts and pack animals.  (Any PC riding / using a gammel must make a Saving Throw Versus Radiation once every 4 hours of close contact.)

When irritated or threatened, gammels spit an acidic gelatin up to a range of 25'.  This viscous substance does 1d8 damage per round for 1d4+1 rounds, and also adheres to, and damages for the same duration, those that touch the target after impact.

Gammels can carry 500 lbs while still maintaining their full movement rate, and a maximum of 1,000 lbs total.

Mutations:  Epidermal Photosynthesis, Toxic Weapon ("Acidic Spittle")

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"C" is for "Crocroach"


No. Enc.:  4d6 (6d10)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  135' (45')
         —Fly:  45' (15')
     —Swim:  90' (30')
Armor Class:  3
Hit Dice:  4 hp
Attacks:  1 (bite)
Damage:  1d3
Save:  L3
Morale:  11
Hoard Class:  VI
XP:  9

Vicious little beasts, crocroaches are foot-long monstrosities that infest all places damp, dark, and dire—cesspits, caverns and mines, toxic dumps, Ancient ruins, and the like.  They possess 3 black, bulging, compound eyes (meaning they are never Surprised), thick hides, and rows of needle-like teeth.  Crocroaches skitter up vertical surfaces, and across ceilings, with ease.

A swarm always signals an impending attack by hissing at potential prey for 1d3 rounds...and then the mass surges in a frenzy of chitin, scales, and fangs.  Each crocroach latches on with a successful bite, and does automatic damage every round.  They can skeletonize a full-grown humanoid in under a minute.

And if you think the small ones are bad....

Mutations:  Accumulated Resistance (Pollutants), Increased Sense (Smell), Night Vision

Crocroach, Giant Albino

No. Enc.:  1 (1)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  150' (50')
         —Fly:  75' (25')
     —Swim: 105' (35')
Armor Class:  0
Hit Dice:  15
Attacks:  1 (bite or tail-slap)
Damage:  3d10 or 3d6
Save:  L10
Morale:  11
Hoard Class:  XXII
XP:  6,900

Denizens of the Mutant Future tell tales of the horrors that dwell in the sewagey bowels of ruined cities...and none is more horrible than the giant albino crocroach.

Over 50' long, giant albino crocroaches are the undisputed apex predators of their underground kingdoms.  The Swallow their prey on natural To Hit rolls of 16-20, and those thus consumed suffer 2d6 damage per round until perishing (or cutting their way free).

There is a 45% chance that any given giant albino crocroach will have either the Toxic Weapon (usually a breath attack) or Energy Ray (that does an additional +2d6 damage) Physical Mutation.  [Adjust the XP value accordingly.]

Mutations:  Accumulated Resistance (Pollutants), Albinism [D], Increased Sense (Smell), Night Vision, Reflective Epidermis (Radiation), Vision Impairment [D]

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"R" is for "Reaver"


No. Enc.:  3d6 (5d10)
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement:  120' (40')
     —Swim:  90' (30')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  5
Attacks:  1 (1 bite, or 1 tail-slap, or weapon)
Damage:  1d6+1 or 1d4 (or by weapon)
Save:  L3
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  XX
XP:  650

In the time of The Ancients, temples dedicated to Buc-ee—He Of The Teeth dotted the landscape.  These luminous shrines served as oases for weary pilgrims, and offered sustenance, drink, fuel, and pristine conditions for the elimination of waste. 

He Of The Teeth was revered by humankind, and despite His divine might, His blessings and glories were amongst those treasures lost during the Apocalypse.

And now, the beings known as the Reavers seek to return the Mutant Future to the most holy state of times past, when Pure Humans revered their furry, buck-toothed masters...

...and they don't care how much blood they have to spill to do it.

Reavers are 3' tall, pyromaniacal humanoids with prominent teeth, flattened tails, oily fur, and webbed digits.  What they lack in stature, they more than make up with belligerence and nastiness.

Reavers tend to build floating wooden fortresses in the middle of deep lakes, and such strongholds are only accessible by underwater tunnels and hatches.  They then gleefully convert any remaining trees into weapons and siege engines, so as to wage war against and enslave their neighbors. 

Slaves that wear out their usefulness are turned into a succulent—albiet disgusting—jerky that heals 3d6 Hit Points per pound ingested.  The Reavers zealously guard the secrets behind the recipe.

Mutations:  Pain Insensitivity [D], Reflective Epidermis (Heat), Temperature Control (Heat)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"T" is for "Trodo"


No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  120' (40')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  3
Attacks:  3 (3 bites)
Damage:  1d4 / 1d4 / 1d4
Save:  L2
Morale:  11
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  125

Trodos are surly, flightless birds that stand 4' tall and weigh around 50 pounds.  Their 4 eyes provide 360-degree vision, so they are never Surprised.

Trodos attack Pure Humans on sight, and they gain a +2 To Hit bonus against such targets due to sheer aggression.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form (Extra Beaks), Mental Barrier, Precognition

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"G" is for "Glarebear"


No. Enc.:  1 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  120' (40')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  8
Attacks:  3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d6 / 1d6 / 1d8
Save:  L4
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  VII
XP:  4,060

Glarebears are immense, shaggy beasts that stand 15' tall on their hind legs.  They can be found in almost any climate, but tend to congregate near areas of high radioactivity.

Glarebears ordinarily scintillate with cascading red, green, and blue lights, but they can become completely invisible when hunting.  Glarebears can also "flare up" with an intense white radiance, causing everyone lacking appropriate eye protection (sunglasses, treated goggles, etc.) within 30' to suffer a -3 to all To Hit rolls directed their way.  And their Mental Phantasms—actually holograms—affect everyone (except blinded targets) within the same 30' radius.

Like most ursines, if both claws strike in the same round, they squeeze their targets in a powerful hug for an additional 2d8 damage.

A garment fashioned from a glarebear's pelt provides the wearer with concealment abilities identical to the Chameleon Epidermis Physical Mutation.

Mutations:  Control Light Waves, Night Vision, Optic Emissions (Bright Eyes), Optic Emissions (Gamma Eyes), Reflective Epidermis (Lasers/Light), Mental Phantasm (Modified)

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"O" is for "Ophidam"


No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d12)
Alignment:  Lawful
Movement:  105' (35') 
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  8
Attacks:  3 or 1 (2 claws, 1 bite, or 1 weapon)
Damage:  1d4+3 / 1d4+3 / 1d6+3 + poison, or by weapon +3
Save:  L8
Morale:  9
Hoard Class:  IX, XIV, XXI
XP:  3,060

Ophidams are a race of female reptilians that inhabit deserts and radioactive wastelands.  They have long, serpentine bodies and heads adorned with elaborate scaly growths.  Compassionate and generous, they form monastic enclaves that serve as oases of healing and contemplation.

Ophidams are dependent on Pure Human, Mutant Human, or Mutant Reptile males to procreate.  That said, they never use their Empathy or Mental Phantasm mutations to facilitate mating, as they find such violations horrific.  Ophidams rely on charm, grace, humor, and sensuality, and successful consumations result in a clutch of 1d6 eggs (which always hatch more Ophidams).

They are utterly immune to the harsh environmental conditions of the wastelands; in fact, skin contact with quantities of water exceeding 1 quart causes them 2d6 damage per exposure.  Ophidams encountered outside of desert environs are daring souls with a thirst for adventure, and often work as medics, translators, scribes, and courtesans.

Mutations:  Combat Empathy, Empathy, Epidermal Susceptibility (Water) [D], Mental Phantasm, Night Vision, Reflective Epidermis (Heat), Toxic Weapon (Venom)

Friday, September 2, 2011

"I" is for "Infestid"

Infestid  ("Swarman")

No. Enc.:  1 (1d4)
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement:  90' (30') 
Armor Class:  6
Hit Dice:  7+2
Attacks:  3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d6 / 1d6 / 1d10
Save:  L6
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  VII
XP:  4,500

Infestids (or "swarmen") are hideous collectives of arthropods given humanoid form.  They are malevolent and cruel, and ever accompanied by the unholy susurrus of tens of thousands of teeming organisms.  Infestids strip their territories bare by devouring plant and animal alike, forcing them to raid farms and supply depots.

All infestids have 360-degree vision (meaning they are never Surprised).  They can cling to any surface, and can become amorphous so as to scuttle through cracks and crevices.  All infestids also have Mutations and abilities specific to their aggregate species, as determined randomly from the list below:

1:  Centipede—Toxic Weapon, additional 1d4+2 limbs that do 1d6 damage each
2:  Crustacean—Natural Armor (Extreme), +1d8 extra damage per claw attack, swim—60' (20')
3:  Moth—Fragrance Development, Increased Sense (Smell), fly—150' (50')
4:  Scorpion—Toxic Weapon, additional tail attack that does 1d12 damage
5:  Tick—Natural Armor (Extreme x2AC 2), Parasitic Control
6:  Worm—Dermal Poison Slime, burrow—120' (40')

[Other types not listed—spiders, wasps, cockroaches, mosquitos, mantids, etc.—are up to the Mutant Lord to design.]

Infestids are immune to damage from all conventional weapons and firearms, and explosives just temporarily dissipate them, as they reform in 1d6+2 rounds.  They can only be harmed by energy-based attacks, mental attacks, and poisons.

Mutations:  Aberrant Form ("Composite Entity"), Regenerative Capability, Shriek