Sunday, February 23, 2014

Studies In Finkology

Here's some additional images for the Finkdaddy critter, posted last September.

Courtesy of our (unruly and unseemly) sister blog, The Haunted Spookshow Of Channel X!!!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Mutants In The News — "Death From Above" Edition

As if tool-using crocodilians weren't terrifying enough...the journal Herpetology Notes reports that (at least) five species can climb trees.

The beasts not only shimmy up leaning trunks, but scale vertical ones, too, to heights of over 30 feet.   And they can even go up brick walls!!!

The only consolation is their climbing prowess decreases as they grow in size.

Wow.  Just wow.

I dunno if anyone remembers Gamma World's Mutant Manual II article from Dragon Magazine #108 (wayyyyyy back in 1986)...

...but it featured a race of 7-inch-tall arboreal alligators known as screps.  

Screps were highly intelligent and gregarious, and possessed manipulative feet plus, and I quote, "tails...almost as prehensile as those of spider monkeys."


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

"T" is for "Tar Devil"

Tar Devil

No. Enc.:  1d4 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  60' (20')
      —Swim:  30' (10')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  5
Attacks:  3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  1d8 / 1d8 / 2d8
Save:  L3
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  950

The amphibious, ill-tempered tar devils are massive, quarter-ton fish that dwell in polluted pools and muddy pits.  When their territories dry out or run low on prey, the creatures drag themselves across open land to find more suitable environs.

Tar devils belch black globs of viscous goo that envelop targets and gunk-up high-tech artifacts.  Anyone struck (as if from a Ranged Attack) must make a Saving Throw Vs Stun. Success means that only the victim's person is affected, suffering a +4 AC penalty for 1d6 turns; failure indicates that not only is the victim hobbled, but all hand-held gadgets are rendered useless for 2d6 hours (the time taken to thoroughly clean them).

Tar devils posses exceptionally large brains, giving them a WIL of 16 to resist Mental Attacks.  And they are immune to toxins, chemicals, and radiation.

Mutations:  Toxic Weapon ("Sludge-Spittle")

Friday, February 7, 2014

"O" is for "Octosaw"


Hit Dice:  4
Frame:  Armature
Locomotion:  Legs (Multiple)
Manipulators:  None
Armor:  Alumisteel (AC 4)
Sensors:  Class II
Mental Programming:  Programming
Accessories:  AV Transmitter, Magnetic Feet
Weaponry:  Rotating Blade (2d6+1)
XP:  300

Octosaws are 3' long, battery-powered robots with blocky bodies, 2' chain-blades, and spindly, springy legs.  They attack in swarms of 2d4 units, and doggedly skitter after foes at a rate of 90' (30'), even along walls and ceilings.

Octosaws inflict 2d6+1 damage with each strike.  Anyone slashed suffers an additional 1d4 damage per round for 3 rounds from blood loss.

Too fragile for battlefield use and too loud for assassinations, The Ancients utilized octosaws in sadistic gameshows and penal bloodsports, or combinations thereof (like ¡Viva Texecution!:  The Lone Star Justice Hour).

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Radioactive Review — 'Wisdom From The Wastelands #22: Personal Shields'

Boy, howdy, are the Skirmisher Publishing guys thorough.

Take Wisdom From The Wastelands #22:  Personal Shields.  When I think of "post-apocalyptic gaming" and "personal shielding", only one armored artifact comes to mind:

How Did I Miss This Game As A Kid?!!!

And there's certainly authoritative precedent to my line of thought.


What more does an irradiated, seven-limbed mutant need?

But, nope, bullet-riddled, rusty streetsigns aren't what author Chris Van Deelen has in mind.  He presents mass-produced force-fields "for individuals from all walks of life", from granny-grade that keep Nana dry as she checks the mail, to full-spectrum, all-impervious shielding worthy of space's greatest superhero.

Man, I Need To Stat Up His Gear And Enemies....

Well, except for radiation.  WFTW #22's shields don't protect against that.  Weird.  (I'm guessing that vulnerability is to ensure your mutant can grow that eighth limb in a radiation accident.)

Anyhow, there's almost a full page of charts that break the wide array of force-fields into types (civilian, security, military), Hit-Points-worth of protection, damage-resistance classes, rates of regeneration, power sources, battery durations, and weight.  [Random Note:  I have never used Encumbrance as a DM / GM / Mutant Lord.  Because I am lazy.]

Then come the modifications, like Electrical (stuns those who whomp the wielder) and One- / Multi-Sided (the user trades increased exposure risk for increased shielding HP) and generic damage-inflictors.

Of course there's a page of anti-gadgets, which drain / cancel everything mentioned previously. And the text wraps with rayguns that, naturally, phase through the aforementioned shielding.

This is a hard one to review.  

One one hand, it's got Van Deelen's trademarks:  amazing attention to detail, and consideration of damn near every gaming scenario (choice quote:  "[they] are not powerful enough to protect a user while swimming, or dealing with...moving through lava").

You Fool!  Didn't You Read The Supplement?!!!

Mutant Lord needs a force-field, you get force-fields out the cyclopean-chicken cloaca.

On the other hand, it's full of fiddly bits (and, I daresay, kinda padded), and REALLY ups the rules crunch.  I've commented before about how I was convinced the Skirmisher Gang were lifelong HERO System gamers (which they jovially denied), but WFTW #22 just adds more to my evidence.  There's.  So.  Much.  Stuff!

And on the third hand—you know, that stumpy one that grows from your mutant's neck—I'm rather uncomfortable with the fundamental concepts as they apply to (gamma) world-building.   These all-purpose shields have a ubiquitousness about them, like smartphones:  in the world of The Ancients, everybody's got a force-field, I guess.  That really ups the "science fantasy" to degrees that kinda offend my sensibilities.

Utterly irrational, I know.  Curmudgeonly, too.  And even hypocritical when it comes to my love of the genre, as blasters, robots, and battle-armor are fine, but portable super-screens are a problem?!

Eh, I'm a fuddyduddy.  In my day, all we had was stop-signs...and we LIKED it.

I Wouldn't Argue With Her If I Were You