Friday, June 27, 2014

Mutants In The News — "Hungry, Hungry Hippos" Edition

How'd they get there, you ask?  They're hold-overs from deceased drug lord Pablo Escobar's menagerie.

"For about two decades, they have wallowed in their soupy lake....  Nobody knows how many there are," reports William Kremer.  They're also venturing far and wide, with some being spotted over 150 miles away from their birthplace.

And get this mind-boggling mutato-liciousness:  male hippos in Africa attain sexual maturity in seven to nine years, and females nine to eleven...but thanks their spectacularly perfect living conditions, these South American residents are reaching it in as little as three.  "All the fertile females are reported to be giving birth to a calf every year."

Seriously, the article's a fascinating read, and explains why "they escaped from zoos" isn't so far-fetched an explanation behind the monsters of the post-apocalypse.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"T" is for "Thornhopper"


No. Enc.:  0 (2d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  180' (60')
Armor Class:  4
Hit Dice:  6
Attacks:  1 (gore or kick)
Damage:  2d8 or 2d6
Save:  L3
Morale:  8
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  1,070

Thornhoppers are armored, flightless insects of bison-like proportions that reach lengths of 15' long. Domesticated over the post-apocalyptic centuries, thornhoppers can carry two riders and up to 500 lbs of extra gear.

Thornhoppers often Trample when provoked, or at their riders' insistence.  And they are nigh-invisible in verdant environs, Surprising (even if carrying riders) on 1-5 on 1d6.

Mutations:  Increased Balance

Monday, June 23, 2014

"C" is for "Craydeen"


No. Enc.:  1d8 (2d6)
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement:  120' (40')
   Burrow:  15' (5')
      Swim:  60' (20')
Armor Class:  3
Hit Dice:  11
Attacks:  4 (2 claws, 2 weapons)
Damage:  2d6 / 2d6, and by 2 weapons
Save:  L11
Morale:  11
Hoard Class:  VI, XIV
XP:  5,200

While the Craw are relatively peaceful crustaceanoids, the miliant Craydeen are anything but.  Stronger and nastier than their arthropoidal cousins, The Craydeen are rampant speciesists who bully, torment, and enslave "lesser races" at every opportunity.

The Craydeen are nomadic and semi-aquatic, and live as brigands and pirates.  They are also polyglots who can comprehend and commune with all sentient mutant species.

Craydeen love Ancient carbonated beverages, and will do anything to acquire them.

Mutations:    Aberrant Form (Gills and Lungs), Energy-Retaining Cell Structure, Enhanced Vision (Night), Force Screen, Frailty (Heat) [D]

Friday, June 20, 2014

"F" is for "Flinch"


No. Enc.:  2d6 (3d6)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  18' (6')
         —Fly:  210' (70')
Armor Class:  2
Hit Dice:  1d2 HP
Attacks:  1 (peck)
Damage:  1 hp
Save:  L1
Morale:  7
Hoard Class:  None
XP:  7

Flinches are 6" tall birds with grimy, soot-stained feathers. Fleshy tumors erupt across their skulls, sometimes growing so pervasively as to blind the creatures outright.

Pyrokinetic pests that eat seeds, small arthropods, and ash, flinches are feared throughout the Mutant Future.  They turn settlements and ruins into infernos, and lay waste to arable land and crops.  To keep flinches at bay, villages often keep fiery "feeders" (rusty toxic waste drums filled with smoldering grains, vegetation, and debris) at the outskirts.

Some (burn-scarred, hair-deficient) individuals claim to have domesticated flinches, using exotic nectars and hand-carved whistles...which they'll happily sell for an exorbitant sum, natch.

Mutations:  Reflective Epidermis (Fire / Heat)Temperature Control (Heat)Vision Impairment [D]

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

"K" is for "Kurbaq"


No. Enc.:  1 (1d4)
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement:  90' (30')
      —Swim:  120' (40')
Armor Class:  5
Hit Dice:  13
Attacks:  3 (2 claws, 1 bite)
Damage:  2d6+2 / 2d6+2 / 1d8
Save:  L13
Morale:  10
Hoard Class:  XIX
XP:  8,700

The hermaphroditic, brutish kurbaqs are 8' tall, hunchbacked amphibianoids with slick, shiny bodies that ripple with muscles.  A third eye—bulbous, black, lifeless, and all-seeing—juts from the humps above their misshapen, snaggletoothed faces.  Though of low intelligence, kurbaqs possess cruel cunning and grim determination (WIL scores of 9+1d8).

Kurbaqs inject poison (Class determined at random) from sickle-like protrusions on their wrists.  And they insidiously combine their Ancestral Form and Empathy mutations to create loyal gangs of primitive, devolved humanoids.  A lone kurbaq will be accompanied by 1d3 thralls, while larger groups can have 2d6 (or more).

Mutations:  Ancestral Form, EmpathyEnhanced Vision (Night, Thermal, Ultraviolet), Reflective Epidermis (Fire / Heat), Mind Thrust, Reduced Oxygen Efficiency [D]Toxic Weapon (Venom)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Radioactive Review — 'Wisdom From The Wastelands #23: Sea Monsters'

"Like, 40% of the original Gamma World monsters were fish.  What was up with that?" — WotC's Bruce Cordell, on Gamma World 4e (7e) (at GenCon 2010)

"Despite much of the planet being covered by ocean, sea monsters have oddly been absent from all editions of the game that inspired Mutant Future." — Introduction to WFTW #23

They're both (kinda-sorta) right.

Fish play a huge role in the Gamma World bestiaries from the 2nd Edition on, but they're freshwater (one supposes, based on the brief descriptions) critters.

But Dragon Magazine's two Mutant Manual supplements (found in #98 and #108) added a handful of sea-things, like aerosquids, blade whales, crusteans [crabs], draguns [saltwater crocs], and flipps [dolphins].  Sure, they're not "official" boxed-set beasties or anything, but they're close enough.

A Swiss-army version needs to happen.

WFTW #23 brings more post-apocalyptic content of a specifically salinated spin.

First off are nine new monsters.

There's the candy cod, a "fairly common game fish" that slightly mutates those that eat it.  It also has 30 Hit Dice, which is insane.  Compatible Labyrinth Lord tyrannosaurs have 20, fer chrissakes.

Next up is the glup, a grunion-y seal-thing that offensively shifts ambient temperatures.  Most of the text is about its mating cycle, though, so the Wisdom From The Wasteland series once again makes it abundantly clear why author Derek Holland is known as Skirmisher Publishing's Official Staff Biologist.

The greater inferno whale follows, and if you remember your Thundarr, you get the gist.  I reckon the "greater" part comes from added noxious clouds of gaseous chlorine it generates. Snazzy!


Then there's the shark king, which isn't a shark proper, but a sentient bass that makes Jaws-y sand elementals.  Nifty concept.  But this line in the description tickled me silly: "They are not a good source of information and most people ignore or avoid them."  It's just so random.  And doesn't that generally apply to EVERY monster, sentient or otherwise, in any given RPG?

It takes a whoooooooooooole lotta text to describe the shellback, when "big, poisonous clam" would've sufficed.  Same goes for the slaath, "big, explosive, carnivorous seaweed."

Close to the last but certainly not anywhere near the least, the sticky tree is a 300' long, 40' wide, 30' tall, 250 ton, 60 HD sea cucumber that swallows ships whole and is consequently stuffed with 10 times worth of Mutant Future's best treasure Hoard Class.  The Kraken as piƱata!


Looks like my sentiment regarding the shellback and slaath applies to the stonegull, too. "Bird with hardened feathers."

And again, with the the striking lump, "coral that entombs you on contact".  Ugh.  Sooooo. Much.  Expository.  Text.  I know word-counts matter to reach the WFTW standard format, but sheesh.

Rounding out the issue is some crunch, with painless, down-n-dirty drowning rules (lacking from the core Mutant Future book), and three new mutations:  Animate Object, Chemical Gland, and the disadvantageous Loss Of Trait.  All of these could be covered under existing mutations like Aberrant Form, Toxic Weapon, and Frailty, respectively, but there they are.

This issue of WFTW isn't my favorite.  Fiery whales and shark-golems aside, it's dry (hyuck!) and too tame.

But no matter what I think, Holland's science bonafides are unimpeachable.  And the drowning bit is sllick.  Totally using it.

Buy it here for 99¢.  Still the best value in gaming PDFs!