Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Disclaimer:  I do not own the rights to any of the images associated with these guns!  I pulled these pictures off of Google image search and my posting of them is not meant in any way as a challenge to the rightful owners of these images.

The Guns
(These are listed here by the names the party has given them, not their military designation.
Hence the "Rambo Gun"):

Rambo Gun (machine gun / grenade launcher):  The machine gun can be used for  either semi-auto fire for 2 attacks at +2 to hit from laser sight or fully automatic fire, 3 attacks with no plus to hit.  Damage: 2d8.  The ammo is contained in a belt-fed ammo box, holding 54 rounds for 18 rounds of fully automatic firing.  Grenade Launcher:  max range of 600’, 200-400’ takes a -2 to hit, 400-600’ takes a -4 to hit.  Explodes for 10d6 damage, 15’ radius burst.  Must be reloaded after firing, reloading takes a movement action.

Corner Shot Grenade Launcher:  Barrel can be swiveled up to 90 degrees to allow fire around corners. Laser sighting and computer targeting grant +2 to hit, +4 when using programmable timed explosive detonation via attached computer screen.  This means that this weapon can target someone behind cover by detonating the grenade when it is flying over them.  range of 600’, 200-400’ gets +2 to hit, 400-600’ gets no pluses to hit.  Explodes for 10d6 damage, 15’ radius burst.  Must be reloaded after firing, reloading takes a movement action.

Laser Sniper Rifle:  Range up to 10,000 feet.  Advanced laser targeting scope with gyroscope stabilizers and locking tracking gives +4 to hit, no range penalties. Can fire up to 25 times on a single powercell. Single shot per round.  Damage: 6d10

Heavy Machine Gun:  Effective range to 3,000 feet (longer range possible at severe penalties).  May be fired in semi-automatic bursts of 3 shots per round (at close ranges of 70’ and closer this gets +1 to hit) or fully automatic for 6 shots per round (you do not get a bonus to hit for close range firing while using the fully automatic mode).  Ammo belts come in boxes that are easily exchanged as a move action, each box containing 90 rounds (15 full rounds of fully auto fire).  Each shot does 2d10 damage (for a max of 12d10 if all 6 fully auto shots hit!).  This is not a weapon designed to be held by hand while firing, but particularly large or strong mutants might be able to do so (Bozko the giant mutated nettle plant has fired one of these bad boys by hand, but he stands 14' tall. Don't try this at home, kids!).

Silenced submachine gun (handheld Uzi style).  These guns have laser sighting and a powerful flashlight.  Either semi-auto fire for 2 attacks at +2 to hit from laser sight or fully automatic fire, 3 attacks with no plus to hit.  They fire hollow-tipped bullets for maximum damage, but this reduces effective range to 800’.  At ranges greater than 400’ semi-auto fire gets no pluses to hit and fully auto fire gets -2 to hit.  Each clip holds 21 shots for 7 rounds of fully auto fire.  Damage:1d12+2

Four Barreled Rocket Launcher:  Range up to 2,000 feet, with a -2 to hit at ranges greater than 1,000 feet.  One shot per round.  Rockets explode in a 20’ radius for 10d6+10 damage.  It takes a
movement action to reload one barrel.

Single Shot Missile Launcher:  Laser sighting and lock-on smart missile tracking gives +4 to hit, no range penalties.  Max range: 10,000 feet.  Missiles explode in 40’ radius for 10d10 damage.  Takes a movement action to reload.

Laser Pistol:  Range up to 1,000 feet.  Two shots per round, 60 shots per energy cell.  Damage:6d6

Plasma Rifle:  Range up to 1,000 feet.  Laser sighting gives a +2 to hit.  Two shots per round, 25 shots per energy cell.  The intensity of the plasma burst fired is controlled with a slider on the side of the gun, and can be set anywhere from "stun" to "max".  The intensity slider has seven positions reflecting stun (for 1d4 rounds if save vs. stun attacks is failed), 1d10, 2d10, etc., all the way through 6d10 damage.  The plasma rifles seem to have degraded slightly over time, and occasionally have superheated during use and seemed on the edge of melting down or blowing up.  Until such a time as this actually happens during play, I will not reveal the game mechanic governing the chances of a meltdown.  Unfortunately for the players, this is the weapon that they ended up with the most of.  They looted several bagfuls of these things from a large combat training chamber.

Fragmentation Grenade:  Hand thrown, 15’ radius explosion, 10d6 damage.  This is your typical grenade with a pin that you pull out to arm it.

EMP Grenade:  Hand thrown, 30’ radius, EMP pulse knocks out electrical equipment within range.  This is essentially an explosive device that converts the explosive energy into a pulse that disables electronics.  Different types of electronics are affected differently; devices that are susceptible to EMP damage, from most to least vulnerable:
1. Integrated circuits (ICs), CPUs, silicon chips.
2. Transistors and diodes.
3. Inductors, electric motors
4. Vacuum tubes: also known as thermionic valves, shielded gold-coated tubes can often survive substantial EMP

As the players do not know the actual percentage chances of each of these kinds of electronic equipment being disrupted, I will not reveal this on the blog until they spend some time field testing these puppies.

Smoke Grenades:  Hand thrown, 15’ radius irritant smoke screen.  Anyone within the smoke screen takes a cumulative -2 to hit and +2 to AC penalty for each round spent in the smoke.  The smoke persists for 2d6+1 rounds, or 1d6 rounds if in a windy or very well ventilated area.

C-4 Plastic Explosive:  A highly explosive compound combined with a plasticizer which renders it around the consistency of modeling clay, C-4 is ideal for improvised explosives because it can be pressed into any available crack, hole or empty shell casing.  It is extremely stable and hard to detonate; you can burn C-4 without detonating it, you can drop it, you can even shoot it without setting it off accidentally!  C-4 requires a detonator which can have a fuse or be remote controlled.  When properly tamped to increase the pressure and explosive force, it does 10d20 damage per pound within a 15' radius and 10d6 damage from 15-30' (save vs. energy attacks for 1/2 damage).

Shotgun:  This is a 12 gauge, pump-action shotgun with a 6 round magazine.  If you put one round in the chamber it can hold 7 rounds.  0-15' range: 3d6 damage, 15-30' range: +2 to hit, 2d6 damage, 30-50' range: +4 to hit, 1d6 damage.  Two shots per round.  A variety of special ammunition exists for these military shotguns, including gas shells (which emit a cone of gas out to 9'), explosive shells, non-lethal rubber buckshot, breaching rounds (which destroy door locks), and screechers (pyrotechnic round that whistles for its entire flight).

Plasma Pistol:  Range up to 500 feet.  Two shots per round, 50 shots per energy cell.  Damage: 7d6

Alien Gun:  5 settings:
1: Energy Beam, 1 mile range (save vs. energy attacks for 1/2 damage at 2000+'), 2 shots per round, 50 shots per energy cell.  Damage: 8d6
2: Flame Thrower, 40' cone, 20' wide at apex, 1 shot per round, 10 shots per fuel cartridge.  Damage: 8d6
3: Worm Dart - a glass dart containing a ravenous alien worm, 4 per clip.  1d6 damage + worm attacks with +1 to hit per point of damage done by the dart.  If the worm hits, it burrows under the flesh - this takes 1 full round, so the victim gets one chance to destroy it before it dissapears.  Worm: AC: 6, 2 HD (10 HP), 1 Attack (bite): 1d6 damage, when it has done 10 damage it splits into two 10 HP worms with identical stats (which can also split).
4: Homing Dart - a barbed dart with a homing beacon in the tip, 10 per clip. 1 damage, but removing it causes 2d6 damage and there is a 10% chance per point of damage done that the tip breaks off in the wound, requiring another 1d6 damage be done to dig it out.  While the dart is embedded in a target, all wielders of Alien Guns receive a +4 to hit the target.
5: Alien Web - a ball of tissue that expands into a 10' web when it strikes a target, which contracts and snares the object it hit in an extremely strong mesh of alien muscle fiber.  4 per clip.  Target must roll under its dexterity with a +4 penalty to the roll or both arms are pinned - if the check is successful, at least one arm is free.  The web is AC: 5 and takes 30 HP of damage to destroy.

Character Generation

I have it on good authority that yet another new player will be at the game this Friday.  While he will be shepherded through the character generation process by several of the other players well before the game begins, I thought this was a good time to post the few houserules I made to the standard Mutant Future character generation.

Ability Scores:

  • Roll 3d6 six times and write them down in order, but you can switch any one pair of ability scores.  I primarily did this because your starting constitution score determines your hit points, and in a game without magical healing and with a very slim chance that your HP will increase as you level up, I wanted to allow someone who rolled that 4 in constitution to switch it out for something else if they desired.  
  • Hopeless Characters:  If not a single score grants a bonus and several scores are very low, I will allow you to reroll all six abilities down the line again.  I leave this up to the player's discretion.  You do not have to take this option, and I realize that this may not be very old school, but I want everyone to have a good time.  


  • Roll mutations randomly, but if you end up with more drawbacks than beneficial mutations you have the option of re-rolling ALL of your mutations.  Again, you do not have to take this option.  
Other than that, I go by the book.  All races are fair game and starting gold and equipment should be figured as normal.

EDIT (12/22/10):

Starting players in my campaign can choose to roll up a character using my Fantasy Quirks character creation supplement for Mutant Future. 

Go get 'em!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

General Campaign Background

As an artist, writer and musician I find it is always easiest to start with something I know well, something familiar. No matter what crazy place I end up in, there is a level of comfort and detail I can get when starting close to home that is impossible to get if I begin in the wild blue yonder. I know the Eugene/Springfield area very well, so when I decided to run a Mutant Future campaign I set the action in my backyard as it were. My players have been rambling around in the swampy ruins of what used to be west Eugene, and I set the date of the first Apocalypse to April 20th, 2010 so that I could easily improvise what they found in the ruins. While the wacky names in the following post may seem obnoxious or unnecessary, they are merely a continuation of the grand Gamma World tradition of slightly tweaking modern names; I should add that they have been well received by my players. I even received one excited phone call at work when James T. finally figured out exactly where his character was and couldn't believe that it had taken him so long to make the connection.

General Campaign Background

The characters are based in Skinny Butt, a warren-like community dug into the basalt flow that forms a small hill overlooking a bend in the Willing Mate River to the north and a vast swampland that extends to the south, east and west. Skinny Butt is composed mostly of Mutant Humans, Mutant Animals and Mutant Plants (hereafter MH, MA and MP), and is known for its tolerant attitude towards physical oddities. Until last year, a low-lying fog covered the swamp and effectively isolated Skinny Butt from the surrounding world; swarms of vampire bats roamed the swamp both night and day, under the cover of the cloaking mists (the bats’ flesh burns in the sunlight). Skinny Butt was an oasis in the middle of this deadly swamp, as the leader of the town (an ancient mutant cheetah named Grandma Dots who is at least several hundred years old) has the ability to control weather and used it to create a circle of clear skies around the hill. For hundreds of years, the mutants of Skinny Butt fished in the Willing Mate River, farmed rocky terraces carved into the side of Skinny Butt hill, and traded with the Cephalopoids who swam underneath the surface of the swamp to barter the nutritious roots and tubers of water plants that they harvested. Then, as mysteriously as the mists had descended in a long ago time scarcely remembered by even Grandma Dots, they lifted and Skinny Butt was once again in contact with the outside world. Even now, however, venturing outdoors at night is considered suicide because of the swarms of bats and their effective stunning sonar attack.

Important personages in Skinny Butt:

The government consists of a council of elders led by Grandma Dots. Particularly vital issues are put to community vote. The councilors are two elders from each of the MH, MA and MP communities:
MH - the two-headed Zzorbott Zzanderphone and emerald skinned Violet the Green
MA – Wooliandro the wise sheep-man and Chab the pithy rattlesnake
MP – mmPipsoo-uh-woo (Pipso for short, a sentient blackberry bush) and Treebeard
The town has one blacksmith, Bloxun, a 4-armed super-dense heat resistant slab of a man.
There is only one store per se (informal barter being the rule of thumb), run by Mookie Little, a 2’ tall dwarf with an uncannily keen eye and persuasive tongue. Mookie’s daughter Frita Little is something of the town bully, standing every inch of 16’ tall and tolerated because of her father’s importance to the town.
A babbling old idiot known as Skeezax is widely recognized to be the town crazy.
A winged mutant black bear named Hacker Bladwor holds the title of “Defender of the Butt”, bestowed upon a worthy warrior by the council. This title makes him responsible for the security of the settlement, and he takes this job seriously. He is authorized to raise a militia in times of trouble and has several trained underlings who act as his lieutenants.

Nearby Settlements

There are two nearby communities; a larger, walled town named Spanky Butt in the hills across the swamp to the south and a group to the east known as the Ooh-Oh Monks that inhabit a well-preserved complex of buildings on a low hill rising out of the Willing Mate River. Spanky Butt is a mostly pure-strain human community, but until recently many MH with few visible deformities lived there as well. The Ooh-Oh Monks are known as collectors of ancient technologies but little else is known about this secretive group. Rumors of communities to the north were confirmed when a trader arrived from far off Porrit Land, bringing sweet, pure water in 30 gallon containers and trading for the metal and artifacts of the Ancients that scatter the ruins which poke up here and there through the swamp.

Religion and Knowledge of the Ancients:

Lard Jeebus is the primary god worshiped in the Mutant Future. Lard Jeebus is portrayed alternately as a kind and loving (if somewhat condescending) human father, and as a terrible wrathful warrior wielding a mighty hammer and wearing a crown of living serpent vines. Lard Jeebus is closely associated with pure-strain humans but his reputation as a granter of healing blessing as well as terrible retribution makes him popular with all the residents of this scarred land. Colors: White and Brown, numbers: 0 and 7, Holy Day: Soond (days of the week are Soond, Moond, Toond, Woond, Thoond, Froond and Satoond)

Beetzel Bub is the next most commonly invoked deity, a terrifying figure portrayed as a three headed giant fly with sword-like bristles protruding from his bulbous body. Beetzel Bub is thought to cause mutations and is both feared and worshiped for this attribute. Some people whisper that Beetzel Bub and Lard Jeebus are in truth but two different aspects of a powerful universal godhead known only as New Clear. This view is considered heretical by most, and openly speaking of it could be dangerous if a devout follower of Lard Jeebus or Beetzel Bub hears it. Colors: Green and Black, numbers: 6 and 9, Holy Day: Froond

Intur Netz is an ancient diety worshipped by the Ooh-Oh Monks and the tribal communities in the Eastern Desert. A god of knowledge, Intur Netz is something of an oracular figure. Highly trained specialist priests interface with strange technological boxes to ask questions of the old god.

Other minor deities abound, mostly ancestral spirits and totemic gods associated with particular families or areas. These will not be mentioned here, as they vary from place to place and family to family. Some cults have sprang up around particularly powerful mutants as well who make claims to godhood.

Knowledge of the past is fragmentary and often purely speculative. That the world was not always covered in patches of radiation and roamed by strange mutants is self-evident by the ever-present ruins of the Ancients. Who these people were, how they erected such monumental edifices and why they disappeared are mostly unknown. Some say that the pure humans brought the collapse upon themselves with their obsession with technology. Others maintain that Lard Jeebus brought down his hammer because he was tired of being worshiped by only one race.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Players Welcome

I have been having a continuing influx of new players into my campaign. This is a good thing, and I have been loving DMing for larger groups than I am used to, but it is getting harder to get the new players up to speed the longer the campaign has progressed. The players have learned an awful lot of history and have made many friends and enemies. We either end up taking some time at the beginning of the session rehashing recent adventures, or (if I am forewarned about the new player) I send them an email with some general background and a quick summary of the party's exploits to date. Either way, important information is invariably missed and the sessions get put on pause when something comes up and we realize that the new player has no idea what is going on.

This, combined with the fact that everything I have posted on this blog so far is now common knowledge to the players, has led me to realize that I am missing a golden opportunity. From here on out, I am referring new players to this blog. I will also be posting new material with this in mind, so my next few posts will probably be more along the lines of a general introduction to my campaign. This also means that I will not be posting information that has not been uncovered by the players yet, so the campaign timeline will remain incomplete for the time being. I was planning on talking about what causes the mutations in my game, but that will also have to wait.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

To fight or not to fight?

Quite a few of our recent sessions have involved either no combat at all or very minimal combat. Despite this fact, many things have happened and I have had no trouble keeping the players' interest. For a number of sessions the party was exploring a ruined military complex buried deep under the swamp. After defeating the robot guardians and hacking into the defense network, several sessions were mostly exploratory and focused on trying to figure out what was going on in the extensive research laboratories. This involved finding the appropriate key cards to gain access to different areas, so a number of the private chambers of high ranking scientists were ransacked and many interesting discoveries were made. A robot dog with a real dog's mind (the brilliant scientist Julius Corple's grad school dissertation in advanced robotics, this dog represented the first successful transference of a brain into a robot) was overjoyed to have company after long lonely centuries, and is faithfully following the party to this day.

However, the sessions of exploration ended violently when the party encountered the descendants of an experimental genetic engineering project that sought to create super commandos by manipulating the genome of chimpanzees and orangutans. The super-apes had began confined to a single level of the complex for six hundred years because of the poisonous gasses that filled the rest of the facility. When the party closed the portal to the Oozyxphgian home world through which the poisonous atmosphere was pouring, the gasses began to dissipate and the apes took their ancient inter-species warfare to the rest of the complex, and the party soon began to get caught in the crossfire. The end result of this, after one near total party kill at the hands of some orangutans wielding plasma rifles and one truly terrifying alpha-male with a light saber, was that the party fled the complex through an underground passage.

Fleeing down this tunnel brought the party into contact with the badders and another session of pure role playing ensued as the party (after being thoroughly scared and confused at the carefully stacked piles of scrap metal they encountered in a tunnel hundreds of feet below the surface) became quite intrigued with the worship of Glargorion and helped the badders haul a number of ruined vehicles out of the hangar level of the complex into the tunnel to help lure the great worm (see my previous post about Glargorion). In turn, the badders were quite impressed that the party had somehow managed to clear the ruined complex of the poisonous gasses that had kept the badders from accessing all that scrap metal before. The badders explained that the thick blast shielding that surrounded the complex had kept Glargorion from smelling the metal before, but now that it was dragged out into the tunnel the shaman was able to summon Glargorion and the party was given a heroes welcome in the main badder warrens. A whole session was spent learning about Glargorion, helping the badders summon him, and negotiating with the badder smiths to create weapons and armor for the party out of the glarg-ore pellet that was awarded the party for their efforts. One of my players was so enamored with the cult of Glargorion that he spent a week learning everything the shamans would teach him about the worm, and he has been spreading the word of Glargorion everywhere that he has gone since then.

Currently, the players are about to embark on the third session in a row of tricky diplomacy, attempting to prevent the Knights of Genetic Purity from accessing nuclear weapons that are stored in a desert missile silo. The missile silo happens to be a sacred religious site for three warring desert tribes that come together once a year for a month long festival culminating in the priesthood of the three tribes simultaneously speaking the pass phrase to the voice activated security systems, and entering the silo to ask questions of the great god Intur Netz. During the festival, all hostilities are outlawed and the party has been trying to play off of the tensions between the three tribes (a tribe of mutant turkey vultures recognizable to D&D heads as Aarokocra, the pure human Snake and Rabbit clans, and the Feylar, a four-armed mutant gorilla race lifted from the 2e Dark Sun setting) to gain access to the silo, while simultaneously attempting to thwart the efforts of the Knights to do the same. There are still three days of the festival left, so I would not be surprised if this general scenario does not continue for several more sessions, and the players are loving it. There is intrigue aplenty, there is the great gladiatorial games that end the festival (and which it seems increasingly likely some or all of the players will have to participate in to honor the various deals they have been brokering), some human looking party members (one mutant human, one robot) are attempting to infiltrate the Knights of Genetic purity, one female party member has become an honored guest of the Mother of the Obsidian Tent of the Snake Clan (the Snake and Rabbit clans are a strongly matriarchal society where all important positions are held by women and the men are mostly status symbols for the women; the men spend their time oiling their bodies and competing for the affections of the powerful Tent Mothers), there are multiple contingency plans in the works, and two sessions have passed without a single die roll.

One thing that has come of all these combat-less sessions is that I have completely abandoned the experience tables in the Mutant Future rulebook and have gone to free form experience awarding. I wouldn't feel right to not award experience for all these sessions of brilliant role playing. The party could easily have been killing things left and right but that would have accomplished very little and I want to reward role playing, not discourage it. I now evaluate what the party accomplished last session and give out a reward that I feel is in keeping with what happened, whether or not any monsters were killed or any treasure was found.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

All Hail Glargorion

Old School RPGers may remember the badders as a race of mutant badgers from Gamma World. They featured in the classic Gamma World adventure Famine in Far-Go, and it is probably the illustration of the badder warrior training with a dummy that influenced me to include them in my Mutant Future campaign.

In my world, the badders are the ancestral enemies of the Coy Pu (mutant nutrias; if you don't know what a nutria is, they are basically 3-4' long rats that have taken over the Eugene-Springfield area of Oregon where I live). They spend most of their time in their extensive burrows underneath the swamps, and have hollowed out the southwest hills of post-apocalyptic Eugene where they raise their badder young and practice the art of warfare. The badders also worship the great worm Glargorion.

Glargorion is a unique mutation, a thousand foot long worm-like monstrosity that chews through solid earth and seeks out veins of metal to devour. After passing through Glargorion's digestive tracts, the metal is compressed, transformed and eventually defecated as pellets of glarg-ore. This metal is both incredibly strong and highly flexible, capable of stretching or compressing to twice or one half of its original dimensions, and it has many other interesting properties. It is capable of storing thoughts and images if a mutant with telepathic abilities spends time placing them in it. Images appear in perfect clarity on the side of the ore, while thoughts are accessible to any sentient creature that touches the metal.

When crafted by a master smith (and the badders have been perfecting the art of working with glarg-ore for hundreds of years) glarg-ore can be used to create weapons and armors that are nearly magical in their effectiveness. In game terms, when such an item is created a 1d4 roll equals the "magical" bonus of the item, +1 if the smith is a master craftsman. Glarg-ore armor is invaluable for mutants with the ability to alter their density, as it can expand and shrink with the mutant up to its natural limits (twice or 1/2 its size).

The badders have an intricate mythology centered around Glargorion, and spend a a great deal of time and energy collecting scrap metal from the ruins and dragging it down to a long tunnel far from the hub of badder society. There, the scrap metal is heaped up until it proves irresistible to the keen senses of Glargorion, and the mighty worm comes to collect its prize, leaving its valuable droppings in its wake. Glargorion visits only infrequently, and the badder shamans jealously guard the secrets of the pulsing rhythms that they send out into the earth with massive counter-weighted pillars, because these vibrations are the language of the god and help summon Glargorion when the precious supply of glarg-ore is running low.

Glargorion can be a cruel god, and its meanderings occasionally take it through the populated areas of the badder tunnels. Then pandemonium ensues as the 20' wide maw gapes and whole families disappear into the depths of the worm. Then the shamans seek for signs and portents to reveal what displeased the mighty worm god, and great sacrifices are offered in its honor. Despite these occasional terrifying episodes, the tremendous value of the glarg-ore and the reassuring knowledge that their god is tangibly real and swimming through the solid earth somewhere below serve to keep the worship of Glargorion alive among the badders.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Art

Well, this post has nothing to do with Mutant Future at all. I didn't feel like creating a new blog, so I hereby declare that I can post anything I want on this blog by the power invested in me by blogspot. I am sure the majority of my posts will continue to be about my Mutant Future campaign because I am running weekly sessions that range from 4 to 7 hours so there is obviously a ton of material getting generated.

Today I wanted to post a few drawings that I have done recently, two monster drawings for the very interesting megadungeon.net site (I also did two maps for that site, the Fungus Forest and the Saint's Shrine) and an interior illustration for the upcoming Stonehell release that Mike over at The Society of Torch, Pole and Rope is working on. I am also working on another drawing for Mike that is unfinished as of yet, which I may post here later. It has been years since I drew anything other than doodles in the margins of my notes in class or strange things on the whiteboard in my office, so I am rather pleased with how these turned out.


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