Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dead Players/ the Wall of Valhalla

Well, it finally happened last Friday - the first player character deaths in my Mutant Future campaign. This can be a tricky thing with any roleplaying game - some DMs shy away from ever killing a PC, others reserve death for players making particularly bone-headed decisions and some just let the dice fall where they may and accept the consequences. I fall into that latter camp. I always roll my dice out in the open where the players can see, partly to remove the temptation of fudging a hit or damage roll here and there to prevent a character's death. Of course, the game itself can make player death a big deal if character generation takes a long time or if there is a significant power increase as characters level up (which can lead to a new character being almost useless next to the other higher level characters).
Mutant Future solves these problems easily, as character generation is not only fast but incredibly fun, and the difference in power between a 1st level character and a higher level character is quite small; indeed, with some lucky mutation rolls, a 1st level character could even be more powerful than a higher level character. Still, I was a little nervous to see how the players reacted to the deaths of their first Mutant Future characters.
In short, they took it very well. Danny and Sean are both rolling up new characters for next session and don't seem terribly shaken up by this turn of events. As the deaths occurred towards the end of our last session, Sean took the opportunity to go outside and smoke a cigarette, while Danny took over an NPC character, a commando from the past who had just been revived from her cryogenic slumber by the PCs.
One cool thing that happened is that another player instantly sprang to his feet, grabbed the dead characters' character sheets, and pinned them to the wall above the game table.
"They are up in Valhalla now," he proclaimed. Everyone looked up at the sheets and smiled, perhaps thinking about what other brave characters might end up on the wall of dead heroes before it was all said and done.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Campaign Timeline part 1

The default setting for Mutant Future is that society collapsed in the future. This means that when the ruins of past civilizations are explored, high-tech items like laser guns and advanced robotics can be found. The first and largest apocalyptic event in my campaign, on the other hand, occurred on April 20th, 2010. Pockets of humanity remained, however, in rural areas, super-secure military bases and underground scientific research facilities. These remained for hundreds of years until the secondary apocalyptic event occurred and in the meantime, research scientists advanced technology to the point that future-tech items can be found. The main reason I decided to go this route is that I am very familiar with the sort of items that would be found when exploring ruins dating back to 2010. I can use pictures of modern technology, I can describe a modern house (Me -"You find a porcelain basin of magnificent manufacture, its smooth curves artfully contrasting with the square tank rising above it." Players - "Interesting. Perhaps it is a device to wash your face.") and I can use Google maps as a basis for my campaign maps. I think a combination of the familiar presented as the strange and a few much rarer futuristic high-tech devices has been working very well for me so far. I would also add that the tech device that has resonated with the players the most has not been a laser cannon or robot, but the hedge-trimmer that was wielded by the Vile Slasher they encountered. When I described the mutant creature pulling on the start-cord and the hedge-trimmer roaring to life, the looks on their faces were priceless.

Campaign Timeline, part 1 - The First Apocalypse

March 3oth, 2010 - The age old question is answered - we are not alone in the universe. Aliens appear across the planet, somehow arriving without flying in from outer space. They appear in massive vehicles that resemble giant cuttlefish. They do not seem to notice the presence of humanity on the planet, instead focusing on the extraction of mineral resources on a scale never before seen on Earth. They appear at spots around the globe that have high mineral content and seem to be focusing on the extraction of gold, iron, silver, copper and uranium. All attempts at communications fail and several aggressive military expeditions are summarily annihilated.

April 1st - April 19th, 2010 - Large scale riots occur across the world as civilian populations grow increasingly restive with their government's impotence in the face of the alien invaders. Military expedition after military expedition only show that the technology of the aliens far outpaces that of Earth, including some sort of force-field that block every missile thrown their direction. The aliens continue to ignore humanity with the exception of destroying military units sent to confront them.

April 20th, 2010 - The nuclear-armed governments of the world jointly decide that this situation cannot stand, and launch a simultaneous nuclear barrage. Somehow, these missiles are redirected en-route by the aliens, perhaps suggesting that they had been paying more attention than had previously been thought to the actions of humankind. A terrible payload of nuclear devastation is scattered randomly across the world, but this is not the end of the day's tragedy. The aliens, finally motivated to do something about the pesky human nuisance, detonate some sort of neutron bomb in every major population center. These bombs destroyed living flesh but left inorganic material intact. In minutes, the population of the Earth was reduced by almost 75%, only those living in rural areas far enough away from any population center to escape the blasts surviving. The total collapse of civilization as we know it today also occurred almost instantly.

Welcome to my post-apocalyptic fantasy!

First things first - an introduction is in order. My name is Carl Nash, pleased to make your virtual acquaintance.

I intend this blog to be a place where I can post snippets of my future Earth, eventually resulting in a more or less complete picture of the particular post-apocalyptic setting I have been creating for my Mutant Future campaign. I will be posting new mutant creatures, robots, random tables for ruin exploration, and my house rules. If you are not already familiar with Mutant Future, let me start by saying that...

Mutant Future Kicks Ass!

And more calmly:
Mutant Future is a retro-clone emulating TSR's old Gamma World game, using the Labyrinth Lord rules that are an emulation of the B/X Dungeons and Dragons rules. The game takes place in the future, after the collapse of society in some sort of apocalyptic event. The ruins and technology of the ancients take the place of the dungeons and magic in your garden variety D&D. In this game, the players can be pure strain humans, mutant humans, mutant animals and even mutant plants. All mutant characters roll for their mutations randomly, and this mechanic creates tremendous variation between characters. There is only one class, but different mutations will enable characters to fulfill different functions in the party.

Mutant Future is published by Goblinoid Games and is available as a free PDF which I highly encourage you to check out. You can also purchase hard copies of the rules from Goblinoid Games store. I posted a lengthier review of the game on lulu, so check that out if you need further convincing of Mutant Future's tubular nature.

Future posts will contain the specifics of my Mutant Future campaign. Before I conclude this introductory post, I would like to say that my players and I have been having more fun with Mutant Future than we have had with any RPG in a long time. In fact, several of my players (with decades of experience playing a wide range of games) have told me that already they have had some of the best single sessions of role-playing that they have ever had. While I will take some of the credit (ever-so-modestly) as a function of my high-level DM skills (by the way, the DM in Mutant Future is the Mutant Lord, but DM is so ingrained in my head that I will probably just continue to use that abbreviation for convenience sake to denote my role as game referee), an equal share of the credit has to go to Ryan Denison and Daniel Proctor for authoring such an amazing game. Thanks guys!

May your mutations always be beneficial -


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...