Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gamma World 4e

When I first heard about the upcoming Gamma World 4e release (that is D&D 4e, not to be confused with the 4th edition of Gamma World which was published by TSR in 1992), I was excited but also had a lot of trepidations. With D&D 4e's strong emphasis on planned character builds and the use of the Character Builder tool to help sort through all the options, I was pretty sure that the random char gen that is so integral to Gamma World would be dropped.  Looks like I was wrong!  Here is a link to a series of tweets from D&D Experience 2010 (Wizard's in-house D&D convention) about the new version of Gamma World, aggregated in one spot at

Color me excited!  Not so much about the collectible mutation cards that are only fifty cents apiece in random booster packs, but about random character generation and mutations and high-tech that could be easily used in regular 4e games.  So far it looks like Gamma World 4e will use a stripped down, rules-lite version of the 4e ruleset at its core, with random mutations and char gens bolted on.  One interesting thing is that each day a player draws from the mutation deck to get a random mutation for that day!  I will definitely be picking this up, especially considering it will be a boxed set!  I love me some boxed sets, I am so glad that Wizards is returning to this model!

Oh yeah - and a re-release/re-vamp of the classic Gamma World module Famine in Far-Go!  Bring on the mutated chickens!

d30 table for Savage Afterworld Contest

I made this d30 table for a hoot and a holler and a shot at a killer Radiation Symbol dice cup over at the Savage Afterworld's d30 contest.

I repost it here for posterity:

d30 Scavenging in the Ruins table:

1. Three Headed Rat encountered in Ancient Cereal Box (rat may have up to three mental mutations at Mutant Lord's discretion)

2. Strange Black Ball with window to an everchanging series of ancient characters such as "Reply Hazy, Try Again" and "Signs point to yes"
Subtable: Roll 1d20 - 
1. As I see it, yes
2. It is certain
3. It is decidedly so
4. Most likely
5. Outlook good
6. Signs point to yes
7. Without a doubt
8. Yes
9. Yes - definitely
10. You may rely on it
11. Reply hazy, try again
12. Ask again later
13. Better not tell you now
14. Cannot predict now
15. Concentrate and ask again
16. Don't count on it
17. My reply is no
18. My sources say no
19. Outlook not so good
20. Very doubtful

3. Large (5'x3'x3')White Box with a Silver Handle - pulling the handle opens a door and reveals a compartment filled with deadly green mold, 10d6 damage, save vs. poison for 1/2 damage (ye olde refrigerator trap)

4. Collection of grooved black discs, made of some sort of plastic like substance, with a hole in the middle; each disc is stored in a crumbling paper casing (records).

5. A metal tool with many blades, files and saws as well as pliers(leatherman)

6. A glass bowl with turquoise pebbles and a miniature castle inside of it

7. A collection of small metal figurines, lovingly painted, seemingly portraying various mutant creatures (D&D minis)

8. A velvet sack containing plastic spheres and cubes with varying numbers of sides, each side embossed with an ancient glyph representing a number

9. Three large metal containers, silver sides and copper bottoms, with metal handles on the sides

10. A bin full of small plastic pieces of varying lengths with raised dots along them; on top of each raised dot is the ancient glyph "lego"

11. A large chest with a small padlock securing the clasp (easily broken) - the bottom has a hole in it and an unusually aggressive snake has taken up residence...

12. A textured rubber sphere with the ancient letters "NBA"

13. The world's dullest knife, ornately decorated with a skull on the pommel, resting point first in a block of wood (cheesy letter opener)

14. 1d6+1 cans decorated with a red and white label, containing a red substance (tomato soup)

15. Deer antlers mounted on a wooden plaque

16. A gold statue of a man with a club in his hands, mounted on a wooden base with an inscribed metal plaque

17. A rectangular metal object with a depressible handle - this fires a staple (possibly into the experimenting character!) 1d30 staples in device

18. A circular object with concentric rings painted on it, and several needle-sharp darts stuck into it

19. A plastic column holding a multitude of red, blue and white discs in slots around its edge (poker chips)

20. A metal rack holding a miniature shovel and a metal poker

21. Two fur-lined metal rings attached by a short length of chain (hand-cuffs - may accidentally close one or both hand-cuffs around wrists - key may or may not be present)

22. A flexible plastic rod with a spool of nearly invisible thread attached to it. Nearby is a metal box containing numerous brightly colored doo-dads attached to barbed hooks.

23. A huge book in amazing condition - its pristine cover has the ancient words "Webster's Unabridged Dictionary"

24. A strange device consisting of metal tubes, gears and two rubber discs surrounding spokes (bicycle)

25. A pink statue of a pig with a slit on its back (filled with ancient coins)

26. A box full of miniature, soft cloth bears (a dangerous spider may be lurking amongst the teddy bears)

27. A bright yellow rubber outfit (rain coat and pants)

28. what appears to be a vicious samurai sword (cheap pot metal replica)

29. A red canister with a rubber hose and a pin (fire extinguisher, Mutant Lord's decision if it still has propellant)

30. A paper box with a wood-grain appearance - inside are three little brown books...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Campaign Catch Up

A lot has happened since my last session recap.  Lets see, for starters, how about four character deaths, one character kidnapping, the campaign wiki getting up and running and the NEAR TOTAL ANNIHILATION of the local chapter of the Knights of Genetic Purity at the hands of my wicked awesome players!  Too much has happened to allow me to recap everything, so let me hit a few highlights.

After sending the tentacle armed monster back to the Mutant Past, the party poked around the top of the military complex and realized that the monster had left behind dozens of babies, gestating in sacks of entrails and insides that the monster had sucked out of its victims with its tongue-arm.  They set about destroying these, and the embryos inside starting screaming, drawing the attention of some adolescent tentacle monsters.  The ensuing fight also drew the attention of some huge worms that apparently have taken up quarters in the second level down (a lot has changed in the complex since Julius Corple has been in charge...).

Blue the Kangaroo was unconscious for much of this fight as a result of dying in a vision of the future he had while using his Precognition mutation.  He woke up just in time to see a bunch of Dog Boys coming across the swamp, and rather than running like a sensible Kangaroo he used his ability to see into the future to see what the dog boys were going to do.  He didn't like what he saw, tried to run when it was too late and got netted by the Dog Boys, who hauled him off into the swamp despite the best efforts of his comrades to save him whilst simultaneously fighting off junior tentacle monsters and 300' worms.

Yeah, that was a pretty epic combat.  One of the great moments involved Stang (an angry 30' long mutant wasp with 4 extra brains, 3 of them defective, that have the personalities of the Beatles and occasionally attempt to possess her) and one of the worms.  Stang, flush with the hundreds of temporary HP she had gained from using her Vampiric Field mutation to destroy dozens of monster embryos, swooped down at a worm that had just crashed through the roof from below.  She was promptly swallowed whole but blasted her way out from the inside, emerging relatively unscathed despite taking 5d20 acid damage a round!

After things quieted down, the party learned that Skinny Butt (their home base) had been obliterated.  The Knights of Genetic Purity had managed to form an alliance with the Radiant Order of the Oh and had successfully trapped the Secret Order of the Ooh in the underground portions of the Ooh-Oh Monk's neck of the woods. This meant that the Knights now had access to the missile silo the monks had formerly used to fend off all comers, and the (huge, bunker-busting) conventional explosives packed into the missiles had been used to pound Skinny Butt until it was a hole in the ground.

Reasoning that if they helped the Secret Order of the Ooh escape they would have yet another ally against the Knights, the party contacted his magnificence the Dean Doco Proffus Flipsham Egwar using the special ear piece he had given them in an earlier meeting.  They were perturbed to find out that something or someone was preventing the powerful mutant from using his mental abilities to teleport in his shining egg vehicle, and indeed, was preventing all of the mutants in the order from using their mutations to fight their way out.  The party resolved to clear a path up from the mouse kingdom through the abandoned levels that were frequented by Dragons (giant, winged, scaly, fire-breathing cats) and an assortment of carnivorous plants so that the Secret Order of the Oohs could escape down without having to fight their way out.

This turned out to be a bad idea, as the party ignored all my (very clear, I thought) warnings that the dragons were nothing to be trifled with - Ryan had just rolled up a new character to replace the recently abducted Blue, coming up with an Obese Were-Panda in a business suit, and this unfortunate mutant died within a half hour of his creation.  Natas, who had recently acquired the Increased Caloric Needs defective mutation, carved up the roasted (courtesy of the dragons) body of the panda to eat later on.

The party then tried a different strategy, returning to the surface and making a direct assault on the missile silo with the help of some of the Mice in Mech Suits.

The battle was ferocious and bloody, and when a chainsaw wielding robot of doom joined the fray on the side of the Knights of Genetic Purity, it looked like the party was facing another inglorious defeat.  Thats when George (a new character played by Mike) floored his ATV at the robot and used his Disentegration mutation, rolling a success to disentegrate 140 pounds of its head and shoulders.  As it teetered and then fell over, decapitated, it became apparent that there had been a man inside it - blood began to pour out and George collapsed unconscious on his ATV, drained by his mutation, and rolled off into the woods.

The Robot of Doom:

The tide of the battle turned at this point, and when it became clear that the party and their allies were going to win through into the silo, the two silo coverings opened up and the knights inside began preparations to launch two missiles simultaneously on Lard Jeebus knows what target.  Dataan and Bozko saw this, and both took actions to prevent the missile launches.  Bozko in his Iron Man suit flew by and loosed a mini-missile into one silo while Dataan ran down the hillside from where he had been hiding after nearly being killed in the first moments of the combat and began chucking grenades into the other silo.  They both managed to ignite the booster fuel in the lower stages of the missiles, and as the silos were consumed with a fiery explosion, one of the warheads was detonated in the conflagration.

Most of the party had cleared out as soon as the impending missile launch had been discovered, Rock hauling away the unconscious George and Bozko flying off after loosing his missile.  Bark had already been slain in the melee, and Natas was inexplicably carving holes in a helmet he had pilfered from a KoGP commando so that he could put the helmet on over his horns.

When the missile exploded, Dataan and Natas died instantly and several more missiles stowed below in the silo also exploded, collapsing the entire complex and leaving a smoldering crater in the side of Hendrix Hill.  I should mention that I gave Natas plenty of opportunity to say he was fleeing the scene (Dataan unfortunately was right next to the silo, having just tossed the grenades in that caused the missile to detonate) - but he was very clear that he was stopping to pick up a helmet and cut holes in it for his horns to fit through.  Rock's player (the older brother of Natas' player in real life) said, "You mean you are doing that after you run away, right?"

But Natas again reiterated that he was picking up a helmet and carving holes in it.  So that is how he died, in the middle of a crafting project!

Still, this had to be counted as a glorious success for the party despite three character deaths - in the battle and subsequent missile detonations, 50 regular Knights of Genetic Purity, 16 commandos, 1 special operative wearing an Iron Man suit and one chain-saw wielding Robot of Doom had been destroyed, representing nearly the entire force that the knights had in the area.  Some of the top ranking officers and one special operative in an Iron Man suit escaped in a vehicle, but other than that, it was a clean sweep.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

2e Tuesday - Kamodos

That's right, Gamma World 2d edition... what 2e did you think I meant?  Every Tuesday I will pick one of my favorite monsters from the fully illustrated bestiary included in the 2d edition Gamma World Basic Rules Booklet and convert it to Mutant Future.  Today's monster is...

Kamodos (Thunder Lizards)

No. Enc: 1d4-2
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 240' (80')
Armor Class: 0
Hit Dice: 15
Attacks: 1
Damage:  6d8 (bite) or 5d6 (tailslap)
Save:  L10
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: XV (scattered around its lair)

There are few creatures more feared than the 59' tall Kamodos.  While their imposing size and toothsome bite is bad enough, it is their earth-shaking roar and powerful mutations that send all who cross their path running.  All Kamodos have a Willpower between 13-22 (1d10+12) and have a sixth sense that prevents them from being surprised.

Mutations:  Accumulated Resistance (Heat), Disintegration, Damage Turning, Mental Barrier, Combat Empathy, Special (Sonic Blast: 50' range, 9d6 damage), Special (Will Force: double the effect of any mutation used during 1d4 minute duration, once per day)

This one is a real terror.  You really don't want to make a Thunder Lizard angry - it will use Will Force and start letting loose the 27d6 damage Sonic Blasts!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Mutant Links - Mutations, Random Junk and More!

Check out Matt's Mutant Future Page: I discovered this page when looking at my site statistics and checking out where people came to the blog from.  Thanks for linking to me, Matt!

I like a lot of the stuff he has up, particularly the maps.  The map of the U.S. with California split away from the west coast and the flooding along the east coast into the great lakes is really cool.  Another score is his list of additional mutations - you can never have too many mutations, right?

On the topic of Mutant Future links, I realized that I have not shared this random junk generator and random settlement generator (made for Deadlands but eminently usable for Mutant Future) yet.  How could I be so remiss?  They are a great tool for the improvising Mutant Lord when the players go exploring somewhere that is a blank spot on the Mutant Lord's map.

One more link - Iaian over at the Buccaneers Guild has posted a great tutorial showing how to make quick and dirty isometric perspective multi-level maps suitable for the sorts of buildings likely to be found in the Mutant Future.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

HP in the Mutant Future

Hit Points in D&D are a nebulous concept, clearly not mapped directly to how much physical damage a character could withstand (or a mid to high level fighter could withstand more physical damage than most dinosaurs!). 

Gary Gygax has a great explanation of HP in the AD&D 1e DM's Guide (page 82).  An excerpt:
"It is quite unreasonable to assume that as a character gains levels of ability in his or her class that a corresponding gain in actual ability to sustain physical damage takes place... Why then the increase in hit points?  Because these reflect both the actual physical ability of the character to withstand damage - as indicated by constitution bonuses - and a commensurate increase in such areas as skill in combat and similar life-or-death situations...  Each hit scored upon the character does only a small amount of actual physical harm - the sword thrust that would have run a 1st level fighter through the heart merely grazes the character due to the fighter's exceptional skill, luck, and sixth sense ability which caused movement to avoid the attack at just the right moment."

HP seem to be something entirely different in Mutant Future.  I say this for two reasons - one, at character generation they are directly tied to the physical makeup of a character as expressed by the Constitution score (starting HP are 1d6 or 1d8 per point of CON), and two, they do not increase as the character levels up (or increase very rarely and only when CON increases in the random leveling up process). 

I have been thinking about HP in Mutant Future ever since I commented on The Savage Afterworld's
Savage Managerie: Equort post that 3 HD seemed like too few for an incredibly strong, horse sized reptilian creature.  Sniderman (Savage Afterworld Blogmeister) pointed out that Mutant Future's Warhorse has 3 HD, which he used as a starting point for the Equort.  Opening up my copy of Labyrinth Lord, I realized that the statistics for all three horses in Mutant Future were lifted directly from Labyrinth Lord with no changes made.

This just seems wrong to me.  Lets compare Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future for a second.  HP in Labyrinth Lord mean the same thing as they do in D&D.  The most that a character's physical makeup as expressed by attributes can effect HP in Labyrinth Lord is + or -3 HP a level.  Lets take two hypothetical 1st level fighters - one with a 3 CON and one with an 18, and assume that both have maximum HP.  Their HP would be 5 and 11, respectively.  The + or - 3 HP from CON illustrates the physical component of HP, and the rest has to be the skill of dodging (made more obvious when you realize that a fighter has more of these non-physically related HP than any other class, reflecting greater skills at dodging injury). 

Now lets look at two hypothetical Mutant Future characters, again with a 3 CON and an 18 CON and max HP, and we see a radical difference.  The 3 CON character has 18 HP and the 18 CON character has 108 HP!  There is no skill of avoiding injury component here, as there are no classes and the only way HP can increase is if your CON attribute actually is increased by leveling up.

All this leads me to the conclusion that HP in Mutant Future are actually a measure of how much physical damage and exertion a character can take.  The poor character reduced to 1 HP should be a bloody mess, possibly with broken bones, certainly barely able to move around.  The laser blast that does 45 damage should probably leave a hole in the mutant's body.  With no healing magic available, several characters have been temporarily retired in my Mutant Future game while they rest and heal up over the course of several weeks of game time. 

The most interesting ramification of this understanding of HP in the Mutant Future has been with mutant plant characters that posesses the Chameleon Metamorph mutation.  This enables them to change their form into that of any other plant, provided their total mass stays the same.  Bozko was the first character (and the only one still active) in my campaign with this mutation, and he has came up with many creative uses of it - we have collaboratively determined that he can use pieces of his own body as ranged ammunition if he sacrifices HP, so he could, for instance, turn a section of his body into a sharp wooden branch and break it off and hurl it at someone at a HP cost determined by Mutant Lord Me.  He has used this to great advantage, shaking off a few HP worth of dandelion seed tufts to form chaff to disrupt laser targeting, for instance. 

This has also led to the understanding that as he is damaged, he is literally losing pieces of himself to the point that if he was reduced to 1 HP, he would only be a tiny little blob of plant matter until he slowly regrew his body!  This works because we had already decided that a mutant plant with the Chameleon Metamorph ability did not have a central brain or nervous system, because the plant maintained consciousness even when in such radically different forms as a sheet of algae covering a pond or a tall pine tree.  Bozko's player ran with this idea and decided that each cell of his body had all of his knowledge and memories encoded into its genetic structure, so as long as any little piece of him survived he was still sentient and could eventually regrow himself.

As a Mutant Lord, deciding that HP = Physical Damage has made it very easy and exciting to narrate events in combat.  No longer do I have to restrain from describing horrendous wounds because HP are a representation of how skilled a character is at dodging; if someone takes a lot of damage, they are physically messed up.  End of story.  When Beyonce was reduced to 3 HP in a flame thrower attack, her body was horribly burned and her face became a mass of scar tissue.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2e Tuesday - Sleeths & Fleshins

That's right, Gamma World 2d edition... what 2e did you think I meant?  Every Tuesday I will pick one of my favorite monsters from the fully illustrated bestiary included in the 2d edition Gamma World Basic Rules Booklet and convert it to Mutant Future.  Today's monsters are...

Sleeths (Seer Lizards) & Fleshins (Flying Fish) 

No. Enc: 1d10
Alignment:  Lawful
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 18
Attacks: 1 (weapon)
Damage:  By Weapon Type
Save:  L12
Morale: 5
Hoard Class: IX

These friendly, highly intelligent bipedal lizard men are a welcome sight to the Mutant Future traveler.  They live in peaceful, scholarly groups that typically befriend strangers and offer them whatever hospitality they can (although they will use their ability to foresee the future to avoid any potentially hostile wanderers).  They have the ability to possess one plant within 45 feet as per the Possession mutation, except there is no mental attack roll required and the ability can only be used once per day.  In addition to the listed mutations, each Sleeth will have one more beneficial Mental Mutation.

Mutations:  Precognition, Neural Telepathy, Body Adjustment, Special (plant control) + one beneficial mental mutation

No. Enc: 1-2
Alignment:  Chaotic
Movement: 240' (80')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1 (spines)
Damage:  Contact Poison, Poison Class 15 (Death/4d6 damage)
Save:  L4
Morale: 5
Hoard Class: None (there may be some random discarded treasure on the bottom of the body of water that the Fleshins hunt in, but Fleshins do not actually carry any treasure nor do they accumulate it in the crevices that they lay their eggs in.

Luckily for most mutant PCs, these six foot long flying fish are usually only found in large bodies of water.  They can glide for long distances with their wing-like fins, effectively staying airborne for as long as they want when they use thermals to regain elevation lost while gliding.  They are dangerous carnivores that rely on their deadly spines to bring down their prey.  They also possess the unique ability to assume the form of a Sleeth, and in this form they gain all of the Sleeth's mutations.  They possess only an animal intelligence, so anyone who has experience with the quick thinking, peace-loving Sleeth should be able to recognize that something is wrong when they encounter a Fleshin in its Sleeth form.

Mutations:  Sleeth Form: Precognition, Neural Telepathy, Body Adjustment, Special (plant control) + one beneficial mental mutation

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mice in Mech Suits

Here are the Mice in Mech Suits mech combat rules; this is a public beta playtest, if you download these and use them, please give me feeback!  These rules work much better for at least two on two combats, and I have ran them with up to 16 total combatants.  This is a stand alone game, and it pretty much ignores the mech pilots (who are mutated mice from the Mutant Future!).

One cool thing about these rules is that the Mechs are roughly human sized, so they could easily be used as robotic adversaries for Mutant Future or any other edition of D&D, really.  They are not so overpowered as to completely unbalance a normal game if they are introduced.  For Mutant Future, small mutant animals or mutants with the Density Alteration, Self mutation could easily pilot them.  The To Hit chart in the stand alone rules section is basically the to hit probabilities of a 5th level Mutant Future character, so you could adjust those numbers if you want the mech to be a more ferocious combatant.

In my campaign, the players have finally convinced King Arthur and the Mice of the Round Table to help in their cause, so a contingent of these mechs will join them if requested to sortie against the Knights of Genetic Purity or Julius Corple and his henchmen.  This definitely gives the party some sorely needed muscle, because up till now, they have been running around like chickens with their heads cut off!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Updated the Guns Post

I just added the alien gun wielded by the Dog Boys to the guns post.  Of course, at this point the players have already exhausted the alien worm ammo and the alien web ammo, but they still have homing darts, flamethrower fuel and the regular energy blasts to work with.

Oh, and I just realized I forgot to do a 2e Tuesday post this week.  Oh well.  Catch ya next week, Gamma World Critters!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Look out Mutant Past!

Tonight's Mutant Future session, something a long time coming finally happened; a character with the Plane Shift mutation finally used it!  The text of this mutation states that "This mutation grants the power to visit realities in other dimensions... The mutant can only choose to open doors to worlds he has visited before. Otherwise, the doorway leads to a random world of the ML’s choice and design."  I have had a fun plan ready for this since the very beginning of the campaign, because one of the starting characters had the mutation.  Of course, he was only able to attend a few sessions and never ended up using the ability.  But with the deadly sessions of the last few weeks, we had several new characters and two of them have this ability!

My plan was that the first time someone used the Plane Shift ability, it would open a gateway to an alternate past in the same physical location on earth that the portal was opened.  The gate would lead to today's date in the present (the real present, Monday, January 11th 2010).  I figured that the only time the group would want to hop through a portal to a random destination was when they were running from something truly horrid and had no other chance to survive; I envisioned a group of wounded mutants suddenly appearing on Eugene's streets, and thought it would make a fun diversion for the week they were stranded in the Mutant Past before the ability could be used again.

As often happens in RPGs, the way things went down was far from how I had planned it.  After a lengthy meeting with the Mice of the Round Table, where King Arthur and his knights promised to assist in a campaign against Julius Corple and the Knights of Genetic Purity and Merlin told the interested members of the party that he would get a list of materials needed for the robot manufacturing plant to create powered armor for the characters, the party decided that the most pressing threat was Julius Corple.  This decision was aided by two things; the mice had just been invaded by Corple's dog boys and terminator bots, and Dataan's player was not in attendance (he has a serious grudge against the Knights of Genetic Purity and probably would have lobbied hard to make them the top priority).

The group piled into the jeep (all except Natas and his melted face, who rode on the back of Samantha, or "Stang" as she is nicknamed, a 22' long giant mutant wasp who is new to the party) and rolled over to the military complex.  They investigated the building where the formerly aggressive war chimps appeared to be holed up, and discovered that most of their number had succumbed to the FDF7 virus.  The mutated survivors were tending to the diseased and dying, and were patrolling the perimeter of the building as if they expected an imminent attack.  Blue, another new party member, has a special sense that allows him to smell emotional states by the pheromones that are emitted by a body in different mood which he used to detect that they were afraid of something.  He is also a precog, and used this ability to imagine himself hopping (he is a mutant kangaroo) into the building unarmed and attempting to parlay with them.  When he foresaw that they would not react violently, he did this in real time and discovered that their will had been largely broken by the devestating virus and a mysterious creature that had emerged from the military complex and had been slaughtering them one by one.  Now that the rest of the survivors and diseased members of the war chimps had clustered in this one building, the creature had been unable to pick off any more of them, but they were too terrified to leave.  Blue also learned that several of the first war chimps to survive the virus and gain mutations had cracked under the strain of the transformation and had fled off into the swamp never to be seen again.

Blue offered the party's assistance in killing the creature, recognizing that the war chimps could make valuable allies.  He picked their brains for as much information regarding the killer creature as they could give him, then got their permission to invite the rest of the party in.  The war chimps parted with some weaponry to assist the party (good thing to, because the group was out of grenades!  Lard Jeebus knows they love blowing stuff up, so I am sure the ten grenades and the couple of missile launchers that they got will get put to good use) and then sent them on their way with sincere wishes of good luck in their endeavor.  The war chimps had revealed that the creature had an iron will and had proven almost impossible to effect with mental mutations.  It moved with incredible speed and could leap a hundred feet in a single bound.  One of its arms ended in a deadly metal claw, and a tentacle-tongue emerged from this and entered the wound made by the claw to suck out the insides of its victim.  Its other arm was a long tentacle that it used to grapple its opponents.  An energy cannon mounted on its tentacle arm and poisoned quills that covered its head rounded out its formidable arsenal.

The creature only emerged from the complex at night, so the party hoped that by searching for it in the complex during daylight hours they might catch it napping.  Stang shuttled everyone up to the roof, and just as they were discussing strategy and how to best go about finding the beast, it burst through the roof and hurtled itself at Stang (who has the Prey Scent mutation which draws predators to her like sharks to blood in the water).  The following fight was brutal, and several party members (including Stang) were reduced to single digit HP in the first couple of rounds.  Only some lucky shots with the guns looted from the Dog Boys using the alien web ammunition kept it from completely annihilating the entire group.

This is what they were up against:  The 16' tall Xiticix Killer from the Rifts Lone Star World Book.

A few rounds in to the combat, the monstrosity had shredded the rest of the party's alien web ammo like so many spiderwebs and was about to commence with the devouring of the party from the inside out with its claw and tentacle-tongue.  Desperate, one member of the group emerged from behind the air vent where he had been hiding and knelt directly behind the killer, enlarging himself so that he came up to its knees.  Rok used his Plane Shift ability to open a gate directly behind the kneeling party member, and the rest of the group rushed the creature and pushed it over the kneeling party member and into the gate.  As it tumbled in, I told the party that they could see through the gate to what appeared to be the same location, but the rooftop was not in the middle of a swamp, instead being surrounded by dry ground, paved roads, cars driving and generally not a ruined post-apocalyptic landscape.  The beast attempted to drag Rok through the portal with it, but he managed to shut the portal on it, severing its tentacle and trapping the beast in an alternate reality.

Everyone realized that they had just unleashed a terrible killer into the present/Mutant Past.  A debate ensued as to whether or not the portal led to the actual past of the timeline that they presently inhabited, or if it led to an alternate past.  Some party members felt like they might have unwittingly caused the apocalypse that led to the Mutant Future and the world they knew today!  Blue used his precog ability to imagine Du Pont (the other mutant with the Plane Shift ability) opening up a portal to the same place (I ruled that now that Rok and Du Pont had seen through the portal, they could reliably open up a portal to that particular reality if they so desired) and himself looking through it.  He saw a scene of devastation, cars wrecked on the road and people fleeing as the creature slaughtered everyone within reach.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2e Tuesday - Kai Lins

That's right, Gamma World 2d edition... what 2e did you think I meant?  Every Tuesday I will pick one of my favorite monsters from the fully illustrated bestiary included in the 2d edition Gamma World Basic Rules Booklet and convert it to Mutant Future.  Today's monster is...

Kai Lins (Lizard Bushes)

No. Enc: 1d4
Alignment:  Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 9
Attacks: 1 (gamma eyes, 30' range)
Damage:  3d6 (radiation damage)
Save:  L5
Morale: 5
Hoard Class: none

This mobile plant is often confused with a large reptile, because it is covered in green scaly bark and runs around on two stalks that end in thorny pads.  It trails a bundle of roots that look like a tail when it is running, and uses these roots to feed by wrapping them around its victim and absorbing nutrients.  Kai Lins prefer to eat carrion because it is easier for their plant digestive juices to break down tissue that is already decomposing, but if there is no ready source of carrion they can hunt live prey effectively with their deadly mutations.  Interestingly, Kai Lins emit a pheromone that seems to attract dangerous predators, so often the main danger associated with a Kai Lin sighting is whatever mutant beast is currently tracking it!

Mutations:  Prey Scent, Energy-Retaining Cell Structure, Optic Emissions (Gamma Eyes) 

Hooray for mutant plant-lizards that attract deadly carnivores, shock you when you touch them and shoot radiation from their "eyes"!  Gotta love Gamma World!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mice in Mech Suits group playtest

I just ran my Mutant Future group through a pretty epic playtest of the mech combat rules I have been working on.  Running 8 people through a large scale combat with three waves of attackers coming at them took longer than I had anticipated.  The one-on-one playtests that I ran the night before with my girlfriend where we each controlled two mechs and duked it out had been pretty fast and furious, but with such a large group I ditched the individual initiatives rolled every round in favor of just going round the circle, with all the players going then all the monsters under my control going.  This took one of the more interesting elements of my rules out of play; each mech has at least a 30 HP force field that refreshes at the start of its turn in combat, so when you roll initiative each round there is the possibility of the enemy getting to hit you to end a round, then you losing initiative and the enemy going again before your shields could refresh.  It also made movement less important, because you add your current movement to your initiative roll in my rules.  In my effort to save time with a larger group by ditching individual initiative each round I think I actually made the combat last longer!

Everyone still had a good time and the battle was a success; the mice turned back the invasion of the Dog Boys and other allies of Julius Corple (Terminator Bots, a War Gorilla, some alien tongue beasts, some alien "dogs" and a terrifying blob of alien acid).  We used my new Heroscape tiles and while I was getting some last minute prep work done I had my girlfriend and one of the other players set up the gameboard with instructions to include lots of elevation change, water and swamp tiles.  This is what they ended up with:

The terrain and cover ended up being very important - the trees and some serpent heroscape minis were mutant plants that attacked anyone coming into an adjacent square, which was used to great advantage by the players.  The long range weapons wielded by the Terminator Bots and the Dog Boys more or less pinned down a lot of the players behind cover, but two threw caution to the wind and ran up to engage some alien dogs in melee only to get their arms and legs blasted off in short order.  The combat hung in the balance when the third wave of attackers showed up - the War Gorilla charged into the middle of the battlefield, ready to wreak havoc, when James' mech grabbed it and threw it between two trees which subsequently hit it for a ton of damage, and then the next round Brent scored a critical hit with his mech's massive sword and nearly finished it off.  My big bad 300 HP monster ended up dying without getting to attack a single time because of some extremely lucky rolls on the part of the party, and the tide of battle turned from that moment on.  The alien acid blob did manage to cause some consternation as it melted both legs and one arm off of Danny's mech in one round, and exploded in a huge shower of acid that took out one of Brent's legs when it was finally destroyed a few rounds later.  While none of the party died, there were a lot of missing limbs (a function of the hit chart that is a part of my mech rules) and it definitely was not an easy combat.

Here I am, eyeballing line of sight for a Dog Boy sniper as it perched up on a tower picking off PCs:

Carter chose the Hulk to represent his knightly Mech, and promptly got pinned down in enemy territory and lost a leg and his sword arm - here he is charging across the bridge on his way to danger:

My girlfriend chose a winged Valkyrie to represent Maid Marion, her bandit mech:

She also gussied up the character sheets that I threw together for everyone before the combat started:

Mechs in high heels!  Why didn't I think of that?  She is wielding a vicious hairbrush in one hand and appears to have some terrifying ribbons and a daisy of doom!

The rules worked very well, and I will be posting the beta playtest version that we used tonight up on this blog in the next few days so that I can hopefully get some more feedback on it.  Right now it is a complete stand alone game with mech creation rules, a combat system and some pretty detailed tactical mini rules in 9 pages.


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