Mutant Crawl Classic Review

Chris Van Deelen

It was nearly a year ago I backed the Mutant Crawl Classic Kickstarter. It was successfully funded in July 2016, with the book to be released approximately around August 2017.

First a little background information. Mutant Crawl Classic is an OSR post-apocalyptic game, which is fully compatible with Goodman’s Dungeon Crawl Classic game. In fact one of the selling points for the game is how they are 100% compatible.

This week I got the PDF for the game and due to work and training classes, I had not really had a chance to go through the game until this weekend.

I read several sections of the game, and skimmed over others so I could get a good sense of the game itself.

As expected, it is old school and would play like the old school games many of us grew up with. The rules are pretty simple, and it would not take all that much to jump into the game and start playing.

Several highlights I will talk about when it comes to the game. It expects the players to start at 0 level and the game creators want the players to make up a mess of characters, as the vast majority of these characters are not expected to survive. I guess that’s pretty much the way a beginning game of Dungeon Crawl Classic works as well.

There are also classes to play, such as the Sentinel and Shaman, Healer, and the Rover. Very basic classes but it works just fine. Unlike Mutant Future or Gamma World, the Mutant, Manimal and Plantient are considered to be classes, not actual player races.

There is technology and mutations in the game as well, although both are rather sparing… The neat, although makes it really freaking hard to write material for are how mutations manifest in the game (roll a d4 and this is what happens when you use the mutation), and then a table of effects that goes from 1 to 32+. The lower the number, the worse the effect, while higher end rolls will have varying effects.

It is a neat system, but as I said, if you wanted to write up old mutations to be used with the game system, it would take an obscene amount of work!

The game also employs what is called Wetware – for all intent and purpose these are spells to be used by shaman and various robotic, AI, holographic and other constructs. As with the mutations there are manifestations as well as varying effects, depending on the rolls.

A number of critical effect tables were included, and the effects are based entirely upon the character class. And as you might expect, not only do you have critical effects, but critical fumbles as well. Made for interesting and often entertaining reading.

Interestingly enough, the game does not have alignments per-se… they are called Archaic Alignments which are more reminiscent of the Cryptic Alliances which were found in the various editions of Gamma World.

The section dealing with Robots and AI also included rules on AI recognition, which was a take on a similar system that appeared back in the 80’s for Gamma World and one I re-wrote and incorporated into my Wisdom from the Wastelands issues.

This game has its own version and it is pretty simple and looks cool!

Each robot, AI, android and so forth has its own statistic block as well, so they can be used as enemies for the players to encounter.

I do miss the old flow-chart for figuring out artifacts, but the game has its own method of how to discover the functions and abilities of an artifact, and a nice table to roll on to see what happens. Just don’t roll low!

The various fantasy games out there have gods and goddesses for the PC’s to worship and become priests and clerics in order to serve. This game has Patron AI’s and frankly I thought it was one of the neatest ideas presented in the game. In order to gain a Patron AI, the shaman must activate a Patron Bond Wetware program. As with mutations, there is a table to be rolled and the results will have varying effects. As I stated before, don’t roll low!

These are the ways PC’s can gain Wetware and other benefits, depending on the particular Patron AI they choose, much like which god or goddess a fantasy character would choose.

I had been hoping to see more creatures, but this section was likewise rather pared down, but there were enough creatures to get a basic game started.

Despite how much I enjoy Pathfinder, it is kind of nice to have a simple stat block to use instead of a full page of Stats, saves, abilities and so forth.

Still, I would have enjoyed seeing more! I’ll make the assumption with each passing module the game produces there will be more creatures, mutations, wetware and technology added to the game – like we saw in the good old days of gaming where a module was more than just a new adventure, but had lots of new source material as well.

Finally the core book comes with a introductory adventure called Assault on the Sky High tower. A simple adventure to introduce new players and a GM to the whole system and the world.

Overall, it is a simple game, and could probably be a lot of fun to play, although truth be told, I probably won’t get a chance to run or play anytime soon. I have only time for my once per week Pathfinder game run by a good friend and I just don’t have the time to consider playing or running another game.

Oh yeah… those of you who have followed my blogs for years will know I have quite exacting taste when it comes to artwork.

I won’t lie – I fucking HATE the art in the game. It is absolutely terrible – in my opinion. The art is pure old-school, and if that is what you like then you’ll probably really like it. I have stated in the past that just because your game is old school, you don’t need terrible old school art. You can hire good artists to do the work for you.

Again, this is all personal taste and does not reflect on the product itself at all. I will still give the game a 5 out of 5 when it comes right down to it!

I just hope it will be as well supported as the flagship game for the company Dungeon Crawl Classic.

Right now when I go to the Goodman games webpage, I see they have six modules on the coming soon page. I’m going to hazard a guess these are all PDF modules with the print versions coming in the near future.

It leaves me with a bit of a conundrum – do I purchase the PDF’s or do I wait for the final print versions to become available?

Also I did not see an actual release date for these modules, but then again I didn’t look too closely or check out the forums.

There is also the fact I had hoped a lot of my old Mutant Future material could be used for this game… some tech and creatures, maybe. Mutations though, due to the way it is handled in the game, not very likely without a lot of re-writing. Maybe some of the mutants I wrote could be used, but they would have to be converted as well.

Oh yeah, before I forget – the game uses the strange dice that Dungeon Crawl Classic came up with. You have all the standard dice types people have been using for years, but this game also calls for D5, D7, D14, D16, D24 and D30’s.

The dice can be purchased Amazon.com. Just don’t try to buy from Amazon.ca – the seller wants $70! That is obscene!

That is that. I had hoped to touch upon Starfinder this week, but after the review for this game, I don’t want to write a massive blog. I’ll see about touching on that next week.

Welcome to summer! Stay happy and continue enjoying life.