Odds and Ends for Mutant Future

Derek Holland

Today I look at mutagens, herbs, a new kind of artifact, rituals and a new subcatagory for physical mutations.

--In Mutant Future there is just one form of mutagen- radiation. In the various editions of Gamma World, they added nanites. In Redline (a FFG d20 supplement from years ago), mutagens were generic but generally chemical or biochemical in nature. And I added Induce Mutation (a physical mutation) and alien radiation from other planes (Wisdom from the Wastelands #7). So there are 5 or 6 different mutagens possible for use in MF and similar games. But shouldn't there be a difference between them?

I am suggesting that those of you using mutations that have been posted to forums, blogs and pdfs (and there are many more than just mine out there) to come up with more than one chart for mutagen. Considering how many chemicals and mutant critters can be used for this (either alone or in any combination), you may end up with a lot of charts. But it also gives you a much control over what mutations are available and even who might get them*.

Which will be handy when the three mutation books Chris is working on come out.

--I mentioned medicinal herbs in trade in Mutant Future. I would expect that there would be a lot of medicinal and other pharm plants all over the wastes. Splicing in useful chemicals and removing poisons would have been easy for the Ancients and the result would have been an edible landscape. Of course mutation has changed many. As these herbs are not artifacts or magic, here are some simple rules for their use. They take five minutes to an hour to take effect, can increase the healing rate to triple normal, may provide bonuses to saves versus a wide assortment of diseases, poisons and radiations and last a few hours to a day. They can not perform miracles- that is what artifacts and mutations are for.

--Most artifacts in MF are those that the PCs can carry, wear or ride as they are the ones most likely to be used by the PCs on a regular basis. But there are many others, ones much to bulky to move easily (if that is possible at all). Ancient buildings have technology integrated into their structures, making them either huge artifacts or piles of spare parts. The exact effects of said artifacts are almost limitless, though most are depowered and even those with juice tend to be damaged or poorly repaired. Some people have taken to damaging the tech on purpose as loose wires make good pest control even if someone dies of electrocution every few months. Other location artifacts aren't nearly as obvious as a building. Outdoor theaters look like part of the landscape until they are turned on. Launch pads for starships are made up of virtual matter and don't exist until they are needed. Whole islands were created to be hidden get aways and powerful technology make them death traps, if nothing else by cloaking them and making them hazards to ships. When examining a location artifact, a PC will need to make many hundreds of rolls to gain a decent understanding of the functions of the location. I suggest a roll with a penalty for every week or month to represent said hundreds of rolls.

--Rituals, also know as focus or mediation, allow a mutant to concentrate and use their mental mutations to their fullest. As rituals, the character or creature goes through actions that help them focus their ability. The mutant must make a save versus stun (or make a willpower check) after 10 minutes and if successful, increase range or damage by 25% or inflict a -2 to the target's save. Many shamans and wizards in the wastes know this trick and make their mutations seem like magic.

--Though most mutations result in the addition of new organs by altering the genetic code of the mutant, there is at least two other ways. I have mentioned epigenetics before. The other can be considered a new subcatagory of physical mutations and possibly mental and plant as well- parasitic siblings. These are fused twins, triplets, etc. They are not like Gamma World orlens in that there is one dominate sibling that has retained its mind and the rest have been reduced to organs and tissues. The drawback version of Dual Cerebellum is one of the very few exceptions. I was trying to make new mutations based on this idea when I realized it would be much easier to just use it to reskin existing ones. Complete Wing Development could be webbed arms or legs that emerge from the mutant's back. Dermal Poison Slime could be modified salivary glands of the sibling(s) found just under the mutant's skin. Obese could be not fat, but limbs and partial torsos fused to the mutant's body in odd or painful places. Gross, sure but considering that one in eight people in the real world is a chimera of twins (you fused as blastulas or earlier), this could be much more common than one might think.

* I don't suggest it, but you could even come up with charts meant for specific races or species (worms versus humans).