Alternate Mutation Rules

Chris Van Deelen

Alternate method of determining mutations

The rules for generating mutations in the core book are 1d4 physical and 1d4 mental mutations. An optional rule which can be used during character generation is assigning points to the various mutations, and allowing the characters to choose the mutations instead of rolling for them.

The cost of mutations should be as follows: Very common ½ point, common 1 point, uncommon 2 points, and rare 3 or 4 points. The ML should then have the players roll 2d4 and let them choose the types of mutations that the player would the character possess. To encourage the players to take drawbacks, the ML should allow the characters to take up to 4 points in drawbacks. These extra points could then be used to purchase new mutations.

 

Determining random mutations:

Due to sheer number of mutations that are available, the ML may wish to use the following tables to determine what kind of mutation the player, NPC or creature gets. First, the ML will have to determine if the mutation gained is beneficial or a drawback. Then, the ML or  the player roll the frequency of the mutation gained.

Mutations come in varying degrees of commonality. Some are very common, which a majority of the mutants possess, while others are common, uncommon or rare. The actual mutation tables are located at the beginning of each mutation section.

Roll on the table below to determine the mutation type and frequency table used:

Mutation type table

Roll

Type

01-25

Drawback Mutation

26-00

Beneficial Mutation

 

Mutation frequency table

Roll

Frequency

01-50

Very Common

51-80

Common

81-95

Uncommon

96-100

Rare


Dice categories

A number of mutations listed in this book state the dice can be upgraded or even downgraded. This is when the dice type is changed to a higher or lower category. The following table shows the change in dice types when called for.

 

Dice category table

Original Dice

New Dice

1

1-2

1-2

d3

d3

d4

d4

d6

d6

d8

d8

d10

d10

d12

d12

2d8

2d8

d20

 

Drawbacks

If a ML wishes a game to have fewer drawbacks, the ML can have the player add its characters Constitution score to the percentile roll when determining the type of mutation, reducing the chance of the player getting a defect.  Conversely, if a ML wishes to temper the amount of beneficial mutations the players get, the ML can force the players to roll a random drawback for every three or four beneficial mutations the player has, or subtract the mutant’s Constitution score from the percentile roll when determining the type of mutation.

 

Gaining random mutations during game play

As an optional rule, the ML can opt to not tell a player when they have gained a new mutation.  The ML should then randomly determine what type of mutation it is, either physical or mental, and then roll to see what type it is.

Depending on the type of mutation, it should appear within 1d4 weeks. It could appear sooner or later, depending on how drastic a change it is (if it is something like a mental mutation, such as neural telepathy, maybe it would appear in 1-2 weeks, or if it is something drastic such as a new body part, it would begin to appear in a week or so, but would not be fully functional for several weeks, or possibly even months.

 

Increasing the number of mutations gained, based upon the class of radiation

Mutations are gained through play via many different methods, but the most common is through exposure to radiation. The ML should keep track of the number of times that a mutant has been exposed to radiation and the level of radiation that affected the mutant.

There is a chance that depending on the total class of radiation the mutant has been exposed to that they will gain more than one mutation. Below is a chart based upon the radiation class, and total amount of radiation that the mutant has been exposed to and the number of possible mutations gained.  Accumulated Exposure is the total class of radiation that the mutant has been exposed to (only the failures count), while the exposure due to class is the average level of radiation that the mutant has been exposed to in total. Here are two examples to explain both method’s:  a mutant has failed 5 saving throws in a row, and the class of radiation he has been exposed to is 3, 7, 4, 6, and 9. Added together, this equals 29. Using the accumulated chart, this would give the mutant a potential 1d3 mutations. If using the Exposure due to class chart, divide the number by 5 (round to nearest), which gives the mutant an overall exposure class of 6, thus with a potential of 1d3 mutations.

 

Mutations gained table

Accumulated Exposure

Exposure due to class

Number of possible mutations

01-10

1-3

1

11-20

4-5

1d2

21-30

6-7

1d3

31-40

8-9

1d4

41+

10

1d4+1

 

The ML should be warned that this could lead to serious imbalance in their game and should be used cautiously, but if wild and wahoo is the style preferred, then this optional rule is perfect.

 

Item saving throws

Many mutations in this book have a chance to inflict condition level damage against artifacts. If the ML has access to Wisdom from the Wasteland issue 1, then use the tables and rules provided in that book. Otherwise another way to handle the possible damage is to have the item make a saving throw using the owners save. The exact save will need to be determined ahead of time by the ML.

 

Maximum number of mutations

The ML can decide that the mutant can have a maximum number of mutations. The body can only suffer genetic modifications before it starts to deteriorate. A simple way to handle this is to allow the player to have a maximum number of physical mutations based on half of its Constitution score, and a maximum number of mental mutations based upon its Intelligence score. The ML can also state the mutant can no longer be mutated by any means.

 

Mutations and player abuse

The most common way of gaining mutations during play is through radiation, although there are many other methods that can be employed. This can lead to abuse by the players, who will often seek out sources of radiation in order to gain a new mutation.

There are several methods to curb this potential habit of the players. First and foremost, simply do not allow the player to become mutated if the player abuses this. Only allow a potential mutation to occur through the character being attacked with a weapon, hazards or even drugs that cannot be avoided, or if the player does something quite heroic while being exposed to a mutagenic compound.

Second, most compounds that would cause mutations on a genetic level will have nasty side effects, such as drawbacks, deterioration in health or the overall physical attributes, cancer, or even the loss of an existing mutation Roll 1d20 and consult the following chart:

 

Mutations and player abuse Table

Roll

Effect

Description

1-4

Loss of mutation

Randomly roll one of the characters existing mutations and remove it.

5-8

Deterioration of Attribute

Randomly choose an attribute and permanently reduce it by 1d4.

10-12

Cancer

See below.

13-14

Dormant Mutation

Character does not gain the benefit (or drawback) of a mutation, but instead it will show up in the characters offspring.

15-17

Drawback

Randomly determine a drawback.

18-20

Regular Mutation

Randomly determine a regular mutation (can still be a drawback).

 

            Cancer is a horrible disease that is quite often fatal. If this is rolled, the character’s genetic structure has been badly damaged by the radiation and cancer sets in.

            Cancer

            Save modifier: -5

            Infection Duration: 1 week

            Affected Attributes: Strength –1d4, Constitution –1d6, Dexterity –1d4

            Damage per day 1d12

The body of the infected creature begins to show uncontrolled growth. This sorely taxes the body and causes all manner of unpleasant and painful side effects, and more often than not kills the character. Cancer cannot be beaten by the body’s own natural immunity (there are exceptions) and can only be treated through the means of surgery, nanotechnology, chemotherapy or other types of drugs.

While the creature is under the effects of cancer, it will deteriorate by the stated effects every week. If any attribute or hit points reach zero during this time, the affected creature dies.

Symptoms: Weakness, loss of weight, lethargy, pain.

Some ML’s might find that Cancer is too harsh to inflict on the players. If that is the case, just treat a roll of 10-12 as no discernable effect or reroll, as desired.

 

Rolling same mutation multiple times

When a player ends up rolling the same mutation more than once, the ML has the following options: First, the player can simply re-roll, choosing a new mutation, or instead, the player can double the range, uses, damage, etc. of the mutation. Only one variable should be so enhanced.

If the optional Power Score rule is used add an additional 1d8 when determining the power score.

 

Power Score

A new way to handle mutations is to assign a power score to the mutation. This trait has various effects on mutations. The vast majority of mutations will have power scores, while a few do not.

Power Score will determine the number of times a mutation can be used, the range of a mutation, strength and so forth. Treat it like a stat. Roll 4d6 and discard the lowest roll. This will be your power score.        

A vast majority of the mutations that have power scores effects are modified by the power score modifier. People might be confused by statements such as 1 plus the power score modifier . This means at the effect is 1 plus the power score modifier, minimum of 0. For example, a mutant with a low power score (say, 3) would have a –3 modifier. The mutant in normal cases would have a –2 total because of this, which would in many cases, make the mutation useless.

So instead, the mutant with the power score of 3 would instead have a modifier of 1, thus the minimum of 0. On the other hand, a mutant with a high power score (for example, 18), would have a total modifier of +4. When a mutation has a description, for example of 3d6 plus 3 times the power score modifier in damage, by using the same example as above, a mutant with a power score of 3 would suffer a –9 (three times the power score modifier) to all damage rolled, whereas a mutant with a power score of 18 would gain +9 damage to the damage rolled.

Some types of mutations will end up having additional effects based on the Power scores modifier, which can be found on the table below:

 

Power Score Table

Roll

Modifier

3-4

-3

5-6

-2

7-8

-1

9-12

0

13-14

+1

15-16

+2

17-18

+3

19-20

+4

21-22

+5

23-24

+6

25-26

+7

27-28

+8

29-30

+9

 

Also, the stronger the mutant’s Will Power, the more power points they will gain. Every mutation that has a power score will be modified by the Will Power. See the following table for the modifiers:

 

Modified Will Power Table

Score

Bonus or Penalty to Power Score

3

-3

4-5

-2

6-8

-1

9-12

0

13-15

+1

16-17

+2

18

+3

19

+4

20-21

+5

22-23

+6

24-25

+7

26-27

+8

28-29

+9

30+

+10

 

Lastly whenever a mutation uses the Power Score to determine range, always round the final total to the nearest five foot increment.

 

Gaining additional power score points:

There are three methods of gaining additional power points during game play. The first method is when a character advances in a level, they will gain an additional 1d6 power points to divide up as they see fit among the mutations that have power scores. In the case of drawbacks with power scores, the player can opt to decrease the power score instead of taking an increase to a non-drawback mutation.

The second method is to assign one power point to each mutation with a power score, or in the case of a drawback, the player can opt to give up an increase in one power score to decrease a drawback by one point.

Finally, the ML can decide which mutations the player will be able to increase and by how much determined on how often the mutation was used during game play. The ML can allow the player to increase the score from 1 to 3, but no more.

 

Power Scores for monsters:

Mutant monsters will more than likely have mutations that have a power score. The ML can determine a random score based on the 4d6 method described under the power score description, or optionally the ML can use the chart below to determine the power score based on how powerful the creature is:

 

Power score for monsters table

Monster Power Level

Power Score

Weak

2d6

Average

4d6-lowest

Strong

12+3d4

Powerful

14+2d8

 

Overcharging Mutations:

There may be times when a mutant will wish to push the limits of a mutation that it possesses, to get just a tiny bit more power from it at a critical moment. In order to overcharge a mutation with a power score, the mutant must first make an appropriate statistic check by rolling a d20: Constitution for physical mutations and Will Power for mental mutations, If the result is below the statistic, then the mutant will be able to temporarily overcharge the mutation. This will have one of two effects. First, if the power score is less than 13, it will automatically be boosted to 13 to give it a base power score modifier of +1. If it is already 13 or higher, then the mutant will temporarily gain a boost, but at a physical or mental cost. The mutant can determine just how much of a boost they will take, and the corresponding cost will be determined.  

The cost is strain on the mutant’s body, reducing both hit points and statistics. See the chart below for the total cost:

 

Power Score Boost cost table

Power Score Boost

Hit Point Cost

Statistic Cost

Up to 13

1d6

1

1d3 points

2d4

1d2

2d3 points

2d6

1d3

3d3 points

2d8

1d4+1

3d4 points

3d6

2d4

 

Note that if either statistic drop below zero, the mutant is killed due to the strain boosting the mutation puts on its body. All statistic damage is healed using the mutant’s natural healing rate per day. The mutant can use this temporary boost as often as it desires, and as long as it does not kill it in the process.

The more powerful the overcharge, the shorter the duration it will last. Boosting a mutation will last for 30 minutes minus the newly modified power score. For example, a mutant with a power score of 14 decides to boost it by 2d3 points, getting a good score of 6. The power score is now considered to be 20, and the mutant first must pay the cost to the statistics and hit points, and can now use the boosted power score for 10 minutes before the score returns to normal. If the boost cost ends up being less than 1 minute, the mutation boost will still last a full minute.

After the boost has ended, the mutant will then suffer the Statistic damage. Actual hit point damage will be suffered as soon as the boost has been activated.

Mutation Index