Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mutant Epoch Review

In this review, I'll be covering Outland Arts awesome "The Mutant Epoch" (though, as I saw somewhere on the net, I'll be dumping "The" from my title references to the game).

Likes:
  • The artwork, my gawd, the artwork. Even more amazing is the guy writing this game does the artwork as well.
  • Loads of outstanding racial options; Cyborgs, Pure Humans, Clones, Mutant Humans, Beastial Humans, and, of course, Ghost Mutants.
  • While many of the mutant monsters are based on animal stocks, the key thing is that they are often just based on the animal stock, being mutated versions of standard animals.
  • There are still other mutant monsters not directly drawn from animal stocks.
  • Fairly good equipment lists that don't feel like fantasy genre port-overs.
  • Free online resources and supplemental material.
  • A good selection of mutations, broken down into Prime, Creature, Ghost/Latent, Minor, & Flaw categories.
  • The inclusion of Implants.
  • Skills (sorry, I kinda like skill systems).
  • Character History by Caste (while not a "class" system, it does function well to give the character a sort of background focus, without limiting their further development).
  • The appendices; hex & graph paper, paper dice form!, and more.

Dislikes:
  • I personally don't care for the Trans-Human or Bioreplica races, though I have no problem with their inclusion.
  • The lack of Robot and Mutant Plant races was disappointing.
  • Likewise, the lack of mutant plants as mutant monsters was disappointing.
  • I felt there was somewhat of a lack of intelligent mutant monster foes, requiring the GM to roll up their own such foes like characters.
  • No Spidergoats :(
  • Gold/silver currency. (As a standard for relating the value of an object, I have no problem with monetary currencies. I'm also not advocating a total barter system, since there's too much fluctuation in valuing objects and services. I'd really prefer a more Fallout style approach where some (generally small & light, limited ocurrance, and hopefully useless for non-entertainment activities*) commodity is used to represent a currency.)
  • I do have to admit, I prefer the somewhat simpler breakdown of mutant powers found in Mutant Future, though I can understand why mutant humans, mutant animals, and mutant plants should have different mutations available (though I think the mental/ghost/latent mutations are more universal), and I have no problem separating out flaw/drawback/disadvantageous mutations from beneficial ones.
  • Lack of improvised, "junk" weapons and armor. While the setting in Mutant Epoch doesn't really reflect a survival-scavenging feel (It's more like murder hobo Excavator (or "adventurer," "explorer," "mercenary," etc.) based exploration and salvage), I can't help but want to see more improvised weapons and armor.
  • Limited setting information. While the basic setting is fairly well covered, I felt there needed to be more on useable locations to springboard from, as well as factions to work with or against.**

* Things like playing games with currency, hobby collection of certain types of currency, or other miscellaneous stuff; as opposed to say, having to use bullets in your firearm to fight, drink water to survive, etc.
** Though the Crossroads Region Gazetteer more than makes up for that, holy rusted ruins that thing is packed.