Friday, January 30, 2015

Freak Friday

Osseous Walker

No. Enc.: 3d4 (3d10)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 60' (20')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 1
Attacks: 1 (fist or weapon)
Damage: 1d6 or weapon
Save: L1
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: None
XP: 10

Osseous Walkers are the skeletal remnants of those Ancients who have been subjected to nanomachine bone grafts. They appear as human-sized silvery-grey bones arrayed like an anatomical model skeleton. While not capable of advanced reasoning, the nanomachines are able to use their skeletal form to utilize weapons in a club-like fashion.

These nanomachines have very limited programming and only seek to support the bone structure they are grafted onto. In order to support bone tissue, they seek living creatures for the biological nutrients contained in living bodies, though they do not masticate them. In order to transfer the nutrients needed, the nanomachines need to place the bones in direct contact with immobilized creatures. Immobilization is best done through killing the creature, though the nutrient material needed only remains viable in the first day or so.

Osseous Walkers generally lair in ruins or underground, where they can safely remain in contact with their nutrient "baths" with little disruption. Those found actually walking will do so because the nanomachines have detected new sources of nutrients for the bones they support. As there is no biological intelligence to be found in Osseous Walkers, they are unaffected by mental mutations which affect the mind. Mental mutations capable of linking with computers/robots will only sense the basic desire of the nanomachines to find sources of nutrients for the bones.

Mutations: None

Friday, January 23, 2015

Freak Friday

Carrion Mangrove

No. Enc.: 1 (1d4)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: None
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 12
Attacks: see below
Damage: see below
Save: L6
Morale: None
Hoard Class: XIX (x2)
XP: 2000

Carrion Mangroves are immobile, mutated Avicennia germinans which appear among, and nearly identical to their unmutated versions. Appearing as a 40'-60' tall mangrove tree with dark brown bark, elliptical, dark green leaves, and small creamy white flowers, their distinguishing feature is their long, underground system of roots and hundreds of pencil-like pneumatophores which grow upwards from the roots, appearing as a field of stakes. Decaying corpses may be noticed among the root system on a roll of 1-3 on 1d6.

This mutant tree doesn't actively hunt, but rather depends on its root system to deal with prey. Each Carrion Mangrove's root system covers a 100' diameter area around the tree. When prey is detected through ground vibrations, the nearest pneumatophores (roll 2D10 to determine number) shoot small poisonous thorns straight up into the prey doing 1d4 damage each. Each thorn has a Class 11 poison which causes paralysis for 2d6 rounds for each thorn which strikes the target. Victims that are paralyzed tend to fall directly onto 2d4 pneumatophores, causing 1d6 damage for each one struck, additionally, each pneumatophore pumps out the same Class 11 poison each round. Since these victims generally can't save against so many poison sources, they tend to be paralyzed until death from thirst or drowning. Carrion Mangroves feed on the blood and decaying bodies thus created.

These trees can be found just above the high tide line in the sandy or muddy regions around brackish water estuaries, lagoons, and mangrove swamps.

Mutations: Modified Vines and Roots (CotTW)

Hangman's Tree

No. Enc.: 1 (0)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: None
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 9
Attacks: 4 (constrictive tendrils)
Damage: 2d6
Save: L5
Morale: None
Hoard Class: XIX
XP: 1700

This tree is a mutated version of Carya texana appearing as a hickory tree 20-30' tall with dark grey bark covering a trunk roughly one foot in diameter, shiny, dark green leaves which turn golden-yellow in autumn, bronze-colored nuts, and yellow catkins.

Hangman's Trees attack by dropping 1d4 constrictive tendrils around prey. A successful attack roll achieves constriction, and the victim will suffer 2d6 damage on each consecutive round. The length of these tendrils ranges from 10’ to 20’.

They are typically found in hilly, forested regions. Their fruit is edible and considered tasty (see New Mutation - Edible Leaves)

Mutations: Prehensile Tendrils, Edible Fruit


No. Enc.: 0 (2d10)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: None
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 1
Damage: 4d6
Save: L2
Morale: None
Hoard Class: None
XP: 290

Hellions are mutant Helianthus annuus (sunflowers) that were failed bio-correcting solar collection plants, reflecting powerful beams of sunlight against nearby terrain as they track the sun across the sky. They appear as typical 10' tall sunflowers whose flowers actually track the sun's path across the sky. At frequent intervals (once every three rounds) during sunny days, they emit their stored solar energy at a spot up to 50' away. Often this results in only scorched ground, and the areas around Hellion fields are often scorched of vegetation making them easy to recognize. If any creature wanders into the area however, there is a chance that they may be struck by a beam (roll to attack any targets in the area with a -2 to the attack roll).

Mutations: Glow in the Dark (CoTW), Reflective Epidermis (Heat), Reflective Epidermis (Radiations), Thermal Emissions (Heat)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Freak Friday


No. Enc.: 1 (0)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: None
Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 10
Attacks: see below
Damage: see below
Save: L5
Morale: None
Hoard Class: XX
XP: 3800

These mutated, unintelligent Taxus brevifolia appear as 50' tall evergreen trees which have apparently rotted from the inside, creating hollow cavities which appear to be inviting places to shelter. With their brown, scaly bark, dark green, lanceolate leaves, and bright red, berry-like seed cones, these carnivorous predators are almost impossible to distinguish from normal trees. There is only a 1 in 6 chance that a creature will recognize a Carnifolia as such, although plant mutants can detect them on a 3 in 6 chance.

Carnifolia have two primary means of enticing creatures to rest within their tempting cavities. If any creature consumes the red seeds of the plant, they must make a saving throw vs poison or feel compelled to stop and rest within the cavity. Of course if the weather is inclement, the hollow cavity may also appear as an inviting place within which to shelter. Any creature which falls asleep within the hollow cavity will cause the cavity to close and begin filling with a digestive sap which oozes up from the roots, at a rate of one foot per round until the 10' cavity is filled. The digestive sap does 1d8 damage per round until the creature dies. The limited room inside the cavity prevents those trapped inside from attacking by any weapon except a dagger. Additionally, attacking from within the cavity is difficult, and the attack suffers a -4 penalty.

These tree predators can be found just about anywhere, although they will only be found near streams in drier regions.

Mutations: Carnivore, Edible Seeds (CotW), Energy Absorption (Electricity; CotW), Thermal Sensitivity (Fire)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Freak Friday


No. Enc.: 1d4 (1d4)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90' (30')
          Fly: 240' (80')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 5+5
Attacks: 2 (bite or mutation, constrict)
Damage: 6d6/2d
Save: L3
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: XV
XP: 1460

Designed as a bio-weapon by a certain demented bio-lab, best left forgotten, this strain of Phyllostachys rubromarginata has been turned into a ferocious predator. They appear as bamboo-like serpents some 30' long with a fanged, skull-like head and red ruff or mane. They fly by means of four delicate, leaf-like wings that contained under a protective layer of bark which acts similar to an insect's elytra. Primarily meat eaters, they generally prey on large game animals, but have been known to attack larger prey or humanoids. Additionally they are known to consume certain amounts of metal for unknown reasons.

Baneboo typically attack as if they were Giant Pythons, starting with a bite, and following up on a successful hit with a constricting attack that does an additional 2d4 hit points of damage. This constriction attack continues on ensuing rounds. When cornered, surprised, or seriously wounded, Baneboo are capable of spitting a poisonous gob up to 60' away. This gob is a Class 16 poison that causes death to targets unless a successful save vs poison is made, then the character takes 5d6 damage. Baneboo can spit a poisonous gob up to 3 times per day.

Habitually sheltering in caves or ruins found among wooded or forested areas, Baneboo are known to collect metallic objects and other valuables which they obtain by scouring ruins.

Mutations: Carnivore, Complete Wing Development (Elytra - see Wisdom from the Wastelands #40), Free Movement, Full Senses, Metallic Bark (see Creatures of the Wastes), Toxic Weapon

Monday, January 5, 2015

Mutant Monday

Well, the holiday season is finally over, and I've gotten the problem with my ISP fixed. However, Mutant Monday will be moving to Freak Friday for the next six months or so. Hopefully I'll also be getting some of my other little ideas worked out and projects done.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

MUTANT: Year Zero Review

For this review, I'll be covering Modiphius Entertainment's MUTANT: Year Zero - Roleplaying At The End Of Days (English translated version of Paradox Entertainment AB's game). Unlike some of my other entries, I'll be covering the mechanics and layout of this offering a bit more than I normally would, since the overall mechanics really tie in to how the game is played.

Likes (D6):
  • 1. The artwork is well done, with the inclusion of both color and B&W art which supports the setting appropriately, and appears often enough to augment the text without generally bogging it down. I'll even go as far as to agree with the use of a standard two-column layout of text (in general, with exceptions for utility, like tables and the "Index").
  • 2. Character creation is quick and easy. The inclusion of character classes (called "Roles") with skills (though I wasn't too keen on the limited class skills). Example names, though limited, are included, though probably scattered too much throughout the book for quick reference.
  • 3. The mechanics do provide a gritty, post-apocalyptic feel, while retaining a good mix of gonzo elements. The Rot as a generic mechanic for CBR hazards was fairly well implemented, though I thought it's generic nature lost some points because detection devices (such as chem sniffers or geiger counters) were missing. While food, clean water, and ammo were stressed as resources to help give that scavenger/survival feel, fuel sources (especially for vehicles) seemed a bit more hand-waved to the detriment of the setting.
  • 4. The setup that allows and encourages building up the PCs home base "Ark." When combined with the (somewhat flaky, see below) Artifact system, it makes for an interesting challenge.
  • 5. There are some rules for scavenged arms, armor and equipment, though I'd probably only rate the system as fair, due to the quick-play mechanics of the system.
  • 6. A fairly good setting, with sample locations, ideas for other locations, and factions to interact with.

Dislikes (D66):
  • 11. Useless 'Chapter Only' "Table of Contents" (sorry, if your TOC only shows what page a chapter is on, it's f***ing useless as a TOC for a Role Playing Game). While I don't mind the small image included with each chapter, spreading this useless POS over FOUR pages (two PC section and two GM section) was a waste of space (though no doubt makes sense from a designer's perspective (i.e. holding a physical book let's you see the whole PC or GM section at one glance). Also the PDF version didn't even hyperlink the chapters.
  • 12. Character sheet in the "middle" of the book (pages 20-21). With the TOC being useless, having this in the middle of the book just makes it difficult to find. Moreso when the 'Index' has this for the Character Sheet entry, "Character Sheets 11, 265". On page 11 is the mention of Character Sheets as s tool of the game (oddly saying you can find one at the back of the book, which would be page 265, except, it's not there, instead some art and quote page is there.
  • 13. Actually, somewhat of a personal dislike here, I'm not fond of a lot of the "two-page" layouts for the material in this book, while it works somewhat for a physical book, all it does in PDF form is highlight wasted space (or artificial page count padding...see Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions for an extreme example of this). The "color" page borders with what appears to be fairly extreme text margins doesn't help either.
  • 14. Quick character creation because there's really only one offering of character type; Mutant Human. Pure Humans, Animal Mutants, Plant Mutants, Robots, Cyborgs, and the like are hinted at, and appear as NPC monster types, but with so little information as to be only a teasing appetizer.
  • 15. The lack of gonzo mutations for mutants. There's only 24 mutations available, the game recommends that each PC have a different one, and then half fills a D66 table* for random rolls.
  • 16. Really poor overall layout in that you're constantly told to reference some other part(s) of the book for information on most subjects. (When you're not being teased with "be covered in future supplement" tidbits.)
  • 21. A "unique sector generation system" that has the most useless table in the entire book. It can be summed up thusly, "ruin environments have ruins and artifacts, wilderness environments don't; all environments have threats". For that I needed a whole table taking up a quarter of a page? Admittedly, the rest of the material in the chapter is quite useful, to the point you may want to incorporate much of the material into your own game.
  • 22. *I have to qualify this dislike a bit. While I'm not opposed to limiting the mechanics resolution to use of one or more D6s on its own merits (easy availability of dice with which to play the game), I am opposed when the only reason for really doing so is so you can sell your own, custom (and overpriced) dice. Even using D6 based tables though, the table layouts in this book are much better than Barbarians of the Aftermath, though still not great because of their limitations (i.e. 24 mutations on a D66 table).
  • 23. I'm not completely sold on the way "Artifacts" are done in this system. Certainly it makes sense with the way the game is laid out, however some of the choices don't really seem to fit (I'll admit, this reaction may mainly stem from being presented with the first "Artifact," "Air Mattress," I mean, seriously, an air mattress, doesn't quite fit the whole gritty PA feel the designers have been trying to interject).
  • 24. The price tag, twice the price of The Mutant Epoch, maybe one quarter of the utility. Combined with constant references to the custom dice and cards for the game (overpriced merchandizing), you feel like you paid way too much for way too little.
  • 25-66. Re-roll

Overall, I felt that this game was more of an overdeveloped board game or underdeveloped computer RPG than a table top, pen-and-paper RPG. There are a few useful things to take a look at in the setting, and the game mechanics are intriguing enough for representing a grim and gritty PA feel, but for the price, you're better off looking elsewhere. Maybe in the future if the expansion material gets published and can be incorporated into one book for a reasonable price, this might be something to use as a go-to Post Apocalyptic RPG, but for now, not really.

Edit: After thinking about it a bit, I've decided that this "game" is more like a large adventure module of the sandbox-setting style rather than a board game or CRPG. It is great for running a limited sandbox, but as it's own RPG it still doesn't make the grade.