Friday, June 24, 2016

Mutant Crawl Classics

So, there's a Kickstarter for a new post apocalyptic role-playing game, using the Dungeon Crawl Classics system, called Mutant Crawl Classics. (Take a preview peek HERE.) I've taken a look at it, and while it *IS* one of the few kickstarter projects I've felt like backing (oddly, most of the Kickstarters I would have backed always seemed to be finished backing by the time I find out about them), I'm not really in a position to back it at this time. Which is somewhat of a pity, since it looks like it might be a decent PA game, for the most part.

I do however, have some additional thoughts and opinions on the game. First off, I'll be honest, I picked up DCC because it looked like it had some interesting ideas to pick up for my own games; things like 0-level funnel, some of the core mechanics (though the ones I use predate DCC, and are often obvious and common D&D-derivatives), level titles (I L-O-V-E level titles, the idea that there is a rank hierarchy may or may not be the basis for level titles, but using level titles as a short hand for how experienced a character (player or non-player) is can be quite useful, not to mention I feel it adds some depth to any setting), additional thief abilities, Fumbles & Crits (though I'm still a bit tempted to use ChartRolemaster tables for that purpose), and some other odds and ends. On the other hand though, DCC has some systems that I either don't care for (Luck Score...I generally consider the dice roll used in a game to constitute "luck" and don't use special snowflake systems like "Luck," "Fate," "Karma," etc. that can alter die rolls) or I think are freaking stupid ("Funky Dice," odd-numbered dice like d3, d5, and d7 as well as even-number dice like d14 and d16 are fairly pointless*). Given my somewhat neutral stance on the DCC system then, my interest in Mutant Crawl Classics will obviously lie in the direction of what I can use in my own games, rather than as a go-to game system for Post Apocalyptic Adventures.

I have to say that the Level-0 Character Professions table in the preview PDF was extremely underwhelming, I'm hoping that it is a placeholder for a much better table, though judging by the table fluff, it looks more like a deliberate design decision. I'm not a real fan of the whole "post-nuclear caveman" basis (even in Gamma World or Mutant Future), but I can work with it (especially after recently watching America 3000). I'm also one of those folks that think race-as-class is stupid, so I wasn't impressed with it's inclusion in MCC, though it was expected. I also wasn't thrilled that there wasn't a race-as-class for robots/androids/cyborgs (though I do like the addition of Holograms); since I consider mechanical beings as an essential part of the whole Human-Animal-Vegetable-Mineral(Mechanical) spread I like to see for Post Apocalyptic playability. I do hope that the "Manimals" & "Plantients" in the game have ample coverage, since so many existing PA RPGs fail in that department (let's face it, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles & Other Strangeness/After the Bomb RPG is still one of the top PA games for playing mutant animals because it's mutant animal selection & coverage are so extensive; the only other RPG I've seen that comes close is The Mutant Epoch, though Wisdom from the Wastelands #51 for Mutant Future does a fair job of filling that out...though both of these offerings have poor plant coverage). As far as the wetware programs=magic shtick, I'm somewhat on the fence, I do prefer the "psychic powers" approach for my PA settings, and I'm completely unsold on "mental constructs and databases of knowledge" for spells, but some sort of quantum/nanobot magic system wouldn't feel too out of place. I did feel that the Patron AI idea was very Planet Psychon though (don't read anything into that, it just invokes the same kind of vibe). The Archaic Alignments idea looks interesting, as some sort of "Cryptic Alliance" feature.

I do have to wonder why William McAusland is doing artwork for it, INSTEAD of working on his own The Mutant Epoch RPG (not that including artwork he's done is a *bad* thing, I'd just rather see more stuff for TME, especially since it seems he's been working more on TME novels than RPG supplements lately :( ). I also have to admit, when I first heard about Mutant Crawl Classics, I figured the author would be Reid San Filippo, since his Crawling Under a Broken Moon fanzine for DCC already encompasses so many different Post Apocalyptic bits and pieces for DCC *shrug*. The stretch goals do have some possibilities, but I think there's too many "adventure module" stretch goals and some of those utility stretch goals (say GM Screen and Data Orb) should replace some of them.

*There are uses for the fairly pointless dice, NOT by themselves (rolling a d3 for example can easily be accomplished by rolling a d6 and dividing the result by half, or rolling 1d4-1), but in the area of random weapon damage, by expanding the roll range of damage of weapons. Also rolling something like 3d5 can give you a different result distribution than 3d6 or 3d4. However, odd additional dice for the sake of being "edgy" or "different" doesn't really do it for me.