Thursday, July 19, 2012

FtA: Mutations

Crazy thought time.  I've been building a list of mutations for From the Ashes, basically because that's the way that Gamma World did it, and good for the orlen, good for the badder.

But as I'm thinking about it, the randomness doesn't seem to fit with the deliberate nature and theme of the game.  The idea that I"m trying to portray throughout the game is that everything matters.  So why make one of the core concepts random? 

So my thought is this - rather than a chart of random mutations and descriptions of those mutations, let the players pick their mutations, and work with the GM to determine the power levels associated with them.  Each mutation would have a score, like attributes, and the power of the effect generated by that mutation is based on that score.  So even if you say that you have the power to create nuclear explosions with your mind, if your score for that mutation is low, you can only create tiny nuclear explosions that do 1d8 points of damage.  If you have telepathy with the same score, it only operates within 1d8 feet.

Obviously, I need to work out some of the finer points of this to make it usable, but I think it allows some flexibility to the character creation, as well as investing the players in the creation of their characters.  I may still keep the list of mutations and charts, and use them for the levelling mutations - as the PCs increase in level, their cellular structure breaks down, creating new, random mutations as  they go.  I'll have to make sure there are a good number of worthless, negative mutations mixed in with the good ones for that chart.  Hmmm.

As I typing this, I'm realizing that I'm drifting farther and farther away from Gamma World.  Really, at this point the only core concept remaining is probably the post apocalyptic setting, and the mutations themselves, if not the manner in which they are initiallygenerated.  I dunno, though, the more I get into this, the less that seems to matter to me.  If this game turns out to be less a retroclone of Gamma World and more of a mutation, maybe that's in the spirit of things after all?


  1. Would there also be negative point mutations, stuff that has no real benefit, that would allow players to buy up a few more points in a 'positive' mutation (how weird is that concept?!)?

    If so, I think a limit on negs would be required, but decent players would be OK getting the balance right. As I was typing this it occurred to me that what I've suggested there is every edges/hindrances bit of character gen from almost every game ever, but if you're going down a points based effects through mutation route, it could be worth thinking about.

  2. That's not a bad idea, I have to run numbers to make sure this works in reality the way it does conceptually, but I think that could be a good tweak to give a bit of flavor to characters.


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