Wednesday, January 2, 2013
I think I'm going to settle into somewhere in the middle - there are mutated animals, but no mutated plants. Further, Mutated Animals are rare, so there will have to be explanations made if the party is comprised entirely of Mutated geckos, or whatever.
The idea is, just as Humans were affected by the miasma of chemicals and nanites that caused such devastation during the Last War, so too were the various animal species, and just as a select few humans have been changed by the experience, a small number of animals have stepped forward as well.
Key to making this work, though, will be enforcing the idea that these are not humans with animal traits, but rather animals with human traits. Playing a mutated animal should feel different than playing a mutated human. They should have different goals and ideas on how things should be run, and the direction things should go in as life struggles from the wreckage.
For instance, a mutated cat should be a loner by nature, with a bit of a hedonistic twist. A little lazy until a target presents itself, at which point it adopts a laser-tight focus, hunting and stalking.
Mutated dogs are loyal to a fault, obeying orders unquestioningly. Favored as bodyguards, they will never allow harm to come to those they have sworn to protect, so long as they live.
Mutated bovines tend towards labor. Plodding and slow to anger, they tend to be taken advantage of by the more quick witted. If they discover that they've been tricked, however, their anger can be terrifying to behold.
Snake-men are shy and reclusive. They defend their homes, but otherwise prefer to talk their way out of most trouble. Back them into a corner, though, and you'll feel their bite.
Further, Mutated Animals, while having certain advantages in terms of stats (Mutated cats are quicker than humans, mutated bovines are stronger, etc), their mutations tend to me more endemic to their nature, as opposed to Mutated humans. All mutated animals possess the following: intelligence higher than what is normal for their race, speech, and some sort of opposable thumb-type apparatus which allows them to work tools. They also possess mutations, of the more esoteric sort, but these are fewer, and less powerful than those possessed by the humans.
If a player wants to play a mutated animal, the GM should talk them through the decision, asking questions like, "What traits do you see as typical of this animal?", and "How do you plan to let those traits shine through as you play?" Remember that From the Ashes is, at its core, about the development of this new world - what would your animal see as the best possible future, the best type of society that could be built?