My friends and I played the early versions of TSR’s GAMMA WORLD and METAMORPHOSIS ALPHA to death when we were kids– generating tons of campaign material some of the most memorable games ever. These early SF role-playing games had lots of things going for them– none of the minutiae associated with D&D but roughly the same structure we were already familiar with and a conversely lots more open ended than their older brother, D&D. Sadly GW and MA went by the wayside as I got older and my RPG group kind of drifted apart.
With the advent of the Internet and streaming cameras, Google Hangouts and a decent webcam and Mic, much of the problems of distance and time that drive someone out of roleplaying are solved. I have written about my adventures trying something new with remote play of RPGs before with a RPG called Labyrinth Lord from Goblinoid Games. LL is a fairly obvious D&D clone that harkens back to a time when TSR/Wizards of the Coast allowed for outside development by putting D&D out as an open license. The result was a multitude of RPG games similar to Labyrinth Lord– the most famous being Pathfinder. Mutant Future was Goblinoid’s second product. To say it’s “just a Gamma World clone” is perhaps overstating it.. the mechanics of GW were not released under open license, after all. So Mutant Future is essentially a post-apocalyptic RPG skin of Laybrinth Lord, which is based on the D&D license. With that stated up front.. yeah, it’s a lot like Gamma World.
We played members of a village called Lone Mountain, which is built around some ancient bunkers that still have a few tech items left from the pre-apocalypse days. The Eldars are concerned about the encroachments from the outside and sent out a scouting party that never returned. The preliminary returns from the reconnaissance brought back the map fragment you see above. We were sent out to determine who lives around us and to assess the threat situation more accurately.
My character was a mental mutant with four mental mutations, only one of which appears to be much use:
Larc is a dark-visaged youth, in his early 20s who is apparently human, but for some reason he exudes a sort of anti-charisma not usually associated with humans. His negative empathy generation has caused him to grow increasingly paranoid and defensive as he has gotten older. As he spends a lot of time alone, he talks to himself a lot and he frequently fidgets. He favors dark colors– another culture might accuse him of being “goth”.
STR — 17 +2 mod TH, DMG, Door
DEX — 12 0 Mod
CON — 13 0 mod
INT — 13 +5%
WIS — 12
CHA — 13 -1 RA, 5 Ret 8 RM
1) Vampiric Field
2) Negative Empathy
3) Neural Telepathy
110 GP starter
2 Ball Bearings
L Crossbow 17 GP
+ 20 quarrels 1d6 dmg
Longsword 10 GP 1d8 dmg
studded Leather Armor 30GP
– small items
– bedroll & blanket attached
– rope wrapped around
Unless stipulated, in pack:
Bedroll 1 sp
Blanket, winter 5 sp
Flint Steel 2GP
pole 10 ft 2 sp
9 days trail rations at 5GP
Vampiric Field This mutation grants the mutant the ability to absorb the life essence (hit points) from all creatures (friend or foe) within a foot radius equal to 30+WIL. This power absorbs 2d4 hp per round from all creatures in the radius, and these absorbed points go into a separate reserve for the mutant. All damage to the mutant is taken from these reserved points until they are gone; after this point the mutant’s regular hp begin to be affected. Stored hp will disappear after 24 hours.
Negative Empathy The mutant sends out waves of negative mental energy, causing anyone with less than 17 Intelligence within a 90’ radius to have a 15% probability of attacking the mutant. Only one check is necessary per person until they leave the field and reenter it.
Neural Telepathy Using this ability, the mutant can connect his mind with another creature’s mind and communicate directly, even if the two creatures speak completely different languages or are of different species. The range of this ability is 30 feet.
Metaconcert This ability allows the mutant to link its mind with other
mutants of a similar type or those who have the same mental mutation. These include those with the Metaconcert mutation, or other mental mutations that facilitate control between the minds of two beings. The
mutant may combine his WIL with the WIL of other mutants for conducting a mental attack, or some other joint purpose.?
That’s right. I’m playing a guy named Larc Killstrike who essentially can leach the vitality out of everyone in the room and automatically makes stupid people hate him. This is going to be hilarious. I’m playing him as shy and kind of anti-social, as he would be very self conscious of the hostility he creates just by walking into a room. Fortunately our “Mutant Master” (GM) ruled that the party members know Larc and are used to him by now. Of these mutations, Neural Telepathy came in handy (once) and I never used the Vampiric Leech thing. Metaconcert seems nice in theory but really I’m not sure what we could use it with. I have nothing that really “Attacks” mentally– and I don’t think any of the party members do either.
Our party headed toward the river (see map above), discovering some delicious truffle mushrooms on the way. They turned out to be edible so I filled my pack with them.
We avoided an encounter with some cubs of a really awful monster called a vile slasher or something like that. Sadly when we went north to the next riverside hex and tried to cross, one of our guys (Johnny Walker) got shreddded by mutated piranha fish. We fished our volunteer out and headed north some more.. only to discover a group of friendly little pig men called the Suidioi or something like that. Fortunately they were telepathic and we conversed easily– it helps to have telepathy. They were a nice bunch. I tried not to think of bacon too much. We did some trading and one of our guys got a chain mail outfit out of it. They turned us on to a building “that was very dangerous and had led to the death of many suidioi” or something like that.
There’s also a lake with a human-ish village North of the drawing up top. We got to the location of the single building and encountered a compound of sorts, with a large “box on treads” patrol in a very predictable path around it. I tried to break into guard shack but failed twice, making too much racket and attracting the attention of the box. I ran for it and it went back to patrolling. The other guys did a circuit around the building to map it out for us. When we got back together (behind the dumpsters in the drawing below) we called it a night.
This game went well. It definitely had that old Gamma World, “exploring in the ruins of the ancients” without a lot of the paperwork modern games put you through feel to it. The GM, Eric, is a good referee, funny, and he admits when he doesn’t know something, and is creative enough to improvise as we move along. I’ve gamed with these guys (remotely) before, or at least many of them, and they are a good bunch. Technically I was beset by some problems. I got the impression that SOME people heard me over the mic and some didn’t. I think the problem came from RollD20 (the app about which I’ve spoken before– it allows you to run a RPG game over a browser) taking control of my mic when I was already using Google Hangouts to communicate– then when I muted it on RollD20 nobody seemed to hear me. Stuff happens. I communicated as best I could.
I’ll definitely play Mutant Future again. It’s a real blast from the past. I’m liking Goblinoid Games more and more these days.