Thursday, February 25, 2010

[Thundarr Thursday] Ancient Armory: Sarott's Gauntlet

Weapon: Sarott's Gauntlet
Damage: Electrical-4d6; Laser-4d6; Crushing-STR x 2; Stun
Attacks: 1
Range: N/A
Weight: 2 lbs.
Battery: Beltpack or Backpack
Charges: 25/50

The wizard Sarott stole an Ancient Gauntlet of Power from a village at the beginning of the episode "City of Evil." Thundarr and his companions were able to retrieve it before Sarott could do any real damage with it. However, while he wore it, he managed to trigger several interesting effects. This entry encompasses everything this gauntlet was shown to do.

Sarott's Gauntlet is capable of four different kinds of attacks. The wielder is able to trigger any one of the four attacks per round. (The user chooses which attack method will be used each round.) The four abilities of the Gauntlet are:
  • Electrical Shock - The Gauntlet can fire out a bolt of electrical power that will do 4d6 hit points of damage unless a save vs. energy attacks is made. This attack will fry electronics and possibly short out a robotic/android PC.
  • Laser Beam - The Gauntlet can discharge a series of four laser beams, one from each fingertip. This beam will also do 4d6 hit points of damage unless a save vs. energy attacks is made. However, the lasers will also set flammable materials on fire as well as burning a hole through softer materials.
  • Crushing Grasp - The Gauntlet effectively doubles the strength of the wielder, bestowing all STR benefits associated with it. (If a PC has STR of 15, they have a STR of 30 when using the Gauntlet as an attack weapon.) Also, if the Gauntlet's wearer chooses to do so, they will do their STR times 2 hit points of damage just by holding and crushing the item. (A PC with STR of 15 will do 30 HP damage with the Crushing Grasp.)
  • Stun - Upon contact, the Gauntlet can emit a Stun attack. If a save vs. stun attacks is failed, the victim will be stunned for 2d4 turns.
Due to the variety of attacks available, the Gauntlet should be viewed as a very powerful weapon. However, the Gauntlet also has a huge power drain on it, using two charges per attack rather than the usual one charge. Owners of the Gauntlet have come to find that their power usage is more trouble than the variety of attacks is worth.

NOTE: This weapon is inspired by the episode “City of Evil” from the classic Ruby Spears post-apocalyptic cartoon “Thundarr the Barbarian". Stay tuned each week for “Thundarr Thursday”!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Savage Menagerie: Blood Hound

No. Enc.: 2d4 (2d6)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1 (bite, special)
Damage: 2d6
Save: L4
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: None

At a distance, Blood Hounds look very similar to Rot Dogs (see MF rulebook, pg. 92). However, they are much larger in size and do not seem to have the rotting stench of their smaller "cousins."

Blood Hounds have a bite that causes the victim to acquire the mutation hemophilia if a saving throw versus poison fails. This mutation is similar to the mutation bestowed by the bite of a Hemofowl (see MF rulebook, pg. 75) and is permanent. Blood Hounds also have increased smell, enabling them to pick up scents at 180 feet as well as track a victim unerringly.

Blood Hounds aren't particularly violent, but they will attack a PC if threatened, scared, or trained to do so. Blood Hounds are often kept as pets by traders and wasteland travellers due to their loyalty and fearlessness when set upon a bandit or marauder.

Mutations: toxic weapon, increased smell

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dangerous Encounter: Mummy Issues

This quick encounter can take place while the PCs are in their village resting up between adventures. It would work best if an NPC the characters know very well is involved. The NPC should be spied in the village market buying some items for his/her homestead on the outskirts of the village. If the PCs approach the NPC and attempt to say hello or otherwise interact with them, they will appear distracted and distant, maybe even rude and dismissive. Subtly point out to the PCs that the NPC seems to be fairly well bundled up from neck to feet (depending on the season, this could be typical for the winter, but very unusual for the summer).

The NPC has been taken over by a Mummy Vine (MF rulebook, pg. 85). The NPC is wrapped in long, prickly vines from head to neck (explaining why they've bundled up - to try to hide the vines). The parasitic plant has been controlling the NPC for a few weeks now, only now sending them into the village for supplies. The Mummy Vine is afraid of being discovered and is trying to get the NPC away from the PCs. Depending on how the encounter pans out, the Mummy Vine may cause the NPC to attack the PCs.

Mummy Vine Victim (1) (AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 5, HD 12, #AT 1, DG 1d6 or as weapon type, SV L1, ML 8, mutations: none)

At the base of the NPC's back is the Mummy Vine's root bulb which resembles a human brain. If combat occurs, the PC will hit the brain on a natural 20 or via a called shot. If the "brain" is hit, the plant will lose control of the NPC, who will then do whatever it takes to remove the parasite.

Once released from the Mummy Vine's control, the NPC will explain to the party that their homestead has been completely overtaken by the Vines and the rest of his family is under Mummy Vine control. The PCs are asked to help his save his family - a wife, brother, uncle, and child. When they reach the homestead, they'll see that the Mummy Vines not only have control of the people, they have also completely encased the small dwelling there. The NPC will make it clear that saving the family comes first, but no harm must come to them. The PCs are welcome to try any method they think will work.

Mummy Vine Victims (4) (AL N, MV 120’ (40’), AC 5, HD 12, #AT 1, DG 1d6 or as weapon type, SV L1, ML 8, mutations: none)

The Mummy Vines are still a viable threat if anyone gets too near the house, as they will lash out and try to grab a new victim. If by some chance a PC is caught and brought into the control of the Mummy Vines, they will defend the vine cluster with their lives. There are 12 Mummy Vines surrounding the house to contend with.

Mummy Vines (12) (AL C, MV 45’ (15’), AC 5, HD 3, #AT 1 (thorns or leeching), DG 1d4 or 1d4 per week, SV L4, ML 12, mutations: vegetal parasite)

When the battle has ended, the NPC will thank the PCs for their assistance and will reward them with whatever coins and/or artifacts the Mutant Lord deems appropriate. The NPC could offer the PCs info about a nearby unexplored ruin no one has yet discovered. However, the Mummy Vines' bulb system may have infested the area and another invasion could occur at any time...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Newest Updates To The World Of Thundarr Sourcebook

Made a few new entry additions to The World of Thundarr the Barbarian Sourcebook available for download over there in the right-hand column:
  • The Guardian
  • Queen Stryia
  • Wolf-Ape
  • Shock Lance
  • Leatherwing
  • The Moondial
My plans are to update the sourcebook once a month with any new material added so this will always be up-to-date. Announcements (like this one) will be made whenever an updated file is posted.

(And take a look at some future Thundarr Thursday subjects: Wizard Who's Who; Atlas to the World of Thundarr; and two new PC races!)

[Thundarr Thursday] Ancient Armory: The Moondial

The Moondial is a very powerful Ancient artifact that opens a doorway to other times and other places. Simply put, The Moondial is a time machine.

In the world of Thundarr the Barbarian, time travel is not unheard of, though it is rare. Some powerful wizards such as the wizard Vashtarr are able to rip open the fabric of time using only their magic. Others, like the wizard Krom, rely on devices and machines to open a portal into time. The Moondial is one such device.

The Moondial apparently runs on magical energy. (If magic is not used in your campaign, the energy meeded to power this should be astronomical - such as a dedicated power plant or fission chamber.) Once enough arcane energies are poured into the device, it will activate - gears and knobs turning, dials spinning, and other lights and diodes blinking and flashing. Behind The Moondial is a large set of doors which will then slide open, revealing an image of the destination. This "time door" is the gateway to whatever time and place The Moondial has been set for. Once something passes through the time door, a portal is effectively "locked open" at the destination coordinates usable only by the original travellers. When the open portal is re-entered, the travellers will return moments after they left. For example, if Thundarr entered the time door and appeared in 1982, there would be a time door back to 3994 - his home time - at the same location he appeared at. Only he can see and re-enter the doorway back to his home time. (This is to keep others from wandering into the shining doorway to find themselves surrounded by wizards and moks.)

Setting The Moondial for a specific time and place is a very complex process understandable only by the most cunning and educated of wizards. Most likely, the PCs will use The Moondial to go back in time to whatever place and coordinates the device is already set for. Fooling around with The Moondial's settings is dangerous indeed. Anyone who tries to reset it should find themselves thrown to some random location in space/time. (If you really wish to teach them a lesson, have the return time door be inaccessible or missing.)

The wizard Krom uses The Moondial to loot the past, bringing powerful Ancient artifacts and weapons back to the future for his use. Fortunately, Krom is not a very imaginative wizard, settling on bringing back rifles, lasers, and armored tanks rather than more destructive weapons or more dangerous substances. Thundarr and his companions used The Moondial to travel back to 1982 to secure a replacement part for The Guardian. Upon their return to the future, Thundarr destroyed The Moondial so Krom would be unable to gain more weapons or - worse - fool around with and change the past.

A clever Mutant Lord should be able to find all kinds of uses and plots for The Moondial, but it should be used sparingly and with caution. After all, if Krom thought to bring working Ancient weapons and devices back to the future, what's to keep a clever PC from doing the same?

NOTE: This device was inspired by the episode "Portal Into Time" from the classic Ruby Spears post-apocalyptic cartoon"Thundarr the Barbarian." Stay tuned each week for Thundarr Thursday!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Photo Tour Of Abandoned Places

I stumbled across the Web site Abandoned Places quite some time ago and have been meaning to share this great resource. Photographer Henk van Rensbergen presents photo upon photo of decrepit structures, decaying buildings, derelict homes, disintegrating get the idea. Although these photos are not technically in a post-apocalyptic vein, the images are a haunting look at "What it could all look like one day." I've used one or two images to illustrate my Dangerous Encounters, and a look through these eerie pictures inspired a few as well.

Check out these beautifully eerie images for some post-apocalyptic "what-ifs": Abandoned Places

Thursday, February 11, 2010

[Thundarr Thursday] Savage Menagerie: Leatherwing

No. Enc.: 1d6 (1d8)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60' (20') Fly: 240' (80')
Armor Class: 5
Hit Dice: 7
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 4d6
Save: L4
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None

Leatherwings are giant mutant bats that can be used as flying mounted steeds. They are nearly 10 feet in length with a 25 foot wingspan. They have brown fur, red eyes, and a long rat-like tail. They are the preferred mode of transport for the mysterious Raiders of the Abyss, although they are a common enough mount that they could be encountered anywhere in the Thundarr universe. Unlike common bats, Leatherwings have fairly decent eyesight so they do not rely on (or possess) a radar sense or any mutations like echolocation.

Leatherwings aren't much good in a fight, only able to bite with their large fanged mouth. However, if they successfully bite, they'll do 4d6 hit points of damage due to their size and strength. Also, just like the Giant Bat (MF rulebook, pg. 61), Leatherwings have a paralysis potion in their saliva, causing paralysis in a bitten enemy for 1d10 rounds unless a save versus poison is successful.

Leatherwings aren't naturally violent unless provoked. Once "broken," they are as tame as any horse or beast of burden. They are able to carry up to 300 pounds and fly at their full movement rate. They can carry between 301 and 600 pounds and still become airborne, however they move at half their airborne movement rate. They are unable to take flight once they are carrying more than 600 pounds.

Mutations: gigantism, toxic weapon

NOTE: This creature is inspired by the episode “Raiders of the Abyss” from the classic Ruby Spears post-apocalyptic cartoon “Thundarr the Barbarian.” Stay tuned each week for “Thundarr Thursday”!

[Thundarr Thursday] Ancient Armory: Shock Lance

Weapon: Shock Lance
Damage: 2d6+15, Stun
Attacks: 1
Range: N/A
Weight: 7 lbs.
Battery: N/A (if magical) or Beltpack
Charges: N/A (if magical) or 25

The Shock Lance is a magical weapon wielded by the Raiders of the Abyss during their human hunts. It appears like a long slender rod of bone or ivory, covered with deeply carved lines and veins. A Shock Lance is slightly longer than an Energy Baton and weighs slightly more.

When a Shock Lance strikes a victim, it does 2d6+15 hit points of damage. This damage will not penetrate a force screen however. Any attempt to hit a victim will count toward a discharge. Even more devastating is that a successful hit will also stun a victim for 1d6 rounds if a save versus stun attacks fails in the same manner as a Stun Baton. When a victim is immobilized in this manner, the Raider will then scoop up the collapsed human prey in a net, taking them back to the Abyss where they never return from.

In the Thundarr universe, magic co-exists with future technology. The Shock Lance is a magical weapon rather than a technological one. If magic exists in your Mutant Future campaign, then the Shock Lance does not have a battery to rely on for its energy purposes and it should have limitless charges to pull from. If, however, magic does not exist in your campaign, use the tech stats as described above.

NOTE: This weapon is inspired by the episode “Raiders of the Abyss” from the classic Ruby Spears post-apocalyptic cartoon “Thundarr the Barbarian". Stay tuned each week for “Thundarr Thursday”!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

"You Take 776,592 Hit Points Of Damage."

My recent giveaway and discussions of the D30 got me to thinking of the odd-shaped dice we role-players use. Sure, everyone has a set of D4, D6 (bunch of those), D8, D10, D12, D20, and D%. They are the standard shapes of the randomizers we all know so well. I think that's why the D30 is such an interesting oddball (literally) - it gives us a set of random numbers that has no ready-made use. No RPG (that pops into my head) uses the D30 as one of the basic dice needed for play. But the D30 has somehow garnered much love from the fringes of the gamer horde, probably for its outsider status and because the gamer himself must figure out the usage for it.

I got to thinking: "So what other odd-numbered dice are out there?" Well, the answer surprised me. May surprise you too. So, without further ado, The Savage AfterWorld presents a photo collage of MUTANT DICE FROM BEYOND TIME AND SPACE!!!

And here is the High Queen Mother of Randomizers. Granted, it's a dice set rather than a single die. But if it were a single die, it'd be the size of a bowling ball. Six 10-sided dice, each representing ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, ten-thousands, and hundred-thousands. Readers, I present to you:


I have no idea what you would use them for - perhaps in space opera games if you're measuring a distance in light years or something. Or, if you really wanted to shut up a particularly troublesome player, you could grab these dice and say "You have pissed off The Gods and lightning bolts streak from the heavens, striking you over and over and over and over! You take ((shake - rattle - roll)) 776,592 hit points of damage."

Friday, February 5, 2010

So Who's The Newest Member Of The Order Of The D30?

OK gang, time for the random drawing for the d30/Radioactive Cup giveaway! Taking Squidman's great idea, I'm going to let the d30 itself choose its new owner in just a moment. First, I need to compile all of the entries (deleting some dupes), creating a 30-item table in the process. And here's who we have in the running:

  1. David
  2. Eddie
  3. proton mule
  4. Andrew Byers
  5. Jay
  6. Alan
  7. Eli Arndt
  8. The Acrobatic Flea
  9. Matthew Needham
  10. Booberry
  11. Brandon
  12. ArmChairGeneral
  13. Brutorz Bill
  14. Blair
  15. Stuart
  16. NulSyn
  17. Carl
  18. akfu23
  19. labsenpai
  20. Mik
  21. Tetsubo
  22. Aaron
  23. Squidman
  24. blUsKrEEm
  25. odrook
  26. Nick
  27. Roll again
  28. Roll again
  29. Roll again
  30. Roll again
Good luck everyone. And here's the roll...

*** 23 ***

Congrats to Squidman! (How about that! I swear it was a random d30 roll!) I shall try to get ahold of you for your mailing address. If you don't hear from me, please contact me at the email address in the right-hand column. Thanks again everyone!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Preview Of New Gamma World Art

Wizards has posted some small images on their website next to the new Gamma World items to be released in October. Kinda hard to see 'em at their current size (above), but you can make out the basic heavy-line art used. (Looks like the style from the videogame Borderlands, doesn't it?) The one on the left is the main core rulebook and the art on the right is from the Famine in Far-Go accessory kit. Not sure what I expected and I'm not sure if I'm disappointed, excited, or ambivalent.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

[Thundarr Thursday] Savage Menagerie: Wolf-Ape

No. Enc.: 1d4 (1d6)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 9
Attacks: 3 (claw, claw, bite)
Damage: 1d6, 1d6, 2d6
Save: L7
Morale: 8
Horde Class: II

Wolf-Apes are a mutant hybrid of both the canine and simian species. They are large human-sized bipedal mutants with matted grey-brown fur. They have pointed ears, sharp claws, and eerily glowing pupiless eyes.

Wolf-Apes are not intelligent, possessing only animal-like instinct and cunning, and they are incapable of speaking. They attack for food and - since they are fairly cruel - for sport. Because of their animalistic ways, wizards will not use them as minions as they are unpredictable and dangerous. (Although a wizard may have an arena where he arranges combats between his collection of wild Wolf-Apes and unfortunate victims for his amusement.)

Wolf-Apes are able to travel through the trees much like an ape, swinging silently from branch to branch. They prefer to attack by leaping out of trees and onto their victim. They rend with their sharp claws for 1d6 hit points for each claw that lands. They can also snap and bite at a victim for 2d6 hit points of damage.

Oddly enough, even though a Wolf-Ape has no use for or concept of money and valuables, some very basic silver coinage can be found in a Wolf-Ape lair. It is thought that they are attracted to the shiny baubles, collecting them for their shine.

Mutations: none

NOTE: This creature was inspired by the episode "Fortress of Fear" from the classic Ruby Spears post-apocalyptic cartoon "Thundarr the Barbarian." Stay tuned each week for Thundarr Thursday!

Savage Menagerie: Wuudchak

No. Enc.: 1d4 (2d10)
Alignment: Lawful
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 1 (bite or weapon)
Damage: 1d4 or per weapon type
Save: L4
Morale: 10
Horde Class: XX

The Wuudchak is a short (2-3 feet tall), furry bipedal humanoid descended from the Ancient animal species of groundhog (AKA whistle-pig and woodchuck, which is the basis for its Mutant Future moniker). Wuudchaks are as intelligent and clever as any normal human and are capable of speech, tool usage, etc. However Wuudchaks are also highly aggatated and nervous, often acting without thinking their actions through. They do not trust outsiders at all, having been hunted to near-extinction for food during the period after the Ancient wars. Although of Lawful alignment, Wuudchaks are angry and suspicious creatures by nature, quick to leap to the wrong conclusions.

Wuudchaks live in large underground colonies, usually identified by a large mound of earth surrounding the entrance to the warren. Due to the size of the builders, Wuudchaks colonies are inaccessible to all but the smallest of PCs. Due to their mistrust of strangers, Wuudchaks will leap to the defense of the colony and of other Wuudchaks if they feel threatened. (It's not unusual for a PC to stumble across a single Wuudchak who panics, calling 12 others to his side who immediately attack.) It's best to treat all Wuudchaks as potential combatants.

Wuudchaks have developed the ability to control weather, bringing down rain, thunder, and lightning when threatened. (They are particularly fond of starting blinding snowstorms - an ability they say they inherited from their groundhog ancestors.) Wuudchaks are also able to release an ear-piercing shriek once per day, inflicting 1d4 points of sonic damage as well as deafening the victim for 1d6+4 rounds. A Wuudchak shriek will also signal every other Wuudchak within hearing range that there is trouble, and they will come running.

It is possible to gain the trust and respect of a Wuudchak, but the PC would have to perform some act that benefits the entire warren, i.e. saving it from destruction or providing food/water to all within the colony. Even then, the Wuudchak will shy away from any close bonds of friendship. But if a PC does gain that trust, then they will be viewed as a member of the warren, and they can then call upon their Wuudchak "family" for aid and assistance.

Mutations: shriek, control weather

NOTE: This creature is in honor of February 2 in the U.S. Happy Groundhog Day!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Did Mutant Future Prompt Release of Gamma World 4e?

The announcement of the new version of Gamma World to be released later this year has everyone asking one very simple question:


It's a valid question since it doesn't make much good business sense on the surface. The last two editions of Gamma World weren't exactly barn-burners; in fact, both versions (SSS and Alternity) were either ignored or reviled by fans of the genre. So why drag this setting out of mothballs, dust it off, and add new bells and whistles when last two versions did rather poorly?

Before we answer that, let's take a look at some of the hotter post-apocalyptic properties currently in the public eye:
  • Video games - The Blasted Earth is alive and well on game systems, with that mega-seller Fallout 3 leading the pack and games like Badlands nipping at its heels.
  • Films - The Road was a bleak look at life after The End (and was based on a best-selling novel to boot) and The Book of Eli is now out in theaters. And a new Mad Max/Road Warrior film is waiting in the wings. Looks like the Apocalypse is doing well on the silver screen.
  • RPGs - Of course I'm gonna mention Mutant Future as the foremost genre-specific game out there right now, but I'd be remiss if I didn't point out other great games now available like Atomic Highway and Alpha Omega. The market for post-apocalyptic RPGs is still viable.
So it's simple really: The apocalypse is back in style again and Wizards has a ready-made RPG setting just ripe for the picking. And with the re-purposing of both the D&D "Red Box" and Dark Sun setting already imminent, it makes good business sense to revisit another classic TSR property at this time - especially one that is tailor-made for the very genre that's hot right now.

So, to answer the question posed in the subject title: Did Mutant Future prompt the release of the new Gamma World? No, it didn't. But I feel it - and the other genre-specific elements discussed above - revealed to Wizards that there's gold in them thar radioactive hills.