Monday, May 27, 2013

Settling In For Some Post-Apocalyptic Button-Smashing

I've been on a bit of a videogame hack-and-slash kick recently. A month back, I ran through Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance 1 and 2 in a marathon gaming spree. Just finished Torchlight this week (and have my eye on Torchlight 2). Felt like I had pretty much gotten it all out of my system, when my eyes fell onto my Playstation 2 collection and a forgotten gem of a top-down dungeon run:

Looks like I have another week or two of shooting radscorpions and Vault-exploring ahead of me.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Dangerous Encounter: The Dead Of Night

This encounter takes place in a post-apocalyptic village that appears to be preparing for a siege. When the PCs reach the outskirts of the small town, they see the townspeople finishing up a rather shoddy fence around the edge of the village. The fence is about 7 feet high at its tallest and is cobbled together from boards, scrap sheet metal, chain link fencing, and any other materials that can be scavenged. When the PCs approach, they are stopped at a distance by a guard at gunpoint. "Are you infected with the dead virus?" he shouts. When they are able to prove they are not "infected," they will be allowed entry.

The guards explain that the town and its people have seen an increase of attacks from wildlife from the surrounding forests within the last month. Oddly, these animals -- coyotes, wildcats, elk, and others -- all seem to be infected with the same virus that animates the Walking Dead (MF rulebook, page 101). They are obviously dead and reanimated, attacking and trying to consume anyone they encounter. Anyone bitten also becomes infected with the virus, and if the limb is not amputated, they become one of the Walking Dead as well and must be put down. The "dead animal" attacks are increasing in frequency and it's only a matter of time before the town is overwhelmed.

As the PCs question some of the villagers, a shout alerts them to a breach in the fencing. When they arrive, they see two villagers trying to repair a hole in the fence, while four outmatched villagers are trying to hold back five Infected Wolves who have managed to get through. The wolves have large patches of skin missing and their eyes are white and pupilless. Their muzzles and faces also seem to be coated in a glistening green slime as well. The pitchforks and rusty swords the villagers wield will not hold back the five snarling zombie animals for long.

Infected Wolves (5) (AL C, MV 180' (60'), AC 7, HD 2+2, #AT 1 (bite), DM 1d6, SV L2, ML 8, mutations: none)

Any villager or PC who is killed by one of the Infected Wolves will rise as one of the Walking Dead 24 hours later. If anyone is bitten, they must amputate the bitten appendage first, then make a save versus poison or death. Failure means the victim has contracted the virus and they will lose 5 points of CON per day until they die. They will rise as one of the Walking Dead within 1d4 turns after death. (Failure to amputate the limb means the virus will take hold regardless.)

Walking Dead (AL C, MV 180' (60'), AC 8, HD 5, #AT 2 (rend/bite), DM 1d6/2d6, SV L4, ML 12, mutations: none)

Once the crisis has been dealt with, the villagers will beg the PCs to find out how these attacks began and put a stop to it. The one common element to all of the attacking creatures is that they all seem to have that green ichor smeared on them, as if they came into contact with some kind of poison or chemical. All of the attacks seem to come from the northwest as well. If the PCs head in that direction, it will be fairly easy for them to follow a trail created by the mindless rampaging animals (broken plants and branches, footprints in the mud, green goo smeared on trees, etc.)

About a mile from the village, the PCs will reach the ruins of a Bygone church. There seem to be a lot of animal tracks around the church, and if they search hard enough, they'll find puddles of that foul green substance all around the area. What has happened is that a Corpse Owl has nested in the church's bell tower, and the decrepit creature is dripping its fetid disease-laden fluids all over the surrounding area. Coming into contact with this poison is deadly as it carries a concentrated form of the necro-animation virus. If contact is made with this fluid in its pure undiluted form, a save versus poison must be made. Failure means the character immediately dies and will rise as a Walking Dead in 2d6 rounds. A successful save will still cause 4d6 hit points of damage as well as muscle convulsions and a raging fever that lasts 24 hours.

Corpse Owl (1) (AL N, MV Fly 120' (40'), AC 7, HD 3, #AT 2 (peck/claw), DM 1d6/1d6, SV L2, ML 8, mutations: dermal skin poison (special: necro-animation virus))

Area wildlife are coming into contact with the Corpse Owl's poison and are converting into the undead creatures attacking the area. Putting an end to the Corpse Owl should be the first order of business. However, the Corpse Owl is active only at night and will leave the tower only at that time. The tower is difficult to climb (the interior stairs have rotted and crumbled away decades ago), and even if the PCs get to the top, confronting the Corpse Owl in its slime-filled lair is suicide. Waiting until nightfall when the Corpse Owl leaves the nest and then killing it with a ranged weapon is the safest way to deal with the menace.

However, if the PCs hang around the base of the tower long enough, the Mutant Lord should roll for a random encounter. If one occurs, some of the infected wildlife may wander through the area. Stats for a pair of Infected Wolves and an Infected Black Bear are provided in the event this random encounter occurs:

Infected Wolves (2) (AL C, MV 180' (60'), AC 7, HD 2+2, #AT 1 (bite), DM 1d6, SV L2, ML 8, mutations: none)

Infected Black Bear (1) (AL C, MV 120' (40'), AC 6, HD 4, #AT 3 (2 claws, bite), DM 1d3/1d3/1d6, SV L2, ML 7, mutations: none)

Even if the Corpse Owl is destroyed, the PCs may be tasked by the village to help kill off any infected animals still lurking in the area. A Walking Dead incursion may happen if any infected animals are allowed to run free (which could be another adventure hook down the road). The villagers will burn the disease-laden church to the ground to put a stop to any future infected animals.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Post-Apocalyptic Supplements From Fishwife Games

The merry mutants over at Fishwife Games has been busily churning out some new settings and scenarios for your post-apocalyptic RPG games, including their biggest setting yet -- the town of Minco! Their materials are system-generic, so you can easily fit them into any game you're running. (Which, if you're reading this blog, should obviously be Mutant Future!)

Deluxe Apocalypse Setting: Minco -- The sign at the gates says it all: "WELCOME TO THE COMMUNITY OF MINCO!  PLEASE PREPARE TO BE PATTED DOWN, SEARCHED, AND INTERROGATED IF NEEDED."  The 25-page deluxe setting describes the thriving community of Minco and the surrounding landscape. The town has water, food, and even electricity. Schools still function, educating the youngsters, and radio broadcasts are sent out from the transmitters in the community. But what secrets does this supposed paradise hold? Deluxe Apocalypse Setting: Minco is $2.50 at Drive Through RPG.

Thirty Sider Apocalypse: Industry Loot and Urban Encounters -- Break out your favorite rhombic triacontahedron (that's a 30-sided dice) for these useful scavenging tables. What goodies can you find scattered in the ruins of that old factory? Who (or what) will you encounter as you wander the blasted suburban areas? These two 2-page table supplements give you a chance to roll that d30 of yours for random discoveries and encounters. Both supplements are free downloads at Drive Through RPG.

You can find Fishwife Games' materials on RPG Now and Drive Through RPG. Fishwife Games also has a Facebook page you can visit for announcements of upcoming new releases.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dangerous Encounter: I See You

For this encounter, the PCs will need to be tasked with locating some very special, very efficient medical assistance.
  • One of PCs could be infected with a slow, but ultimately fatal disease.
  • A powerful NPC could be seriously injured, and his underlings demand the PCs' assistance to "fix 'im."
  • A medical shaman may ask the PCs to investigate rumors of a miraculous Bygone device that can heal almost any illness or injury.

Regardless of how the PCs are hooked into the quest, the Mutant Lord should eventually let them hear legends of such a miracle device in the ruins of a Bygone medical facility. There, according to rumor, they will discover a Bygone regeneration tank. Anyone placed within this chamber for 24 hours will be completely healed of all illness and disease, and even bones and organs can be regrown quickly and painlessly. This device -- if it exists -- is exactly what is needed to complete their quest. The legends state that the tank is located within the "I.C.U." in the facility.

When the PCs find the facility, they'll discover a rundown laboratory dedicated to medical research and experimentation. The Mutant Lord is encouraged to let the PCs explore the labyrinthine laboratory (and perhaps toss a few failed medical "experiments" at them!). They will eventually come across a sign on the wall, and if anyone can read Bygone languages, they'll see that it says "Intensive Care Unit" with an arrow pointing to an adjoining branch of the facility. As they get near the I.C.U., the PCs will encounter two hounds standing guard in the hallway. As they approach, they'll notice eyes scattered all over the bodies of these hounds. The Eye Dogs (MF rulebook, page 70) bristle upon their approach and will attack, firing off electrical energy blasts at the PCs as they charge.

Eye Dogs (2) (AL L, MV 120' (40'), AC 6, HD 5, #AT 2 (bite, energy blast), DM 1d6/2d6, SV L3, ML 10, mutations: energy blast (electrical), ultraviolet vision, night vision, optic emissions (bright eyes/gamma eyes))

The Eye Dogs were placed outside the I.C.U. to act as sentries for who (or what) resides within. If the PCs enter the I.C.U., they'll see a room littered with ruined remnants of tables, wheelchairs, gurneys, medical devices, etc. In the center of the room stands a large squat cylinder on a raised platform, about 9 feet high and 9 feet in diameter. The walls and door of the cylinder (the regeneration tank they've been seeking) are a dull chrome, and there is a small glass window in the door. Within, they can see a thick pink liquid fills the chamber. A digital readout next to the door appears to be counting down from 3 hours. With a successful Technology roll, the PCs will be able to override the digital lock and open the chamber immediately.

Inside the regeneration tank is an Insectoid Eye (MF rulebook, page 70). The Eye has resided in the medical facility for decades, terrorizing nearby villages and camps. He discovered the regen tank years ago and has been using its power to rejuvenate himself as needed. He trapped the two Eye Dogs as pups and trained them to stand watch as he undergoes his regular rejuvenation cycle. Because of his age and size (he nearly fills the interior of the tank), the Insectoid Eye has 9 hit dice instead of the usual 7 HD.

Insectoid Eye (1) (AL C, MV Special-via psionic flight, AC 4, HD 9, #AT 1, DM as mutation, SV L7, ML 9, mutations: psionic flight, mind thrust, optic emisions (gamma eyes), neural telepathy, thermal vision, ultraviolet vision, night vision, teleport)

The Insectoid Eye will be enraged upon seeing the PCs. They are a threat to his "immortality," and he will fight violently to protect his secret. Keep in mind that the Insectoid Eye is crafty and intelligent, and not a mindless beast to vanquish. If injured drastically enough, it will flee to save itself, and the PCs will have made a very dangerous enemy who will resurface one day.

If the PCs are successful, the regeneration tank is theirs. It is much too huge to remove from the facility, so anyone in need of its services must be brought to it. Bringing the injured and ill to the I.C.U. for treatment could be a future adventure in itself -- especially if the Insectoid Eye escaped and is lurking nearby for revenge!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Savage Menagerie: Ligreemen

No. Enc.: 1d4 (2d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 7
Attacks: 1
Damage: as per weapon
Save: L4
Morale: 10
Hoard Class: VI, VIII, XXI

Ligreemen (lih-GREE-men) are tall, grey-skinned humanoids. They have large hairless heads with bulbous black eyes and no discernible facial features. They are usually tall (6' minimum height) with thin spindly limbs. They are, in fact, the classically described "alien visitor."

Long before The Apocalygeddon, Ligreemen were secretly visiting the planet with impunity. They abducted thousands of Bygones over the centuries for their own purposes. They assisted with the building of ancient pyramids, the carving of massive stone heads, and the circular arrangement of massive granite blocks. Over the centuries, they were in leagues with the most powerful Bygone leaders, helping them guide world events. Some of the Bygones' most powerful technological advances were in fact provided by the Ligreemen.

Ligreemen, in fact, view the human race as nothing more than livestock. Just as humanity performs experiments on animals and raises cattle and swine for slaughter, the Ligreemen experiment on humans to further their own scientific knowledge as well as finding pure strain humans a delicacy. When The Apocalygeddon came, a handful of Ligreemen  found themselves trapped on the planet, unable to escape. They sealed themselves up in status chambers and hidden bunkers deep in the bowels of the earth, waiting for the stupid humans to finish blowing themselves up. Once they emerged in the Mutant Future, they found the planet very different -- but their mission of domination of humanity remains the same.

Ligreemen are incredibly secretive as they prefer to lurk in the shadows, working in silence as they attempt to reclaim their illuminati-like background dominance over humanity. A Ligreeman may make a deal to arm a local baron in exchange for some "experimental volunteers." He will take pains to hide his true identity and existence though.

Ligreemen do not verbally speak. Rather, they use a form of telepathy to communicate with each other. They  rarely communicate with any other intelligent creature, viewing mutant and humans as beneath the effort. (Only incredibly intelligent creatures may merit some degree of respect.) Ligreemen are technological wizards, able to discern any Bygone tech they encounter as well as able to build nearly anything they can imagine. Ligreemen are usually armed with the best technological weapons found in the wastelands, as they developed many of these in the first place. The Mutant Lord is encouraged to arm Ligreemen with the most powerfully dangerous weapons they wish. However, Ligreemen are very fond of booby-trapping their own devices and weaponry, lest their precious technology falls into the grubby hands of the filthy chattel. (A PC may think twice about possessing a Ligreemen pistol after the first one he finds explodes for 7d6 hit points.)

Ligreemen and Brain Lashers (MF rulebook, page 63) are fierce enemies, and they will attack each other on sight. It is thought that these two alien races may have an ongoing rivalry going back centuries. Another theory is that, because of their similarities, both species may have descended from a similar ancestor, and now the races are locked into a battle for dominance.

Mutations: telepathic communication

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dangerous Encounter: You Oughta Be In Pictures

For this encounter, have the PCs come across a long-forgotten Bygone road that seems to have deliberately constructed away from any major cities. If they follow this road, it meanders into the countryside and up to the top of the highest point in the area. There, the characters will find a domed building standing with its door wide open. There is sign out front and, if anyone can read the ancient Bygone language, they can tell it says "SEE THE STARS!" The players may assume they've discovered an observatory. Let them hang onto that assumption.

Upon entering and wandering around a bit, they'll come to a large central atrium located under the dome. Auditorium-like seating is placed in concentric rings under the dome, and each chair is tilted slightly back to allow patrons a better view of the domed surface. When someone glances up at the dome, describe a flickering point of light in the very center. Anyone asks about the nature of the light, the color of light, or shows interest in the light is assumed to be looking at it. (And anyone who says they're looking at it is...well...also looking at it.) It's a safe assumption that, at some point, everyone will be looking at the light at the same time. When that happens, everyone in the dome will hear the following:

"Good evening patrons! My name is Seymour, and I'll be your host for tonight's presentation. So just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show!"

The light blazes and fills their entire field of vision as the AI that calls itself Seymour starts the show. The next thing the PCs see, well, that depends on the whim of the Mutant Lord. The domed building is actually a Bygone psycho-entertainment complex. Rather than showing movies and films holographically or projected on screens, psycho-entertainment is projected directly  through the patron's optic nerve and into their brain. This form of bygone entertainment looks real, smells real, sounds real, and feels real as the sensory parts of the brain are directly stimulated. The PCs could find themselves suddenly involved at the Battle of Helm's Deep; on the ice planet Hoth; etc. Because the PCs are all mentally "linked," they can see and interact with other as if it were real. The Mutant Lord can decide if any ill effects or damage taken during the "movie" is also reflected in their real bodies.

The psycho-dome can be the trigger point for several different adventures:

  • A wasteland survivor asks the PCs to find his son/daughter/partner/friend who has been missing for days. The trail leads to the dome. Upon entering, they see the missing person sitting in a seat staring at the light. The only way to free them is to enter the "movie" and convince them to come out.
  • It's rumored that a great treasure lies within the dome. Upon entering, the PCs find themselves fighting pirates on Treasure Island. However, the treasure map carried by Long John Silver is an actual map to a Bygone treasure trove programmed into the "movie" by the owner of the valuables. If the PCs are able to get the map and commit it to memory, they'll know the location of a vast amount of treasure in the "real" world.
  • The dome's AI, Seymour, wants to leave the dome but requires an artificial body to do so. If any androids or robotic PCs participate in a "movie," Seymour may secretly upload himself into the PC's subconsciousness. The PC may find himself starting to quote movie dialogue as Seymour's personality overrides him. It's up to the players to figure out how to purge Seymour from their corrupted friend.
  • The Mutant Lord may have an adventure for any other game or system he wishes to run the PCs through. Now's your chance!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mutant Future Leveling-up House Rules

Over at the Goblinoid Games Mutant Future forums, maoglone discussed his Mutant Future leveling up house rules. As he explains it, he felt the experience bonus for leveling up was pretty paltry. If you look at the Experience Level Bonus table on page 14 of the MF rulebook, you'll see that a PC gets one of only three benefits upon reaching a new level:
  • A randomly rolled ability may go up by a point.
  • They may get an extra attack per round.
  • They may do an extra point of damage in combat.

Annnd...that's it.

Maoglone's house rules improves upon the Level Bonus by rewarding players with the following:
  • PCs roll on the Experience Level Bonus table as usual.
  • If the PC rolls an ability score increase, they get to choose which ability goes up by a point rather than rolling it randomly.
  • PCs get an automatic +1d to their hit points (except androids who stay at 50 hp).
  • PCs can choose to "improve" one mutation (this would be house-ruled along the lines of a larger area of effect; an extra die of damage; a longer time of duration; etc.). Or they could reduce the detrimental effect of a mutational drawback instead, if desired.
I can't say I agree with the increase in hit points (I even discussed my thoughts on Mutant Future hit points back in 2009), but the other level boosts sound like good additions. After all, as your Apocalygeddon Adventurer wanders the wastelands, he's getting stronger, faster, more cunning. He's figuring out how to use his mutations to his best advantage (or how best to avoid having his drawback mutations blow up in his face). With experience comes...well...experience, so I can see a PC specifically training himself in his mutation's possible uses as well as improving his weakest points both physically and mentally.

Rolling up a character randomly at the beginning retains that delightfully gonzo randomness I crave in my mutated events, but I like the concept of giving the players a degree of control as to how their characters develop over time. Thanks to maoglone for sharing this!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Savage Menagerie: Mantrap

No. Enc.: 0 (1d4)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: None
Armor Class: 8
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d10
Save: L3
Morale: Not Applicable
Hoard Class: VI

The Mantrap is a mutated Venus Flytrap that has grown to gargantuan proportions. Due to its size, it traps and feeds on large animals (or mutants) unfortunate enough to stumble into it.

Each Mantrap encountered has 1d4 hinged "leaves" that radiate out from a central root system. The leaves are colored a bright pink and the surface is slightly springy, much like a sponge. The edges of the leaves have long tooth-like spines which interlock when closed, effectively trapping the victim. Each hinged leaf system of the Mantrap can easily measure 20-25 feet across when open.

The Mantrap lays these opened leaves on the ground, waiting for an unfortunate victim to walk across the surface. When a victim reaches the centerpoint of the leaf, the two sides snap shut, trapping the victim within. This initial attack will do 1d10 hit points of damage to the victim. When the Mantrap senses a struggle within a closed leaf, it will begin crushing the victim for 1d10 hit points each round until it feels the struggling stop. Once the fight has ended, the leaf releases a digestive enzyme which dissolves the prey so it can feed.  If the victim decides to "play dead" to stop the crushing attack, the Mantrap's digestive acids will instead do 2d10 hit points of damage each round.

Mutations: gigantism

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Want The Deviant Database For 35% Off?

Saw that Lulu is having a 20% discount promotion if you use the coupon code "SILEO" for May 2 only. So, for today only, hardcopy books of the Deviant Database are now on sale for 15% off. If you use the coupon code, that brings the savings to 35% off! That should put the price at less than $10.00 for more than 80 pages of Mutant Future monstrosities!

Grab them while you can!