Saturday, June 29, 2013

Savage Menagerie: Jaggazz

No. Enc.: 0 (1d4)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 240' (80')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 2
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d6
Save: L2
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None

The Jaggazz is a large donkey/mule hybrid beast of burden. Jaggazzes can be used to transport people and goods, or for other other feats requiring slow, methodical strength, such as plowing fields, turning a millstone, etc.  However, the Jaggazz has a mutation that makes it useless to farmers and merchants -- but valuable to travelling performers.

The Jaggazz is constantly snickering, guffawing, and chortling with an almost humanistic laughter, very similar to that of the hyena. Anyone exposed to the chuckling of a Jaggazz for 5 minutes or more can be considered under "attack" by the Jaggazz' empathy mutation. (Treat the Jaggazz as having a WIL 10 for this attack.)  A successful mental attack means that the victim is overcome by waves of fitful, hysterical, incapacitating laughter for 5 minutes. They will be unable to act, fight, speak, or do much of anything as they laugh uncontrollably as if the most hysterical thing they've ever seen had just occurred. After 5 minutes, the laughter empathy slowly wears off and the victim starts to regain his composure. The victim will not suffer any ill effects from this laughter other than the inability to act while in its grip.

The Jaggazz is prized by bards and travelling entertainers as it makes it much easier to entertain the sour wasteland denizens with one standing to the side of the stage. Without knowing the nature of the beast, the audience just assumes that it's frightfully entertained by the performance, tipping well and telling others to see the next show.

Mutations: empathy (hysterical laughter)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Dangerous Encounter: The Battle For Wacky Valley

NOTE: This encounter will require a bit of preplanning on the part of the Mutant Lord. We have only provided a basic outline of the adventure's concepts and layout. It is up to you to fill in the blanks. 

This encounter should begin when the players are far from any populated areas. Not necessarily in the middle of a desert or on a mountaintop, but far enough away from any towns and cities to be virtually isolated. In the distance, the PCs will hear a SNAP, followed by a roar of thunder -- even if there's not a cloud in the sky. If they become curious and investigate, they'll eventually stand at the crest of a valley. Down below in the valley, they can plainly see what looks like a village of some kind surrounded by a high wall. There is a main gate structure at end they're approaching, and in the center of the village is a moderately-sized artificial mountain topped with a stone structure. As they watch, the structure on top of the mountain glows and an arc of electricity flashes out with a SNAP, followed by the roar of thunder. One of the small huts in the village catches fire from the bolt. 

"THAT WILL BE ENOUGH INCURSION! ANY MORE DISOBEDIENCE WILL BE MET WITH MORE OF THE SAME!" a voice booms over the area (through hidden intercom speakers).

If the players approach from the front, they'll see a colorful sign above the gate with the name of the village - "WACKY VALLEY: The Wackiest Place on Earth!" Wacky Valley is an ancient Bygone amusement park. It is laid out in four "Zones" -- three Zones surround a central hub Zone:
  • Pirate Zone -- A land of scurvy buccaneers and salty pirates. This section of the "village" is laid out like a weathered seaport. The primary attraction in this Zone is a small man-made lake with a full-sized pirate ship named The Jolly Roger floating in it. The Zone leader is "Salty Dog" Bludhart.
  • Ninja Zone -- A land of eastern martial arts mastery. This section is laid out like an ancient Japanese village. The primary attraction here is a martial arts dojo where live demonstrations were once given. The Zone leader is Grand Master Shinado.
  • Fuzzy Bunny Zone -- A land of anthropomorphic cartoon animals. This section is laid out like a colorful forest village made of giant mushrooms and tree stumps. The Zone leader is Scrappy Squirrel.
  • Olympia Zone -- A land of Greek gods and goddesses This section is filled with marble structures, columns, and statues. This Zone is the hub in the center of the village with the other three Zones laid out around it. The primary attraction is Mount Olympus in the center (the artificial mountain). The Zone leader is Zeus.
All of the creatures the PCs meet in Wacky Valley -- pirates, ninjas, 'toons, and gods -- are advanced entertainment bots. To keep it simple, all of the Wacky Valley bots have the same basic construction. Use this basic template for all NPCs in Wacky Valley, adding appropriate weapons (cutlass, sword, nun-chucks, clubs, spears, etc.) as needed:

Entertainment Bot (AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 5, HD 50 hp, #AT 1, DM by weapon, SV L5, ML 10, mutations: none)

The four sections of the "village" lived in harmony for millennia. A few years ago though, "Zeus Bot" decided he was tired of pretending to be a god, and he decided to BE a god. He and the rest of the Greek bot pantheon have decided to rule Wacky Valley, demanding tribute from the various Zones and punishing those who step out of line. Needless to say, the leaders of the three Zones have had enough and are starting to develop plans to overthrow Zeus and his lackies. Sadly, the leaders are horribly outmatched, so they pretend to toe the line in public. Behind the scenes, they've managed a few guerrilla strikes against Zeus' Greek centurions (his armored footsoldiers), but that's about it. With the arrival of the PCs, the leaders realize they may have a chance to overthrow Zeus' tyranny and bring peace back to Wacky Valley.

The Mutant Lord is encouraged to play this encounter like an underground strike force against a despotic tyrant. (Imagine a WWII espionage scenario. Now place it in a theme park.) The Wacky Valley leaders and residents will keep the PCs hidden (or disguised if out in the park) as they show them around and explain their plight. Zeus has two other "gods" that live on Mount Olympus with him -- Hermes and Hercules. The three of them rarely leave the mountain, so the Wacky Valley clans have been trying to deplete their robotic soldiers in hopes of driving them into the open. Zeus is no fool though, preferring to send his guards out to quash any uprisings, as well as firing his bolts of lightning from afar. He may also send down either Hermes or Hercules to crush any resistance as needed. Getting a face-to-face confrontation with Zeus will not be easy.

Unbeknownst to the villagers and PCs, Zeus and his gang can see and hear everything that goes on in Wacky Valley as the entire park is watched through a series of security monitors. (The park security office is located in the base of Mount Olympus.) Zeus is now watching the PCs with interest as he gauges what kind of threat they are to his reign. The stats for the Greek god-bots are as follows:

Zeus (AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 5, HD 50 hp, #AT 1 (weapon or energy ray), DM by weapon or 4d6, SV L5, ML 10, mutations: energy ray (lightning))
Hermes (AL N, MV 340' (80'), AC 5, HD 50 hp, #AT 2, DM by weapon , SV L5, ML 10, mutations: quickness)
Hercules (AL N, MV 120' (40'), AC 5, HD 50 hp, #AT 1, DM by weapon + 3d6 bonus, SV L6, ML 10, mutations: increased strength)

The gods were content to toy with the Wacky Valley denizens, but now that the PCs have entered the picture, they've become worried. They have no intention of relinquishing the power they've wielded for so long and will only give up if they are destroyed.

What kinds of missions will the PCs need to accomplish to bring down Zeus? Well, perhaps a device hidden aboard The Jolly Roger can deaden Zeus' energy ray ability, so the PCs are tasked with retrieving it. Maybe Lil' Bunny Foo-foo is being held and tortured by Greek centurions and must be rescued before she reveals the location of the rebellion. Or perhaps the ninja-bots have all been deprogrammed, and the PCs must find the flash drive containing their ninja-moves subroutines so they can launch a counterattack. The Mutant Lord is encouraged to make the Battle for Wacky Valley a series of interconnected adventures within a surreal landscape of pirates, ninjas, and cartoons characters against the forces of Greek gods. Have fun with it!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Dangerous Encounter: The Stalking Terror

This encounter will prove to the PCs that not everything is as it initially appears in the Mutant Future. Most of what happens here is smoke and mirrors, but a clever Mutant Lord could run this encounter over many sessions until the PCs become wise to what's really going on.

The disturbance should begin one night while the PCs are enjoying some down time -- preferably making camp or otherwise on the trail or in the wilderness. It should be relatively quiet and uneventful. The Mutant Lord should "roll" a random encounter behind the screen, then announce that a Giant Tarantula (MF rlebook, page 97) has lumbered out of the darkness. The hairy monstrosity is easily 9 feet across; its eyes glittering and fangs dripping with venom. It hisses angrily, staying just at the edge of where the campfire's light falls. If the PCs attack, the Giant Spider will rear up to defend itself. Whenever the Giant Tarantula attacks, the ML should roll behind the screen and announce that it misses. The moment a PC makes contact or lands a blow, the Giant Tarantula will suddenly "blink" away, suddenly appearing on the other side of the campsite as if it had teleported. The PCs will probably race to the other side to engage the creature, which will seem to think better of the encounter, turning to flee into the darkness. If the players chase it, they are unable to catch up to it. The Giant Tarantula doesn't return that evening.

Unknown to the PCs, the Giant Tarantula isn't real. The entire encounter was orchestrated by a trio of Stalker Plants (MF rulebook, page 99) who have taken an interest in the players.

Stalker Plants (3) (AL N, MV 60' (20'), AC 8, HD 4, #AT 1, DM Special, SV L3, ML 5, mutations: mental phantasm)

The Stalker Plants have been following the players for the better part of the day, looking for an opportunity to pick through their belongings to make off with some shiny trinkets or coins. While the PCs are occupied by the mental phantasm of the Giant Tarantula, the Stalker Plants have each taken one small insignificant item from the player's belongings. (The Mutant Lord can roll randomly or just pick three minor items.) The Stalker Plants will then scurry into the darkness and bury these purloined items. The items will probably be valueless, although a careless player may find his coin purse slightly lighter or his favorite dagger missing.

If the Stalker Plants are undetected, they will continue to follow the PCs for as long as they can. They will keep their true nature hidden by "hiding in plain sight," as they just need to close their many eyes and they'll just appear to be scrub brush. When a few days have passed and another opportunity presents itself, the Stalker Plants will bring the imagery of the Giant Tarantula back to threaten the PCs and lead them away from their valuables. Since the Giant Tarantula is only a mental phantasm, it "blinks" out whenever someone makes contact with it. (The illusion can be seen, heard, and even smelled, but not touched.) The Stalker Plants will try to avoid this, as the PCs will eventually become suspicious as to the nature of the Tarantula.  If the PCs leave their items unattended again, the Stalker Plants move in and make off with some more trinkets.

The Stalker Plants will keep up the charade as long as they can. However, by the third encounter with the Giant Tarantula (it's the only mental phantasm the Stalker Plants have), the PCs will probably figure out that something is manipulating them. But until the Stalker Plants are either caught in the act or otherwise discovered, the Giant Tarantula will "attack" the PCs every few days.

If the Stalker Plants are discovered, they will send out a blinding mental "flash" to everyone within 50'. Anyone who fails a save vs. stun attacks will be struck blind and deaf by the mental overload for 2d6 rounds. During this time, the Stalker Plants will scamper off and escape, looking for a new traveling group to stalk and torment.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Savage AfterWorld Turns Four...So How About Some Apocalypse Cakes?

Howdy folks. Today, this lil' corner of Mutant Future meanderings turns four years old. Hope you've enjoyed the trip thus far.

While looking for some online art to illustrate the blog's big b-day, I innocently typed in "apocalypse cakes" in hopes of finding something delightfully macabre. Instead, I discovered a cookbook with that same title! "Apocalypse Cakes: Recipes For The End" is described as:

We are besieged with talks of crisis, meltdown, earthquakes, sink holes, global warming, bailouts, and more. Once you realize there's not a whole lot of time left, grab a Bundt pan and whip up your own scrumptious Fallen Angel Food Cake--or one of the other 29 apocalyptic cakes in this irreverent cookbook--and indulge in your final days.

Not exactly gaming or RPG or Mutant Future in nature, but it's about apocalyptic stuff, and it's about cakes, so I'll consider it appropriate fodder for today's birthday blog post. (And I'll pay my Joesky Tax with my next post.)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Check Your Backyard -- There May Be A Long-Forgotten, Fully-Stocked Fallout Shelter Out There

Twice in the last 45 days, two separate families in two separate states have each unearthed a fairly well-preserved and long-forgotten fallout shelter from the 1950s-60s.

In May this year, a family in Wisconsin decided to check out the shelter they knew existed on their property. Although they had lived there for 10 years, they just assumed the shelter was an empty moldering hole. When they finally did unlock the steel doors and descended the ladder, they instead found food, toiletries, clothing, and medical supplies all preserved and ready for the apocalypse.

Looks inviting, eh?

And last week, ANOTHER family -- this time in California -- decided to take an investigative trip into their own "suspected it was there but we never really thought much about it" fallout shelter. This shelter though was magnificently preserved and filled with cold war survival rations, gear, clothing, and other essentials.

Just look at what the shelter's interior looked like when they cracked it open.

I'm particularly impressed by the shelter-builder's choice of world-end reading material.

I'm beginning to think that our post-apocalyptic fantasies of long-forgotten vaults filled with pristine artifacts, tools, and foodstuff of the Bygone days isn't so far-fetched after all.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Savage Menagerie: Pyronoceros

No. Enc.: 0 (1d4)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1 (butt or trample)
Damage: 2d4 or 2d8, plus an additional 4d6 (phosphorous hide)
Save: L3
Morale: 5
Hoard Class: None

The Pyronoceros (pie-roh-NAH-sir-us) is a flaming mutated version of the common rhinoceros (MF rulebook, page 92). A Pyronoceros is a large horned creature covered with a thick leathery hide. Through mutational evolution, its physiology is based on phosphorous rather than carbon and iron. This phosphorus permeation is evident in its hide, which is always burning with a hellish glow, giving the animal the appearance of being engulfed in yellow-orange flames. (It's easy to tell if you've stumbled into a Pyronoceros' homegrounds as the fields, grass, and trees will be scorched and charred.) The flaming hide does not harm the creature in the least, but are quite dangerous to any who come into contact with the creature. Any contact with these phosphorous fires will do 4d6 points of searing burn damage. It stands to reason that the Pyronoceros is immune to all heat and fire-based attacks.

Unlike the traditional rhinoceros, the Pyronoceros is actually a shy, timid creature that avoids contact with intruders. However, it is easily spooked and, if frightened, it will attack violently. A Pyronoceros attacks by charging the victim, then butting them with its horn for 2d4 points of damage, or trampling for 2d8 points of damage. The victim will then take an additional 4d6 points of burn damage unless they are somehow immune or protected from heat damage.

It's theorized that if the blood of a Pyronoceros is bottled and thrown, it will explode like a grenade upon impact, burning all who are coated with a napalm-like fire. However, since the creature's blood burns upon contact with air, it is unknown how anyone has managed to bottle it to test this theory.

Mutations: phosphorous hide

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Demon Dogs, Look Who's On Etsy

While poking around on Etsy, an online marketplace specializing in homemade and handmade items from various artisans, I thought I'd punch in "Thundarr" just to see if anyone was selling anything featuring our favorite post-apocalyptic barbarian. I was a bit surprised to stumble across a store featuring original art by artist Dennis Budd. Lords of Light, just take a gander at this print he created and has for sale!

Size is 11 x 17, and price is $15.00 shipped in the U.S. ($25.00 shipped worldwide.) Looks like my game room wall is about to expand by one more piece of art!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Post-Apocalyptic Sequel To Dungeon! That Never Was...

Was looking over at my Dungeon! boardgame over on Ye Olde Gaming Shelfe when inspiration hit. Took 5 minutes to cobble up this fevered wish for a Dungeon! sequel:

Four apocalyptic classes (Pure Human, Mutant Human, Mutant Plant, Android) wander across a game board representing an underground complex, fighting dangerous mutants and collecting fabulous Bygone artifacts. That'd be fun to play on the weekends and at conventions. I may have to make a fan-generated version over the summer. (I'll just add it to the half-bazillionty other projects I have in the works.)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Savage Menagerie: Chwillie

No. Enc.: 1d4 (2d4)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 60' (20'); Sliding: 180' (60')
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 8
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d12
Save: L4
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: None

A Chwillie (chuh-WILL-lee) is a towering bird that lives in arctic. The Chwillie is one of the largest creatures in the arctic, standing well over 14 feet tall. It's fairly easy to see the black-and-white-colored Chwillie in the distance on the tundra wastelands, as it's the only tall ebony object on the white backdrop. Chwillies have a large mouth that takes up most of its face and chest area, and a set of piercing yellow eyes are set atop of its head.

Chwillies are carnivorous, consisting on a diet of fish, seals, walruses, polar bears, and any other animals it can catch. In fact, a Chwillie nesting area is usually littered with the bones and carcasses of these large creatures (which could be unsettling if the PCs haven't yet determined what caused such carnage).Due to its size, a Chwillie gets a +2 damage bonus when it attacks. However, the Chwillie also finds it difficult to hit smaller creatures, so it gets a -1 penalty when trying to attack creatures 3' tall or smaller.

When first encountered, it may seem as if the Chwillie is a slow, lumbering creature as its short stumpy legs and feet cause it to walk with an awkward waddle. However, if the Chwillie throws itself onto its stomach, it can slide across the ice and snow like a torpedo, using its feet to propel itself while its wings act as rudders. The Chwillie is able to keep its mouth open while sliding in this way, "scooping" its prey up and swallowing it whole. If a PC is swallowed, they will take 1d12 each round until either dead or freed from the Chwillie.

Mutations: gigantism

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Kickstarter for "Dogs Playing D&D" Poster Print

I apologize for yet another indulgent, personal, not-related-to-Mutant-Future post. I promise that I'll pay my Joesky Tax first thing tomorrow morning. But this is too cool to not let folks know.

As I've mentioned before, I'm a huge fan of  CM Coolidge's "Dogs Playing Poker" series. I have a big black velvet painting that hangs on one gameroom wall, and from where I'm currently sitting, I can see 4 other Poker-Dog prints hanging up. (I even have a Poker-Dogs necktie I bring out for special occasions.)

Anyway, just discovered this Kickstarter for a nifty poster print that I *must* have. And I daresay a few of you may want one too:

Yup, artist Jay Babcock is producing a parody print of the classic painting "A Bold Bluff" with the canines now playing Dungeons and Dragons. (Looks like 3 or 3.5 edition.) Love the Red Bull and Mountain Dew at the table (what, no Cheetos?), and the curtained bookshelf at the rear which once held encyclopedia volumes now hold other gamebooks, it appears. Lots of keen details.

The Kickstarter is fairly simple: $5 gets you a clean high-rez file for use as digital wallpaper, and $20 gets you the 19" x 27" poster print shipped in the U.S. ($25 for it signed). Outside the U.S., pay another $10 for shipping. (And no black velvet version is coming as the pricing was "prohibitive.") This will have a spot of honor on my gameroom walls. How about you?