Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Notorius NPC: Xxyxxzxx, Wasp Insectaur

Hello once again Mutant Neighbors. Welcome to the third day of our 5-day series highlighting some of the survivors living in my Mutant Future neighborhood. Today we'll meet a very lonely lady who believes she's the last of her kind. All she really wants to do it meet the man of her dreams, settle down, and start a family. Then she'll eat his head. Can you say "Insect instinct?" I'll bet you can. Sure.
5th Level Insectaur

STR: 18 --- INT: 10
DEX: 11 --- WIL: 5
CON: 16 --- CHA: 11
HPs: 61 --- AC: 5
Mutations: complete wing development, natural insect weapons (stingers), acidic saliva, increased physical attribute (DEX), precognition, weak will

Xxyxxzxx (pronounced ZIZZ-zicks) is a wasp insectaur who may be the last of her kind. Xxyxxzxx's colony was wiped out by a marauding band of cockroachoids (MF rulebook, pg. 67), and she was the only one who managed to escape the slaughter. You see, Xxyxxzxx was the colony's queen, and she seeks to re-establish her dominion over a new colony. But without a mate, she is unable to begin a new hive. So she wanders the wastelands, looking for another male wasp insectaur to start anew.

Xxyxxzxx has several insectaur mutations that enabled her to fight off the initial attack as well as helping her survive on her own. She has a full set of wings allowing her to fly at her normal movement rate. She also has a set of two large stingers on the ends of her manipulator limbs that she can use for attack/defense. They are not poisonous, but they will do 1d8 hit points of damage each. Xxyxxzxx is also able to secrete an acidic saliva that can melt through nearly any organic material such as plant or animal matter. (Plastic, rubber, and metals are unaffected.) this saliva will do 3d6 hit points of damage per round it's in contact.

Xxyxxzxx's STR is quite formidable, and she has a +3 to hit and damage bonus due to her power. She also has increased physical attribute (DEX) which - when added to her natural insect carapace - improves her armor class to 5.

Xxyxxzxx's insectaur mind has developed the mutation of precognition, giving her an almost supernatural ability to foresee danger. Although she cannot "see" the future, she can sense when she's in danger and take steps to counteract the threat before it occurs. However, she also reacts very instinctively to situations due to her weak will drawback, oftentimes reacting without thinking or acting on impulse.

Xxyxxzxx is actually fairly kind to others, although she is viewed warily by strangers. (Wouldn't YOU be wary of a 6-foot-tall wasp?) She is able to speak, although her voice has a raspy buzz to it when she talks. Xxyxxzxx can bit a bit overbearing, feeling she is due some degree of respect due to her royal heritage, but she is also a realist and she knows that only other wasp insectaurs will hold her in this regard. Xxyxxzxx could be a powerful NPC for the party to befriend, and helping her locate a mate or another wasp insectaur colony could be an interesting plot hook to toss at them.

Stop by tomorrow and we'll visit another resident of...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Notorius NPC: Mevix the Mastermind

Good morning Mutant Neighbors. Today's the second day of our 5-day series highlighting some of the survivors living in my Mutant Future neighborhood. Today, we meet a man who's physically weak, but whose mental abilities makes him one of the most powerful mutants you'll ever meet. Can you say "Plane Shift?" Of course you can.


7th Level Mastermind

STR: 11 --- INT: 18
DEX: 9 --- WIL: 21
CON: 11 --- CHA: 15
HPs: 29 --- AC: 7
Mutations: neural telepathy (innate as per Mastermind); ability boost-WIL; plane shift; mind reflection (superior)

Mevix is one of the race of Masterminds - powerful mental mutants who seek to return the Mutant Future to the glories of the Ancient Past. However, Mevix has decided that only he has the vision and knowledge to lead the world into a new Enlightened Age. When people speak of the most feared mutants of the Mutant Future, Mevix's name comes up nearly each time.

Mevix is physically weak, and therefore he will rarely - if ever - directly confront anyone who dares to oppose him. However, Mevix has formed a small army of fiercely loyal followers consisting of 60 Brigands lead by 7 Medusoids (MF rulebook, pg. 83). Mevix has a large stronghold where he plans his world conquest. This stronghold is a former public library, as Mevix has learned that all of the information he'll ever need is contained within. Due to his research, Mevix has a staggering 95% Technology Roll to ID and operate Ancient tech. He has also amassed an incredible arsenal of weapons and devices. Mevix is well-armed, well-protected, and nearly untouchable.

If anyone is unfortunate enough to confront Mevix directly, he will unleash his formidable mental abilities. If he is attacked with a mental ability, Mevix will use his superior mind reflection to send the attack right back to the attacker. Unlike the usual mind reflection mutation, Mevix will not suffer any damage from the attack. If Mevix is feeling particularly threatened, he'll use his plane shift to either send himself someplace safer, or he'll dump his attacker into some hellish alternate dimension, never to return. Many of Mevix's enemies have disappeared in this manner. Finally, Mevix has trained his mind to such a degree that he can use his ability boost mutation to effectively double his WIL to 42, making him unbeatable in a Mental Attack challenge.

Merix is haughty and egotistical, looking down upon everyone else as if they were insects. He sees the world the way someone else may view an ant farm. Mevix has reached an evolutionary point where he no longer can relate to "normal" creatures, as he sees everyone and everything as beneath him. Rumor has it that the only creatures he sees as his intellectual equals are the Brain Lashers (MF rulebook, pg. 63), but he has not been able to form any kind of relationship with the alien race. But Heaven help the Mutant Future if they were to join forces...

Stop by tomorrow and we'll visit another resident of...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Notorius NPC: Jedidiah Colter, 1820's Time-Displaced

Good morning Mutant Neighbors. Today we kick off a 5-day series highlighting some of the survivors living in my Mutant Future neighborhood. Today, we're heading up into the mountains to meet a throwback to the past. Don't make any sudden moves, or he may put a bullet into your head before you know what happened. Can you say, "Trigger finger?" Sure you can.

Jedidiah Colter
4th Level Time-Displaced (1820s)

STR: 16 --- INT: 17
DEX: 11 --- WIL: 21
CON: 13 --- CHA: 12
HPs: 58 --- AC: 7
Mutations: none

Jedidiah Colter is a true "stranger to these h'yere parts" as he is an unwitting time traveller from the 19th century - 1820 to be exact. Colter was a fur trapper who was exploring, mapping, and hunting in the Rocky Mountains. A rugged frontiersman, Colter had been on his own in the wilderness for nearly three years, having very little contact with civilization, and coming down from the mountains only when he needed to sell his furs or secure some tools he couldn't make for himself.

Colter's adventure in the Mutant Future began when he chased a deer into a deep cavern. It's unclear if he passed through a wormhole in time in the depths of the earth or if the cave was a direct tunnel to the future. All he knows that, when he left the cave, he found himself in a strange new world. Knowing he'd never fit in (or survive) in what passed for the "new civilization," Colter decided to stay up in the mountains, making a life for himself in the same manner he did in the past.

"One mountain's as good as any other, I reckon," he'd say.

Colter is a formidable fighter and a crackshot with his antique muzzleloader rifle. In combat - whether hand-to-hand or ranged - he receives a +4 to hit bonus as well as a +4 damage bonus. His muzzleloader does 1d10 hit points when it connects, and it takes Colter two rounds to reload it. Colter can also hurl a hand axe he carries with astonishing accuracy (although he prefers to hang onto it for hand-to-hand combat). The hand axe does 1d8 when it hits. Since Colter comes from "Modern Age" and due to his INT score, Colter receives a +25% Technology Roll modifier. This modifier is only applicable to devices/objects in existence prior to 1820, however. (He would not receive the bonus to ID a Blu-Ray DVD player, for example, though he would be entitled to a normal roll without bonuses to "figgur it out.")

As a frontier explorer, Colter is quite accustomed (and quite comfortable) living off the land: trapping his own food, finding or building shelter, and using his outdoorsman skills to survive in the wilderness. In fact, except for "them lightning-headed deer," Colter claims he doesn't see much difference in where he came from versus where he is now.

Since he has kept himself hidden and distant from others, Colter's presence in the mountains is largely unknown. However, he has been spotted on rare occasion, but never caught or identified. Colter had to defend himself from marauders once, shooting a bandit between the eyes without being spotted. His exploits have crossed into the realm of rumor and legend, as they speak of a fur-covered "wild man" who lives in the mountains. The legends say he's 8 feet tall and can kill a man just by looking in his direction. Colter doesn't know of this - but if it keeps people away from his mountain, he's fine with it.

Colter is actually not a violent man, nor is he a villain. On some level, he's frightened as to his situation, but he knows fear won't fill his belly or put a roof over his head. So he'll stay hidden from the Mutant Future as long as he can. What becomes of him when he's discovered is left to the ML.

Stop by tomorrow and we'll visit another resident of...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lords Of Light! Sorcery & Super-Science RPG Out This Summer

Just caught a blurb over at Green Skeleton Guild about an upcoming post-apocalyptic RPG from Expeditious Retreat Press. The game is called Sorcery & Super Science! and it will be released later this summer. XRP will even run a few games for it at Gen Con in August. Why am I so excited about this game? First, let's read the PR blurb for it:

"After the cracking of the moon and before the rise of Atlantis the world was a place strange to the thoughts of honest men. The death throes of science amid the birth of magic sculpted new generations of conquerors who strode the lands forging civilizations of steel, sinew, and sorcery from the decrepit hulks of the ones that fell before. Tyrannical wizards, amoral super-scientists, charismatic catalysts, and multifarious mutants battled for wealth, power, and honor. It was ten thousand years of barbarity; ten thousand years spent in the shadowy shells of past glories, hiding from horrible creatures that scratched and skittered for blood; ten thousand years of tyranny and injustice, ten thousand years of Sorcery & Super Science!"

This all sounds excitingly familiar, doesn't it? Now let's run through my personal checklist of Thundarr the Barbarian-related iconography:

  • A broken moon - CHECK
  • Tyrannical wizards - CHECK
  • Barbarians, super scientists, and mutants - CHECK
  • The phrase "super science and sorcery" right there in Thundarr's intro - CHECK
Even the PR blurb reads like an introduction to the world of Thundarr. The game is obviously inspired by my favorite post-apocalyptic cartoon show (this is a GOOD thing) and I'm super-excited to grab this upon release. So folks who have been clamoring for a Thundarr-related RPG, I think you're about to get your chance.
Here's a preview of the interior art for Sorcery & Super-Science! Start saving your coins!

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Hello genetically altered neighbors. It's nice to see you all here today. I'm afraid you've arrived a bit early though. I'm still pulling on my sneakers. It's a bit difficult, what with the 12 toes on each foot and all. Can you say "Mutation?" I knew you could. Starting Monday, you're going to meet some of my neighbors here in the Mutant Future. Some of them are good. Some are bad. Some are just trying to survive in the blasted hellscape that is the Wasteland. Can you say "Hellscape?" Of course you can. Sure. So be sure to stop back on Monday and we'll visit five of my most interesting neighbors here in...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

[Thundarr Thursday] Savage Menagerie: Marsh Hulk

No. Enc.: 1 (1d2)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 90' (30'); Underwater: 90' (30')
Armor Class: 2
Hit Dice: 11
Attacks: 1 (claw, bite, or weapon)
Damage: 1d8/1d8/as weapon (3d6 damage bonus with claw/weapon)
Save: L6
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: XX

A Marsh Hulk is a huge (7-8 feet tall) fur-covered humanoid mutant that lives in swamps and marshy environments. They have glowing yellow eyes, a mouth full of dagger-like teeth, and sharp four-fingered claws. Because of their preferred habitat, a Marsh Hulk is often found dripping wet, reeking of damp rot, with seaweed and other brambles clinging to their matted fur. They are incredibly strong and virtually impervious to harm. Entering into combat with a Marsh Hulk is incredibly foolhardy, and even the bravest of adventurers should avoid angering one.

A Marsh Hulk is unusual in that it's one of the few mammals in the Thundarr universe capable of water breathing. Using this mutation, a Marsh Hulk will make its lair in an underwater cave or cavern, coming out only when an intruder invades its turf. A Marsh Hulk doesn't "swim" but it can walk underwater along the bottom of the swamp at the same rate as it can on land.

It is very difficult to harm a Marsh Hulk due to its natural armor. Its matted fur is hardened to a mail-like surface, making it impenetrable. Also, its fur is permanently dampened, effectively making the Marsh Hulk immune to all fire attacks. (In fact, Thundarr's Sun Sword bounced harmlessly off the hide of one Marsh Hulk, which should give you some idea of how hard it is to hurt one of these creatures!)

A Marsh Hulk's basic fighting skill is "grab an object and beat my opponent with it." Due to its increased strength, a Marsh Hulk gets a 3d6 damage bonus when it hits with its claw or a club. And heaven help you if it grabs hold of you and starts yanking in opposite directions!

In spite of its frightening appearance and formidable strength, Marsh Hulks are actually fairly timid, choosing to avoid combat if possible. But if they enter combat, they will tear the combatant apart to ensure they are never bothered by them again.

Mutations: water breathing, natural armor (extreme), reflective epidermis (fire), increased strength

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

Thursday, June 3, 2010

[Thundarr Thursday] Notorious NPC: Skullus the Wizard

Skullus the Wizard
8th Level Sorcerer

STR: 3 --- INT: 14
DEX: 5 --- WIL: 21
CON: 14 --- CHA: 9
HPs: 59 --- AC: 8
Mutations: advanced mind control

Although he is only a disembodied head, Skullus is one of the most powerful wizards found in the Thundarr universe. As a giant 3-foot-tall head in a glass dome, Skullus is fairly weak physically. He is carried around on a special platform by four hooded slaves, as he is unable to travel about on his own. He is, however, very powerful mentally. His high Willpower makes him formidable in mental combat. Aside from his magic-casting ability, Skullus also has one very powerful and unique mental mutation. Skullus' advanced mind control mutation gives him the ability to completely enslave a victim's mind. To do this, Skullus must make eye contact with the victim for 30 seconds. If the victim then fails a save versus their WIL halved, Skullus will have inducted a new slave into his army.

Yes, that is Skullus' other power - he has amassed one of the largest armies in the World. His army consists primarily of mind-controlled victims who will fight to the death for Skullus. It is estimated that he has more than 500 mind-controlled soldiers to do his bidding. Skullus is also very technologically advanced, having a large regiment of four-armed Battle Droids who also do his bidding. Skullus has 20 of these Battle Droids who have the ability to fly and fire lasers. He will use these as a line of defense for himself, sending his mind-controlled rabble into the lines of combat first. Skullus also has a large War Machine available that he uses to wage war on those who oppose him.

In fact, that is one of Skullus' weaknesses - his deep-rooted hatred for and ongoing war with another wizard by the name of Octagon. Skullus has been waging war against Octagon's impenetrable fortress for many years now to no avail. He has been amassing his largest army yet, preparing for one last all-out assault against Octagon. When the PCs first meet Skullus, he could be "recruiting" more victims for his army, or Skullus' final drive toward Octagon could be underway.

As an 8th level wizard, Skullus has the following number of spells and levels memorized: three 1st level spells; three 2nd level spells; two 3rd level spells; and two 4th level spells. The Mutant Lord should use the magic-user/elf spells list from the Labyrinth Lord rulebook. Skullus is able to cast spells quite easily without the use of his hands. Skullus has a very low AC due to his inability to fight and/or defend himself. His glass dome offers him 50 hit points of protection before it fails. Because of his vulnerability, Skullus will make certain that his armies, droids, and machines are between himself and whomever may want to harm him.

NOTE: This villain was inspired by the episode "Wizard Wars" from the classic Ruby Spears post-apocalyptic cartoon "Thundarr the Barbarian." Stay tuned each week for "Thundarr Thursday"!