Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Episode 19 Mutagenesis

Episode 19 Mutated Mailbag - Mutagenesis

Philosophy and genetics with a glass of milk...

James - The Language Die
  • Back to the Language topic
  • A few episodes back, the question of how judges handle languages came up.
  • This hit home for me recently for two reasons:
    • 1) I started studying Spanish recently because I wanted to learn another language.
    • 2) My Mutant Paranoia Alpha game may feature language. 
  • In my mash up, I’ve altered the shape and design of the “Warden” and renamed it the “Augustus” (since my middle name is August, and I’m making the ship my own).
  • The PC’s start on the A-Deck of Habitat 2. There’s a B, and C deck on each of my habitats, and 3 other habitats, along with other parts of the ship (including Epsilon City and Alpha Complex). I’ve got 30 possible regions on the ship, each with the potential to have a separate dialect!
  • Before the Augustus left Earth, about 10,000 years ago, I’d say most of the colonists and crew on board spoke English and Chinese, but over the years (and given that some groups of colonists could speak other languages) dozens of new dialects may have popped up.
  • What’s a better way of having PC’s figure out what NPC’s are saying, or more importantly, what computers are saying?
  • The Language Die
    • Rather than give PC’s bonus languages for their intelligence (which has never made much sense to me), they start out speaking one language based on their Archaic Alignment.  
    • Since PC’s in my game start out as members of the Clan of Cog, they can speak freely with members from the Clan of Cog using the same dialect. 
    • But let’s say they want to learn another language. That’s when the Language Die comes in to play.
    • Language Die by Class
      • PSH: 1d16
      • Mutant: 1d14 (1d16 for Children of the Glow)
      • Manimal: 1d12 (1d16 for Chosen Zhuu)
      • Plantient: 1d10 (1d16 for the Atomic Equinox)
      • The Language Die is  modified with a bonus based on the PC’s Intelligence Score. 
      • So a Mutant PC with an intelligence of 13 has a Language Die of 1d14+1
    • Languages
      • A Player should write the languages and dialects they know somewhere on their character sheet. They start with one. 
      • When the PC’s encounter a new language (including Ancient Ones), they can make a Language Die roll with a DC of 10. If they fail they can’t roll again until they spend a full week learning the language or alongside native speakers. 
      • Once they succeed on the die roll, it’s safe to say that the PC has learned the language and can record it.
    • My sample list of languages for my Mutant Paranoia Alpha campaign:
      • All 9 Archaic Alignments
      • Ancient One
      • Alphan (Alpha Complex)
      • Epsilonian (Epsilon City)
Marc - Forge Trees!
  • Inspired by this story that Forrest found 
  • Forge trees are Terra AD hyperaccumulators. They leech metals and other elements up from the ground and concentrate them within their bark, wood, sap, and possibly even leaves. These materials allow the trees to become toxic to potential predators or parasites. 
  • The presence of high concentrations of metals within these trees makes their sap and wood VERY valuable to those who know how to harvest and use them. Some tribes know how to harvest the liquid sap and use it to cast metal weapons and armor creating weapons that rival all but those of the ancients. 
    • Sap Cast Weapons
      • Arrows with sap-cast arrowheads deal 1d7 damage
      • Spears with Sap-cast heads deal 1d8 damage
      • A sap-cast Shield provides +1 AC and and 1d8 fumble die
  • Similarly others groups know the secrets of harvesting the wood of these trees which are incredibly strong and resistant to damage and fire. Such wood can also be used for weapons and armor, but can also build structures that are far stronger than those built from normal woods and resist catching fire.
    • Metal-Wood Weapons
      • Due to the added weight of the metal infused wood metal-wood weapons doe +1d damage over  their normal wood counterparts (e.g. a staff would do 1d7 damage)
Forrest - The Mechaniclaw!
  • Looking through the 2nd printing MCC rulebook. This time through I noticed a lot of claws in the art. This reminded me of the ridiculous movie “Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone”. Most notable for Molly Ringwald’s performance as a red-headed space orphan. 
  • The main enemy, “Overdog”, had two gigantic claw appendages, so I got to thinking and came up with: The Mechaniclaw!
  • Mechaniclaw:
    • The mechaniclaw is a massive (and I do mean massive) tripartite claw. Each of its prongs is two feet long and sticks out perpendicular from the arm one foot (for you math whiz’s, that means it forms a triangle of . . . um . . . big). At its base is a hollow which might just perfectly fit a pure-strain human hand! Of course, someone is going to stick their hand in there! Duh!
    • Once a hand is inserted into the mechaniclaw (hopefully still attached to the rest of the body), the mechaniclaw grafts itself into the flesh of the hand and arm of the wearer. A successful DC 16 AGI will allow the reticent wearer to pull their hand free if they declare their action immediately upon realizing that the thing is “starting up”. After that, the mechaniclaw can only be removed by chopping through the forearm, causing 5d6 of damage and permanently dropping Agility and Strength by 1d4 points each. But wait!
    • It might be worth it! More on that in a moment.
    • There is no artifact check needed for the mechaniclaw. The mechaniclaw knows what the wearer (I use the term “wearer” loosely) wants. It. Knows.
    • And it’s willing to help you out! The mechaniclaw can be used as a tool, defensive weapon, or offensive weapon. Really offensive.
    • As a tool, the mechaniclaw will allow the wearer to lift up to 300 lbs over their head, one-handed! It will tear through thin metal like butter and through thicker metal (like robots and such) tearing a 1’ long, 1” wide, 1” deep gouge per round. It can pulverize softer rocks with ease and harder rocks with a few rounds of effort.
    • As a defensive weapon, anyone wearing the mechaniclaw, or anyone the mechaniclaw is wearing, as it were, gets +2 to AC if used passively, or it may be actively used to block one attack per round with no ill effects.
    • Offensively, the mechaniclaw can deliver a blow of 1d10 damage or it can be used to grasp an opponent, causing 3d6 damage per round that the victim is in its inexorable claws. Note that it can only be used offensively or defensively in a given round.
  • So what’s so bad about it?
    • Well, it’s heavy. Really heavy. Servo-motors and mini-jets propel it into action, but the wear and tear on the rest of the wearer’s body causes a temporary stamina loss of 1 STA for every three rounds of use. This is recovered completely when sleeping, but if STA reaches 0, the wearer dies (and the mechaniclaw relinquishes its hold).
    • And it’s big. Really big. Each prong of the claw is as long as an entire forearm. It is rather unwieldy. Getting it through doors or tight places can pose a problem. Of course, you can always rip the door from its hinges or claw through that cinderblock bunker.
    • AI recognition is confused by it. Are you a person or a robot? Lose 2 points on all AI recognition rolls.
    • It doesn’t like non Pure-Strain Humans. Any manimal, plantient, or mutant who tries it on instantly takes 2d6 electrical damage as the mechaniclaw tries to jolt them away! Even if they persist in (stupidly) taking lots of damage, the mechaniclaw just won’t work for them.
    • Like many things, it doesn’t last forever. In fact, it’s kind of an energy hog. You’ll get 10 rounds of use (whether as a tool, defensively, or offensively) with a C-Cell, 20 rounds with an F-Cell, or unlimited use with a Q-Cell. When found, it will have a C-Cell in it with 1d10 rounds worth of use left. Better find power quick, because once it drains, it becomes a 150 lb anchor attached to your arm. Sure, you can try to take if off again - without power, it doesn’t have the same hold on your arm. But you’re still going to pay dearly to get it off, no matter how careful you are. Take 3d6 of damage and permanently drop your Agility and Strength by 1 point. Oh, and that hand is useless, going forward. You’ll find, as you age, little bits of metal migrate to the top of your skin there, which is irritating and could be problematic. Lose 1 point on AI recognition roles. You kind of have something robotish about you!