A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #43: Optional Combat Rules II

Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #43: Optional Combat Rules II is a role playing game supplement published by Skirmisher Publishing for use with the Mutant Future game. As a result, it is covered by the Open Game License and some parts are therefore considered to be Open Game Content. The Wisdom from the Wastelands series introduces new options for the Mutant Future system; this one is new rules for combat and is effectively the sequel to Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #11: Optional Combat Rules.

This is a seven page PDF which is available from RPGNow for $0.99 or as part of the Wisdom from the Wastelands Issues 1-52 Bundle for $27.74. It was actually purchased at the greatly reduced price of $0.01 as part of a special bundle. One page of the PDF is the Open Game License and front matter and one is an ad for other supplements.

Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #43: Optional Combat Rules IIThe supplement starts with explaining that the new rules are intended to solve problems that are not covered in the core rules and provide new options for a variety of combat situations. It also warns that some could potentially be game breakers or annoy players.

Attacking While Grappling expands the grappling rules from Issue #11 by giving the option for those grappling to attack with weapons.

Bracing reduces the recoil penalty (detailed later) and can give cover (from Issue #11).

Charging exchanges defensive bonus for attacking bonus.

Double Tap/Rapid Fire sacrifices accuracy for speed; the first is used with Normal-triggered weapons, the second with Automatic or Rapid Fire.

Excessive Bleeding means that bladed weapons that inflict maximum damage will cause bleeding damage (to those that bleed) every round, with more damaging weapons causing increased blood loss.

Feint allows an attacker to distract a defender to open up a hole in their defences.

Firing Stances give different modifiers depending on the weapon and how the character is holding it, including reducing recoil.

Heat and Primitive Firearms Ammunition gives rules for black and smokeless powder to cook-off, which can be pretty damaging for those carrying a lot of ammunition.

Jumping On a Grenade is simply a character throwing themselves on top of a live grenade to reduce the damage to others.

Optional Sleep, Stun, and Paralysis Rules replaces the all or nothing rules on weapons, toxins and mutations from the core rules with rules that have variable effects.

Pause allows a character to go later in a combat round than their initiative.

Quick Reload allows a character to try and quickly reload a weapon, with penalties if they fail.

Rapid Reaction is used by ranged combatants and gives a bonus.

Readying (Setting) Weapons allows weapons to be braced so that they do more damage against a charging attack (detailed earlier).

Recoil means that firearms are more difficult to control when firing.

Snapshot is similar to rapid reaction, but for firearms and ranged attacks.

Suppressing Fire uses twice the normal amount of ammunition for attacks with Automatic and Rapid Fire weapons, with most shots not causing damage but targets suffering a penalty for returning fire.

Trip allows a combatant to trip another.

Using Firearms as Melee Weapons allows firearms to be used as improvised weapons, although the firearms can suffer damage from being used this way.

Watchful/Overwatch allows a character to, in the first case, only attack if an opponent performs a stated action, and in the second allows stationery gun-equipped combatants to engage targets before they engage allies in melee combat.

Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #43: Optional Combat Rules II in Review

The PDF is bookmarked and there is also a hyperlinked table of contents making navigation above average for a short supplement.

The text, excluding the tables, maintains a two column format and no errors were noticed. The illustrations are Skirmisher’s standard public domain and stock photos tweaked to look more like illustrations.

The supplement refers to a few others in the range, primarily Issue #11, this being a sequel that also uses rules from that supplement, but also Issue #1: Artifacts, Manuals, and Toolkits and Issue #24: Weapon Modifications.

As with Issue #11, this supplement adds a host of options that allow Mutant Future combat to reach Pathfinder/D&D 3.x levels of complexity – or perhaps even above them. Given Mutant Future’s origin in a simplified game system, this increased complexity may not be appreciated by all players. Certainly using all of the optional combat rules from both supplements has the potential to massively slow down combat, albeit at higher levels of realism. Whether or not all the rules will actually work together in a game is not clear either; it doesn’t sound as if they’ve been extensively playtested and some may or may not play well together. Probably a Mutant Lord should introduce desired rules gradually on the understanding that they may be removed or altered, if players are willing to go along with this.

Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #43: Optional Combat Rules II, as with Issue #11, introduces a host of new combat options that not everyone will probably be happy with and it can be found by clicking here.


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