Free Role Playing Game Supplement Review: Mutant Future

Mutant Future: Revised Edition by Daniel Proctor and Ryan Denison is a role playing game supplement published by Goblinoid Games. This is a post-apocalyptic role playing game system based around Goblinoid’s Labyrinth Lord system. It has more than a few similarities to Gamma World, in that the setting is one in which most technology is at best medieval in nature, although there are many remnants of older, more advanced technologies, including artificial lifeforms. Many species have undergone degrees of mutation, substantially changing them and giving them new abilities and disadvantages. The supplement is covered by the Open Game License and therefore some of it is considered to be Open Game Content. Third party publishers may publish compatible content under the Mutant Future Trademark License.

Mutant Future: Revised EditionThe supplement is available in a free, no-art PDF from RPGNow, which is the version reviewed, and as a full version including art, which costs $6.95 for the PDF, $23.95 for a print on demand softcover, $33.95 for a print on demand hardcover, PDF and softcover for $30.90 or PDF and hardcover for $40.90. This is a 160 page bookmarked PDF. Two pages are the title page and front matter, two pages are the Foreword, two pages are the Table of Contents, two pages are a character sheet, two pages have blank hex grids of different sizes, one page is an advert, one page is the Open Game License and one page is blank.

Section 1: Introduction is a fairly short section on role playing games, dice types and common abbreviations. Parts of this are fairly standard and will be familiar to anyone who has played similar games. Some of the abbreviations are new and specific to Mutant Future.

Section 2: Characters covers creating characters, the various character races, including androids – bar pure human, these are largely new and, in the case of mutants, are probably not races as such – and equipment. The equipment is the basic medieval or lower level technology that is most commonly found.

Section 3: Mutations covers the various different mutations that creatures can have. There are physical and mental mutations for humans and animals and mutations for plants. Some mutations are beneficial whilst others are drawbacks.

Section 4: Adventuring Rules covers adventuring groups, exploring ruins, which is similar to the old-style dungeon crawl, especially as these may be underground, travel in the wilderness, including air and water travel, hiring retainers, specialists and mercenaries, gaining experience and the condition of discovered technology and technology rolls.

Section 5: Encounters and Combat covers the various elements of combat; surprise, combat in the wilderness and ruins, movement, aerial combat and healing. Also covered are the various types of damaging attack, such as poison, firearms, radiation and disease. Sea combat is also in this section.

Section 6: Monsters is an alphabetical collection of different creatures. Some are ordinary animals and some are monsters seen in many games with Dungeons & Dragons origins, although in this case they are the result of mutations. The majority of the creatures are mutants of one degree or another and a few can be recognised as having origins in film and novels. This section ends with encounter tables for different regions.

Section 7: Technological Artifacts provides details for technological items of all types. Unlike the equipment found in Section 2, this is more advanced. Some items are comparatively primitive, such as blackpowder weapons and some slug throwers and weapons at about the level of the 20th century, but the majority of it is more advanced. There are weapons of all types, armours, explosives, various gadgets and other miscellaneous items, drugs, chemicals, medical equipment, robots, androids, vehicles and power sources for them.

Section 8 Mutant Lord Lore is information for how the Mutant Lord (the GameMaster) can run the game. There are suggestions on world, ruin and settlement building, some wasteland hazards, a sample populated ruin (dungeon), a sample wilderness area (complete with a settlement named after Gary Gygax) and an example, unpopulated, ruin map. There are various bits of advice for the Mutant Lord to run the game.

Section 9: Mutants & Mazes gives details on how to convert a game fully to Labyrinth Lord, which requires a bit more work than might be thought as characters in a Mutant Future setting start off rather more powerful than those in a typical Labyrinth Lord setting.

Mutant Future in Review

The PDF is decently bookmarked with the major and minor sections included. The Table of Contents is better, covering lesser sections as well. Navigation as a whole is decent, but it could be better if the bookmarks were to the same level of detail as the Table of Contents. The text maintains a two column format and appeared almost completely error-free. Naturally, as this is the art-free version, there is no art, excluding three maps in Section 8, only places where the art should be.

As well as the primary rules for the game, there are a number of optional rules, at least some of which are logical or common, although they do increase the level of complexity of the game, which is presumably why they are optional. The feel of the setting is, in many ways, similar to a fantasy game of the same type; technology is at a similar level with advanced technology and mutant powers taking the place of magic. As such, the game itself should be easy enough to understand for anyone familiar with fantasy games, either the originals or those of the Old School Revival.

There isn’t a huge amount of content for Mutant Future from the publisher, but there is quite a bit from third party publishers which has been released under the compatibility license. Section 9 on converting the game to Labyrinth Lord also increases the amount of available content. There is a decent amount of material in this book on races, monsters and technology that it can certainly be used by itself to create adventures. There is no definite setting for this system, nor is what caused the apocalypse defined. There are suggestions in Section 8, and its largely presumed to be on Earth, but it is up to the Mutant Lord what the specifics are and there are suggestions on other settings, such as off-planet or on a space ship. The game itself has echoes of both Gamma World and its predecessor, Metamorphosis Alpha, which isn’t a huge surprise as both have inspired this game.

Mutant Future does have a very Old School feel to it, but this is intentional. It could, of course, be made more complicated if desired, but the mechanics of the game as it is are simple enough to understand, especially for those familiar with the older types of game and those inspired by them. the system itself does look like it would be easy enough to run a post-apocalyptic game with. For a free supplement, Mutant Future is a very good deal as the real meat of the paid supplement is still included, and it can be found by clicking here.

 

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