May 23, 2013

[Let's Look At] Mutants & Machine-Guns: A Gonzo Post-Apocalyptic RPG, Part 2: Character Creation

Several weeks ago, I was delighted to find a couple friends of mine in my hometown have been up to something exciting, and I thought what better way than to launch a new series of posts to revive this long-dead blog. [Let's Look At] is where I try to read through and dissect every chapter and corner of a new RPG that I have yet to play, and explore it with all of my musings about its design, some notes, and experimental plays to better understand it. I don't really intend these examinations to be a review of the game, but rants and raves may seep through the seams at times.    

The first thing to learn about every RPG, and could also be the most complex part of the game, is the character creation. So after giving an overview of the game in my previous post, it's only natural to start the rest of this series at the character creation rules for [Let's Look At] for Mutants & Machine-Guns.

The basis of each character is governed by four simple AbilitiesPhysicalMentalCombat and Social, with the descriptions of each ability pretty much self-explanatory.

Players are given a pool of 8 points to distribute among each ability with a minimum of 1 to a maximum of 3 for starting characters. Basically for each point added to an ability, it becomes a modifier for the task resolution rolls, which is done with 2D6 plus each point of the related ability, against a target number (ranging from 5 to 15). The task is successfully accomplished if the roll is higher than the target number. This is a very straightforward application of stats as it can get, though the game does shake things up a little with a Critical Fumble and Success rule for doubles even if the description for them are vague at best.


Another aspect of character creations is picking your character's Race. The game offers three which are: Pure HumanMutant Human and Evolved Animal. Each Race defines the character's HitPoints (HP) and any additional perks they may get such as starting mutations.

Every character starts with a fixed Defense score of 9, which can be modified with armor or mutations. Though I feel that one of the ability stats (Physical? Combat?) should also be able to modify this, but having everyone with the same number does make combat easier.

For characters of the Mutant Human and Evolved Animal races, they start with 2 random mutations which they determine by rolling 2D6s. More on that in the next [Let's Look At] post on Mutations.

In addition, the Evolved Animal race gain an additional mutation based on the animal they evolved from. The game does offer some specifics such as cats, dogs, and bears get the Natural Weapon mutation, while birds have the Wings mutation and turtles gain the Natural Armor mutation. Though the list of animals are a little short and non-comprehensive, I think it is quiet fair to give any animal the Natural Weapon mutation by default, unless the animal or insect is one that is more inclined to either being winged (an Evolved Bee, perhaps?) or has natural hides to be considered as armor.

What do Pure Humans get then? If not without the cool mutations? Well firstly, they are balanced with having the most starting HP out of all the races at 12+D6 HP (followed by Mutant Humans at 10+D6 HP, and Evolved Animals being the lowest at 8+D6 HP). Secondly, Pure Humans also start off with an additional 2 gold pieces when everyone rolls 2D6 for their starting wealth. Lastly, they also gain one additional point XP at the end of an adventure than his counterparts, which helps to speed up their advancement through their abilities instead of having mutations.

Without a level-up system, XP becomes a form of currency for players to advance their characters. Players can spend their XP either to increase their HP (at a cost of 1XP per point), an Ability (2XP per point), or their Defense (at 3XP per point), which cannot pass 13 without wearing any armour.

So that's it pretty much it for the Character Creation rules. It's relatively simple, but there is some number crunching involved if you are weighing your options as to whether it is worth being a Pure Human or a Mutant Human. I would be generating a sample character of each race in a future posts for [Let's Look At] to see how this system works out, so keep looking out for more posts on Mutant & Machine-Guns.

Next up, I'll be looking at Mutations!

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