Since I’ve had three weeks after picking up GammaWorld 4e without a chance to play, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. I’ve make huge versions of the mutation and tech and origin powers/abilities for instance to help a blind friend out. I’ve crafted a longish module in MasterPlan and created custom creatures for it (I just have something about using stock monsters). And now I’m coming up with flavor tweaks for the system while I wait for the planets to align so that I can GM this thing.
As I read through my old GammaWorld resources it hit me there aren’t really any ‘bad mutations’. Oh there are some worthless ones, the fish telepathy is still the shining example of that, but none that really mess with a player. I know it’s all old school to pile up penalties on a player, big suck factors in a game system just aren’t fun. But what if… the player had the choice to take a potential negative in return for gaining something positive? An opt-in suck factor so to speak, completely voluntary with some in game reward for doing it?
With that in thought, I’m going to introduce a Bad Mutations deck that the players will have the option of drawing from. This will be an additional draw on top of the normal Mutation draw at the start of an encounter. They don’t get screwed out of getting a typically purely beneficial mutation.
If a player elects to opt-in and take a Bad Mutation they will receive a TOF or toffee. A toffie is short for a Twist of Fate. Yes for the gaming system advanced this is a direct rip off of the Bennie system from Savage Worlds. A system I highly recommend if you need a system that doesn’t take the GM time that something like 4E takes. Seriously I can GM a Savage Worlds campaign with almost no prep other than a general idea of story line. That can’t be said for 4E. Although I do miss the tactical combat of 4E when playing SW’s so like all things it’s a trade off.
A player starts a session with 2 toffees and can earn additional ones with humor, awesome or major suck play, descriptions of their actions that transcend the mere, “I hit him with my hammer.” or at GM whim.
What can you do with a toffee you ask? Simple, quite a lot. You can eat it if you like as I think I’m going to use Werther’s Toffees for the physical token. You can spend one to re-roll any d20 roll. You can spend one to get a second Standard Action in a turn (yes it’s bringing back the Action Points). You can spend one to introduce a minor quirk in the fabric of reality of the current encounter, perhaps your life would be a lot better if there was a hammer nearby or if the building your running behind had a fire escape on it. Spend a toffee and rewrite reality and bam there’s a hammer or fire escape.
They also earn a toffee by volunteering to take a Bad Mutation.
But how bad are the Bad Mutations? Honestly they’re not that bad. Each will have some beneficial effect, the Yin and each will have some detrimental effect, the Yang. Sometimes they will actually be valuable depending on the character, the situation and the hostiles, other times it might be nothing but suck and of course there will be situations where neither applies and you just earned a free toffee.
It’s a gamble but for pure humor value they should be entertaining. Once I get the lot of them done and pdf’d I’ll post them here as usual. Stay tuned.
Some first draft examples –
Twin Headed -
“In at least one reality the egg split and there were two of you. That twin shows up for a time, or at least their head does, attached to you at the shoulder.”
Yin: Gain +5 to Perception rolls, +2 to Reflex defense.
Yang: Gain vulnerable 10 to psychic damage.
Energy Leech -
“Like a swamp leech, only instead of blood you suck life force from those around and spew it into the air with a veritable disco worthy light show.”
Yin: Drain 3 health from all non-minion creatures within 3 squares of you on your turn and create a cosmetic light show of your choice of shapes and colors in your square.
Yang: Take 5 psychic damage on any turn you drain 9 or more health.
Dumbo Ears -
“The famous pachyderm has nothing on you, your ears have mutated to the size of small boat sails.”
Yin: Gain +10 on Perception rolls based on hearing.
Yang: -1 Speed due to wind resistance, gain vulnerable 5 to sonic attacks.