Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Mutation Deck: Random D-Bees and Mutants for Savage Rifts

"Did someone say...minotaur?"
Sean Patrick Fannon's latest masterpiece, Savage Rifts, includes 10 example races in the D-Bees and mutants section, along with a list of positive and negative abilities for those who want to create something unique. But building a race takes time and planning, what if you just need a quick and unusual character concept (perhaps for a one-shot game)?

This is precisely the sort of situation where the new Mutation Deck from Just Insert Imagination comes in useful, and in this post I'm going to outline three different ways of using the deck to generate random races balanced at the standard +2 (each Advantage is balanced at +2, while Minor and Major Disadvantages are balanced at -1 and -2 respectively), along with two more options for combining the Mutation Deck with the Savage Rifts race creation guidelines.

Option 1: Completely Random

This solution requires no decision making, and is particularly useful for Game Masters wishing to design random NPC races on the fly, but it can also be used by players who like leaving everything to fate, letting the chips land where they may.

Shuffle the Mutation Deck and draw three cards, placing them in front of you in a line, applying the Advantages and Minor Disadvantages of all three cards. If you draw a Joker, discard it and draw two more cards, applying both of their Advantages, as well as the Minor Disadvantage of the first card and the Major Disadvantage of the second card.

If any of the mutations would give the race a notably inhuman appearance, add the Distinctive D-Bee ability, otherwise increase the Minor Disadvantage of the first card in the line to a Major Disadvantage.

The new Edges supplied with the Mutation Deck can now be used as Racial Edges; the character is treated as if they had the Mutant Hindrance for all their Disadvantages, and the Mutation Mastery Edge for all their Advantages.

Option 2: Mostly Random

This solution allows the player to choose what types of mutation they have, but doesn't let them make any other choices. It's extremely fast, but gives the players at least some control over their character concept. For example if someone wishes to play a psychic, they could draw exclusively from the Psychic Talents deck.

Divide the cards into four separate decks, organized by suit, and shuffle each deck. Draw three cards, choosing which decks to draw from, and place them in a front of you in a line. Apply the Advantages and Minor Disadvantages of all three cards. If you draw a Joker, discard it and draw two more cards, applying both of their Advantages, as well as the Minor Disadvantage of the first card and the Major Disadvantage of the second card.

If any of the mutations would give the race a notably inhuman appearance, add the Distinctive D-Bee ability, otherwise increase the Minor Disadvantage of the first card in the line to a Major Disadvantage.

The new Edges supplied with the Mutation Deck can be used as Racial Edges; the character is treated as if they had the Mutant Hindrance for their Disadvantages, and the Mutation Mastery Edge for their Advantages.

Option 3: Selectively Random

This solution gives the player much more control over the specifics of their mutations, but still keeps the process fairly FFF.

Divide the cards into four separate decks, organized by suit, and shuffle each deck. Draw three cards, choosing which decks to draw from, and place them in a front of you in a line. If you draw a Joker, discard it and draw two more cards to add to the line.

You must apply either the Minor or Major Disadvantage (your choice) of each card in the line, as if it were a Mutant Hindrance. If any of the mutations would give the race a notably inhuman appearance, add the Distinctive D-Bee ability as well. Calculate how many points this gives you (1 point for each Minor Disadvantage, 2 points for each Major Disadvantage, and another 1 point if you're Distinctive D-Bee).

Now allocate your points as you see fit on Mutation Mastery and any other Edges listed in the Mutation Deck (they may also be purchased later as regular Edges). Each Edge costs 2 points, and the total should come up to up to +2 (a standard race). If you have an odd point left over, you can convert it into a skill point.

Option 4: Augmented Creation

This solution uses the regular Savage Rifts race creation rules, but arguments them with the Mutation Deck, using a variant of the standard Mutation Deck character creation guidelines.

Divide the cards into four separate decks, organized by suit, and shuffle each deck. Draw three cards, choosing which decks to draw from, and place them in a front of you in a line. If you draw a Joker, discard it and draw two more cards to add to the line.

You may take the Mutant Hindrance for any, all, or none of the cards, as you wish. The points earned from these cards are applied as negative racial abilities, which may be spent on positive abilities as normal. Mutation Mastery and the other Edges included with the Mutation Deck may be purchased as +2 racial abilities, and are also available as Racial Edges.

Option 5: Expanded Creation

Those who don't like random mutants will probably favor the standard character creation rules described in Savage Rifts, however they may still find the Mutation Deck useful.

Savage Rifts contains 47 abilities for D-Bees and mutants, while the Mutation Deck contains 156 abilities. Combine them, and you'll have over 200 racial abilities to choose from!

Summary

The Mutation Deck is a flexible tool that can be used in a wide range of settings, but it's particularly useful for settings like Savage Rifts, where the players are encouraged to create unique mutants.