Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Creating a character to play Mutant Epoch solo

So November has come and it's time for me to join in on the solo gaming appreciation month promoted by JF of the Solo Nexus blog. My Qwik teams aren't ready for action yet so I decided to kick start my activities with something else.

In keeping with the post-apocalypse theme, I turned to my digital copy of Mutant Epoch, a relatively new post-apocalyptic RPG, published by Outland Arts. It has a very "old school" look and feel, both in the book and rules and at the same time it brings some refreshing ideas (at least to me.) I'm still reading it but I thought I'd try to make a character to run a solo adventure during this month.

In the Mutant Epoch, centuries of conflict and abuse of technology have resulted in a world in ruins, where humans are a minority fighting for their place among mutants, cyborgs and other creatures. It's gritty, violent "science fantasy" and I believe a gaming group may play it as over-the-top cinematic action as well as focus on the social issues of such a torn and changed world.

The standard method of character creation is randomized. You start by rolling to see what type of character you'll get and from there, roll on tables (sometimes shared by different character types) to determine traits, skills, mutations and so on. For those that prefer, there are rules for a point-buy system too. Using the random character creation rules I got this:

Zendar - Clone, Labor
Male, 24 years old, 89kg, 1.97m, left-handed, fair swimmer

Endurance 79/70
Strength 66, Agility 74, Accuracy 49,
Intelligence 20, Perception 18, Willpower 31
Appearance 23

Defense Value: 0 + 8 (agility)
Strike Value: 01-50 + 4 (accuracy)
Melee damage bonus: 8

Run speed: 7
Healing rate: 8

Pre-game caste: slave, labor
There is a bounty for his return

Rags, 6 silver coins, Bow and 12 arrows, Knife

And this is why I like random character creation systems when they're well done: I wouldn't ever think up of making an escaped slave clone as my character, especially when there's so much mutant crazyness to explore. Still, it is a consistent and competent character (if a little low on intelligence.) I also think that having to play a random character adds to the immersion in a post-apocalyptic setting, where resources are scarce: you don't choose your character, you have to make do with what you got.

By the way, clones are one example of interesting, if disturbing, concept in Mutant Epoch. Like a radical extrapolation of current debates on the ethics of stem cell research, clones in the game are often "DNA re-issues from the long-dead ancient people," used as slaves. Yes, imagine brainwashed clones of olympic athletes serving as soldiers or labor slaves and you get the picture.

That's it for now, later we shall see how Zendar will fare in the wasteland of the Mutant Epoch...

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