Friday, December 16, 2011

The Mutant Epoch

Source: the Mutant Epoch Blog

Okay, so I bit and recently ordered a physical copy of the Mutant Epoch at lulu, using a coupon and some paypal currency burning a hole in my pocket. I figure what the heck, add another probable OSR game to my collection, and a Gamma World-styled spin-off at that! Beyond that however, I figured it would be just another OSR-styled RPG I put on my shelf containing dozens of the things now.

Hooo boy was I wrong. This game is amazing, and it's time to start getting the word out. As I continue to absorb and mess with it I will post more about TME here, but a few highlights for those curious about why TME has dethroned (and squelched!) my interest in Gamma World 4E, Mutant Future and even Atomic Highway:

Traveller-esque Random Char Gen: Mutant Epoch uses a more or less completely random methodology for character design that can create a very diverse range of characters. It does so in a manner that, while not the same as the career-generation process of Traveller, nonetheless paints a picture through the rolls, from which you see your character come to life. I am very fond of character generation mechanics that start with "roll some dice and see what happens" over the more trendy, modern, "start with your concept and then fit into our pointspread" approach.

Also, I think Mutant Epoch is the most complete post-apocalypse system yet in terms of character options. Almost every other post-apoc RPG I own usually has a gap somewhere, some element that is missing or under-developed (GW 4E gets a pass here, its also very, very complete). Not TME. It has "pure stock humans," various clones (comfort, labor, military), bioreplicas of various shades, transhumans, cyborgs, bestial humans, ghost mutants (no one has ghost mutants, trust me!...Well, except maybe the X-Men), mutants of multiple flavors (from mild to three breasts to Kuato is hanging out of my chest and much, much worse!) and plenty of support for all. Actually, they might not be totally complete...I just realized I don't see plant mutants on the list, so maybe Gamma World still has one-up there, but I'll check later....

Anyway, the author and artists of this masterpiece is William McAusland, who is the guy responsible for 99% of all the art ever in Goodman Games (slight exaggeration, but when you see his stuff, you'll know it). Being able to illustrate what you write is a rare talent, and it means that this book has art for practically everything. Someone wants to know what a Toxin Missile looks like? No problem it's on page 197. Skulking Renders? Page 163. And so forth. Very complete, and his art style works well for the campy over-the-top post-apoc retro feel of TME. And hey, the writing is very clean and engaging, too! This book is a real pleasure to read.

I'm still plowing through the GM's material so this is hardly a proper review, but I really wanted to start talking about this. TME is quite possibly my Find of the Year, and it's stealing thunder away from the Legend launch, sucking precious game time away while I absorb the TME universe and its cool original-yet-kinda-retro (but still quite flexible and intuitive) mechanics. This, in short, is good stuff. Oh, and so far seems to have some quality editing. Which I wish more RPGs these days had at least a teensy smidgeon of.

Okay, enough for now. I plan to do a "walk through char gen" blog next on TME. Till then...I have bought all the Excavator Magazines both in print and PDF, as well as The Mall of Doom scenario (ostensibly Mom and Marcus's gifts to dad, yay for dad getting to pick his own gifts! Not just socks this year!)


  1. I love this game and hope to see its popularity grow!!

  2. Oh and mutant plant characters will be coming out in a future release.

  3. Excellent! Can never have enough plant mutants. I've shown this to several of my regular players and they are all getting very excited about TME. I think this may finally be the post-apoc game that my table embraces.

  4. Three cheers for TME! Come what may, its the first post-apocalyptic game in... well, ever, that lands smack in the intersection of my gaming needs and wants.

  5. I'm with Mr. Bill--I love the game, too, and haven't blogged about it nearly enough.

    I've had a blast just rolling up random characters.

    Oh, yeah...Mr. McAusland is a gracious fellow who always takes time out to answer questions. We need more designers like him.

  6. Wow if Satanis is on board then you now that the mutant epoch has arrived. Im a big supporter of the epoch on the official forum look for me there as Rexbannon. Id love to see more active members on the forum that love this game as much as me, so highly encourage everyone to join in on the discussions an become a member.