Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Metamorphica

 Last week, I ordered The Metamorphica from (here is the free copy, and here is the printed copy), and it came in yesterday. When I found out about it two weeks ago, and download it, it was something that I had to get, as an electronic copy dose not compare to a physical copy (dead-tree editions are good, but I would settle on the file, if I had an e-reader to read it from). As far as mutation/super-power lists go, this is the most extensive and versatile! This book is not bound to a single rule system, so it can be used in nearly any system, if you don't mind adding the rules for each mutation. Thankfully, many are superficial traits with little or no barrings to the rules. They are written like the descriptions from first edition Gamma World, but expunged of all mechanics, save for range and duration, and even still, they are listed on random tables. And there are lots and lots of random tables! The entire mutation list can be rolled by a single roll of a d1000 (like a normal d00/d% roll, but with an extra die for the hundreds), or rolled by categories, using more exotic rolls with bonuses in increments of hundreds (see below). The categories are:

1-200 Body: Form (d200)
201-400 Body: Function (d200+200, or d400 for both)
401-500 Mind: Behaviours (d100+400)
501-600 Mind:Cognition (d100+500, d200+400 for both, or d600 with all above)
601-700 Psychic Powers (d100+600, d300+400 with mind, or d700 will all above)
701-1000 Supernatural Attributes (d300+700, d400+600 with psychic, or d600+400 with psychic and mind)

Body: Form are the physical mutations that effect how you look, and makes you appear freakish. Body: Function are the physical mutations that effect how you use your body, but dose not always effect how you appear. Mind: Behaviours are the mental mutations that effect the way you think. As they are neurological impulsion and insanity, they can be used on normal people who have been exposed to stress... or eldrich forces! Mind: Cognition are the mental mutations that effect who your brain works. They work like natural talents or mental disabilities. Psychic Powers are paranormal mental mutations that provides control over other minds and physical states. Supernatural Attributes are paranormal abilities you would find with superheros and mythological creatures. The master table is easy to read, and notes the page numbers in a clear but subdued way. This method of indexing is a big plus.

Naturally, you will not find a 200-sided die for sale (as if the 100-sided gulf ball was not bad enough), but you can workout your own system of rolling. For example, you can roll a d200 by replacing the d10 for the '10s' with a d20. Something like a d300 (and no d30 at hand) you can roll d% normally, but with a d3 multiplier die (1 = +100; 2 = +200; 3 = +0 - the highest roll always gives nothing in this method).

Following this big list, there are a useful notes and charts in the four appendices. The first appendix has additional tables for this or that. This is great if you want to come up with strange, new creatures, or to full in some details from the master list, if you don't want to choose your own bodily form. Appendix 2 is good for making mutants, with an appearance change table, beneficial and detrimental mental and physical mutations, quick physical mutant features, and quick superhero powers. Appendix 3 has notes and a few tables for making a character by genre. They include lab-experiments you would see in an old B-move or video game, comic book superheroes, Gamma World-styled post-apocalyptic mutants, and the demonic aberrations you'll find in the old Realm of Chaos books from Warhammer Fantasy Battle. The last appendix has notes on making mutants by genotype. This includes Beastlings, Demons, Mutant Hordes, Mutant Plants, Uplifted Animals, and Xenobiology. The book ends with three pages of bibliography, that helped made the book. Naturally, most of these are role-playing books, but a number of them are works of fiction, with a good number of them being by H.P. Lovecraft.

The cover has an evocative image of a medusa-like woman, with tentacle-hair in place of snakes, and white all around. The interior art is simple, minimal and seem to serve as bookends for a chapter to fill what would otherwise be empty space. They are a mixed bag of styles, but are otherwise OK. The interior layout is simple, and without a lot of fancy fonts or decorations (boarders or fancy headers). The book is a softcover, digest-size book. Without rule content or a lot of artwork, the book packs A LOT for a 154 pages.

The Good: This is a highly indispensable supplement for any post-apocalypse science fantasy, superhero, space opera, pulp-horror, sword & sorcery, and mad-science themed games or settings. It is also well laid out. You would find more mutants than you'll know what to do with them!

The Bad: The lack of rules means you'll have to do a lot of paperwork, if they are not covered by the rules of your choice.

I can not highly recommend this book enough!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Spoiler Alert!

"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." 

"Obi-Wan never told you what happened to your father? You should have a seat, I have something huge to tell you."