Adventures In Random Roleplay: Mutant: Year Zero Edition – Part 2 – Mutations Build Character

Welcome back, dice fondlers! Last week, we talked about the future and exactly how screwed we all are. (In-game. How screwed we are in-game.) With our potluck apocalypse covered (everyone, bring a disaster to pass!), it’s time to talk about our wildly varied inhabitants.

Character Creation Overview

That’s right, this week we start talking about character creation. We’ll be doing an overview of the process this week and then generating a few characters next week so you can get a feel for just how varied your characters can be after a relatively simple creation process.

Choosing Character Role, Age, & Name

First and foremost, when we create a M:YZ character, we choose their Role. This should give you an idea right off the bat what kind of stories we’re really here to tell; in the post-apocalypse, what role do YOU play?

In the core rulebook, we have eight Roles to choose from. These Roles are:

  • Enforcer
  • Gearhead
  • Stalker
  • Fixer
  • Dog Handler
  • Chronicler
  • Boss
  • Slave.

You guessed it! Each one has a distinct place in the society of The Ark and the future of their society.

Next, we figure out our character’s age. All player characters should be a range of young adults as there are no living members of the People who are as old as the Elder. Also, keep in mind that there are no children being born either at this point. Once we have our age in mind, we pick our character’s name.

Character Attribute Scores & Talents

Now that we have these defining characteristics in mind, we can move on to the nitty-gritty. We next 14 distribute points across four attributes: strength, agility, wits, and empathy. One of these must be set at five points as our “key attribute.” Moving on, we follow suit by distributing 10 points across 12 skills of our choosing. We can only put a maximum of three points into any one skill.

Finally, from the options listed in our role description, we choose a Talent. Talents are tricks or special moves that give us an advantage. Think of them like Feats in DnD or Stunts in FATE… Oh lord, we haven’t done a FATE article yet, have we? Nevermind, FATE will come in a future article. Today, we’re still with Mutant…

Random Mutations

Then, we get to drawing our Mutation. In a regular, unaltered game of Mutant: Year Zero, unsullied by the hands of yours truly, very little about Mutant: Year Zero character creation is random. Except, that is, your Mutation. Mutations can either be determined by using the optional (and cool) Mutation cards or by rolling D66 (remember that from Maid: RPG?) on a Mutation table. You might be a Human Magnet, able to Eat Corpses, have Insect Wings, or be a mind-controlling Puppeteer.

Personally, I prefer to use the Mutation cards; as the entire group is drawing from the same deck, it guarantees that every character will be unique. This works even better if every player at the table has chosen a different Role as well.

Defining Relationships & Motives

Finally, let’s define our relationships and dreams. The Role you choose has potential relationships already built in for your fellow players! We’ll be using those for our character creation so that when we begin our story, our players already have a history together. Then, we create two NPCs that we have a relationship with, helping flesh out our Ark. Lastly, we put down what our character’s long terms dreams are. What are their big plans for their life? All of these are important from a roleplaying perspective, but also because they link directly to how we earn XP.

That’s our overview! There are a few more bolts to tighten as we walk through character creation, as you’ll see next week, but this gets us started. I’ll be watching for you next time as we start building our team of Mutants. Until then, remember to…



Written by: Jason A. Clark

Writer, Salesman, Cartographer of The Weird Realms In My Head

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