Welcome back, dice fondlers! Last week, we covered the first part of character creation for Mutant: Year Zero, getting our characters’ Roles, Names, Attributes, and Skills figured out— all modified with our bit of randomized zeal for good measure. This week, we’re diving back in at the deep end, starting with Mutations. Let’s get weird.
As a refresher, Mutations in Mutant: Year Zero are powered by Mutation Points. At the beginning of every game session, you gain a Mutation Point for every Mutation you have. You can choose to save points between game sessions to stockpile them, but you can’t ever have more than 10 at any one time. Further, you can Push a die roll in order to try and win Mutation Points during the game.
(As an aside, “Pushing” dice means taking all your dice that didn’t come up as failures or successes and gambling that you can get the successes you need by rerolling them. This inflicts a level of Trauma on your character, but the stress also pushes your Mutant powers to develop.)
For determining what our characters’ mutations are, we can either use the card set available for Mutant: Year Zero, which is my preferred method, or we can roll a D66 on a table. We’ll be using the cards in order to guarantee unique powers for each character. We aren’t going to take the option to have two Mutations to start with, so each character will only have one card drawn for them. Our results are…
Zero the Gearhead – Sprinter
Cinders the Boss – Reptilian
Dragonfly the Chronicler – Luminescence
Desire the Dog Handler – Spores
Each of these mutations has multiple effects that can be powered. For example, Sprinter doesn’t just let you use a Mutation Point to up your movement speed. You can also use it to escape a conflict entirely without ever having to roll for your Move. Reptilian allows for body contortions or chameleon skin. Luminescence can blind foes, light up surroundings, or bend light to appear invisible. Spores can inflict nausea on others or drive them to itching fits. There are other possible uses for each ability as well, but this gets us a decent idea of what sort of powers we can expect from our team.
Now we’ll take a look at determining our character Talents. Through the game, we can learn new Talents as we progress, but at the start, we get to choose one Talent from a choice of three based on our Role. Talents are passive abilities that let us change how our specific character works. To randomize this, it’s a simple D3 roll. We’ll make four rolls… let’s get a look at our results.
Zero the Gearhead – Motorhead
Cinders the Boss – Commander
Dragonfly the Chronicler – Agitator
Desire the Dog Handler – Fight Dog
What do we now know? Well, Zero the Gearhead gets bonuses to ramming enemies or fleeing from them with vehicles. Cinders the Boss gets a bonus when they command their gang to attack. Dragonfly finds Inspiring others into violence natural. Finally, Desire’s dogs are bred specifically to be vicious fighters, so when they use their dog to Fight, they do so with a bonus.
Character Relationships & Big Dreams
Our next task is taking a look at our character’s Relationships and their Big Dream. Each Role has some presets for just our purposes. If you’re playing Mutant: Year Zero without our little RNG fixation, you can make these up entirely on your own if you desire. Our PC relationship has four options, our two NPC relationships have three, and our Big Dream has three. To make our life simpler, we’ll imagine each player is assigning their random PC relationship to the character to their right (or the one below them in the list.) So D4, D3, and D3? Let’s roll.
Zero the Gearhead –
- Cinders creeps them out; Zero’s bothered by the way Cinders looks at them.
- Zero hates the Fixer Sixler, who cheated them of some sweet gear.
- Zero is pretty fond of Enforcer Elon, who always has their back.
- Zero’s Big Dream is to build something that will change the lives of everyone in the Ark forever.
Cinders the Boss –
- Knows Dragonfly stole from them and knows that Dragonfly thinks they got away with it.
- Cinders has a deep, abiding hate for the Stalker Kara who led them into the Zone in an attempt to assassinate them.
- Cinders has a fondness for Chronicler Astrina and wants dearly for them to write an epic about their life.
- Cinders’ Big Dream is to crush their opposition so they can finally rule over the Ark.
Dragonfly the Chronicler –
- Dragonfly will be the death of Desire; they’re just waiting for the right time.
- Dragonfly hates the Stalker Kara for refusing to be the hero in their story.
- Dragonfly wants to save the Boss Johammed at all costs; Johammed wants the Ark to be for the People.
- Dragonfly’s Big Dream is to make the Ark safe for knowledge and learning.
Desire the Dog Handler –
- Desire’s dog doesn’t like Zero one bit; therefore, neither does Desire.
- Desire hates the Fixter Sixler who has seen Desire cry and must die for it.
- Desire is only concerned with protecting their dog, who is far more valuable than any of these stinkin’ fools.
- Their Big Dream is to have the one they desire feel the same about them.
And with that, we have some built-in conflict within our party, some great mutual story hooks between different characters, and we even have an interesting possible hook as to why Desire is called Desire.
With all this information at our fingertips now, we have a pretty great idea what our characters are like, and we even have a great foundation for building adventures from. Speaking of building, next week we’re going to talk about each of our character Dens as we build the Ark they call home. Until then, remember to…