Some of you have been here before may know that I have a sweet spot for the Swedish Roleplaying game Mutant from 1984. It was my first encounter with a Roleplaying game and it blew my mind away. We, the Little One and I, have been looking for some rules to use for some miniature gaming in this world and one of the rule sets we have been trying has been the Mutant and Death Ray Guns (MDRD) from Ganesha Games. We really enjoy them and with a few modifications as detailed below we can have a damn good time.
Here is the standard intro I have been using for the Mutant (1984) world:
The background blur of the game makes me reflect on these wonderful words by H.P. Lovecraft, “We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of the infinity and it was not meant that we should voyage very far”. Basically following a deadly and incurable epidemic caused by samples from a mission to Mars the human civilization collapses. The survivors build enclaves and start experimentation on humans and animals, in effect creating mutants, to see how they will survive outside the enclaves. However conflicts arises between the enclaves and it leads to a nuclear war sealing the fate of the world.
Fast forward a few hundred years and the from the ashes new civilizations start to emerge with mutated humans and animals, some “pure” humans and even some mutants with mental powers. There are remnants of the old worlds scattered all around, and some androids/robots from the old days are still around. In addition there are certain areas where the effect of radiation has left some strange effects on the flora and fauna and these areas are called “Forbidden Zones”.
The game is set in Scandinavia, but not as we know it today, and the general level of new technology is equivalent to that of the 19th Century, give or take. There are steam engines, muskets and some emerging rifle like weapons, heliogram for communication, etc. Some of the old technology has survived but is rare.
Notes on our take on the rules
War has been raging on for 200 years and the planet lies devastated after countless weapons of mass destruction has been set free. A new dark age has started.
"After mankind’s self-inflicted downfall, other beings strive for dominance. Humanoid mutants, androids, mutated plants and animals fight each other for resources such as water, weapons, fuel and food. It’s a brutal world that knows no hope or respite. A world with only two kinds of inhabitants: those who perish and those who survive." (from the introduction to the rule book)
The rules are based on the famous Song of Blades and Heroes engine, it plays in about an hour, it is a small skirmish games and normally uses a handful of characters (5) per side. There is a random system of generating characters or a points system can be used – this is especially useful for matching the miniatures you have.
The different character types are:
• Pure Humans
• Mutant Animals
• Mutant Plants
• Wretched (like Zombies)
These match very well to the Mutant 1984 universe and most things are relative easy to build using these rules. Each type has different access to weapons/equipments and traints, etc.
Activation is based on each player choosing to activate a model to do 1 to 3 action, for action a die is rolled and a score is needed to be successful for each die. If two failures are recorded the turn goes over to the opponent. This means that all models can perform at least one action without risk (you only roll one die, if you fail that is only one failure). For two actions there is a risk of two failures and in addition if going for three actions the risk increases of having at least two failure meaning the turn is over for the player. This is a fun part of the system as it forces the player make some choices. Combat is straightforward.
We have been a little more liberal with the points system than suggested in the book in terms of building the characters. We have allowed the mutants a wider choice of skills and equipment to reflect the fact that the world is a little more stable and the mutants/animals are perhaps a little less feral than suggested in the MDRG world setting as written. We had great fun in doing this together, based on some of the many models we have.
In addition we have introduced primitive firearms (single shot rifles, musket, blunderbuss, etc) based more or less on the rules in the Songs of Drums and Tomahawk rules (another great rule set from Ganesha Games).
We have added these to the Ranged Weapons table as follows:
- Musket (2H), Range – Long, Combat – Users, Multiple Shots – No (Pts cost 4)
- Rifle (2H), Range – Long, Combat – Users+1, Multiple Shots – No (Pts cost 5)
- Pistol, Range – Short, Combat – Users, Multiple Shots – No (Points cost 4)
- Blunderbuss (2H), Range – Short, Combat – Users+1, Multiple Shots – No (Pts cost 5)
In addition these primitive firearms require two consecutive actions to reloading (in the same turn). In addition the blunderbuss works like a shotgun in the rules (just less efficient and with the loading constraint).
We bought the MDRG rules in PDF format from Ganesha Games homepage, link here, they are $8. Splendid value for money and highly recommended.
Here are some example forces we have used in some of our games.
The Pyri Commonwealth Patrol
This gang is a regulary military patrol of The Pyri Commonwealth’s finest – the Riflemen.
They have been tracking a gang of Cocks that have been pestering the locals using technology from the olden days, killed several and caused property damage. Their objective is to stop the gang and seize their high tech weapons – with unconditional force if so required. The unit is only armed with old style weapons apart from Rifleman Hayya who has an old tech sniper rifle. The unit has to rely on its stealth and shooting accuracy to win over the more heavily armed opposition – but not forgetting about its hidden asset, the slow but deadly Rifleman Lacoste.
Lieutenant Tarmvred (98 points) – Quality: 2 / Combat 2 Traits: Leader (15), Primitive Rifle (5), Danger Sense (3), Forester (3) and Food (3).
Rifleman Lacoste (114 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Tough (15), Hero (15), Primitive Rifle (5), Short Move (-3), Amphibious (2), Heavy Armour (5), Dim Witted (-1), Hand to Hand Specialist (2), Forester (3), Animal (-3) and Food (3).
Marksman Master Hayya (86 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 2, Traits: Sharpshooter (3), Sniper (12), Sniper Rifle (8), Stealth (3), Gunsmith (2), Forester (3) and Food (2)
Riflewoman Ludmilla (50 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 2, Traits: Sharpshooter (3), Rifle (5), Gunsmith (2), Forester (3) and Food (2)
Rifleman Klasse (50 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 2, Traits: Sharpshooter (3), Rifle (5), Gunsmith (2), Forester (3) and Food (2)
Total cost 400 points.
The Cocky Cocks
This gang are a mean bunch of adventuring mutated Cocks that fell upon an old mobilisation storage from the olden days – full of high tech.
Captain Cock (88 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Leader (15), Flak Jacket (3), Sharp Shooter (3), Pistol (7) and Food (2).
Cock and Roll (108 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Hero (15), Flak Jacket (3), Sharp Shooter (3), Assault Rifle (11), Steadfast (3), Fragmentation Grenade (3) and Food (2).
Laser Maja (68 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Flak Jacket (3), Laser Rifle (11), Steadfast (3) and Food (2).
Helmet Kohl (68 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Flak Jacket (3), Assault Rifle (11), Steadfast (3) and Food (2).
Axe Tax (68 points) – Quality: 3 / Combat 3 Traits: Animal (-3), Humanoid (3), Dim Witted (-1), Flak Jacket (3), Assault Rifle (11), Steadfast (3) and Food (2).
Total cost 400 points.
Here some actions shots from a game we played on a 2′ by 2′ board.