Mutation Classification

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Mutation Classification

Postby Imagist » Sat Mar 20, 2010 12:25 am

I believe Mutations can be categoried using the class 5 system.

Class 1 Mutations: Cosmetic mutations that serve no purpose or mechanical function. Examples would be unusual eye color, hair color, skin color, and voice.

Class 2 Mutations: Physical mutations, usually kept within the normal realm of the animal kindgom. Examples would be natural weapons (claws, fangs, horns), natural armor, enhanced senses (low-light vision, darkvision, scent), and any other naturally occuring physical trait that can be found in the animal kindgom that is not normally something humans have. Enhanced strength, speed (within the limits of what is physically capable), and intellect would also fall into this category

Class 3 Mutations: Physical mutations that fall outside the norm even within the animal kingdom. Examples would be rapid cellular regeneration, skin that mimics inorganic material (rock, metal, diamonds), production of biochemical agents (acid, poisons, pheromones), non-mamilian traits (such as plant traits, undead traits, construct traits).

Class 4 Mutations: Metaphysical mutations that allow the subject to do something not normally feesible, but within a limited constructed realm. Examples would be telepathy, telekinesis, empathy, energy projection, elemental manipulation, teleportation, enhanced speed (within the limits of what is not physically capable), subjective directional gravity, and many more.

Class 5 Mutations: A class 5 mutation is simply a class 4 mutation with no upper limit. Someone with a class 5 mutation could feesibly do anything they could imagine with their power. Because such powers are beyond the mechanical scope of any system, such powers should be limited to NPC characters or given access to a PC character only when they temporarily become a GM character. Such characters usually are consumed by their power and may develop unfortunate mental disorders due to the scope of their abilities. For this reason, it would be strongly recommended class 5 mutations be heavily limited.

For example, a player might have access to the class 4 mutation of elemental manipulation (water), but he can say his character is going to push himself beyond his safety limits (becoming a GM character and subject to the consequences of his actions). He might state an overall goal for his character (holding back a flood from destroying the town his party members are trying to evacuate), but the GM might role-play trying to hold back a force of that side might "consume" the player's character as he loses himself to his power. Such a trade off might result in the ultimate sacrifice of the hero, or he might be able to pull himself back within the limits of his powers before it consumes him (after his party gets the last of the civilians to safety, of course). Either way, some mechanic would have to be put into place to prevent a power hungry character from abusing his abilities without fear of death. Sometimes, no matter how noble the cause, you have to die to be a hero.

These 5 classes of mutation are just to help visualize what would be required for each type of super hero character. Obviously class 1 mutations require no real mechanics, and someone could simply say as part of their background they are a class 1 mutant. This would allow them to fit into a mutant (more along the lines of x-men) heavy campaign without having to invest character resources (talents, powers, feats) in a mutation mechanic if they do not specifically want one. Class 2 and class 3 mechanics could be done with a combination of enhancements and feats. It would be simple enough to say, okay... you have claws, so when you use those with your Unarmed Attack skill you deal slashing damage instead of bludgeoning damage, but other physical mutations might require a little more work. Class 4 and 5 mutations will probably be contained completely in the realm of enhancements and FX powers.

Without really doing any mechanical legwork, what do people think?
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Re: Mutation Classification

Postby JaredGaume » Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:50 am

I was beginning to wonder something about comic book style super heroes. The central theme is wish fulfillment, the manifestation varies between physical (like mutations) to raw displays of power (force beams for example).

To me, at least, Psionics seems to fit neatly within the "powered Mutation" or "Supers" theme. An expression of the super hero's mentality.

Going with Mutation Classifications, that would seem to match up with levels of Psionic "Powers".

(maybe I'm being a little dumb, it was just something that struck me as I was reviewing d20 Modern's psionics section. How it could be modded to create a Supers game.)
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Re: Mutation Classification

Postby Imagist » Sun Mar 28, 2010 2:05 pm

I totally agree you are going to see some overlap from a Psionics module into a Supers module. The issue I wish to address off the bat is the fact you might not be able to make an exact replica of your favorite superhero. Comic book superheroes can do things we simply cannot stat out, or can't stat out in a balanced manner, and that has to be okay. You can totally have something of a similar theme, but the scope or scale of the power has to fall within the mechanical boundaries of the system. No Superman, please.
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Re: Mutation Classification

Postby Seriously? » Tue Mar 30, 2010 4:22 am

There's a whole lot we could do by combining the basic tools of race, class, talents, skills, feats, and enhancements to model superheroes. (Of course, Superman isn't a PC, he's a demigod!) Some class 2 & 3 mutations could be covered mainly by using a different "race," perhaps augmented by feats and at-will talents for those that deviate far from human. Certainly, many of the "superpowers" could be FX talents. I think, however, the Superpower module will need some time of weakness/vulnerability rules, like Kryptonite for Superman, the fact that Cyclops requires a special visor to cover his eyes, Prof. X is confined to a wheelchair, etc.
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Re: Mutation Classification

Postby Imagist » Tue Mar 30, 2010 9:26 am

Seriously? wrote:There's a whole lot we could do by combining the basic tools of race, class, talents, skills, feats, and enhancements to model superheroes. (Of course, Superman isn't a PC, he's a demigod!) Some class 2 & 3 mutations could be covered mainly by using a different "race," perhaps augmented by feats and at-will talents for those that deviate far from human. Certainly, many of the "superpowers" could be FX talents. I think, however, the Superpower module will need some time of weakness/vulnerability rules, like Kryptonite for Superman, the fact that Cyclops requires a special visor to cover his eyes, Prof. X is confined to a wheelchair, etc.


One thing I would really like to avoid are flaws/drawbacks. I can certainly see some abilities having inherent limitations, but I don't like giving players the ability to min/max within a power. Example: Okay, my at-will energy eye-beam FX talent is always "on" AND I can only control it if I close my eyes or have special equipment... so I get an additional +4d6 damage to my normal damage with the attack every time I use it. It is a balancing mechanism that works great... in theory.
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Re: Mutation Classification

Postby Seriously? » Wed Apr 07, 2010 5:07 am

Imagist wrote:
Seriously? wrote:There's a whole lot we could do by combining the basic tools of race, class, talents, skills, feats, and enhancements to model superheroes. (Of course, Superman isn't a PC, he's a demigod!) Some class 2 & 3 mutations could be covered mainly by using a different "race," perhaps augmented by feats and at-will talents for those that deviate far from human. Certainly, many of the "superpowers" could be FX talents. I think, however, the Superpower module will need some time of weakness/vulnerability rules, like Kryptonite for Superman, the fact that Cyclops requires a special visor to cover his eyes, Prof. X is confined to a wheelchair, etc.


One thing I would really like to avoid are flaws/drawbacks. I can certainly see some abilities having inherent limitations, but I don't like giving players the ability to min/max within a power. Example: Okay, my at-will energy eye-beam FX talent is always "on" AND I can only control it if I close my eyes or have special equipment... so I get an additional +4d6 damage to my normal damage with the attack every time I use it. It is a balancing mechanism that works great... in theory.


Well, the balancing mechanism has to be used to work. OK, the PC gets +4d6 damage (which I think is way too high a bonus for an at-will, but we'll go with it), but the GM has an NPC "disarm" or "sunder" the visor. Now, the player has to roll perception (maybe even costing a swift action to do so) every single time he wants to attack to make sure his character won't be looking directly at an ally or innocent (or a building, or car, etc.) when he opens his eyes. The players can min/max to their hearts' content, but a flaw is a flaw for a reason, and a decent GM will make sure it comes into play enough that it hurts.
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