[20:03] <+TomasH> I’m Tomas Härenstam, the lead designer of the Mutant:Year Zero RPG, just released in December by Modiphius Entertainment.
[20:04] <+Damiar_the_Wolf> (you folks at Modiphius have been making some cool stuff)
[20:05] <+TomasH> Mutant: Year Zero is an postapocalyptic game in the vein of Gamma World or Fallout, but with some different twists along the way. 🙂
[20:06] <+TomasH> Damiar_the_Wolf: Indeed! I should say I’m not part of Modiphius as such – they are the publisher of the game, we (Free League Publishing) are the developer.
[20:06] <+Damiar_the_Wolf> (oh, thanks for the clarification!)
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[20:07] <~Dan> By the way, thanks again for joining us at for what is truly an ungodly hour for you, TomasH!
[20:07] <+TomasH> I might also add that Mutant: Year Zero is a new version of the classic Swedish RPG Mutant – the first edition of which was published in 1984.
[20:07] <~Dan> (Howdy, egyptian!)
[20:08] <~Dan> TomasH: So what is the core premise of the setting?
[20:08] <+TomasH> No problem, Dan – I have some good “julmust” (traditional Swedish Christmas soda) to keep me up 🙂
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[20:10] <+TomasH> The core premise of Mutant: Year Zero is that you start out in an isolated settlement – “the Ark” – in a huge wasteland called the Zone.
[20:10] <+TomasH> The two main parts of the game are exploring the Zone and developing the Ark, rebuilding society.
[20:12] <+TomasH> In this way, you as a player actually explore / develop the setting as you play, meaning you don’t actually need to learn a detailed setting prior to play. You will discover – or build – the setting as you play.
[20:12] <~Dan> Hmm.
[20:12] <@Silverlion> How does the system support that?
[20:15] <+MBLIG> Is there an option to play the arks antagaist ? Outside trying to get in?
[20:15] <+TomasH> In several ways. When exploring the Zone, there is a lot of support to the GM for populating the Zone with encounters. There are random tables for terrain, NPCs, monsters, phenomena etc – but also more detailed scenario locations called “special zone sectors”. A cool thing about those is that they can be placed anywhere in the Zone by the GM.
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[20:17] <+TomasH> Silverlion: As for developing the Ark, the players can initiate Projects which will improve the Ark in different ways. The Arks has four stats – Food Supply, Warfare, Technology, Culture.
[20:18] <+TomasH> MBLIG: It’s certainly possible, but there is no specific support for it. However, it is rumored there are other Arks out there…
[20:18] <+MBLIG> I love rumors!
[20:20] <+TomasH> Generally, the philosophy behind Mutant: Year Zero is that it’s a very low-prep game. There are so-called “Threat Card” that the GM (or the players themselves!) can draw to introduce a new threat to the Ark. These plot seeds are development in more detail in the core book.
[20:20] <@Silverlion> Are the cards and special dice necessary for the game?
[20:21] <+TomasH> Silverlion: Not necessary, no. All the information on them is repeated in the core rulebook, and there are random dice tables that can be used instead of the cards. And normal D6s can be used instead of the special dice. But the cards and dice enhance the game and speed up play.
[20:22] <@Silverlion> Cool. I was just curious 😀
[20:22] <~Dan> Are all of the PCs mutated humans?
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[20:24] <+TomasH> MBLIG: Me too! 🙂 There are plenty of rumors in the game that the GM can introduce, some of which relate to the main metaplot of the game. This is the core backstory, which the PCs can reveal during play. The finale of this campaign is described in detail in the core book.
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[20:25] <+TomasH> Dan: In the base game, yes. Future expansions will introduce new playable classed like mutated animals, robots, and unmutated humans. These expansions will also each contain a short backstory letting you play the “origin story” of the class in question – just like you play the “origin story” of the mutants in the base game.
[20:27] <~Dan> Speaking of robots, what is the tech level of the setting? Or, perhaps more precisely, what was the tech level pre-apocalypse?
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[20:29] <+TomasH> This is an interesting question. In all previous versions of Mutant, there was always a mix of low-tech like revolvers and high-tech like laser pistols and robots. This never quite made sense. 🙂 In Mutant: Year Zero, we have more clearly placed the Apocalypse in the near future. This means the ruined surface world
[20:31] <~Dan> I can’t help but notice you stipulating “surface” world.
[20:31] <+TomasH> … will look pretty much like our own world, only devastated. Old tech found on the surface level is pretty mundane. However, after the Fall some of humanity survived in underground (and orbital) enclaves, where extreme hightech was developed over the decades. The robots and rayguns come from there. They exist, but they are rare.
[20:32] <~Dan> Aha! 🙂
[20:32] <+TomasH> 🙂
[20:32] <+MBLIG> Love the art, lo
[20:32] <~Dan> Would it be fair to say that you are after “Gamma World that makes sense (relatively speaking)”?
[20:33] <+MBLIG> Like a graphic novel feel
[20:33] <+TomasH> MBLIG: Thanks! We really tried to give the game a consistent look, and kept to one single artist (for the interior art).
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[20:34] <~Dan> (MBLIG is one of your fellow game authors, in case he was too modest to say so. As it Therion over there. 🙂 )
[20:34] <~Dan> And yes, the art is, indeed, fantastic. 🙂
[20:34] <@Therion> (But Gamma World Does make sense! :D)
[20:34] <+MBLIG> Is there magic or meta human mutant power
[20:35] <+TomasH> Dan: That’s pretty much what we’re going for, yes. It’s certainly in the vein of Gamma World, but less gonzo. A little like as if GW was a tv show on HBO or something like that. 🙂
[20:35] <+TomasH> Oh, really? What games did you work on? 🙂
[20:36] <~Dan> “Gamma of Thrones”?
[20:36] <+TomasH> Dan: 😀
[20:36] <~Dan> 🙂
[20:36] * @Therion write High Valor and Hearts & Souls.
[20:36] <+Damiar_the_Wolf> (please make that book)
[20:36] <~Dan> (Feel free to use that. I expect credit, however. 🙂 )
[20:37] <+TomasH> Indeed!
[20:37] <+TomasH> Therion: Cool. 🙂
[20:38] <+TomasH> MBLIG: There are psionic mutations, but no magic exactly.
[20:38] <~Dan> MBLIG: Actually, before TomasH covers your question, perhaps we should cover the core mechanic?
[20:38] <+TomasH> Dan: Sure!
[20:39] <~Dan> (As they seem pretty firmly intertwined. 🙂 )
[20:39] <+MBLIG> Agreed!
[20:40] <+TomasH> The core mechanic is quite simply and easy to learn, but it has some twists.
[20:40] <~Dan> Oh! And before we get into that, would you mind posting that link to the character sheet, TomasH?
[20:40] <+TomasH> There are four base attributes, all scored on a 1-5 scale: Strength, Agility, Wits, Empathy.
[20:41] <~Dan> (Sorry — I should have asked that sooner. 🙂
[20:41] <~Dan> )
[20:41] <+TomasH> Dan: Sure! Here’s a link: (Link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lm989hotg4q3i5z/AABpSNnpbRp_UBIxxH-wHs4ta?dl=0)https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lm989hotg4q3i5z/AABpSNnpbRp_UBIxxH-wHs4ta?dl=0
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[20:41] <~Dan> Thanks! Now open the link and follow along, children… 😉
[20:42] <+MBLIG> Can I go to the bathroom dan…please…
[20:42] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:42] <+MonkofLords> NO
[20:43] <+TomasH> 🙂 Then you have the skills. All PCs have twelve basic skills, three linked to each attribute, and a thirteenth specialist skill connected to the PCs’ role. Skills are also on a 1-5 scale.
[20:44] <+TomasH> When performing an action, you grab a number of Base Dice (yellow, if you use the special dice) equal to the attribute score and a number of Skill Dice equal to the skill level. You can also get extra dice from gear, called Gear Dice.
[20:45] <@Therion> (I knew I should have run away and napped, this is making me want the game, MORE, and I was already trying to juggle the money to do it.)
[20:46] * ~Dan chuckles
[20:46] <+TomasH> Therion: 🙂
[20:46] <+TomasH> You roll all dice, and to succeed, you need at least one six (or radiactivity symbol if you use the special dice). If you roll several sixes (radioactivity symbols) you can use them to perform stunts.
[20:47] <+TomasH> The twist to the system is this – if you fail the roll, you can choose to push the roll. That means you reroll all dice that didn’t come up a 1 or a 6.
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[20:48] <~Dan> (Howdy, LW, CaptainMal!)
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[20:50] <+TomasH> However, when you push a roll, all 1s that you roll will influct trauma on you PC.
[20:50] <+TomasH> The second twist is this – for every point of trauma you suffer when pushing a roll you also get a Mutation Point, which you will need to activate your mutations.
[20:50] <+TomasH> This means, in order to connect with your mutant powers and get the energy to release them, you need to push yourself to the limit.
[20:50] <+TomasH> That’s pretty much the core system.
[20:50] <~Dan> How does that apply to mutations that would seem to be always “on”, like physical mutations?
[20:53] <+TomasH> Dan: Mutations are very powerful, they are like trump cards in the game. You basically cannot fail to use a mutation (but they can misfire). Generally the game encourages you to save up Mutations Points and then unleash them at the right moment, to devastating effect.
[20:53] <+TomasH> All mutations work this way, even physical ones, and even defensive ones.
[20:54] <~Dan> So let’s take the character on the center of the cover: (Link: http://www.modiphius.com/uploads/1/4/0/6/14062642/9112926.jpg?210)http://www.modiphius.com/uploads/1/4/0/6/14062642/9112926.jpg?210
[20:54] <~Dan> His wings don’t work until he stresses himself out?
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[20:54] <~Dan> (Welcome to #rpgnet, Nakedhobo!)
[20:55] <+TomasH> Dan: Pretty much, yes. The wings are there of course, but he will need to build up his mutation energy before he can use them to actually fly somwhere (or use some of the other possible effects).
[20:56] * ~Dan nods
[20:56] <~Dan> I see…
[20:56] <~Dan> How many mutations are in the core rules?
[20:56] <@Therion> Mutations are triggered by need to survive, that’s actually kind of neat.
[20:56] <~Dan> Therion: It is, isn’t it?
[20:57] <+TomasH> In a sense, the mutations system is more narrative than simulationist – but you can find a “logical” explanation as well.
[20:57] <+TomasH> There are 25 mutations in the base game.
[20:58] <~Dan> How “gonzo” are the mutations? Are there lazerbeam eyes and the like?
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[21:01] <+TomasH> Dan: I’d say medium gonzo. There are no lazerbeam eyes and no teleportation, but there is pyrokinesis and insect wings. 🙂
[21:01] <~Dan> Fair enough. It sounds like “medium gonzo” describes the setting in general. 🙂
[21:02] <+TomasH> I should add that you get a few Mutations Points in every session too, even if you don’t push dice rolls. But pushing dice rolls will give you more MPs to use.
[21:02] * ~Dan nods
[21:02] <+TomasH> Dan: Yep, that’s about right.
[21:03] <~Dan> About the attribute scale… is that a hard universal scale of 1-5, or does that just apply to PCs?
[21:04] <+TomasH> Only to PCs. Monsters can go much higher, even above 10 in extreme cases. We’re currently working on the robots expansion, and probably robot PCs will be able to reach attribute scores of 6-7 as well.
[21:05] * ~Dan nods
[21:05] <~Dan> Are there any “super-attribute” mutations?
[21:06] * @Therion sighs wanting this game and hating the price tag
[21:09] <+TomasH> Therion: A questions, out of curiosity – is the price higher than most games would you say? This is our first game released internationally, so we pretty much went with what Modiphius suggested. 🙂
[21:09] <@Therion> For a full color book? Not really, no.
[21:09] <~Dan> I don’t recall the retail price offhand…
[21:09] <@Therion> Not these days. D&D5E is 40 per book, but they print a LOT more of them than you guys. Shadowrun 5E I think cost the same.
[21:10] <+Nakedhobo> Shadowrun is $60, Star Wars is $60, pathfinder is $50
[21:10] <@Therion> Give or take a few dollars. Its just the price + cards+dice+shipping makes it Huge price tag.
[21:10] <+Nakedhobo> \D&D 5e is $50 per book
[21:11] <+TomasH> The core book is $60 and the PDF is $25.
[21:11] <@Therion> Well yeah, I bought mine at a discount…:D
[21:12] <+TomasH> Therion: Yeah, I get that. The book is very pretty though, promise. 🙂
[21:12] <~Dan> Hmm. I’d say that falls in the “expensive but understandable” range, TomasH.
[21:12] <@Therion> That’s way higher than any PDF I’ve ever bought, but I know people will spend that kind of money on them, so its more my frugal nature..
[21:12] <~Dan> I mean, it is a very high-quality book.
[21:13] <+TomasH> Also, the game will be out for US general distribution in late Jan, so I assume shipping will be less of a problem then. 🙂
[21:13] <@Therion> I think part of it is also “core book+other books needed for other PC’s” makes it even higher..cost from my POV.
[21:13] <@Therion> Mind you, understandable costs like Dan says.
[21:14] <~Dan> But it’s only “too expensive” if you don’t make a profit selling it. So time will tell. 🙂
[21:14] <@Therion> Yeah, I want y’all to get a profit from it, and I know printed books can be pricey.
[21:15] <~Dan> Oh, TomasH: Did you see my question about “super-attribute” mutations?
[21:15] <@Therion> I’m just a poor game writer so 😀
[21:15] <+TomasH> Therion: Yes, printing books costs plenty. 🙂
[21:16] <+TomasH> Therion: I might add that the core book includes a complete campaign frame (including a campaign finale described in some detail), so there’s some extra value there. 🙂
[21:16] <+TomasH> Dan: regarding “super-attribute mutations” – what did you mean exactly?
[21:16] <~Dan> TomasH: I meant something like super-strength.
[21:16] <@Therion> I think he means like someone being stronger than normal humans…
[21:16] <@Therion> yeah.
[21:19] <+TomasH> Ah. Not exactly, no. All mutations are designed to be independent from attributes – the main reason for this is that mutations are random. It’s the ONLY random element of character generation. If mutations enhanced attributes, it would be kinda useless to set a low Strength score and then get the Superstrength mutation.
[21:19] * ~Dan nods
[21:19] <~Dan> I see.
[21:19] <+TomasH> The effect of mutations are only dependent on Mutation Points.
[21:19] <~Dan> I see a mention of “Rot” on the character sheet. What is that, exactly?
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[21:20] <+MBLIG> Is there cybernetic upgrades?
[21:21] <+TomasH> Dan: The Rot is the main reason the mutants have stayed in the Ark for so long. The Rot is a silent killer, everywhere in the Zone – stronger in some places, weaker in others. The Rot could be radiation, chemical pullution, contagions – or all three.
[21:22] <+TomasH> MBLIG: Not in the base game, but coming expansions will include cybernetics in … some fashion. 🙂
[21:22] <~Dan> Cool. 🙂
[21:23] <~Dan> TomasH: Does the game cover the nature of the apocalypse?
[21:24] <+TomasH> Yes. The player section gives the overall nature of it, the main events. However, there are elements of the apocalypse that tie directly into the metaplot of the game, and that the PCs can discover during play.
[21:24] * ~Dan nods
[21:25] <~Dan> Oh, you mentioned roles earlier. Are those akin to classes?
[21:27] <+TomasH> Yes. There are eight in the base game – Enforcer, Gearhead, Stalker, Fixer, Dog Handler, Chronicler, Boss, and Slave. Each role has a specialist skill that no other role can learn. Also, each role has a key attributes, gear options, relationship options, etc.
[21:27] <~Dan> Can you give an example of a specialist skill?
[21:27] <+MBLIG> How does damage work or healing? Can I find a job as a paramedic there?
[21:29] <+TomasH> Sure! The Gearhead’s specialist skill is Jury-Rig, meaning the PC can construct working contraptions of different kinds from scrap found in the Zone. The Chronicler’s specialist skill is called Inspire, meaning the PC can boost or hinder other people’s skill rolls.
[21:31] <+TomasH> MBLIG: Yes. One of the twelve basic skills is called Heal. When a PC suffers a critical injury, a successful Heal roll will often be needed to save his life.
[21:32] <~Dan> Actually, while we’re on the subject, how does combat work?
[21:34] <+TomasH> Combat is fast and furious. Trauma (damage) is infliced directly on the main attributes (which double up as hit points), meaning getting the first hit in will often be crucial (however, remember that mutations are independent from attributes, and thus can be used to turn the tide in combat)….
[21:34] <+TomasH> I each turn, a PC gets one maneuver and one action, or two maneuvers.
[21:35] <+TomasH> An action is generally a skill or mutation use. A maneuver is movement, taking cover, reloading, aiming, etc
[21:35] <~Dan> So if characters can take damage to Empathy… does that mean that you can literally hurt their feelings?
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[21:35] <+TomasH> Yes. 🙂
[21:35] <~Dan> 🙂
[21:36] <+TomasH> The Manipulate skill can be used to inflict trauma (called Doubt) on the Empathy attribute. Being broken by doubt won’t kill you though. 🙂
[21:37] * ~Dan chuckles
[21:37] <~Dan> What is the damage mechanic? How are weapons statted up?
[21:39] <+TomasH> This is connected to the stunts mechanic that I mentioned earlier. With a successful hit, the target suffers a base damage equal to the weapon damage score. Stunts can be used to increase this damage, but they can also be used to disarm or knock down the enemy for example…
[21:40] <~Dan> Does strength affect melee damage?
[21:40] <+TomasH> Each weapon also has a Bonus score, indicating how many Gear Dice you get to roll when you use it. The Bonus value can be decreased if the weapon gets worn or damaged.
[21:42] <+TomasH> Dan: Yes, in the sense that you roll your Strength score (+ your Fight skill level ) when attacking in close combat. Having a higher Strength will make success more likely, and will increase your chance of getting stunts (which can translate into more damage).
[21:43] <~Dan> Hmm… Well, that brings up a question I have about such mechanics: Namely, how can you create a clumsy-but-powerful melee fighter?
[21:44] <~Dan> I’m thinking in particular of, say, a huge, powerful, awkward monster.
[21:46] <+TomasH> The way to fine-tune and individualize a character is through Talents. These are lesser special abilities, tricks and feats that personalize a PC. Several of these can gice a PC an edge in close combat despite having a low Strength score.
[21:47] <~Dan> Ah, I see.
[21:47] <+TomasH> To answer the question more specifically – a strong but clumsy melee fighter would have a high Strength score but a low Fight skill.
[21:47] <~Dan> Speaking of monsters, what sorts of antagonists does the game feature?
[21:50] <+TomasH> There are three kinds – humanoids, monsters and phenomena. The humanoids are not all necessarily antagonists – some of them could be turned into allies as well. Monsters are … well monsters. 🙂 Phenomena are weird things like inertia fields, rot hotspots, etc
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[21:51] <~Dan> (Howdy, FaerieGodfather!
[21:51] <~Dan> )
[21:51] <+FaerieGodfather> (hey hey)
[21:51] <+TomasH> Hi there! 🙂
[21:51] <+FaerieGodfather> (correct your topic)
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[21:53] <@Therion> Time travel!
[21:54] <~Dan> In the time we have left, is there anything we haven’t discussed that you’d like to mention, TomasH?
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[21:54] <+SolutionCat> Happy friday
[21:54] <~Dan> (Howdy, SolutionCat!)
[21:54] <+SolutionCat> Hi dan
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[21:56] <+SolutionCat> how goes everyones friday?
[21:56] <~Dan> SolutionCat: Pretty well, thanks. 🙂
[21:56] <+TomasH> Dan: Hm, no, I don’t think so. There’s alot more to say about the game of course, plenty of information can be found at the Modiphius website: (Link: http://www.modiphius.com/mutant.html)http://www.modiphius.com/mutant.html There’s also a dedicated subforum for the English version at our own Free League Publishing website: (Link: http://frialigan.se/forum/viewforum.php?f=40)http://frialigan.se/forum/viewforum.php?f=40 You’re all most welcome there! 🙂
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[21:58] <~Dan> That being the case, thanks very much for staying up to chat with us, Tomas!
[21:58] <+TomasH> Thank you! Great to talk you. 🙂