Tuesday, March 29, 2011

[Mutant Future] Thundarr!

So my wife and I spent several days last week watching all the Thundarr episodes on the DVD we bought from Warners several months ago. This was our second time around on a (more or less) complete watch-through. Afterward, we both sighed sadly and talked about how we wished there were more episodes... Then I remembered Thundarr Thursdays on Savage Afterworld. Ding! Within minutes of our mutual whine fest, we decided to start up a Thundarr-based Mutant Future campaign. Some basic House Rules to more fully emulate the Thundarr experience:

  • There are the following races overall: Pure Human, Mutant ("Mutant Human"), Moks, Manimal, Mutant Animal, Mutant Plant, and Androids.

  • Pure Humans are as listed in MF, though they can be Barbarians, Sorcerers, or simply Adventurers (the core "Pure Human" class). Ability score bonuses are based on the class.

  • Mutants always have obvious physical differences; all Mutants from the same tribe/village have the same basic appearance differences: Body, Arms, Legs, Head, Face, Eyes, Ears, Nose, Skin, and Hair. Mutants do not necessarily have other "power" mutations; only Mutant Masters have standard MF mutations. A Mutant can be a Sorcerer, Mutant Master, or simply a Mutant (as per Pure Human class, though without any bonuses to ability scores).

  • Manimals are the various humanoid races evolved from animals; like Mutants, they do not have any "power" mutations unless they are Mutant Masters. Each Manimal tribe has its own common physical traits; one tribe descended from apes might not look anything like another tribe descended from apes. Manimals have technology (though usually low) and culture (if often savage). A Manimal can be a Mutant Master or simply a Manimal (as per Pure Human class, but with a different range of ability score bonuses based on the base species type, plus special animal abilities as gleaned from Gamma World 4th Edition).

  • Moks are not Manimals... they are something else altogether. Moks are always of the Mok class.

  • Each Mutant Animal and Mutant Plant is usually unique, though there might be a pack/flock/herd/grove/orchard of kin with similar mutations. The class is essentially unchanged, save that most Mutant Animals are still distinctly animals, rather than humanoid animals. They are, unlike Manimals, uncultured; not savage, but simply without most culture, and usually little or no understanding of technology.

  • While there is no real precedent for Android PCs in the Thundarrverse, I'm open to it, as there is definitely a tradition of robotics! I might actually work up a Robot class, for more primitive, Robby the Robot/Bender Bending Rodriguez type of PCs.

  • We are using the Barbarian and Sorcerer classes from Savage Afterworld. There is also the Mutant Master class (a modified Mutant Human class, open only to Mutants and Manimals, in which you can improve your mutations and even gain new beneficial ones), plus the Mutant Animal, Mutant Plant, and Android "racial classes."

  • Mutants with 13 or better in Intelligence and Willpower can be multi-classed Sorcerer/Mutant Masters!

  • I'm using Skills in this game; Skills essentially being "things you are good at" when rolling Ability Checks to do something. Apprentice/Basic level in a skill is +2, Journeyman/Advanced level is +4, Expert level is +6, Master level +8, and Grand Master level is +10.

  • All Barbarians begin play with three Tribal Skills, chosen from my Barbarians of the Wilderlands book, and gain or improve a Skill every odd level.

  • All Sorcerers begin play with three Lores, which are areas of study that they have more intently studied in the past; these can be as narrow or broad as chosen, but the broader the area, the shallower the knowledge. They gain or improve a Lore every odd level.

  • Other classes get up to three "general skills" at 1st level (chosen from the list included in the D&D Rules Cyclopedia), and gain or improve a Skill every odd level. The number of starting skills they get depends on the additional stuff they get based on class; common Mutants get three, most Manimals start with one, Mutant Animals and Plants usually none.

  • Every even level a character may choose a Speciality in an existing skill; this provides a +1 bonus when dealing with that particular skill in that particular area. They can instead take a +1 in any Skill they did not improve in the prior level.

  • Sorcerers cast spells using the Magic-user spell chart from Labyrinth Lord. They gain bonus spells from both high Intelligence AND Willpower. Plus, this is the number of spells they can cast per day; they have all their known spells available at their fingertips to cast as they have spell casting slots available. Finally, they can cast spells as Cantrips, not costing a spell casting slot, but must make a successful Intelligence check to do so, with the level of the spell as a penalty. Targets also get any saving throws as normal. They may cast Intelligence Score + Level cantrips per day before they run out of Cantrip energy. Yeah, this makes them kinda powerful... but they should be! When advancing in level, a result of 01-20 means they discover a new spell, rather than gian combat bonuses. Otherwise, usually the only way to get new spells is by finding them amidst the ruins of Wizard citadels! Too, I use the Corruption rule; every spell cast in an Evil way has a 5% (cumulative) chance of turning the Sorcerer to the side of Chaos, and thus a Wizard and NPC! I should note that all damage-causing spells can be cast to cause non-lethal rather than lethal damage...

  • Most flunkies are 0-level; they fight at half their normal HD and have only 1 hp per HD. They have to make a lot of Morale checks, too. This fits well with the Thundarrverse concepts, as the Bad Guys were usually running away, rather than standing around waiting to get slaughtered.

  • Villains and Heavies get full HD/HP options.

  • Saving throws versus Spells and Spell-Like Devices are as per Labyrinth Lord; Magic-user numbers for Sorcerers and Wizards, Fighter numbers for all others.

Jodi made three characters (all started at 3rd level, all Lawful):

Rash the Barbarian (Grizzly Bear Clan): Str 18, Dex 16; Wilderness Survival, Battle Cry, Fast Movement, and Wizard Slayer, with a "minor" in Blacksmithing (his father's trade) and +1 to Melee Damage. Wields a Star Sword (as the Sun Sword, but with a 180 charge limitation, charges being used with every successful attack). Lives up to his name a lot! Rides a war horse.

Canthar the Sorcerer (Pure Human): Int 15, Wil 14; Mutant Lore, Manimal Lore, Technomancy Lore, and Political Lore, with a "minor" in First Aid. Spells: Read Magic, Hypnotism, Floating Disk, Allure, Magic Missile, Shield, Feather Fall, Resist Cold & Fire, Feign Death, Ray of Enfeeblement, Pyrotechnics, ESP. Wields an automatic shotgun when he needs to sweep the streets. Rides a "riding horse" (stolen from his step-father Wizard, seems to have unusual qualities).

Bakra the Puma Girl (Manimal with very Cat Girl-like appearance): Str 16, Dex 19; Claw/Claw/Bite, Leap, Quadruped Speed, Heightened Hearing, Heightened Smell, Night Vision, Intimidation, Pilot Advanced Vehicle, with a specialization in Heightened Smell for "Differentiating Races." Wields an M-16, a short bow, and fights fang and claw in melee. Likes to wear jewelry. Rides a feliquine (lion-horse).

Next, recaps of the first two sessions. We will play every night when Jodi does not have to work the next morning...


  1. Demon dogs! I'm truly honored! Sounds like it'll be fun. Keep us posted!

  2. This sounds awesome! So glad you are doing this. Totally looking forward to your recaps. I loved the show back-in-the-day and often included elements of it in my Gamma World games but found the lack of classes and magic in Gamma World to be a little tough to deal with.