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"Functional mutations...do you need a reason?" Topic


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450 hits since 3 Dec 2011
©1994-2014 Bill Armintrout
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28mmMan Inactive Member03 Dec 2011 7:23 p.m. PST

Or are you comfortable with suspending disbelief?

Yes yes yes I know, "functional mutations are extremely rare"…in nature, in reality.

But in gaming?

I am a big fan of mutations. I do tend to prefer tempering my mutations with the flavor of possibility though.

That said I still find myself looking for that reason, a catalyst to place a bit of the how and why to the mutations.

Now it does not kill a game for me if there is no reason or if the mutations are a bit over the top…it is just a personal thing for me.

And for you?

I know there will be a few who will answer that they don't like mutations for characters and that is 100% cool, but hopefully the responses will focus on the idea at hand…needing a reason or not.

I can accept the mystery space radiation cloud…but I would prefer not to :)

If you do like a reason, do you have any front runners you like for gaming or for reading for that matter…there are many more examples in novel form than game form, surely there is a great reason out there?

Redroom Supporting Member of TMP03 Dec 2011 8:43 p.m. PST

I think functional mutations occur at the same rate as spontaneous functional evolutions ;)

That being said, I have no problems with them; who knows what happens years down the road after the biological weapons have struck.

Terrement Supporting Member of TMP03 Dec 2011 9:30 p.m. PST

Great reason? No. What I've used has been that it is the result of gene splicing experiments gone bad, with the vector for mutations being carried by vermin (rats, fleas, mosquitoes) but that individuals own gene makeup makes them either more susceptible or more resistant to mutation.

JJ

Stryderg03 Dec 2011 9:30 p.m. PST

I don't really need a reason, it's just a game, after all.

infojunky03 Dec 2011 9:40 p.m. PST

My biggest problem with mutations is the magic effect. Meaning mutations that allow supernatural effects.

Darmok Inactive Member03 Dec 2011 9:48 p.m. PST

Nearly the same as infojunky. It's a problem for me if, say, a physical mutation allows the subject to scramble his atoms at quantum mechanical level and be invisible or able to walk thru walls. Ditto for supernatural effects.

Darmok Inactive Member03 Dec 2011 9:50 p.m. PST

Nearly the same as infojunky. It's a problem for me if, say, a physical mutation allows the subject to scramble his atoms at quantum mechanical level and be invisible or able to walk thru walls.

GarrisonMiniatures Supporting Member of TMP04 Dec 2011 8:46 a.m. PST

If there are no 'true-bloods' left, then something that would be a major disadvantage today might be worthwhile. If the majority of the population are not very strong, someone with current 'normal' strength would be considered as having super strength, if the majority of the population are slow moving, someone able to run at current speeds would be considered to be super fast.

It is all a matter of perspective.

28mmMan Inactive Member04 Dec 2011 3:10 p.m. PST

"My biggest problem with mutations is the magic effect. Meaning mutations that allow supernatural effects"

That is a good point.

I like my function mutations to serve a purpose…gills, fins, waterproof skin, etc. in a watery zone…water retaining organ, chlorophyll skin, etc. in a desert zone…organs to digest anything organic…extra tiny eyes for 360* and multi spectrum vision…

Space Monkey04 Dec 2011 7:21 p.m. PST

My science-fantasy homebrew setting is rife with 'mutants'… some are slaves who were flesh-sculpted by their decadent masters for utility or amusement. Others were brought about by similar methods at the hands of powerful aliens… for similar reasons. Some have new organs which give them 'powers' (nothing too wacky superheroic).
These changes can be made to effect them at the genetic level, meaning their offspring will often bear the same distortions.

I used to worry about it all making some sort of plausible sense… but decided it's fun and doesn't really matter.
If someone requires 'hard science' they shouldn't be playing in my game.

infojunky05 Dec 2011 5:02 a.m. PST

Ok, another stab at this while looking at what I am writing for mu Crashtest Clones setting, Think Fallout meets Paranoia meets Portal meets Stargate meets Borderlands, etc..etc… A post Cyber-punk sorta setting not leading to that transitory rapture that is the singularity of those Transhumanist wheenies have Bleeped texts of, but a spasm of Post-Human inter -governmental/corporate warfare goodness that fulfills the dreams of the most hardened bunker dwelling survivalist.

So, Mutants, well yes, we made them, they un-intentionally breed themselves into existence through cross-breeding, and other sorts of related silliness.

So, looking at that the possibility of transgenic features, there is a chance of any feature that exists within nature being expressed in people (mutants of unknown lineage) with some traits becoming common within certain germlines.

Then add in the possibility of wet nano then the range of traits expands to what is possible to support by the biologic form.

Then there are factions that embrace the machine cult, Cyborgs and Droids and Self Aware Computers etc… They add a whole different bag of traits as well.

But mostly I am illustrating what I am doing in contrast with the question. There is lots of room to answer this question. A big part of what I do is steal ideas, especially visual elements.

Books that I take a lot of inspiration from are the GURPS Tech books (High, Ultra, Bio), GURPS: Reign of Steel, Mecha, Robots, oh heck pretty much anything by David Puliver, Twilight2000 (1st Ed) which had lots of supplements. Cyberpunk 2020, the Chromebooks especially. These are the game books, but there is a tone of PA GunPorn as well… Someday i need build a Bibliography of the Post Apocalypse.

28mmMan Inactive Member05 Dec 2011 8:10 a.m. PST

Venus and Info…both would work well for me.

For me I tend to look for those big questions/answers…

"how best to establish the apocalypse?"

"how best to rationalize mutations"

"how to balance it all so PSH have a chance"

*****

"how best to establish the apocalypse?"…and leave enough of the world, the environment, and the people to allow for some hope.

I have ran the numbers on this problems too many times…the how soon is important, do you wait 300yrs to give the world a chance to recover…do you wait 30yrs to leave it all fresh in everyone's memory?

I do like a significant reduction of people…by people I mean to say folks you can deal with…zombies (not my thing), feral mutants, beastmen, etc. would not count…I do like the classic science fiction sealed domed cities, hiding a sheltered society away from the chaos outside…until…

As for the how…I am leaning towards a fast and dramatic uncontrollable wave of change…like a series of environmental corrective measures that cascade into storms of modification…like a terraforming experiment that snowballs…it does what is intended, just too fast and without restraint…like a hurricane rolling chaotically across the globe erasing the evidence of man in its wake…with vast expanding jungles and forests rising up.
*****

"how best to rationalize mutations"

With the above terraforming…perhaps the same storm causes a measure of reforming on the genetic level…the majority of the fauna touched are reduced to primal elements (fertilizer) but a small percentage would only be touched rather than absorbed?

*****

"how to balance it all so PSH have a chance"

The domes help with this in a serious measure. The access to education, training, and experience with technology. Computers, clones, and other 70's style science fiction tidbits.

So you either are a native with knowledge of the new world but with a much lower tech level…or…a dome type with the advantages and disadvantages that come with it.

I would see a much longer lifespan for the domers compared to the natives…with an extended midlife…so once a domer reaches 30 or so, the process slows down to the point that a 90yr old domer looks 45-50yrs old…average lifespan for a domer would be 120-130 within the domes…the difference of being outside is an unknown factor.

infojunky05 Dec 2011 5:18 p.m. PST

Ah the time question…. I struggle with it too….

I generally figure 2 to 3 human generations after, meaning 50 some odd years.

As for the nature of the "end" it is a little of everything, nukes, biological/environmental and conventional warfare along with the biosystem self correcting. Add in the gates standing open to other planets, weird stuff abounds.

While I don't have the general collapse of tech as some others settings, I assume a late 19th early 20th century tech base, or about the High point of small town America.

As for lifespan differences between groups I haven't considered that too much, but I can see a strong case for a Ultra-Conservative Elders running the remaining enclaves, stagnate little fishbowls…

Lion in the Stars17 Dec 2011 6:47 a.m. PST

I lean towards the 'engineered' source, personally. Ever read the fluff of Blue Planet? The original colonists were engineered with either gills or a cetacean-analogue breathing system, and those traits were hereditary. Makes perfect sense for settling a world that's 92+% ocean.

Similarly, S. Andrew Swann's Moreau setting, where the moreaus were military weapons programs.

Random, spontaneous useful mutations that are way outside human norms? astronomically unlikely, pushing the edge of my suspend disbelief.

28mmMan Inactive Member17 Dec 2011 8:52 a.m. PST

"Random, spontaneous useful mutations that are way outside human norms? astronomically unlikely, pushing the edge of my suspend disbelief"

It is the grand paradoxical issue for me…as I appreciate a functional mutation I also want a reasonable measure of form and development.

This is why I normally prefer to extend my game starting point 300+yrs at a minimum, to establish several generations of stability.

But there needs to be a catalyst.

For example, introduce something that can release the genetic potential…maybe something like The Thing From Another World?

"No, by the grace of God, who evidently does hear very well, even down here, and the margin of half an hour, we keep our world, and the planets of the system too. Anti-gravity, you know, and atomic power. Because They came from another sun, a star beyond the stars. They came from a world with a bluer sun."

I suspect something alien is needed to assist with the suspension…the thing's biological imperative to absorb, replicate, and replace could be used as key to unlock the complex puzzle of genetic defenses.

The thing could offer another assault that is much less dramatic but just as effective…microbial.

Another thought would be that the biology of the thing is manipulated by man to develop medicines and chemical/biological processes…greed and egotistical drive pushing the potential beyond their control…the sure to cancer, later found to harbor .0001% live alien DNA which does what it does.

Birth defects are found to be something different, but far too late…a subspecies of humanity with an element of instability between generations?

Homo chimera?

Later…after many generations this aspect of chimera would be a recessive and yet reactive aspect of the genetic structure…parents deal with excessive and the potential to correct this is born with the next generation (radiation absorption organ or radiation resistant skin)…not enough protein available then the next generation can better make use of other materials (modified digestive system)…excessive soar radiation (refractive skin or photosynthetic skin)…etc.

Now of course the danger is inherent that the more alien DNA that is present then the further that the individual steps off the path of humanity…a slippery slope. True monsters, excessive alien DNA, that have lost the stability in all or most aspects.

Perhaps the latent alien DNA seeks out the same…the most attractive potential mate or even friends/coworkers would be those with a higher alien DNA count…leading to an Innsmouth situation quickly…with whole collections of people becoming more like themselves and less like the rest of us?

The alien card could potentially unlock the fantastical element…there in is the rub..how to make the one aspect work.

28mmMan Inactive Member17 Dec 2011 9:01 a.m. PST

Another thought is that the original alien from "Who goes there?" had several aspects not touched upon in the movies…genetic memory, absorbed knowledge, empathic/telepathic qualities, and genetic identity (where each cell is alive…this is seen with the hot wire and pieces having life of their own).

So some of the generational aspects could be:

empathy
telepathy
memory/knowledge leech (touch based)
cloning (cut him in half and over time becomes two identical individuals)
regeneration
near indestructible (organs, brain, etc. spread through out entire body so death would require 75% body destruction…no critical hits)
genius factor (unexplainable inspiration…genetic memory…the plans for an anti-grav engine comes in a dream)
etc.

billthecat Inactive Member27 Dec 2011 2:54 p.m. PST

If it is functional, it must have a reason… :)

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