In June 2019 we presented The Mutant Epoch Bundle featuring the Outland Arts post-apocalyptic RPG of excavation teams in an age of rediscovery, William McAusland’s The Mutant Epoch.
On the “How Gonzo is the Apocalypse?” spectrum from Twilight: 2000 to World of Synnibarr, The Mutant Epoch is wilder than octaNe but stops an inch short of Gamma World. (For a comprehensive 20-part overview of post-apocalypse RPGs, check Age of Ravens.) In the 24th Century, after prolonged wars, disaster, and chaos, “pure stock” humans struggle amid devastated landscapes against robotic mecha, bioreplica clones, bio-genetically engineered warriors and beasts, and rising nations of mutants. In free towns (Old West-style forts) engineered humans mingle with mutants, free-willed android mercenaries, and self-aware robots to trade food, power cells, scrap material, and relic treasures. “Excavator” characters form dig teams to uncover precious loot in the ruins of the Ancients. Through force of arms these independent factions survive against barbaric skullocks, warmorts, moaners, reptili, and bipedal rats, not to mention the imperial aspirations of androids and Aberrationist mutants.
Mutant Epoch uses a straightforward percentile system, traditional character generation, and familiar attributes (Strength, Agility, Perception, etc.). It’s not Old School as such, but you’ll feel 14 years old again, filled with lizard-brain joy, as you determine your Bioreplica, Cyborg, or Bestial Human’s weight and height, handedness, Prime and Minor mutations, implants, languages, and heavy weaponry. Combat is fittingly bloody a la Mad Max or Troma. Subtract the target’s Defense Value from the attacker’s Strike Value to get a percentile to-hit number, then apply modifiers — lots of modifiers, so bring all your polyhedra. A weapon’s base damage, adjusted by a zillion factors, is applied against the target’s endurance. There are rules and charts for critical successes, fumbles, “Random Deflection Determination,” and other excitement. A subsection enthusiastically lists effects of called shots on various body parts. (“If the damage inflicted is 8 or more points, the subject is 78% likely to suffer genital damage and suffer reproductive disabilities until treatment is carried out.”)
With its ruined wastelands, its gunbunny free towns and infested malls, its crazed patchwork cyborgs with tentacles and shoulder turrets, its Tyrannosapiens and Walking Mouthers (oh brother, those Mouthers), The Mutant Epoch projects a gleeful B-movie, Heavy Metal brio and, more surprising, a weird optimism. Sure, ya got yer Holy Purist Empire race wars and yer androids bent on extermination; of course ya got yer hordes of mutants with Acid Spit, Bladed Limbs, Crab Pincers, Doom Spheres, Earth Thumps, Foul Flesh, Gaseous Discharge (eww!), and so on; life is cheap and power cells are really expensive; but hey — there’s nowhere to go but up! “For many intelligent beings, especially mutant humans, it is the beginning of the greatest age in history,” reads the description on the Outland Arts website. “The former dominance of the pure stocks has faded, and the opportunity to seize power and territory is within reach of the fit, the brave, and the adventurous. ‘No guts, no glory,’ shout the former slave races, as they make their forays into the ruins to claim their inheritance from careless, arrogant forefathers.”
(Learn tons more about The Mutant Epoch‘s rules mechanics, character generation, combat system, and setting at the encyclopedic Outland Arts website.)
This bargain-priced collection gathered most of the Mutant Epoch line — everything you need to claim your 24th Century inheritance. There were three titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $40) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the complete The Mutant Epoch Hub Rules (plus the free Quick Start Rules), the Crossroads Region Gazetteer (and the Crossroads 16×16″ Map), and Mutant Bestiary One.
Those who paid more than the threshold (average) price also got our entire Bonus Collection with five more sourcebooks and scenarios worth an additional $49, including Pitford: Gateway to the Ruins, the Creatures of the Apocalypse Codex, the adventures The Mall of Doom and Beyond Red Crater, and the Excavator Monthly Compendium.
Ten percent of each payment (after gateway fees) went to this offer’s designated charity, Doctors Without Borders.