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The Mutant Epoch
 
$12.99
Average Rating:4.6 / 5
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The Mutant Epoch
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The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by George T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/08/2016 09:15:55

I admire the scope and unity of vision that went into creating this game. William McAusland did it ALL himself: writing and art. It's comprehensive in the best tradition of core RPG books -- this volume contains everything you need to play the game.

I've been reading sourcebooks and playing RPGs since the late 80s. Here's my detailed feedback:

== THE GOOD ==

  • Comprehensive overview of character creation options, equipment, hazards, creatures and encounters, treasure, etc.
  • VAST character creation options: human, mutant, "ghost" mutant (think X-Men -- they look like regular people but...), cyborgs, human clones, Bladerunner-esque bioreplicants, transhumans (homo sapiens DNA but upgraded -- people 2.0), beast men in about 40 different flavors...
  • Classless system: you start with a caste, which dictates the character's background, skills, and wealth. From there on out, skill and attribute progression is based on experience.
  • Detailed combat rules
  • Creatures: OMG the creatures! Instead of a static stats block like D&D 1.0, nearly every creature encountered has a chance of offensive or defensive mutations that drastically affect combat and their deadliness. Humanoids like the lowly skullock (the goblins of the Mutant Epoch world) can't be taken for granted -- is this just a bog-standard critter, or one with psi mutations who's somehow acquired a relic assault rifle and a bag of frag grenades? Once your players learn how little they can take for granted, it creates MUCH more tense combat situations...
  • Support: Outland Arts offers a free starter adventure and a load of additional opponents for free. Paid supplements include a few comprehensive adventures, a couple of gazeteers (to date), a handful of smaller adventures, and a magazine. There's lots of support.

== THE BAD ==

  • Organization: there's no streamlined character creation process that puts all tables and bonuses in the same place. You'll find yourself flipping back and forth A LOT during character creation.
  • Lack of context: there's a TON of material about the world the characters find themselves in, but not much information about stitching it together. This leaves the GM loads of latitude -- but also requires purchasing a supplement if you want your campaign to fit cohesively into the larger world McAusland has established.
  • Technology: the level of technological development in the fallen world isn't clear. There are self-aware androids and laser pistols, for example, but no rules for lower-tech items like tritium night sights or reflex sights etc. Again, GM's choice to create these items, but savvy players will definitely be interested in them.
  • Power differential from start-up: depending on the luck of your starting character rolls, you may start with an escaped slave infested with fleas and still wearing his shackles, virtually worthless except for bait. Or you may start with an infiltration bioreplicant assassin, capable of 3 knife attacks per round. There's more swing in character creation than in all of Count Basie's work, so if your players don't like randomness, you'll need to house-rule some levelling mechanisms to keep your starting characters approximately equal.

== THE BOTTOM LINE ==

This game is CRAZY fun. I totally dig it and everyone I've introduced it to responds well. I can't recommend this game highly enough for PA fans or people who wonder what the world of Shadowrun would be like if civilization collapsed.

Three (mutant, mildly radioactive) thumbs, one tentacle, and one prehensile tail up!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Russell T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/20/2015 17:00:38

The Mutant Epoch (TME) is a fantastic game and an incredible labor of love...and to think I almost passed on it! I'm old. I have been gaming since the '70s, and I love it. But I have a family, job, etc. it's hard for me and my friends to find time to game or even prep. At 246 pages, TME seemed like more rules than our group wanted. But I kept hearing great things about the game, and as some of my group really enjoys the post-apocalyptic theme, I decided to give it a try. I am so very glad I did.

I was surprised to find that the actual rules comprised only about 26 pages of the game. You can learn the rules in less than an hour! And the rules are good...simple, straight forward, but rich in detail. Almost every conceivable situation seems to be covered by a rule that is both logical and intuitive. Combat is detailed, and hazards are frightening. The game is a joy to play...and to read.

Most of the page content is devoted to detail that brings the setting to vivid life. The book is lavishly illustrated with Mr. McAusland's beautiful black and white art. There is an illustration on almost every page, and 3-5 on most. Character creation is richly detailed, provides a framework backstory, but still only takes about a half hour or less to roll up a new one. I think the 30 page selection on creatures has a piece of art for all 104 original creatures...and they're pretty horrifying!

That's one of the best things about TME. The creatures and encounters are all so new and original that the games are absolutely filled with suspense. No boring goblins or ho-hum orcs here. With brand new creatures and scores of horrible mutations, my PCs have no idea what to expect! There hasn't been this much "fear and loathing" around my game table since the 1st edition of Call of Cthulhu. Our games are young again, and the world bright and terrible.

Finally, the folks at Outland Arts obviously put a lot of love into this creation of theirs, and it shows in the excellent products the make. But they also value their customer and fan base, and cheerfully answer questions and provide support for their game. If you are interested in a post-apocalyptic game, I can not urge you to purchase this product strongly enough. It's just so much fun!

Reviewer's Note: one criticism of this game that I have seen a couple of times deals with sexism and the prevalence of non-voluntary sex labor in the game setting. I would like to point out that we have a sorrowful amount of that in the real world today. I can't imagine why anyone would assume that the situation would improve in a desperate post-apocalyptic future. It's a grown-up game that tries to envision both the good and bad aspects of this grim future. That being said, it's a subject that has never been the focus of our group's games. You have the complete liberty to ignore it in your games as well. Please, let's censor ourselves, and let our artists create in freedom.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Paxton K. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 09/04/2015 03:40:53

This is possibly the best game I have ever purchased out of hundreds of games. I have read the other reviews and will try and fill in some of the blanks for those who are trying to decide if this is the P. A. game they want.

It is set 300 years or so into the future. No one is really sure what the cause of The End was; but it follows a lot of the tropes established. It is not breaking new ground. It is, however, covering this ground thoroughly without getting stuck in every detail.

Mutants, clones, engineered animals, cyborgs and modified humans make up the cast and a little more make up the cast. No mutant plants though. Choice is left to the campaign on how prominent any particular part is. Mutants are divided into five types ranging from the "Ghost Mutant" which appears human to the Freakish Horror Mutant. While the "default setting" includes a good mix of all of them, the system can easily be tweaked for more or less of a particular kind. Although there would be nothing wrong with either, it is not a mutant fest or a human with some mutants setting.

The rules can seem a little overwhelming at first; but essentially break down to a fairly easy with some optional complexity. TME uses a scaling system so no character is "overwhelmed" by another. The equipment is thorough with out getting stuck on listing every possible type of gun possible. The ones given cover the topic and work as examples for creating your own. Almost every piece of equipment has its own illustration so one can get a real feel for the gear.

One complaint has been game balance. I can see where players who are use to all 5th level characters being roughly equal in power could feel that a Pure Stock Human has no chance verses a regenerating Mutant with laser beams that shoot out of his eyes or an armor plated Cyborg with mini guns for arms. This can be especially true at the end of character generation. Pure Stock Humans receive some nice balancing bonuses, especially with gear; but, no, they are not balanced. A balance is sort of achieved by the way people react to the three of them; but is not really a prejudice based reaction. Also, Mutants and Cyborgs have their weaknesses. This would not stop them from killing off the rest of the party if everyone attacked each other right after generation.

TME provides a good excuse for the players to party together. Excavating the ruins is similar to fantasy's dungeons without being so much "and now on to room 33". Scavenging the ruins often involves days of trudging around in dangerous areas and having to camp in them. The rewards can be just as great as any dungeon. The challenge is not beating "bosses"; but surviving in a hostile environment. It is not just a wilderness adventure with random encounters. Deadly birds may fill the skies during the nights, acid filled ants may crawl most everywhere and flower spores may cause those without filter masks to fall into deep slumbers. The "overpowered" Mutant and Cyborg have no real advantage verses these threats. Any type of campaign could be played beside scavenging the ruins from Mad Max, wandering nomads, empire building, etc. Again, the Cyborg and Mutant may not have any real advantage.

"Relics" are not uncommon in the default setting and they are not usually so complicated that their use comes down to luck on a flow chart. the problem is usually having the ammo or power cells to make them work for more than a short time. The rules point out "no one will sell a Relic weapon that still has ammo in it". Most local tech is near medieval level and augmented by some ancient tech.

The rules do not overly concern themselves with it; but they do make a lot of points about the fact that the various trade towns and villages are vital. Not only are they a safe source of food, water and other supplies; but how much can scavenged stuff support adventurers, especially when they start accumulating more than they can carry. Also, much of this scavenged loot may not have any real value to players. A crate of MP3 players might fetch some nice silver in town; but does not help one survive in the wastelands.

The game also emphasizes the danger of these trade towns. It refers to adventurers carrying empty Relic weapons to make muggers think twice. Cyborgs are a walking source of loot. The wastelands are dangerous; but town can be just as dangerous. Also, local rulers may not want certain items in any ones hands but their own. They may trade nicely for the items or simply try and confiscate them. Many towns will also keep a close eye on heavily armed groups, especially ones with loot that may have been acquired in a less than honorable fashion. Mutants can present an even bigger threat. A village filled with Mutants knows their possible powers, potentially making them far more dangerous that a missile and mini gun totting Cyborg.

The Crossroads Region Gazetteer is a supplement that covers a good area for a campaign. It has its factions and secret organizations; but no super organizations that Gamma World did. They are very organic and fit in with the concept of survival instead of world domination. A community that would burn Mutants pretty much on sight may still have better uses for them.

TME does take place in the future and has high tech items; but it keeps them to an advanced level not a super science one. Again, this can be tweaked in either direction. It works well though because the players don't need to feel like they are in an arms race. Sure laser rifles are really deadly. Crossbows can kill too. Power Armor may be king on the battlefield; but it will need charge and the user will need to come out sometime.

One reviewer mention PA social diseases as possibly an unnecessary step; but it highlights the fact no place is truly safe and nothing should be taken for granted.

TME has charts for just about everything and character generation can seem like a trip down random lane. Really, however, attributes and random mutant powers have been the standard in these type of games. The game does have random generation for race, what it calls "castes", which is the characters background, and skills. Overall, the caste and skills do not matter that much. TME is classless and the skills are primarily augmentation to basic abilities. The game assumes the player can survive and do most of what they need to do. It uses a level system; but advancement just allows increases to basic abilities, usually the attributes. Their is no level cap. the basic chart covers from 1 to 20. 2nd level gives the most reward and they decrease from there. This means that by 20th level, there is not too much difference between levels. Again, a strong point of the system, it scales nicely.

The art work in the basic book and supplements is good; but not masterpieces. It is intended to serve as visual references and more than does so. the one exception to this is the maps, especially of the cities. They are some of the best I have ever seen, usually including a 3D view. They really give the feel of the world.

So wrapping this up. 1) The rules are thorough without needless complexity. First time gamers would have no problem picking this up, especially if someone has spent time really learning them and can explain them. I could almost call it rules light, except that has come to mean "descriptors" and maybe a d6 roll for giggles. 2) The book packs plenty inside of it at 250ish pages. It gives the feel of the world without major treatises on it. If I have one complaint, it would be that they used a little more spacing and let the page count run a little higher. 3) Character Generation has rolls for every step of the process and then a few more. Except for Race, though, very little of it really affects the character. Yes, if one rolls through it, they may have been raised as a slave instead of an Elite Soldier or Assassin; but this is background. Even with a caste and skill rolls one doesn't want they can straighten it out as they level. 4) No two characters are going to be "balanced". Even if they are and one finds a charged Laser Rifle that balance will be lost. However, the game is about survival. A Mutant with Laser Eyes should be a blessing if you have a bow and a knife. They have to sleep sometime, so it is in their best interest to let someone weaker have the rocker launcher. 5) Production and support are top notch. Outland Arts seems very dedicated to quality and support. 6) Just about any type of campaign is possible. Mad Max, Conan, dungeon crawls, empire building, hard sci fi, or character driven stories can all be fit into it somewhere or as a different campaign world.

The number one thing I would like to say for people who worry about Min/Maxing, creating the exact character they want or those simply getting carpal tunnel syndrome during character generation is... DON'T ROLL!!! Just because the charts are there doesn't mean they have to be used. the book suggests first time players roll. SUGGESTS. I think this is merely because they are proud that they have managed to put enough charts in that Palladium Press would be impressed. The only two really important rolls are Race and Mutation/Cybernetics. Mutations/Cybernetics change. If you don't believe this. Pick a Race. Roll everything. Then keep rolling them to 10th level. The character may still not be exactly what you want; but you will be surprised how much it can "head in your direction". AGAIN. IF COMPLETELY RANDOM DOESN"T WORK FOR YOU. DON"T DO IT. Their are tons of charts for treasure and ancient Relics. The Ref is not always going to roll and, if they do, they will surely occasionally alter the results. How many missiles will they let you have with no launcher and is Power Armor appropriate for defeating a one mutation bunny? Best purchase ever and the price is beyond reasonable. Outland Arts is offering several bundles of the physical books at great deals on their website, some include signed copies and other goodies.

(Sorry, Drivethu! I have bought almost all of Outlands stuff from you and plan on the rest. And I feel like I should have frequent flyer miles from the rest of my purchases. Its just that is an amazing dead they are offering....)

I hope this was helpful and I hope to see all of you in The Mutant Epoch!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Carles A. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 05/03/2015 07:53:19

I dont know why, but I love this game and many of my players do too; it manages to bring back all the innocence and epicness of the days I began to roleplay...20 years ago! The system is simple and oriented towards classic dungeon bashing kinds of game. You can see this is a work of love done by its author, who brings a unique and charming style to the illustrations and really manages to take you to his world of imagination.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Christopher T. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 12/11/2014 13:42:33

As a game collector with fascination for the post-apocalyptic genre, I've got a ton of rpgs in my library, from classics like Gamma World and Aftermath to the more obscure titles such as Waste World. I've read and enjoyed them all, but I don't think I've ever encountered or played one as enjoyable as The Mutant Epoch. For me, this truly is the best post-apocalyptic game on the market. The old school approach to the game mechanics appeal to my sensibilities, and the rules are flexible enough to survive any tweaks I need to make for own campaign requirements. And as for the content of this single book, I can only say I'm truly impressed. There's plenty of skills, a vast arsenal of weapons and armor ranging from the primitive and improvised to the highest of tech, and a broad enough array of monsters, robots and hazards to keep any group of players on their toes. With the tools this book provides, you'll easily have enough material to create and run any number of campaigns. Give this game a look. You won't be disappointed.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Dylan M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/09/2013 21:14:37

The scans were great the download quick and easy and the game is fun an enjoyable. Gives you enough rules to play in their world or one of your own and is very adaptable to any number of post apocalyptic worlds.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Thomas B. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 08/12/2012 18:56:50

WHAT WORKS: Random tables for EVERYTHING just shy of an adventure generator (which seems like an odd oversight, given the amount of random rolling). Mutations for all the monsters, flexibility in the setting, tons of support.

WHAT DOESN’T WORK: If you hate random rolls and feel like you need a lot of game balance, I’m not sure this game is for you. The setting, as presented in the Hub rules, is nothing you haven’t seen before.

CONCLUSION: My advice? Roll up a bunch of characters and have fun. Don’t worry about game balance, don’t worry about stuff making sense…for pure gonzo PostApoc fun, Mutant Epoch is one of the better options I’ve read. It doesn’t have the heavy metaplot/back story of Reclamation or Hell on Earth, but it has a lot of cool, old school stylings without being tied to a D&D base. If you know what you wanna do with a PostApoc game, but not HOW you want to do it, get this and go nuts.

For my full review, please visit http://mostunreadblogever.blogspot.com/2012/08/tommys-take-on-mutant-epoch.html



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Customer Name Withheld [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 07/23/2012 07:50:32

One of my first rpg's was Gamma World by TSR back in the early 80's. I thought to myself "Why hasn't anyone tried to recreate this old school experience?" A good friend of mine told me about Mutant Epoch and I decided to check it out. I can safely say without a doubt this product does not disappoint as it will allow you to play as pretty much anything in a wasted land. I have been reading the book for around 40 minutes (and just downloaded it around a hour ago) and cannot put it down. If you want to play a game that's reminiscent of the old school style of gaming you'd be a hard pressed to find a product better than Mutant Epoch.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by william w. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 02/05/2012 13:36:06

A truly top notch product. One of the most heavily illustrated RPG Products in my collection. As a long time P.A. Gamer this is what I have been looking for! Play Mutants! Cyborgs, Transhumans, Beastial Humans, Ghost Mutants, Clones...whew and more! If your at all interested in P.A. RPG's you gotta check this product out. Even if you have another system of choice this product is certain to inspire your Campaigns to greater heights!!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by David B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 01/06/2012 01:39:46

This is probably the most complete simple to use post-apocalyptic mutant RPG currently on the market. The mutations, powers, and cyborg implants were fun to read and each one useful in their own way. I actually like the random character generation because it will challenge players with mutations or character backgrounds they probably wouldn't choose otherwise. I imagine most would just try to create the biggest and the baddest without giving anything else much thought. I never knew their could be so many different types of mutants. I think that the most subtle mutants can be just as deadly as the horrible monsters. The rules-system is a fluid D100 percentile system which is one of my personal favorite dice mechanics. It does use a chart for hazard checks and I think it would be a good idea for players to each have a copy of the chart themselves to speed the process up. Overall I like it though. The writing and art are all excellent and this has given me so many ideas. I also really enjoyed reading the creatures section. I can tell that Mr. William McAusland had a lot of making this game and it will be a lot of fun to play as well. If you like sci-fi I highly recommend this game.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Ronald W. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/21/2011 16:09:53

This game has a real "old school" feel to it. The charts, tables and illustrations bring back good memories. The simple percentile based action resolution system keeps the action flowing. This will be my post apoc. game of choice.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Marius B. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/18/2011 13:36:44

Non-voluntary sex labour plays a much, much bigger role in this post-apocalypse than I would have expected.

The system is very nicely old-school in flavour. However, one thing is much too old-school for my liking: Armour makes it harder to hit you rather than reducing damage. There's no excuse for this in any game that isn't D&D or a direct D&D derivative. For creatures, it's not clear how much of their Defense score is from natural armour and how much is from actually being good at not being hit so it can't be easily remedied by the end user. This frankly needs to be fixed in order for the combat system to be usable and, let's face it, this is the kind of game where you expect to use the combat system a lot.



Rating:
[2 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Giulio I. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 10/15/2011 08:49:34

The TME Hub Rules are fast, easy to read and pretty straightforward to learn. The game system's flexibility make this product easily adaptable for any PA campaign/setting.

This book is complete in terms of game material. Here you'll find all it is necessary to create archetypes with equipment, implants, mutations and skills; rules to cover and handle the most of game situations, hazards and the bestiary.

The characteristic I like the most from TME is the overall mood, atmosphere and Old School feelings wich transpire forceful from the book. The TME World is an harsh, violent and hard-hedged one, and the descriptives parts will pull you deeper and deeper into this mercyless setting.

For a good price you get a thick book filled with game material and (tons of, evocative) old-school arts wich enriches the product further. In addition, purchashing this product let the buyer access to a TME web site section with exclusive free contents, which makes an invaluable further support for the game.

TME- Hub Rulebook is a fresh wind gust in the PA tradition, joining innovation in game design terms and preserving play immediacy on the game table.

Worth every penny and looking forward for future TME products, one of the 2011's products to look for!

Two thumbs up!



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Chris M. [Verified Purchaser]
Date Added: 06/01/2011 13:41:58

An excellent RPG that perfectly captures the feel and energy of old school gaming (but with a brand new rule system) Fun, Furious and Fantastical, this game was a joy to read.

The best thing for me about the game is the fluff/setting and the Artwork. I loved Will McAuslands work in the Dungeon Crawl Classics line of moduals from Goodman Games. And as this book is also written by Will we get a ton of his art work. The book is litterally overflowing with his evocative post apoc fantasy illustrations

I can't say enough good things about the presentation of this product. If you are at all a fan of Post-Apocalypse gamming or even Post-Apoc fiction, then treat yourself to this book. All in alll an absolutly fantastic product. I bought the PDF from DriveThru and the Dead Tree version from Lulu (which is rare that I buy both versions of any RPG)



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
The Mutant Epoch
Publisher: Outland Arts
by Erathoniel W. [Featured Reviewer]
Date Added: 04/20/2011 21:47:23

The Mutant Epoch at first was daunting and over-detailed, but as I read through the entire thing, I found it to be actually much less confusing than I first believed.

First, let's go over what the Mutant Epoch isn't. It's not a kid's game, with light adult content scattered throughout and heavy adult themes. It's not something you can just take bits and pieces of and understand (unless you're better than me, which is entirely possible, but also not guaranteed).

Now, let's go over what it is. It's a post-apocalyptic sci-fi romp through wilderness and ruins, with lots of action and suspense.

It's got a good "Society of Excavators" thingie, where you can send in a code from the book and get access to a club. It's really actually quite cool, with loads of stuff in it. Certainly in terms of raw content, TME's pretty over-burdened, so to speak.

Now, the last term of that last sentence seemed pretty negative, but actually TME manages to avoid bloating. Admittedly, I could have lived a long and happy life without knowing anything about post-apocalyptic STD's, but other than that and the fact that there's a lot of random obscure percentiles for stuff to happen (86% chance the battery is run down) there's not that much bloating.

The character creation is iffyish. It's roll based if you use the "newbie" method, though alternate systems are available, with the downside being that you can get characters you don't really wanna play pretty easily. I mean, sure you could just re-roll, and if you were big on the roleplaying it'd be a fun experience, but min-maxers will hate it with a vengeance, and mainstream gamers may just find it to keep them from playing the character they wanted to make.

The percentile systems used are pretty nice, and there's a lot of rolling but it's all pretty straightforward (if you read the whole thing, skipping passages or chapters can easily result in confusion), even if some more examples would be helpful.

All-in-all, if you need a post-apocalyptic game, The Mutant Epoch has a lot of content for much less than the competitors cost.



Rating:
[5 of 5 Stars!]
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