Monday, 15 September 2014

Mutant: Year Zero - English Release and Session Report Two

Monday, September 15, 2014

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Mutant: Year Zero - Roleplaying at the End of Days.

Alright, now we're talking! As some of you might have heard Modiphius is publishing an English version of the excellent Swedish post-apocalyptic RPG Mutant: Year Zero later this year! After reading the game for the first time earlier this year it immediately felt like it would work perfectly well anywhere in the world as the setting is pretty much created as you explore. The whole idea is to start with a map of the city or area you live in yourself, put a grid over it and then simply start exploring its post-apocalyptic version! So I was hoping that it would someday be translated, and now here we are. The Free League has made a deal with Modiphius who will take care of the international distribution of the game.

For more discussions about Mutant: Year Zero there's a thread going over at, one over att RPGeek, one on Reddit. Then there's of course Modiphius Facebook page and The Free League English language forum (which hasn't really taken off yet though).

The English version will not come in a box but as a hardback book with Zone maps of New York and London for $54.99/£34.99 or as a starter bundle (at left) with the book, maps, cards and custom dice for $79.99/£49.99. I'm sure the cards will be available as charts in the books and you could easily use regular D6 instead of the custom ones, but I still think the starter bundle is a no-brainer! :D

Now, after a long intermission let's check back in with our mutated friends living in the wasteland of former Stockholm...

Spoiler warning for some parts of the M:0 setting.

They had just completed a, more or less, successful zone expedition to bring some more of the old technology to the Ark to learn from. On their way they discovered some mysterious hooded individuals who left a healthy looking baby out in the wastes.

The old tech they had brought with them raised the Ark's tech level a few steps and during the community meeting they also decided to start working on growing some simple crops. After some discussion the Ark community leaders came to the conclusion that the people who had left the baby needed to be investigated. Who are they? How could they bear children when the mutants couldn't? Why leave them out to die? There were many questions...

Since the strangers had moved away to the northeast it was decided that another expedition would be mounted to discover their whereabouts and try and see how they lived and maybe make contact with them. This time Yorgos, Lorentz and Pommax chose to go out alone, hoping to move quickly with only the three of them setting out. They took the same route as last time going east, although going around a sector where they had discovered that the Rot was extra potent.

When they arrived in sector H16, which they had only seen from a distance last time, they explored for a bit as it was apparently Rot free. They found a large metal tube with many seats in it that lay broken in a clearing. Inside were many skeletons and once they realized that it had been an old vehicle of some kind they put a lot of effort into getting inside the control room. It took some doing, but they made their way in and found what Yorgos explained was some kind of miracle pills that you could eat instead of sleeping! As they started to move out they saw someone moving among the trees and immediately hid in the old vehicle wreck. It turned out to be another mutant, similar to themselves, called Skald. Except Skald moved around the Zone and traded water to other people. This was the first time they had met and spoke to another mutant and they spent the rest of the day talking to him about what he'd seen and experienced out there.

When Lorentz asked the water trader if he knew the strange robed people he said he did and had in fact just traded with them. Skald always met them at the shoreline just east of the wreck they were in but knew that they lived somewhere across the water. The mutants decided to tell Skald of their own Ark and invited him to add it to his trade route.

The next day they bid him farewell and continued east, toward the water. They passed another wreck later during the day that looked liked it had cannons sticking out of it. It sure looked interesting, but Pommax had spotted a number of Zone Spooks moving about in a nearby building and not wanting to tangle with them again they took the long way around. As they came to the shoreline there were obvious signs of activity, although there was no one around at the moment. After some discussion on how to proceed it as decided they were to construct a simple junk raft and use it to cross the greenish water. If the construction didn't take too long they would also try to explore the small island in sector F17/F18.

After scavenging for some good material Yorgos could quickly put a seaworthy raft together and as they set out he pulled out an impressive looking piece of headwear that he had taken from one of the skeletons in cockpit of the wrecked vehicle. He certainly looked like a man you should obey! At least while at sea...

They went to the small island first and discovered that although there were a couple of intriguing looking buildings further in there were many small floating bubbles randomly moving about around them. They looked kind of like some odd jellyfish with long slimy tendrils hanging beneath them. They didn't seem aggressive but when Lorentz decided to poke on of them with his great junk axe the tendrils quickly wrapped around it and smoke appeared where they touched and an loud hissing sound came from the metal as it dissolved! Lorentz quickly let it go as more of the hovering bubbles moved toward the axe and the party made a hasty retreat back to the raft, fearing the loss of more valuable equipment.

Arriving at the other side they again saw that the area was used by other people and they even found two small and old, but functional, boats pulled up on the beach. Further inland was a number of smaller wooden buildings and one large white building with a high tower - perfect for some scouting, thought Pommax! As the group moved toward the white building Lorentz spotted a person standing nearby it, with his back turned to them. They hid behind an overturned car and watched the stranger intently. He didn't seem to be doing anything though as he simply stood there. His position was slightly odd though as it looked a little bit like he was leaning, but they couldn't see anything to lean against. Pommax suggested they try to sneak up on him. After all three against one should be enough in case of a fight, right?

So the three mutants started to move cautiously forward and as they did something began feeling... wrong, and the further they moved the worse it got! Yorgos was the first to actually realize what it was and pointed to the shadow from the tower up ahead that had suddenly started moving fast enough for them to see; the sun overhead moved faster than they had ever seen before and suddenly they noticed that the man ahead was actually moving, just very slowly. He wasn't leaning, he was simply taking a step forwad in what looked like super slow motion! Yorgos wanted to get out of there but Lorentz and Pommax thought that they were already half way there and might as well go all the way.

They pressed on but the further they went the quicker the sun moved up ahead. After 20 meters the sun had set and risen for a new day, all in the space of seconds. Another few meters in and the world around them was blinking as the day turned to night at an ever increasing speed. The man ahead seemed to be moving faster and was turning around to face them. Although they could't understand his slowed down speech his arm gestures seem to indicate that they should go back and the look of desperation and horror on the strangers face made Pommax and Lorentz realize that pressing on further might doom them all. As they turned around and started moving back again the blinking slowed down as the sun started to return to its normal behaviour again. But they could now see people moving about further away at incredible speed! It was impossible to see what they were actually doing but it looked like the mysterious robed figures and the moved around the mutants, sometimes pointing at them.

The robed people didn't seem interested enough to wait around however and when the mutants had finally moved back far enough for time to reassert itself they were nowhere to be seen. They retreated to a nearby building to try and make sense of what had just happened. Although they had just experienced a few minutes it seemed like weeks or months had passed by! When they left it was early spring with drifts of snow still left here and there, yet now it was warm and the trees were green. Yorgos was the only one dared to guess what this was, and it seemed to him that the old people had probably tried to build time machines to stop the war or the plague or whatever it was that had caused all this. Except the machine had obviously broken down and was out of control. Best to give this place a wide berth...

After some deliberation they continued north-east through a forest of stunted yet very green trees. It was Pommax who first spotted movement in a clearing ahead and motioned for the others to get down. As they crawled forward they could see a small shanty with a pen next to it containing some kind of creatures. A large mutant walked among them and seemed to be feeding the noisy beasts. The group watched for half an hour as the mutant moved around the place and noticed that he had a collar around his neck that was attached to a long chain that disappeared into the small hut. As the warm summer sun started to set a group of five robed people approached the hut from a small footpatch coming from the opposite side of the clearing. They briefly exchanged words with the mutant, who bowed his head and seemed cowed by their presence, and then entered the hut and didn't come out again.

The hut was very small and when noone had emerged after a couple of hours it seemed obvious to Yorgos that there was some kind of hidden underground room beneath it. Lorentz wanted to simply walk up to the mutant and talk to him, but Pommax and Yorgos prefered a more stealthy approach. In the end they waited until the large man went to sleep among the beasts he was set to look after. "Fitting for a slave" Pommax commented as they approached the hut. The inside was filled with all kinds of junk and debris. Most of it consisted of gardening tools in various state of disrepair but Lorentz found a metal canister full of something Yorgos called petrol that could be used for fuel. Yorgos also soon spotted a large box that looked like it had been moved back and forth recently. Beneath it they found a small metal hatch that led straight down a concrete shaft. A metal ladder provided access and before the mutant in the pen outside could wakeup they had all entered the shaft and closed the hatch above them.

The immediate darkness around the three mutants was suffocating and they soon lit Pommax's lamp and continued down a concrete corridor that seemed to be angled further downwards. Having walked for a few minutes they could see that there was a little bit of light coming from around a curve in the tunnel ahead. Pommax quickly put out his lamp and stealthily snuck ahead to scout it out. The tunnel ended in a door further down that had some kind of old world lamp above it that washed the walls in a sharp blueish light. Next to the door stood a robed figure, leaning on an improvised spear. He didn't notice Pommax who retreated to update the others. What followed was a long, but hushed, conversation on how to proceed. Should they simply bum rush him? Or try to talk to the man? Or snipe him from afar? Could the simply kill the man in cold blood?!

Lorentz and Yorgos were still discussing the pros and cons of a surprise rush when Pommax simply muttered something under his breath, readied his bow and stepped around the corner. The man barely had time to react before an arrow buried itself in his eye and he toppled over, blood pooling beneath him. "There. Now let's go" Pommax said to a furious Yorgos and a stunned Lorentz. The dead man was perhaps thinner than most of the people in the Ark but he had no apparent mutations which seemed odd to the three mutants. Everyone in the Ark except the Elder had some kind of mutation, even though some of them were more easy to spot than others. He didn't have any possessions beside a flat round piece of old tech that Yorgos identified as an advanced key of some sort. After investigating the box next to the door and using the flat round piece the door cam open in a woosh and hot air blew in their faces.

In stunned silence they walked into a huge round chamber many meters high. They were walking on some kind of metal platform that ran along the wall of the chamber and in the middle was a large cylinder with a pointy top that reached almost all the way to the ceiling. Steam rose along the cylinder and here and there large tubes coming from the wall were connected to it. "Yorgos, what the hell is this thing" Lorentz asked but the Gearhead simply walked over to the railing and looked down. Below them the cylinder continued and there was at least one more platform like the one they were standing on below them before the chambers proper floor. Yorgos turned around, "this my friends, is what created the Zone. This is a terrible weapon of the old age that could wipe out entire cities. And it seems to be working".

Deciding that this needed further exploration and not seeing another living being they continued down a stairwell to the second platform and then down a ladder to another, smaller platform. Just as they were investigating the giant missile further the woosh of door was heard and three robed persons came through it, a tall imposing looking woman and two men. As the two groups spotted each other everyone froze for a couple of seconds. Then everything happened at once. As Pommax reached for his pistol the tall woman simply snapped her fingers and he suddenly burst into flames! Yorgos fired a quick shot at the woman but missed and then had a extremely strong feeling of passiveness come over him and he simply dropped the gun and lay down on the floor. With a shout of defiance Lorentz pulled up the petrol and threw it towards the trio but the container was heavy and the opponents far away and it simply landed with a loud clang at the bottom of the shaft. The big enforcer looked at his companions - Pommax was still smoking and lay motionless on the floor while Yorgos was slowly rocking back and forth, staring emptily ahead of himself.  The woman smiled as she started walking towards Lorentz...

And that's where we'll leave our intrepid trio until next time! Again, I really should try and shorten these things so I can get more of them out in a timely manner. Hehe! And don't forget to have a look over at Modiphius M:0 site!

Oh, and also, we're having a baby within the next day or two so if I don't respond prompty to emails or in the comments section that's why. :)

6 kommentarer :

  1. Again thanks. Personally I LOVE reading the more detailed recaps and don't mind waiting. Well, that's not 100% true, you left them us with a cliff hanger, and I HATE cliff hangers.
    Congrats on the baby. You will tell us the details, yes??? Or in my case, since I'm American, and therefore can't do metrics, just: girl/boy/hermaphrodite, healthy, proper amount of extremities, should live to a ripe old age and cause you and your partner endless amounts of joy and consternation.
    Is the moving boat picture from your game or just a picture that you put up? If it is what they made, I miss the 'we have a motorboat' part of your story. If it is not the boat they made, I find it distracting to the story. The same is probably true of the last picture showing the group sitting at the table. It appears to be the committee of Ark decision makers and if true it should be at the beginning of the story where it makes sense.
    There is a giant blank spot in this post at the top, (below the share it please and Tweet line) is that supposed to be there? The city picture- REALLY cool. Ummm, I miss the picture of the map like in the last chapter. If you show a map like that again, will you please mark where the Ark is? I know in the last chapter you said where it was, but it made no sense to me. I am a VARY visual person and need a special mark that shows the Ark. Also that shows other things. You don't need to get carried away, the marks that used in the last chapter are just fine, except not showing the Ark. Unless you DID show the Ark, then I missed that.
    Again thanks so much for doing this, hopefully others are enjoying this story as much as I.

    1. Cliff hangers... yeah. :)
      The boat picture was just one I snagged for the general vibe. The raft they constructed was much more rudimentary, but the guys in the bunker might have something like it. The last picture I simply like the look of us it remind me of a bunch of friends playing a roleplaying game, except these are all mutants. Hehe!

      As for the empty space up top, that's weird. There's a large picture of the cover of the Modiphius edition. Strange that it doesn't show up for you.

      Yeah, I forgot to make an updated map. I'll try and keep that in mind for the next session report. :)

  2. My first thought upon seeing the group sitting around the table was a Saterday night gaming session too. I still think the pictures should go, (kinda sorta) with the story.
    No there is nothing even now.
    Cliff hangers... your cruel (spelled right???) Spelling/grammar Nazi, sorry.
    What are there powers by the way? You keep mentioning hex numbers, I am guessing that the maps that come with the game are hex maps?
    Anndddd the baby?????????
    Thanks again for the game summery, I am loving it.
    By the way, perchance did you get a email about emailing the Free Leauge??

  3. Rereading my last post, I realize that I made a couple word errors, which would have been overlooked by everyone else I'm sure, but I HAD, WAS COMPELLED, to mention that I am a grammar Nazi... it was late and my brain was not functioning at optimal capacity.

  4. Fantastic read - please post more! This Game looks awesome and is on my MUST list for July

    1. Glad you enjoy it! I highly recommend giving it a go as we've had a blast with it. I'll try and make some time to type out more session reports. :)


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