Posts tagged ‘mutations’

December 29, 2016

The Metamorphica Revised

meta_rev_picSo I finally took the time to re-do the Metamorphica and make it better, which is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. The giant mutations list is still the main attraction, but there’s a few more mutations now and some have been significantly re-written in order to be better. The campaign types each have their own section now, and each have new tables and new procedures, especially the section on making demons.

I have also added a substantial new section called the Ficto-Technica, which is devoted to creating scientific and magical devices. I had originally intended this to be a second, companion book, but it never got large enough, so now it is part of The Metamorphica Revised.

There’s more stuff than that, too. A longer list can be found in my last post about The Metamorphica. In short: everything you like about the original is better in the revised edition.

The Metamorphica Revised can be found in pdf at DriveThruRPG and costs US$10. Print copies will be available in the future, but I have not received proofs yet.

The Metamorphica Revised is available in softcover from Lulu for US$20. There will be a dustjacket harcover version available in the future, but I have not received a final proof of that yet either. But seriously if you want a book that lies flat at the table for easy reference during a game, being patient will pay off.

The classic edition of the Metamorphica is still free to download and will remain available indefinitely (even though I don’t like it anymore and never want to see it again). Please help yourself.

April 21, 2016

MM3: A Market in the Woods

market_cover_picThe Monthly Monsters project is back with a third monster manual for Dungeon World!

Deep inside the Spritewood, hidden from the sight of civilized eyes, there lies a secret market, where monsters meet to trade their ill-gotten gains. Under this canopy, the angry dead return to life and the living change , unwilling, into beasts. But if you can reach the market safely, a brand new world will open to you. What is it you seek? Alchemical wonders, history’s greatest mercenaries, or magic to challenge even gods themselves?

The only question left to ask is: what did you bring to trade?

A Market in the Woods includes 13 monster entries, describing a hidden marketplace, some of the inhuman beings that gather there to buy, sell, and trade, as well as a few schemes that may or may not be unrelated. Each entry is illustrated in full colour and may include different variations of the monster, random tables, adventures, dangers and their grim portents, custom moves, items, locations, plot hooks, secrets, and more.

Like MM1 and MM2, A Market in the Woods contains previously-released Monthly Monsters material that has been revised and expanded, and adds more illustrations and content.

A Market in the Woods is available in print and pdf from DriveThruRPG. The pdfs are halfletter digest size (5.5×8.5″) and 112 pages. One version has full-colour backgrounds behind the text while the other has black text on white pages. The print book is US trade size (6×9″) and 112 pages.

You can also buy the print book on its own from Lulu.

June 18, 2013

The Metamorphica switches to DriveThruRPG

The Metamorphica is now available from DriveThruRPG. The pdf is still free, but now it is pay what you want, HERE.

The print version will also be available from DriveThruRPG at some point in the future, probably next month. The print version is now available from DriveThruRPG here. And you can still buy a softcover copy from Lulu. The quality is about the same. The pdf is no longer available through Lulu or direct link. Please get it from DriveThruRPG, it is still free. If you find it useful or entertaining, please consider spending a few dollars on it.

Also, I fixed the typos.

May 21, 2012

The Metamorphica: A Book of Random Mutation Tables

UPDATE: A new, revised version is now available.

See the new blog post HERE.

As promised, the book is finally done!

This is a picture of the cover.

The Metamorphica is a very large system-agnostic collection of random mutation tables, for any table-top role-playing game. The digest-sized PAPERBACK VERSION is available from for only US$6.66 plus shipping, but you can download the pdf version for free (either FROM LULU or FROM HERE for less hassle) from DriveThruRPG HERE.

How did this happen? Good question!

I was originally inspired to make this when I started using the old Realm of Chaos mutation tables while I was running old Red Box D&D. We had a lot of fun with mutagenic substances so I decided to make a much larger collection that included mutation ideas from a whole range of other role-playing games. Along the way I added a lot of new ones as well, and when it became too big to be a stapled booklet, I decided to add procedures for creating all sorts of monsters and mutants. And also to make it available as a printed book and not just a pdf.

The Metamorphica is system-agnostic, meaning there aren’t any rules in it per se: no attack bonuses, no hit points, and no task or conflict resolution systems. I intend to use this for more than just D&D, but making the book compatible with such disparate systems as Metamorphosis Alpha, Burning Wheel, Apocalypse World, and Diaspora would make it way too long, and take way too much time. You can just make up rules in play if you need them, that’s what I do. It’s really not that hard.

Art preview!

The Metamorphica was written by Johnstone Metzger and illustrated by Andrew Gillis, Nathan Jones, Johnstone Metzger, and Nathan Orlando Wilson. If you need to get in touch with anyone about this book, Red Box Vancouver (no spaces) has a standard gmail address that will accept your inquiries.

Also? It’s free!

Yes, this is (essentially) a free book. But if you would like to not-so-subtly encourage future products of a similar nature, or just buy me and/or the artists a drink by way of thanks, feel free to donate whatever you feel is appropriate. I will also happily accept pdfs, which you can send to the above-mentioned gmail address (the name of this blog, no spaces).

Or, if you would really like to do me a favour (warning, real-life bummer stuff follows):
I find the violence surrounding coltan mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the economics of the electronics industry that encourage it, particularly concerning. Especially since this book would not have been possible without such electronics. However, I have neither the time nor the expertise to track down and properly vet charitable organizations working to solve this issue. If you know of one, and can make an adequate case as to their accountability and their work in the DRC, please let me know. If you don’t know any charities working in this area specifically, don’t worry about it, just enjoy the book. And if you are unaware of this issue, please look it up, the information is readily available. Thank you.

April 22, 2012

Book Announcement: Random Mutation Tables Collection

So it has been a long time since either cr0m or I updated this blog. But things are still happening!

I have been working on a book of random mutation tables, which is now in the final stages of preparation. The Red Box Vancouver guys always get excited when I pull out the Realms of Chaos books, so I decided to make my own thing that’s got more mutation stuff and none of the stuff I don’t need (because those books are thick and heavy). And since I started doing that, I figured why not just make it a product, too, right? I might as well, so…

It’s called The Metamorphica and it should be ready for public consumption before the end of May. It will be available as a free PDF, or as a print-on demand softcover for I-don’t-know-how-much, but hopefully pretty damn cheap. It’s 160 pages, digest-sized, with the occasional illustration. It’s system-agnostic, so you still have to make up your own rules, but I figure that’s a lot easier for you to do than it is for me.

How does The Metamorphica compare to the mutation tables you already have? It’s basically an amalgamation of every mutation idea in every role-playing book I’ve ever looked at, plus a bunch of my own research. It’s no cut-and-paste job, though, it’s original text and interpretations, even if some of the ideas are old and/or classic.

Here’s the back matter:

From the sorcerous influence of the Gods of Chaos to the ferocious inhabitants of hostile and unexplored planets, from uncontrolled experiments conducted in top secret laboratories to the demonic hordes of Hell, table-top role-playing games the world over teem with monstrous and bizarre creatures. If your game has a need for random mutation tables and procedures for creating all sorts of mutant abominations or unnatural things, whether they are corrupt demons and unique monsters or strange aliens and new superheroes, The Metamorphica is the book for you. As a collection of biological, psychic, and supernatural mutations, all grouped into tables so results can be randomly selected using dice, this book is a system-agnostic resource for campaigns of such diverse genres as dark fantasy, four-colour comic book, post-apocalypse, modern horror, science fiction, transhumanism, and weird high fantasy.

The Metamorphica contains:
Over 650 individual mutations, all with their own descriptions.
Physical and metal mutations, as well as psychic and supernatural powers.
Several different types of mutation-generating tables.
Lengthy random creature tables.
Procedures for using mutations in four different campaign types.
Procedures for creating aliens and demons.
Procedures for creating mutant animals, humans, and plants.

I’ll post again when it’s ready.

November 20, 2011

What I Have Learned from Random Mutation Tables

Here is a lesson I have learned from using random mutation tables in D&D. I normally use the old Realms of Chaos books for mutations, and usually it’s because characters come into contact with a mutagenic substance like warpstone or liquid derived from it.

First, let me define a term: All fiction, including role-playing games are composed of certain elements: characters, setting, props, and situation. Props are things that are important to the story but aren’t characterized, and aren’t just part of the setting. Right? Mostly, I’m ‘a talk about props here.

One of my main joys in being a DM is putting the players into a strange situation, with a whole bunch of moving parts they can interact with, and seeing them invent solutions to their problems that I would never have thought of in a million years. When you introduce a puzzle, the payoff is pretty minimal, because either the players figure out the solution you’ve already devised, or they don’t and there’s failure and disappointment. But when there’s no set solution, you can be surprised and have to improvise. This is one reason why I like random tables as well, and certainly other DMs will agree. I know Tavis Allison has written a post or two about improvising based on random tables.

However, random tables are a means to encourage improvisation on the DM’s side. What I want to discuss here is improv on the players’ side, and one of the key ways to do this is to introduce complicated props.

In a typical D&D game, your average treasure haul will include mostly coins and swords +1. The problem with these is that the only thing coins actually do is buy stuff, and the only thing a weapon or armour +1 does is change the probabilities of your dice rolls. Having a magic weapon or not might make the difference between fighting a certain creature or running away, but it’s a pretty minimal encouragement to creative problem-solving.

Props that Do a Thing

Better is a prop that does a specific thing: A sword that glows when goblins are near, a staff that casts cure light wounds, a sword that bursts into flames. Now you have a prop that does a thing, and the player’s options just increased by one (and a very visible option, too).

Sometimes, doing a thing can put extra work on a DM, though. Take an example from Playing D&D with Pornstars: Snakes are Books. The one disadvantage to this prop is that whenever the players read a snake, they look at the DM and ask “what does it say?” If you don’t have a random table for book subjects, that can be a lot of stuff to think up. There’s a magic spell from Postmodern Magick (the Unknown Armies supplement) that lets you read any book you know of, just by opening any other book. It’s pretty cool, as long as you don’t have to sit there inventing books and texts for hours on end to entertain the players. But if you have some really awesome random book tables (or a really cool library), this is dope.

In essence, though, these are props that create more props. They get your character access to information, which hopefully leads to some sort of action, because the action is where the game is really at. I want to see how the players combine the various props and spells and stuff that they have, and create some sort of plan. Especially when it involves props I introduced, and the players use them in some way that totally surprises me. And a sword +1 is never going to do that. What will? Let’s think of some examples…

Ring of Protection
Your average ring of protection +1 gives you a slightly better armour class. Whoop-de-doo. How about a Ring of the Untouchable? Whoever wears this ring cannot be touched by another living being, or by that beings clothes. This is an effective mosquito repellant, and it protects against viruses and bacteria that are not already infecting the wearer. Other creatures cannot touch the wearer, even if they are wearing metal gauntlets. Natural attacks, such as claws or bite, have no effect. The wearer cannot be pushed around, unless the pusher uses a tool. Weapons still have full effect, even lassos. Whatever the wearer is wearing or carrying is also affected, so it defeats pickpockets as well. The wearer can be touched by the undead, and by demons and other extra-planar entities.

Sword +1, +3 versus Gnocchi
This sword may or may not give a bonus to hit and damage. However, it hates all gnolls and gnomes and anything else whose name begins with a gn-, even Pietro Gnocchi. Anytime it hits one of these creatures, the wielder may immediately make another attack against anything close enough to hit. If the wielder chooses not to make an attack, he must quench the blade’s thirst with his own blood. Even a small amount will do, but he must take 1 point of damage.

This sword does not actually cut through stone, it’s blade just ignores all non-organic material. It can pass through stone, metal, fabric, dirt etc. as if it were not even there. Stonecutter ignores AC bonuses from metal armour, but not leather, and can attack through doors and walls that are thin enough. Keeping it in a scabbard can be a problem, although the hilt of the sword does not share the properties of the blade. The hilt can be strapped to a belt and will not pass through walls, doors, or armour.

Potion of Mutation
If you drink it, you gain a random mutation! Actually, this is a lot like the snake-books, in that it’s a prop that makes new props. Instead of, say, a book that tells you how to kill trolls, it gives you, say, a third arm which ends in a giant lobster pincer. Good thing I have some random mutation tables!

That was pretty rambly, but I’ve got stuff to do so there it is.