Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Atomic Dawn: Mutant Future Backgrounds

Animal Handler and his Psychic Dog.
While rolling up a character in the Mutant Future RPG, it can be very easy to just focus on the powers and gear of player characters, ignoring any other aspects of the characters life. While this is fine for short run combat games and "one-offs" it passes up a real opportunity to tell some dynamic stories. Even the most vapid slugfest or teen action flick has characters with some interesting history.
And so I present a small list of character backgrounds for use in a Mutant Future game. I tried to cover the basics of what I think makes for some of the more interesting character types found in post apocalyptic films, books and comics.

The Basics
Just roll d20 from the list below, or choose one that really catches your eye. These are generic enough that the background in question will fit any of the racial types in Mutant Future. All of these listed below have some basic gear and a special ability of some kind. None are game changers, but have some definite perks.

These are the chemical professionals of the Mutant Future, and can be found working in all manner of industries such as glass making, brewing, mining and medicine. 
Equipment: Alchemists kit (value 500 gp, Weight 40 lbs), goggles. leather coat.
Special: The character can brew alcohol (including ethanol), use basic chemicals and identify common poisons. Also, alchemists can replicate relic drugs and chemicals (but not medical devices) if they have a sample and access to chemicals. Such attempts require a Tech roll to accomplish, failures indicating some sort of explosion. If the alchemist is successful, repeated attempts gain a +20% bonus to the roll. 

Animal Trainer 
All animal trainers are specialized in a particular kind of animal or mutant animal. 
Equipment: Trained animal. Whip, Leather Armor, Animal Treats. See Mutant Lord for what mutant animals are available. 
Special: Trained animal, -2 to reactions with a certain type of animal. This can be a broad type such as dogs, cats, or rats. Mutant sub-breeds are also included in this choice. 

Though the term noble might have different names in different regions (Bossman, Sheriff, Knight, etc), they all come down to the same thing. The character was raised in a household with land and power. 
Equipment: Fine clothing, signet ring, sealing wax, scroll of pedigree, a pocket watch
Special: The character has 2x's the normal starting money.

The armies and press-gangs of the Mutant Future have a bottomless need for warriors.
Equipment: Studded Leather Armor, Short Sword, Light Shield.
Special: Trained in hand-to-hand combat. +1 to hit and damage in melee)

In the badlands and ruins, a great many tribes have turned to hunting intelligent creatures as food. To many of these tribes, this is no more unnatural than hunting other meat, but to the denizens of more civilized lands, this is a terrible evil.
Equipment: Manacles, Dagger, 1d4 items made from the skin, bone or teeth of intelligent creatures.
Special: Cannibals have filed their teeth into sharp points, granting them a bite attack that deals 1d4 damage. If the character already has a bite attack, increase the damage by one die type. 50% of all cannibals are carriers of Tetanus (page 49) to which they are immune, but can transmit this disease via bite.

The character apprenticed under an artisan until he learned enough to strike out on your own. You have the skills needed to create finished items from raw materials.
Equipment: Tool kit (appropriate to your craft), mirror, work clothes.
Special: If you have this background, choose a profession that is known for its craftsmanship, or
roll d12 to determine your particular craft. 
1. Blacksmith
2. Bowyer or fletcher
3. Brewer
4. Carpenter
5. Cartographer (Mapmaker)
6. Cook
7. Goldsmith/Silversmith
8. Gunsmith
9. Jeweler
10. Painter
11. Potter
12. Weaver
You can craft objects related to your craft by expending raw materials equal to one-half of the market price of that item. This crafting does not require a roll, but does call for time and a bit of role playing. 

Cyborgs are generally mutants or pure humans who have various parts replaced by machine parts. Android cyborgs are the result of extensive repairs. All cybernetic parts are powered by an internal atomic battery and are always visible. 
Equipment: Leather Duster, Goggles.
Special: The character has a cybernetic implant. Roll 1d10; 1-2; Arm, 3-4; Eye, 4-5; Ear, 5-6; Gills, 7-8; Legs, 6-Skin, 7-8 roll again, 9-10 roll twice. See below for details:
Arm: This limb grants +3 to damage in melee combat. 10% chance one of the limbs houses a laser pistol (MK 1, 5d6 damage) that requires a seperate power supply.
Eye: These grant the Increased Vision mutation.
Ear: Artificial ears grant the Increased Hearing mutation.
Gills: Allows underwater breathing.
Legs: This allows faster speed (x2) and the ability to leap 50' high or forward 100'.
Skin: The grants the Natural Armor mutation (players choice as to which type).

Hunters are much needed specialists in the Mutant Future, as their knowledge of the wilderness can often mean the difference between life and death.
Equipment: Dagger, stout boots, outdoor clothing, cloak.
Special: Hunters are surprised only on 1 on 1d6; they may surprise others on 1-3 on 1d6.

Lawman/Bounty Hunter
Far from the courthouses and rulers, it is the lawman who must be judge jury and executioner. These grim men and women are often just as frightening as the men and things that they hunt.
Equipment: Badge, Revolver, 100 rounds of ammunition. (or hand crossbow and 100 bolts)
Special: +1 to hit and damage in ranged combat.

Field surgeons rather than modern doctors, but still mighty welcome in the Mutant Future. Many also work as barbers and dentists as well.
Equipment: Bandages, medicine bag, knife.
Special: The character has hands-on experience with first aid. Medics can apply first aid and basic medical treatment tp prevent infection and disease, granting a +2 bonus to saving throws to resist disease. Also, anyone being treated by a Medic recovers hit points at a rate of 1d6 hp for each full day of complete rest. If the patient does not rest, he or she will not heal, regardless of the medics efforts.

From priests and missionaries to hellfire and brimstone preachers, these holy men and women are well known in the Mutant Future. These folk need not be Christian, as modern religions can often mixed up with memories of sports teams, action movies and nationalism, depending upon the Mutant Lords and players tastes. 
Equipment: Cross, Holy Book, black clothes.
Special: Literacy. Benefits from the Mental Barrier mutation when praying or clutching a Holy Symbol (Cross, Liberty Tree, Bible, Bill of Rights, etc). The preacher can have twice the normal number of retainers as long as he or she is actively preaching.

Those looking for fame and fortune in the ruins have great uses for a skilled scavenger.
Equipment: Bedroll, backpack, 2 weeks trail rations.
Special: Knows where to go to find any needed item in the junklands. May be able to find hidden things and/or find the best routes through ruins. Increase the chance of finding traps (p.36) by 1 on a d6. Reduce the chance of springing a trap (p.37) by 1 on a d6.

It takes a hardy (or desperate) soul to make his or her living on the rivers and seas of the Mutant Future. 
Equipment: Dagger, dice and dirty jokes.
Special: Excellent swimmer (+10 water movement), -2 reaction when dealing with other seafarers or boatmen. 

Equipment: Notebook/journal, pen and ink.
Special: Can read Ancient languages and/or knows more of Ancient history than most. May not be able to fix tech, but can more easily tell you what it is, what it does, and how to turn it on. Knows where to go for information. May even know how to use Ancient computers for research. A +20% bonus to identifying and activating technology (No bonus to any repair checks).

Skilled in getting old gadgets to work, the tinkerer is a valuable member of any team. 
Equipment: Toolbelt, tools and greasy coveralls. 
Special: A flat +10% bonus to any tech roll, either for identifying or repairing

Caravans and trade are the lifeblood of the Mutant Future. Traders are generally not entirely trustworthy, but always interesting.
Equipment: Quarterstaff, ledger, travelling clothes.
Special: Has -2 bonus to hire retainers, gives all retainers a +1 to their morale.

Vehicles of any kind are highly valued in the Mutant Future. Some are sleek vehicles gained from high-tech enclaves, others are cobbled together contraptions.
Equipment: Vehicle. Roll 1d8; 01- Motorcycle, 2- Bus, 3- Car, 4-Truck, 5-Hoverbike, 6- Hoverbus, 7- Hovercar, 8- Hovertruck. 
Special: Begins with a vehicle, +10% to Technology rolls to use and repair vehicles.

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