Den of the Morlock Mind Master17-Jul-08
One of the participants in our usual weekly Star Wars session is on his honeymoon right now, so I ran a pick-up game of Mutant Future instead. It’s the first time I’ve done a live Mutant Future game since playtesting the rules, and I think it went pretty well.
Read on for the session report…
I used the same ‘Affiliation’ setting as the online game here, and the house rules as described in my earlier comment. With my Variant HP Rules, the player characters ended up with less hit points than a ‘standard’ Mutant Future PC, but this allowed me to run the ‘Den of the Morlock Shaman’ sample adventure from the Labyrinth Lord rulebook with minimal modification.
PCs were generated ‘old-school’ style, and ended up pretty interesting. The first character, Jake, is a near-human with decent ability scores and ‘Shriek’ and ‘Reduced Immune System’ mutations. The other character, Slim, is a mutant who rolled STR 4 and DEX 6, but then ended up with ‘Fragrance Development’, ‘Parasitic Control’, and ‘Disintegrate’ mutations! I let them roll up a single artifact each; Jake got a stun pistol, and Slim a stun baton (each with a random number of charges).
The Morlock Den
Backstory was pretty simple; morlocks were raiding livestock from the farms near Borr – and had recently escalated to capturing farmhands – so the mayor put a bounty on their heads. Jake managed to spot a morlock raiding party returning to their den, so (spurred by rumours of Ancient artifacts), he and Slim went morlock hunting!
The morlock den was a converted underground vault with an unguarded entrance. As the superior melee combatant, Jake took the lead in searching underground. The group met significant resistance in the tunnels leading to the vault proper, and Jake took a moderate wound from a morlock crossbow quarrel. In the end, though, Slim used his ‘Parasitic Control’ mutation to dominate a fleeing morlock and gain entry to the vault itself. (They even managed to score a power clip and a grenade.)
The party then encountered a large mutant of unknown type (in terms of stats, it was a mutant albino ape, but I used a gundark mini) and a few more morlocks. Jake’s stun pistol dropped the gundark quickly, which was lucky because the monster could have taken out one of the PCs in a single combat round. It was here that I realized how useful Slim’s ‘Parasitic Control’ really was. Before the gundark had a chance to regain consciousness, Slim had already taken control of his body.
One of the morlocks had escaped the previous scuffle, so the PCs followed. Using the gundark as a ‘mutant shield’, Slim led the beast forward. They faced the morlock ‘mind master’ and his minion (who seemed curiously unwilling to enter combat); the foes withdrew when faced with the PCs. It turned out to be a trick, as Slim unknowingly led the gundark into a pit trap. Losing his grip on the mutant, his control was cut and the PCs were forced to fall back and re-stun the fearsome (and enraged) creature.
Regaining control of his gundark ‘slave’, Slim returned to face the mind master. I rolled three crappy mental attacks in a roll, and the mind master then resorted to using a stun grenade at short range instead of being torn limb from limb by a dominated gundark. Slim, the gundark, and the mind master were all knocked out, and Slim ended up falling into the pit trap. Luckily, Jake was unaffected and he dispatched the mind master (plus the gundark, for safe measure) while they were unconscious.
Jake then had to face the remaining morlock defenders alone (who had approached the group from behind). Figuring that the grenade he found earlier must be the same as the one the mind master used, Jake tossed it at his attackers. This one was actually a photon grenade, and Jake was lucky not to be permanently blinded!
Once Slim awakened, the remaining foes were quickly eliminated, and the duo found and freed the captives. In typical PC style, they then forced the freed captives to search the remaining unexplored areas. After one of the farmers was dissolved by an ochre jelly, Slim demonstrated his ‘Disintegrate’ ability on the ooze.
The duo then led the remaining captives home and returned to town. After taking the bounty on morlock heads, Slim scammed a pawn broker (using his ‘Fragrance Development’ mutation) and got good payment for the loot that had been recovered in the morlock den. (I had changed most of the coins in the original Labyrinth Lord adventure to the equivalent value of Ancient junk, scrap metal, and electronic parts.) Jake developed an unsightly skin infection brought on by wounds (due to his ‘Reduced Immune System’), but should be fine soon…
The game went really well. In two short hours, we created the PCs and ran through the whole adventure. Jake is a well-rounded PC, and he used his axe and stun pistol to great effect. I had originally thought that Slim’s stats were unplayable, but his mutations meant he was an interesting character. And by ‘interesting’ I mean ‘asshole’. The combination of ‘Fragrance Development’ and ‘Parasitic Control’ gives him a good chance of possessing any creature that he runs into, and there’s always ‘Disintegration’ in case that doesn’t work.
The characters were in real danger from the gundark, the mind master, and Jake unknowingly risked blindness from the photon grenade. They ended up with decent loot – no major artifacts, but a fair amount of cash, though they also used a lot of power clip charges.
I’m still struck at how much more actual gaming you can get in using an old-school system. I’ve offered to run ‘Mine of the Brain Lashers’ the next time we have the chance…