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Old Book: The Mutant File


Jkeown
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The mutant file is a X-Men level Champions superhero campaign it contains any enemies section, an organization section and I campaign settings section.

 

It is both more lethal and morally challenging then a standard champions campaign.

 

Note it is fourth addition and requires minor updates for characters also for rules as written.

 

Mutant Madness.pdf contains much of the material, but updated for 6th edition. And the benefits of standard champions campaign setting balance.

 

It makes for a good read and adaptation of X-Men's mutant hating storylines of the late 80s thru to now.

 

IMOHO

 

QM

 

Mutant Madness in Store 1.99

http://www.herogames.com/forums/store/product/100-mutant-madness-pdf/

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I've never been a fan of the X-Men but I am a Champions completest.  I can honestly say I don't even remember using anything from this book in any of my campaigns since it came out...24 years ago (Jeeze, I'm old).  Glancing through it, I remember thinking that the build on Blowout was kind of cool.

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The book does have a few interesting characters and concepts. However -- with no disrespect intended to Sean Patrick Fannon -- the main organizations are pretty derivative of what Marvel Comics was doing in their mutant books at the time TMF was published. If you're looking for a fresh take on the subject matter, this isn't it.

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I've used characters from The Mutant File in past Champions campaigns, including the organization of Genocide (but with writeups fairly well modified). 

 

I liked the chess motif for them.  The players in my game learned to fear the Pawns.  While Genocide hasn't appeared in my current campaign, if/when they do, I'll probably use the same organizational structure with updated versions of my prior modified writeups.

 

That said, there were things in The Mutant File I didn't like.  The idea of treating "mutant powers" as a SFX didn't sit well with me - to me, that's a very broad power source (like magic, or technology), not a special effect.  So I made a house rule that Advantages to affect a power source (e.g. Variable Effect: any one Mutant power; Expanded Effect:  two Magical powers, etc.) were doubled in cost.  That brought things back to a reasonable level.

 

And yes, as LL pointed out, TMF is very derivative of Marvel's X-Men / mutant stuff at that time.

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I remember some folks complaining that the organizations were overpowered for the edition. That said, as it's a past edition you'd need to tweak it anyway. I took it for what it was, a love letter to Claremont's style of X-Men and there was a lot I did like about it. One that actually stuck out was the very thing others threw away... the Downtrodden, a motorcycle gang/family of low level mutants... I suppose the closest comparison to them would be the Morlocks... but instead of stuck in the sewers, these guys rode around the country side mostly minding their own. 

 

I ended up using them for flavor more than once as a Game Master, and at least one PC spent some points to buy FryDaddy (I think that was his name) as a contact and struck up some friendships.

 

Others may have different experiences, but I guess I could say I was inspired enough even if I didn't use it all. I would rank it behind High Tech Enemies though which I really got a use out of comparatively.

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I liked both the Mutant File and Hi-Tech Enemies.

And I'd love to get my hands on copies of both for updating.

 

As I recall Genocide Pawns were bad ass. I did actually do up my own 5th ed. versions of the Pawns, Rooks, Knights and Bishops. It was all based on vague memory so I doubt they look much like the originals.

 

The White Queen was created to be the most annoying villain in the universe. Desolid and Invisible to everything.

 

As for Hi Tech Enemies, there were some fun characters. Master Control was a pretty standard Power Suit mastermind (where have we seen them before?) but his hench-people were wonderfully dorky. They were power suit dudes with baseball themed powers (!) called Strike 1, 2, and 3. Their quotes:

 

Strike 1: "I'm Strike One!"

Strike 2: "I'm Strike Two!"

Strike 3: "I'm Strike Three and you're out!"

 

I never got to unleash them... sad face.

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Yeah, two Pawns killed a PC the very first time I ran them (before dialing back their powers as noted above).  In fairness to myself, the player had tied the PCs' defenses to Absorption (only up to amount absorbed), and had both in an Elemental Control with his Flight.  So when one Pawn's Flight Drain grenade inadvertently made the PC's defenses paper-thin, the other Pawn's machine gun cut him to ribbons.  Not one of my better moments as GM.

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Yeah, two Pawns killed a PC the very first time I ran them (before dialing back their powers as noted above).  In fairness to myself, the player had tied the PCs' defenses to Absorption (only up to amount absorbed), and had both in an Elemental Control with his Flight.  So when one Pawn's Flight Drain grenade inadvertently made the PC's defenses paper-thin, the other Pawn's machine gun cut him to ribbons.  Not one of my better moments as GM.

 

When I ran that version of Genocide in my games, I found their agents as presented too strong for my PCs, so I "stretched them out" a bit. I gave the Pawns only their basic weaponry, keeping the specialized anti-mutant equipment for my version of the Rooks. The powered-armor Rooks in TMF became my Knights, while the cyborg Knights were my template for upgrading the Purifier, from 4E Champions of the North, who was supposed to be the Black Queen's Bishop.

 

That's one thing to keep in mind about The Mutant File: as Sean Fannon explicitly states, most of the characters as written were deliberately designed for high-powered campaigns. If that's not what you run you'll need to weaken them to use them.

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Yeah my version of Genocide (which basically kept only the name) had agents who were just guys with a few gadgets and support for the knights who are low end iron man types with the neutralizer gear, who are lieutenants for the PURGE agents in very powerful armor and command the local troops.  No giant robots, and they were more Klan than anti-mutant.  Anyone who doesn't fit the white, protestant, etc plan gets the axe.  They were basically a leftist's cartoon of the far right.  To balance them out, I had a group called the New Society who were the conservative's cartoon of the far left.  Everyone had someone to punch :)

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Yeah my version of Genocide (which basically kept only the name) had agents who were just guys with a few gadgets and support for the knights who are low end iron man types with the neutralizer gear, who are lieutenants for the PURGE agents in very powerful armor and command the local troops.  No giant robots, and they were more Klan than anti-mutant.  Anyone who doesn't fit the white, protestant, etc plan gets the axe.  They were basically a leftist's cartoon of the far right.  To balance them out, I had a group called the New Society who were the conservative's cartoon of the far left.  Everyone had someone to punch :)

 

I am intruiged by this New Society.   What themes did they go overboard with?

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Oh, stuff like kidnapping the superhero team NPCs for not having enough diversity and replacing them with their guys, trying to blow up Sesame Street for its unflattering portrayal of vampires, etc

Hay, since when have you ever seen The Count (legal name: Count VonCount) ever drink blood?

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He's too busy counting the bottles of plasma.

 

He does, however, fit Terry Pratchett's Discworld version of vampires who are Black Ribboners: a vampire replaces drinking blood with some other obsession (like counting things).

So, they pick on a pore harmless vegaterian vampire while avoiding the truly dangerous ones like Dracula, Dio Brando, the Pillar Men, and Lestrat.

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It was a mockery of blood-dieted persons, of course.  The first time the team tangled with The New Society, it was just a long series of lawsuits and newspaper smear stories, culminating with a black woman in a wheel chair serving them with legal papers because of their all-male superhero team being discriminatory against female mutants.  One of the players said "oh come on!" when I described her.  It was fun being over the top with either team, making them more obnoxious than just bad guys.  

 

Genocide didn't just go after mutants, they went after Roman Catholics and anyone else how didn't fit their plan.  They were a bit more murderous than The New Society; the Society was more like California Uber Alles.

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In my Champions: The Mutant Chronicles campaign I have resurrected many of the Mutants in TMF.  I have made Genocide the militant arm of the IHA and have been slowly introducing them.  As has been stated previously the characters within need some massaging to fit in the campaign and I have toned down the idea of "Advance Generation Mutants".  So far the PCs have run into The Downtrodden, Scorch, IMAGE, Genocide Pawns, Knights, Minutemen and even Vengeance (the White King's Bishop).

 

Having been a huge X-Men fan I really enjoyed this sourcebook.  I liked the structure of Genocide as a whole and enjoyed IMAGE as well.  The power level was a bit out of whack for some of my games but overall I thought the characters were pretty good and did have some great design ideas.  Many of the characters actually work better with 6E since many of them were designed to seem like normals who have powers and have rather low DEX scores as well as other characteristics.

 

The book goes into detail about the Mutant "epidemic" and has several mutant organizations and independants.  There are some decent plot seeds and a full adventure using Genocide.  I would classify it more as an Enemies book than anything (possibly because that is what I primarily used) but it does have a lot of information on mutants in general.

 

There are some used copies available on Amazon for ~$17 and if you are a fan of the 80s-90s X-Men you probably won't be disappointed.

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