Orginally Posted here: https://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/
I reviewed 1st Edition Gamma World which got me thinking about Mutant Future. I was surprised to discover I had written a review for Mutant Future. Well, today seems like a good time to do that. This review will cover the PDF and the POD versions from DriveThruRPG.
Mutant Future (2010)
Not to start with, Mutant Future is not really a Retro-clone, near clone, or anything like that. The closest game it is like is Gamma World. Set in a post-apocalyptic world, Gamma World has its roots in the dawn of the RPG age and D&D in particular. Filled with mutant animals, plants, and humans of all sorts.
While Gamma World has its own near-D&D system it is not 100% compatible. Maybe 95%. Mutant Future doesn't have that issue. It is the exact same rules as its sister game Labyrinth Lord. Plus Mutant Future is not trying to emulate Gamma World exactly. Mutant Future then is a new game that feels like an old game that never really existed. Mutant Future does have some differences from Labyrinth Lord. The game is set in a post-apocalyptic Earth much like Gamma World.
Section 1: Introduction
This covers the basics. What this game is and what to do with it. A brief overview of dice and common abbreviations is covered. This largely the same as what we see in many games and in Labyrinth Lord in particular. Mind this is not a drawback to this game. There is a strong implication here that anything made or written for Labyrinth Lord is also good for Mutant Future.
Section 2: Characters
Again, there is familiarity here, and that works to Mutant Future's advantage. The ability scores are the same as Labyrinth Lord/D&D and are generated the same way. The various species or types you can play are also here. Characters can be an Android (basic, synthetic, or replicant), mutant animals, mutant plant, mutant human, or the rare pure human, also like Gamma World. Abilities can go as high as 21 and there are a different set of saving throws, but the basic rules are the same as Labyrinth Lord. The types also list what HD each character has and how many mutations you have.
This section also covers gear. It uses a coin system much like D&D and Labyrinth Lord as opposed to the barter system of Gamma World. Either works fine.
Section 3: Mutations
This covers all the mutations that all characters, NPCs, and creatures can have. In true old-school fashion, these are all random tables.
Section 4: Adventuring Rules
This covers the rules of the game and what characters are likely to do. Again these are replicated (but not cut and pasted) from Labyrinth Lord. Mutant Future sticks with feet and Basic movement as opposed to Gamma World's metric and more AD&D-like movement.
Section 5: Encounters and Combat
Combat and weapons of all sorts are covered. Also covered are damage from stun, paralysis, diseases, radiation, poisons, and more. This is one of the bigger departures from the Labyrinth Lord core, the saving throws are keyed for Mutant Future damage types. There is also a mental attack matrix here much like Gamma World.
Section 6: Monsters
This section covers all the sorts of creatures you can encounter. It is fairly expansive and since the format is the same as Labyrinth Lord creatures can be used in one or the other or both. 40+ pages of monsters is a good amount. There are also plenty of detailed encounter tables.
Section 7: Technological Artifacts
This would be the "Treasure" section in a fantasy game, but this is highly appropriate since the world of Mutant Future is supposed to be littered with the technology of past ages. This includes non-playable robot types, vehicles and things as mundane as protein bars.
Section 8: Mutant Lord Lore
This covers how to run a Mutant Future game. Not just how to run their own but how to build your world. Unlike Gamma World which has a sort of baked-in setting, Mutant Future is more open. The Mutant Lord (and I think an opportunity was missed in not calling them Mutant Masters) gets to decide how the world is the way it is. Advice is given on how to run adventures and a sample setting is provided.
Section 9: Mutants & Mazes
While it might not really be needed, this section discusses using Mutant Future and Labyrinth Lord together. The rules are remarkably similar, like 99%, so there are only minor pieces to consider. Though this section does expand mutations to the standard D&D tropes of race/class.
All in all this a fine game. It is not exactly like Gamma World, more was it trying to be. It does however give that Gamma World feel in an OSR ruleset.
Print on Demand
The PoD version of this book is a sturdy hardcover that compares well to my Labyrinth Lord books.