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[WIR] Metamorphosis Alpha (1976)

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
#51
I like the way that some physical mutations preclude/modify others. Clever.
I like that as well, and I'll be polite and not point at Quetzalcoatlus and Ankylosaurus when the game says taller conflicts with wings and full carapace.

(Nope, that wasn't me just pointing that out. Nope, nope.)

17. Partial Carapace: Thick shell covering back and head. Reduces damage done to those areas of the body by one half. If the shell is cracked by a blow or energy weapon it takes 1d12 months to grow back, during which time all damage done to the mutant is doubled. Also increases base armor class.
Does Metamorphosis Alpha have rules for hit locations, called shots, or when a blow or energy weapon can crack the shell?

18. Total Carapace: This shell over the entire body. Reduces all damage done by one half. Reduces speed of the mutant by one fourth. When a mutant with this mutation has taken over one half of his total hit point damage all damage is tripled until the wounds are healed. The carapace heals at the mutant’s normal healing rate. This mutation also increase the base armor class.
Does MA have rules that change a character's effectiveness between full hp and 0 hp? Because unless different rules apply at different hp totals, that 1/2 damage to 1/2 hp then x3 damage until 0 hp effectively just changes your overall hp total. In this case (0.5 x 2) + (0.5 / 3) = someone with total carapace effectively has 1-1/6 times as many hp. I like the idea, but it only works with something like a death spiral or a bloodied mechanic.

This change lasts for 1-10 full turns and can be negated immediately by the mutant. The power can be used once per day. A “full turn” is not defined in the game. Presumably it is the same as D&D’s ten minute turn, as a melee turn is given as ten seconds. The only other turn given is the wilderness movement turn of one hour. Perhaps the change is meant to last 1-10 hours. I think though if either melee turns or hours had been intended those terms would have been used, so ten minute turns seems most likely.
I'd guess it just means rounds. Gamma World 1e switches between the two terms pretty randomly, so I suspect James Ward was treating them as synonyms. The "full" part would suggest the round in which the ability is activated doesn't count, since it's already partially over.

16. Pyrokinesis: The ability to cause living matter, or the product of living matter, to suffer heat damage and eventually burst into flame. Starting with 1 die of heat damage on the first turn of concentration, up to 10 dice on the 10th turn. It is at the referee’s discretion when a fire starts. The range is 25 meters. It is interesting that the mutation specifies living matter and its products. This would mean that you couldn’t heat metal, plastic, water, etc.
One explanation is the MA version works on water, because living matter is full of water. And if formerly living matter qualifies, regardless of how it's been transformed, then it would work on plastics as well.
 

DavetheLost

Registered User
Validated User
#52
Does Metamorphosis Alpha have rules for hit locations, called shots, or when a blow or energy weapon can crack the shell?
There is a very simple hit location system in the description of the protieun disruptor,
roll of a die will tell where the beams hit. 1-head, 2-right arm, 3-left arm, 4-right leg, 5-left leg, 6-trunk of body.
No specific rules for determining how or when the shell is cracked.

Does MA have rules that change a character's effectiveness between full hp and 0 hp? Because unless different rules apply at different hp totals, that 1/2 damage to 1/2 hp then x3 damage until 0 hp effectively just changes your overall hp total. In this case (0.5 x 2) + (0.5 / 3) = someone with total carapace effectively has 1-1/6 times as many hp. I like the idea, but it only works with something like a death spiral or a bloodied mechanic.
No change in effectiveness as you lose hit points, no bloodied rules.

I'd guess it just means rounds. Gamma World 1e switches between the two terms pretty randomly, so I suspect James Ward was treating them as synonyms. The "full" part would suggest the round in which the ability is activated doesn't count, since it's already partially over.
I'm not sure. The rules say "combat turns" when that is what they mean, and mention "full turns" in a couple of places where they seem to meaning something other than "combat turn". It would have improved clarity if they had used "rounds" instead of "combat turns" but this was only the third RPG TSR published. Which makes it something like the fourth published by anybody. 0D&D, Empire of the Petal Throne, Tunnels & Trolls, Metamorphosis Alpha. Traveller came a year after Metamorphosis Alpha.

Gotta love old school games with all their contradictions and lacunae.
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
#53
Sounds like the two carapace mutations need a little work.

GW1 defines 3 type of turns, "route moves, search moves, or combat melee rounds (melee turns)" (p. 17, emphasis in original). Route moves last 4 hours, the other two types last 10 seconds. Which isn't that dissimilar to OD&D, which used turns to refer to 1 minute combat turns, 10 minute search turns, and 1 day overland travel turns. So there's a lot of precedent for using turns for everything.
 
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DavetheLost

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#54
I did a tiny bit of spot checking.

Will Force lasts for 1-10 "full turns" in MA 1e, 1-10 "melee turns" in GW 1e, and for the next "combat turn" in MA 4e.

Planar Travel lasts for "up to 3 full turns" in MA 1e, "up to 3 full melee turns" in GW 1e, and "30 minutes" in MA 4e.

Based just on these two mutations I am going to say that you are right and "full turns" means "full melee turns", not 10 minute D&D turns.

Looks like I fell into the trap of taking what I "know" from other games and applying it where it didn't apply.
 
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DavetheLost

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#55
Mental Defects:

38. Complete Mental Block: The complete inability of the mutant to see or even come near one of the items listed. While the being can operate logically in the presence of his or her block, the being cannot use or touch this object, or even be aware if it attacks them. The block applied to only one type from one of the four categories. The four categories are given in the mutation list, not in the description and are: A. Technological, B. Robotic, C. Plant Type, D. Animal Type. The individual types are determined by the referee, (ie fish, bird, wolf, etc). I would apply the mental block to any mutated version of a creature type, but would consider specific creatures from the mutant descriptions later in the rulebook to be single types for the purposes of mental blocks. Thus mutant and non-mutant wolves or wolfoids, but not both.

39. Fear Implulses for Types: The mutant has an unbearable fear of one creature or object, and cannot look at it without dropping everything in its hands and running away in panic.

40. Mental Defenselessness; This mutation gives the mutant a 3 in mental resistance regardless of what was rolled.

41. Multiple Damage: The mutant takes double or triple damage from all attacks, due to the psychological belief that the mutant has been gravely injured.

42. Epilepsy: Body paralysis at random times and for variable reasons. During the attacks the body remains motionless and unable to respond to the environment. The judge should set up a consistent set of variable for attacks for the mutant.

43. Poor Dual Brain: This is another brain in the body that is a handicap to the mutant in some way. It might have a lot of additional defects, take over control of the body at strange times, or countering the powers of the good brain.

44. Anti-Leadership Potential: An unconscious mental field with a 30 yard radius. This makes people want to fight the mutant. 25% chance every day with every human or humanoid the mutant meets. Only beings with intelligence of 17 or 18 can resist this effect. Again read mental resistance for intelligence.

45. Anti-reflection: The most dangerous of all mutations. It has a 25% chance of having any mental attack made by the mutant to be reflected back and damage the mutant himself. It also causes any mental defenses by the mutant to be placed on the beings the mutant was trying to defend against instead.
 
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DavetheLost

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#56
Mutation Generation for Animals:

All of the mental mutations apply to animals.

All 42 human physical mutations can be applied to animals with the following additional mutations.

43. Speed Increase: A special gland allows the mutant to move twice as fast as normal for 5 melee turns twice a day.

44. Symbiotic Attachment: A successful combat hit and three turns of contact allows the mutant to fuse its nervous system with that of another creature and control both bodies. Contact must be maintained during control. Only the death of the symbiotic creature within the 3 melee turns stops the takeover.

45. Fur Change: A change in the color of the fur or in the ability to resist energies it would not normally be able to resist. No mechanics given, but in the creatures section there are a number of creatures with complete resistance to fire, lasers, etc.

46. Teeth or Fangs: Given to creatures that lacked them for one reason or another.
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
#57
Looks like I fell into the trap of taking what I "know" from other games and applying it where it didn't apply.
I remember being surprised the first time I paid attention to the use of turns in OD&D. If you cast a spell that lasts 6 turns in the last turn (not round) of combat, and it takes you 2 search turns (20 minutes) to leave the dungeon, and you then travel for 3 days across the wilderness (overland turns), you'll still have 1 turn left if you get into another fight. But if you cast it at the start of combat, and combat lasted a mere 6 minutes (turns), then it's over and done with in a fraction of the time. That's literally true, by a strict reading of the rules, because they use the word turn for everything. I doubt it's the intent, but it might actually be very fun to play that way.
 

DavetheLost

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Validated User
#59
Plant Mutations:

All of the mental powers given to humans can be applied to plants. Plants are not intelligent unless Intelligence has been raised due to mutation.
  1. Tangle Vines: Slow, weak tripping hazard.
  2. Poison Vines: prickly vines with poison at judge’s discretion for intensity. I use 3d6.
  3. Poison Thorns: Sharp thorns that inject poison
  4. Poison Throwing Thorns: 6 inch poison thorns the plant can launch through the air for 2-12 feet.
  5. Contact Poison Sap: This one doesn’t need to penetrate the bloodstream.
  6. Squeeze Vines: Fast, strong vines that grab for 4d6 damage per melee turn. The only way to get loose is cut the vines.
  7. Aromatic Powers: Lures even intelligent creatures as Intensity 8 poison. For the first 4 melee turns victims can do nothing but come closer to the plant, to be captured or killed.
  8. Berries; Fruits of all types that do things like healing damage, regenerating body parts, increasing or decreasing mental powers, etc. No mechanics given, of course.
  9. Larger Than Normal: Makes a small plant a giant. A Venus fly trap could become a nine foot monster! (There will be an illustration of this later in the book, it is the creature known as the jawed plant, so we get game stats.)
  10. Smaller Than Normal: This makes a possibly large dangerous plant small and therefor unnoticeable. Example: bamboo, which is one inch tall growing among normal grasses and having a deadly poison barb. Some example! This game is evil.
  11. Dissolving Juices: The plant excretes acid for 4 dice of damage per melee turn and no type of clothing is protection.
  12. Mobility: The plant can’t move, but is not necessarily intelligent. Errata: To determine plant speed roll 1d12 for yards per melee turn.
  13. Increased Senses: Not to be confused with Heightened Senses. This is new sense powers for the plant, such as sight, hearing, etc.
  14. Manipulation Vines: Hands for the plant.
  15. Texture Change: the plant surface is different, metal scales, shelled, mineral armor, etc.
  16. Radiation Sensitivity and Imitation: Like the “Subclassification of Shapechange” mutation. Allows the plant to blend in with background radiation, taking no damage from it. The plants can activate color band equipment by matching radiation types. Interestingly this latter ability is not listed in the humanoid mutation.
  17. Divisional Body Segments: Vines, limbs or other parts of a plant that can drop off and crawl away under control of the main plant. They can be used to trip, grab, poison or attack other creatures for the plant.
  18. Symbiotic Attachment: Same as the animal trait.
  19. Radiated Plant Fiber: Parts of the plant emit radiation of no higher than Intensity 15, this does not harm the plant.
  20. Electrical or Heat Generation: Same as the human trait.
  21. New Plant Parts: The plant has new parts like eyes or human type arms, etc.
  22. New Senses: The same as one of the human mutations dealing with heightened senses. I feel like this one and “Increased Senses” got their descriptions switched.
  23. Sonic Power: Same as the human trait.
  24. Physical Reflection: Same as the human trait.
  25. (Defect) Stasis in Periods of Darkness: The plant is totally inactive when light is not shining on it.
  26. (Defect) Attraction Odor: Same as the human defect. I am sure this attracts herbivores as well as, or perhaps instead of, carnivores. Either the plant smells delicious.
Many of these abilities have been described in such a way that the judges can use varying degrees of the type and intensity of the mutations. This allows for a greater degree of change in every type of creature and in every referee’s ship.
 

Sleeper

Red-eyed dust bunny
Validated User
#60
Interesting how all the animal mutations that weren't ditched also became humanoid mutations in GW. Also, renaming anti-leadership potential to hostility field in GW was a good idea.
 
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