!THIS WAS AN OLD IDEA KEPT HERE ONLY FOR RECORD/INSPIRATION; PLEASE IGNORE FOR NOW - Vree 2012/03/11
The "aspects" part below is the part of the system that is likely to change the most. (The names are placeholders themselves.) The important part is how they determine mutation ranks. Currently this is the total of aspect dots needed (resembling "Mage" or "Genius"), but this may well change. If you want to think in a different direction, just assume that every mutation has a rank of 1-5 like any other supernatural power.]
Each character possesses 3 dots in 8 aspects:
Musculus - muscle and bone (arms, legs)
Dermis - integumentary systems (skin), also the Infected's disguise
Sentio/Sensatus - sensory and communication
Mentis/Neuros - nervous & endocryne system (brain)
Respiratio - circulation and respiration (heart, lungs)
Regeneratio - immune system and regeneration
Divisio - reproduction, also includes Chimera creation
Metabol- digestive and excretory (stomach, liver, pancreas)
And 1 from 4 methods:
Adaptation - The character develops mutations by prolonged exposure to a situation where they are needed.
Evolution - The character develops mutations by unlocking her own genetic heritage.
Incorporation - The character develops mutations by consuming things that have the abilities he needs, both in the form of technology and living creatures.
A character wakes up one morning noticing a strange ulcer growing on his forehead. Over the course of the following week, every morning when he looks into the mirror he sees it get bigger, bit by bit, until about a week later the outgrowth begins to take on a recognizable shape, and that is when the real horror begins.
When the Infected's player (not neccessarily the character) - decides that the Infected needs to develop a new power, the first thing he does he determines the Mutation's rank.
Example: The player wants the character to grow a pair of wings. Wings are listed for a cost of Musculus 2, Dermis 1 on the list at the bottom. That is 3 dots total, so the Mutation has a rank of 3. If the character does not have the neccessary aspect dots, he has to wait until he can purchase them, or choose something different.
Once the mutation is selected, the character has to select the time scale that he wants to work with. The default scale is in days.
Time scale/Roll modifier
Once the modifiers are determined, the character makes an extended roll.
Roll: Attribute + Aspect + Resonance - time reduction penalty (extended)
Target number: Mutation's rank
If more than one aspect is used to create the mutation, use the aspect that is higher on the roll.
The attribute being used varies depending on the mutation's type, but are usually the following for each aspect:
Each roll represents one period on the time scale. The character spends 1 ATP point when he makes each roll. If he has no ATP left, he suffers 1 point of Lethal damage instead.
[Optional rule 1:
Mutations take a long time to develop. Either: 1. the target number is DOUBLE the Mutation's rank, or 2. each successful roll only puts the character only ONE Success closer to the goal, rather than all the Successes being added up.]
[Optional rule 2:
The character can mix up the steps that lead to the target number; for example, after making a roll after a day, you may choose the next roll to be after a week. The player must to declare this decision immediately after making the previous roll.]
[Optional rule 3:
Taking less time than days comes with an additional drawback. When the character makes a roll, he also has to check for the mutation turning rogue/Blackout.]
Dramatic Failure: The Mutation activates half-completed, with a rank equal to the number of successes gained that far. (Its exact type is determined by the storyteller.) It is also a rogue acting independently from the player's control (see further down for rules on rogue mutations).
Failure: The character makes no progress towards developing the mutation.
Success:Add the number of successes to your total.
Exceptional success: The character makes exceptional progress. Not only are the successes added to the total, but the period takes time one step lower on the time scale for no penalty.
During the time it takes for the mutation to develop, it is not a proper part of the Infected's body, and it is unprotected by the Infected's "mask" that makes him appear human. The character takes one temporary Symptom while the mutation is developing.
[Optional rule 4:
The drawback depends on the mutation's type.
- External mutations are completely visible to mortals. For every 2 successes that the character has already achieved, he gains a -1 on Wits + Subterfuge rolls to hide his Infected status, and the roll is triggered every time he encounters a mortal during the course of the transformation. If the roll fails, the character is noticed as a carrier of the infection.
- Internal mutations are not visible until someone cuts the character open (after which they give the same penalty). They instead create Symptoms. A mild Symptom must be taken at 2 successes and a severe Symptom at 4 successes.]
Once the mutation is fully developed, it becomes part of the Infected's body and it is protected by the Infected's innate mimicry. It no longer gives the character any drawbacks.
[Optional rule 5: Stronger mutations are not as easy to hide. The character gains a Symptom for every mutation with a rank higher than 3, as long as that mutation exists.]
A character's total number of Mutation ranks, added up, can never exceed his maximum ATP.
Resonance/Max ATP (max Mutation dots)
1 / 10
2 / 12
3 / 16
4 / 20
5 / 25
6 / 30
7 / 40
8 / 60
9 / 80
[Optional rule 6:
Unlike most of the abilities of other supernaturals, a mutation can have any number of different functions. If you want a multi-purpose mutation, just add up the rank dots required for each option. For example, an eye mutation (Sentio 1) could be merged with an arm mutation (Musculus 2) to create an extra arm with eyes, for a total rank of 3.
If this is done, then they count as a single mutation for all purposes. They pool their ranks as defense against damage (this prevents that weak, single-dot mutations are destroyed in one hit).]
[Optional rule 6.5: The number of mutations the character can have at the same time are are limited. At any point they can not exceed his Resonance + 2.
Why limit the number of mutations? I want to encourage people to invent colorful and interesting mutations with "personality" by giving a muation more than one function. A real-life creature uses its organs in creative and multi-faceted ways - a bat's wings double as sound receptors, etcetra. This is twice as true the for Infected - they should not simply have tentacles, but tentacles with mouths and eyes on them?]
A mutation has to be fed 1 ATP point per rank every morning. If the character misses his quota for the day, he takes 1 Lethal damage for each ATP point that he does not have as his body literally consumes itself for sustenance.
[Optional rule 7: Mutations may bind ATP a' la Genius, ie. the character's maximum ATP is reduced by this number as long as the mutation is possessed. This halves the total that he can possess. This is unneccessary under the current rules, as the character simply must spend ATP more frequently on mutations instead.]]
Mutations aren't created out of thin air. Even more horrifyingly, the only source of biological material they have for use is the character's own body.
Fortunately, all Infected carry some amount of -potential- biological energy in their system, in the form of ATP. ATP can be converted directly into biomass to serve as building blocks for a mutation.
[Optional rule 8: Mutations from other organs
Every human naturally possesses organs that the parasite can utilize as raw material. Every character is assumed to have the following organs or organ systems:
- 4 limbs (2 arms and 2 legs);
- the following 6 senses or sense groups: vision; hearing; smell & taste (count as one); touch (including pain and heat receptors); kinesthetic sense & vestibular system (count as one; these systems aid movement and balance); internal sense (warns you about internal body functions - hunger, nausea, full bladder etc.)
- a digestive and excretory system (stomach, liver, pancreas etc.) - each organ worth 1 point for 6 total;
- vital life-sustainign systems: a heart and a circulation system (worth 3 points), a pair of lungs and respiration system (counts 3 points), and skin (worth 1 point). You can never completely lose these - if you do, you die in a matter of minutes.
- others (to be filled in later)
If the Infected wishes to play with her own health, she can sacrifice any organ from the above list to be made to serve a different function, or to perform its regular function differently. This gives a character a Flaw for which he is not egligible to gain bonus experience.
For example, a character who has transformed his tongue into a grappling weapon has gained it as an extra limb, but may have lost her ability to use it to taste (and smell) in the process.
Often the organ changed is no less in value than what was sacrificed, but still removes the character further from humanity. For example, if you have replaced your breathing apparatus with gills, you can no longer live on land.
The ability lost and the ability gained do not need to be related (eg. a character can lose an arm to be made into an extra heart), but the point value of the organs lost must equal the new mutation's rank.
The organ will still satisfy its normal function (to a decreasing degree) until the transformation is complete. Still, playing with one's own health is always risky, and may severaly incapacitate or kill the character if gone awry.
If the character chooses this method, then the mutation has no daily upkeep cost.
Vree's note: While this is cool, it may be better not to riddle a character with Flaws, and just account for loss of ability by the character with Symptoms.]
ROGUE MUTATIONS & BLACKOUT
The name is misleading, because the character does not neccessarily lose consciousness. When the character's and the parasite's will differs on a matter, they struggle for control.
Events that may trigger this include:
- A mortal looking at the mutation directly in its true form.
- The character taking Killing damage from any source.
- The character hastening the development of a Mutation. [Optional rule 3]
- Fusion violations of rank 1 or 2
- other [to be added later]
When such an event is triggered, roll:
Composure + Fusion - highest Mutation rank (- modifier from time reduction [optional])
Composure, Resolve, Stamina, Fusion may all play a part if we want them to.
Eg. the roll may be extended, where:
host = Fusion
mutation/parasite = 10 - Fusion
This needs more thinking…]
If the roll fails, the Mutation acts on itself for the duration of the scene. The character still has control over his own body, and may struggle with it to stop the carnage.
By default the parasite is only capable of simple fight-or-flight responses. [Mutations of players with high Fusion and/or Resonance may be capable of more complex actions, to be discussed elsewhere.] Each turn the mutation can can only either attack an enemy, move towards an enemy, or move away an enemy that it has registered as a threat. What counts as a threat and what does not is not always easily fathomable - a parasite startled by a doctor who was examining the Infected may murder every patient in the room, except for the screaming nurse standing next to the character, in spite of the fact that she has witnessed to the whole carnage. Acts like attacking the character directly will always register someone as a threat though.
The rampage lasts until there are no more "enemies" in sight, whether that is achieved by fleeing the scene or incapacitating every visible threat.
Damaging a mutation:
A mutation has to be specificly targeted (use the Specified Target modifiers on the WoD Rulebook p. 154) to get damaged, or the Storyteller has to decide that some damage affected it.
A mutation can be sent into remission if as much Bashing damage is dealt to it as its own rank. The mutation will attempt to draw back into the character's body (if it can) or make him flee the scene, and remains inactive until it heals all the damage. It will continue to fight (hesitantly) for a turn if enemy continues to push its triggers (eg. deals damage to it each turn).
A mutation can be destroyed permanently if it suffers as many points of Lethal damage as its rank.
While we speak as if the mutation had its own Health, it does not. ALL of the above damage is substracted from the Infected's own Health. A character may get rid of a pesky mutation via self-mutilation or through surgery, but not without severely damaging himself.
The Infected are constantly changing, undergoing changes not unlike a tadpole turning to a frog, or a caterpillar to a butterfly.
A character who wants to raise their Resonance through experience must undergo a process similar to developing a mutation, except the subject this time is the character himself.
Roll: Stamina + Fusion (extended)
Target number: The character's maximum ATP points as determined by Resonance.
Time scale: same as for mutations, see above
The character spends 1 ATP when he makes each roll. If he has no ATP left, he suffers 1 point of Lethal damage instead.
(I.e., it is strongly recommended that you go into Metamorphosis with your ATP full.)
Dramatic Failure: All collected successes are lost; the character will have to start again from scratch. In addition, the character loses all Mutations he had except those whose total ranks do not exceed the successes he collected so far. (So, if he had already collected 5 successes, and he had a rank 1, 2, and 6 mutation, he can keep the rank 1 and 2 ones but not the rank 6 one.) All remaining mutations turn rogue.
Failure/Success/Exceptional Success: Same as for mutations.
If the character successfully completes his metamorphosis, he increases his Resonance by 1. In addition, if he had any Mutations when he went into metamorphosis, he can rearrange them in any way he pleases. For example, if he had a rank 3 and a rank 4 Mutation, he can lose them and spend those altogether 7 ranks on any new mutation [that he can fit into his Aspects]; say, one rank 2 and one rank 5 Mutation. No separate roll for developing these is made. Metamorphosis can thus be used for dramatic, "tadpole to frog" type transformations.
Here are some examples of the mutations that each aspect covers.
Tail (Musculus 1)
Tentacles (Musculus 1)
Extra leg: Each extra leg gives a +1 Speed and +1 on keeping balance, such as resisting being knocked prone.
Slithering (Musculus 1):
The character can move on his stomach, the band of muscles on his stomach contracting and expanding to create a rippling movement that pushes him forward. Speed is only Strenght + Dexterity (no Speed bonus), but if Mucus (Respiratio 1) is also purchased, the character can climb up walls including flat surfaces without even using hands.
Snake torso (Musculus 2):
The character's torso is one large flexible muscle. He can turn around his own is own axis several times, use it to perform grapples, and fit through small holes. He can also Slither (as above) like s snake. If both methods of Slithering are purchased, add +5 Speed.
Strong leg (Musculus 0/2):
Having one leg stronger than the other costs nothing, but grants no bonus either - the character will walk in a strange one-sided manner, and may have an advantage in a few very special situations, but due to the lack of balance that this causes him he gets no bonuses on any rolls. A character whose both legs are augmented however gets +1 on kicking attacks with his Brawl skill, +1 to Speed, and +1 to jump, from every two points invested.
Extra heart/Strong heart (Respirato 1/Musculus 1): You pump blood twice as fast.
Extra lung/Air sacks (Respirato 1): When you need to hold your breath (WoD Rulebook p. 49), you are +2 Stamina higher. This stacks with the Strong Lungs Merit.
Strong breathing muscles (Respirato 1/Musculus 1): You pump air so fast, you never run out of breath. You get a bonus on Athletic rolls like Foot Chase.
Gills (Respiratio 1): Your character can now breathe underwater.
Decentralized blood circulation (Respiratio 2, Musculus 1):
You no longer have need for a heart; a thick layer of muscle forms around your blood vessels to pump the blood. You are no longer threatened by aimed hits to the heart (like staking), and can never suffer a heart attack. On top of that, when you suffer a deep wound your muscles reflexively contract to stop the bleeding. You no longer take automatic damage if all your Health boxes are filled with Lethal hits.
Gas filters (Respiratio 1): You have a natural "gas mask", purifying the air that you breath in. You no longer suffer from breathing poisonous gases. Note that it does not allow you to breathe when the air is 100% poison; if there isn't enough oxygen in the air, you'll suffocate anyway.
Strange solvents (Respiratio 2):
You can use some other gas than oxygen in your respiration, like hydrogen or methane. You are able to live in enviroments where there is no oxygen, like vulcanic caves.
Acidic blood (Respiratio 2, Metabol 1):
If any unarmed attack causes you Lethal damage (by upgrading Bashing), roll an equal number of dice as the attacker's successes, and take that from his Health as damage. Any weaponry attack that causes you Lethal damage causes as much automatic damage to the weapon as the number of successes the attacker rolled. You can also cut your own finger and use the acid to dissolve stuff.
Gas bags (Respiratio 1):
The character has a sack-like organ that can inflate itself and provide him with some vertical lift. This may be a swim bladder (like in fishes) or a balloon-like appendage.
The basic use of a gas bag is to rise or sink underwater. For +1 Dermis, a variety that can lift the character into the air can be purchased. You can not move sideways without another flight method, though, and the mutation (and character) takes +1 extra damage while in this form from all hits.
Jets (Respiratio 3):
By emitting bio-gases in a manner similar to a jet plane, the character can fly
A character with Divisio can create Chimera. These are developed the same way as any other mutation, but break free from the character once they are fully developed. A Chimera that the character invested no other Aspect in is also totally helpless; every organ has to be purchased with other Aspect ranks (limbs with Musculus, senses with Sentio etc.) A Chimera without 1 dot of Respiratio will die within a few minutes unless reattached to the character, and one without Metabol will die in a few days when its ATP runs out as it can not feed. (Chimera require 1 ATP sustenance per day, just like mutations do.)
Regular childbirth can also be augmented/modelled with Divisio. Such children may get born in less time, age faster, and have superhuman or even supernatural abilities. However, the child of an Infected is always another Infected - one of the Unborn.
The creation of organs that create sound, light, smells etc. or have the ability to sense them (or even give the ability to sense to a non-sensory organ).
For 1 dot of Sentio, you can increase an existing sense or communication method (humans only have vocal communication). All-new senses cost 1 Sentio and 1 of some other Aspect (electromagnetic sense, for example, costs 1 Sentio and 1 Neuro). If you have both the signalling AND the receiving method, you could have your own unique way of communication. For Sentio 2, a signal can be overcharged until it is damaging to anyone who possesses the sense. For Sentio 3, it can be damaging to anyone and everyone (eg. laser, sonic scream).
Dusk vision (Sentio 1): You are able to see under very low light conditions. You can not see in total darkness, though. Darkness penalties are halved.
Enhanced sense (Sentio 1): Any human sense can be enhanced to give more accurate, more detailed and more sensitive information than before. A human gains a +2 bonus to any test concerning that sense, and may receive other benefits. A human with enhanced taste for example, can spot even a faint strange sensation in his food, always knowing if it is expired or contains poison, and can make a good guess about when and how it was prepared.
Extra eyes (Sentio 1):
You can take this Mutation any number of times, and each additional eye grants either a +1 to range modifiers or a a +1 to checks against surprise, depending on the location. Predators usually have their eyes close to the front of their heads to allow for good depth perception, while prey animals have them on the opposite sides of the head for peripherical vision.
Thermal vision (Sentio 1):
Basically, you are able to see heat. You can not see objects, but you can sense a living creature even in total darkness. There are no colors; rather, you see different shades of infrared. Creatures without body heat, like vampires, ghosts and other undead are invisible, but if you have both normal and thermal vision you be able to spot them by noticing that they are only visible to one sense.
(Sentio 2): High pitched scream with a long range, may deafen those close by.
(Sentio 3): Sound made a ranged weapon that deals Bashing damage.
Microscopic vision (Sentio 1):
Macroscopic vision (Sentio 1):
Electric cells (Neuro 1-3): The character can deliver a shock to enemies like an electric eel. Damage scales up with rank.
[Some ideas on Aspects:
- They cost the same as Subversions/Arcana/etc. but only go up to 3 dots.
- Maybe Aspects are just groupings. You spend exp directly on the powers.
- It costs 1 dot in an Aspect to be able to "hot shot" an organ to gain +1 for a duration of a turn. It costs 2 ranks for a permanent attribute increase, but it can only be bought for a specific organ (eg. one arm that is +1 Strenght stronger).]
Mandible - External grinding jaws that probably evolved from legs. (Example: bull ants, beetles and other insects.)
Gulper - A round mouth that looks like a giant whole when opened with few or no teeth. (Real examples: Worm, Gulper eel)
Jaw - The norm. Extra strenght may be purchased so that a bite can hold or crush the target. Various types of teeth can be purchased, making the bite Lethal. (Small, sharp teeth deliver more Lethal damage but are less effective against armor. Large fangs have lower base damage but are armor piercing.)
Proboscis - A syringe-like mouth that breaks the skin and sucks matter out of the target. (Example: mosquito.) The rules are the same as for a vampire bite, but a proboscis can even break through armor (and then continue to deal unpenalized damage to the target despite it being armored as the creature sucks its insides out).
THE ART OF FLIGHT (sidebar)
Infected has more than one option to rise into the air, which are listed here.
Aerodynamic body (Dermis 1)
The character's body was reshaped to decrease aerodynamic (and hydrodynamic) drag. The character doubles his speed when swimming. He can also choose to double his falling speed in the air. (Some animals, like the peregrine falcon, use this to quickly dive towards their prey on the ground.)
Organic parachute (Dermis 1)
The character has some sort of leathery flap that can open and slow his fall in the air.
Gliding Wings (Dermis 1, Musculus 1)
The character can move horizontally in the air. The character can not gain lift.
Slow-flapping Wings (Musculus 2, Dermis 1)
These are the type of wings possesses by most birds and bats. Flight Speed is 10 + Strenght + Dexterity (10 species factor), but the character has to keep moving or he will start falling.
The wings can be feathered, adding even better lift.
Wings often have other functions, such as doubling as sound receptors, like in bats (Sensatio 1) or thermoreceptors to defend from cold (Respiratio 1).
Fast-flapping Wings (Musculus 2, Dermis 1)
These wings resemble those of insects, or sometimes a helicopter's rotor. Flying speed is only 5 + Strenght + Dexterity, but the character can hover in one place.
Wings as limbs:
Wings can be used for Brawl attacks the same as any other limb, but since they are usually placed on the character's back they are difficult to coordinate unless the character has eyes on her back, and the character has to take the appropriate penalty for this.
They can not be used for grapple or fine manipulation. (A wing can of course double as such if the right modifier is purchased, just like every other mutation.)
Wind affects all methods of flight. The characters gain a bonus to fly in the direction that the wind blows depending on wind strenght, and an equal penalty to fly in the opposite direction. Character who only have gliding or parachuting are automatically land that much further. On the other hand, sometimes this can be useful as these characters may also utilize the wind to reach places they wouldn't usually be able to. Wind may even provide upward lift, allowing a glider or parachuter to soar in the air.
Quick changing weather usually requires a Dexterity + Athletics roll, sometimes in every turn.
The exact weather always depends on the storyteller.