One of the first RPG's I picked up when I was a kid was Gamma World by TSR. The cover alone made me want to play that game as it showed a vast irradiated wasteland. Now the later versions of that product make me want to retch as they're either based on D&D 4th Edition or D20 and I do not like either one. I kept praying that someone would make an original RPG that would capture the old vibe of old school gaming.
My prayers were answered when I heard about Mutant Epoch.
Made by Outland Arts in the northern wilds of Canada, Mutant Epoch puts you in a harsh environment as you struggle to survive in this new world. You might play as a pure stock human that was untouched by all the radiation or as a freakishly deformed mutant with powers other classes lack. There are eight character classes in all ranging from bestial humans to cyborgs.
Character creation is done with a D100 as you start out rolling which character type you are going to play and it progresses from there. You can roll anything from slave, whore (yes that's in the game), farmer, raider or something else. Whatever caste you roll will determine your starting skills, equipment and money as well. There are eight attributes in the game which you will also roll with a d100 to determine your characters strength, agility, accuracy, etc. Also if your character is blessed or cursed with a mutation they will be able to roll that up as well with over 111 mutations in the core rulebook.
Combat in the game has a fast and fluid pace using a d10 for initiative (highest goes first) and rolling 1d100 against their Strike Value (or SV). If you roll under this you score a hit and can tally damage and anything else is a miss. However if you roll a 2-5 it's an automatic hit and likewise a 96-99 is a miss. Critical hits and fumbles can occur in the game on a roll of 01 and 00 respectively and there are tables for each as to what happens next. There are rules for called shots, injury, stun damage, death and various hazards that you might find out in these wastes.
The game has a very retro feeling to it with the characters you can create and portray. I tried my hand at rolling up a character and in no time I came up with Phandris a bestial human male raccoon raider. Going through the entire character creation process was easy and painless as you can create a great character just by rolling the dice. What I like most about this game is that it has a wide selection of equipment ranging from relics (such as powered armor and laser carbines), to primitive weapons (such as knives and swords). There is even skills in the game that allow you craft your own weapons, armor and other equipment out of the scrap metal you would find in the wastes!
The creatures that inhabit the wasteland are also as hellish as the wastes they inhabit. Some of the creatures you will encounter range from mutated animal life (such as cats, dogs, horses) to mutated insects and plants. Robots also can be encountered out in this environment and range from the lowly pocket bot to the massive heavy combot. There are also human like androids that can be found ranging from clerical all the way up to commander.
Mutant Epoch is laid out in such a way that it makes finding the information you need quick and easy. And the interior art also captures the harshness of the creatures you might find in this new world. The interior art as well as the cover was done by the creator of the book as well! You heard right William McAusland did everything from cover to cover and the art pieces are stunning giving the book a really good post apocalyptic vibe (or is that glow?)
There are plenty of games that are out there that promise to give you a great post apocalyptic experience but Mutant Epoch actually delivers. One of the best features about this new game system is the price as it can be had on rpgnow.com for under $10! (http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=90414&src=FrontPage). But this price won't last long and will go up to $12.99 soon but even that's cheap for a core rules system. But if a PDF isn't your thing and you want to have a copy to hold in your hands it will run you under $30. Also when you buy the core rules you get a user name and password for the Society of Excavators membership. What is that you ask? Simply put it is more content that you can use with the Mutant Epoch system. There is fiction, an online bestiary, free adventures, tutorials, previews and tons more content. And you get all this for just buying either a print or PDF version of the game as an added bonus!
So if you are a fan of the post apocalyptic genre like I am you must check out Mutant Epoch. With easy to play rules, a great setting and easy character creation this is a sure fire winner for one of the games that you should be playing right now.