After several delays, we’re back with our coverage of Mutant: Year Zero! Today we’re tackling character creation as we attempt to make our very own Mutant.
Character creation is summarized in 12 steps:
- Choose your role
- Choose your name
- Define your appearance
- Distribute 14 points across your four attributes
- Distribute 10 points across your skills
- Choose a talent
- Draw a mutation
- Define your relationships to the other PCs and NPCs
- Choose your big dream
- Choose your gear
It seems like a lengthy process at first glance, but I’m getting the impression that it might actually be simpler than it first appears.
A character’s Role in Mutant Year Zero is essentially akin to their “Class” in other rpgs. There are eight to choose from in the game: Enforcer, Gearhead, Stalker, Fixer, Dog Handler, Chronicler, Boss and Slave. These roles define what your character does in their Ark
For the sake of this article, I’m going for a Chronicler. I like the idea of a character who dedicates their time to the recovery and preservation of information in a post-apocalyptic setting.
This is pretty self explanatory. For my character, I think I’ll call him “Veritas” a name he chose for himself after discovering the meaning of the word.
While ordinarily this section is left for the player to decide, Mutant Year Zero actually has a handy page for each of the Roles that has suggestions for appearance and other details to choose from. It’s a neat way to hasten character creation.
Veritas is a male character with a serious expression. He’s rather skinny for boys of his age and wears a worn coverall with a number on it.
Characters in Mutant Year Zero have four attributes: Strength, Agility, Wits and Empathy. These are measured on a scale of 1 to 5, and are used up when performing important actions or when suffering diferent forms of trauma.
Thankfully each attribute can be recovered by consuming a different resource each. It’s a novel idea, and one that plays up the theme of scarcity in Mutant Year Zero. Definitely an interesting way to play up the resource management side of things.
As a Chronicler, Veritas has a Key Attribute of Empathy, meaning I can start the game with a score of “5” on that attribute.
After a bit of point juggling, I distribute my 14 attribute points accordingly:
Needless to say, Veritas isn’t going to be the new post-apocalyptic Conan.
Characters in Mutant Year Zero also have ratings in various skills, ranging from 0 to 5. Starting characters distribute 10 points across their skills.
Maximum starting levels for skills is at 3, and each role also has a specialist skill that they must have at least 1 point in.
Veritas is a Chronicler, giving him the specialist skill of Inspire.
For the rest of his skills, I’m going for:
Along with Skills, Characters also have Talents, which are small abilities tht give the character an edge. Starting characters get to have one talent of their choice as defined from a small list in their Role.
Given the skills that Veritas has, Agitator seems to be the most appropriate Talent to have.
Now it’s time to get funky. Mutations are something you can’t avoid in the game, and while some are fun, others will be very strange indeed. You can draw a Mutation Card or just roll a D66 once on the a Mutation Table
I rolled a 23 making me… A Human Plant.
Oookay… I guess I can make that work.
As a Human Plant, I get nourishment from sunlight, have sharp thorns all ove rmy body and have bark like skin to absorb damage.
Relationships and Dreams
Next up is where you define the character’s relationships and their objective. If I was playing with a group, I’d have to define the relationship of Veritas with every other player character.
Interestingly enough, you get to choose one NPC to be your buddy, someone you’re closest too. YOu also pick two others, and assign them as someone you protect, and the other as someone that you hate.
The big dream is your character’s final goal, and some examples are given in the role pages as well. I’ll grab one from there and say that Veritas is looking to write the great story of how the People find Eden.
The last part is Gear for the character. The chronicler role gives Veritas D6 bullets, D6 rations of grub and D6 rations of water. He doesn’t start with weapons apparently but you can barter with bullets.
Overall character creation for Mutant Year Zero is pretty straightforward. There’s enough room for flexibility and customization with the point-buy systems, with a little bit of randomness with regards to the Mutations.
It’s a solid chapter for character creation, and I do like how well organized it was. I don’t see new players having difficulty with making characters in this system.
Next up we’ll take a look at the basic resolutions system and combat mechanics for Mutant Year Zero.