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BRP: Mutant - Undergångens Arvtagare


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This post starts off a detailed analysis of the Swedish BRP-based game "Mutant - Undergångens Arvtagare", abbreviated MUA from now on. For those interested, the Swedish-language web site and forums can be found at http://www.mutant.nu/

This game, which was published between 2002 - 2008, is the most recent game in the "Mutant" range and this is also why I selected it.

This analysis is intended as a resource for BRP gamers, in that in provides and explains several optional system that might be appropriate in other BRP campaigns. I hope to summarize the optional rules of MUA, using the checklist given on BRP page 285 as a starting-point.

As for the inventiveness or uniqueness of these subsystems I make no claims. Feel free to point out other BRP games with similar (or even identical) rules solutions. I cannot claim mastery of BRP, so feel free to point out any inconsistencies or errors. Obviously, this effort cannot be all-encompassing, or it would more or less reproduce both books! Beware that discrepancies have been omitted, though hopefully mostly minor ones. Please ask if anything is unclear.

Okay then - with the disclaimers out of the way, I'll start off by the first chapter (BRP Chapter 2) and we'll see how much interest this generates...

Edited by Ombord
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Chapter 2. Characters.

Step One - Rules for given both for random rolling and point-based character creation. The rules for both differ from those of BRP:

Random Rolling uses the "Choosing Characteristic Values" option. All seven characteristics are generated using 3D6.

Point-based character creation is much simpler than the BRP option. You have 56 points to spend. All seven characteristics begin at 3, and the cost to raise any characteristic by one is 1 point. The maximum is 18. (Raising INT doesn't cost more than raising STR; and raising a 17 to 18 doesn't cost more than raising a 7 to 8)

This creates a Mutant (either human or animal, either with physical or mental mutations) or Robot, which constitute the game's baseline. To create a "non-mutated human" (who doesn't get any cool powers) you instead use 3D6+2 to generate characteristics (or for point-based character creation, characteristics begin at 5 with a maximum at 20). A non-mutated human, then, is above-average in this game.

Step Two - Powers

The game contains three subsystems for powers: mutations (physical mutations), psionics ("mental mutations") and the "options" robots are equipped with.

Non-mutated humans doesn't get any powers, but gets other advantages instead: 1) above-average characteristics and skills, 2) significantly better social standing (it is the non-mutated humans that rule this world) 3) something called Talents.

Despite having nothing supernatural about them, how you acquire Talents work so similar to how Powers are acquired I'm going to refer them as a fourth Powers sub-system throughout the remainder of this analysis.

Powers are not selected independently, but using the same pool of points you select skills with. More on this later. Also see Step Seven - Skills.

Step Three - Age

The default method of generating age is simply for the player to choose. If you prefer rolling dice, MUA uses 1D10+15 (instead of BRP's 1D6+17).

Age brings experience in MUA too, though through a different system than BRP's. Life after the apocalypse is presumably hard, as evidenced by MUA's lower age threshold for lowered characteristics; already at 26 years of age you lose your first point of DEX!

Robots doesn't have an Age, they're all several hundred of years old amnesiac survivors of the Apocalypse.

Step Four - Characteristics Rolls

MUA uses this (though without labels for individual characteristics) and even expands it so you have Easy (x7), Hard (x3) and Absurd (x1) rolls in addition to the Normal (x5) ones featured in BRP.

Step Five - Derived Characteristics

Damage Bonus - works pretty much the same as in BRP (the Damage Bonus table is more granular)

Hit Points - MUA uses the "total hit points" option for all characters (PCs and NPCs).

Major Wound Level - called "Trauma Threshold" in MUA

Power Points - MUA feature a completely different mechanism for its psionics (see below). Classic power points are not used.

Experience Bonus - not used.

MOV - In MUA, you can move your (SIZ + DEX)/5 in meters and still act without a penalty. As some mutations make you very large (or very small) the "10 units a round" standard does not apply to MUA.

Other derived values in MUA include:

Initiative Bonus: Usually the same as your DEX, though certain powers can substantially change this. MUA uses the "Initiative Rolls" optional rule.

Reaction: This is more or less the same as the Charisma characteristic roll of BRP.

Status: A measure of your social status. This value doesn't seem to be much used in MUA and I won't explain it further unless asked to.

Renown: A measure of your reputation. This value doesn't seem to be much used in MUA and I won't explain it further unless asked to.

Carrying Capacity: In MUA, you can carry your STR in kilograms. Each additional kg carried brings a -1% penalty to movement and all DEX-based skills.

Step Seven - Skills

Both skills and powers are selected using the same pool of points. Instead of assigning individual percentage points, you buy entire chunks of skill percentages. This works like this:

You get 30 creation points (these points are separate from the points you get to generate characteristics). Each point gives you either a power or a chunk of skill equal to your characteristic for that skill. (Though many powers and skills are more expensive than this). As an example, let's take First Aid, a INT-based skill. If your INT is 11, each point spent on First Aid gives you +11 percentage points in First Aid.

Skills are categorized as "natural" or "trained". This division roughly equates to whether BRP grants you any base chance in the skill or not.

If it does, it's a "natural" skill, which means 1) you start off with a base chance in that skill equal to your characteristic for that skill, and 2) for each creation point you spend, you increase that skill by an amount equal to your characteristic for that skill. If it isn't, it's a "trained" skill, and 1) you start off by not having that skill at all (which normally means you have no chance of success) and 2) you need to spend two creation points to increase the skill by the standard amount (equal to your characteristic in the skill).

The maximum percentage of skills for starting characters is much more severe than in BRP: for Natural skills, this is three times your characteristic; for Trained skills, it is two times your characteristic. In other words, you can only increase any given skill twice using creation points. For non-mutated humans, these restrictions are relaxed somewhat, allowing the player to increase a small selection of skills three times instead of just two. Yes, MUA is "one of those games" where characters start out with less than 50% in most skills, much like Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay.

MUA presents a set of backgrounds and previous occupations to guide the player to selecting his set of skills, much like in BRP.

The power level of MUA isn't directly comparable to BRP's system, but let's work out a rough example. Assuming you spend 26 out of 30 creation points on skills, you get a total of 286 skill percentage units to distribute over no less than thirteen skills. But if you prioritize skills for above-average characteristics (which would be the norm) or play a non-mutated human, this total could reach the high 300's. MUA remains firmly a game with a Normal power level for starting characters, if we only look at skills.

Step Nine - Professions (or rather, Starting Belongings)

The player's choice of previous occupation determines his starting money, which he now can use to purchase equipment

Step Ten - Name & Finish

Questions like "where do I come from?" or "what did I do before becoming an adventurer?" the game supports by the backgrounds and previous occupations you will have chosen already in the character generation process.


MUA features the same seven characteristics as in BRP.

POW is used as a general Willpower characteristic. APP is definitely more Charisma than physical beauty.

Characteristics Rolls

As explained in Step 4 above, MUA allows for several degrees of difficulty involving these rolls. And the individual rolls for different characteristics aren't named.


MUA provides two sets of choices to ease your choice of skills (and powers) which is what professions in BRP is all about: 1) the kind of place you grew up in, and 2) your previous occupation (before you became an no-strings-attached adventurer).

The first provides the following choices: Wilderness, Countryside, and City. Your choice suggests a few choices for your powers, but nothing mandatory.

The second, the following: Administrator, Laborer, Aristocrat, Farmer, Merchant, Tradesman, Hunter, (Re-)Inventor, Doctor, Policeman, "Mailman" (Postriders and Heliograph Operators), Seaman, Soldier, Thief, or Explorer. Your choice specifies which Skills you should focus on.

Wealth levels aren't used. Each previous occupation lists your starting capital (in "krediter", credits, which conveniently enough is abbreviated the same way, "Kr", as Sweden's official currency, the krona.)

Edited by Ombord
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  • 3 weeks later...

Chapter 3. Skills

Generally, MUA uses far fewer skills than BRP standard, and does not use specialities at all, which should compensate to a certain degree the low starting scores. With fewer skills, competence is easier to attain. The game does utilize "limitations" on skills, in that some actions are resolved using the lower percentage of two (or more) skills.

Skills are modified for difficulty, but not in the rather crude BRP way. Instead the game suggests modifiers for Easy (+25%), Medium Hard (-10%), Hard (-25%) and Very Hard (-50%) skill uses.

One very nifty rule I haven't seen in any other BRP game (but feel free to educate me) is a general rule for retries. Basically, any skill can be retried given time: you get your first reroll after one minute, the second after one hour, the third after six hours and so on. This is a guideline lacking from most rpgs, and one I have found to be very useful even in other games!

As always, my focus is to list any deviations from standard BRP. For instance, any MUA skill not described here should be assumed to work more or less exactly like its BRP counterpart.

MUA doesn't use the Skill Category Bonuses optional rule, but characteristics still have a high influence on starting skill percentages. Each skill is tied to a particular characteristic, so that each chunk of skill you buy at character creation is equal to your value of the relevant characteristic. For instance, First Aid is tied to INT. If two characters have INT 9 and INT 16 respectively, for the same cost the first character gets First Aid 27%, the second will get First Aid 48%.

As mentioned before, each skill is categorized either as Natural or Trained. Here follows alphabetical listings of MUA's skills in each category, with the characteristic of each noted in brackets:

Natural Skills: Acrobatics (DEX), Bow (DEX), First Aid (INT), Rifle (DEX), Perception (INT), Throw (DEX), Bargain (APP), Melee (STR), Pistol (DEX), and Hide and Sneak (DEX).

Trained Skills: Education (INT), Boating/Sailing (INT), Energy Weapon (INT), Sleight of Hand (DEX), Driving (DEX), Traps (INT), Lock-picking (DEX), Natural Sciences (INT), Medicine (INT), Repair (INT), Ride (DEX), Gambling (INT), Explosives (INT), Martial Arts (DEX), Technology (INT), Heavy Weaponry (DEX), Underworld Lore (APP), Dodge (DEX), Drive Cart (DEX), Wilderness Lore (INT) and Zone Lore (INT).

Here are the same skills, instead categorized by standard BRP practice.

Combat Skills*: Bow, Energy Weapon, Heavy Weaponry, Martial Arts, Melee, Pistol, Rifle, and Throw.

Communication Skills: Bargain, Education, and Underworld Lore

Manipulation Skills: Boating/Sailing, Explosives, Lock-picking, Sleight of Hand, and Traps.

Mental Skills: First Aid, Gambling, Natural Sciences, Medicine, Repair, and Technology.

Perception Skills: Perception, Wilderness Lore, and Zone Lore.

Physical Skills: Acrobatics, Drive Cart, Driving, Hide and Sneak, and Ride.

*) Each Combat Skill is only one skill, as opposed to BRP, where each weapon or weapon class constitutes its own skill.

A few comments on specific skills:

Acrobatics: A catch-all skill encompassing Climb, Jump, Swim and related activities.

Bargain: Includes appraisal of all kinds of items.

Bow: This skill is for slings and bow and arrows. For crossbows, use Rifle.

Education: A catch-all skill for all tasks requiring learning. This skill specifically includes many communication skills such as disguise, etiquette, language, status and teach.

Energy Weapon: The skills Pistol and Rifle confer no ability to use futuristic laser weapons. All such weapons use this skill instead. This skill also replaces Natural Sciences for these weapons (the same skill is used to shoot as well as maintain a laser gun).

Hide and Sneak: This is a single skill, combining Hide and Stealth.

Natural Sciences: There's a clear divide between the science of MUAs current world and that which predates the apocalypse. This skill could equally well be called "pre-Catastrophe Magic Science" and has a decidedly practical bent as it is used to understand and use all those sci-fi tech finds. For modern equipment, use Technology. For 18th century equipment, use Repair.

Perception: MUA uses only a single skill for Listen, Sense, Spot and Track. Insight is likely to be a straight INT characteristic roll, not a skill roll.

Throw: A skill for throwing weapons like daggers and grenades.

Zone Lore: A specific skill for the dangerous and unpredictable "zones" of the world where the ordinary Wilderness Lore skill does not apply.

Unlike traditional fantasy games, MUA does not emphasize the role of the rogue - with Acrobatics, Hide and Sneak, and Perception as merely three skills, my guess is the game encourages everybody in the party to do these things, and not just one. Lock-picking is its own skill though. Traps is focused on setting snares, digging pits and the like, and seems more a "ranger" skill than a "rogue" skill.

Finally a note on experience points. MUA does not use the default BRP system - instead the GM is given guidelines on how many XP to grant after each session. Each XP raises a skill one percentage point (except when you reach the levels of 85% and 100%, when raising one percentage point requires two and three XP respectively). Players are free to choose which skills to raise.

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