I'm working on a campaign that will be going into the Mana Wastes, so I've been trying to draft up some good mutant creatures that roam the wasteland, here's the first pass at a new mutant adjustment:
Mutant creatures tend to have two mutations, one positive and one negative. Elite mutants might lack a negative mutation or possess two positive mutations while Weak mutants might lack a positive mutation or possess two negative mutations.
- Fragile: The mutant treats all fortitude saving throws as one degree of success worse than normal.
- Fractured Mind: The mutant treats all will saving throws as one degree of success worse than normal.
- Mutant spasms: The mutant treats all reflex saving throws as one degree of success worse than normal.
- Clumsy Frame: The mutant is permanently and incurably clumsy 1 and increases the value of any negative effect that makes them clumsy by 1.
- Light Sensitivity: The mutant is dazzled while in areas of bright light.
- Lame: The mutant takes a -5 penalty to all speeds.
- Vulnerable: The mutant gains weakness equal to their level (minimum 3) to bludgeoning, piercing, slashing, fire, electricity, cold, or acid damage. If the mutant is normally resistant to the chosen damage type that resistance disappears. If the mutant would normally be immune to a damage type they cannot be vulnerable to it.
- Armored: The mutant gains a +2 status bonus to AC
- Bulbous Eyes: The mutant gains darkvision and low-light vision
- Many-Eyed: The mutant can only be flanked if they are within reach of at least 3 creatures. The mutant gains a +2 status bonus on perception checks to seek using sight.
- Many-Eared: The mutant gains blindsense (imprecise) 10' based on sound and a +2 status bonus on perception checks to seek using hearing.
- Digging Claws: The mutant gains a burrow speed of 10' or increases their burrow speed by 5'.
- Resilient: The mutant gains resistance to it's level (minimum 3) to any one of the damage types listed in the Vulnerable negative mutation.
- Springing Legs: The mutant gains the Swift Leap action..
Swift Leap Single Action (move) The ghoul jumps up to half its Speed. This movement doesn’t trigger reactions.
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The only ones I may change would be your negative mutations that deal with failing saving throughs. As written it makes it impossible for your mutants to critically succeed at whatever they are weak to, and also makes them something like 50% more likely to critically fail at a roll. I suspect that in practice this would mean your party would steamroll one of those guys once they figured out what their weak save was.
You can probably mitigate this by giving mutants with those abilities more positive traits, turning them into fairly specialized glass cannons, but I think you could probably get about the same flavor by either,
1. Giving your mutant a -2 to the save in question.
2. Making the mutant spend an action on its turn, gripping its head, twitching, etc, when it fails a save so it is effectively Slowed 1 for a turn. or
3. Both of these.
Other than those the abilities look really neat, thematic and nothing my admittedly sleep-deprived brain can think of right now suggests they'd be too strong or weak. Loves me some Mana Waste Mutants.
I'm hesitant to add an extra arm mutation because I'm working on tweaking this for a PC heritage and I'm not sure on the balance of an extra hand. Like, it gives PCs few reasons not to use a 2-handed weapon and I'm not certain if that balances in play. I don't want mutations that are blocked off from PCs but make sense for NPCs.
I think you should be able to get away with it. The big problem with growing extra arms before was that they also could grant extra attacks if you took Multi-Attack, but now they can't because you are limited to a specific number of attacks.
If you are really worried about it you can also really play up the difficulties of having an extra arm. Make armor ill-fitting or cost to be specially tailored to fit their new anatomy. It's something both PCs and NPCs would logically need to do but you don't see NPCs directly having to deal with it.
Also homebrew a bladed gauntlet so you can have a mutant deal all three kinds of physical damage with a hand each.
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Been mulling over this for a while now, I think for Extra Arm I'm going to have the Positive Mutation be that you get a vestigial arm weaker and less flexible than normal, which can still manipulate and interact with items but can't wield weapons or shields. Then I'll add a 5th level ancestry feat that gives a +1 circumstance bonus on athletics checks to Grab and makes the arm a full-strength arm to wield at leisure. For monsters I won't give the full-arm capability to monsters below level 5.
I'm doing something similar with Springing Legs, instead I'm increasing the distance of all jumps/leaps by 5' and adding a 9th level ancestry feat that makes Leap not trigger reaction, bringing it in line with Elf Step while retaining the flavor of powerful mutant frog legs.
For the resistance one, I'm pulling it back in line with other ancestries by having it work with different numbers for PCs v. NPCs, doing 1/2 level resistance+treat heat as less severe, while vulnerable is 1/2 level weakness. Because in my mind the number is not an observable trait but a quirk of the math engine. A little gamey, I may change it, but not too far IMO.
I'm not doing the major mutations bit because I don't want to block PCs off from NPC abilities that would make sense for them but are too powerful. If there is no in-game reason why the figure with X mutation couldn't be a PC instead of an NPC I don't want that mutation to exist. For mutants that are extra-powerful I'll likely just make them wholly mutated and no longer resemble NPCs using monster creation guidelines (the ones coming out in October with the GMG).