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Rules Questions

 


 

Question: Many of my players are coming from a D&D 3.5 , OGL d20 or 4th ed. only gaming history, and are curious if Outland Arts will publish a d20-Outland conversion guide, to allow us to translate your game mechanic into d20, or visa versa. Also, why not publish products in dual stats? And what can I tell my group regarding why Outland has to use its own system?

Answer: We have nothing against OGL d20, 3.5, 4e or Pathfinder and think they are all fine systems, just not for us. At one point, back in 3rd edition d20 our team debated going fully d20, but that idea was quickly dropped when we saw the limitations and regulations and legal texts. Also, d20 seems to have made itself quite complicated for new GMs and players to get up to speed. The game mechanic seems to have become more complex since first edition, and when those of us who played third Edition tried to teach it to new players, it was a bit frustrating. It seemed to us that the d20 rules were always in the way, instead of the adventure itself. I know that other game systems are far more complex, such as the Action! system and whatnot, and that for some people that is appealing, but we wanted a game system which could be taught to a newbie in a short time, and that the game mechanic operated ‘off-stage’ with the GM required to know the crux of it while the players just had to know which dice was which, and how to strike opponents, and to concentrate on role-playing and adventure. 

            We do want to create a pdf clarifying how to turn d20 characters into Outland System characters, as well as creature conversions, but we have so far been toying with a way to translate the level system of d20 into the Rank system of Outland. Ranks, as you probably know, are not the same massive leap in hit points and power that one gets in a d20 game. Ranks are more gradual. for example, in D&D, going from 1st level to 2nd level is a massive jump, with the potential for a character to suddenly wake up one morning with twice as many hit points, while the next level, going to third, it is less gradual suddenly, for no apparent reason. In the Outland mechanic, one does gain 5 or so more endurance points as he or she goes up in rank, but the main increase is in skills, and for mutants, the potential for increases in either range or usage of aberrations. We wanted to make sure that a person was more powerful as he or she became more experienced due to learning more skills, becoming somewhat more fit or wiser, and so too, those PCs who survive, end up with relics which are the most potent survival aides going.

            Dual Stat blocks for every character or creature, trap or barrier, relic and whatnot would bloat the game products, and since our products are, mainly purchased via pdf, we didn’t want to have to force Outland system users to waste ink on d20 statistic blocks. I think that the glut of d20 products out there makes it unnecessary for d20 players to even want Outland Press publications. Still, whatever the players want, we will consider carefully.

 


 

Question: Why play a pure stock at all when you can play a Ghost Mutant who shares all the same benefits, who can go into the Holy Purist Empire or the Republic of Aberratia, use all relics, and still give’em hell with some sort of wicked mental mutation?

Answer: Depending on the GM and his or her setting specific outline, a player may have no choice but to play the character(s) he or she was born as, should the GM decree that player’s type is randomly generated.  Pure stock characters have several advantages, especially when outfitting is concerned at character generation, since they get two rolls on the Pure Stock Human Bonus Rolls table, Table TME-1-11 plus each pure stock gets 10 trait points to allot to his or her character as the player sees fit, either all lumped to one trait or divided about to gain the maximum trait potential. In social, setting based terms, many ‘old kind’ have come from far better families and might even start game play with an assault rifle or handgun, likewise, they have been better educated prior to game play and have skills, and in this game, ones’ skills are easily as important as one’s brute strength or endurance, or even the mutations. In addition, while a ghost mutant might be able to wear Shell class armor, he or she might still be considered a aberration as far as a DNA scanner readout is concerned. Many purist Rangers and advanced corporate holdover states rely on DNA scanners to evaluate if a stranger is indeed a mutant or not.

            Ghost Mutants are rare, but are often a good starting point for a new player who wants to commence playing more complex characters with mutations. Furthermore, a GM might want a group of players to all play ghost mutants, living deep within a purist nation, and must work together to hide their identity as well as escape into more mutant friendly lands. If you haven’t read The Chrysalides by John Wyman, then do so. It’s a small boo but a incredibly valuable resource for players an GM’s alike. I  read it in junior high school as part of a class assignment and would be lying if I said it hasn’t seriously influenced The Mutant Epoch game.

 


 

Question: Why in the hub rules, do the Experience Factors EF’s vary for the same relic. What I mean is, relics found through ‘adventuresome exploits’, net 10% of their silver pieces value as EF’s, but the value rolled, say for an assault rifle can range from 2001 to 3000 silver coins (2000+d1000sp), or 20 to 30 experience factors. Why would the value change the EF’s?

Answer: Good question. The value range is the sale value in currency, and reflects the price a relic dealer will give the character for the artifact.  While the EF’s can vary, the range is not extreme and tends to even out if a large haul of relics is uncovered. A GM can decide to allot the EF’s based on the mid value of a relic. For example, the assault rifle value is 2000+d1000sp, so, take the d1000 or any dice roll, and find the half way point, in this case it is 500, so for experience factors at least, let’s say the gun is worth 2500sp or 25 EF’s. This should solve any concerns about randomness in experience allotment.

 


 

Question: Why the Outland System™ game mechanic™? Why Not go OGL?

Answer: Again, the current incarnation of The Mutant Epoch™ is the end evolution of two earlier games which were played for over a decade but never published. The system now called the ‘Outland System™’ was spawned in these primordial times, improved, re-written, play-tested for countless hours… and well, a tried and true system which uses d100 as its main combat resolution roll, yet calls upon all dice for weapon damages and other random outcomes.

            D20 and the OGL simply didn’t exist when we started to seriously build this game system, and while we have nothing against OGL, Pathfinder 3.5 and 4e, and wish the best for WOtC and those who publish materials for it, as we ourselves might, the Open Gaming License did not satisfy our need to be ground up game designers. The limitations of character generation and some of the rules didn’t fit our vision for The Mutant Epoch or the upcoming Fantasy RPG. Character advancement, called ranks in the Outland System™, is handled differently than the d20 level system, as are rules on death, spells, rounds and time sequences. Character traits in the OGL system were also firm, and didn’t offer the same gaming demands our players and writers required.

            Many of our gamers, from experienced old school veterans like myself and newbies, all played Basic, Expert and AD&D in some form or another at one time, and it is a great, well written, well supplied system. We are planning to produce some OGL fantasy products, which will be on the Outland Arts site under their own section, but many of these will be duplicated into Outland System products as well.

 



Question: Do you plan to make an OGL or 4e version of the Mutant Epoch™?

Answer: We get this asked a lot so thought, even though it's related to the above questions, better answer it.

     No, we don’t plan to make an OGL version of The Mutant Epoch, but never say never. The Mutant Epoch™ character generation system, with its different traits, as well as the rank system, do not mutate well into a OGL, 4e or Pathfinder system translation. We feel that to design a game without any sort of license agreements, censorship, or outside controls will produce a pure product, a product which flows where the in-game story narrative need to go, into situations and circumstances that might not always be suitable for every gamer. We don’t want to apologize for the content our writers create, and if an adventure has pg-13 or needs an Adult Content Advisory sticker on it because of the art or written descriptions, then so be it.  We don’t feel that the OGL will stay in its current form forever, that it is likely censorship will reign in free thinking publishers.


 

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