Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Review & Commentary On The Mutant Future rpg System & Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52: Nanotech Undead From Skirmisher Publishing

Wasteland horrors and zombies are always a favorite but here in  Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52: Nanotech Undead we get a boat load of monster options and weirdness for the Mutant Future rpg. But is the issue worth getting? Yes but there are some interesting give and take things here in the wastelands.

My sweet spot for post apocalyptic rpg's has always been Gamma World first & second edition, the games were and are some of my favorite systems & rpg's. They form a good part of my next phase of gaming in my life. The thing about Gamma World was its flexibility, the apocalypse could be anything from a zombie plague to a full blown holocaust of Biblical proportions with little bits of everything in between. Everyone I knew mixed in everything from Logan's Run to Night of the Living Dead. In case you don't know;"Gamma World is a science fantasy role-playing game, originally designed by James M. Ward and Gary Jaquet, and first published by TSR in 1978. It borrowed heavily from Ward's earlier product, Metamorphosis Alpha."

So I was thrilled to see Mutant Future a retroclone of old school post apocalyptic rpgs from Goblinoid games  was available but like its originator the DM has to do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes to developing the background, setting material, adventures, etc.  Which is fine because there's some great licensed products out there to help fill in the gaps such as Skirmisher Publishing's Wisdom From the Wastelands and other fine source books to help fill in the gap. Now Skirmisher Publishing has  come out with  Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52: Nanotech Undead.   Basically this is Skirmisher's undead & zombie source book for their version of the Mutant Future setting. The book is really nicely done at twenty nine pages for three dollars, I do wish it had an index because this issue is slightly bigger then normal issues. The undead rules are very well done and there is a vast array of undead to keep your players busy but once again we've got the same issue that I've had with Skirmisher Publishing in the past. None of the content of this book is OGL. They used public domain sources such as Wiki for the artwork and interior art work modified but none of the sweet Mutant Future content from Chris Van Deelen or the Skirmisher crew  is 'open game content'.  This has been a huge thorn in my side with about ninety nine percent of their publications going back to Skirmisher Publishing's issue #1 of Wisdom From Wasteland. For me as a blogger & writer I understand their stance upon their trademark and copyright but its God damn frustrating too. Skirmisher Publishing makes some of the best content for Mutant Future out there but I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot radioactive pole. Without the OGL open game content label I can't publish or use these great monsters in an adventure or scenario for Mutant Future without the risk of legal action. This is something I'm not willing to do. See that's one of the reasons why its important for companies to use and produce 'open game content' it lets other writers and companies continue the OSR momentum while at the same time putting money in the coffers of companies.
Because of the success of properties like Walking Dead, the Night of the Living Dead films, World War Z, and so many numerous video games,etc. zombies and thousands of variations are in circulation. This is because of a lapse in copyright & trade mark of the original Night of the Living Dead. The fact is that this another example of companies raiding the public domain without fueling the content to continue the creativity at the expense of future projects that could benefit the whole Mutant Future community.


But is Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52 undead necessary or needed? Well in fact not at all. Labyrinth Lord and The Labyrinth Lord Advanced Companion both provide lots of undead and a zombie template that can be used with Mutant Future with little modification and some numbers crunching. What Issue #52 of WFW does is provide a whole host of zombie and undead nanite animated goodness. The rules cover the entire gammit of zombification and the various types of  Mutant Future undead. There are over a dozen varieties and sub types across the board in Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52. The pdf is worth getting for the support of the monsters and zombies alone but this book covers the whole range of wasteland horrors.  Do I think that  Wisdom from the Wastelands Issue #52: Nanotech Undead is worth getting? Yes I do especially for Mutant Future and other OGL players but is this product for me? Probably not because I've got this end of the wasteland covered.

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