“Pollution, plague, and radiation mixed into an unholy soup that tainted and warped all it touched! Some gained incredible psychic powers, while others devolved into hulking mindless brutes. Most just died of radiation poisoning or slowly died covered in painful tumors. But those rare few, the so-called ‘freaks’ survived. They were changed and imbued with strange abilities. Even in a hostile climate where the world is in ruins, it’s not too easy to keep your weird gifts a secret. People will find you and hunt you down, whatever their insane reasons are.”
In the off chance that exposure to harmful elements doesn’t seriously corrupt or kill your character, there is also a chance to gain some useful mutations as well. Here is a list of concepts and ideas I’m running with for a more science-fantasy inspired game. Below are some examples of character mutations. By all means, if these do not suite you, swap them out with your own ideas.
NOTE: Drawbacks are found here.
Mutations are caused when the player is exposed to extraordinary conditions! Perhaps they come into contact with a mutagenic chemical or potion? Perhaps they’ve been dwelling in a contaminated area without protection for too long? Maybe they’re the victim of dark powers at work? No matter the cause, they have been forever changed. One option is featured in the rules for radiation.
Minor Mutations, Major Mutations & Mutation Points
Under normal circumstances, you can gain a new mutation after obtaining defects and drawbacks. Major mutations gain more drawbacks than minor mutations do. If something gives you points for mutations, you can subtract from the total mutation cost. If you roll random, your mutations and defect scores must balance each other out. If one has a couple points above the other, give the other side the right amount to balance it out via an extra mutation or defect. However, some class abilities and feats give you bonus points for mutations, sometimes with a specific mutation in mind.
P = Point Value
Campaign Option: Degeneration – This is for more horror-inspired games that assume the Sanity stat is being used. Each time you gain a mutation (positive or negative), you must make a Sanity saving throw. Failure results in the mutation making you more mad, unhinged, or even beastly in demeanor; this character endures long-term madness and loses Sanity. If Sanity drops below a designated amount (DM’s discretion), the character is considered a Mutant NPC.
Campaign Option: Curing Mutation – Somewhat inspired by the option above, this gives players a chance to return to normal. Treat mutation as you would as both a curse and disease, like lycanthropy and vampirism. Unlike either of these, you can cure mutations through an advanced Auto-Surgeon or through casting Greater Restoration on the victim. This removes 1 mutation of choice. However, if you are using the Sanity module, this won’t restore sanity lost from mutations as well.
Mutations List (D100 Roll for random)
(1 – 12) Ability Boost *2P – You gain a permanent +2 to one ability score, you must reroll an ability score that is already 18 or higher. (MAJOR ONLY *4P – Roll twice, take both results) Choose one of the following or roll a d6 to choose:
- Strength (1 – 2)
- Dexterity(3 – 4)
- Constitution (5 – 6)
- Intelligence (7 – 8)
- Wisdom (9 – 10)
- Charisma (11 – 12)
(13 – 24) Natural Weaponry *2P – You gain use of a natural weapon, as per the Natural Weapon Training feat. (MAJOR ONLY *4- You also gain the bonus effects as per the Natural Weapon Mastery feat for that weapon.) You can obtain this mutation multiple times for a different weapon. Roll a d6 to see what weapon you gain:
- Bite (13 – 14)
- Claw/Talon (can use off-hand as well) (15 – 16)
- Slam/Tail (17 – 18)
- Gore (19 – 20)
- Stinger (21 – 22)
- Tentacles (can use off-hand as well) (23 – 24)
(25 -26) Many Arms *3P – You sprout two extra arms, they aren’t as strong as your original arms though. Or maybe you have tons of Slenderman Tentacles now! Because, that’s cool too. You can wield a light one-handed weapon and use it as an off-hand attack. Alternatively, you can hold another light shield or any light item that isn’t very heavy. In addition, you can use the extra hands for the Monk’s Martial Arts ability while they are free. (MAJOR ONLY *6- Your new arms work just as well as your originals. Treat these new arms as you would your regular arms. You also gain advantage on Athletics checks. Targets grappled by you gain disadvantage on their save.)
(27 – 28) Healing Surge *3P – You have an uncanny ability to heal your wounds at a rapid rate. You can use a bonus action regain hit points equal to 1 of your hit dice, without actually spending that hit die. You must wait until you take a long rest before using this ability again. (MAJOR ONLY *5 – You gain the Fighter’s Second Wind ability, which works as written in the PHB. However, if your Hit Die is a D12, treat the roll as a D12 instead.)
*NOTE: This ability was made with the assumption that the Second Wind ability has been modified to NOT have ingrained self-healing. However, this mutation can stack in use with Second Wind with rules as written.
(29 – 30) Innate Powers *1P – Your connection to psionic power grants you the ability to manifest a boon. Gain 1 cantrip of choice as a powerful mental ability. (MAJOR ONLY *4P – Gain the benefits of the Magic Initiate feat too.)
(31 – 42) Keen Senses *1P – Your senses become fine tuned in one way or another. You may roll to see which benefit you receive. (MAJOR ONLY *4P – Instead of rolling a d6, you gain all of these traits.) For the Minor ability, Roll a d6:
- Keen Hearing – You gain advantage on checks involving hearing (Perception, typically.) (31-32)
- Keen Vision – You gain advantage on checks involving sight (Perception, typically.) (33 – 34)
- Keen Smell – You gain advantage on checks involving smell (Perception, typically.) (35 – 36)
- Keen Taste – You gain advantage on checks involving taste or checks related to consumption of food (Likely Nature or Medicine checks to identify if something is safe to eat.) (37 – 38)
- Keen Touch – You gain advantage on Sleight of Hand checks, as well as tools checks involving fine motor skills (like disarming a trap or picking a lock.) (39 – 40)
- Reroll. (This ability does not grant a “sixth sense”) (41 – 42)
(43 – 44) Sixth Sense *3P – You have an uncanny knack for detecting intelligence life (or sometimes, “unlife”). This includes creatures you cannot see or do not currently acknowledge the existence of. This ability also phases through walls. As an action, you can sense creatures living and dead within 120 ft. of you. You do not know their location, but you can detect a vague general vicinity (which direction they are and if they’re close.) You can use this ability as many times as your charisma modifier. Afterwards, you must complete a long rest.
(45 – 46) Houdini *4P – You gain the ability the ability to jump between reality in an instant. This functions like the Misty Step ability and works once every short rest (or long rest). (MAJOR ONLY *6P – After using this ability regularly, you gain the ability to use Houdini at-will as a movement instead. Also, elemental blast costs *1P less, including major.)
(47 – 48) Elemental Blast *3P – You can conjure fire from your fingertips, freeze enemies and shatter them into a million pieces, and more! As an ranged attack action (using a mental stat of choice for attack rolls), you can target any enemy within 60 ft. of you (or beyond to 120 ft. with disadvantage). This attack deals 3d4 elemental damage of choice. As you level up, this attack becomes stronger; 3d6 at level 6, 3d8 at level 12, and 3d10 at level 18. (MAJOR ONLY *6P – You can elect to use this ability as an offhand attack as well.)
(49 – 50) Eyeballs Everywhere *2P – You have an eyeball in the back of your brain! And all around your head! You have Advantage on Perception and Insight (body movement, expression) with sight when focusing on one target, you can also see in a 360 view. (MAJOR ONLY *4P – You cannot be surprised, you can also perceive/insight with advantage on multiple things at once.)
(51 – 52) Runner *2P – +10 ft. movement (MAJOR ONLY *3P – Using the dash action does triple movement for you instead of twice when on all fours or other bestial modes of travel.)
(53 – 54) Wings *3P – You may glide downwards around for 10 feet when falling. You also gain resistance on damage when you fall from heights. (MAJOR ONLY *5P – You gain a flying speed equal to your land speed.)
(55 – 56) Dragon’s Breath *2P – You may use Dragon’s Breath as per the Dragonborn/Draconic racial ability (MAJOR ONLY *5P – You may use Dragon’s Breath as per the Half-Dragon entry in the Monster Manual; However, its use is limited by Con Modifier *min 1* times per long rest.)
(57 – 58) Temporal Shift *3P – You can slightly alter time around you. You gain an extra action on your turn. You must take a short or long rest before using this ability again without negative repercussions. Attempting this again during another round will require a Wisdom check of 12. If you succeed, you may use Temporal Shift again. If you fail, you cannot use it till you take your rest. Either way, you gain 1 level of exhaustion for exasperating your ability. (MAJOR ONLY *6 – Instead, after any other character has completed their turn, you can use your reaction to take a second turn. You gain 1 level of exhaustion each time you do this.)
(59 – 60) Elemental Resistance *2 – You’ve fortified yourself against an elemental power. Choose one of the following elements: Acid, Force, Poison, Lightning, Thunder, Fire, Cold, Radiant, Necrotic (MAJOR ONLY *5 – Gain immunity instead)
(61 – 62) Teleportation Field *3P – You imbue chaos magic within a 30 ft. area as a standard action. During the start of any creature’s turn for 1 minute, they must roll an Intelligence save (8 + Int Mod + Prof) or be whisked in a random direction and a certain number of feet. You must take a long rest before using this ability again. (MAJOR ONLY *5P – You may use this ability as many times as your Intelligence modifier before taking a long rest.)
D8 for direction taken:
- Left Forward
- Right Forward
- Left Backward
- Right Backward
Roll D6 for amount of feet away
- 5 ft.
- 10 ft.
- 15 ft.
- 20 ft.
- 25 ft.
- 30 ft.
(63 – 64) Telepath *2P – You add Telepathy to your languages. You can telepathically speak any language you know to and with a creature within 60 ft. of you. (Major Only *4P – Extend your reach to 120 ft. Also, you can mimic sounds via Ghost Sound/Minor Illusion when using telepathy at-will.)
(65 – 66) Enhanced Vision *2P (Darkvision) /*3P (Echolocation) – You can choose between Darkvision or Echolocation.
Darkvision – You see up to 60 ft. in dim light as if it were bright light and darkness as if it were dim light. If you already have this, extend it 60 more ft.
Echolocation – You gain Blindsight out 60 ft., it does not work if you are deafened or silenced. If you have this, extend by 60 ft. more.
(67 – 68) Spider Climber *3P – As an action, you can graft yourself the effects of the Spider Climb spell. This is cast as a 2nd level spell. You must take a long rest before using this ability again. (MAJOR ONLY *5P You are always under the effects of Spider Climb)
(69 – 70) Psychic Linguist *3P – You’ve become a master of language. Comprehend Language can be used at-will as an action; Upon reaching level 8, you gain Tongues, which can be used at-will as an action as well.
(71 – 72) Growth *4P – You grow one size. You can dual wield heavy weapons. In addition, you can hold a two-handed weapon in one hand (You cannot duel wield another two-handed weapon.) You gain a +2 bonus to strength (maximum 20). You cannot select Shrinking. Also, armor must be custom made for you at twice the price, however you might get away with armor made for another race.
(73 – 74) Shrinking *4P – You shrink one size. You cannot shrink any size past Tiny size. You gain a +2 bonus to dexterity, but cannot wield heavy weapons . You may use Stealth to hide behind creatures larger than you; you’re also trained in Acrobatics and Stealth if you weren’t already. You gain a +2 bonus to dexterity (maximum 20). Allies can easily carry you without strain for a long period of time. You cannot select this is you have Growth. Also, armor must be custom made for you at twice the price, however you might get away with armor made for another race.
(75 – 76) Natural Armor *3P- A furry hide, set of scales, or exoskeleton protects you to a greater extent. You gain a +2 bonus to AC that is always a part of you. (MAJOR ONLY *5P – In addition, you gain a resistance to Bludgeoning/Slashing/Piercing damage equal to your constitution modifier)
(77 – 84) Element Infused Body *4P – Whenever a creature attacks you with a melee or ranged attack with 10 ft. of you, they must make a Dexterity saving throw equal to (8 + Your Proficiency Bonus + Constitution mod) or take 1d4 (chosen type) damage. You must choose your element upon gaining this mutation. In addition, each element grants a special effect:
- Flame (Fire) – They must save again or drop their weapon and take an extra 1 fire damage (77 – 78)
- Earth (Acid) – They gain disadvantage on all attack rolls with that weapon (79 – 80)
- Water (Cold) – They cannot take any reactions until the end of their next round; Their speed is also reduced by 10 ft. until the end of their next round. (81 – 82)
- Air (Lightning) – They are Incapacitated for 1 round. If they are wearing metal armor, they are Paralyzed for 1 round instead. (83 – 84)
You gain use of this ability equal to your Constitution modifier before needing to take a long rest. (MAJOR ONLY *6P You gain another benefit based on element; Flame – 1/Short Rest you can create cloud of steam (Fog Cloud) as an action, Earth – You can try to knock an enemy prone whenever you hit with a melee attack (They must make Dex save vs. Prof + Con Mod + 8), Water – You may breath underwater, Air – 1/Long Rest you can become light as air and float (Fly) as a movement.
(85 – 86) Invulnerable Body *4P – You are immune to Poison damage and the Poisoned condition. You do not suffer the effects of Exhaustion, ever. (MAJOR ONLY *6P – In addition, you don’t need to eat, drink, sleep, or breath. You are truly post-human.)
(87 – 88) Attractive *2P – You are more appealing, but not as threatening. You gain advantage against Animal Handling checks, as well as all Charisma checks (except Intimidate; which you have disadvantage on.) However, you are likely to receive special treatment from markets, including possible discounts. (MAJOR ONLY *3P – You have advantage on Intimidate as well, rather than disadvantage.)
(89 – 90) Fear Aura *2P – 20 ft. aura, causes creatures (not including allies) that step inside of it to become frightened for 1 round if they fail a Wisdom save (Wis Mod + 8 + Prof Bonus)
(91 – 92) Poison Spit *3P – You can use a bonus action to try to spit disgusting goo in your opponent’s eyes as a ranged attack. The range is 20 ft./40 ft. After hitting with a ranged attack (using dexterity for attack), the opponent takes 1d4 acid damage + Constitution modifier poison damage. They must succeed a saving throw (8 + Con Mod + Prof) or be blinded for 1d4 rounds. You must take a short rest before doing this attack again.
(93 – 94) Psionic Shield *3P – As a bonus action, conjure a shield of psychic energy. You gain a resistance of 3 to bludgeoning, slashing, and piercing damage; as well as force damage. This lasts for as many rounds as your intelligence modifier (Min 1). You must take a short rest before using it again.
(95 – 96) Radioactive *4P – Your body emits radiation. Any creature who approaches you within 10 ft. range must succeed a Constitution check (8 + Prof + Con mod) or take 2d6 radiation damage (radiant and necrotic damage). This applies to allies who do not have protection against radiation. Once per short rest, you can cause an enemy to suffer radiation poisoning; their maximum hit points are drained by 1d6 until cured of radiation poisong. (MAJOR ONLY *6P – Your aura expands to 20 ft. Also, any creature who fails their Con save is also drained 1d10 maximum hit points until cured of radiation poisoning. The second ability does not require a short rest and happens every time the target fails their save.)
(97 – 98) Resilient *1P – Every time you gain this mutation, you are trained in a stat saving throw of choice.
(99 – 00) X-Ray Vision *4P – Take a look at and through whatever you want, a novelty for all! As an action, you can activate X-Ray vision out 20 ft. You can see through up to1 inch of metal or composite alloy, 1 ft. of brick or rock, or up to 3 feet through wood, dirt or plaster/cement. You must concentrate if using this for more than 1 round. You may use this for up to 1 minute before you are required to take a short rest or long rest to use it again.
IMAGE SOURCE: LordNuQurr by Josh Diffey (darthcestual)
Created by Doctor Necrotic for Doctor Necrotic Media. Inspired by Gamma World, a property of Wizards of the Coast.