Breaking Out Of The Laboratory With Mutant: Genlab Alpha
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  • Breaking Out Of The Laboratory With Mutant: Genlab Alpha

    Mutant: Genlab Alpha
    (MGA) is a hardcover 242 page full color post-apocalyptic RPG and supplement by Swedish publisher Fria Ligan (Free League). The starter booklet includes a free rules overview. Both a full-fledged RPG in its own right and a supplement to Mutant: Year Zero (MY0), the game uses attributes, skills, and items to form a d6 dice pool with one 6 indicating success. Both games can be combined together. Players play sentient humanoid animals with roles like healer, hunter, or scavenger. Each PC has powers based on their animal type.

    Genlab Alpha includes a complete prison break campaign. If the PC animals escape from their jailors, they enter the Zone the mutants are exploring in MY0. The animals can then create settlements following the rules for Arks in MY0. The humanoid animals need to escape their valley prison. They do so through tribe insurgency—tracking how rebellious each of the eight tribes are. When the score gets high enough, the robots guarding the animals can be overwhelmed and freedom achieved.

    The interesting thing about this prison break campaign is that how it is carried out is completely in the hands of the players. The GM has detailed descriptions of locations, robots, and responses to animal insurgency but the driving force of the adventures remains the PCs. The art depicts humanoid animals in real peril and as real people which helps ground the setting.

    There are many parts of Genlab Alpha that can pulled out and added to MY0 even if the entire population of animals do not enter the Zone. Roles, talents, monsters, artifacts, and projects port easily ruleswise, but each has some unique considerations. There are places where new roles and talents from MGA might overlap with roles from MY0. The unique skill of the Gearhead might be undercut by the Talent Mechanic for example. Over all, the rules in Genlab Alpha mesh well with Mutant: Year Zero and can include some enhancements to your Mutant: Year Zero games.

    The seer is a new role that includes mystical elements like scrying. While these abilities could simply be mental powers, the seer certainly brings new flavor to MY0.
    Some of the artifacts in Genlab Alpha are much higher tech than in MY0 such as a laser pistol. These artifacts should likely be held back until a high tech location like Eden or Genlab Alpha is found and explored. The new artifacts armchair and teddy bear were unexpected, amusing, and useful. My players really liked the Slugger Talent, which helps to keep the Enforcer on his feet and fighting.

    Perhaps the most useful section to use in MY0 is the Conflict and Trauma chapter. Not all of these rules are found in the MY0 rulebook. For example, the chapter includes drowning rules and more challenging Trauma recovery. The Mutant: Genlab Alpha book is worth picking up if you enjoy post-apocalyptic role-playing or want to role-play a humanoid animal struggling to survive in a violent world.
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Eltab's Avatar
      Eltab -
      Standing solidly in the shadow of GAMMA WORLD ...

      But I'm still interested enough to take a look at this.
    1. Charles Dunwoody -
      Gamma World 1E was the first RPG that I GMed. MY0 combined with Genlab Alpha has a similar feel but a bit less wild. It is a good change of pace.
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