Every Week It's Wibbley-Wobbley Timey-Wimey Pookie-Reviewery...

Saturday 6 May 2023

Maglev Mutant Mystery

Mutant Crawl Classics #14: Mayhem on the Magtrain is the fourteenth release for Mutant Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game – Triumph & Technology Won by Mutants & Magic, the spiritual successor to Gamma World published by Goodman Games. Designed for Second Level player characters, what this means is that—just like Mutant Crawl Classics #13: Into The Glowing Depths before itMutant Crawl Classics #14: Mayhem on the Magtrain is not a Character Funnel, one of the signature features of both the Mutant Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game and the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game it is mechanically based upon—in which initially, a player is expected to roll up three or four Level Zero characters and have them play through a generally nasty, deadly adventure, which surviving will prove a challenge. Those that do survive receive enough Experience Points to advance to First Level and gain all of the advantages of their Class. In terms of the setting, known as Terra A.D., or ‘Terra After Disaster’, this is a ‘Rite of Passage’ and in Mutants, Manimals, and Plantients, the stress of it will trigger ‘Metagenesis’, their DNA expressing itself and their mutations blossoming forth. By the time the Player Characters in Mutant Crawl Classics #14: Mayhem on the Magtrain have reached Second Level, they will have had numerous adventures, should have understanding as to how both their mutant powers and how at least some of the various weapons, devices, and artefacts of the Ancients they have found work and can use on their future adventures.

Mutant Crawl Classics #14: Mayhem on the Magtrain takes the Player Characters in a totally unexpected direction, quite literally, but not an unprecedented one. The scenario opens with the village elders summoning the Player Characters before the tribal council. A fellow tribe member, agitatedly reports that she and her hut-mate were attacked by several Sk’wik, the notoriously violent worm-folk which turn everything into a charnel heap that they constantly stir. (It is notable that the Sk’wik are very much like the mysterious worm-like race known as the Sathar from Star Frontiers.) The Player Characters are tasked with returning to the site of the attack and burn out the nest before the Sk’wik spread and threaten the village. The Player Characters quickly locate the nest and after killing the horrid worm-things, find themselves in a cavern of the Ancients. Investigating further, they discover a metal door and beyond that a metal tube of the Ancients, and if the Player Characters have played through the scenario, ‘Assault on the Sky-High Tower’, the Mutant Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game – Triumph & Technology Won by Mutants & Magic core rule book, then they will have been here before! That scenario involves a journey by tube train, not too dissimilar to the journey they are about to make. The scenario is also just a little like that of Mutant Crawl Classics #6: The Apocalypse Ark being set aboard a moving vehicle.

All of the action of the scenario—and the scenario is very action orientated—takes place aboard a runaway Maglev train, still intent on completing its timetable and reaching its next destination at its best possible speed. Or rather, as it turns out, the worst speed possible! At first, the journey seems to going well, but the virtual Conductor becomes increasingly jittery and uncertain until she explains the other A.I. aboard the Maglev train, the Engineer is following its programming to the letter and refusing all attempts at communication. As the Maglev speeds up, it begins to buck and rock as the repulsor on one of its forward carriages begins to fail. As the Maglev hurtles towards its next destination, the Conductor asks the Player Characters to help save the train and go forward to the ‘bridge’ and deal with the Engineer.

Cue all of the classic train shenanigans—only on a Maglev! Do the Player Characters have to climb onto the roof of the train? Are they shot at whilst atop the train? Do they have to inch their way along the undercarriage of the train? Do they have a fight with the Rail Marshal-Bot? The answer is yes to all of questions and more!

Mutant Crawl Classics #14: Mayhem on the Magtrain is a short adventure. Action-packed, but short. It is designed to provide a means to getting the Player Characters a long way away from their village to somewhere possibly more interesting. In the standard Mutant Crawl Classics set-up, the Player Characters rarely get that far from their base village, going out and back again to deal with issues and threats the tribe faces.
Mutant Crawl Classics #14: Mayhem on the Magtrain gets the Player Characters far away and hopefully somewhere interesting.

In addition to the floorplans of the Maglev, the scenario includes several new artefacts. The most fun of these is
‘Ocean Apes Insta-Pet’, an entertaining update of sea monkeys!

Physically, behind a suitably action-packed cover, complete with a metallic logo, Mutant Crawl Classics #14: Mayhem on the Magtrain is cleanly and tidily laid out, clearly written, and decently illustrated. As already mentioned, the maps are really nicely done.

Mutant Crawl Classics #14: Mayhem on the Magtrain is an action movie of a scenario. It is fun, fast, and furiously thrilling, and both the players and the Judge will enjoy playing this in between longer, more involving scenarios.


Goodman Games will be at UK Games Expo
from Friday 2nd to Sunday 4th, 2023.

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