Maybe it was the virus, maybe it was the radiation, or maybe it was some kind of manipulation of the basic genetic structure shared by all humans. Most likely, it was some combination of all these factors that created the different Mutation Paths available to the denizens of the Grand Canyon Province. These choices range from Telepathic to Empathy to Nano-Manipulation, and each one has its own unique abilities. For example, the Sonic Manipulation Path includes Equilibrium Shock, an attack that slows the target. The Patho-Transmission begins with Sapping Sickness, which is a stamina-draining effect. Activating Mutations costs Gamma, a representation of the character’s mental fatigue.
Each Mutation Path falls into one of three fundamental types: Augmentation, Restoration, and Destruction. The types describe the purpose of most, but not all, mutations in that path. So most Augmentation Mutations are primarily buffs but may also include a few attacks. Items in the Restoration type generally heal, resurrect, and give temporary hit-point boosts. And mutations in a Destruction Path are offensive in nature and include Damage-Over-Time attacks, debuffs, and more.
Here are the ten available Mutation Paths, broken down by type and the factions that favor them:
- Enhancement: This mutant can use his or her own chemistry to alter the composition of other substances for buff, debuff, and healing effects. (Techs, CHOTA.)
- Telekinesis: The user creates kinetic energy with his or her mind and directs it at an enemy for damage and even occasional debuffs. (Lightbearers.)
- Primal: The mutant can activate repressed animal genes to grant personal stat buffs and even grant a few powers that mimic animal abilities and pheromones. (Vistas, CHOTA.)
- Telepathic: These powers affect the mind of the targets, changing their perceptions, memories, thought processes—sometimes crushing them. (Lightbearers, Travelers.)
- Nano-Manipulation: Favored by the Techs, this strange mutation alters the bio-electric field so that the mutant can control nanites left on the body after the cloning process. These mutants can direct the nanites to heal them, strengthen their armor, and even resuscitate others. (Techs.)
- Empathy: Users takes wounds and detrimental effects from other players onto themselves. At higher levels, they can also drain Health and Stamina from an opponent. An empathic mutant can also restore the dead by taking massive amounts of damage to him- or herself. (Lightbearers.)
- Thermal: By controlling the friction between molecules, characters with this power can cause temperature changes in a small area. This can result in fire and cold damage to targets, along with other debuffs. (CHOTA, Techs.)
- Sonic: This type of mutant can control sound waves and sonic vibrations to unleash sonic attacks, buffs and debuffs. (Travelers, Vistas.)
- Suppression: Allows a character to suppress a mutant’s power by removing buffs and debuffs or even by draining Gamma. (Enforcers.)
- Patho-Transmission: A mutant of this type can unleash disease, poison, and radiation on others. This character is also highly resistant to these kinds of attack. (CHOTA.)
Everyone begins with mutations in the Alpha Path (the “GlobalTech Standard Clone Upgrade Package”), which provides healing and stamina regeneration, in addition to some attacks. The Alpha Mutation Path is always equal to twice the player’s Willpower. AP cannot be spent on it directly.
Later in the game, it is possible to learn the faction-specific Mutation Paths by training and running missions. Each faction favors certain paths and offers the Knowledges needed to develop them, but players can make their own through use of the Mutagenics Skill.
Each Mutation Path is associated with one stat, which, along with Willpower, determines both the base and maximum skill values for that path. For example, Empathic Mutations are determined by Endurance and Willpower, while Primal Mutations have a base value that is a combination of Strength and Willpower. Spending AP can’t raise a Mutation Skill above its max, so to get the highest possible skills, you’ll have to boost the associated attributes.
Remember, mutations augment your primary combat style—they don’t replace it. You won’t be able to wander the wasteland fighting your battles purely with mutations. Instead, you might use Patho-Transmission to weaken a creature or rely on Telepathy to buff your allies before having to come up with other attacks.