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 boosts to Health. Mutations in a Destruction Path are offensive in nature and include attacks, debuffs, and more damages that occur over time.
Everyone begins with mutations in the Alpha Path (the “GlobalTech Standard Clone Upgrade Package”), which provides healing and 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 other Mutation Paths by training and running missions. Players can get them from neutral sources or 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 Charisma and Willpower, while Primal Mutations have a base value that is a combination of Strength and Willpower. Spending APs 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.