Risky Business

There were a number of comments to my last post related to Creep contamination and the risks of suffering mutation.

Exploring the surface is risky business in Tempora Mutantur (see my Grim New World post). Expedition Teams may encounter Creep contamination in the form of rad storms, soil contaminated by chemical weapons, pockets of toxic goo, strange diseases of Ancient origin, or any number of other sources.

If you are carrying a Geiger counter or rad tabs, you can never be quite sure whether they’ll be able to detect this particular form of Creep. And even if they do provide warning, it may already be too late.

Still, players should have the option to reduce the risk of contamination (though at some cost). Those who engage in ‘risky’ behaviour will have greater chances of Creep contamination. Risky behaviour may include the following:

  • not having a character with good Lore Skill checks;
  • exploring unknown terrain without rad tabs / Geiger counter;
  • scavenging for loot without rad tabs / Geiger counter;
  • wandering far from known shelters (risk from rad storms);
  • fighting creatures with Creep attacks;
  • not carrying anti-Creep medicines.

Conversely, cautious choices will reduce the risk of Creep contamination:

  • having a “spotter” with good Lore Skill checks;
  • travelling slowly enough in new terrain to check for contamination;
  • avoid scavenging for loot;
  • using rad tabs (or a geiger counter) to assess contamination;
  • wearing rad suits or rad armour to protect against Creep;
  • remaining within range of shelters (to protect against rad storms);
  • avoiding creatures with known Creep attacks;
  • carrying anti-Creep medicines.

Most of these safety tips require either (1) expensive equipment such as rad suits and geiger counters or (2) restricting a character’s actions or mobility. That’s just the cost of playing it safe.

Cautious Exploration

I would like to propose the following house rule, which provides players with the option to reducing their risk of mutation. It is an addition to the Wilderness Exploration rules:

  • Cautious Exploration: To avoid potential contamination, a party may explore new terrain cautiously. This allows the group two Lore Skill checks to notice signs of Creep before venturing too deeply into a contaminated zone. However, travel speed is reduced to 2/3 normal. A group with a movement rate of 9″, for example, would normally be able to travel 18 miles in a day. If travelling cautiously, they would be limited to 12 miles of travel per day.

    If a party is also equipped with a Geiger counter or rad tabs, they would get a third Lore Skill check to avoid contamination. (And if I scout checks things ahead of the rest of the group, it can reduce the overall risk yet further – except for the scout.)

For yucks, I put together the following spreadsheet to compare the level of contamination for three different approaches: “Reckless” exploration with a low Lore Skill check, “Standard” exploration with a decent Lore Skill check, and “Cautious” exploration. It uses a random number generator to determine whether a given potential exposure to Creep results in contamination. Usually a cautious PC would be alive (though mutated) after 18 exposures, while a reckless PC would be dead.

3 Responses to “Risky Business”

  1. One reason I threw together the spreadsheet was to check how likely it was for my solitaire session to have played out the way it did.

    The group was lucky not to encounter any Rad storms, and were kind of unlucky to have been contaminated by the first Creep hex they entered. Overall, though, it was pretty typical for a ten-day expedition.

  2. Moses Says:

    I never thought Bart would live to a ripe old age, it is just taking him longer to die than I think you expected.
    I like your response though I still think rad tabs should work differently.

  3. (Hey Moses; check your e-mail. I’ve responded to several of your messages.)

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