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Modiphius > Mutant: Year Zero (Free League Publishing)

Scrounger, Scrounger and Mechanic (and Bowyer and Dominate)

posted Jul 14, 2016 00:09:49 by Min Lungelow
So, my players just pointed out an interesting little issue within the talents section of Genlab Alpha.

There are two different talents called "Scrounger". One of them is specific to the Scavenger role, and states
"You know how to pack your stu so it doesn’t take
much space and your pack becomes easy to carry. You can base your carrying capacity (page 23) on Wits instead of Strength."

The other is in General and reads:
"You can repair any piece of gear that has lost Gear Bonus (page 42). Each attempt takes a few
hours, and requires a Comprehend roll. Every 6
rolled restores one point of Gear Bonus. It cannot go above its original rating. If you fail, you cannot try to repair the same object again until your Comprehend skill level has increased. You can repair Artifacts, if you have Comprehended how they work."

which is uncomfortably close to Mechanic, that reads:
"You can use the Comprehend skill to repair a broken piece of gear. Each attempt takes a few hours. For every 6 you roll, the Gear Bonus of the item is restored one step, up to its original number. You may only make one attempt per damaged item, until it is damaged again."

I understand their differences. Scrounger lets you make repair attempts until you fail, at which point you can't try again until you increase Comprehend again, and it lets you attempt to repair Artifacts. Mechanic, however, allows you to make one attempt for each time the item is damaged.

My issue is that they're so similar that it almost feels useless to have two separate skills?

And then there's Bowyer. Bowyer feels like a really crap version of what the Gearhead can do. It only allows you to specifically make primitive ranged weapons. It's nice that it allows you to repair weapons, but you can't even use it to create arrows.

And I guess Dominate is a little awkward? there's no mechanical way to wheel and deal, so how does trading work? A big burly guy could just go in and intimidate everyone into giving them all their shit for free! I like the addition of Dominate, because it makes sense as a skill, but it feels weird that that's the only way mechanically for all nonviolent conflicts to be resolved.
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7 replies
Fenhorn said Jul 14, 2016 08:49:07
I can't reply on the repair talent thing since in the Swedish version we only have one talent that allows you to repair things with wits. Yeah, the Gearhead in MYZ can repair things but the Gearhead role is not available to the animals in GA until the campaign is over and the two games are combined.

I don't know if you have an issue with the talent that changes carrying capacity from Strength to Wits. A good talent for a small character that have Str 2 and Wits 5.

Regarding Bowyer. It is a crappy version of what a Gearhead can do, but there are no Gearheads in Paradise Valley. Also, I know it doesn't say so but he should be able to make arrows (I use that it take a couple of hours and he makes one arrow per Nuke rolled). When you do combine the two games, a Gearhead is better when it comes to making things, but a hunter (I assume that's the roles name) can hunt, shoot, make his own armour, make traps, and repair his bow (and with the extended understanding that arrows is closely connected to a bow, even make his own arrows). Sure he can't repair a scrap pistol but on the other hand the Gearhead can't hunt, ...

There is only one role that haggle and "wheel and deal" in MYZ and that is the Fixer. You don't use Manipulate when you do simple haggling when you barter, such things are roleplayed. Manipulate is used when you want to change a persons mind (persuade a mutant to help you out, interrogate a mutant, making him talk, etc.) Sure you can manipulate a poor fixer to give you stuff (an Enforcer can do this better with Intimidate). I don't think the fixers friends (his boss) will like this though.

Animals can't Manipulate, the can Dominate. Just as for the mutant, you don't use any skill when you do simple haggling. You use it to force another animals mind (a little bit similar to what an Enforcer do with his Intimidate, although Dominate is a two-way system). What you Dominate for must be reasonable and what you want must be something that can be done. And of course you can Dominate another animal to give you things, but I'm not so sure the rest of the clan will approve such behaviour and if you do this on an animal in another clan. Wars have started for less.

But all this is academic since there are no Enforcers, Fixers or Manipulators in Genlab Alpha. I have already played Genlab Alpha and also played with the two games combined. So in that campaign, the animals come short when it comes to the social game (they don't have Manipulate). Their way of persuade someone to talk is more brutal. When an animal is using Dominate vs. a mutant (that doesn't have Dominate) it's not a two-way system it's even more similar to Intimidate (although, regarding this, weaker).
[Last edited Jul 14, 2016 08:52:29]
War, war never changes
Unslain said Jul 14, 2016 17:53:40
The printed Genlab Alpha does change the name of the general Scrounger talent. Unfortunately, it's resulted in two talents named Mechanic!
While it's not come up yet (as we're only one session in), my plan as GM is, as you suggest Min, to combine the two talents since they do the same thing but with slightly different restrictions. I'm simply going to use both sets of limits, so Mechanic characters can only roll once to repair until the item gets damaged again and if the roll fails outright, the character needs to advance Comprehend in order to try again on that piece of gear.

I agree that Bowyer should allow for fletching arrows and I like Fenhorn's solution. And Fenhorn has also covered anything I could have said about Dominate.

Personally I love the big differences in the capabilities of animal and human mutants. Yes the animals are more primitive than the Arkers but they are primitives with laser guns (if they're lucky), can breed and aren't degenerating like the human mutants. Plus the mutants in our ark would (will?) kill for the Hunt skill!
Min Lungelow said Jul 17, 2016 01:46:10
How does the skill in the Swedish version work?
Fenhorn said Jul 17, 2016 07:41:58
What skill?
War, war never changes
Min Lungelow said Jul 20, 2016 23:28:23
The one that allows for repairing.
Fenhorn said Jul 21, 2016 08:44:03
In the Swedish version of MGA, it is the Comprehend skill that is used for Repair, IF you have the general talent Repairer (this was a direct translation). The talent allows you to repair, with the skill Comprehend, one point per nuke rolled. It takes a couple of hours. There is no other way for MGA character to repair things, since they don't have gearheads (not until the MGA campaign is over and they meet the mutants).
War, war never changes
TomasFriaLigan said Sep 13, 2016 09:48:18

Sorry for such slow reply here. For quicker replies from the designers, you can always try the Free League forums, which has an English section for MYZ). But we will strive to be more present here as well. :)

The double Mechanic talent is an error. There should be only one. The text on page 59 is a little more comprehensive, so please use that version. :)

Bowyer - remember that this is talent, and cannot be compared to a specialist skill like Jury-Rig. The Hunter's specialist skill is Hunt. Talents always have much more limited uses than skills. But I do think it makes perfect sense for a Bowyer to make arrows, even though it doesn't explicitly says so in the book.

Dominate IS more blunt than Manipulate, yes! :)
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