Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Metamorphica

Hey, while I'm in the mood to post links to cool stuff, figure I might as well use this day to link to my new favorite systemless RPG book. Coming to sit right alongside the Story Games Names Project, The Metamorphica is a book of random mutation tables - a list of tables that you roll dice on to determine mutations.

I must say, in the past, I really disliked random tables. My opinion sounded sort of like: "randomly choosing elements instead of picking specifically tends to make a disparate and uncohesive whole." And frankly, I still don't think that's necessarily incorrect. However, playing Fiasco and then multiple mutation games at GPNW really cemented for me the idea that random tables allow for the creation of interesting concepts when you're low on ideas and creates constructs I would have never thought of. For example, in Geiger World at GPNW, I rolled the Plant and Seismic mutations. It took a little thought, but from that I ended up playing a mad wizard's Shield Golem that's skin was covered in layers of moss and plant matter and I photosynthesized for energy. It was a cool idea thta was a lot of fun to play and I would never have done that without a random roll. My Metamorphosis: Omicron character was even crazier.

Essentially, to me, The Metamorphica is a golden tool of improvisation, instantly providing interesting ideas to fill a gap. Now, there are a LOT of mutations (1000, all in one table, but it's divided into blocks of type of mutation), but a great many of them are very cool. My own recent use of them has actually been in creating interesting alien species for my Stars Without Number thing, and it's been amazingly good for that.

And the kicker? Free download. Five bucks + shipping to get a paperback or free pdf. So why not? If you do RPGs, check it out. It doesn't matter WHAT your game is, you can probably find a good use for this stuff.

-- Dear Johnstone: Hey, if you're reading this, I believe I met you at Go Play NW but didn't get a chance to game with you. Heck, the only reason I at all consider that you may be reading this is the fact that I've linked my blog in my GPNW forum signature. Regardless though, just wanted to say thank you for this great thing and keep up the fantastic work. Cheers!

EDIT: Holy cow look at that, this is the 100th post on the blog! That's freaking CRAZY! Thanks so much to all of the cool people who keep coming by each day and make that view count stay up, I never could have kept this up without you guys silently supporting and motivating me.
End Recording,


  1. Hi! Glad you like the book. Could you post the alien creatures you've been creating? I'd like to see what you made with the various tables.

    GPNW was great, but yeah, there's a long list of people I didn't get a chance to game with. There's always next year!

  2. Absolutely will! It's a lot of fun to make them, I'll totally share some.

    And I feel the same there, I'll definitely be there next year so hopefully we'll have a chance!