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1989 version box cover
|Designer(s)||Nils Gullikson, Michael Stenmark, Henrik Strandberg, Magnus Seter, Jerker Sojdelius, Stefan Thulin, Fredrik Malmberg|
|Publication date||1984 (Mutant)|
1989 ("New Mutant")
1992 (Mutant RYMD)
1993 (Mutant Chronicles)
2002 (Mutant - Undergångens arvtagare)
2014 (Mutant - År Noll)
|Genre(s)||post-apocalypse, cyberpunk, space opera|
Mutant is a series of Swedish role-playing games that were developed and published by Äventyrsspel (Target Games). The current version is developed by Fria Ligan under license by Cabinet Entertainment and published in Swedish and English by Fria Ligan and Modiphius respectively. A video game adaptation named Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden was released December 2018.
Mutant (1984) was the second role-playing game published by Äventyrsspel, and was based on the Basic Role-Playing system, but adopted a setting full of mutants and mutated animals in a post-apocalyptic Scandinavia. It was written by Gunilla Jonsson & Michael Petersén with illustrations by Nils Gulliksson.:209–210 The game was expanded by Mutant 2 (1986) and published throughout the 1980s.:209
Then Target published a cyberpunk Mutant, with a completely different setting and new character options called "nya" (or "new") Mutant (1989).:209
Mutant RYMD (1992) or “Mutant SPACE” changed the setting once again, by taking it out into the solar system.:209 This iteration, however, was short-lived: after the English release of Kult came Mutant Chronicles (1993), this new edition was actually a synthesis, combining elements of Mutant RYMD and Kult — but removing all the religious elements from the latter, and, as a first for Target Games was released almost simultaneously in Sweden and in the US, as both a pen and paper role-playing game, collectible miniatures game (Warzone) and board game (Siege of the Citadel). The English translation of Mutant Chronicles was provided by Heartbreaker Hobbies and Games.:210
After publication ceased the original (post-apocalyptic) Mutant game was picked up by Järnringen (The Iron Ring), who published their version Mutant: Undergångens arvtagare (2002). Where the original game, like many games published in the 80s, did not offer much world building; Undergångens Arvtagare considerably expanded on the premise of a fledgling Scandinavian civilization rising from the ruins. Järnringen supported this line through 2008.:216
In 2014 a new game in the franchise was released by Fria Ligan (Free League), under license from Paradox Entertainment (the successor company of Target Games, now Cabinet Entertainment). Dubbed "Mutant - År Noll" the game uses the same premise as the original 1984 version and "Undergångens Arvtagare", but once more offers a brand-new setting: the game world is set several hundred years earlier, when the apocalypse is still fresh and mutations are new and unstable.
The campaign setting of the 1984 release was very similar to Gamma World, a mostly undefined world taking place hundreds of years after a big catastrophe. The world is populated by humans, robots, and mutants (including anthropomorphic animals). The rule system was similar to the modified Basic Role-Playing rules used in Target Games' earlier Drakar och Demoner game, utilizing a percentile die. In 1986 a rules expansion called Mutant 2 was published that among other things introduced a more advanced skill system, advanced rules for combat, hit locations and a more developed campaign setting.
In 1989 Target Games introduced a new version of Mutant (unofficially branded "New Mutant" to distinguish it from the older version). In this version, it was the year 2089 and the world was ruled by large corporations in gigantic cities, like in Judge Dredd. This was the first cyberpunk role-playing game in Swedish. The rules were roughly compatible with the old ruleset, but with more support for various firearms. Also a new character "class": androids to supplement robots and mutants.
Mutant RYMD and Mutant Chronicles
Mutant RYMD ("Mutant SPACE") was the next, short-lived, version of Mutant published in 1992. The campaign setting was similar to the 1989 version but in Mutant RYMD the corporations put much effort into space exploration and colonization, eventually reaching a fictional tenth planet named Nero and awakening an evil, supernatural force that attacks the solar system. Some of the monsters and symbols were taken from another of Target Games' role-playing games, Kult. The rules were more or less identical to that of the 1989 version of Mutant.
In 1993 Mutant RYMD was discontinued in favor of Mutant Chronicles, a game which inherited many aspects of RYMD's campaign setting.
Mutant - Undergångens arvtagare
After the reconstruction of Target Games and the transfer of its intellectual property to Paradox Entertainment, a new version of Mutant was published under license to a company called Järnringen in 2002. This version, Mutant - Undergångens arvtagare ("Mutant - Heirs of the Apocalypse"), returned to the original post-apocalyptic campaign setting but with a new set of rules.
Mutant - År Noll and Year Zero
In 2014 a new game in the franchise was released by Fria Ligan. In "År Noll", and in future expansions, players can play through the emergence of the mutants, the mutated animals, the robots and finally the non-mutated humans into the ravaged world. "År Noll" uses a custom set of rules based on the physical and psychological hardships of surviving in a post-apocalyptic world.
"År Noll" was translated into English and released as "Mutant - Year Zero" in December 2014. The first expansion to the Swedish version, "Genlab Alfa" was released in the spring of 2015. A German version of "År Noll" was released as "Mutant - Jahr Null" in 2018.
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- Shannon Appelcline (2014). Designers & Dragons: The '90s. Evil Hat Productions. ISBN 978-1-61317-084-7.