Mutagens... for a price... *WIP*

So I had this idea of genes which someone can take and alter their genetics with it. Of course, no gene is without side effects, so taking any of these genes will be incredibly painful. You can take as many genes as your fortitude score, but if you take more, there is a chance that you could explode in a green gooey mess. All the increases to attributes don’t “Actually” change the attribute score so to say, but it makes it count as 1 or two more than the base attribute score. Darkvision basically means you can see in the dark, so no disadvantage or impairments there. Some of these genes have yet to be completed, so I would appreciate
A: Ideas for what these genes could do
B: Changes to the current Genes

Mystery Genes
PD = physical deformity
1 Frog
Pros: great leap feat, swimming feat
Cons: lose climbing feat
PD: webbed feet
2 Cat
Pros: agility +1, dark vision
Cons: Easily distracted
PD: Cat Ears
3 Lizard
Pros: climbing feat, regeneration boon access
Cons: Physically deformed flaw
PD: Weird eyes
4 hummingbird
Pros: flying feat, +10’ when flying
PD: Blue wings
5 Owl
Pros: Perception+Learning +1, darkvision, Flying feat
Cons: condescending and irritating, asocial
PD: Big eyes, brown wings
6 Eagle
Pros: Perception +2, speed +10, darkvision, Flying feat
Cons: Proud flaw
PD: beady eyes, grey wings
7 Crab
Pros: Natural defense, immune to provoked
Cons: weak spot in place of choice, if hit get crit
PD: All skin except weak spot covered with dark red carapace
8 Sea Urchin
Pros: natural defense, deal damage to unarmed attacks, d4 persistent damage
Cons: stubborn, 10’ slower
PD: covered in spikes
9 Turtle
Pros: learning +1, natural defense, swimming feat
Cons: 10’ slower
PD: torso covered in shell
10 Wasp
Pros: flying feat, stinger, d4 persistent damage
Cons: disadvantage on swimming, easily irritated
PD: insect wings and stinger
11 Scorpion
Pros: stinger, d8 persistent damage, claws, immobile bane
Cons: disadvantage on swimming, self-centered, jealous
PD: big stinger out of back, 6 legs, claw hands
12 Spider
Pros: Climbing feat, venomous bite, d6 persistent damage, observant, logic +1
Cons: Disadvantage on swimming, cold personality
PD: 6 arms, eight eyes, venomous fangs
13 General fox
Pros: natural tracker, +1 Perception based on smell
Cons: free spirited
PD: Fox Furry
14 Air fox
Pros: natural tracker, +1 Perception based on smell, flying, +1 to alteration
Cons: chaotic
PD: tan furry
15 Earth fox
Pros: natural tracker, +1 Perception based on smell, alteration +3 with earth
Cons: stubborn
PD: brown furry
16 Water fox
Pros: natural tracker, +1 Perception based on smell, alteration +3 with water
Cons: naive
PD: Dark blue furry
17 Fire fox
Pros: natural tracker, +1 Perception based on smell, energy +3 with fire
Cons: bloodlust
PD: red furry
18 Ice fox
Pros: natural tracker, +1 Perception based on smell, energy +3 with Ice
Cons: naive
PD: Light blue furry
19 Forest fox
Pros: natural tracker, +1 Perception based on smell, +3 alteration with plants
Cons: zealous, protect the trees
PD: Dark green furry
20 Rock fox
Pros: natural tracker, +1 Perception based on smell, +3 alteration with stone
Cons: Stubborn
PD: Grey furry
21 Light fox
Pros: natural tracker, +1 Perception based on smell, +3 creation, +3 prescience
Cons: zealous, morally good
PD: glowing yellow furry
22 Dark fox
Pros: natural tracker, +1 Perception based on smell, + 3 influence, +3 prescience
Cons: compulsive liar
PD: Shadow black furry
23 Wheel
Pros: + 20’ on flat ground
Cons: - 10’ on difficult terrain
PD: wheel legs
24 Chimpanzee
Pros: prescience +1 + adv. 1 on Strength checks to swing or climb
Cons: curious
PD: skinny black hairy arms
25 Gorilla
Pros: strength +2, adv. 1 on Strength checks to swing or climb
Cons: Stubborn, Ill-tempered
PD:Thick black hairy arms with silver streaks
26 Gibbon
Pros: +2 agility, adv. 1 on Strength checks to swim and climb
Cons: Curious, habitual pickpocket
PD: skinny black hairy arms, gibbon tail
27 Wolf
Pros: lethal strike + agility +2
Cons: Bloodlust
PD: Lupine snout
28 Bear
Pros: fortitude +2 + Strength +2
Cons: Stubborn
PD: Brown hair, bear like face
29 Sabertooth
Pros: agility +2 + strength +1
Cons: Bloodlust
PD: Longer canines, like very long ones
30 Crocodile
Pros: swimming feat + Strength +1
Cons: easily winded/fatigue
PD: Green scales, crocosnout
31 Snake
Pros: poison bite d6 persistent damage, agility +1
Cons: color blind, easily startled, overreact when startled
PD: Green scales, cobra hood
32 Lobster
Pros: claws immobile, natural defense
Cons: compulsion, eat loose skin/shell
PD: red carapace with claws
33 Lion
PD: mane
34 Rhino
PD: horn from forehead
35 Giraffe
PD: longer neck with spots
36 Elephant
PD: tusks, ears, and trunk
37 Antelope
PD: Antlers
38 Gallimimus
PD: orange scales, Longer muscular legs
39 T-Rex
PD:Big head, tiny arms, red scales
40 Velociraptor
PD: Green scales, Dino head
41 Komodo Dragon
PD: lizard tongue, green scales
42 Kangaroo
PD: kangaroo legs
43 Cheetah
PD: cheetah spots
44 Sonic
PD: blue quills, red shoes
45 Dragon
PD: leathery wings that match color of type
46 Squirrel
PD: bushy tail
47 Boars
PD: boar tusks
48 Parakeets
PD: colorful wings
49 Temporary Transformation - Whichever animal the consumer was thinking about for:
1: 1 round
2: 1 Minute
3: 1hour
4: 1 day
50 Anti gene - cancels previous gene

An interesting idea. Have you had a look at the Extraordinary and Legendary Item rules in Chapter 9? They don’t have to be physical “items” in order to use the item creation rules. That could help you with templating the rules nicely, as well as giving you an idea of the power level; for example, your attribute increases are normally restricted to Legendary items because it’s enormously powerful compared to most of the effects you’re trying here. I’d suggest using Advantage to represent the “better at Agility/Perception/other Attributes” because it’s much less overpowered compared to the other effects.

I also think that maybe 50 options is a bit too much to start with, even if a lot of then are purely cosmetic at the moment. If you’re thinking of offering the choice to your players, maybe make a short list of your favourite 10 or so (20 at most) excluding the most powerful ones, then introduce more when the players have gotten used to them and you’ve had a chance to make any balance tweaks they might need.


I think another thing worth taking a look at is the Shapeshift Boon. It has effects that can be very similar to the “physical deformity” you described, it doesn’t need to fully transform you.

If you want such specific effects it might be a good idea to extend the rules of Shapeshift and add some standardized forms you can take with it.

Now Shapeshift manipulates mainly Attributes and size but you can easily extend it to manipulate other things such as adding Perks/Flaws or even more special things like a temporary Feat (though be careful with those). Note that the movement types you can gain with Shapeshift are already described.

As for the price, I would maybe put it into the players hands somewhat by introducing Advantage on Invocation Rolls in return for taking some Damage or start adding Fatigued if they Shapeshift more than a certain amount (although that sounds a bit like resource managing or spell slots again, which is something OL is very much trying to avoid). Or maybe they can get more powerful effects (like a non-movement Feat) by accepting Damage/Fatigue.

Then, for a permanent version, you could follow @SamWilby’s advice and use the Extraordinary Item creation rules with that modified Shapeshift Boon.

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Thanks for your feedback! I took a look at Chapter 9 and have made most of the genes just advantage 1 in an attribute and only given some attributes for things like extraordinary attributes which most of my players don’t have access to (They are college students who crashed on a Caribbean island, so they don’t really have access to classic “magic” or “super high tech”).

About your last point, the reason why I have only done up to 32 in detail is that those are the ones that the PCs discover in the lab they discover on the island, the rest being found in a separate lab. The labels are unfortunately very confusing, labelled instead by the species or genus name of the creature in latin rather than “Spider” or “Cat”. As such, if a PC decides to test one, it is very likely that s/he has no idea what it is, and as such I make a table to roll to see which gene they’ve gotten. However, I think I agree that perhaps reducing the pool to 10-20 is probably for the best, since already the d100 table for 32 is perhaps a bit much. I made up to 32 of the genes because I designed a room where they are on a catwalk that goes over 4 x 8 vats in a grid, which is 32 vats of individual genes. Anyway, I’ll keep 20 in more accessible potions/elixirs in order to not have so many to choose from in case someone has high enough learning to know the latin names of animals.

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Thanks for the tip! I am going for something permanent though. It’s not exactly something which you take and then you can choose between spider form and human form, It’s more like you take it and now you’re half-human, half-spider. In short, there are consequences for messing with your body at a genetic level.

I like the idea of these mutagens and one disadvantage you can use the flaw system for penalties