Designer's Notes #4: Appendix M
MCC creator Jim Wampler has an exciting plan for the stretch goal adventures. As we close in on the next stretch goal adventure, we thought you might appreciate seeing his notes on the inspirations for Mutant Crawl Classics - in homage to Gygax's Appendix N, Jim is calling this Appendix M. And based on Appendix M, the stretch goal adventures will follow an inspirational course. So here is Appendix M - and look for another update tomorrow with plot summaries of the stretch goal adventures inspired by it!
By Jim Wampler
There was a conscious design intent with MCC RPG to present the world of Terra A.D. (After Disaster) as taking place in a setting more in line with the literary Appendix N influences than some other grittier, grimmer popular apocalyptic media. I call this list of inspirational sources “Appendix M” (M is for Mutant, as if I had to tell you).
Terra A.D. has its melancholic notes and the red bloated sun of Jack Vance’s The Dying Earth series, but not the nihilism and hopelessness of the Road Warrior movies. Taking place thousands of years after the nuclear winters and extinction events have all ended, there’s been an explosive evolutionary radiation much like in Brian Aldiss’ Hothouse. The PCs are sent out to recover lost technology in Seeker teams, not unlike the Starmen of Andre Norton’s Daybreak - 2250 A.D. (itself an inspiration for Jack Kirby’s seminal post-apocalyptic comic Kamandi Last Boy on Earth). The mutant PCs in MCC often go on wilderness missions that set them against various villainous Archaic Alignments, in ways very much inspired by Sterling Lanier’s Hiero’s Journey.
In simpler terms, in MCC RPG you will find a scarcity of dark clouded skies and funerary rights for a dead, doomed world. It’s a sunnier post-apocalypse.
This not so much a matter of personal tastes on my part as it is a calculated game design decision. My theory is that while grim and dark post-apocalyptic role playing games may make for a welcome change-of-pace when judge and players require a break from dungeoneering and slaying dragons, they do not tend to invite sustained campaign play. I believe that a post-apocalyptic setting that more closely mirrors DCC RPG’s close ties to Appendix N literature, with all the same opportunities for mystery and suspense, will better sustain players while they embark on the long road to empire-building and level 10.
Appendix “M” from MCC RPG
Starship (a.k.a. Non-Stop) by Brian Aldiss
Hothouse (a.k.a. The Long Afternoon of Earth) by Brian Aldiss
Daybreak - 2250 A.D. (a.k.a. Starman’s Son) by Andre Norton
No Night Without Stars by Andre Norton
Hiero’s Journey by Sterling E. Lanier
The Unforsaken Hiero by Sterling E. Lanier
The Dying Earth series by Jack Vance
Kamandi The Last Boy on Earth by Jack Kirby
Cobalt-60 by Vaughn Bode, Mark Bode, and Larry Todd
Mighty Samson by Otto Binder and Frank Thorne
The Omega Man (1971)
A Boy and His Dog (1975)
Damnation Alley (1977)
The Starlost (1973)
Thundarr the Barbarian (1980-82)