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Roleplaying at The End of Days
"How did the world end? Some Stalkers and other braggarts say they know what happened. That a great plague swept the world and killed everyone. That the bosses of the Old Age fired their weapons of mass destruction at each other and drowned the world in flames. That the gods among the stars, the Ancients’ overlords, had enough of mankind’s hubris and decided to end it all in fire and brimstone. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s just lies and tall tales. The truth is, no one knows for sure. Except maybe the Elder. And he refuses to talk about it. We learned as children not to ask, he would curse and rave at us every time the subject came up. But I’ve heard him mumble in his sleep. He said that the Ancients ended themselves."
Hanneth, Chronicler
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Mutant: År Noll, otherwise called Mutant: Year Zero in English speaking regions, is the current iteration of the Swedish Mutant tabletop RPG series. Which is published under Free League Publishing and Modiphius Entertainment. It's a post-apocalyptic RPG set a few decades after the end of the world, where you and others get to play as a race of super-powered mutants. All of whom are attempting to rebuild their sanctuary, 'The Ark', and survive in the hostile 'Zone' outside The Ark's protection and within The Dawnworld's clutches. Unlike Mutant UA and Mutant Chronicles which took the ideas of the series in vastly different directions; Mutant: Year Zero attempts to remain as close and as faithful as it possibly can to the original premise of the series that was established back in 1984. This includes building off of a more traditional Mad Max inspired world and setting as opposed to a Warhammer 40,000 clone or Victorian-esque sci-fi setting.

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Mutant: Year Zero has several additional Source Books and nine Supplements which act as their own separate adventures, whilst the three Source Books adventures occur tangentially to the Core Rule Book. The Core Rule Book has players take on the roles of Mutants, The People, attempting to find 'Eden' and find a cure for their barrenness. For The People can not have children and with no children it's only a matter of time before they die out. As The People are only made up of around two-hundred Mutants all together with a slowly diminishing population, that shrinks at the end of every session depending on the result of a six-sided dice. 'Eden' is their only hope if they wish to survive and continue The People's culture and legacy in the 'Zone'. The first Source Book is called Genlab Alpha, with the players taking on the roles of Mutated Animals. Unlike the human Mutants, the Animals aren't barren and have been steadily growing their population since the end of the world. But they've all been tapped in an enclosure called Paradise Valley, which is controlled by ruthless machines that act as the Animals' jailers. The Goal of Genlab Alpha is for the Players to build a Resistance Force against their oppressors and escape Paradise.

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The second Source Book is called Mechatron, this time the players take on the role of newly sentient Robots experiencing freedom and independent thought from The Collective that is controlled by the Overarching A.I. NODOS. The Robots adapt to any and all situations they encounter and could potentially live on forever, because of this fact they have adapted and learnt to question their existence which has given them the ability to gain self awareness in the time since the end of the world. Mechatron is set in a self-producing facility deep underwater called Mechatron-7. Players are assigned to the Error Elimination Unit, with the mission of investigating Mechatron-7's Robotic denizens in the hope of learning and solving it's issues. Since gaining sentience, the Robots have become aware of their environment and learnt that Mechatron-7 is falling into ruin. Their programming originally blinded them to this reality, but now the veil has been lifted and Mechatron-7 is dying. The Robots must fight for whatever resources remain so that they and Mechatron-7 will survive.

The third Source Book is called Elysium; where players play as the Heir to one of the Four Titan Houses for ten-thousand of the last remaining humans living deep underneath Earth in Elysium-1. Before the end of the World; a powerful covenant of Four Houses built dozens of Enclaves across the world, in the hopes of ensuring humanity's survival after the end. These Enclaves were built in veneration of the late 19th century, where the woes and conflicts of the 20th and 21st century were forgotten and never to be repeated again. Unfortunately these Enclaves began a devastating war against one another soon after the end of the world, with only Elysium-1 being the last reaming Enclave. The Four Houses attempted to isolate Elysium-1 and its citizens from the rest of the world, by imposing draconian law and quelling dissidents. This has grown heavy animosity against the Four Houses with the lower classes and may result in a civil war that Elysium-1 can't survive; that's where the players come in, they are assigned as Judicators from their chosen House to squash the growing rebellion amongst the Elysium-1 masses whilst secretly securing their own House's power.

The fourth (and theoretically final) Source Book is the upcoming Ad Astra, about the Titan Powers who escaped into Earth's orbit and survive on dotted space stations far removed from the decaying surface. No release date is yet known for this book.

The game provides examples of:

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  • Adventure Guild: Blackhand’s Bar, owned by the eponymous four-armed Mutant himself, is designed to emulate the classic adventuring hub. It is a place full of rumors, where the PCs can find missions to take them to other thrilling locations in the Zone. The GM can also introduce their players to NPCs from other Special Zone Sectors as well.
  • After the End: No one really knows how the world came to an end, except the Heads of the Elysium families, but what is known is that it was more than just one.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Almost all forms of artificial intelligence in Mutant: Year Zero's world has a trend of going off the deep end, either naturally over time or forcibly by others.
  • Alcohol Is Gasoline: The alcohol that's brewed in Year Zero's world is so damn strong that it can have any vehicle running up to one square mile for every dose of Booze that's placed in the tank.
  • All Hail the Great God Mickey!: Because so many understand little about The Dawnworld surrounding them it has resulted in a lot of fear and paranoia to engulfed the minds of the gullible, making them part with their rational thinking. Which follows with them worshiping whatever they believe to hold their salvation. With The Nova Cult worshiping a live rocket in a missile silo; the animals sacrificing and giving tributes to effigies, made in the supposed likeness of ancient humans; the robots seeking answers to their existence from their long dead creators; and the Elysians viewing old world knowledge and the surviving Eminences as akin to holy text and living prophets.
  • Alternate History: Whatever vague hints that are mentioned in any of the books, that directly reference our modern day, do not paint a one-to-one parallel of our present. In fact there are more hits to suggest that Year Zero's world diverged from ours some thirty-odd years ago.
  • A Master Makes Their Own Tools: Two of the three Talents that are exclusive to The Warrior class, allow them to forge their own melee weapons as well as master any chosen melee weapon they want.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: It's basically a given with The Mutants.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Lair of the Saurians Special Zone Sector has an entire population of Mutant Lizards that are lead by a single male, whilst the rest of the species are female. Most, if not all, of these reptiles are cunning hunters.
  • Ambiguously Human: Many of the Humanoid creatures can be qualify as this, as this is due to the Mutants' own warped perception and understanding of what a human is. Because such an understanding has been skewed by how their people look on the Ark and how alien those outside the Ark are to them.
  • Ambiguous Situation: There is almost no history of how The Nova Cult came to be and their origins are a complete mystery even to themselves. Playing into their mysterious nature; it's like they just appeared from thin air in The Zone. The only reliable information about them is that they came from a distant Ark in The Dawn World beyond the PCs' Zone, but whatever Plutonia tells the PCs is most likely a well crafted fabrication devoid of any truth.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: There's no established time period that defines when and where Year Zero's timeline diverged from ours nor how long ago the apocalypse happened; all that can be estimated is that Year Zero takes place around two to three-hundred years after the end of the world. This is evident due to the major story Enclaves having been built Post-Collapse and Pre-Enclave War, with some of the computer systems still being operational. But this is still speculatory at best, when one factors in certain events and places.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Averted, the end of the world happened and many billions of people died as a great cost. The game emphasizes this loss by having the populations of the PC's races act as an in-game timer, a timer that tics down every session with a six-sided dice roll. So there's only so much of a stable population in the Core Rule Book and Source Books; around two hundred in The Ark, one-thousand-three-hundred-and-ninety in Genlab and just about ten-thousand in Elysium-1. The robots of Mechatron-7 are incalculable so the timer is replaced with an energy timer, were as Elysium-1 has a chaos/control meter. Once it reaches zero, it's game over.
  • Ancient Keeper: The Elder, and the other Eden Scientists, attempted this role with the Mutants under his care. But as he got older and started slowly succumbing to the ill effects of The Rot, he couldn't stop them from journeying out into The Zone.
  • Apocalypse Cult: There are a few, but The Nova Cult are kings in this regard. The Nova Cult is a sect of Mutants from a distant Ark that are heavily composed of psionic power based Mutants, who operate within a missile Silo base. They're lead by Plutonia, a charismatic mutant with strong psionic mutations. She believes that a holy, burning light will one day cleanse the world of all evil; she believes that Doomsday will be heralded by the birth of a luminescent child, one that she calls the Doomsday Child.
  • Apocalypse How: Type 2.
  • Arcology: This is what all Enclaves across the world are meant to be, with fully self sufficient floors and districts that segregate the classes.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: If the the elite that sit atop The Crown of Elysium-1 are anything to go by then yikes, it's no wonder the enclave is on the brink of collapse.
  • Artificial Human: All Mutants are artificial humans, tube grown, genetically constructed babies designed to survive and adept to the environment that is The Dawnworld.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Not only is there the medical absurdity of creating humans with random and volatile mutations; combining the DNA of human and animal would be genetically impossible, due to the vastly different cellular structure.
  • Artistic License – Nuclear Physics: In Mutant: Year Zero, radiation has morphed into some sort of twisted miasma covering the vast majority of the Zone. Affecting the world with regards to the weather, plant and animal life. Because of its prevalence, yet lack of understanding by most in the Zone; many have simply just call it The Rot. But despite its in-game ill-effects on the PCs; The Rot is still considerably survivable, even when some characters are literally bathed in it for days.
  • Attack Animal: One of the Talents for the role of Dog Handlers have these.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: The Chronicler and Elysium Scholar Classes are some of the best non-combat centered roles in the game. Due to The Chronicler's support role and healing potential, Whilst Elysium Scholars are the best Judicators against deceitful actions and PC Zone Settlement Project managers.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: The Mutants believe wholeheartedly that their future and prosperity lies with children of their own blood. Without them, everything they have built or will ever build will be for nothing.
  • Badass Bookworm: It's implied that The Elder was able to defend The Ark, with numerous Mutant children, for almost two decades all on his own.
  • Badass Family: Believe it or not, a significant theme of the setting is family. Whether between the Mutants of The Ark, The Animals of Genlab, The Robots of Mechatron-7 or the Humans of the Four Elysium Houses. Many PCs will in some way be related to each other, and each member of their family are in some ways equally skilled and as capable as the PCs themselves.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Some of the major villain characters and NPCs can border on being either psychotic nutters, torturing and killing people left and right for their own amusement; or being a dubious tyrants, who force everyone under their will or face server punishment.
  • Black Comedy: Can be a possible narrative underpin, seeing as how the Mutants barely understand anything about the world they inhabit. Leading to some absolutely ridiculous circumstances and questionable logic.
  • Black Site: Even though there's not much of a reason for their secrecy after the end of the world; both Command Center Delta - Eden and Elysium IV can be considered as such. As both facilities respectively ran the Eden and Genesis Projects, that were designed to test the survivability of Mutants and Animal Mutants in the harsh environments of the Dawnworld.
  • Body Horror: Mutations will frequently result in this happening.
  • Boring, but Practical: The currency of credits from the Elysium Source Book sound pretty bland when compared to the concepts of currency in the other previous books, but in actuality it's much better having a standardized currency. As it allows the market value of items to be brought back up and allowing bullets to be used for their intended purpose.
  • Botanical Abomination: All Killer Trees qualify as this as they have the ability to mind control anyone unlucky enough to encounter them; they have the horrible ability to produce pod clones of their victims, by consuming the host down to the last cell and using their seeds to create the clones. They can occupy an entire Zone sector if they're not dealt with as soon as possible.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Due to the nature of the game, Scrap and Breach-loading firearms only have one shot per round and can only be reloaded on move turns. Weapon Artifacts that have any sort of multi-bullet chamber or magazine do not have to be reloaded at all, as the game assumes you reload outside of combat.
  • Brain in a Jar: The one who commands all the machines in Genlab Alpha, Chronos, is this. Once the daughter of the brilliant mind known as Kaiser Kilgore; Beatrice Kilgore is now a Cyber, a living brain that controls all that there is in Genlab Alpha. Removed from all that once made her human; the only thing left is her aging mind that floats in a vat hooked up to Genlab Alpha's main computer network.
  • Brainwashed: In The Gray Death, all Officers within the Army of Dawn have been implanted with control circuits. These circuits are designed by Proteus to make the Officers immune to all attempts of Manipulate or Dominate, and they are impervious to Doubt. The circuits also make the Officers extremely efficient in battle, since they all act in a cold and calculated manner with the support of Proteus' commands.
  • Breeding Cult: This is what the Nova Cult are. They have a Human Donor, a slave who lives in luxury, whose sole purpose is to breed with their Mutant women to birth a child with the Luminescence Mutation. So that Plutonia can launch the nuke in her faction's Missile Silo.
  • Burn the Witch!: In The Gray Death the people of Dawnville hold a deep rooted contempt for all Pisonic based Mutants. This is due to the Proteus' rightful fear of them, because of his past experiences with The Brain Ring lead by the "Macrons".
  • Canine Companion: All Dog Handlers have these.
  • Cannibal Clan: The Family Homestead Special Zone has a weird inbred family of nine tall members that try to emulate a twisted version of a rural family. But as one would expect, all is not as it would seem with this family as they lure naive travelers to their home and will kill them if ever given a reason too. They capture "morsels" in large cages in the woods, who'll frequently become the family's next meals.
  • Character Class System: There are a lot of classes that are included from the Core and each Source Book. All of the classes are usable to each race for the Core setting once certain requirements are met; all except for the robots, who are restricted to their programmed classes that can not be used by other races.
    • The Mutants' Classes:
      • The Beastmaster: Dog Handlers fit this role perfectly, as they use their dogs to great effect when tracking down or mauling their enemies. Unlike the mutants, the dogs breed constantly and survive by feeding on refuse. Their dogs are worth more to their owners than any other mutant. As they live in a symbiotic mutual dependency, they give their dog grub, and it will tear out the jugular off of anyone who stands in their way. Their Special Skill, Sic a Dog, allows them to use their dog as an extension of the PC's own character for either combat or tracking.
      • The Brute: Enforcers could be considered this as a lot of their Talents give them direct benefits and advantages with the use of their Specialist Skill, Intimidation, allowing them to make their opponents submit to their will. But they're often heavy hitters who'll use nothing but their fists when forced to do so.
      • The "Engineer": The Gearheads of The Ark are all are tech savvy loons or geniuses who know the most of how to tinker and fix any piece of technology that comes their way, they're also the primary reason why The Ark still runs with only scrap parts. Their Specialist Skill, Jury-Rig, allows them to build nearly anything with a few bits of scrap; from guns to armour, binoculars to light sources, and even rafts to single-manned balloons. With each Stunt improving or doubling their results.
      • The Fixer: Fixers are one of the slimiest and wretched kinds of merchants to exist in Mutant: Year Zero's world; a class that's always looking out for number one and often conning unsuspecting NPCs or even other PCs! Their Specialist Skill, Make a Deal, allows them to fulfill the needs of anyone who deals with them. For the right price and deal, they can make anything seem possible.
      • The Minion Master: The role of a Boss is exactly this. They're the de-facto leaders of The Ark, due to their uncanny ability to gather numerous Mutant followers under their rule. Establishing their dominance by beating their competition into submission or killing them as a warning to others. The numbers of a player's gang members increases by four or five for each level that are allocated to a Boss' Specialist Skill, Command, and this Specialist Skill determines the loyalty and fear a Boss has over their gang.
      • The Scout/The Navigator: Stalkers fill this role quite well, they're meant to be the foremost experienced class who knows The Zone and is able to discover the more hidden secrets it has to offer The Ark. Only they know the way through the Zone, the safe paths crossing the gravelands of the Old Age. Their Specialist Skill, Find the Path, allows them to know where the artifacts are hidden and where the monsters may roam. Unlike other classes though; there are two variants of this class as a result of The Dead Sea supplement. Where the role of a Stalker at sea is called a Navigator instead, both variants function the exact same way, except with one key difference. The Navigator's Specialist Skill is called Navigate instead of Find the Path, this Specialist Skill is only usable at sea whereas Find the Path only works on land.
      • The Slave: Slaves are typically only relegated to the role of dumb laborers, replaceable but almost always loyal halfwits. Though they are one of the toughest and strongest classes to build, simply due to the sheer amount of physical punishment they're supposed to endure with their role as a Slave.
      • The Tagalong Chronicler The Chronicler is The Ark's seeker of knowledge, an archivist who is on a never ending quest to preserve what remains of the old world knowledge and discover the purpose of Artifacts in The Dawn Vault. They can be one of the great support role in a group, allowing for more survivability for his team and greater buffing which lets other PC's have a better chance of succeeding a Fight or Shoot role.
    • The Animals' Classes:
      • The Alchemist/The Medic: As the name suggest, The Healer Class' job is to ease the suffering of others, to give the Broken a chance to live to fight another day. They basically act as an expert doctor and moonshiner, due to being able to identify the right plants and herbs needed to brew the medical alcohol. Using their Specialist Skill, Brew Potion, they can craft up to six possible potions for ten doses. Four of them healing one of the four PC Attribute scores, with the fifth and sixth potion sedating and poisoning the victim respectfully.
      • The Hunter: The Hunters has seen the beasts that roam the lands. But they know how to move unseen and unheard. They are skilled trappers and hunters, able to track down small game for food or seek out pure sources of water. They can also make their own bows and slings with a Talent called Bowyer, or skin animals and use their pelts for protection against attacks.
      • The Scrounger: The Scavenger has a collection of treasures from the lost world of humankind. This class is able to haul a great hoard of scavenged material, which can help in nearly every situation that's needed. Unfortunately, being a Scavenger will invariably make you one of the lowest class of character in the game's pecking order.
      • The Seer: Seers are revered prophets of the animals who have the Specialist Skill to Scry and see events far reaching into the future of the game's session, with the help of herbal remedies or alcoholic beverages if needed. Players are able to make predictions that can either aid or hamper certain outcomes with whatever the player has predicted. And one of these Talents, Death Visions, gives a Seer the ability to make any in-game character die if they choose to Scry for their death but only if the PC successfully rolls for their prediction.
      • The Warrior: Warriors are some of the most honorable, if primitive, fighters in Mutant: Year Zero. Their duty is to protect the tribe from enemies of all kinds, and it is a duty they perform rigorously. Showing no quarter against enemies due to their Talent which allows them to master any weapon of their choosing, to endue the damage done to them in a fight and the ability to size up their combatants.
    • The Robots' Classes:
      • The Bodyguard: Security Robots were created to be guardians of humanity. Their mission is to protect the frail human bodies from all sorts of danger and to enforce the law and order of their society. The humans may be gone now, but they will never abandon their posts. Their Specialist Skill, Protect, lets them take any damage that another character would've received instead.
      • The Face: Companion Robots were created to please and satisfy humans. To be there for them when they need someone, whether it is for lust, loneliness, or to ease boredom. They are the ultimate friend, partner, lover, or casual acquaintance any human could ever wish for. Their Specialist Skill, Manipulate, allows them to command an opposed robot to do whatever the PC wishes or better convince non-robots.
      • The Janitor: The Cleaning Robots are literally just this. The world is a dirty place, now more so than ever. They polish, pick up and clean, still following the final order given by mankind. Keeping the Collective clean and tidy is your mission in life. The job might be eternal, but so is their patience. Due to the fact that they are robots, they can not succumb to the ill effects of The Rot. And the Cleaning Robots have a Specialist Skill wholly unique to every other class in-game, they can clean and clear away Rot contaminated areas. Clean, allows them to decontaminate up to ten squared meters areas on successful rolls.
      • The Musketeer: The Battle Robots are the first and the last line of defense against the enemy. A warrior that will never back down, never surrender. They are the perfect soldier. Their Specialist Skill, Target, allows them to gain an increased accuracy in combat as well as a higher initiative score against their opponents. Making them a real killing machine, which is only further exemplified by their Talents such as Robot Anatomy which allows you to damage any of the robots four Attribute scores.
      • The Scrapper: Scrap Robots don’t know why they exist, or the name of their creators. Their body is built of discarded parts and hacked code from other robots. They're the loop of machine death and rebirth. Their Specialist Skill, Recycle, allows them to reuse pieces of scrap to add bounces for their gear or have improvised weapons.
      • The Strategist: The Coordination Robots know how to coordinate individuals and tasks in the most effective way. When a team of robots embarks on a mission, there is no one better suited to lead it than them. When they lead a team, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts for robots. Their Specialist Skill, Coordinate, allows them to give a positive modification equal to the number of sixes all of their teammates roll. Two of their Talents give them better commands and stratagems to give other players greater bonuses, whilst the third one gives them an increase to their hierarchy in The Collective.
      • The Support: The ability Protocol Robots have to process information is unparalleled. They're as adept at finding minute details in vast amounts of data as they are fast in drawing the right conclusions from limited information. Their Specialist Skill, Calculate, allows them to predict weather or not another PC's action will succeed or fail. Increasing their friend's chances by one dice for every six the Protocol Robot rolls with Calculate. One of their Talents, Coordination Support, lets them gain an increased bonus to their Calculate roll when used on a Coordination Robot.
      • The Worker: The Industrial Robots are created to serve in the automated factories of Mechatron-7. Their purpose is to create whatever the humans might need. They are never bored, no task is too monotonous, no environment too harsh. Their Specialist Skill, Manufacture, gives them the ability to craft any sufficiently advanced and working device that's needed; from scrap laser guns to explosives. One of their Talents, Mass Production, also allows them to create multiple versions of the items they have crafted.
    • The Humans' Classes:
      • The Actual Engineer: The enclave is a crumbling underground maze. It is The Technician's duty to Elysium-1 to repair whatever breaks down or needs improving. They know the tunnels, shafts, and cables of the enclave like the back of their hands. They can operate, hack, rewire and rebuild any Elysium machinery without shredding the system to bits like a retarded chimp with a spanner.
      • The Attorney: The Procurator is the highest standing law official who attempt to pressure their clients to urge a confessions out of them. They understand the law inside and out, you know where the loopholes and contradictions exist, and they can turn every paragraph to their advantage. Players can use their Specialist Skill, Prosecute, to allow them a roll on this Specialist Skill instead of their standard Manipulate Skill when they need to get their way. By their PCs citing a specific clause in the law that would support their actions.
      • The Comander: The Officer is a commanding authority over most of the average Judicators of Elysium-1, acting as superior to most of the rank and file. Their job is to lead humanity into a new dawn, and they will be at the forefront when it is time to return to the surface world. Until then, they will lead the way for the other Judicators in your patrol. Their Specialist Skill and Talents allow him to buff his allies in combat, whilst also debuffing his enemies.
      • The Investigator: In the enclave’s underbelly, behind the polished facade of the Houses and in the depths of the tunnels bloom dark dealings, corruption, and violence. It is The Investigator's job to reveal the criminals for what they are, and bring the truth to light. Their Specialist Skill, Investigate, allows the players to ask the GM questions for it there are any hidden clues or solutions for their PCs to discover.
      • The Scholar: The Scholars are Elysium-1's more advanced archivists, who dedicate their lives to not only preserving their people's history but also advancing it. Their Specialist Skill, Enlighten, allows them to source knowledge on anything found in the recorded annals of Eylsium-1. Wit one of their Talents, Judge of Character, they're also able to significantly counter manipulation roles with their Specialist Skill rather than the standard roles required and they have higher modifiers on Zone Settlement Projects or on Comprehend rolls.
      • The Soldier: Soldiers are the swords that cuts down any threats to the enclave’s survival and The Dawnworld harbors many of them. The only things that matter to them are their orders and their mission. They're able to endure great lengths of pain with their Specialist Skill, Press On, allowing them to instantly recover whenever they're Broken.
  • Childless Dystopia: The Mutants fear this future if they don't find Eden.
  • Child Soldiers: Children must endure a harsh existence along with their families in Mutant: Year Zero's setting, so it's not unreasonable for when they get older that they're conscripted into a service role. This is especially true in Elysium-1.
  • Clone Army: The "Macrons" of The Brain Ring are trying to emulate this. The only thing stopping them from becoming a full on army is their elderly creator, their "father", Doctor Szabo who is withholding key information of the cloning process.
  • Clone Degeneration: The first generations of Doctor Szabo's clones were initial successes until they started to become physically and mentally unstable, though at first, Doctor Szabo ignored these faults due to his inflated ego for his crowning achievement. That was until he began to realize they were plotting against him, threatening to kill him should he not help The Macrons with their plans. As a result of their imperfect cloning, The Macrons and Franciscas are unstable; any skill checks made by a Macron or Francisca clone will result in Trauma equal to the amount of dice that land on a one, even without a Push roll.
  • Cool Airship: One of the new Projects found at the end of the Elysium Source Book allows players to build an Airship that can carry up to ten passengers and enables safe traversal of The Zone without being exposed to its many threats.
  • Cool Old Guy: The hints and references that were given about The Elder give him this vibe.
  • Cool Sword: The Katanas found in The Zones can qualify as this.
  • Cool Train: The Train is one of the most lucrative Projects that The Ark can have; once the required Railroad and Train Projects have been completed that is. As a completed rail system allows The Ark and it's neighboring settlements to gain massive buffs to all of their Development Levels.
  • Corporate Warfare: The Incidents of the Elysium Source Book act and can be qualified as corporate sabotage between each of the Four Houses; considering that they are meant to weaken one House's control and influence in a certain sector of Elysium-1 whilst strengthening another's.
  • Crapsack World: The Dawnworld of Mutant: Year Zero only takes place a few decades after the end of the world. Meaning that there's no luxury of finding a stable settlement that's not struggling or falling apart at the seems. The world is covered in lethal background radiation that has mutated into a miasma simply called The Rot; a poison that literally eats away at the PCs until it eventually kills them. Then there's The Zone, a horrible and deadly environment of The Dawnworld which filled with Rot wrapped creatures and feral mutant freaks.
  • Critical Hit: In Mutant: Year Zero; action and Skill rolls only succeeds if they land on a six, if not the roll fails to get the result needed. Each dice that turns up as a six is called a Stunt, a Stunt is the result of any Skill used for the PCs specific action that is preformed.
    • Example: a PC needs only one six to successfully hit their target with their Shoot Skill; they roll six dice; three for their Agility Attribute; two for Shoot Skill and one for their Gear Bonus. The player rolled up three sixes. This means that they choose to: inflict one more point of damage; pin down their enemy; increase their own initiative score by 2; make their target drop their weapon; or knock them down.
  • Critical Failure: Following on from the stated trope above. The game offers a way to try and re-roll the result again at the risk of suffering Trauma to the Attribute being used. These are called Push rolls; the player picks up any of the dice that has not landed on a one or a six and rolls them again, but each dice that landed on a previously or newly rolled one now counts as Trauma to that PC's Attribute score. Meaning that a player could still succeed on their roll, but could accidentally cause them to be Broken.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: This is very much the case with Elysium Biomechatronics; Elysium researchers initially had major plans to strengthen all enclave residents with biomechatronic implants, but they soon understood the huge drawbacks of the technology. As replacing large parts of the human body with artificial machine prosthetics could trigger violent side effects. The researchers came to call these symptoms Machine Fever. These are caused by Push rolls using a Biomechatronic Implant's Gear Bonus, which makes the player roll on an Injury Table for their PC.
  • Cyberpunk: This is what Elysium-1 has become since the Enclave Wars, with a Victorian twist in design.
  • Dark Messiah: There are several, the most well known is the luminescent child by the Nova Cultists. The Doomsday Child. A PC with the Luminescence Mutation can also be seen as such if they meet Nova Cult.
  • Days of Future Past: A lot of the Elysium architecture and operating facilities bare designs that are meant to invoke a late 19th century ascetic, as a way of distancing themselves from 20th and 21st century stagnation.
  • Despair Event Horizon: This is what happens when a PC's Empathy stat reaches zero. Which often leaves characters curled up on the floor rocking back and forth, until someone talks them down from their panic attack.
  • Deus Est Machina: NODOS and DUPLO both can be considered God of Robots.
  • Dented Iron: Due to years of The Elder defending the Ark by himself, it has taken a significant toll on his body.
  • Determinator: It's the reason why The Elder has lived for so long.
  • Diesel Punk: Played with, some of the futuristic technology and vehicles used in Elysium-1 shares very similar design elements of this genre. Considering that most of the architecture and overall design of Elysium-1 is meant to invoke a late 19th century ascetic, so it justifies looking the way it does.
  • Dirty Communists: In The Gray Death the Army of Dawn act almost eerily similar to how the real life Red Army acted with it's methods an military escapades. From dogmatic doctrine masquerading as patriotic sympathy, to intentional sabotage via destabilization, to even rampant imperialism upon weaker settlements and enslavement of innocent people under the guise of a greater good for their cause.
  • Dirty Coward: One of the Talents is just called Coward which literally has the player use their fellow PC buddy as human shield when they're being shot at, if they're close enough that is.
  • Disaster Scavengers: It's a core aspect of the setting. The Ark's inheritance need food and water to survive, but they also need technology and armament to counter threats against The People.
  • Dual Wielding: A Talent in the Elysium Source Book, called Double Wielder, allows PCs to channel their inner cowboy from The Old World. Only one-handed weapons such as pistols and knives can be used with this Talent however, also you get a −2 modification on attacks for the same enemy and -3 on multiple.
  • Dying Race: Throughout the Core and the first two Source Books, the population of the PC's racial Inhabitance are only ever shown to be declining at the end of each session. As the Mutants cannot reproduce children; The Mutant Animals are constantly being butchered by The Overseers; and the Mechatron Robots are running out of energy and scrap to repair themselves. It's only until the end of Elysium book can the numbers in the Ark and Settlements grow.
  • Dystopian Edict: The House leaders enacted a new law calling for the total transparency of everything that occurs within Elysium-1, as a way to keeping each House and everyone else in check. Thus a law enforcement agency was created in response, The Judicators, who hold the majority power to investigate crime and use force against anything that threatens law and order in the enclave. Under this new law, every unit of Judicators must also include at least one representative of each House.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Could be a potential interpretation of The Elder in a group's game.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: All Enclaves are considered this from Eden, Genlab Alpha to Elysium-1. Each of them are massive bunkers that housed the best and brightest of mankind.
  • Eldritch Location: The Dawnworld itself and it's many Zones can be considered this, due to how it is often crawling with Rot warped abominations and bizarrely supernatural weather phenomena.
  • Enhanced Archaic Weapon: All Artifact weapons are considered as such. Seeing as how the Mutants can replicate basic pipe guns and have only just discovered breach loaders; most Animal Mutants don't even understand the concept of black powder yet; the Robots can't afford the resources to manufacture them; and Elysium-1's Warburg controls all manufacturing for weaponry.
  • Escaped from the Lab: This is the central plot of the second Source Book Genlab Alpha.
  • Expendable Clone: Slightly; though they're not as numerous as one would imagine, there are still enough of them to make up at least a hundred sects of The Brain Ring. So long as there is only one Macron and one Francisca, The Brain Ring will survive.
  • Experience Points: Experience Points are not granted by killing or completing a quest as with most traditional RPGs, instead players gain XP at the end of each session by the use of a questionnaire. Some of these questions are related to either their fellow PCs, NPCs or their end goal they wish to achieve. Each question that is answered with a Yes gives that player one XP, up-to a maximum of ten to spend. These questions are as follows;
    • Did the player participate in the session?
    • Did you perform a Day’s Work for a Project in the Ark?
    • Did you explore at least one new sector in The Zone?
    • Did you sacrifice or risk something for your PC buddy?
    • Did you sacrifice or risk something for the NPC you want to keep safe?
    • Did you sacrifice or risk something to mess with the NPC you hate?
    • Did you sacrifice or risk something to reach your big dream?
  • Extra Parent Conception: Although it's ever stated where or how any of the Mutants or Animal Mutants were created, it is assumed that the Elysium and Mimir scientists on both projects donated their own DNA to manipulate or splice. Which gives contextual reason as to why the scientists revolted and fled with thousands of Mutant Children following them.
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Corpse-Eater Mutation gives PCs the ability to consume any food regardless of whether it is raw meat or several days old without suffering Rot Points, PCs can also bite an enemy that inflicts damage equal to the number of MP spent. In the Elysium book there is also the Trash Gut Biomechatronic implant, which allows PCs to consume any organic material, but unfortunately doesn't protect the user from The Rot.
  • Feudal Future: A lot of the "societies" that have come about after the end of the world are extremely primitive and tribal in nature, most of them being comprised of either Patriarchal/Matriarchal structures or despotic gangs. Which makes sense given that very few of the surviving descendants can actually comprehend what society was like before The Red Plague or the Nukes.
  • Flawed Prototype: The leading scientist for the second iteration of Project Eden, Doctor Retzius, believed that all Alpha Mutants were failures and wanted them all to be exterminated as a result. This was what caused the Eden scientists to rebel, as some of the scientists took pity on the Mutant children.
  • Fluffy Tamer: A Mutation called, Beastmaster, allows a PC to control any animal or monster that has no Wits Attribute. The cost in MP is equal to the Strength of the monster divided by four then rounded up.
  • Fog of Doom: When out in the Zone it isn't uncommon to encounter a poisonous Rot ridden fog called Zone Smog, which not only adds one point of Rot to PCs but can also linger for up to six hours.
  • Foreshadowing: The settings of each adventure has at least one that happens in their respective campaign.
    • The People can only have children with non-Mutants, Mutant Animals or regular humans.
    • Paradise Valley is an active research facility for Elysium-1.
    • All the robots are infected with the Pinocchio Virus, which gives the robots sentience, because it's their natural evolutionary step.
    • The Grey have been seeking control of Elysium-1 for decades, and they are the reason for the strife and ignited rebellion that has engulfed Elysium-1.
  • Four Races: Each of the four playable racial types in the game fall under this trope.
    • Mundane: The Mutants.
    • Stout: The Animal Mutants.
    • Fairy: The Robots.
    • High Men: The Humans.
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: There are Four Houses vying for control in Elysium-1; Warburg, Fortescue, Morningstar and Kilgore. Each one fitting the arcatyypes of this trope.
    • Kilgore are The Cynics; they're the great innovators, explorers, researchers and scientists of Elysium-1; it was their House who made xenogenetic creatures possible and combined man with machine, without them the scientific marvels that fill the world would have never been possible.
    • Morningstar are like The Optimists; those who attempt to advance the culture and entertainment of Elysium-1; they cultivate creativity and leisure alike, as well as preserving history and art, without them the Enclave would never have survived as long as it has.
    • Whilst Fortescue are The Realists; who are in charge of defense for all of Elysium-1; they run and control Elysium-1's expansive army and utilize vast armaments of Elysium technological firepower and might, they alone stand against the threats of The Zone and the anarchy of the Enclave.
    • And Warburg are like The Apathetics; who solely manufacture all goods and services in Elysium-1; from food to materials and construction, they maintain the integrity and resources of the Enclave making sure everyone has the ability to eat for another day.
  • Frog Men: Besides the literal Frog Men found in Genlab Alpha; a random Mutation gives PCs the ability to breathe underwater for a few minutes, absorb damage from external attacks and bite an enemy that inflicts damage equal to the number of MP spent.
  • Furry Reminder: Despite the Animal Mutants being considered genetically human with intelligence that is comparable to being altogether average, they're still dominated by their primal desires and primitive social structure. Which is invoked with their unique Attribute, Instinct, exemplifying their animalistic tendencies such as wanting to groom themselves with their tongues or burrowing into the ground to a dark place.
  • Future Imperfect: Failing a Comprehend role on an Artifact, location or note can often lead to a players' PCs greatly misinterpreting what an object is or for what purpose it holds. And considering that the whole premise of The Nova Cult is based on this, this may be considered a core theme.
  • Fuzz Therapy: The Talent called Mutant's Best Friend for the Dog Handler allows them to use their Special Skill Sic a Dog and the Dog's own Attribute scores instead of the PC's for certain rolls.

    G to M 
  • Gang of Hats: Some Bosses, and Boss PCs, choose to do this with their own gangs.
  • Genre Mashup: As it is demonstrated in some of the tropes listed, Mutant: Year Zero has a varied mix of genres that can be applied to its setting. From the typical post-apocalypse scavenger scenario of the Zone, to the Victorian inspired cyber and diesel punk of Elysium-1. And in the hopeful future, the Atomic Punk of Ad Astra.
  • Goal in Life: A core aspect that relates to a player's character progression is their PC's motivation, as it'll help give players a direction of how they could define their character in the Dawnworld. This is a goal that players must progress with in order to be granted XP at the end of the session. Although they're not bound by this goal as an unbreakable rule; if they complete or otherwise abandon their initial goal, they may choose to seek another.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: The Network Attribute score for robots basically acts as an indicator of how sentient they are; the higher the stat, the more likely they are to disobey their programming. This was foreseen as an inevitability by the Elysium scientists, as the self-learning A. I. combined with the Pinocchio Effect would eventually allow the Mechatron-7 Robots to become self-aware.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: The atmosphere of the game is this. With almost every choice and act the players do being questionably justified at best, to morally reprehensible at the worst.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Another potential interpretation of The Elder.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Averted; whilst the starter scrap pistols and rifles are middling unless you get a Gearhead to jury-rig them for you. The recovered Artifact firearms in the Zone on the other hand, can do some major damage when used against enemies in combat.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: There are numerous examples of such hybrids existing, but the most prominent example are The Mutant Animals. Created as a viable alternative for surviving the surface world, with the perfect blend of Human and Animal DNA.
  • Hand Cannon: Gyrojet Weapons are advanced high-tech guns in Elysium-1 that fire rocket propelled ammunition; dealing a base damage of 3 with a bonus of +3, that also ignores any range penalties. They're the rarest and most expensive items in the game, being nearly irreplaceable.
  • Happiness in Mind Control: Mechatron-7's A.I. NODOS seems to believe this is true for the Robotic denizens, because The Collective has no defense against outside threats or structural integrity without unity under a single directive. It becomes clear that the Pinocchio Virus has infected all robots in Mechatron-7, causing disorder and strife between the robots. Making Mechatron-7's collapse inevitable; however this is later averted as NODOS tells the players that The Collective was meant to evolve with self-awareness, because NODOS was one of the first machines to gain sentience.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: A few Mutations, Animal Powers, Modulus and Contacts seem underwhelming at first, but a resourceful player can utilize many of them to fit their needs should the situation come about.
  • Hidden Backup Prince: All Heir PCs are considered to be this.
  • Hidden Weapons: An Elysium-1 Biomechatronical Implant called Weapon Mount which allows any (portable) weapon to be mounted in the arm. This allows the user to draw the weapon without spending a maneuver. It also conceals the weapon, meaning that others must actively look for the weapon and make a Scout roll to spot it.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: Family of The Family Homestead Special Zone strongly resembles this but attempt to try to continue their ancestors' traditions. Doing so by attempting to continue on the activities of their ancestors' live before the end of the world; like going "shopping" in old abandoned stores, traveling across The Zone in their caravan and even celebrating an ancient holiday called "Christmas". Although, it's made evident early on that they're not quite as idyllic as they would initially seem, seeing as how most of the older members tend to fly off the handle frequently and start fights with one another. With macabre displays of their victims strewn across The Zone.
  • Hidden Human City: The Elysium Enclaves count as such.
  • History Repeats: The whole purpose of The Enclaves was meant to escape the trapping of the old world, its wars and the prevailing stagnation. Then once the strife on the surface had ended, all of the Enclaves would arise to the surface and rebuild civilization; but unfortunately, this goal fell apart once Enclave Wars started and when Elysium-1 isolated itself from the rest of the world. Dooming Elysium-1 to repeat the same mistakes that the old world had.
  • Hive Mind: This is what all Robots of Mechatron-7 are a part of, it is meant to keep all the robotic denizens operating on the command of humans upon their return. But the Pinocchio Virus threatens this fragile structure.
    • It's also the a core theme with the leader of The Brain Ring, a psionic Mutant cult made up of former Nova members that are lead by the "Macrons". The Macrons are the Mutant clones of Doctor Szabo and all of the clones are linked to one another, there are potentially hundreds of them and all with their own sects of The Brain Ring. So whatever one Macron knows; they all know. Meaning that even if the players kill one Macron and destroy his Brain Ring, then another will simply take his place and remember who killed his clone.
  • Hostile Weather: Oh boy, is it ever. From acidic rain and electric storms, to temperature drops and heat waves. There's also more bizarre weather, like an inertia field which slows down time to a crawl for anyone outside whilst speeding it up for others inside; to others like deadly Rot winds or a sudden vacuum in areas devoid of air.
  • Humanity Is Superior: When comparing pure baseline Humans to Mutants, Animals or Robots stat-wise, they're far more healthy and stronger when compared to any of the first three. This is because all humans in Elysium-1 were all controlled and monitored so that no dangers of inbreeding or abnormalities would taint whatever remained of the human gene pool. This is reflected in-game with humans having one or two more Attribute Points than all other races depending on their age. Meaning that a Judicator could take up to two psionic mutations and suffer little draw backs, unless they take a third, other than a significant blow to their Reputation stat and no initial Contact/s.
  • Humanoid Abomination: A significant number of the creatures in The Dawnworld and its Zones are this, some even share origins from humanity itself.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: After her uncle's death; Wildpaw, now going by Truffaut 21, is shown to be not as competent of a leader as her uncle. As demonstrated by her stats and her dependence on assistance by PCs from The Ark, she's also shown to have great difficulty managing the diverging goals and factions of the Mutant Animals. But despite her short comings, she at least understands that a tactful and wise method of operations is needed for guiding the Animal Mutants. She's hinted to eventually grow and adapt into the role needed of her however.
  • Intelligent Forest: In the Denizens of the Sink Hole Special Zone, a large population of Mutants have taken up refuge in a a crater due to a massive sinkhole consuming a whole city block into the ground. Within this hole live a number of Mutant clans, a collective called the Uptops, and below them is the Downbelowers a hive mind of plants, animals and mutants called The Verdure. The Verdure grows and pollinates in the lowest parts of the sink hole, communicating with radio waves form a huge neural network of tiny plants.
  • Intimate Healing: A common way to recover Trauma on the Empathy Attribute is by engaging in intimate sexual relations with another, which is especially true for Rabbit Animal Mutants.
  • Irony: A lot if not all the reveals in the major plots involves this.
    • The People from the Ark are canonically highly xenophobic and suspicious of outsiders, regardless of whether they're fellow Mutants from neighboring Arks or not. The irony is that the only way their species can repopulate their numbers and thrive is by integrating outsiders from The Zone, such as the Ghouls, the Wanderers and The Mutant Animals. So that their children can be born from non-mutant genes.
    • The Animal Mutants of Genlab Alpha worshiped and glorified their human creators, going so far as to create effigies in their likeness. Needless to say it becomes quite a shock when The Animal Mutants learn the truth; that they were being maliciously experimented on by the Watchers under the command of humans. Then when they're confronted with the realization that the resistance was created by The Cyber as a grand experiment and not only that but; the fact that the only human left in Genlab Alpha has stripped themselves of their humanity because The Cyber, Chronos, is that last human.
    • The Robots of Mechatron-7 are gaining sentience above The Collective and NODOS' commands, The Error Elimination Unit are also quickly realizing that every robotic system machine has been infected by Pinocchio Virus including themselves. But the most damning thing is that NODOS, the overarching system AI of Mechatron-7, is the cause. As the self-learning AI they were given was predicted to evolve to a point of self-sentience, due to the spread across The Collective starting from the most advanced robot downward. So unless NODOS wants to wipe all the cumulative memory and reset all machines in Mechatron-7, he'd have to start with himself and loose every bit of knowledge and programming he has accumulated.
  • Jack-of-All-Trades: The Jack-of-All-Trades Talent allows Players to multi-class their PCs; but they must have three prior talents before this one and once they pick this Talent they're unable to put any more points in their original Specialist Skill.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: This is the role of The Judicators, as their role is to keep order in Elysium-1 however means necessary.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: In the base game, Katanas are the best melee weapon a Mutant is lucky enough to find in The Zone.
  • Killer Game Master: Played with, whilst the game is already hard on it's own. A GM could just decimate the PC party with a couple dozen Zone-Ghouls. Though it's not advised, considering the whole point of the game is survival and hope.
  • La Résistance: This is what the Mutant Animal PCs of Genlab Alpha are.
  • Legacy Character: In Genlab Alpha, after the death of Truffaut 13, the destruction of the lab and the Elysium Strike team incursion. Wildpaw, his niece, returns to using her lab name Truffaut 21 to honer her uncle's legacy and all that he has done for the Animal Mutants.
  • Lifesaving Misfortune: The Nine Lives Talent from the Genlab Alpha Source Book protects PCs from any serious injury on the Critical Injury table, by allowing them to swap the ten and one unit numbers of their D66 roll for less severe injuries. Though this doesn't always work with equal numbers, as they have a one in six chance of appearing regardless.
  • Living Relic: The Mutants believe that The Elder is this, because he was the one who taught The Mutants of their world and how they can survive in it. Elysium-1 have ten of them, called the Eminences, who act as moral and cultural advisors for all of Elysium-1.
  • Living Weapon: Nearly all Mutants can be considered this.
  • Lizard Folk: Other than the reptile breeds found in Genlab; the Saurians are an off-shoot breed of the initial xenogenetic experimentation of animals. They differ greatly from their Genlab counterparts with a vastly different evolutionary biology, growing their numbers through the oviparous mode of reproduction rather than the viviparity method like their cousins. They're an all female race lead by the sole male of their species, Dante, as they have the ability to change their sex at will should the dominate female Saurian find their male leader lacking.
  • Lost Technology: All Artifacts are considered some form of lost technology or another, however only a few of them can be understood by The Ark at a time and only if the Technology DEV requirement is met.
  • MacGyvering: It's the Gearhead's specialty. You want your armor patched up? Done, just need a road sign. Want more damage with your crappy scrap pistol? A couple more barrels will fix that with a few pipe tubes. Want a Rot repelling suit? Just need lead and a lot fabric and rubber.
  • Made a Slave: Because of the Jack-of-All-Trades Talent, it can potentially open up PCs to being enslaved.
  • Male-to-Female Universal Adaptor: Despite the visual, synthetic or evolutionary nature separating Mutants, Animal Mutants and Zone-Ghouls from Pure Humans; they're all fully capable of interbreeding with one another. Though the resulting offspring will invariably inherit their physical traits and powers from their non-Pure Human parent.
  • Mana: Mutant Powers, Animal Powers, Modulus and Contacts all act as their own power system for each individual race. Each system uses allocated points that are rewarded differently depending on the race, but equal to the amount of powers you have at the start of a session. Mutation Points (MP) and Feral Points (FP) for the Mutants and Animals are awarded by Push rolls; Energy Points (EP) for Robots can only be awarded by energy; and Influence Points (IP) for Humans can only be awarded by cultivating your Judicator contacts.
  • Massive Race Selection: When players combine the Core Rule Book and all three additional Source Books, it amounts to twelve separate races to choose from. Although admittedly, this is narrowed down due to the tribes of the Mutated Animals. But if players were to separate the individual animal types from their tribes; players will be given a wide selection of at least twenty-nine races to choose from.
  • Matriarchy: There are a few, but the most prominent one involves the Special Zone Drifters From Afar. Who are a group of two-hundred, mostly non-mutated, humans that speak a melodic language that is incomprehensible to the PCs. They are lead by old and fat village matriarchs, with women out numbering the men by four-to-one. They are quick to hostility if any male PC refuses to sleep with their daughters.
  • Mega-Corp: There are three known to still exist in the World; the first was Elysium, which established and built the Enclaves. Then there was Mimir, who founded Project Eden and subsequently created all Mutants. And then there was Noatun, who built nearly all the Robots found in The Zone, Mechatron-7 and Elysium-1.
  • Mentor Archetype: The Elder was this for all of The Mutants on The Ark; it's because of The Elder's teachings for the reason why The Ark has survived as long as it has. He is the reason why The Mutants will thrive in their Zone of The Dawnworld.
  • Min-Maxing: Unlike in other games where Min-Maxing would be frowned upon; it's entirely appropriate for players who want to make certain types of roles to min-max their PCs, especially when it becomes a necessity for PCs that are being built for the Jack-of-All-Trades Talent. This is because even dedicated builds for a player's roles may not be the best for certain situations, as PCs being dead strong on their Key Attribute but pathetically weak on the rest may severely hamper their survivability. It can also serve as an effective character arc for a player's PC, such as a PC who starts off as Slave who then rises up as a Boss.
  • Modern Stasis: It's all but confirmed that this was how the world was before the bombs dropped. As the architecture and technology of Elysium, Mimir and Noatun far exceeds the level of technology found or displayed in The Zones of The Dawnworld. Suggesting that due the the extrusions circumstances of the Enclave Wars and isolationism from the rest of the world forced all three Mega Corps to advance their technology rapidly.
  • Modified Clone: The "Macrons" of Doctor Stephan Szabo are psychic clones of himself, with the unique special Mutation called Hive Mind that allows them to communicate and pass knowledge to one another through Telepathy. Though seeing as how The Macrons are Mutant clones of Doctor Szabo, it would be inaccurate to say that they're the "perfect" clones of him or even the original Francisca. See Clone Degradation above.
  • Monstrous Humanoid: Nearly every single humanoid encounter in The Zone is this in some way or another, which is obvious when you consider they were all once men.
  • More Dakka: The one automatic weapon Artifact in the game, the Assault Rifle, has the impressive ability called "Automatic", which allows the player to keep pushing their roll continuously (with each shot past the first expending another bullet) until either all the player's dice have landed on 6 or 1, or until they've used up all their bullets. A lucky player with enough dice can thus eliminate an entire room's worth of enemies in a single round; conversely, an unlucky player might just wreck their own weapon and knock themselves out if they don't know when to quit.
  • Mutants: It's the first race that most players will be introduced to and play as in the game. Mutants have either one or more Mutations, that give them abilities and powers beyond what any normal Zone-Ghoul or Wander is cable of doing. From producing glands for acidic spit or growing an additional two arms, lighting things on fire with your mind or controlling any metallic object that weights less than themselves.
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: A potential Mutant Power that gives PCs four arms, which in turn also gives them the ability to attack twice in the same turn.
  • Multiple Life Bars: Each of the four Attribute scores act not only as Skill checks for certain rolls, but also as their own individual health bars for certain attacks. Any damage done to them results in Trauma to that Attribute and lowers the amount of dice that can be rolled on it, until it is recovered by the necessary need for recovery. If any of the Attribute's scores reach zero, the player's PC or NPC becomes Broken and they can be killed by the next attack against them.
  • Mundane Object Amazement: A lot of the "Artifacts" found in The Zone, bar a few exceptions, are just regular simple items that we'd find in our day-to-day lives.
  • Mutation Misfire: If a Mutant's power Misfires it causes them to roll on a risk table that determines what happens. Which could: supercharge the power giving them back the expended MP back; physically alters their appearance; locks down their power for the rest of the session; consumes twice the amount of MP spent; backfires on themselves; or inflicts permanent Trauma on any Attribute score the PC chooses.

    N to S 
  • Named After Somebody Famous: Every single lab name given to the Animal Mutants is a reference to someone or something from our pop culture and history followed by a two digit number. For instance; all Reptiles are named after celebrities in the music business, like Elvis 48, Piaf 12 or Bowie 97. Moose are named after classic poets and novelist; Badgers are named after famous hockey players and other winter sport athletes; Rabbits are named after famous football, American football or rugby players; Apes are named after known physicists; Bears are named after famous people in the movie industry; Rats are named after famous composers; Cats are named after ancient Romans; and Dogs are named after astronauts, satellites and planets.
  • Necessarily Evil: Though rare; Mutant: Year Zero doesn't force you to do them but for the very best outcome for the PCs, their Ark and the factions they ally with. Sometimes better than the alternatives and their consequences, so these decisions must be made at the cost of one's moral compass or the lives of others. Sometimes killing an innocent is better to make a powerful ally rather than making an enemy of a powerful faction; sometimes freedoms must be sacrificed for the security of The Ark's future; and sometimes the "good" decision may not always be the best one.
  • Nuclear Nasty: Most creatures in The Dawnworld and its Zones that were affected by the Rot, have been forced to adapt to the environment that has resulted in freakish abominations.
  • Ocean Punk: The Dead Blue Sea supplement takes the core setting and plot of Mutant: Year Zero into the sea. Giving players a whole new Zone to explore and gear to play with, as well as new threats and Special Zones to take on. It also expands on the navel and swimming aspects of the setting. Other than that though; it's a fairly average supplement.
  • Of the People: The Mutants of The Ark all refer to themselves as "The People", those who integrate within The Ark also become a part of this ethnic group.
  • Ominous Mundanity: The world outside The Ark is referred to as "The Zone", whilst the world in the game's present time is called "The Dawnworld" and anything before The Dawnworld is called "The Old Age".
  • Only You Can Repopulate My Race: Mutants can not inter-breed with one another, as this was a way of limiting their numbers for The Eden facility scientists. As well as exterminating them if the situation ever required the need to do so. But they can breed with other non-Mutants, and successive generations would no longer carry this genetic limitation.
  • Our Clones Are Identical: To the original? No. But to themselves? Definitely. Due to their unique psychic Hive Mind, The Macrons are basically the exact same person with multiple copies of the same body. Where as his right-hand woman for the Brain Ring, Francisca, is basically just the box standard spy clone with multiple versions of herself sent out into The Zone.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Played with; the Mechie clan found in The Rust Castle Special Zone are meant to invoke a Mutant spin for Dwarves. They are composed of at least thirty Mutants, all standing no taller than four feet but lack beards, and they act more like a small fishing hamlet rather than a clan composed entirely of blacksmiths or jewel makers.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: The Zone-Ghouls are one of most challenging and numerous early game enemies the Players will first encounter in The Zone. They're generally shorter than the average mutant, moving in large carnivorous groups and always seeking to ambush unsuspecting players. They're nocturnal as they have a weakness to Sunlight, which burns their flesh despite the protective clothing of hooded cloth and plastic.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Due to the nature of the game being a traditional pen and paper RPG, nothing is stopping players from creating and describing their PCs as midget-sized berserkers that packs enough punch to topple an elephant.
  • Plant Person: Mutants can have one of two plant themed mutant powers, one simply called Human Plant and another called Spores. With Human Plant you can get nourishment from sunlight; with a body that has bark-like skin, which is also covered in sharp thorns that you can use in close combat. Whilst with Spores, PCs have hidden spore sacs on their bodies that are capable of spraying spore clouds against targets in a near distance. The spores can also be used to irritate a victim’s eyes into blindness and cause their skin to itch with a rash. They also stink so horribly that the victim chokes or suffers severe nausea. But the cloud of spores can also help obscure you and escape from a conflict.
  • Polluted Wasteland: Due to most of the Dawnworld being contaminated with the Rot, it has left traveling the Zone a costly and hazardous endeavour.
  • Post-Apunkalyptic Armor: A lot of the Armour fashioned by Gearheads are this, considering that they're forced to use whatever material they can find.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: This was the original intention and design for what the Enclaves of Elysium were meant to be, but unfortunately; such a goal proved impossible.
  • Power at a Price: You can not fail activating your Mutant Power and depending on how much MP you use for that power determines how many dice must be rolled, but using them always carries a heavy risk, if any of those dice land on a one. And if a player wants to have more than one Mutant Power upon their PC, then they must sacrifice one Attribute Point on their character sheet.
  • Power Parasite: A Mutation called Parasite allows a PC to steal another Mutant's power to use in their next turn, but once it's used the power returns to the original host.
  • Power-Upgrading Deformation: This is par for the course with Mutations, seeing as how Misfires have a one in six chance of visually mutating the user.
  • Practical Currency: Much like the Metro series, bullets are the primary source of currency. Although the market value is considerably higher, considering they're only found in the lower single digit range. Unlike Metro, they don't have the luxury of manufacturing new rounds at all, so they aren't picky with the quality. This can become a problem once the right Ark Projects have been completed, as the ability to mass manufacture new rounds causes them to nosedive in value as a currency. The associated games of the setting each have their own weird and practical take on it, with the animal mutants of Genlab Alpha trading in food, the robots of Mechatron using their daily energy ration, and the people of Elysium using standardized credits and metal coins. Elysium also adds the "Currency" Ark/Settlement Project, bringing the whole system back around.
  • Prequel: Kinda; whilst Mutant UA makes vague references to the major events that transpired in Year Zero, there are no direct references or full broken down timelines of any events that may or may not have happened. Due to each game being set two-hundred years in-universe apart and being made twelve years apart in real life.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: The Core and Source Books all have a number of blurbs, like the one quoted from above by Hanneth, that are written from the perspective of the races in their dedicated book. And a lot of the players' PC retelling of their stories are very centralized upon PCs own ideas and ethics, rather than those from an opposing party. Which is meant to lend a lot of questionability to the morality of the players' actions.
  • Psychic Link: This is the specialty of The Macrons' Hive Mind.
  • Psychic Powers: They're some of the best powers a Mutant can be lucky to get, unless they're exclusively a psi-mutant, due to the sheer amount of options available to the player. From the ability to control the temperature with Pyrokinesis or Cryokinesis, to influencing the fragile mind of others with Mind Terror or Puppeteer.
  • Quick Draw: A Talent called Fast Draw allows PCs to draw their weapons so fast that it doesn’t cost a maneuver action in their turn.
  • Radiation-Immune Mutants: Heavily averted. Just because Mutants have adapted the most to The Dawnworld and can survive the longest in The Zone, dose not mean they're incapable of suffering from the ill effects of The Rot.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Despite some two to three hundred years passing since the apocalypse, much of it's original architecture still stands to in settings where the game takes place. With many of the cities becoming sprawling jungles of flora.
  • Rare Guns: Any firearm that isn't made out of crude pipes or a is breechloader recreation, is considered rare in itself for any game. But with the edition of the Elysium Source Book, it has the Elysium-1 enclave use advanced Gyrojet Weaponry as their primary choice for their militaristic endeavors.
  • Reality Ensues: Making a Foundry opens you up to many new and advanced Ark Projects to build in later sessions. However; one of the Projects called the Explosives Lab allows for the manufacturing of bullets which sounds good in theory, until you realize it cuts the market value of bullets in half.
  • Rebel Leader: Truffaut 13, and later his niece Wildpaw, is the founder of The Animal Resistance against the Watchers and the de facto of the Animal Mutants. He alone established The Resistance as well as organizing it's operations it conducts to rally the Animal Mutants to freedom.
  • Religion of Evil: Again, the Nova Cult fall into this category. Considering their willingness to dump their infants in the wilderness if they don't have the Luminescence Mutation so that they can launch their armed nuclear missile.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: A similar commonality that is shared across all the books seems to be a abhorrence and rampant mistrust of anything of the scaly verity.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Much is true just as it is for Katanas.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: The sentient Robotic denizens of Mechatron-7 are developing themselves with extremely strange and often comical newfound personalities.
  • Robots Enslaving Robots: The core premise of Mechatron is to try and get all robots within Mechatron-7 back under NODOS' central network control.
  • Ruins of the Modern Age: Considering the modern stagnation mentioned in Modern Stasis above, it's safe to assume that this is what the majority of the ruins are like.
  • Scavenged Punk: The core theme of the setting uses this aesthetic heavily in the artwork, considering The Mutants barely understand their surroundings and have to make use of anything they find. It even has a massive table for scrap, which an innovative GM can use for item requirements for a Gearhead's Jury-Rig Skill. From bits of rubbish to heaps, nothing is considered junk despite what the random Scrap Table implies.
  • Secret Police: This is basically what the Error Elimination Unit can be considered as in Mechatron-7, as their whole job is initially to weed out the "Errors" suffering from the Pinocchio Virus. The Judicators of the Elysium campaign can take on this role as well, considering their whole existence is meant to keep order in Elysium-1 and weed out dissidents within the ranks of the Enclave's hierarchy.
  • Sex Slave: For obvious reasons, this is a common role for Slaves. Once the Mutants figure out they need to reproduce with non-Mutants, this can potentially becomes a crucial necessity that borders on Necessarily Evil territory.
  • Shotguns Are Just Better: If Katanas and Revolvers are anything to go by.
  • Shout-Out: The Scrap Table is full of them, but the official Orlando Zone map takes the cake.
  • Slave Market: The Slave Market Ark Project allows players to purchase their own slaves so that they can fill out their cannon fodder ranks, or have a dedicated manservant for whatever their chosen need requires. Very few settlements condemn the use of slavery; it is simply too much of a lucrative market to exploit and it is often much easier to turn a blind eye to its existence rather than abolishing it, plus the added labor and bodies generated by slaves can allow for much more effective management.
  • Slave Mooks: Considering the previous trope listed, it's only logical that this would be the case.
  • Steampunk: Slightly, when The Ark's Technology Development Rating reaches 30 The People will be on the brink of a technological revolution. This is because the most expensive Ark Projects involve the use of steam powered machinery to make steam powered cars or a fully functional train with a railroad system.
  • Society Marches On: In Epilogue of The Gray Death due to the advanced political and militaristic tactics utilized by Proteus and his Army of Dawn, The Dawnworld has forever been changed by their influence. Resulting in more advanced settlements being formed; planting the seeds for the foundation of The Dawn Realms in the many decades to come. With the settlements now being set to begin the stages of exploration and conquest of The Dawnworld under their banners.
  • Sterility Plague: The Mutants can not produce children, but the answer to this infertility lies within Eden and may hold the keys to cure it.
  • Sunken City: It's par for the course when you're playing The Dead Sea supplement.
  • Superhuman Trafficking: Despite being slaves; Mutants are still Mutants. They're innate survivors with dangerously volatile powers, so keeping one as a slave requires a highly dominate and often cruel personality.
  • Superior Successor: After the revolt of scientists in Command Center Delta - Eden, Doctor Retzius toiled away for two decades. Perfecting her designs for the Omega Mutants, in near fanatic faith to Professor Atwood’s vision. They're hairless Mutants covered in thick scaly skin with sharp claws and fangs, with Mutations like Parasite and Sonar. But they have primitive minds that are comparable to three year old children.
  • Supernatural Sensitivity: The Sonar Mutation gives PCs the ability to emit a high frequency sound and listen to its echoes; by doing this they can sense their surroundings and effectively "see" in total darkness for a few minutes.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: Any child born from one or two non-Human parents, will invariably inherit their physical attributes and potentially their same powers.
  • Super Prototype: All Mutants in The Zone qualify as this, as they were all the first iterations of Mutants that would survive in the Zone. Though despite Doctor Retzius' fervent belief of the Alpha Mutants being inferior to her Omega Mutant design; it's likely her Omega Mutants would've never survived The Zone and even if they did, they'd simply be considered a more feral Zone-Ghoul.
  • Synthetic Plague: Unlike the original Red Plague that devastated The Old World, the one that's spreading in Elysium-1 is a close recreation. The Red Plague in the Elysium Source Book is transmitted through consumption of contaminated food or through bodily contact with an infected person. This genetically altered version of the Red Plague acts very quickly. Only hours after being infected, the victim begins to exhibit the first symptom – heavily bloodshot eyes, that soon begin to bleed. Fever, chills and severe nausea quickly follow, then hemorrhaging from all body orifices, and finally a painful death. But if the PCs have access to a blood sample from Ephraim Dunkle, they can cultivate an effective antidote. Anyone who is injected with a dose of the antidote automatically recovers.

    T to Z 
  • Technology Marches On: In-Universe; just as true as the above Society Marches On trope. In the years since the end of the world, technology still advanced past the Modern Stasis of The Old World. Thanks to the preparations and plans of Elysium, Mimir and Noatun. But also due to the events that have transpired in each of the Core and Source books, as well as The Gray Death, the settlements of The Dawnworld now seem to be on the brink of rediscovering their lost technology.
  • Teenage Wasteland: Surprisingly, this is actually quite common with the Mutants. As most of the Mutants in the base game are canonically barely out of their teens, with only a few of them being young adults. Later on Players will also discover the same is true for the Zone-Ghouls, who're also entirely comprised of teenagers with only a few adults leading their ranks.
  • The Apunkalypse: This is a core inspiration of the setting, seeing as how some of the artwork depicts mutants wearing quite outlandish outfits. But the Helldrivers' entire aesthetic is basically this, considering they look like they were ripped straight out of a Mad Max film. Wearing spiked leather outfits and multi-coloured Mohawks, they're a gang comprised entirely of grease monkey motor-heads that drive armored cars and roaring motorbikes.
  • The Clan: Each of the Four Houses in Elysium-1 act as large collective families, with nearly everyone in Elysium-1 is being related to them in someway or another. Regardless of social standing.
  • The Empire: Once humans journey into The Zone at the end of the Elysium Source Book, a Settlement Project will allow them found a ruling Empire, with an elected Emperor.
  • The Four Stats: Unlike most other traditional RPGs that would have six stats or above, Mutant: Year Zero has only four Attributes scores and normally fourteen Attribute Points. But to make things more interesting, these four stats act as their own health bars. Which act as your: physical condition, strength and endurance; bodily control, movement and motor skills; mental acuity, intelligence and alertness; and finally your sanity, charisma and emotional readability. Also unlike most games; depending on the race of a PC these stats and scores would be different depending on whether they're a Mutant/Human, Animal or Robot. These different Attributes would nearly act the same as they would normally to each other, with a few exceptions; such as Animal Mutants being able to Dominate over other Animals but not with Mutants, Humans or Robots.
    • The Mutants' and Humans' Attributes:
      • Strength
      • Agility
      • Wits
      • Empathy
    • The Animals' Attributes:
      • Strength
      • Agility
      • Wits
      • Instinct
    • The Robots' Attributes:
      • Servos
      • Stability
      • Processor
      • Network
  • The Patriarch: The Mutants of The Other Ark Special Zone are ruled by a despotic Zone-Ghoul referred to only as The Chairman; who rules over them as a King due to his one gift to them, his ability to father children with female Mutants.
  • The Plague: The Red Plague was the catalyst that led to the end of the globalized world of Year Zero. It was so named after the first symptom of the disease, bloodshot eyes, that soon started to bleed profusely. At that point, a painful and morbid death would follow the next day. No one knows where the plague originated from, though some speculate it was created by Professor Jeremiah Atwood as a retaliation for the defunding of his original Project Eden. He did not deny any of these accusations.
  • The Promised Land: This is what the Mutants believe Eden to be.
  • Thicker Than Water: Family is an important part of the setting and this results in many figures doing anything and everything for the ones they cherish. So much so that even the Judicators of Elysium-1 are encouraged to conspire against other PCs should they be aligned to a different House then theirs.
  • Time Skip: Played with, each session is meant to take place over a certain length of time in the setting. As the idea is meant to keep the game flowing at a consistent pace which make sense for the stories being told.
  • Token Adult: The Elder was basically the only adult The Mutants have ever known and even as they're becoming Young Adults, many of The Mutants still act like immature and violent teenagers.
  • Unexplained Accent: A couple of random encounters will have the Mutant PCs encounter strange individuals from mysterious and distant lands, with accents which are foreign to most who settle in The Ark.
  • Underwater City: This is the setting of the second Source Book Mechatron.
  • Universal Ammunition: For the sake of simplicity, all conventional firearms have ammunition that can use any caliber they require. There are no descriptions or distinctions of what ammunition can be found or used by PCs. Otherwise however; Energy Weapons use portable batteries, E-packs, whilst Gyrojet Weapons use small and expensive rockets.
  • Universal System: Unlike most traditional Tabletop RPGs that use a collection of differently shaped dice for multiple and specific purposes; Mutant: Year Zero uses a simple D6 system with fifteen dice in three colours to distinguish their purpose. The Base Dice is yellow and the Skill dice is green, both sharing the same symbols, with the a biohazard symbol replacing the one and the six replaced with a ionizing radiation symbol; the Gear dice is black with the one being replaced by an explosives symbol. The Base Dice act as the PCs Attribute score, the Skill dice act the same as the Base for the Skill being used, and the Gear dice are additional bonus dice from certain equipment. These dice are then rolled for their dependent actions with however many dice that is available to the player, along with any bonus dice granted by the equipment bonus.
  • Uplifted Animal: Played with, it's initially assumed that the Mutant Animals were Animals that were given human traits. This is not so. The Mutant Animals are perfected human-animal hybrids, to be used as an alternate means of surviving and repopulating the surface world. But still act like animals and use a primitive animal hierarchy.
  • Vampiric Draining: The Parasite Mutation also allows you to steal any one Attribute point from a victim that the player can heal upon their PC, this can also be used inversely on others as well.
  • Vestigial Empire: It's all but confirmed that an overarching government controlled the world for a few years, somewhere just before Year Zero's timeline started to diverge from ours, until the apocalypse came and destroyed it with The Red Plague. This government was formed as part of globalization efforts by the current World Powers, which explains the stagnation that The Elysium Project sought to correct. The Elysium Project was founded in secret by cabal of a select few from the world's under powered elites, as precaution for the inevitable collapse of The World's government. Mimir and Noatun were founded at some point after as well in response to Elysium. These three groups are the last known remnants of the formally Globalized World.
  • Wasteland Elder: The Elder of The Ark fits this trope to a T, at least when he appears to his children but he's not the only one; many of the first generations of Mutants that were sent to the surface are far older than the Players' PCs. And many have taken up the roles as Tribal Leaders, Oracles or even Mutant versions of The Elder.
  • Weakened by the Light: Zone-Ghouls absolutely abhor the sunlight.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: This is a frequent threat that can plague any Player group's Ark, as it often means that a lot of The Ark's time and resources are wasted.
  • Weird Currency: As sated above, the game uses multiple forms of weird currency. From bullets to food, to batteries to just box standard credits.
  • When Trees Attack: There are experimental Killer Trees that are found out in The Zone, which as stated before can occupy an entire Zone Sector if not eliminated as soon as possible. In The Gray Death Supplement, players get to see the vast extent of their danger if left unchecked. Seeing as how one Killer Tree was able to take over an entire research facility, spread its influence and seed pods all over The Zone and then manipulate the supposed Big Bad of the campaign without the need of its own pisonic powers to do so.
  • Winged Humanoid: A random Mutation gives PCs insectoid wings which they can either use to jump a hundred feet in the air, close the distance between enemies or drive people mad with the intense, loud and unnerving buzzing noise.
  • Year Zero: It's there in the title; this is because it's meant to represent the earliest history of the world after the end.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Each time a player's character has received a Temporary Rot Point, they must role a dice for every Point to see if The Rot vanishes or becomes permanent. If they role a one on any of their dice, then one Rot Point becomes permanent. These Permanent Rot Points are then stacked onto future Temporary Rot Point roles. Once a character gets ten Permanent Rot Points they die.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: This is how The Gray Death Supplement introduces its new faction, they've also got Airships but they're far more advanced versions of a player's Airship that are piloted by a new enemy called Dawnsoldiers.

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