Mutations

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Mutation selection

Mutations are one aspect of character creation in Caves of Qud. They provide the bulk of character customization (at least for players playing as a Mutant) due to their variety and number, and can be considered roughly analogous to the Cybernetics available to True Kin. There are over 70 mutations available. The starting mutations are split into a few main categories:

  • Morphotypes: Either limits what mutations can be gotten (and bought), or in the case of Unstable Genome, randomly mutates into another mutation.
  • Physical Mutations: Positive mutations that physically alter the player internally or externally.
  • Mental Mutations: Positive mutations that are related to controlling things with mental energy.
  • Defects can be of both physical and mental and seek to hinder the player.

It should be noted that, because the mutation system is used to handle any special abilities, many creatures have "mutations" which can be thought of as much closer to natural traits or abilities than actual genetic mutations, such as the Heightened Smell and Night Vision common to all Snapjaws. These mutations are not available to be selected during character creation (though in some cases, they can be obtained during gameplay through cooking effects or other means). For a list of these, see Category:Innate mutations.

Physical Mutations[edit | edit source]

Physical mutations are mutations that grant the player various physical attributes and abilities. Players with the Chimera morphotype will only manifest physical mutations.

Rapid Advancement[edit | edit source]

Physical mutations possess a unique mechanic know now as rapid advancement. Starting at player level 5, and every 10 levels after that, the player's genome will enter an excited state, and they will be given the option to rapidly advance one of their physical mutations, causing them to gain 3 permanent levels. Levels gained in this way can bypass the usual 10 level limit set on mutations. If the player has at least 4 mutation points, they will be given the chance to buy a new mutation before rapidly mutating. If the player has no physical mutations upon reaching the appropriate level, this prompt will be skipped.

Mental Mutations[edit | edit source]

Mental mutations are mutations that grant the player various mind-based abilities. Players with the Esper morphotype will only manifest mental mutations.

Ego Bonus[edit | edit source]

Mental mutations possess a unique mechanic whereby their effective level is increased in proportion to the player's Ego bonus. Levels gained from Ego bonus can bypass the usual 10 level limit set on mutations. These levels are not permanent and will decrease if the player's Ego bonus decreases for any reason. Additionally, the level of mental mutations will be decreased in proportion to a negative Ego bonus.

Glimmer[edit | edit source]

Main article: Glimmer

Glimmer is a mechanic unique to mental mutations. A player's Glimmer score is proportional to the combined total of all of their mental mutations' levels, including levels granted by their Ego bonus but excluding mental mutations which can't be leveled (1 point mutations). The more Glimmer one has, the more desirable they are to esper hunters.

Character Creation[edit | edit source]

On character creation, mutants start with 12 mutation points to select starting mutations. These do not carry over to the main game, so any left over points will be lost. To gain more available points, defects can be taken which penalize the player in various ways.

Buying Mutations[edit | edit source]

Once in the game, each level up will net the player character one mutation point. This can be spent on leveling a mutation they already have, given that the new level is less than Player Level/2. If four points are amassed, the player can choose to buy a new mutation by pressing M on the character sheet screen. They will be given a choice of three random mutations; these are deterministic based on world seed and cannot be rerolled through save/loading or Precognition except for certain methods that will be touched on in a later section. What mutations can be gotten depends on morphotype or lack of.

Randomizing Mutation Buys[edit | edit source]

Mutations are constant due to being the player character's genome being usually constant. To reroll a new batch of mutations, their genome must be altered. This can be accomplished by:

Gaining temporary mutations[edit | edit source]

Mutations can be temporarily gained using other methods besides mutating it. This is often the only way for True Kin to gain mutations:

  • Equipping a relic
  • Eating a recipe
  • Injecting specific injectors

List of Mutations[edit | edit source]

Morphotypes[edit | edit source]

Mutation Cost Description Exclusions CreationCode
Chimera 1 You only manifest physical mutations. Esper Mental Mutations Mental Defects aa
Esper 1 You only manifest mental mutations. Chimera Physical Mutations Physical Defects ab
Unstable Genome 3 You gain an extra mutation, but it doesnt manifest right away. Whenever you gain a level, there is 33% chance that your genome destabilizes and you get to chose from 3 random mutations. uu

Physical Mutations[edit | edit source]

Mutation Cost Description Slots Exclusions CreationCode
Adrenal Control 4 You regulate your body's release of adrenaline.

You can increase your body's adrenaline flow for 20 rounds. While it's flowing, you gain +(level-based) quickness and other physical mutations gain +(level based) rank.

Cooldown: 200 rounds
ba
Beak 1 Your face bears a sightly beak.

+1 Ego You occasionally peck at your opponents.

+300 reputation with birds
Face cd
Burrowing Claws 3 You bear spade-like claws that can burrow through the earth.

4 successful attacks dig through a wall Claw penetration vs walls: (level based) Claws are also a short-blade class natural weapon that deal (level based) damage to non-walls.

(if prerelease content is enabled):

Can dig passages up or down when outside of combat
Left Hand Right Hand bb
Carapace 3 You are protected by a durable carapace.

+(level based) AV -2 DV +(level based) Heat Resistance +(level based) Cold Resistance You may tighten your carapace to receieve double the AV bonus at a -2 DV penalty as long as you remain still. Cannot wear armor.

+400 reputation with tortoises
Body Quills bc
Corrosive Gas Generation 3 You release a burst of corrosive gas around yourself.

Releases gas for (level based) rounds

Cooldown: 40 rounds
bd
Double-muscled 3 You are possessed of hulking strength.

+(level based) Strength

(level based) chance to daze your opponent on a successful melee attack for 2-3 rounds
be
Electrical Generation 4 You accrue electrical charge that you can use and discharge to deal damage.

Maximum charge: (level based) Accrue base (level based) charge per turn Can discharge all held charge for 1d4 damage per 1000 charge Discharge can arc to adjacent targets dealing reduced damage, up to 1 target per 1000 charge EMP causes involuntary discharge (difficulty 18 Willpower save) You can drink charge from energy cells and capacitors. You gain 100 charge per point of electrical damage taken.

You can provide charge to equipped devices that have integrated power systems.
bf
Electromagnetic Pulse 2 You generate an electromagnetic pulse that disables nearby artifacts and machines.

Area: (level based) centered around yourself Duration: (level based) - (level based) rounds

Cooldown: 200 rounds
bg
Flaming Ray 4 You emit a ray of flame from your (hands, feet, face).

Emits a 9-square ray of flame in the direction of your choice. Damage: (level based) Cooldown: 10 rounds

Melee attacks heat opponents by (level based) degrees
Hands Feet Face Freezing Ray bh
Freezing Ray 5 You emit a ray of frost from your (variant).

Emits a 9-square ray of frost in the direction of your choice. Damage: (level based) Cooldown: 20 rounds

Melee attacks cool opponents by -(level based) degrees
Hands Feet Face Flaming Ray bi
Heightened Hearing 2 You are possessed of unnaturally acute hearing.

You detect the presence of creatures within a radius of (3+Level*2,40 if max)

Chance to identify nearby detected creatures
bj
Heightened Quickness 3 You are gifted with tremendous speed. +(level based) Quickness bk
Horns 3 Horns jut out of your head.

20% chance on melee attack to gore your opponent Damage increment: (level based) Goring attacks may cause bleeding Horns are a short-blade class melee weapon. +(level based) AV Cannot wear helmets

+100 reputation with antelopes and goatfolk
Head Psionic Migranes bl
Metamorphosis 4 You assume the form of any creature you touch.

Cooldown: (525 - 25 * Level) rounds

May only assume the form of creatures level (1 + Level) * 5 or lower
bm
Multiple Arms 4 You have an extra set of arms. (level based)% chance for each extra arm to deliver an additional melee attack whenever you make a melee attack bn
Multiple Legs 5 You have an extra set of legs.

+(level based) move speed

+(level based)% carry capacity
bo
Night Vision 1 You see in the dark. bp
Phasing 4 You may phase through solid objects for brief periods of time.

Cooldown: (level based) rounds

Duration: (level based) rounds
bq
Photosynthetic Skin 2 You replenish yourself by absorbing sunlight through your hearty green skin.

You can bask in the sunlight instead of eating a meal to gain a special metabolizing effect for (level based) days: +(level based)% to natural healing rate and +(level based) Quickness

While in the sunlight, you accrue starch and lignin that you can use as ingredients in meals you cook (max (level based) serving(s) each).

+200 reputation with roots, trees, vines, and the Consortium of Phyta
Albino Carnivorous br
Quills 4 Hundreds of needle-pointed quills cover your body.

(level based) quills May expel 10% of your quills in a burst around yourself ((level based) ♥1d3) Regenerate quills at the approximate rate of (level based) per round +(level based) AV as long as you retain half your quills ((level based) AV otherwise) Creatures attacking you in melee may impale themselves on your quills, breaking roughly 1% of them and reflecting 3% damage per quill broken. Cannot wear body armor

Immune to other creatures' quills
Body Carapace bs
Regeneration 4 Your wounds heal very quickly.

Your full natural healing rate applies in combat. +(level based)% faster natural healing rate (level based)% chance to regrow a missing limb each round

(level based)% chance to remove a minor physical debuff at random each round
bt
Sleep Gas Generation 3 You release a burst of sleep gas around yourself.

Releases gas for (level based) rounds

Cooldown: 35 rounds
bu
Slime Glands 1 You produce a viscous slime that you can spit at things.

Covers an area with slime Range: 8 Area: 3x3 Cooldown: 40 rounds

You can walk over slime without slipping.
bv
Spinnerets 3 You can spin sticky silk webs.

While spinning, you leave webs in your wake as you move "Cooldown: 80 rounds Duration: (5 + Level) rounds +(5 + Level) to saves vs. forced movement Immune to becoming stuck in webs

+200 reputation with arachnids
bw
Stinger (Confusing Venom) 3 You bear a tail with a stinger that delivers confusing venom to your enemies.

20% chance on melee attack to sting your opponent
((level based) ♥(level based)) Stinger is a long blade and can only penetrate once. Always sting on charge or lunge. Stinger applies venom on damage (only 20% chance if Stinger is your primary weapon). May use Sting activated ability to strike with your stinger and automatically hit and penetrate. Sting cooldown: 25 Venom confuses opponents for (level based) rounds

+200 reputation with arachnids
Tail Stinger (Paralyzing Venom) Stinger (Poisoning Venom) bx
Stinger (Paralyzing Venom) 3 You bear a tail with a stinger that delivers paralyzing venom to your enemies.

20% chance on melee attack to sting your opponent
((level based) ♥(level based)) Stinger is a long blade and can only penetrate once. Always sting on charge or lunge. Stinger applies venom on damage (only 20% chance if Stinger is your primary weapon). May use Sting activated ability to strike with your stinger and automatically hit and penetrate. Sting cooldown: 25 Venom paralyzes opponents for (level based) rounds

+200 reputation with arachnids
Tail Stinger (Confusing Venom) Stinger (Poisoning Venom) by
Stinger (Poisoning Venom) 3 You bear a tail with a stinger that delivers poisonous venom to your enemies.

20% chance on melee attack to sting your opponent
((level based) ♥(level based)) Stinger is a long blade and can only penetrate once. Always sting on charge or lunge. Stinger applies venom on damage (only 20% chance if Stinger is your primary weapon). May use Sting activated ability to strike with your stinger and automatically hit and penetrate. Sting cooldown: 25 Venom poisons opponents for 8-12 rounds (damage increment (level based))

+200 reputation with arachnids
Tail Stinger (Paralyzing Venom) Stinger (Confusing Venom) bz
Thick Fur 1 You are covered in a thick coat of fur, which protects you from the elements.

+5 Heat Resistance +5 Cold Resistance

+100 reputation with apes
b1
Triple-jointed 3 Your joints stretch much further than usual.

+(level based) Agility

(level based)% chance that Agility-based skill powers don't go on cooldown after use
b2
Two-headed 3 You have two heads.

Mental actions have (level based)% lower action costs

(level based)% chance initially and each round to shake off a negative mental status effect
b3
Two-hearted 3 You have two hearts.

+(level based) Toughness

You can sprint for (level based)% longer.
b4
Wings 4 You fly.

You travel over land at (level based)x speed (level based)% reduced chance of becoming lost While outside, you may fly. You cannot be hit in melee by grounded creatures while flying. (level based)% chance of falling clumsily to the ground +(level based)% move speed while sprinting You can jump (level based) squares farther. You can charge (level based) squares farther.

+400 reputation with birds and winged mammals
Back b5

Physical Defects[edit | edit source]

Mutation Cost Description Slots Exclusions CreationCode
Albino -2 Your skin, hair, and eyes are absent of pigment. You regenerate hit points at one-fifth the usual rate in the daylight. Photosynthetic Skin ca
Amphibious -3 Your skin must be kept moist with fresh water.

You pour water on yourself rather than drinking it to quench your thirst. You require about two-thirds more water than usual.

+100 reputation with frogs
cb
Brittle Bones -4 Your bones are brittle. You suffer 150% damage from falling, attacks made with cudgels, and other sources of concussive damage. cf
Carnivorous -2 You eat meat exclusively.

You get no satiation from foods that aren't meat. If you eat raw food that isn't meat, there's a 50% chance you become ill for 2 hours. You can't cook with plant or fungus ingredients. You don't get ill when you eat raw meat.

You can eat raw meat without being famished.
Photosynthetic Skin b6
Cold-Blooded -2 Your vitality depends on your temperature; at higher temperatures, you are more lively. At lower temperatures, you are more torpid.

Your base quickness score is reduced by 10.

Your quickness increases as your temperature increases and decreases as your temperature decreases.

+100 reputation with unshelled reptiles
cd
Electromagnetic Impulse -2 You involuntarily release electromagnetic pulses, deactivating robots and artifacts around yourself. There is a small chance each round that you release an electromagnetic pulse with radius 3, deactivating robots and artifacts (including those you carry) for 11-20 rounds. cg
Hemophilia -4 Your blood does not clot easily. It takes much longer than usual for you to stop bleeding. ch
Hooks for Feet -4 You have hooks for feet. You cannot wear shoes. Feet ci
Irritable Genome -4 Your genome is irritable and unpredictable.

Whenever you spend a mutation point, the next mutation point you gain will be spent randomly.

Whenever you buy a new mutation, you get a random one instead of a choice of three.
cn
Myopia -2 You are nearsighted. You can only see up to a radius of 4. cj
Nerve Poppy -2 You lack a developed sense of pain. You can only determine your general state of health and not your number of hit points. cc
Spontaneous Combustion -3 You spontaneously erupt into flames. There is a small chance each round that you spontaneously erupt into flames. cl
Tonic Allergy -4 You are allergic to tonics.

The chance your mutant physiology reacts adversely to a tonic is increased to 33%.

If you react adversely this way to a salve or ubernostrum tonic, the adverse reaction effect is chosen randomly from among other tonic effects. You will still heal.
cm

Mental Mutations[edit | edit source]

Mutation Cost Description CreationCode
Beguiling 3 You beguile a nearby creature into serving you loyally.

Mental attack versus a creature with a mind Cooldown: 50 rounds Range: 1 Success roll: Ego modifier or mutation level (whichever is higher) X 2 + character level + 1d8 VS. Defender MA + character level + 5

Beguiled creature: +(Level * 5) bonus hit points
da
Burgeoning 3 You cause plants to spontaneously grow in a nearby area, hindering your enemies.

Cooldown: (115 - 10 * Level, minimum 5) rounds Range: 8 Area: 3x3 + growth into adjacent tiles

+200 reputation with the Consortium of Phyta
db
Clairvoyance 2 You briefly gain vision of a nearby area.

Cooldown: 75 Vision Radius: (3 + Level)(at Level ≥ 10, whole map)

Vision duration: (Level * 2 + 16) turns.
dc
Confusion 3 You confuse nearby enemies.

Affected creatures act semi-randomly and receive a -(2 + Level) penalty to their mental abilities. Cooldown: 40 rounds Range: 8 squares Area: 3x3

Duration: (5 + Level)d3 rounds
dd
Cryokinesis 5 You chill a nearby area with your mind.

Chills affected area over 3 rounds Cooldown: 50 rounds Range: 8 Area: 3x3 Round 1 Damage: (Level)d2/2 Round 2 Damage: (Level)d3/2

Round 3 Damage: (Level)d4/2
de
Disintegration 3 You disintegrate nearby matter.

Cooldown: 75 rounds Range: 0 Area: 7x7 around self Damage to non-structural matter: (Level)ld10 + (2 * Level) Damage to structural objects: (Level)d100+20

You are exhausted for 3 rounds after using this power
dg
Domination 4 You garrote an adjacent creature's mind and control its actions while your own body lies dormant.

Mental attack versus creature with a mind Cooldown: 75 rounds Duration: (100 + 100 * Level) rounds

Range: 1
df
Ego Projection 2 Through sheer force of will, you perform uncanny physical feats.

Augments one physical attribute by an amount equal to twice your Ego bonus Cooldown: 200 rounds

Duration: (4 + 2 * Level)d4+2 rounds
dh
Force Bubble 5 You generate a force field around your person.

Creates a 3x3 force field centered around yourself Cooldown: 100 rounds Duration: (9 + Level * 3) rounds

You may fire missile weapons through the force field
di
Force Wall 3 You generate a wall of force that protects you from your enemies.

Creates 9 contiguous squares of immobile force field Cooldown: (108 - 8 * Level)(minimum 5) rounds Duration: 25 rounds

You may fire missile weapons through the force field
dj
Kindle 1 You ignite a small fire with your mind.

Cooldown: 50

Range: 12
dk
Light Manipulation 4 You manipulate light to your advantage.

You produce ambient light within a radius of (4 + Floor(Level/2)) You may focus the light into a laser beam (doing so reduces the radius of your ambient light by 1) Laser damage increment: (Level based) Laser penetration bonus: ((Level - 1) / 2 + 4) Ambient light radius increases by 1 every 15 rounds until it reaches its maximum value

(10 + 3 * Level)% chance to reflect light-based damage
dl
Mass Mind 4 You tap into the aggregate mind and steal power from other espers.

Refreshes all mental mutations Cooldown: 1050 - (40 * Ego modifier) - (50 * Level) rounds Small chance each round for another esper to steal your powers

-200 reputation with the Seekers of the Sightless Way
dm
Mental Mirror 2 You reflect mental attacks back at your attackers.

Reflects up to (Level) mental attacks Shatters when all reflection charges are exhausted

Refreshes to full charge 50 rounds after shattering
dn
Precognition 4 You peer into your near future.

May revert to the point in time when you first used this power Cooldown: 500 rounds

Duration between use and reversion: (12 + 4 * Level) rounds
do
Psychometry 4 You read the history of artifacts by touching them, learning what they do and how they were made.

Unerringly identifies an artifact up to complexity tier [Mutation Level/2 + 4]

Bestows the ability to construct an identified artifact up to complexity tier [(Mutation Level - 1) / 2 + 2] (must have the appropriate Tinker power)

You may open security doors upon touching them.
dp
Pyrokinesis 5 You toast a nearby area with your mind.

Toasts affected area over 3 rounds Cooldown: 50 rounds Range: 8 Area: 3x3 Round 1 Damage: (Level)d3 divided by 2 Round 2 Damage: (Level)d4 divided by 2

Round 3 Damage: (Level)d6 divided by 2
dq
Sense Psychic 1 You can sense when others tap the psychic aether.

You detect the presence of psychic enemies within a radius of 9

Chance to identify nearby detected enemies
dr
Space-Time Vortex 3 You sunder spacetime, sending things nearby careening through a tear in the cosmic fabric.

Summons a vortex that extinguishes everything in its path Cooldown: (550 - 50 * Level), minimum 5 rounds You may enter the vortex to teleport to a random location in Qud Bonus duration: (Level - 10) rounds

+200 reputation with highly entropic beings
ds
Stunning Force 4 You invoke a concussive force in a nearby area, throwing enemies backward and stunning them.

Cooldown: 50 rounds Range: 8 Area: 7x7 Creatures are pushed away from center of blast, stunned, and dealt crushing damage in up to 3 increments

Damage increment: 1d(Level)
dt
Sunder Mind 4 You sunder the mind of an enemy, leaving them reeling in pain.

For up to 10 rounds, you engage in psychic combat with an opponent, dealing damage each round. Taking any action other than passing the turn will break the connection. Each round you make a mental attack vs mental armor (MA). Damage increment: (level based) After the tenth round, you deal bonus damage equal to the total amount of damage you've done so far. Range: sight

Cooldown: 80 rounds
du
Syphon Vim 3 You bond with a nearby creature and leech its life force.

Mental attack versus an organic creature Cooldown: 200 rounds Duration: 20 rounds

Drains (Level) hit points per round
dv
Telepathy 1 You may communicate with others through the psychic aether.

Chat with anyone in vision (but not trade unless you are next to them)

Takes much less time to direct companions
dw
Teleport Other 2 You teleport an adjacent creature to a random nearby location. Cooldown: (115 - 10 * Level), minimum 5 rounds dy
Teleportation 5 You teleport to a nearby location.

Teleport to a random location within a designated area.

Cooldown: (125 - 10 * Level), minimum 5 rounds
dx
Temporal Fugue 5 You quickly pass back and forth through time creating multiple copies of yourself.

Cooldown: 200 rounds Duration: (20 + 2 * (Level / 2)) rounds

Copies: (Level - 1) / 2 + 1
d1
Time Dilation 4 You distort time around your person in order to slow down your enemies.

Creatures within 9 tiles are slowed according to how close they are to you. Cooldown: 125 rounds Duration: 15 rounds Distance 1: creatures receive a (64 * (0.0005 * Level + 0.0085) * 100)% Quickness penalty Distance 4: creatures receive a (25 * (0.0005 * Level + 0.0085) * 100)% Quickness penalty

Distance 7: creatures receive a (4 * (0.0005 * Level + 0.0085) * 100)% Quickness penalty
dz

Mental Defects[edit | edit source]

Mutation Cost Description CreationCode
Amnesia -3 You forget things and places in your immediate past. Anything you have not seen in the last 20 rounds disappears from your map. ea
Blinking Tic -3 You teleport about uncontrollably. There is a small chance each round that you randomly teleport to a nearby location. eb
Evil Twin -3 Acting on some inscrutable impulse, a parallel version of yourself travels through space and time to destroy you. Each time you embark on a new location, there is a small chance that a parallel version of yourself has tracked you down and attempts to destroy you. ec
Narcolepsy -4 You fall asleep involuntarily from time to time. There is a small chance each round that you fall asleep for 20-29 rounds. ed
Socially Repugnant -2 Others find it difficult to tolerate you in social settings. Merchants charge you five times the usual prices for their wares and will only pay one-fifth the usual prices for your wares. ef