I think it is safe to say (as the designer of the game) that I have played Metamorphosis Alpha longer than any other person. From this semi-vast experience my initial concept of the game has undergone a semi-vast change. Being a devoted reader of every bit of Science Fiction I could and/or can get a hold of and a D&D; addict of the first magnitude, I saw a real need for a Science Fiction based D&D; game; hence the creation (with a lot of help from TSR) of MA. Now, with a major rewrite in the works (for you people that have kindly ďdemandedĒ more information on every facet of the game) I see the game every bit as complex as D&D; with systems that are unique to anything yet known.
The game has been well received by the role playing public. I just wanted to take a few moments to detail some highly enjoyable experiences with the game that others can try. The use of the D&D; player character has worked very well on the Star Ship Warden. The abilities of Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence directly translate into Strength, Dexterity, and Mental Resistance in ship terms. Constitution in the D&D; character is used for the Poison Chart. The hit points of the D&D; level attained by the character used decides the hit points for the MA game. Charisma is the MA equivalent of Leadership Potential and is naturally only useable by 100% humans. The wisdom score is the big plus for D&D; players on the MA world. It affects the Mental Resistance score for mental attacks.
It should be noted that no addition can take the Mental Resistance roll over the 18 mark.
That covers all the character abilities for both sides except for Radiation Resistance. The D&D; player has had no former generations to give them immunity so they have a resistance of 3.
Magic and its effects are immense on the starship. Those MA creatures have no resistance to magic so they take full effect without a saving throw. A hold person spell will get 1-4 people (not mutants) automatically. A ten die fireball does ten dice of damage with no saving throw. Along the same lines is the use of magical items straight from D&D.; Magical Armor is probably the best of all the things available. The plusses on the armor are directly applicable to a beings armor class. Plus two armor is as armor class zero, plus three is as minus one armor class. This type of armor completely resists the action of protein and disruptor blasts. Swords do their normal damage plus whatever plus they have. Potions work fine until they are exposed to any amount of radiation and then they are whatever the Starship Master wants to make them. Rings, Wands, Staves, and Rods usually function normally on the ship. Miscellaneous magic items are a slightly different matter. Because of the shielding, metal, and energy fields of the starship Crystal Balls & Helms of Teleportation donít work through the levels. Medallions of ESP and Helms of Telepathy add two points to the mental Resistance score. Elementals of all types, Efreeti, and Djinni donít seem to be summonable with any device or spell. Horns of Valhalla, Figurines of Wonderous Power, and Arrows of Direction donít seem to work.
There are many ways to handle the different D&D; character classes. For every two levels over the tenth a fighter has, allow a plus one to hit with any weapon. Magic users over the tenth level should have a plus per level to figure out any type of technical item. Since clerics get their spells renewed everyday (and I never liked them anyway) they donít need any special powers or plusses. Bards over the tenth level act like Singing Vines. Monks on the other hand are at one-half their normal level because of the extreme quickness of the MA species. Thieves donít have their special attack bonus when attacking the backs of mutants (everyone is always trying to zap them from behind).
As with almost everything there is the other side of the role-playing coin. The use of MA characters in D&D; land might be highly enjoyable. Humans are of the least significant mainly because they donít fit in any of the classes. On the other hand, they do have a potential for a large amount of hit points. The mutants are the beings that have the greatest potential for damage and fun. Mutation attacks should work over any magic resistance and protection. Imagine a mutant with four mental and four physical mutations. Let us give her defects of no sensory nerve endings and a complete mental block for robots. We will also assume she has Regeneration (could be treated as the Troll), Radiated Eyes, Physical Reflection (could be spell energy), and Poison Claws (intensity 12) for her physical abilities. She could have Mental Paralysis, Mental Control, Life Leech, and De-evolution for her mental powers. If any of you are wondering what possible harm De- evolution could do to a non-mutant let me list a few things. In magic users it could take away all the ability to use spells of any type. Fighters could lose a level or two of experience for every attack. Clerics could lose one level of spells forever starting from their lowest level. Normal humans could be transformed into Cro-Magnon man or even apes (but a few have argued that this skips several generations of evolution).
The weapons of the starship could have many strange effects on D&D; creatures. The protein disruptor would work 100% of the time on non-enchanted creatures and forces a saving throw (as a death ray attack) on all creatures regardless of their magic resistance. The sonic metal disruptor ruins Iron Golems and does damage to metal covered beings to the tune of 15 dice for a short range hit, 10 dice for a medium range hit, and 5 dice of damage for a long range hit. In using the paralysis rod or the paralysis dart it works 100% of the time on creatures with the standard magical resistance. Creatures with any type of extra normal magical resistance have a 50-50 chance of being paralyzed. The laser pistol is a short energy burst that bathes any fire creature in healing energy, melts Iron Golems, and does triple damage on cold creatures. The third stage slug ejector does no damage to metal armored beings or creatures with an armor class of better than four. The third stage gas ejector forces a D&D; being to make their poison saving throw with each hit.
All in all the switching of creatures, players, and items from campaign to campaign can make for novel situations.