Personally I find mutagens obnoxious. They’re highly unreliable even with the Robust Genetics trait, and the system is almost too complex understand (read: it takes serious study effort). On top of that, making mutagens requires skill, effort and resources. Here’s what I’m suggesting instead:
We make targeted and trait-specific mutagens and get rid of mutation trees altogether. So instead of spider mutagens we’d have Night-Vision mutagens and Runner mutagens, for example. Each mutagen would also come with an inherent success rate, in 5% increments, so for example we’d have Night Vision mutagen (40%) and Night Vision mutagen (85%). Failure would result in a negative trait. Potential negative traits for a mutagen type would be listed separately in game files, so failure from Night Vision mutagen could result in Bulging Eyes or Light Sensitivity. Additionally, the success chance for each mutagen could be hidden, until the mutagen/serum is analyzed, possibly at a centrifuge, or with a portable tool. Accurate analysis could require Cooking skill, so low level chemists would get results like 50-90% for mutagens that actually have 80% success rate. The lower the skill, the higher the variation for each analysis. Of course you could drink unanalyzed mutagens if you wanted to.
Alternatively, mutagens could have separate success AND failure rates. So for example a mutagen could have
30% no effect
While this proposal simplifies, streamlines and sanitizes the mutation system, it also makes it much more boring imo, and would result in the game losing some of its flavour.
The uniqueness is these mutational ‘pathways’.
The bad thing with this system is that some paths are much more desirable than others, so usually people never try to follow ‘worse’ mutation branches and lose out on content. Sadly, i do this too.
Also, another problem is that with savescumming you can really exploit the system, that is try until you get the mutation set you want, even across branches. But since this is cheating, there is no urgent need to ‘fix’ that.
I looked in to making mutagen paths that were a bit more themed (one for each stat, with the perception stat having the vision and hearing related mutations, for instance), but I never finished it. Some of what you want would be possible that way - make your own mod, let the community try it.
Uhh, just checking but did you guys notice the part where I said failure would result in a bad mutation?
I don’t even bother to savescum with the current system. After enough failures I eventually just debug the (positive, trait-level) mutation that I think I’ve deserved. What I’ve found out is that I end up doing that often.
I guess point could be made that my proposed system would lower the bar for savescumming, but again, if one savescums, one might as well use debugging tools.
Also, targeted mutagens might even be able to co-exist with the current mutagens, so doing away with the mutation trees might not be necessary. In case the player lacks the necessary pre-requisite mutations, they would be picked first upon success. Targeted mutagens could therefore complement the current system. But I guess they should be bit more rare to find and more demanding, if not impossible, to cook.
You are actually right about the “I just want to pick my mutations”… But at a cost and effort. I wouldn’t want it to be easy or risk-free. Also, possibly limit it to low-level mutations.
I’d like to take back the proposal of getting rid of the current mutation system. It obviously took great design effort and implementation effort, and it was just unthoughtful of me to ask to abandon it.
But… Ok. You believe mutations are supposed to be unreliable. I don’t, at least not in the magnitude they are now. We agree to disagree.
Also, purifier inclusion/removal could also be a mod.
Going back to the research idea I had, it might be interesting if targeted mutagens could be created with NPC help. Maybe if you drop off 2 serums with the scientists, they will create a new serum isolated to one mutation based off of the potential mutations of the given serums. So let’s say you were going for night vision, serum A has an equal probability of night vision, high metabolism, and fragile, serum B has an equal probability of night vision, carnivore, and fragile. If you drop off both serums, the scientists have a 1/3 chance to produce a night vision serum, a 1/3 chance to produce a fragile serum, a 1/6 chance to produce a high metabolism serum, or a 1/6 chance to produce a carnivore serum. It could go either way as to whether we tell the player what mutation they got though. I think this places a little extra control with the player, while also requiring your character to be pretty advanced and also have a pretty decent amount of resources.
It is not unreasonable lore wise, that scientists would select out specific mutations from serums to push for “perfect humans” or “Perfect weapons” etc… and to keep things from being to easy they could have not completed this yet, but begun the process of separating out various qualities, and what is necessary to do so. Obviously should require appropriate level of rarity AND danger to overcome to get access to this kind of end game, fix the mutant to be the best possible, kind of thing.
I figured that’s what was going on. No reason that during a wartime scramble that things like the vampire idea couldn’t be something that would happen without much oversight. Wars have a tendency to have random prjects like that pop up without anyone noticing.