Giving mutagens to NPCs - best and worst

I’ve never actually done this before, and I’m trying to figure out the best and worst mutagen categories for NPC companions. Alpha seems pretty safe. In fact, NPCs start with such bad stats that Alpha seems almost mandatory. Since I don’t play with NPC needs enabled, any category that increases hunger seems almost like cheating, but I’m not backing away from such juicy options like Lizard, Beast or Chimera :P. For some reason my NPC comp has way slower walking speed than I do, but that could be due to my char’s Quick, Fleet-footed and such traits. But giving her the Roadrunner trait feels kind of bad because it’s in Bird category, which seems pretty risky. Then there’s also the matter of night-vision. I wonder if giving her full NV would ensue in mild hilarity if I give her a ranged weapon and go on a night raid. She might start shooting something I’m not going to see first. Medical seems like the absolute worst especially if she catches the radioactive trait. I GUESS my char could wear an ANBC suit all day every day? Also can an NPC become Schizophrenic, hallucinate and take swings/shots at things that aren’t there? Plant also seems pretty bad category due to further walking speed reduction (Extremely Ponderous).


Edit: Medical category has Radiogenic which provides healing through radiation… and then couple other categories have Minor Radioactivity. So if both you and the NPC catch both mutations, you basically heal each other at all times? I also saw a mutation called Severe Radioactivity… does that mean super fast healing? [chinrub]

Slime. Give them slime. Let them spawn the slime friends and not worry about starving to death faster than they can eat.

Lizard: Being Cold Blooded/Ectothermic and a Carnivore sucks. The lack of ability to wear proper pants is bad, but Reptilian Healing coupled with a wide range of melee combat and durability buffs means they’ve got a lot more longevity both in and out of combat. Would really shine during the heat of mid-Summer months, just leave them at home during Winter and early Spring.

Bird: NPCs are fragile enough as is, making them faster than you and much more injury prone sounds like a good way to end up with a dead mutant.

Fish: This used to be the red-headed step child of mutation trees, it still is just slightly less so now. I’d skip it for NPCs unless you want to start a cult of fishmen to worship your post-thresh Cephalopod or something.

Beast: More year round utility than Lizard, but with the caveat of still being stuck with Carnivore. They also gain a bunch of useless mutations and have a much higher maintenance cost to boot. Skip it.

Feline: Similar boat to Beast, you’ve still got Carnivore but the maintenance cost is the same as an average NPC otherwise. This means they don’t get any real major bonuses though, Long Tail is nice because they’ll train dodge a hell of a lot faster then usual though.

Lupine: Second verse, slightly tweaked from the first. Not having to worry about Carnivore is always a bonus. Fluffy Tail nets you that sweet dodge bonus. An okay, if non-offensive choice. Just be careful of losing track of them at night due running off with High Night Night vision.

Ursine: I probably enjoy playing a Bearman Survivor more than anyone. But being slowed from Ponderous and losing the ability to wear standard sized clothing or ride in vehicles with Huge basically makes NPCs useless.

Cattle: Same situation as Ursine. The toughness and strength increase just aren’t worth the drawbacks. Avoid it.

Insect: Like Lizard with the Cold Blooded shtick and general close combat boost, including an immunity to acid to boot. Spiked Tail is probably one of the best combat mutations as well. Though sooner or later they’ll probably get shot in the face due to not wearing a helmet with Antennae.

Plant: Most of the bonuses a Survivor would get don’t really affect an NPC and they get shackled with Extremely Ponderous. Avoid it.

Slime: I don’t have first hand experience with this one, but Hollow Bones is bad news wherever it pops up for aforementioned durability reasons. Slime also gets a mutation that amplifies pain apparently, that’s bad news because NPCs do feel pain and one good hit could render them combat ineffective if not outright kill them due to Hollow Bones.

Troglobite: Contrary to what you might think making someone a night crawler doesn’t make them a good night raiding buddy, due to them potentially running off after stuff they see with Full Night Vision. Regeneration means they’ll heal from anything that doesn’t kill them in short order though and with Saprovore you can just feed them rotten garbage to boot. Not a bad choice if you prefer operating nocturnally yourself.

Cephalopod: Slowed down by the whole “I’m Made of Tentacles Thing” and being Heat Dependent, along with the lack of ability to wear torso armor or a gas mask really sucks. Avoid it.

Spider: Not terrible, but the drawbacks of Carnivore and Heat Dependent along with the mobility restrictions placed by Furred Plate outweigh the potential benefits.

Rat: Benefits in the hands of an NPC don’t outweigh the resource cost in my opinion. Avoid it.

Medical: Pain? Acid? What do your followers have to fear aside from that, a bit of addiction or schizophrenia? Ha! This is a case where game mechanics really benefit a mutation category, all the downsides aren’t experienced by NPCs. The only issue you’ll run into is Genetically Unstable slowly throwing things outta whack, but with Robust Genetics it’s just as likely to balance itself out over the long term. A truly solid choice.

Alpha: Giving a follower +7/+7/+7/+7 stats is nothing to scoff at. The main issue is the barrier to entry. Alpha mutagen is expensive both resource and time wise to collect. That and due to combining Disintegration with Very Little Sleep you run the risk of them going into a fight with a quarter or more of their health shaved off due to degradation alone. Still if you’ve got one or two NPCs you are particularly attached to and don’t mind the micromanaging the HP there a little Alpha is the best bet for making them more effective.

Elf-A: Avoid it. Bad Back, Hollow Bones, and Radioactivity are all pretty seriously terrible for NPCs to have with only meager stat boosts to compensate.

Chimera: The ultimate definition of combat monster. This is the mutagen I’m most looking forward to experimenting with on people. You basically boil down an NPCs function to its most basic component, fighting in combat on your behalf. From there you’d just feed them the spoils of their work, to avoid the potentially massive maintenance costs while they continually sharpen combat skills to an absurd degree thanks to Apex Predator

Raptor: A combination of Lizard and Bird basically, they won’t be as tough as the former or fast as the latter. You’ll still have to deal with Carnivore along with Very Fast Metabolism and a lesser form of Cold Blooded. Probably better to just give them Lizard instead of a washy middle ground.

Edit: Holy shit, I just started jotting stuff down yesterday and it turned into this unholy amalgamation. I never really realized how extensive CDDA’s collection of mutation trees were.

Yes. Though you can still mutate from radiation with Radiogenic. So you’d end up looking like a bunch of walking freak shows sooner or later.

[quote=“Shopkeeper, post:3, topic:13097”]snip[/quote]Carnivore isn’t as bad on NPCs, they eat little, so you don’t need to worry as much. Ditto for mutations that raise hunger, they aren’t as bad on NPCs because their base consumption is so low. This makes beast & Lizard and co more viable.

Slime… is a lot more fun as pc than NPC, but if they spawn slimelings, the army of mooks would definitely be worth the drawbacks. More if you can apply it to multiple NPCs.

[quote=“Aabbcc, post:4, topic:13097”][quote=“Shopkeeper, post:3, topic:13097”]snip[/quote]Carnivore isn’t as bad on NPCs, they eat little, so you don’t need to worry as much. Ditto for mutations that raise hunger, they aren’t as bad on NPCs because their base consumption is so low. This makes beast & Lizard and co more viable.

Slime… is a lot more fun as pc than NPC, but if they spawn slimelings, the army of mooks would definitely be worth the drawbacks. More if you can apply it to multiple NPCs.[/quote]

And the OP has mentioned having NPC needs turned off so their NPC’s don’t eat at all.

Yes, that’s how I play. So each one’s settings make a big difference here. Traditionally I’ve also disabled radiation causing mutations. Still, good analysis from Shopkeeper.

Hmm. Gave my NPC alpha and she caught the Deterioration/Disintegration. Doesn’t seem to work on NPCs. I keep checking her HP but it stays the same.

Why don’t you just crossmutate, you can use mutagen and purifier until you got a good base and then specialize in a tree and before threshold take a gamble with another tree and only then finish the first tree threshold.

I think a smattering of medical + alpha would be the way I would approach the NPC mutation business. Make them better at doing everything that they do and make it so that they don’t die when they charge a horde of shocker brutes and corrosive zombies.

Chimera is pretty great, I’ve mutated my ninja NPC who has 9 unarmed right of the bat. He’s outfitted with claws, horns, fangs, and a multitude of other great mutations that up his strength, dexterity and general usefulness in combat. Since i’m also a chimera, albeit with less visible mutations, it’s nice to see both of us tear through mobs of zombies with melee attacks.

Not to mention i’m actually in early game since I started as a lab escapee.

One thing I recently noticed is that Alpha’s “Prime” stats get downgraded by similar mutations of other categories. For example, Alpha’s “Prime Perception” gets downgraded (ruined) by “Very perceptive” of the Bird category. This is very bad, because downgraded “Prime” stats end up being worse than the base stat. I WAS aware that downgraded Prime stats end up worse with purifiers but I wasn’t aware that stat fiddlers from other categories mess with them as well. That being said, don’t break the threshold into Alpha until as the last move.

But… wait… is it possible to gain the Prime Perception again if it does get ruined?

Hm. Well that just makes Alpha even better for NPCs.

This is also a valid strategy. I just tried to cover the basics for people who might not be as familiar with all the mutation trees. Lupine for Fluffy Tail + Post Threshold Alpha is a good one. Spider for Venomous and Mandibles + Post Threshold Insect might be another.

Yes. Prime Stat mutations can be gained and lost just like any other. They work on tiers basically. If a stat is ‘deficient’ ergo below 8 it gets raised to 8. If a stat is between 8 and 14 it gets raised to 15. Between 15 and 17 it gets raised to 18. The lost stats bit comes about because the game just remembers the previous tier. Ergo if you had 12 perception, got prime for 15 then lost it you’d be at 8. But you could just get prime again to be at 15.