Chronicles of Ascension
Some people have been affected by mutation. Mutants are not visitants. They are humans who have changed over time, either through natural forces or through an unnatural manipulation- intentional or not— to an individual or his ancestors. Unnatural manipulation could mean exposure to mutagens, the result of genetic engineering, or the result of genetic engineering gone wrong.
In the Ninth World, mutants sometimes band together. Those with hideous deformities face discrimination and derision. Some are outcasts, and others are revered, ﬂaunting their mutations as a sign of superiority, power, and inﬂuence. Their mutations are seen as a blessing, not curse. Some people believe them to be divine.
There are sic categories of mutations. Two of them— beneﬁcial mutations and powerful mutations- bring about changes that are neither physically obvious nor extraordinary. Powerful mutations are more potent than beneﬁcial ones. Harmful mutations are physical changes that are usually grotesque and somewhat debilitating. The fourth category, distinctive mutations, also provides signiﬁcant abilities, but they mark the character as an obvious mutant. Cosmetic mutations bring no special capabilities at all and are merely cosmetic (although sometimes dramatically so). Mutants with crippling mutations might be born without limbs, with barely functional lungs, without most of their brain, and so on.
Mutants may have special abilities, but they come at a cost. In lieu of a descriptor— or rather, by choosing mutant as your descriptor— you gain two beneﬁcial mutations. If you opt to take a harmful mutation as well, you can have three beneﬁcial mutations, or one powerful mutation, or one powerful and distinctive mutation. You can also have from zero to four distinctive mutations, which is completely up to you.
Mutations are always rolled randomly, although the player and GM can work together to ensure that the resulting character is one that the player wants to play. Unlike abilities gained from most other sources, mutations that affect the difﬁculty of tasks are assets, not skills. That means any step changes from a mutation are in addition to any step changes you might have from a skill.