To defend: This is the Pact.
But when life loses its value,
and is taken for naught –
then the Pact is to Avenge.
Taarna is the piece most people think of when Heavy Metal comes up. It might have something to do with it being the longest segment, the cornerstone of the movie, and that Taarna is on the posters and cover of the movie.
It is also the most traditional piece for a post-apocalyptic game like Mutant Future. It features a bleak landscape with lots of metal piping, a mix of high tech weaponry and wild-west setting, and swords & cybernetics.
Taarna isn’t drawn from the pages of the classic Heavy Metal magazine all that closely, but at is an adaptation of the Arzach stories by Moebius who was practically the main artist for the original French version of the magazine (Metal Hurlant). This segment also has the best and most consistent animation of the movie, with the terrain getting pretty good footage as well as the action.
So we get into the Mutant Future of the setting. This is what the wastelands of America, Europe and Asia feel like in the Heavy Metal Mutant Future. This is a desert wasteland but of a world where there was a lot of pipeline being used to transport stuff. Just about every bit of plateau or hole in the ground has some unexplained chunk of steel and a series of pipes leading to and from it. As the Game Master, it is important to bring these up all the time – make them routinely available for cover during fights, and have the locals set up camps around and under them.
The villain of the sequence, the unnamed “Barbarian Leader” practically shares all his screen time with his scene-stealing cybernetic hand. Which brings us to our first major deviation from Mutant Future canon – cybernetics. The benefit of the Heavy Metal Mutant Future is that there is still some serious high technology here and there on the planet in the enclaves such as New York that survived the mutant wars. From these slowly decaying high tech enclaves we get the occasional wonder in the wastelands like cybernetics, rock and roll instruments, and Devo. (Yes, Devo. Still around after the apocalypse, and through being cool)
The easiest way to handle cybernetics in game is to simply have them as cosmetic versions of mutations on mutant humans. In some cases, like the Barbarian Leader, major NPCs might have cybernetics with specific new abilities not normally seen in the game (in his case it is switchable from a cybernetic hand to his whirling blade of bird-chopping and pipe-cutting).
The barbarian horde is a typical mess of mutant humans with only the simplest of mutations – assume that they get Enhanced Physical Attribute (Strength or Constitution), Bizarre Appearance (blood colour, skin colour, eye colour), and quite likely an Atrophied Cerebellum. They have these uniform mutations in the movie because of the ooze from the Loc-Nar, but they also make for a decent true-breeding humanoid stock that work as his horde in a non-loc-nar driven game.
Because of the limited amount of ammunition available in the wastelands, a large number of the barbarians are using compressed-air weaponry that fire arrows of a variety of sizes from a variety of different magazine types. In the end we’ll stat them all up as either “Arrow Rifle – Light” and “Arrow Rifle – Heavy”.
The Light Arrow Rifle is shown in the centre here (with scope).
Arrow Rifle, Light
Trigger Type: Rapid Fire
Normal / Max Range: 100′ / 150′
Ammunition: Arrow Clip (10 arrows)
Weight: 6 lb
The Heavy Arrow Gun fires a much heavier bolt at higher speeds and is capable of taking down large prey. It is typically hooked up to a backpack to assist in providing the air pressure needed. The one pictured above uses a binary chemical reaction to propel the bolt.
Arrow Rifle, Heavy
Trigger Type: Automatic
Normal / Max Range: 150′ / 250′
Ammunition: Arrow Clip (6 arrows)
Weight: 25 lb