Superpowered mutants (henceforth referred to as simply “mutants”) were originally thought to have first appeared during the 1960s, but with time, scientists realized this was not the case – they have been around for aeons.
Seemingly, any parent can discover that their kids are mutants as their powers first manifest, usually during puberty, but sometimes at birth, or later in life (usually during a stressful situation). This is actually due to the dominant X-Gene (so called from the investigations on mutant superpowered manifestations during the 1960s, called the X-files. Wyndham instead referred to this gene as being only part of the “Divinity Cluster”, supposedly the key to the future evolution of humanity, but Wyndham’s notes are fragmentary). The X-Gene is present in approximately half of all humanity. Presence of the X-Gene can be detected by laboratory tests (which are now required in professional sports and as an unofficial part of some employment contracts).
Often, the sudden manifestation of superpowers cause great destruction since the mutant has not yet learned to control their powers – and tragically, most never will. The statistical fatality of superpower manifestation is currently not possible to determine, but is generally believed to be around 90%. Of the surviving 10%, about half suffer from unusual physical characteristics such as tails, feathers, abnormally under- or overdeveloped limbs or organs, adversely affecting their social life. Approximately half a percent manifest a useful ability from these changes, and of these, some are extremely powerful, and constitute the segment of the superhuman population popularly described as super-mutants.
There is a widely spread misconception that all mutants are born with great powers, despite evidence to the contrary – a misconception fueled by the activities of such superpowered mutants as the terrorism-oriented Brotherhood of Mutants and their mysterous antagonists the X-Men.
Current scientific research attempts to determine if there is a connection between the X-Gene and superpowers in general; it is certainly true that the wartime experiments of Herbert Wyndham and Arnim Zola were able to artificially create and trigger superpowers through manipulation of the X-Gene.
So far, no practically effective method has been discovered that enables the detection of mutants apart from the particular energy signatures that many superpowers demonstrate when in use. In theory, the psionic wavelength of mutants can be detected, but no such method is known to have been successfully implemented to this date.
Related to the concerns about mutants is the subcategory of psionic powers. Especially from the perspective of national security, the existence of individuals possessing mental powers pose a serious problem and raises moral issues.
Since theories of the practical application of psionics are a security concern, it will here suffice to say that counter-psionic engineering has today reached a level of sophistication where “psi-shields” are commonplace enough to protect our chosen representatives of government from mental intrusion and manipulation.
This treatise was based primarily on the works of renowned geneticist Moira McTaggert and the surviving notes of the pioneering studies by Herbert E. Wyndham – both of which have been awarded the Nobel Prize for their accomplishments.
- In this campaign, all mutants have the Distinctive Feature: Mutant [Not Concealable, Noticed and Recognized, Detectable By Unusual Senses] – technically, lab testing also works but not quickly, since DNA analysis is required.
- In the mainstream Marvel Universe, mutants are subject to the Great Mutant Paranoia; a metaphor for alienation and prejudice in general. Since this might get a bit too much in a non-mutant-exclusive campaign, it works a little differently here; there is no general Extreme Reaction simply for being a mutant (though some prejudice may still exist).
- The treatise on mutants, above, may not be completely accurate – much as any published treatise.