And maybe an added two questions to the original since the original writer is here to have his brain picked
Having recently churned out large quantities of text for Black Crusade, my brain is hardly in the best state for picking… but I'll give it a shot.
1. are the original options for a Machine of the Flesh limitative (as in playtested and sure not to upset the power balance to much), or just an example and can other mutations also be added? (i'd imagine Corpulent to be overpowered, though perhaps nice for an ascension career for RT characters)
I picked those ones specifically, as I could see them being appropriate and reasonably equivalent choices. If you choose to allow any others, I'd suggest only as Elite Advances with different costs applied to more/less powerful ones.
2. do you have any thoughts on whether or not a Genetor should be allowed to also do this to other members of his/her crew? The Companions of Vogel are actively proposing the idea to genetically augment humanity so it can better cope with the myriad of dangers that beset it. So if a genetor realises a breakthrough such as Regeneration in himself … why would he not propose this to his RT and his first officers (providing of course they are open to the idea of being augmented), or conversely: why would they not try to buy such an augmentation from the Genetor?
It's viable as an option, but obviously not something I had the scope to deal with. I would, just off the top of my head rather than with any major thought, make it an Elite Advance option, subject to successful Scholastic Lore (Chymistry), Chem-Use and/or Medicae Tests, all of which should be fairly difficult and come with unpleasant risks and side-effects (a Genetor will know his own body extremely well, and his augmentations are the result of long and careful study… other people are more… fragile). An example of this would be in the novel Legacy (part 2 of the Shira Calpurnia trilogy), where the Explorator in a Rogue Trader's flotilla attempts to alter one of the crew to make him appear (under technological scrutiny) to be the late Rogue Trader's heir… the lucky recipient of these experiments ends up an insane and cancerous mass of immobile flesh… and he was the most successful attempt.
I think that the suggestion of making an Elite Advance is awesome. The rules are always guidelines to create a meaningful common ground for us all to work from. Work with your DM/GM. I personally wanted to start the game out with a couple of mutations on my Explorator leading me into the Genetor alternate class. I went with "Unnatural Origin - Contaminated Environs" as my Birthright from Into the Storm, then spent the extra 100 exp get a roll on the mutation chart, after talking to my GM we decided for an additional 200 exp I could choose my mutation under the 74 and under, I went with Brute. Then for my Lure of the Void I choose "Tainted" (core rule book) and for 200 exp I choose another mutation - I had not seen the errata yet though and went with Necrophage since it said I could pick anything below 76. The errata has since corrected that.
Sept 15, 2010 update
Tainted (page 26): The mutant option under Tainted should
only allow players to select results of 74 or lower, not 76 or lower.
I thought it was interesting that the errata also removed two choices for mutations - any thoughts from the author on this errata change???
GENETOR ALTERNATE CAREER RANK
A Machine of Flesh (Talent) (page 82): The Talent Groups
for this Talent should not include Multiple Arms or Winged.
I think I generally agree with the multiple arms one, as it was difficult to figure out what you ended up with looking at the trait versus the mutation table - the table giving you ambidextrous and two weapon fighting talents and the trait giving you +10 toughness and the ability to have two attacks.
I really do not see any problem with the winged one for 500 exp that seems pretty fair. I would actually like to see this talent "Machine of Flesh" work in a more tiered fashion, with the 1st one costing 200 exp and you can choose from maybe feels no pain, tough hide and sturdy. Then MoF2 costs 500 exp and you can choose from winged, sonar sense, and brute - then the last advance 700 or 800 to keep the cost at 1500 for all three - regen, corpulent, shadow kin or multiple appendages.
I also found a legittimate way to get The Flesh is Weak and Machine of Flesh with out doing any elite advances. For your second career, pick up an alternate career level of ARCH HERETEK from Hostile Acquisitions - which also gives you access to three really neat talents you can not get any where else, subversive programing, vile intrusion and lumen desecration!!