Monday, February 7, 2011

Gamma World Spotlight - Actual Play 2

Today was a wonderful day. Today, we played Gamma World again and OMG it was so fun. Can’t wait to tell you all about it.

So, a little bit of the background. The guy I had over last time to play Gamma World joined me again this time, but we were also visited by another one of the folks from our 4e D&D group, who had the time on a Monday afternoon/evening and was game to play. Our gathering began around 5 pm and we started rolling characters around 5:30.

We decided that instead of bringing back the characters from last time around, we would roll some new characters up this time and see how that went, but we decided to just pick up with the same levels and the same campaign from last time, the one that is included in the 4e box.

Character creation was a blast and continues to be really the funniest and most entertaining of the whole game. Each of the players rolled up 2 characters to start and leveled them up to level 2. Our characters for this game were: Seismic Electromancer, Felinoid Hawkoid, Hypercognitive Speedster, and a Mind Breaker Pyromancer. Good times to start. Lots of love there.

I have a rule for Gamma World; no player can roll the same origin whenever we play. We take turns rolling mutations and I have copies of each of the different mutations that I hand to a player when that origin mutation gets claimed. This really helped character creation random and fun. No overlap and also very little need to actually recopy everything from the Origins.

We got lots of awesome random junk during character creation. I always let my players have 1d6 rolls on the random junk table to start things off, which turns out to make for great bartering fun and roleplaying when the game actually begins.

This time around, we started off with some heavy roleplaying actually. Instead of just letting the campaign pick up from where we left off, I added an encounter to replace the first encounter of the adventure which my player had cleared last time around – I chose to plant an Orlen outside the castle keep and have him be essentially a merchant who picks up the random robot junk that comes out of the the ruins each day. My players wanted to get rid of some of their random junk so they tried bartering with the Orlen – wow. That. Was. So. Much. Fun. I did a British voice for each of the two heads (one higher, one lower) and had them bicker over what they wanted to trade and what they didn’t want to trade. The PC’s ended up bartering a tennis racket and a 9 Iron for an extra set of ammo (since one of the Orlen heads had a golf bag that he wanted to fill), but when they tried to make their way past him into the keep, he got in their way and combat ensued.

Combat was a lot of fun. 4 Level 2 PC’s against essentially just a level 4 brute was a truly outrageous fight. By the very end of the combat, all the PC’s were down pretty heavily, as was the BBEG; but, it got its special attack off and was able to kill 2 of the PC’s. That was met with roars of laughter and curses. The players ended up taking it out with just 2 of their PC’s by pushing it into a radioactive crater from which it could not escape.

So, the next thing that happened in game was the 2 remaining PC’s looting the corpses of their fallen friends then using their Radio Cell Phone’s (which they picked up through that wonderful random junk table) to call up a couple of their friends – so, out of the game, we took a short break to roll up a couple more PC’s, which didn’t take nearly as long as the first round, since we didn’t have to worry about all the equipment, which they just picked up off of their fallen comrades in arms. The two new PC’s that joined the party were a Giant Gravity Controller and a Cockroach Yeti. The meat-shields arrived to help the players.

After that, we just picked up the adventure. We rolled into the ruins and had a couple fast encounters before the night was over. S3, with the Badders proved almost fatal again, but some care and strategy on player’s side allowed our Pyromancer to live through the night.

In the last encounter of the night, S4, in which the players have to fight some flyers over a large pit, we had a terribly funny little event. After getting hit by a nasty ranged attack, The Giant used his alpha-mutation in order to switch places with the evil moth creature that blasted him with a radioactive beam; but, this switch ended up putting him dead center above the Pit, which he then fell straight into almost dying in the process. That encounter turned out to be a lot of fun and once again almost deadly on several accounts.

We ended the night by listening to R.A. Salvatore talk about his Wubba Wubba story on the WotC D&D podcast. Great times had by all. Can’t wait to get in another round of Gamma World and see if our players ever get to see that Iron King that they have been hearing all about.


  1. man, Gamma World is just one of those games that I don't know if I can get into. I think I'm going to have to give it a go at my next convention, though. Seems only fair.

  2. From what I keep reading, Gamma World seems like the missing link between the Board Games (which I haven't played but am picking up next month) and standard 4e. I think it would be great as a convention game that you play as a one shot with a bunch of friends who you talk with only on-line. It would also work great late at night when everyone is burned out from serious gaming and wants to drink some beers, eat some Taco Bell, and sit in a hotel room gaming instead of going down to the convention hall. I have played it only with low numbers of players, but it worked well both times and we always had fun.

    I should reinforce that the game is really fun to RUN as a GM. I prefer running this to running 4e. The rules are simple, all in one place, and I don't have to do much figuring or math of any kind. Combats are simple and I feel like I don't have to be too careful about my dice rolls or killing off a PC that my players love. I can pretty much just let off steam and throw something around the right level at the players then go for the throat.

  3. I love Gamma World! First, I'm a big fan of post apocalyptic settings. Second, I like the stripped down characters and system. They make combat faster, more chaotic, and unlike 4e D&D they make minis and maps more of an option than a requirement. Being able to abstract the combat makes it easier to run more free form adventures. There seems to be more roleplaying taking place in my game because of this. Also the 4e D&D haters in my group don't have a problem with GW. Third, the Omega tech and Alpha mutation cards add a lot of variety to the game. I did house rule that salvaging is done through a science or mechanic roll DC 20+ salvage level.

    The only major problem i have with the game is keeping it from turning into a FPS as everyone relies heavily on ranged weapons and exploration can become room clearing very quickly. I think i'll fix this next time by running more of a problem solving open ended adventure and less of a linear one like in the green book. Famine in Fargo takes this approach.

  4. I have never really had a problem with the FPS style of this game. I am very strict about who can get ammo (essentially the number of combats you can use your gun full bore before you are spent). I usually make sure that they have one extra combat'S worth of ammo for at least one gun. i.e. they can go crazy in one combat with one weapon and it won't be out of ammo if they have ammo in the inventory for that weapon. Most combats the characters walk in, shoot once, then go into melee or start using powers. I find the variety to be awesome this way.