So I already posted one of the campaign ideas I’m working on for my next bout as the DM at my weekly D&D table. D&D is traditionally set in a genre that’s called “High Fantasy” like Lord of the Rings, but that’s not the only genre available with this game. Gamma World has been around for a long time, but I haven’t ever really been aware of it until recently when they updated it and released the latest version for the 4e rules set. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic future in which Earth, now known as Gamma Terra has been torn apart by a global catastrophe, the genre is called “Science Fantasy”. Instead of having a well crafted mace and shield, you might be using a mangled parking-meter and a hammered stop sign strapped to your arm. You could be sporting a good old cross-bow, or you could also be holding a futuristic laser gun, just depending on what you’ve been able to salvage from the blasted waste land. Instead of playing different races, elves, dwarves, halflings, humans, etc…. you play weird and twisted mutants. You could be a mutated sentient tree with a computer for a brain, or and alien cockroach, or someone who looks mostly human but shoots fire from his hands. All sorts of crazy fun mutations await the characters, cause that’s not even touching on Alpha Mutations and Omega Tech! That’s just the reader’s digest version, here’s a link to the Wikipedia Gamma World article.
I bought the starting box set, and just enjoyed looking through that an picturing a campaign so much that I went out and bought the two currently available expansions. After drooling over the core book for a couple of weeks, I passed it off to our Main DM to see what he thought of the system. Mainly, will the table be interested in playing it, and what does he think of this modified system. I really think MainDM is one of the smartest guys I know, he just hasn’t done a whole lot with that smarts. That said, he’s really good at looking at a game, any game and picking it apart down to the skeleton, really good at understand the mechanics of a game just by reading the manual. He gave me a tentative nod that Gamma World is something that the table might have fun with, so I’m likely going to run with this campaign idea before any others. We’ll probably at least give it a good test drive. If it’s a hit then I might just run with it for a while. And if we don’t end up using Gamma World for a long haul, I think I might still find some interesting ways to integrate aspects of the game into my next campaign.
Campaign Name: Gamma World: San Francisco
Setting Synopsis: It’s been 153 years since “The Great Mistake” and much of the world is still a blasted wasteland where civilization is all but unheard of. You’ve all grown up in this world of radiation, savagery, hideous mutations, and strange technologies. You’ve all grown up and lived most of your lives in FranizCo, a small city owned and run by a mostly benevolent dictator the Highlord Protector & Proprietor Arminger whose family has ruled the area with an iron fist from the island fortress Traz since the days immediately after the Great Mistake. FranizCo and the immediate surrounding area exists in relative peace, the one glimmering light of civilization in thousands of miles. Every day is still a struggle against the chaos that rules just past the city’s rough walls and polluted shores. Adventureres are needed to gather supplies and recover hidden treasures of technology of the many worlds. Darkness gathers in the east where barbarous tribes of mutants have heard stories of the glimmering jewel that FranizCo has become and they’ve started to become organized under a new and mysterious charismatic leader.
Now, I’m still relatively new to the Gamma World setting, so I haven’t even started to pick out monsters or really get into the nitty-gritty details of my campaign, the monsters they’ll face, the NPCs they’ll encounter, but that’s the broad stroke of what I have in mind. I’m also considering raising the global water level (global warming on steroids? Or something even more insane?), which I would likely take the water level high enough to turn San Francisco into an island. In which case Alcatraz might no longer be the seat of High Lord Protector & Proprietor Arminger, because Alcatraz would be under water, but Angel Island would still be poking out…. Also the name is up for changing, I just stole a name for the time being from “Dies the Fire” so that I would have an easy reminder of the type of character I’m envisioning the bastard to be.
I also think it might be fun to mix in other elements from other Sci-Fi fiction into Gamma World. What happens when the TARDIS lands on Gamma Terra? Will the Doctor help or burn the planet so it can start again?
Also MainDM and I have some concerns about the CCG element of the game. Part of the 4e rules involves the use of Alpha Mutation and Omega Tech cards, which are hard to really explain. Basically on top of dice and figures and a character sheet, you also have a small deck of cards which represent some crazy genetic mutations your character has and some awesome futuristic technology that you’ve scavenged from the wasteland. The main set comes with a deck of cards that your entire table can use, but none of us really want to make this a heavy investment, but at the same time, we dislike not having all the cards available to us to give us the full range of customization available for the game. MainDM and I have talked about some proxy options, but surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of pirated or disreputable sources available for the game that would let us accomplish this easily. It could be the ultimate turn off for us on Gamma World, but it might not, none of us really want to make a couple $100 investment in the game quite yet. It would have to be really fraking awesome for that to happen.