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Third Edition Gamma World by TSR

Third Edition Gamma World by TSR

Again we roam to Gamma Terra and the Gamma World RPG – my favourite post-apocalyptic RPG of all time. At heart, I am a fan of the third edition of the game – it was the game that really implemented the rainbow result charts that were the rage in that era with results codes for every possible use… rolling for surprise? White means one thing, blue another, green another, etc. Same thing for just about every encounter, social roll, attack, and so on. Effectively it allows you to create mini-systems for every aspect of the game, while sticking to a single unified mechanic.

If I were to run a Gamma World campaign starting this weekend, I would be torn between third edition and the more easily understood fourth edition. Third edition was plagued by being rushed out the door at TSR – it had an errata booklet that adds all the material they supposedly edited out but forgot to edit out references to. Little things like price lists, and a working Plant Mutations section.

The d6s and percentile dice are back, and a mutant plant wanders in to town from the radioactive wastelands…


Third edition added a new plant type, symbiotic plants, but I always found the rules confusing as a teenager, and I don’t feel like trying to interpret them now – maybe I’ll try to make a symbiotic plant for my advanced GW3 NPC. For now I pull out the rules and decide on some baseline stats for a mutant thorn-apple bush. Obviously it will start with thorns and fruit, and I think that’s it. I might even omit the fruit if the thorns are too good of a mutation (but on review, decide the fruit stays). Juniper also starts with a free mobility mutation (I go with legs, because I want something vaguely humanoid in the end, not a gas-bag propelled thorny shrubbery… even though as soon as I wrote this I wanted to go back and restart the whole process to create exactly that), and d3 physical and mental mutations (1 physical, 2 mental).

Ability scores are determined as you would expect from the creators of D&D, 4d6-L with the usual 6 stats to roll them for. The fun part of course is the random mutations that can define a character, or leave him a ruined husk on the radioactive wasteland. What I end up with is a thorny walking bush who can read your mind and is a master merchant. An odd addition to any party.

Juniper, the mutant bush

PS: 16 (+2)
DX: 9 (-1)
CN: 13 (+1)
MS: 11
IN: 14 (+1)
CH: 12

Hit Points: 51

Racial Abilities:
Thorns (see mutations)
Fruit (see mutations)
Cannot command AIs
80% chance to be ignored by AIs
Cannot pass a security check
Food not required if provided with soil, water & sun
Regrow lost limbs in 1d6 weeks
If killed can regrow from its roots with a Con check as rank 1 and with -1 to all stats
Reduce crushing attacks by -1 RF
+3 CS grappling and wrestling

Physical Mutations
Thorns | 6 | Add +1/2 Mutation Score to unarmed damage
Fruit | 12 | Once per 150 days, 2d20 fruit grow on the mutant. Each fruit eaten heals 1/4 the Mutation Score damage to the eater. Fruit remains ripe for 1d10 days on the bush, and 1d10 days after being picked. If the plant is injured beyond 1/2 hit points during a 150 day period, no fruit will grow that period.
Mobility | 10 | Move with a speed equal to the Mutation Score. Use Mutation Score instead of Dex for dodging and other acts of nimble movement.
Regeneration | 11 | Heal Mutation Score hit points five times per day.

Mental Mutations
Genius Capability – Economic | 8 | Add Mutation Score to CH when trading. Sell items for double value.
Telepathy | 6 | Communication for free, read thoughts and emotions with a successful Mutation Score check.