Gamma World, Mutant, Post Apocalyptic, RPG, Science Fiction, 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)
IN: 14 (+1)
Hit Points: 51
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
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.
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.
Excellent character. As befits his original stock I might make him a bootlegger…
Isn’t Fourth Edition the one with the Alternity rules? Ack. Can’t wrap my head around them in print — maybe they are easier in play?
I like GW second edition best myself, though I might just run it with B/X under the hood a la Mutant Future.
1st Edition had the B&W box
2nd Edition was the colourful version of 1st edition with more material added
3rd Edition had the ACT tables (a la Marvel)
4th Edition was a lot more like AD&D2e – even had character classes
5th Edition was the Alternity version.
6th Edition was the d20 White Wolf version.
And somewhere between 5 & 6 we have Omega World, and before 1st we have Metamorphosis Alpha.
4th edition is pretty mush proto-3E D&d based. Which explains why I love it best. 🙂
I don’t buy that comparison. The lack of feats, the “percent chance to have a skill”, the levels for mutations. All are pretty far from 3e.
In fact, the only common element I see besides the ability scores is the ascending AC system (which is basically what every other similar RPG had been using for years).
What elements do you feel are proto-3E?
I can port over any of the 3E elements that I choose ‘on the fly’ without issue. The game simply doesn’t read like classic GW *or* classic D&D. To my mind it is 3E in every way possible except the name. I feel it’s more 3E than any of the pseudo-retro clones that have come out within the past few year. For me it just reads as proto-3E.
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Danny kniffin said:
Nice! I played a mutant Venus flytrap 🙂 I’m dissapointed the new versions of the game took out the plant option…