I have no problem with cards, but...

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Let me just say I have no problem with cards. As far as I'm concerned their just tables where you can never get duplicates, which can only insure charater uniqueness around the table. However I do have a problem with how the cards are used in gamma world.

Firstly I don't mind omega tech cards, as they just reprisent random loot. My players like that stuff. And the Cryptic Clan/Colony/Whatever they're called are easy just to remove from the game entirly (If my players want to join a clan, their character can go and do it, they don't need a random card). 

But my main problem is the alpha mutations They're just silly. And not 'hahaha' gamma world silly. They are just odd. I mean imagine if a player gets a really cool mutation like, say, the vamparic teeth one. They know that by the next encounter, at the latest, it will magically vanish. To be replaced by something else. That will vanish.To be replaced by something else. That will vanish.

This doesn't represent anything. Except that everyone has one thing which randomly appears and then dissapears, which makes no sence.

So my question is this: Are their any alternatives to using Alpha mutations (And prephraiblly omega cards aswell) that keeps the players as powerful. Because when ever I try and run an ecounter without cards entirly the players all end around 0 to 5 HP. In a normal or low fight of their level. This annoys me, and my players.
I agree about the silliness factor. I keep wishing that WotC would come up with a "serious" sourcebook with interesting not not "gonzo" mutations to work with. I think my players would enjoy Gamma World more if it was more serious, because as it is they don't care much if their characters live or die. Wacky campaigns just make them do dumb things instead of role play.
Marv (Finarvyn) Master of Mutants (MA and GW) Playtesting D&D Next and liking it! OD&D player since 1975
Just houserule that there's no alpha flux or mutation redraws.  You get one Alpha Mutation at L1, and keep it.  Add additional mutations when you would normally from levelling up.  Customize your deck to take out the mutations you think are silly.

(BTW, what it represents is that reality is in a constant state of flux, because multiple universes and timelines are intermingling.)
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Just houserule that there's no alpha flux or mutation redraws.  You get one Alpha Mutation at L1, and keep it.  Add additional mutations when you would normally from levelling up.  Customize your deck to take out the mutations you think are silly.

(BTW, what it represents is that reality is in a constant state of flux, because multiple universes and timelines are intermingling.)



But why does a "Reality in a constant state of flux" only effect one constantly changing mutations of five people, and no one and nothing else. It's a machanic thats been only half desguised. But I probibly will do your method to save time. I hope it's one they like...
As they gain level, it becomes 2 mutations and then 3.

This is a case in which a player-built deck has advantages over simply playing with a common, random deck all the time.

Have your players choose 7 powers they like, that fit their concepts. Then draw randomly from those, and thus it will make more sense and seem more like "this is what I can use right now" rather than "oh dear I just grew vampire teeth instead of big feet."

That said, most of my players have said "to heck with making more sense, it's fun to get a new power each fight!"

So whatever works for you.
Gamma World Downloads: Character sheets, GM screen, adventures, monsters, house rules, cards, and more! You can usually find my posts at the Gamma World forum.
I have run the game both ways. In my first campaign, I had a bunch of house rules designed to make Gamma World a bit more gritty and less random (other than initial character generation). Players rolled for their mutations on a table and those mutations were permanent. However, Alpha Flux still happened. When a natural 1 was rolled, a power of the player's choosing would be "overwritten" with some random power. At the end of the Encounter, or if the player spends his Second Wind to remove the Alpha Flux, the permanent mutation resumes it's dominance. We had Alpha Flux happen a few times with fun effect. One of the characters kept getting hit over and over by an Orlen when he Alpha Fluxed and ended up with Invulnerability or something like that. It was an epic draw.

The last game I played, we used vanilla rules with additions from D&D 4e as necessary when the rules did not exist in the Gamma World books (charge, etc). We actually had an Alpha Flux happen, but nobody really used their Alpha Mutations aside from standard benefits that are always on. There was one use of Poison Spikes (I think that's what the power was...) on a critter that had resistance to poison, but other than that, nobody complained about the randomness of Alpha Flux.

In addition, I generally allow Alpha Flux to happen to the monsters the PCs are fighting. One time I had a Black Blaash transmogrify into a toad (thanks to Talisman for the minis...hee) due to Alpha Flux. An Orlen's armor transformed into a useless, but comical Tutu (yes, pink...with glitter). When the monsters have bad things happen when they roll a natural 1, the players are enteratained and sometimes given reprieve as the monsters try to change their tactics.
The problem I have is that when I want to run a "funny" or "Silly" game I don't need to do tutu jokes, I just tell them not to stop them selves from doing stupid things. And then the games gets very funny very quickly. 

I might just make an encouter power for each player thats vaugly the same power level as the Alphas, and just give em another when they are high enough level. I just wondered whether anyone had already made something I could use.

If not I'll do it my self.

But my main problem is the alpha mutations They're just silly. And not 'hahaha' gamma world silly. They are just odd. I mean imagine if a player gets a really cool mutation like, say, the vamparic teeth one. They know that by the next encounter, at the latest, it will magically vanish. To be replaced by something else. That will vanish.To be replaced by something else. That will vanish.

This doesn't represent anything.

It's supposed to represent 'Alpha Flux.'  Gamma Terra, this time around, is an unstable reality created by the collapse of a multiverse into a single universe.  There are alternate versions of everything blended together, including the PCs.  The PC may not 'have' a given mutation all the time, but in some alternate universe he did/would-have, and, so, sometimes, that particular alternate asserts itself a bit, an he breifly has the mutation. 

So my question is this: Are their any alternatives to using Alpha mutations (And prephraiblly omega cards aswell) that keeps the players as powerful. Because when ever I try and run an ecounter without cards entirly the players all end around 0 to 5 HP. In a normal or low fight of their level. This annoys me, and my players.

Yes, absolutely.  In fact, just letting players build their own (small) alpha mutation decks clears up the above problem.  Yes, the mutant's powers are always changing, but with, say, an 8-card deck with two of each card, they're just changing among 4 mutations that he 'has,' so they quickly become familiar.  They can also be chose to be 'apropriate' to the character.

One idea for Omega Tech that I've mentioned before is to place all Omega Tech, at least at first.  As players accumulate omega tech and fail charge checks, you give them the option of retaining cards that fail and which they cannot or choose not to salvage.  When they save up 7 such cards, they have an 'omega deck' that they can roll to draw from instead of taking placed Omega tech or drawing from your deck.  When the player draws from his own deck, he finds a piece of omega tech and canabalizes it to get the un-charged tech he's been carting around working again.  This gives an explanation for the odditiy of PCs being more likely to find Omega tech that's in their player deck, even when it's not apropriate to the environment.

5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

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But why does a "Reality in a constant state of flux" only effect one constantly changing mutations of five people, and no one and nothing else. It's a machanic thats been only half desguised. But I probibly will do your method to save time. I hope it's one they like...


The player characters are an oddity in Gamma Terra: they comprise a small subset of the population that has the unique genetic code (or programming) to accidentally access alternate worldline versions of themselves.  This means when a player draws Aquatic Adaptation, he or she is actually drawing on or fusing with or being altered by a worldline in which they existed as part of an aquatic race, etc.  The mechanic is also affected by a handful of monsters and hazards.  (End canon, begin personal interpretation.)  This sudden, seemingly random mutation is caused by the surge of adrenaline from conflict scenario or spectacular failure.

Now, how unique the PCs actually are is up to you.  I treat most NPCs as single origin, non-alpha fluxing individuals.  Special NPCs, some elites, and some solos have the same capability.  I haven't actually drawn cards for them yet, but I'm considering doing so (or building a table that emulates the random alpha mutation draw, which would naturally keep it closer to my intent).  I highly recommend personal decks for the players for reinforcing character concepts: use a draft with the cards from the box, continue until each player has 7, then keep the remainder as the GM deck.

Likewise, how much the world experiences an alpha flux is also up to you.  There have been many great posts on these forums about using alpha flux to alter the player's surroundings, or introducing more "alpha" terrain.  Since I live in Tornado Alley, I designed a "Gamma Twister" that carves out new areas of reality, so that very little is static, and everytime you visit a place, it might be different: a place once safe could be deadly or even completely inimical to life.

Finally, there's nothing inherently silly about alpha mutations.  As you said, your players will do that on their own.  Yes, the cards contain silly or nonsensical jokes or pop culture references, but this has no bearing on the rules - if they bother you just cut up some sticky notes and cover up the jokes.  Encourage your players to describe the alterations that happen to them when flux occurs or an encounter begins (even though cards are distributed at the end of an encounter, I treat them as coming out at the start of the next), and maybe even detail a little bit of the worldline it came from (added bonus: you can send them to that worldline, or incorporate it into the existing one, if you see something your players really dig into).

Bottom line: you are imposing your own limits on the narrative potential of the alpha mutation and the alpha flux.  The setting is intentionally vague expressly so that you can hammer this home as much, or as little, as you like.  Don't let the silliness stand between you and great storytelling.



I think the problem I have with it is that it's a mechanic first, and a part of the world second. I dislike having to manipulate the game world that I have made specifically for the group round my table, to fit with a mechanic that wasn't put it to represent anything.


Also I would be interested to know whether Alpha-flux existed in versions 1-6. My guess is that it didn't, because those editions didn't have cards, and the only purpose of Alpha-flux is to justify having cards.


Now I'm not going to go down the route of the whole "Cards are only their to get my money" or "D&D's becoming a TTG". No, what I'm saying is that cards are a poorly disguised mechanic. In the end what I think I'm going to do is just give each player a single alpha mutation, of their choice (if they can back it up with a reason of course) and just stick with it. At higher levels, they gain more. Simple, but not ideal; I was hoping someone else had thought of some intresting alternative for it, but alas.


I hope that if WotC ever do another Gamma-World (which I highly doubt) I hope they only use cards if they are the best mechanic to describe what they are trying to achive, not because.... why not?  




why does a "Reality in a constant state of flux" only effect one constantly changing mutations of five people, and no one and nothing else.

Per WotC "A small subset of the population that has just the right genetic or algorithmic predisposition can spontaneously manifest entirely new mutant abilities by drawing on alternate worldlines."

From previous discussions,  it's not necessarily that all of reality is constantly fluctuating, it's that PC's have a genetic ability to create fluctuations and channel them to their advantage. i.e. they have internal... flux capacitors, so to speak, that are activated via adrenaline.

As time goes on they likely learn how to channel this ability more frequently (via gaining more Alpha's per encounter as they level) and possibly more reliably (via assembling their own deck of Alpha powers).

However, I agree that the designers thought up the mechanic before the fluff.
But then your limiting the players to being part of those "select few". I don't know, but I just don't like it. I don't like it because it takes away peoples indviduality (whats the point of the vamparic character, when the guy next to him just drew vamparic fangs). I don't like it because it takes power away from the person who has the power to make the game fun.

I don't like it because it hinders me doing my job to make my players have fun. And no WotC quoting is going to change that fact that my players enjoyment is more important that a mechanic that has been designed for a board game. 
But then your limiting the players to being part of those "select few".



Well, yes, that's what makes them PCs.  PCs aren't supposed to be just one of a crowd of people; they're supposed to be special and unique (well, very rare, at least).
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
As far as alternatives go, one of the better solutions I've seen is that PCs always have one randomly acquired alpha mutation slot.  When they acquire their second, their first becomes a permanent mutation slot (either pick one or wait until they get one they like), and again when they acquire their third.  And maybe at 10th, they can make their third permanent too.  You can find countless other alternatives by searching this forum, as there are many, many people who houserule the randomness of alpha mutations or omega tech.

I think the problem I have with it is that it's a mechanic first, and a part of the world second. I dislike having to manipulate the game world that I have made specifically for the group round my table, to fit with a mechanic that wasn't put it to represent anything.


In my game, it's a part of the world first and a mechanic second, and it doesn't require any more "manipulation" than any other campaign.  The singular canonical element of the setting is the idea that countless alternate dimensions crashed down on one another as a result of the Big Mistake.  This is a core concept.  The idea that literally anything can occur because there are infinite varieties of worldlines is central to the entire game.  Barring those who play their D&D Gamma World games in the previous settings (which I certainly understand: nostalgia is a powerful and valuable thing) and those who use it for other specific genres (see also: Gamma Heroes), if you're not including this in your campaign design, I'm not sure why you chose to play Gamma World in the first place.

Long story short, again, you're presenting us with your self-imposed limits and asking us why they exist, when no such limitations are present in the source material.
But then your limiting the players to being part of those "select few". I don't know, but I just don't like it. I don't like it because it takes away peoples indviduality

heh... it seems like a minor issue compared to GW's paradigm of players choosing nothing but their character's name. Tongue out

ok... they technically can choose cards in their deck too, but that aspect actually contradicts your sentiment... i.e. about the only thing a character actually gets to determine is their potential Alpha powers and Gamma-tech.

Theres a difference between "one of the crowd" and "Has this very specific, but exctremly rare mutation". I mean there shouldn't be a scientific way to go "Oh look, acording to this persons DNA he's a MAIN CHARACTER!"

Sure, a player character has differences to other people, but it shouldn't limit the players. I mean if I asked my players "hey, do you want your group of characters all to have just the right genetic or  algorithmic predisposition can spontaneously manifest entirely new  mutant abilities by drawing on alternate worldlines" And maybe they might think, 
"Sure that might fit my character, but it doesn't fit every single character I, or anyone else round the table, will want to play as." 

 
But then your limiting the players to being part of those "select few".


And?  This is not a limitation.  There are no limits, implicit or explicit.  If you want to make the whole world do it, make the whole world do it.  Make it as rare or as common as you want.  This is not rocket surgery.  You may as well be telling us that you don't want your characters to level up -- after all, leveling up is the primary distinction between main characters and monsters.

I don't like it because it takes away peoples indviduality (whats the point of the vamparic character, when the guy next to him just drew vamparic fangs).


I'm guessing you haven't actually played yet.  There is no lack of individuality in Gamma World, least of all as a result of alpha mutations (in fact, the opposite is true).  As it is, there are virtually no alpha mutations that trivialize an origin, and the game itself promotes the collecting of thematically appropriate mutations in a player deck, thereby allowing the vampire player to use Vampiric Healing or Life Leech or Phasing or Phobia Projection on a regular basis, whereas other characters will use powers more in-tune with their own origins.

 I don't like it because it takes power away from the person who has the power to make the game fun.  I don't like it because it hinders me doing my job to make my players have fun. And no WotC quoting is going to change that fact that my players enjoyment is more important that a mechanic that has been designed for a board game. 


What?  At this point, we've reached GM/player issues, or a gross misunderstanding of the mechanic, or both.  Your power is not taken away, nor is your ability to make your players have fun hindered by a game mechanics.  These are personal issues.

I don't know, but I just don't like it.


This is actually the crux of your point, and we can't help you here if you don't want to be helped.



The difference is that leveling up is something Outside the game. As in the players can't look at them selves, even with the most amazing tech, and go "Oh, I'm level 6". But they CAN say, oh look I have this DNA that allows me to be a main character.
 
Also, your right it's not rocket surgery. Good luck doing a heart transfusion on a missile. (The phrase is rocket science or brain surgery. It even says it on page 83 of the main rule book.)

Yes I have played the game. No more needs to be said.

I think the problem is the at all the ideas you people are suggesting is missing one main thing: My players (and personal friends btw) are very lazy. Asking them to look through my cards and find ones that suit their character is okay, I guess. 

I think the fact that I verbilized that fact that the GM's job is to entertain the players put of somepeople. What I'm trying to say is that if a system does things that would otherwise be the DM's job (working out how much something is hurt by and attack, whether something sucseeded, who is stronger) is normally a good thing. But I find this mechanic (and this mechanic alone) does too much.
I find this mechanic (and this mechanic alone) does too much.

fwiw: I initially felt the same way, as did some of my players. So I told them:
"Feel free to go through my DM Alpha deck and take the powers that best suit your character... you can use those as your own deck and thus have fairly reliable, suitable and consistent powers." (i.e. I was basically just allowing a standard Gamma World option)

A couple sessions later, the only person to take me up on the offer was the one that hadn't complained in the first place. When I asked the others why they hadn't taken me up on the offer, they replied: "Oh, I don't want to take the randomness out of the game... I'm enjoying that part." (I suspect laziness was part of the reason though too)

I find this mechanic (and this mechanic alone) does too much.

fwiw: I initially felt the same way, as did some of my players. So I told them:
"Feel free to go through my DM Alpha deck and take the powers that best suit your character... you can use those as your own deck and thus have fairly reliable, suitable and consistent powers." (i.e. I was basically just allowing a standard Gamma World option)

A couple sessions later, the only person to take me up on the offer was the one that hadn't complained in the first place. When I asked the others why they hadn't taken me up on the offer, they replied: "Oh, I don't want to take the randomness out of the game... I'm enjoying that part." (I suspect laziness was part of the reason though too)




Alright then. I will give my player that same offer, and see what we think after a couple of sessions. Thanks for the help.
Theres a difference between "one of the crowd" and "Has this very specific, but exctremly rare mutation". I mean there shouldn't be a scientific way to go "Oh look, acording to this persons DNA he's a MAIN CHARACTER!"

 



Then clearly you aren't familiar with Designated Protagonist Syndrome, which affects one's of characters every campaign.
The problem I have is that when I want to run a "funny" or "Silly" game I don't need to do tutu jokes, I just tell them not to stop them selves from doing stupid things.



Agreed. A silly game is never the problem, but keeping it serious often is.

As such, I rarely need a silly rules set. I do better with serious rules and then let the players take off and do their thing. They provide more comic relief than any rules set ever could.... Laughing
Marv (Finarvyn) Master of Mutants (MA and GW) Playtesting D&D Next and liking it! OD&D player since 1975
Also I would be interested to know whether Alpha-flux existed in versions 1-6.

I'm not sure about the Alternity version, but, no, not any version of GW I ever played.  What they did have was radiation exposure, which could give you new mutations out of the blue.  There was even a 'mutation bomb' that emitted a blast of radiation with that specific purpose.

Also, in the earlier versions, mutations were entirely random.  They were rolled on % tables.  In 1st ed, for instance, you got 1d4 'physica' and 1d4 'mental' mutations, and rolled each one randomly.  Some were good, some sucked, some were outright defects, and a few were overpowering. 





I think I'm going to do is just give each player a single alpha mutation, of their choice (if they can back it up with a reason of course) and just stick with it. At higher levels, they gain more. Simple, but not ideal; I was hoping someone else had thought of some intresting alternative for it, but alas.

If you want the old GW feel, have them draw the mutation randomly.


Here are some other threads you might find interesting.

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...!

community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...




5e really needs something like Wrecan's SARN-FU to support "Theatre of the Mind."

"You want The Tooth?  You can't handle The Tooth!"  - Dahlver-Nar.

"If magic is unrestrained in the campaign, D&D quickly degenerates into a weird wizard show where players get bored quickly"  - E. Gary Gygax

 

 

Oops, looks like this request tried to create an infinite loop. We do not allow such things here. We are a professional website!

OK, I had a lengthy reply but I'll edit down to the nitty gritty.

Random discordant mutations are the essence of Gamma World.
"Reality in flux" is NOT!

My solution: MASTER DECKS

At character creation players pick a random alpha mutation card from a master alpha mutation deck and then another whenever level allows. (Perhaps one re-draw allowed but you must keep the result.) That's it.

Omega tech becomes loot you need to find. Whenever characters search debris and rubble the game master can roll for chance something high tech is found then randomly pick an omega tech card from a master omega tech deck (perhaps just flipping top card on shuffled deck). Players decide who gets it. It is then used as normal, ie; one use then spent unless character can salvage as per card description. If spent it is removed from play. Rolling for chance-of-tech could consist of a roll of 6 on 1d6 for high probability (searching a weapons locker at area 52) or a roll of 20 on 1d20 for low probability (searching a closet in a ruined suburban neighborhood) or straight up percentile dice. Game master would use discretion on how many items are found in a given area. Game masters could also customize a tech deck to fit the location.


 EDIT: It seems as I read through older threads here others have ad this idea already and have expounded on it to greater extent than I.