Alpha power chaos getting old fast!

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When our group first played GW, the always shifting powers and resulting randomness was quite fun. Now it is getting old and annoying playing RAW. Since no one in our group( or any one that i know at our club really.) plans on having player decks, does any one have an idea on how to make Alpha powers a bit more stable. An easy fix would to use the same system that they use for omega tech to se if it goes away. Any other thoughts.
I've been tossing around the idea of ONLY changing powers when you roll a natural 1.  I haven't played yet so I'm not sure what side of the fence I'm on yet in regards to the Alpha powers.
Use the complete card list posted in this forum to allow players to create decks without buying any cards. My suggestion is a 4:2:1 spread, with 4 common, 2 uncommon, and 1 rare as a minimum required. There can still be no more than 2 cards of the same name in a deck. You can have more than 7 cards, but you can't add another rare unless you have 2 uncommons to "balance" it, and you can't add another uncommon unless you add two more commons to "balance" that.

So decks of 7-13 cards would always have 1 rare. Decks of 14-21 cards could have 2.

Let players make up their own decks, print off cards, and they will have as few as 4 powers in each deck (2 commons of power 1, 2 commons of power 2, 2 uncommons of power 3, and 1 rare of power 4). When they go up in level, they can rebuild their decks.

When I went through the "Atom" and "Rad" cards, there were many common themes that could be developed. Fire, Electricity and Radiation all have 4+ powers, especially if you house rule Hands of Power to always fire the same energy type, depending on player choice (always electricity, always radiation). There are enough psychic cards that you can create three sub-groups, one for Telepathy (including domination powers), one for Psychic (object reading, seeing the future) and one for Empathy (fear, confusion). There are several gravity-related powers including levitation, and enough Space/Time manipulation powers that you could build a theme deck there as well.

Building player decks with home-printed cards would also allow players with specific origins to get the powers which fit those origins; your cockroach can put Carapace in his deck, the Hawkoid can get Sonic Screech, and so on.

Some players already have ready-to-print cards, so you don't have to do anything besides send the pdfs to your players and hit print.
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Given the number of encounters in an average session (4-6 depending on how many hours you play), a deck of 7 cards is just right for a player deck.  Properly selected Alpha powers can maintain the character theme even as powers shift.

You can also house rule, this isn't an RPGA game after all, that players can pick their Alpha powers, that they only change on a 1, that they only change when they encounter an alpha flux.  Do whatever is fun for your group.

My group likes the randomness and is building their own decks.  The players are treating it like a gonzo, post-apocalyptic, superhero game.
A way to fix the randomness would be to have the players just "keep" the alpha mutations that they first draw... For example, if during the first game session they draw Wings then they have that power permanently... If they really dislike their power, then create a quest that will allow them the opportunity to re-draw their power card... But the key would be to make the deck fit the character type (a character that is psychic should have a higher chance of getting psychic powers).
Could the cards just be left out? The PCs are have enough power without them, don't they?
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Yeah, seems too low attention span and contrived to change mutations so much.


Here's what I do:


I'm making a random table with all 100 mutations. They roll at character creation. They get that mutation and can ready it again (never discarding it). They can use a power once per the rules.


At the second and third alpha flux levels instead of an additional flux they can choose:


Use one Alpha mutation power an additional time per encounter (must pick power now)
add 2 to one power's overcharge (must pick power now)
add 2 to Omega reuse rolls
add 2 to a skill
add 2 to an attribute


They can pick the same thing twice, such as +4 overcharge--they are getting better at their power.


I'm also using an Omega d100 table, but using RAW.


I'm just taking flux and cards out of the game.


If a hazard or creature causes flux, I'll just change the effect a little. I'm thinking of a forced overcharge (no choice) if they use a mutation in a flux zone--random, but still based on the essential character.


Very occasionally they might get an additional mutation depending on campaign events.

Could the cards just be left out? The PCs are have enough power without them, don't they?


They are... capable, but they're simply not going to have as many options.  They don't have nearly as many powers as an equivalent level D&D character.  They are, essentially, the "encounter power deficit" of GW as compared to D&D, as well as filling in some of the gaps left by the lack of feats and such.

Making cards more permanent to different degrees is an interesting and fairly simple houserule, I think, for appeasing the more old-school-minded players/GMs. 
Even before the complete booster list was put together, I was going to let my players build their mutation decks from the DM deck.    I think that the player decks allow for plenty of wackiness while still allowing for some player control. 
I've been tossing around the idea of ONLY changing powers when you roll a natural 1.  I haven't played yet so I'm not sure what side of the fence I'm on yet in regards to the Alpha powers.



Ditto.  I'm doing the same, and they simply pull from the GM deck.  When they have multiple mutations they will roll to see which one gets changed.
We do not mind the switching of powers, just not as often as RAW.
Now it is getting old and annoying playing RAW. Since no one in our group( or any one that i know at our club really.) plans on having player decks, does any one have an idea on how to make Alpha powers a bit more stable.

Yes, but it involves having de-facto player decks.  When you create your character, draw some Alpha Cards - whatever you think sounds good: the minimum 7 for a regular deck, or 3 (the most you'll ever have at once at high level) or 5 (the average number of mutations a 1e GW character got!) - those become your Player Deck.  Alpha Flux can still come out of the DM deck (and go back to it when you're done), but you could drop the '1' rule and just have it triggered by the occassional hazard or radiation attack.  If you go for a small number of mutations, like 3-5, have the player 'decks' refresh after each encounter.

 

 

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Here's an idea for "building decks" when the players don't have decks, but the DM has some (at least, like, 10-12 per player).

Roll up characters as normal.
Sort the alpha cards out into bio, psi, and dark. Shuffle 'em.
Deal them out to the players going around in a circle.
If a player's primary mutation matches the card type, deal two cards to that player.
Continue until all cards are dealt.
Each player constructs a "deck" of 7 cards from what they're dealt.
The rest get returned to the DM and comprise the DM's deck.

This gives the players some choice in what powers they'd manifest, but doesn't require them to be playing with a full deck.

... and really, what Gamma World players ever really are?

Caoimhe Ora Snow

Game Designer, The Queen's Cavaliers

5e D&D Stuff: Birthright Conversion

Real easy way to cut down the chaos while keeping the random.

Assuming you're just using a GM deck...

When it's time for Alpha draws, simply

Draw X, Keep 1
Immediately reshuffle the cards not kept, but don't reshuffle discards until you're out.

This gives players control over what mutations they get, while keeping it random and constantly changing as originally intended.

Draw 3 gives you a fair chance of always getting a power that matches your origin (Dark, Bio, Psi).

Sometimes you won't. That's life in the Wastes. It won't last long.
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
Use the complete card list posted in this forum to allow players to create decks without buying any cards. My suggestion is a 4:2:1 spread, with 4 common, 2 uncommon, and 1 rare as a minimum required. There can still be no more than 2 cards of the same name in a deck. You can have more than 7 cards, but you can't add another rare unless you have 2 uncommons to "balance" it, and you can't add another uncommon unless you add two more commons to "balance" that.

So decks of 7-13 cards would always have 1 rare. Decks of 14-21 cards could have 2.

Let players make up their own decks, print off cards, and they will have as few as 4 powers in each deck (2 commons of power 1, 2 commons of power 2, 2 uncommons of power 3, and 1 rare of power 4). When they go up in level, they can rebuild their decks.

When I went through the "Atom" and "Rad" cards, there were many common themes that could be developed. Fire, Electricity and Radiation all have 4+ powers, especially if you house rule Hands of Power to always fire the same energy type, depending on player choice (always electricity, always radiation). There are enough psychic cards that you can create three sub-groups, one for Telepathy (including domination powers), one for Psychic (object reading, seeing the future) and one for Empathy (fear, confusion). There are several gravity-related powers including levitation, and enough Space/Time manipulation powers that you could build a theme deck there as well.

Building player decks with home-printed cards would also allow players with specific origins to get the powers which fit those origins; your cockroach can put Carapace in his deck, the Hawkoid can get Sonic Screech, and so on.

Some players already have ready-to-print cards, so you don't have to do anything besides send the pdfs to your players and hit print.


When you use Rad cards with the 4:2:1 ratio, do you count them as common or uncommon?
That's an excellent question. Some of them are quite good, but others stink.

But I think I'm going to call them Commons.

I'm also considering making up a list of "Drawback" cards, or Duds is perhaps more accurate. Cards no one would take, and let you add 1 additional Rare to your deck for every Dud you also put in there. 
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One very simple way to tone down the alpha changing is

At end of encounter, you MAY roll a saving throw. Pass and you retain the power. Fail and you redraw as usual.
Optional: Allow relevant overcharge bonus to apply to the save.
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
That's an excellent question. Some of them are quite good, but others stink.

But I think I'm going to call them Commons.

I'm also considering making up a list of "Drawback" cards, or Duds is perhaps more accurate. Cards no one would take, and let you add 1 additional Rare to your deck for every Dud you also put in there. 



Interesting concept. Look forward to seeing what you come up with.
To tone down on the randomness, I'm removing the discarding at end of encounter, but allowing failed overcharges to discard the overcharged card and replace it.
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Other suggestions I've seen to reduce alpha randomness are to change powers only when you roll a natural one while using an alpha power, and to redraw completely only after an extended rest.* In other words, it goes from "what will I be 10 minutes from now" to "what am I going to be when I wake up?"






* Admittedly, I'm now nervous because I can't remember if you redraw between encounters or only after an extended rest, anyway. My rulebook is far from me!

If you want alpha mutations old school style, it would be simple to just add them to your character sheet and use the cards as reference (if needed).

"Remember, we are the music makers. We are the dreamer of the dreams." -Willy Wonka
Could the cards just be left out? The PCs are have enough power without them, don't they?



That's the way I plan to play it.

I am also working on a Star Wars variant of it right now and that leaves both types of cards out.

 Any Edition

Might I suggest rediscovering your roots?  Try making the game more serious...  more like 1e.  (That statement isn't entirely tongue in cheek.)

Let the players draw 4 alpha mutations and pick one that becomes permanent then run the adventures more old school with solid stories.  No fluxing... If they run into some radiation... give them another mutation.  Otherwise its static.

The new Gamma world really does lend itself to a variety of styles of play.  Try removing the randomness for a while.  Focus the game on the equally zanny Omega Tech, and the adventure at hand.
Could the cards just be left out? The PCs are have enough power without them, don't they?



That's the way I plan to play it.



Playing GW without Alpha Mutations is like playing D&D 4E without Encounter Powers. At 1st level, you don't notice it too much, because the characters only have 1 each. But as they go up in level, they get two and then three of them, and these are the character's "big whammy" powers. If the PC has an at-will (and not all origins grant them) it's reliable but not amazing, pretty much identical to a basic attack.

I would not run the game without Alpha Mutations at all, just because I think it would be less fun. When players only have their same 2 attacks to pick from every round, the game gets boring. 4E is about giving players choices to make between which powers they use. So I would keep them, I just want to reduce the randomness and let players build a custom deck of thematically-linked powers.

But that's just me.
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