Gamma world of darkness

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And no, nothing to do with white puppies....

Ok, i admit i never played previous versions of this game, so didnt realize the style of play it entailed. Our group bought 3 boxes because we love apocalyptic type games, and actually expected a much grittier game. So, the question of the day for me, since i am su ppose to run this game, is if anyone has suggested house rules to make the playstyle less slapstick, and more gritty...

I am beginning by having the players choose their origins, and develop their own explanation, such as the Telekinetic Hawkoid just being that he can telekinetically fly basically. The idea being a campaign that will be long lasting, and less of a beer/pizza get rowdy and such sort of game, which this seems pointed towards (that coming from experience as a Paranoia player). Of course the random cards have to go, but not sure what system would replace it....

Suggestions other than "just try it RAW first"?
So I can be like everybody else!!! :D :D :D You are Red/Blue!
Well, in previous versions of Gamma World, you rolled a certain number of dice for your mutations based on your origin.

Since this version doesn't have anything like that other than the cards, I might suggest this:

Allow the first draw of the player/DM deck to be the player's permanent Alpha Mutation until an Alpha Flux happens. If so, the player discards his current mutation and draws a new one.

Since the deck is built by the player (or not, your choice) chances are that he'll have powers he wants, one way or the other.

Treat the powers as if they're Encounter powers like in D&D. You can allow a player to "retrain" their mutation when they level up.

Since players gain more Alpha Mutations as they level, allow for the permanent mutation to gain extra uses per encounter or to have different mutations readied.
Paranoia is a good analogous game (similar to D&D GW).
"Remember, we are the music makers. We are the dreamer of the dreams." -Willy Wonka
Gamma World has always been more than a little campy but it could be run in quite a gritty, desperate way.  The randomness of mutations used to contribute to both those things.  You had no control over what (or how many) 'blessings' your mutant recieved from the radiant divine glory, and you also got Defects that made things tougher on your character.  So, while chargen had some whacky randomness going, you were stuck with the results for the (often short) life of your character - that made it grim, as well as whacky.

You could re-capture that by having each player draw a random Alpha Deck that his character sticks with for life.  Thus, while which mutation he has readied to use in a given encounter varies, he's still working with basically the same mutations.  To darken it a bit, you could re-introduce defects.  Designate 1 in 8 or 1 in 4 of each character's mutations a 'defect.' (You'll have to mark the front of the card, I suppose)  Instead of it's usual benefits or powers, the defect just sits there, taking up a readied mutation.  When combat starts or when there's an Alpha Flux, you make an overcharge roll:  on a success nothing happens (you keep the defect under control); if you fail, you suffer the negative effects then discard the card once those effects are resolved and ready a new one.

To make the material aspect of the game more 'realistic' or at least, to make it feel a bit more like post-apocalyptic survival, you could introduce an economy based on survival days (like in Dark Sun) and/or ammunition (yes, start counting rounds).  Having limitted resources to manage makes the game feel more like like post-A survival and less like an issue of Xmen on acid.

You could also make the discovery and use of Omega tech less like a card game.  Instead of letting players choose their own decks or start with a few boosters worth of Omega tech, keep Artifacts under the control of the DM.  Pick out specific items to place as treasure (having enemies use them against you as often as not), and give the players the card when each item is found. They decide who gets to use the item.  Once it fails the charge check, the player retains it, even if he doesn't salvage it.  Once a player (or the party as a whole, if they want to go that way), has the minimum 7, he can start a player deck.  Draws from it indicate finding a new power cell, replacement part, or whatever to get on of his de-charged artifacts running again.

Another limited resource you could introduce is the 4e healing surge mechanic.  Each origin could give you between 3 (for a wussy psionic origin with all ranged powers) to 5 (for a tough, in-your-face Giant or Seismic or an industructible cockroach) surges, and your origins, of course, stack surges.  Giving you between 6 and 10 surges - plus your CON mod (or minus the penalty).  You could keep Second Wind a minor action and have surges heal you bloodied, or you could use the old surge value, but have a stepped Second Wind.  1st second wind:  minor action, 2nd: move, 3rd Standard.  You could require a Standard Action  Science check (DC 15+level of the monster that dropped the character) to trigger an ally's second wind.  You could change most of the healing mechanics to use surges. 

Once you have surges, you can also start using the 4e Disease mechanics to model radiation sickness, reactions to toxins, dehydration, starvation, exposure, or other forms of post-apocalyptic doom, as well as actual diseases, of course.



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OP: Yes, I am preparing a campaign to do exactly what you discuss. I'm both an old fan of GW from the 1st edition but also one of those people who likes his games serious. So don't let anyone force you into playing the game RAW. GW 2010 was made with a particular tone -- but that tone can be changed.

Some of my thoughts on this topic are on my blog.

We also have a whole thread for Gamma World, Seriously

And there was another thread for Episodic Play, but I don't have a link for you. 
The Doctor Comics Blog: On Twitter @doctorcomics GW Card List:
Well, my initial thought is to lose Alpha Flix entirely. Maybe i am j ust not understanding the thematic reason for it though. Are our universes still meshing at moments or something? Why are our powers changing randomly? Mutagens and radiation?

I have decided to do character creation as such....

Roll twice for origins, select one of those two origins, and select another origin from the book. So basically, pick an origin, then roll one with a free reroll if you dont like what you get, keep either.

If both of your origins have the same attribute, then you get 56 points to spend 1for1 on your other attributes with a cap of 16 on any one attribute, and no attribute lower than 8 (or 16 points to split with all attributes starting at 8)

Any character may opt to look completely human if they want. (despite that, we have a felinoid that looks like a felinoid, a seismic that looks like a seismic, and a hawkoid that looks like Angel from the XMen. The other hawkoid is telekinetic, and the plant looks more like poison ivy from DC Comics. So, a rule that didnt result in the party all looking human....

Gamewise, alpha flux is my big curiosity... I dont want to just discard a mechanic if it can be thematically justified. But basically, either the universes are still meshing and alternate yous are popping out (or their powers are), or you are suddenly completely skilled at things you have never practiced or used at the roll od a die.... O.o
So I can be like everybody else!!! :D :D :D You are Red/Blue!
Alpha Flux is much less silly and random if each player has their own, tailored deck.  Everyone will probably have a theme (in order to take advantage of overcharge bonuses, etc), so you can almost think of their Alpha Mutations as different manifestations of the same "power".
Alpha Flux is kind of screwy if you ask me. I'd rather only allow mutations to be changed when a mutagen affects the character (radiation damage, mutagenic fields, etc).

I would also like to treat overcharges as critical hits and misses with mutations. If you roll a natural 18 - 20 (natural 20 - overcharge bonus) with a mutation you've got a bonus for, you automatically overcharge the power. If you roll a natural 1 - 3 (natural 1 + overcharge bonus) with a mutation you've got a bonus for, you automatically fail the overcharge.

That, I think, would bring a sense of epic win and epic fail to the game. If you allow a person to choose his origins (one or both) then we'd see that Engineered Humans might be a tad overpowered.

If you wanted to make it a bit more dynamic, a bit like D&D 3e, you could have the player roll an overcharge check on any roll of a natural 20 when using a mutation. The overcharge bonus would help with that as you'd expect. If you roll a natural 1, roll an overcharge check as well though if you succeed, nothing bad happens. If you fail, it's an epic fail and you follow the overcharge failure text.

I think I like the second one best. If I were to implement that, I would probably allow overcharge bonuses to stack from both of your origins.
Well, my initial thought is to lose Alpha Flix entirely. Maybe i am j ust not understanding the thematic reason for it though. Are our universes still meshing at moments or something?

Yes, the alternate worldlines are still unstable, just only at odd points in space and time.  The Doppelganger origin, for instance, is prettymuch based on being able to tap other worldlines.  In addition, there's still a nod to radiation and the like as a source of mutations.



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As a group more into longterm campaigning, i noticed that my group, all of them, picked 4 alphas, 3 were doubled, so 7 cards total, with the non-repeat card being the weakest (or least thematic) of the lot.

Thats one of the reasons i am thinking on dropping the alpha flux. For example.... Our Felinoid Speedster took 2x MultiAttack, 2x hyperactive, 2x Accelerated Reflexes, and 1x HyperBalance. I think maybe i should find a way to combine those powers and just let them turn into 3 powers by the appropriate level. Like...

Level 1:
+1 for accelerated reflexes (both attacks and defenses)
+2 attacks as hyperactive, but only if you wield 2 weapons, shift after first attack, 1 square.

Level 4:
+1 attack, +2 defenses from accelerated reflexes
+2 attacks as hyperactive, shift 1 square after each attack

Level 8:
All 3 cards.

note: they are not a single power, they are 2 powers he can always use, with a 3rd power popping up at 8th level. He will always have these cards/powers. They are just weaker versions of the powers until he earns the level to have all 3 at full power...

This was typed as i was thhinking it, not an attempt at true balance yet, just a jist of what i am heading towards in my thoughts....
So I can be like everybody else!!! :D :D :D You are Red/Blue!
Never mind, over complicated a simple thing there. For all that trouble i would be b etter off just letting them permanently have a single card per alpha slot until they get all 3.

I have decided to handle it by removing the 7 card minimum. If they dont want dynamic powers, they pick 1 card, simple. If i decide to throw something mutagenic at them, i can have them randomly select from my deck instead of theirs. They can recollect their power after a short rest.

Simple, but accomplishes everything i find wrong with alpha flux.
So I can be like everybody else!!! :D :D :D You are Red/Blue!
Well, first game completed, and it went nicely. We had a party consisting of a Lava Child (seismic pyrokinetic) with Pants on Fire mutation, a Speedster Felinoid with multiattacks mutation, a flying telekineticist ( hawkoid) with a force field mutation, a druid ( plant empath) with empathic healing mutation, a birdman ranger ( hypercognitive hawkoid) with an infravision mutation, and a psionicist ( mind breaker/ coercer) with a psychic illusion mutation.

Nothing omega, just a radiation leak that was turning the village into zombies (used the 4e monsters for this), and some conflicts with a nearby town who tried to take advantage of the people-depleted stead that the mutants were holding up in when the zombie invasion happened. The characters are now on the run, having been blamed for the deaths, and the nearby village has ransacked what remained of their stead. Now they are roaming the wilderness in a slightly rennovated SUV that runs off of solar power... O.o

All in all, felt like a much better game than a paranoish game. Some of the characters still feel a bit silly to me, but the players like their characters, so all is good.....
So I can be like everybody else!!! :D :D :D You are Red/Blue!
This sounds really good. It's much more interesting to me than "Paranoia with radiation."

The Doctor Comics Blog: On Twitter @doctorcomics GW Card List:
With the faction cards coming in Famine at Fargo, the game shares a good bit more in common with Paranoia.  Wouldn't be hard to run paranoia with system at all.
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