Can GW Origins Be Considered Races?

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I was just sitting here thinking and wondered, "Could a Gamma World origin be considered a race?" And, as an extension, "If that's the case, how would a Gamma World character deal with D&D 4e classes?

If you think about it, traditional D&D 4e races have a single racial power along with a few traits. Sometimes those racial traits act as powers in-and-of themselves (such as the Elf's ability to graint +1 perception to nearby allies or the Dwarf's ability to not be pushed around).

Gamma World origins, however, have 3 total powers in addition to other traits. How could this be handled? Would it even be possible to allow for GW characters to take D&D 4e classes?

I don't know if anyone remembers or not, but in D&D 3e, there was an optional rule in a sourcebook that allowed players to take levels in paragon races. Orcs became more orc-like, elves more elf-like, etc. What if this was applied to GW origins?

Problems I see with this: Overpowered characters, different experience scales.

Since Pure Strain Humans are not present in the game, currently, would it not be appropriate to allow for this in GW by giving class levels from D&D 4e? It would be easy to say that Elves, Dwarves, et al are stable mutations or are beings from other worldlines that are trapped in the current one. The XP difference could be due to learning your craft instead of having it naturally.

But in the end, how would this all stack up? I know there's already been some transplantation of MM critters into Gamma World, but has anyone given any thought to the standard races and clases and what that would mean for GW as a whole?
Your main problem is that origins in GW combine race and class, but each origin is only 1/2 of the total. Most origins give you an at-will along with several traits, some of which are class-like and some of which (skill bonuses, +1 speed, etc) are more race-like. While some races in 4E give you powers, those are always quite minor; nothing like the at-will attack powers or encounter attack powers origins give you.

Someone else on these forums was working with this idea, however, and I believe his goal was to open up classes to characters as a way of progressing through levels 11-20 in GW. That is, at 11th level, a Gamma World character could become a Wizard, or a Barbarian, or whatever.

But I don't know how he wanted to do that. It doesn't have much interest to me. I would just as soon stick with the origins we have, and then build Paragon Paths for GW characters based on post-apocalypse archetypes like "Road Warrior" and so on. 
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Part of my thinking about this was remembering the old Gamma World classes from previous editions. Granted, you could just say that everyone is an adventurer in the new eidition, hence the 12+HP value...

What if we were to instead examine the basics of the D&D 4e classes and use them for certain parts of the game?

For instance, we could refer to the Fighter as the Soldier. Use the class' starting HP and HP/Level. Or we could treat the Rogue as the Scavenger. While not built to be a grunt like the Soldier, he is still a viable option. He'd get the Rogue's starting HP and HP/level. Clerics are the Diplomats, Wizards the Scientists, etc.

The problem is, indeed, with how GW characters are set up as race+class combos. While minor bits of the D&D classes could help differentiate one mutant bozo from another, is that enough?

There are also no feats in GW and a lot of things have been abstracted.

I REALLY like the abstraction and it shouldn't be an issue to convert any D&D 4e equipment to the more abstract versions of GW.

It's true that adding classes back in to GW would make things more complicated, but what would we consider a person's "job" in GW? They aren't Doppleganger/Giants, that's WHAT/WHO you are, not what you do.
If you read the latest developer diary on GW, at one point the game was going to have Role Templates that you overlaid on the origin. So, for example, you would pick, "I'm going to be a Leader," so you would add "Healing Word" to your Irradiated/Rat Swarm or whatever.

But the developers retreated from that out of simplicity and the awareness that everyone was basically DPS in Gamma World. Everyone can do decent damage at range, so there's less of a need for every role to be represented in the group.

If you really want to go with classes, I would think about re-inserting this into the game as a template. Each class template would give you some -- definitely not all! -- of that class's abilities. You'd get a weak encounter power, for example, a bonus to something, and maybe a minor always-on trait. If you take Fighter, a Defender role, then you'd get some kind of marking ability, a 1W encounter attack which immobilizes, and a +1 to weapon attacks. Good, but not back-breaking.

Just remember that now all your PCs are tougher than they used to be. It's probably not a huge deal, but it's a good reason to use Dark Sun and MM3 monsters and other post-Essentials books in which monsters have been buffed up.
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I have not yet read the dev diary but I had heard about role templates.

I was mainly thinking about the older versions of GW that had classes Though using them as templates might not be a bad idea.

Perhaps for a class template, you could allow the player to choose one of the cross-class feats. This tends to give the flavor of the class but makes the powers less powerful. I would also allow the class' starting HP and HP/Level. In addition, I might swap the origin skill bonus with the class skill bonus...though the D&D skills would have to be adapted or converted to GW.

Mechanically GW origins are like both races and classes.  Semantically, they'd only be races if they represented stable mutant lines - Hoops and Serfs and Grens could be considered 'races,' for instance - but, PCs aren't even stable individual mutants, since they're subject to Alpha Flux.

I have seriously been considering re-creating the old GW classes (and a few others) as origins.  The idea is you'd have a primary mutant (race) origin, and a secondary (class) origin based on your training, profession, experiences growing up, or whatever.  It maps pretty well since class shouldn't much affect you overcharge rolls, anyway.   I've already done several mutant origins, so I figure it shouldn't be too hard...



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I offer another perspective on origins, as they provide a starting point for story tellers, i.e. players, to build a character concept.  Each origin offers a few thematic hooks to help define a PC, as well as supporting game mechanics for each origin.  From there a player is free to imagine any possible heroic character concept.  That is the one things I truly love about the new GW.  I can't wait to run the game on Friday. 
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