This may be a dumb question...

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Hi Ya'all,
I bought Gamma World over the weekend with plans to run it both for my kids and as an in-between kinda game when my 4e game group can't all show up for game nights.

Now perhaps I missed something, but does the game book give any detail or setting information at all? Like what is Gamma Terra? How did it get that way? I have found a few references to "The Big Mistake" but what was that? Do we even need to know?

I read the rule-book cover to cover (essentially) and didn't really see anything that was an overall/general setting explanation. Did I miss it?

Thanks for your help.
there's some on page 90. they leave it all up to you. you make up what the big mistake was. back in 2 ed there was probably a reason and a history but there have taken that stuff out to make the rule book more compact.
It says at the beginning of the book. I can't remember what page it is on.

The Big Mistake had to do with the Large Hadron Collider causing parallel worlds to collide or something like that.

There's a brief discussion of the Big Mistake and it's consequences in the Introduction.  The setting is wide-open.  The Big Mistake caused myriad alternate timelines/universes/whatever to condense into our own.  So Gamma Terra is a patchwork reality of interlaced 'worldines.'  That's why Alpha Flux is so bizarrely prevelent - because the worldines aren't fully stabilized in their integration, even 150 or so years latter.

If you want to run a more traditional ex-post-holocaust GW, you could, you just have your region of Gamma Terra have lots of radioactive wasteland and Omega Tech from worldlines that involved nuclear wars (plenty of them, aparently) and others with super-tech.

Reading between the lines and extrapolating a bit, there are some major worldlines:

21st Century - Our worldine and ones close to it (like the one where Hillary Clinton was President in 2012).

Hot War - in 83% of worldlines, the Cold War went nuclear.  These worldlines have little to contribute but radiation.  But, hey, radiation is fun.  Praise the Radiant Divine Glory!

Area 52 - in some worldines, the Greys sent an ambasador to earth shortly after WWII and his saucer wasn't shot down by the USAF.  Aparently, the Earth joined their interstellar civilization and their 'Dark Energy' based technology was broadly adopted.  Into weapon, too - we humans are just violent, I guess.  Or maybe the Greys just like watching us disintegrate eachother. 

Xi - prounounced 'zee' (and I suspect, actually a roman numberal XI, like 'Ix' in Frank Herbert's Dune), Xi is a machine-integrated (perhaps dominated) cyberpunk near-future worldine loaded with cybertech and nanites.  Cyberpunk is pretty familiar.

Ishtar -  The description of this worldline and it's 'photonic' technology is limited - it's an Empire aware of and engaged in infiltrating or conquering other worldines.  Going by the name and their aparent preference for super-tech versions of archaic weapons, I picture it as a matriarchal Babylon-that-never-fell civilization, with a (presumed?) Immortal Goddess-Empress ruling from the lofty Tower of Babel, itself. 

When Dinosaurs roamed the Earth - in some worldlines, no big rocks hit the earth in the last 70 million years or so, and dinosaurs are still around.  Just a nice source of toothy monsters, unless (like me) you go and create a 'Saurian' origin.

In another worldline Tesla conquered the world with a robot army.  Can explain some of the more violent robots and exotic technology your party might encounter.  Assuming it's synchronized with our world, though, it's had a long time to get used to being ruled by the archetypal mad scientist, which could be interesting.



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See, that's probably where I missed it, the introduction. Im so used to the "what is a role playing game" introductions I normally just skip those.

That'll teach me. Thanks you guys for all your clarification and time. I appreciate it. I think its funny there is reference to the hadron colider because in lieu of any established setting that is what I was going to base my "Big Mistake" on.
I'm actually going to treat the worldline collapsing event (aka the big mistake) the same way that RIFTS does. Because of that, I have a lot of campaign material that's already established. For scenery, I'm using games like Fallout, Wasteland, and the like to give specific areas some flavor.

I also have much of the original gamma world stuff so I'll be porting over those adventures and hooks for use in my campaign.
I'm actually going to treat the worldline collapsing event (aka the big mistake) the same way that RIFTS does. Because of that, I have a lot of campaign material that's already established.

Yup... Rifts makes for an excellent resource, and there's no reason GW couldn't have links to it. Indeed, I'm already assuming that my GW world will be connected to places like Riftsworld, Faerun (due to the spell-plague), Greyhawk (due to the Savage tide), and Paranoia's Alpha Complex.

I absoloutly plan on tying in a dystopian Paranoia like society into my GW campaign at some point.
You might look for (cheep) a First, Second, Third, or Fourth edition of GW for the information and stuff that will give you lots more background on the world and most of the monster/mutants.
GAMMA WORLD Wuv D&D: Beyond the RPG - Transcript This is a complete transcript. The audio file is in this News Archive 2010 D&D Product Overview (47 minutes into the Audio)
Also, I'd argue that the whole book is setting. What are Character Origins if not setting, communicating to you the tone of the world and information about it? Ditto with powers and Alphas & Omegas, and monsters and the like. Setting is more than info-dump. I love how GW's setting is presented, and the extent of the info-dump (1/2 page).