Feats in Gamma World

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I think I'd like to see feats implemented in Gamma World, but I'd want to be careful with the ones that do get added. With the increase in effectiveness per level, a lot of the basic feats just wouldn't be effective. 

Toughness is one I'd love to see added and changed so that it provides about 2 hit points per level instead of 5 and 10. The chance to make a hero more capable of handling damage appeals to me.

The feats that add +1 or +2 damage based on race sound like a good idea in theory. I think they'll need some more testing to be safely implemented.

I'll come back in a bit once I page through the players handbook again.   
It's a bad idea without reworking the WHOLE system.

Everything has been balanced and designed WITHOUT feats. Adding feats is doing nothing but ramping up the power level of the game... for no reason.

Here's the biggie: Adding your level to everything.
This has two parts.
1 is adding level instead of half level... this accounts for missing things like magic weapon/armor plusses and feats like Expertise... as well as stat increases. All of those other bonuses in D&D are built right in to the Add level thing.
Think about it. At level 10, you add +10.
or in D&D, you add +5, then +3 for magic, +1 expertise and +1 because you got to increase your main stat twice... equals +10.

The other part is that you add your level to DAMAGE. Or for some powers, you add TWICE your level. This means your basic damage output is higher than normal, sometimes a lot. There are also a lot of Alpha and Omegas that do a LOT of damage, like the 7d8 fusion rifle.

Feats for GW would be overkill
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
Feats also make things kind of boring. Too many fiddly bits makes for a slower, more complex, and more dull game.

If you really must have feats, though, keep them simple and generic and not overly powerful, and make them random, and have them cost the player one of their skill bonuses.
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 was looking at maybe three feats to a character, and a lot of them would be providing a straightforward bonus, like a faster Speed or an increased Save.

And the list would be a pared down set of only the Players Handbook. 

Like I said, this is only in process and I'll make a more substantive post when I can.  
Feats should be part of an "advanced supplement" but not part of standard GW.  The latest GW isn't really built with skills or feats in mind (like 3e Gamma World when Gygax got involved.  My fave!)  Add them in as a supplement for long term games.  The players are more like monsters in their development (read the 4E DMGs and you'll see what I mean).  This means that the math is very tight and a few small bonuses to hit or to defenses can greatly skew the power levels.  Having a +3 to hit or to a defense is basically adding 3 levels to a character.  Bonuses from feats should be small (+1) and situational (vs Psi, or vs Physical, etc).  Nothing across the board and always limited.
 I was thinking  of four feat types - origin, tech, mutation and standard.

 

Lvl 1+


Alertness


Astral Fire - type power +1 to 2 damage types


Sneak Attack - 2d6 physical damage when you have combat advantage


Defensive Mobility


Far Shot


Far Throw


Fast Runner


Dodge Giants


Group Insight


Perseverance


Jack of All Trades


Nimble Fighter


Strong Fighter


Power Attack


Shield Expert


Toughness


Far Ability


Improved Second Wind


 


Lvl 6+


Blood Thirst


Danger Sense


Empowered Ability


Evasion


Melee Opportunity


+2 Will


+2 Fort


+2 Reflex


Point Blank Shot


Running Shot


Underfoot

These are just the PHB feats. Some new ones would be needed. 

You can do that, but of course you're going to be upping the power of characters a lot and making feat choice pretty powerful and important.

No reason you can't choose to do this in your own game, but IMO it's a departure from the way Gamma World currently works.

If you want to balance it with GW, give feats but also change all the "plus your level" references to "plus half your level" and all the "plus twice your level" to "plus your level."

Then go crazy with the feats.
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.
ok, probably a thread-jack, but do you think that, by the same reasoning, we could eliminate Feats rom 4E, by upping the 1/2 level bonus to all, and make it Level Bonus to all?

same goes for damage...

man, I would so much love it if it worked...

My RPG Campaigns

 

I joke that D&D Next is what happens when, A Christmas Carol-like, 3rd & 4th edition's ghosts travel back in time to an evening near the end of AD&D 2E's life, and say "this is what is coming" and so AD&D 2E heads off in a different direction. So, it's like alt-reality AD&D 3rd, maybe?Cam Banks

 

That is a fundamentally awesome idea. When we next play 4E, we're trying it!
Personally, I think think the only way a feat system would work is in a very simple way.

Something like, you gain a feat at 3rd, 6th, and 9th (ala 3.5)

Feats would only counteract some of the random elements - things like Skill Training, or a +1 Speed, or a small defense boost, and maybe a minor class ability like Uncanny Dodge, Evasion, or the like.

The primary importance would be making sure to keep any benefits small, and to make sure you dont give out attack or damage bonuses. Attack and damage are already well balanced. Other elements, like skill bonuses and defenses, are fairly heavily intertwined with your stat rolls, giving some players a major benefit over others simply due to one person rolling very high, and the other rolling very low. A feat system could help to counteract that.

Unfortunately, whats more likely to happen is that players who already have a strength in one area will probably pick feats that further buff that specialization. Thats one major drawback to feats in the first place - powergamers will tend focus thier specializations to alway succeed in a limited range, rather than pick things in order to be able to perform in an average fashion in multiple ways. So no matter what you do, adding in feats will tend towards increasing power caps rather than adding breadth, unless you've got an unusual group.
ok, probably a thread-jack, but do you think that, by the same reasoning, we could eliminate Feats rom 4E, by upping the 1/2 level bonus to all, and make it Level Bonus to all?
same goes for damage...
man, I would so much love it if it worked...

I'm a firm believer that Gamma World is what Essentials should have been: A return to the days when we seperately had Basic D&D (a simplified game split into bite-sized chunks with crazy power escalation and characters written with broad strokes) and AD&D (a complex and mildly similar game in hard covers with power escalation a little more controlled but more character depth).

If you actually try this make sure to report the results.  Would love to hear about it.
I agree that the number of feats that you gain would be a small number, two or three is what I've been thinking all along. 

I wouldn't mind damage bonuses, so long as the most you'd be looking at is +2 damage to two damage sources and that's only at 6th level.

And now, I am really thinking about getting a D&D powered by Gamma World game going.  
I'm a firm believer that Gamma World is what Essentials should have been: A return to the days when we seperately had Basic D&D and AD&D



You're a firm believer in ensuring that D&D be discontinued for all eternity?

Because that's all you would get.

Think about it. 10 people produce a supplement which sells 10k units
Now you split the game?
You now need 20 people to produce 2 supplements, both of which sell 5k units.
That's the same number of sales, but double the staff.
5k? Does not reach the break-even point.

Money is lost, both games are cancelled, and D&D ceases to exist as an active or supported product.

If you firmly believe in destroying D&D, then I firmly believe you should GTHO of my hobby.
AlexandraErin: If last season was any indication, I think Encounters is pretty much the elemental opposite of "organized" play!
If you firmly believe in destroying D&D, then I firmly believe you should GTHO of my hobby.

1) D&D and AD&D were not destroyed when they were two game lines, so assuming it would do so now does not have a historical base.  You could argue that the decision to remerge the lines proves it was a bad idea, but TSR and to a lesser extent pre-Hasbro WotC made a lot of questionable business moves if you examine the background historically and read what some insiders have written about them.

2) D&D without a radical change in direction is already potentially in danger anyway, as its sales are flattening where other RPG products are pushing their way up in the sales rankings.  Or so the gaming trade articles I've read have been indicating.  Would Essentials exist at all if everything was perfect?  Its hardly a trivial change in approach.

3) Part of your assumption is splitting the  game line will only split the sales and will not appeal to any additional customers.  As there are people who support prior editions of D&D and refuse to purchase any other, people who only play non D&D fantasy games, and people who buy everything labeled D&D (like me), that implies there is a larger then zero number of people who might purchase additional product if it was more specific to them.

If saturation was already reached and it was already a zero sum game in which they were successfully selling every possible product to every possible gamer, their would be no point in Essentials, or even GW for that matter, since all those could do then is potentially splinter the market.  Essentials and GW are really only good ideas if the market has more room for growth or at least if some segment in the market hasn't been sufficiently targeted and has thus not been buying.

4) Lastly, regarding your "GTHO of my hobby" line, I'd say the increasingly prevalent attitude that people who don't share a person's vision of a style of play should go away is far more destructive to the hobby then my personal opinion expressed on a thread in a forum that few will ever read.  I have 5 bookshelves worth of RPG material and have personally introduced dozens of people to RPGs, ran games at conventions, and done my best to push the glories of gaming and its positive influence on my life to everybody I regularly hang around.  I've shared or sometimes argued my opinions about games and gaming with people (including a few game designers) for 25+ years, but have *never* thought of suggesting to anyone that he shouldn't be a gamer or that he should abandon a particular game.

So how would I even begin to qualify as a threat?
ok, probably a thread-jack, but do you think that, by the same reasoning, we could eliminate Feats rom 4E, by upping the 1/2 level bonus to all, and make it Level Bonus to all?

same goes for damage...

man, I would so much love it if it worked...

To keep "The Math" working, you'd want to dump feats, enhancement bonuses, and stat increases.  It might feel a little blah, but much of the customization and coolness of those bonuses, now, is prettmuch illusory, anyway, since you have no choice but to pay your feat taxes and relenetlessly max your attack stats & enhancements. 

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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I'm continuing to monkey with the big shiny gears and levers behind the system and I think I've got what I want out of it - at least for playtesting. 


Mutants get 4 feats - 1st, 3rd, 6th, and 8th. This may get toned down to just 1st, 3rd and 8th if the 'mount' feature I've been trying to figure out works for 6th level.  
I made up a list of feats that I will experiment when I run gamma world next year. Tell me what you think:

The cost of these feats is you have to give up alpha mutations
community.wizards.com/go/thread/view/758...
Very nice - I like the Fallout feel to some of them. I may borrow some of your names for my list. 

And I think trading out an Alpha Mutation for a Feat is a good balance - That solves that issue.  
Okay - so I've got a lot of feats and I'm going to let players trade out alpha mutation cards for feats


Alertness


Benefit: You do not grant Combat Advantage when surprised. You gain a +2 bonus to Perception Checks and Passive Perception.


 


Mindfire


Prerequisites: Int 13, Wis 13


Benefit: You gain a +2 feat bonus to damage rolls when you use an attack that inflicts psychic or fire damage.


At 6th level, this bonus increases to +4.


 


Life Drainer


Prerequisites: Con 13, Cha 13


Benefit: You gain a +2 feat bonus to damage rolls when you use an attack that inflicts cold or necrotic damage.


At 6th level, this bonus increases to +4.


 


Biohazard


Prerequisites: Str 13, Wis 13


Benefit: You gain a +2 feat bonus to damage rolls when you use an attack that inflicts acid or radiation damage.


At 6th level, this bonus increases to +4.


 


Walking Storm


Prerequisites: Dex 13, Con 13


Benefit: You gain a +2 feat bonus to damage rolls when you use an attack that inflicts electricity or sonic damage.


At 6th level, this bonus increases to +4.


 


Techmaster


Prerequisites: Int 13, Dex 13


Benefit: You gain a +2 feat bonus to damage rolls when you use an attack that inflicts force or laser damage.


At 6th level, this bonus increases to +4.


 


Sneak Attack


Prerequisite: Int 13 or Dex 13


Benefit: You gain the following power.


        Sneak Attack                                                                                               Feat Power


You take advantage of your opponent’s distraction to deliver a devastating attack.


Encounter • As Power or Weapon


Minor Action                                                                                                             Melee 1


Trigger: You make a successful attack against a creature that is granting you Combat Advantage.


Target: Creature you attacked.


Hit: 3d6 damage of the same type inflicted by your power or weapon.


Defensive Mobility


Benefit: You gain a +2 bonus to AC against opportunity attacks.


 


Point Blank


Benefit: When you make a gun attack and are closer to the target than any ally, you gain a +2 bonus to hit and a +3 to damage.


 


Far Shot – Heavy Weapon


Prerequisite: Con 13 or Str 13


Benefit: When you use a heavy ranged weapon, increase the range by 5 squares.


 


Far Shot – Light Weapon


Prerequisite: Dex 13 or Int 13


Benefit: When you use a light ranged weapon, increase the range by 5 squares.


 


Far Shot – Power


Prerequisite: An attack power with a single target


Benefit: When you use this power, increase the range by 5 squares.


 


Fast Runner


Prerequisite: Dex 13 or Con 13


Benefit: When you run, you move an additional 3 squares


 


Group Insight


Prerequisite: Empath, Mind Controller or Mind Breaker


Benefit: Every ally within 10 squares of you gains a +2 feat bonus to passive insight and insight checks.


 


Group Perception


Prerequisite: Empath, Mind Controller or Mind Breaker


Benefit: Every ally within 10 squares of you gains a +2 feat bonus to passive perception and perception checks.


 


Perseverance


Prerequisite: Con 13 or Wis 13


Benefit: You can use the following power.


        Hidden Reserves                                                                                      Feat Power


You call on a store of will and endurance  to keep you going in this fight.


Encounter • Healing


Move Action                                                                                                                             


Target: Self


Effect: You gain temporary hit points equal to your bloodied value.


 


Jack of All Trades


Prerequisite: None


Benefit: You have a +2 feat bonus to all skill checks.


At 6th level, this bonus increases to +4.


 


Nimble Fighter


Prerequisite: Dex 15 or Int 15


Benefit: You gain the following power.


        Riposte                                                                                                         Feat Power


Your parry leads to a counterstrike.


Encounter • Weapon


Free Action                                                                                                                Melee 1


Trigger: An enemy misses with a melee attack.


Target: Enemy that attacked you.  


Effect: Make a standard attack with a feat bonus equal to half your level.


Strong Fighter


Prerequisite: Con 15 or Str 15


Benefit: You gain the following power.


        Overwhelming Blow                                                                                Feat Power


You focus your strength into a titanic blow


Encounter • Weapon


Standard Action                                                                                                       Melee 1


Attack: Strength or Constitution + your level vs. AC


Hit: 2 [W] +  Str or Con + twice your level Weapon damage.


Miss: Twice your Str or Con weapon damage.


Special: Once you choose Str or Con, you always use that attribute for this power.


 


Shield Expert


Benefit: When using a shield, you gain a +1 feat bonus to AC and Reflex.


At 6th level, this bonus increases to +2 for both defenses.


 


Toughness


Prerequisite: Con 14


Benefit: You gain 8 hit points per level instead of 5.


 


 


Blood Thirst


Prerequisite: 6th level


Benefit: When making an attack against a bloodied opponent, you gain a +2 feat bonus to attack and inflict an additional 2d6 damage of the same type as your attack damage. 

No matter how good feats might be, and how balanced they might be made, I don't think they lend anything to the game of Gamma World. I *like* that character generation is DONE after you create your character sheet. No level-based decisions overall (pick whether you take your primary or your secondary crit at 2nd level, saving the other for later, etc.) once the game has started. Equipment is adventure-dependent, and the rest just "happens".

Feats add a level of decision-making that is currently foreign to Gamma World, and I like it that way.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.
Add the same time, though, that also means that you can't tweak your character to adapt to a shifting role in the party. If you're planning an on-going Gamma World campaign, choosing feats at later levels might make a bit more sense as the party dynamic will change over time.

Although there is certainly a good argument to be made that this is exactly why you are allowed to restructure your Alpha deck during an extended rest.
Encounters DM, Season 4 & Season 5 - Amorous Armadillo Game Shoppe - Oviedo, FL