Famine in Far-Go: It Just Got "Too Wacky"

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After running the players through "The Steading of the Iron King" and through two sessions of homebrew encounters, the party has finally reached the village of Far-Go. Suddenly, they just can't take anything seriously. The ficus tree mayor, the library of comic books, the sheriff bear, etc.

Things are so wacky, the party is about ready to leave the adventure because they think everyone is crazy. On top of this, they're about ready to walk away from the Gamma World game.

Any other Gamma World GMs out there trying to reign in the wackiness? Any ideas?

If they can't handle wackiness, maybe Gamma World just isn't for them?

Gamma World basically has the tone of Futurama in my mind. It was never meant to be taken too seriously.

We're in a world of plastic hawks, plant androids, sentient swarms of cockroaches, and they're just now finding things too wacky? I have always seen Gamma World as something that should be played very tongue in cheek.

(Sorry if this post comes off as unhelpful.)
If they can't handle wackiness, maybe Gamma World just isn't for them?

Gamma World basically has the tone of Futurama in my mind. It was never meant to be taken too seriously.

We're in a world of plastic hawks, plant androids, sentient swarms of cockroaches, and they're just now finding things too wacky? I have always seen Gamma World as something that should be played very tongue in cheek.

(Sorry if this post comes off as unhelpful.)



This is pretty much my take on it.

Every game isn't for every player; it looks like GW isn't for your squad.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I love the wackyness and with the group I play with will love Far-Go potted Ficus Plant as an elected mayor and all.  That said it is a matter of taste.  If the potted ficus plant as the mayor is just to wacky, then make the mayor a vanilla human.  Instead of a bear mayor make him a "bear of a man" a large human with a beard and a hairy chest.  I think the trick is to chnage the flaovr to fit your own tatses.  Really I don't think you need quite Gamma World, you need to change the flavor to suite your tastes.  I'm with Mordiceius, GW is most fun if you take it as serious as an episode of Futurama.  But if your not a fan of futurerama, then change the flavor, spice it up with some seriousness and have fun.

I guess my best advice is to change the flavor where it gets to wacky for you.  If the humanoid mutant chickens, vengful sentient walking corn stalks and little gray aliens is not for you, then the rest of the Famine in Fargo adventure will not be for you.  For now it looks like you are stuck with homebrew encouters.  But the setting materialin FiF can easily be adjusted, it just takes some editing by the Gm, to make it suit your groups taste.
Any other Gamma World GMs out there trying to reign in the wackiness? Any ideas?

Maybe try to ensure that combat is challenging enough to occasionally kill a PC. The setting is certainly wacky and my own players seem to enjoy the humor, but they still get serious about combat because they know that encounters can be pretty unforgiving & lethal.

The strange thing is that nothing was too wacky until they arrive in Far-Go. Just prior to that, I had a Restorationist NPC trying to fight off a pack of Kai Lin vine lizards with a See N' Say toy (thinking it was a weapon). Before that was a gang of sentient, talking motorcycles.

The Iron King wasn't too silly, even with humanoid rabbits. For some reason, the wackyness of Far-Go just hit them the wrong way. They were asking questions like "Are you kidding?" "Are you serious?" "Is this guy crazy?"

I then turned the questions to them. "Which one of you is a radioactive sasquatch?"

It seemed at that point that the absurdity struck them.
If it's really bothering them, maybe just roll with their suspicions?  Maybe he IS crazy.  Maybe this whole town is held in a sort of mass delusion by some sinister force.  Maybe their entire stint in Far-Go is a hallucination they themselves are under.

Far-Go is a great bunch of wackiness, but I could see coming into it (particularly compared to SotIK) that it might possibly be too much silliness all at once for some people.  Maybe simply keeping the pop culture references and the more excessive weirdness in the background could soften the blow a bit.  Learning that the mayor is a sentient plant (or isn't, as the setting and adventure led me to believe) and then that Zaphod Beeblebrox runs a tavern and then that the historian is the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons might be a "silliness overdose."
Before that was a gang of sentient, talking motorcycles...
For some reason, the wackyness of Far-Go just hit them the wrong way.

It sounds like the talking motorcycles were a combat encounter while the ficus tree mayor, comic book library & sheriff bear were all roleplaying encounters. There are various reasons why that might make a difference.

Luckily, my own players didn't really check out the town at all. However, they were fairly interested in the (less detailed) town of xenophobic mutants to the west (Tower City).
The crazy is definitely part of the appeal of GW, but I will say that when my players met the ficus tree, I played to their suspicions that the high priest (whom I renamed Arthur Tostito) had bamboozled the town into believing it was sentient.
Gamma World doesn't have to be silly.  My campaign has some elements of humor but the main story arc right now is pretty serious.  The heroes were recently saved by a redneck named Cletus who drove a dodge ram with a gunner seat in the back who fired sewer covers.
Gamma World doesn't have to be silly.

Blashpemer! Heretic!

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.
Gamma World doesn't have to be silly.

Blashpemer! Heretic!




Lol, I know. 
Not that it's helpful much, but I say Wahoo!!!

Seriously though, it is supposed to be ridiculous, but also gritty.  If it's possible to frame this wackyness in some sort of gritty realism than all the better.  that may go a long way to restoring a sense of ... continuity?

Hopefully they don't bail on the game just because of this.

I do have one question for the OP... is it them that can't stand the craziness, or you?  You said that they seemed to be buying everything else, was there something you did/said when laying out the scenes that maybe rubbed you the wrong way and that translated into your gaming?

Just a thought?
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I imagine that Majestic Moose plays a more "A team" type game than most of us. By that I mean he allows his players to make tanks out of a backyard playground set since the players have more "fun" that way.
Actually I much prefer The Losers.
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When I and my friends sit down we want a game of heroic fantasy. Rare is the moment when I have cried out in a video game or RPG "that's unrealistic." (Unless there is no jump button. Seriously makes me mad, single handedly ruined the N64 zelda series for me, but that's a digression of a digression.) I mean, we play games with the force in galaxies far, far away, with supernatural horrors, dragons and demi-gods, alternate cosmologies, etc. Reality and it's effects hold little sway to what makes a Heroic fantasy game fun IMO. Just repeat after me: You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are not how much you've spent on WotC products. You are not whatever RPG you play. You are one of tens of thousands of people that spend money on a hobby. You will not always get what you want
Serious players? Not liking Gamma World? Sounds like you need to start a new campaign of Conferences & Cubicles.
I don't understand... are you not the DM? Can't you just make it less wacky if your players don't like it?
How wacky the game is is pretty much down to the GM.

I'm running Gamma World for the first time later this week and I'm going with Wacky Laughing

I guess I'll have to wait to see how the group reacts to that, but I do hope they like it.
This edition of Gamma World is definitely the most gonzo of all. If you are looking for a serious post-apocalypse game, I can think of none that are more "realistic" than Twilight 2000. Love that game.
Serious players? Not liking Gamma World? Sounds like you need to start a new campaign of Conferences & Cubicles.



I just rolled up a lvl 1 rude/IT guy and a bored/accountant... and then I drew a wireless keyboard and a cup of coffee... when are we starting?
Why did the hoop cross the road?
Gamma World doesn't have to be silly.  My campaign has some elements of humor but the main story arc right now is pretty serious.  The heroes were recently saved by a redneck named Cletus who drove a dodge ram with a gunner seat in the back who fired sewer covers.



Now THATS Gamma World...
Why did the hoop cross the road?
I just rolled up a lvl 1 rude/IT guy and a bored/accountant... and then I drew a wireless keyboard and a cup of coffee... when are we starting?



You are late for a meeting. As you walk into the conference room, a group of corporate monkeys glares in your general direction. They are wielding pens, PDA's, and data charts that are being passed around. The balding overweight one in front of the projector screen points angrilly and begins chanting a stream of reprimandings. What do you do?

Attack
Item
Run
I just rolled up a lvl 1 rude/IT guy and a bored/accountant... and then I drew a wireless keyboard and a cup of coffee... when are we starting?



You are late for a meeting. As you walk into the conference room, a group of corporate monkeys glares in your general direction. They are wielding pens, PDA's, and data charts that are being passed around. The balding overweight one in front of the projector screen points angrilly and begins chanting a stream of reprimandings. What do you do?

Attack
Item
Run



The rude/IT guy tells them he'll transfer them to someone who can better help them... and uses his +4 wireless headset, and puts them on hold indefinately...

The bored/accountant drinks his cup of coffee for a +1 reaction bonus, and sits down...

Why did the hoop cross the road?
As you walk into the conference room, a group of corporate monkeys glares in your general direction. They are wielding pens, PDA's, and data charts that are being passed around.

"Where're the Cheetos?!"
"if there are any girls there, I wanna DO them!"

The current version of the game is designed to be silly.  Look at the powers on the origins, alpha mutations and omega tech.  They're intended to be funny.

However, not everything intended to be funny IS funny, and not everything that is funny fits together.

Gamma World - in its newest incarnation - is in its infancy.  If WotC doesn't support it any further, it won't get a chnce to grow.  If it does get a chance to grow, they'll figure out what humorous bits do and don't fit in the core tapestry of the game. 

For the time being, I suggest you take a few steps to bring things in line with your expectations.  If the ficus mayor doesn't work for you - change it.  Read ahead and plan.  Make sure it all fits your expectations. 

The Gamma World game I am going to run flips a few things around.  In my version of Gamma World, the big boo-boo resulted in many worlds crashing together.  Immediately after those worlds crashed together, a war broke out between the machines (the Xii), the Ishtarans (the people of advanced tech) and an empire of Psi beings.  The war spanned the planet and resulted in a series of nuclear, biological and chemical wars that left the entire planet worthless in the eyes of the Ishtarans, Xii and the Psi empire.  All three empires abandoned this world in favor of other realities that were worth fighting over, but the Ishtarans left behind tech that is slowly helping Gamma World recover to be something worth fighting over again...  

That story includes the room for silliness without eliminating real peril.  I have adventures crafted that might fit in Terminator Salvation, Total Recall, X-Men, or an old school Paranoia game.  The key is that they're all tied together into the world I've created.  They should feel cohesive.
D&D & Boardgames If I have everything I need to run great games for many years without repeating stuff, why do I need to buy anything right now?
As you walk into the conference room, a group of corporate monkeys glares in your general direction. They are wielding pens, PDA's, and data charts that are being passed around.

"Where're the Cheetos?!"
"if there are any girls there, I wanna DO them!"




I lean over in my office chair and tell the bored accountant about how I lost my glasses at ComiCon last summer, but it worked out okay 'cause I met this really hot girl dressed up as River from Firefly and talked to her for like hours. At the end of the story I admit that River turned to out to be a cut-out for a Browncoat fan-booth.

Then I cry.

As you walk into the conference room, a group of corporate monkeys glares in your general direction. They are wielding pens, PDA's, and data charts that are being passed around.

"Where're the Cheetos?!"
"if there are any girls there, I wanna DO them!"




Dude! How many boosters you have to buy to get the Cheetos card?
Why did the hoop cross the road?
I agree with alot of the board. Serious post-apocalyptic adventure as stated in the d20 supplement of the near same name states this. Radiation just hurts then kills. Having said that, I've played every version (yes, I am a 70's gamer) and as said here, this is the most gonzo. Too gonzo for me as is. I am the GM/DM and I am making the changes for myself and players that I know will please all of us. Feel free to do the same (again this has been said) To often DM's feel compelled to run from the canon the Wizards or others have set down. Inform the players of your changes from the beginning, check for buy in, maybe take some suggestions and bam go for it. For my part this version will be the hardest version to do that with since it is the new D&D boardgame, play out of the box style. I think I will GM the first adventure as is and see how we all take it then make changes from there. I am however developing as I write this a different character gen process that limits origin combos. Tinkering is fun, have at it!
I would disagree that Gamma World is like Futurama.  A game like Teenagers From Outer Space would be more like that.  

I personally think Gamma World is pretty gritty with some funny elements. I guess it's all based on the tone the DM sets for the game.  Fallout (the computer RPG) had a lot of funny moments but still managed to stay grounded and gritty. 

Maybe create a few side quests (steal some from the Fallout games or some movie) that has a more serious tone to balance things out.  Some of it doesn't even have to involve combat but some role playing and some skill rolls.
Gamma World currently feels to me a lot like Paranoia.

Gamma World currently feels to me a lot like Paranoia.


I won't lie, I considered a six-pack in my campaign.
Gamma World currently feels to me a lot like Paranoia.


I won't lie, I considered a six-pack in my campaign.



???
Wikipedia summarizes it better than I could:
Every player's character is assigned six clones, known as a "six-pack," which are used to replace the preceding clone upon his or her death. As a result, Paranoia allows characters to be routinely killed yet the player can continue instead of leaving the game. This easy spending of clones tends to lead to frequent firefights, gruesome slapstick, and the horrible yet humorous demise of most if not all of the player character's clone family.

Wikipedia summarizes it better than I could:
Every player's character is assigned six clones, known as a "six-pack," which are used to replace the preceding clone upon his or her death. As a result, Paranoia allows characters to be routinely killed yet the player can continue instead of leaving the game. This easy spending of clones tends to lead to frequent firefights, gruesome slapstick, and the horrible yet humorous demise of most if not all of the player character's clone family.




I was hoping for a six pack of Heineken...
Why did the hoop cross the road?
No reason it can't be both.  Except then you have to share with your clones.
Wikipedia summarizes it better than I could:
Every player's character is assigned six clones, known as a "six-pack," which are used to replace the preceding clone upon his or her death. As a result, Paranoia allows characters to be routinely killed yet the player can continue instead of leaving the game. This easy spending of clones tends to lead to frequent firefights, gruesome slapstick, and the horrible yet humorous demise of most if not all of the player character's clone family.




Ahh
Any other Gamma World GMs out there trying to reign in the wackiness? Any ideas?

No, my players can't get enough whacky, it seems.  But, I'm not running a module, so I can tailor the whacky as I go.  

As you get a feel for what your players need/want out of the game, you can sort of edit as you go alone.  Like, the mayor is a 'ficus?'  Uh, no, he's a Plant/Empath, maybe...  

But they had to expect whacky, there were mutated chickens right on the box.

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Wikipedia summarizes it better than I could:
Every player's character is assigned six clones, known as a "six-pack," which are used to replace the preceding clone upon his or her death. As a result, Paranoia allows characters to be routinely killed yet the player can continue instead of leaving the game. This easy spending of clones tends to lead to frequent firefights, gruesome slapstick, and the horrible yet humorous demise of most if not all of the player character's clone family.




I was hoping for a six pack of Heineken...



Or would that be Heineclone?
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
It's very easy to make the game serious.  Look to serious movies, books, etc as a source of inspiration.  The Road Warrior is perfect.  Everything is greatly limited.  There is no "currency" except for "juice."  Law is Martial Law.  The world is tribal.  Life is nasty, brutish, and short.

One simple trick is to be consistent and keep powers to a minimum.  If many of the monsters are mutants with no real powers and robots/cyborgs then it leans towards realism.  The big threats should be androids and robots from the ancient world.  I'm adding a Beholder as a "Death Machine" from Classic Gamma World.  But I like silly so it will have a smiley face that says "Have a nice day!" as it pwns you.  Using less monsters makes it easier on you.  Less powers to remember and so on.

Focus on the survival rather than adventure.  If the PCs are constantly on the move it changes the game entirely.  Once they're able to "settle down" in a safe area then let them try to defend it.  Survival adds grit to any post apocalytic game.  In survival games perishables are key.  Always trying to find clean food and clean water should be on everyone's mind.  This allows you to use the Disease Track more often.  Skill Challenges will become the norm.  Ammunition should be the next item on the list but since it has a longer shelf life the players shouldn't be as concerned.  In games like this it's best to have a spread sheet that tracks all food and water on individuals since the DM can tally that every day.  The players can hide it from other players but not you.

You can find these elements to any post-apocalyptic game.  The more serious the same the more integral they become.  It doesn't matter if you're playing Twilight 2000 or The Dead Reign.

I really dont care for the "silly" if it goes too far... my group I DM for like a little humor... but were all pretty close in age... early 40s, and all grew up watching Thundarr... which I actually still watch with my 6 year old son, and we model our games after that.


Somebody made a module for Mutant Future a while back for Thundarr that was awesome. I hope someone kicks one out on this forum soon... or I might have to try an tackle it...

Why did the hoop cross the road?
I haven't read Famine in Far-go, but "whacky" doesn't surprise me and those examples are definitely it. When we sit down and play these sort of games it is a cooperative effort, so sacrifices are going to be made. Last night I played D&D Encounters with people I don't know. The person running it wanted to make lude jokes and laugh about his history of total party kills, I wan't to role-play how my character feels guilt for a child's death and is hoping the ruins are haunted so she can commune with the dead. In the end we did both.

Not trying to be pedantic, just sharing an example.

So, Gamma World styles. I've been going for a bit more grit, myself. There is the surreal of imagining post-apocalyptic people rehashing and misinterpreting the past, our present. There are some mutations, but I try to have at least as many humans/near-human people as assorted humanoids and friends in any scene. I'm using some Dark Sun elements for survival, but not counting bullets, so a mix of expediency and desperation.

We've just had one introductory session, but soon they will be getting an opportunity to trace the web of conspiracies and meet descendants of the Ishtar empire.
Originally the plan was to go completely wacky, and so I was filling my custom content with in-jokes and pop culture references, then as I got my feet wet GMing, it eventually dawned on me that the players were going to make the wacky themselves, even if I fed them a completely sterile realistic post-apocalypse.
Yup, players tend to do that.