Gamma World Artifact Chart - First Draft

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I do not have a nifty flowchart yet but the following table gives you the gist.  This is a first pass.  Comments are welcome.

I was looking at something a little more old skool and interactive than just letting the player pull a card.  I may only do this for first and second level characters who may not have much exposure or experience with the ancient's technology then do away with it as characters develop.  My group has new characters and I am want to keep them on edge and intrigued as much as possible

The idea is that when an Omega Tech card is pulled, it is pulled by the GM.  The GM describes the device and then the character can experiment with the item with the GM making the rolls on the table and describing the results to the anxious player. 

Establish Origin to Tech modifier: 
Bio/Ishtar, Dark/Area52, Psi/Xi, +1 per Level. 
Proceed to STEP 2-HYPOTHESIS and roll d20.
1-10Testing causes unintentional activation.   
Item is discharged.  The Omega Charge can still be checked.  Item is salvageable per its description.   
Proceed to STEP 3-RESULT.
1-10Character and everyone within range of the device is affected as if the device were used on them by an opponent, use the character's statistics.1Item destroyed. 
Do not check Omega Charge. 
Item is not salvageable. 
Proceed to STEP 5-END.
Each roll is hidden roll by the GM who describes the result.11-20Item is studied.  Lights and indicators indicate the item is functioning, capacitors whine as the them charges up.  It appears ready to be used. 
11-20The Item went off but luckily no one was fully effected though their may be some smouldering fur or other collateral damage to vehicles, shelter, etc. at the GM's discretion.2-9Item not understood.  After a few minutes, LED indicators dim then go out.   
Proceed to STEP 1-BEGIN.
     10-12New use discovered at GM's discretion.  For example a Laser pistol on low setting may funtion as a shaver, fire starter, or be rigged as a power source for another device.  Cgaracter may not realize that the use discovered is not the item's primary function. 
Proceed to STEP 5-END.
     13-19+Function and method of operation is determined.  Operation may be explained to another character and they can automatically use Common and Uncommon Omega Tech.  Rara Omega tech requires the new user to start at STEP 1-BEGIN with a +6 to the roll at each step. 
Proceed to STEP 5-END.
     natural 20Item functioning as described above but after the Omega Charge is gone, the item is automatically salvaged, if applicable. 

Neat idea, thanks for sharing with the rest of us!

Are you planning on making these "artifacts" in the D&D 4E sense of the term, i.e. items with their own agendas that reward or punish characters based on how they further that agenda?


Neat idea, thanks for sharing with the rest of us!

Are you planning on making these "artifacts" in the D&D 4E sense of the term, i.e. items with their own agendas that reward or punish characters based on how they further that agenda?

I'm guessing it's more in the "Ancient artifact" previous Gamma World edition sense of the term.  I'll admit I assumed it was the 4E sense when I opened the thread, but this is also very cool.  

I'm not sure about the steps.  I like that it's a little more involved, but it seems like at the very least Steps 2 and 3 can be one chart (1-5, 6-10, 11-20).  At what point does the GM hand over the card to the player?

OK the pics look sketchy but click on them twice then click on view full size and you will be able to see and read them.
Better yet, the flowchart on Google Docs

The table on Google Docs (the table gives more description)

Enjoy.  Critiques welcome especially on the Character Origin match up to the Omega Tech type to modify the rolls.

Bio Origin to Ishtar Tech

Dark Origin to Area 52 Tech

PSI Origin to Xi Tech
Links are broken.  You'll probably have to edit the links, the WYSIWYG post editor encodes the ampersands in the URL.  (Click HTML and change the & to &.)  Alternatively, it might be that you simply haven't given permission yet.

To clarify my earlier point, are there any decisions that the player makes between the rolls?  If not, I would just compress the whole thing to a single roll, or maybe two.

You could reduce it to a few dice rolls or resolve it as a series of skill ckallenges as described in FiF.

I wanted to emulate those crazy old tables though.

The link above discusses the charts I am referring to for those interested.

I will check the google doc links. They work on my iPad at home and from my office computer. I created the folder and made it shared before I uploaded the files.

This link describes more how I want to use it:
Yeah, they weren't broken, they just don't have permission with your personal link, I think.

This quote from that second article is what I'm talking about:  
 I love the mini-games within old-school RPGs, but this one is akin to Candyland in its total lack of choice; you’re simply rolling a series of dice with no guidance as to what each die roll means, until eventually you either master the controls of the Ronco Inside-The-Shell Electric Egg Scrambler or accidentally detonate its nuclear power plant.

That's my only concern.  Right now, you just roll through it: there's no player input.  Although obviously you can roleplay the whole interaction and that's good, there's no meaningful choices for the player.  So, to be constructive, here's some decision points:

  • Player investigates a specific function of the device, providing a permanent (or temporary, I suppose) bonus if the correct result is rolled later.

  • Player chooses to be risky, cautious, or balanced.  Balanced uses a standard chart, risky has larger rewards and larger catastrophes, and cautious makes a safe successful result more likely.

  • Player can attempt guess the origin after a short description and gets a bonus to the result if successful.  This has the risk of being the same as a dice roll unless there's some logical system to it.

  • Maybe a player can choose to salvage immediately (whenever they know it's possible to salvage) and forfeit the card itself for increased or additional functions or a bonus on a separate "additional function" table?

EDIT:  Actually, on further thought, you should definitely set up several additional, specific tables: Additional Function Table, Salvage Bonus Table, Card Power Bonus Table, etc.  Make access to these tables dependent on player choice.  If the player rolls something inapplicable, such as improved hit bonus on a benefit-type card, consider it the result of the player investigating the wrong feature of the device.  Maybe pick up some colored plastic paperclip and assign a color code for the bonus type so they remember it. 

Instead of just random rolls, why not make the flowchart dependent on skill rolls?  It makes sense that a character well-versed in Mechanics and Science would have a better chance of deciphering Omega Tech instead of just '1-10 bad, 11-20 good'.

(I'm not a big fan of the concept in general, since the PCs aren't just primitive screwhead mutants crawling around in the desert in this edition; they could be aliens and time-travellers who just know what this thing is.  But I'll try to be helpful.)
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I considered making that suggestion, Salla, but I didn't want to put any more emphasis on the Science and Mechanics skills than there already was, or give them any undue advantage in one of the game's core mechanics.