What follows has been, for the past few weeks, a labor of love. It grew out of a desire to have a sortable list of Gamma World monsters, as well as a consolidated place for me to find the right monster for every encounter in one place. In the process, I learned a lot about Gamma World monsters, and got a real feel for the game and the challenges presented by it. This little project took a bit longer than I expected, though there was also a bit more to it than I’m presenting here – more on that next week. For now, an introduction to the Gamma World monster index: Continue reading
Two days after Christmas, we know. But we figure that the shinyness of all your new stuff has worn off, so we thought we’d give you this freebie now. This year, our freebie papercraft is fairly simple. One of our Gamma World players came up with “pickup truck” for their starting gear, so we needed a way to represent that on the map. Of course, you could go for something 3D, but we decided 2D would be easier. We found this top down view of a rusty pickup that seems perfect. It should print out 2″x4″. The second papercraft is a nuclear reactor or a spaceship engine or some sort of energy generator. Basically anything you want it to be. Enjoy!
Last Saturday, I was out shopping with my two year old son. Being a child, he was immediately drawn to a bank of vending machines with little trinkets in them. I don’t usually give those machines a second glance, but because he was glued to them, I happened to notice what was in them. They were little glow in the dark aliens inside those clear plastic “eggs.”
Now, it would be hard to find a miniature that would be appropriate for a D&D game, but these vending machines tend to be great places to find Gamma World miniatures. On top of that, I couldn’t help but imagine that the little clear egg they came in looked like an escape pod or reconnaissance vessel that might be attached to a mother ship. Fifty cents later, and I was in possession of two new Gamma World miniatures, and a quick weekend project. Continue reading
Last week, I started listing some starting points to look for D&D monsters that might work well in your Gamma World game. There are two last categories I’d like to explore, and then I have some general advice for D&D monsters in Gamma World that I will share.
Probably one of the very best searches you can do on the D&D compendium if you’re looking for Gamma World type monsters is Continue reading
In the first installment of this mini series, I discussed one of the problems facing DMs who want to port D&D monsters into Gamma World – namely, how to convert energy typed damage between systems. The answer to the problem was fairly straightforward. In this installment, I’m going to tackle a problem whose answer is far less objective. Which D&D monsters are appropriate for Gamma World? Put another way: is there an easy way to find D&D monsters that are appropriate for Gamma World? The answer to the first question is, as I hinted, highly subjective. In the end, you decide what’s appropriate for your game, not me. If you think dragons and orcs will make your Gamma World game awesome, who am I to judge? Make your game awesome! But I do think we can point to some monsters that seem to fit better with the published Gamma World setting, as it stands in the books. The answer to the second question hinges on the first – we need to agree on what types of D&D monsters are appropriate for Gamma World first. Continue reading
As I’ve mentioned here recently, I’ve started a Gamma World campaign with my play group. Which of course means that you will be subjected to the occasional Gamma World article. (Not that you haven’t in the past)
I love the Gamma World game. I just wish there were more monsters. What’s a good GM to do? Well, if the title of this article is any indication, they simply need to port some D&D monsters into the setting. There is an abundance of D&D monsters out there, plus the 4e and Gamma World systems are built on the same chassis, so it should be easy to bring them over right? Just check out the image at the top from page 33 of the Gamma World rulebook… but wait. Displacer Beasts aren’t in any of the Gamma World books… Continue reading
It’s been a while since I posted a Two Page Mini Delve. This one is from an idea I had back when I was comparing the original Gamma World adventures to their new counterparts. I’ve actually been sitting on this particular one for about a month now; I didn’t want to post it before I ran my players through it. That’s right, Sunday was the first session of my new Gamma World campaign (sort of), and it all started with them tied up in the dark with no equipment. Continue reading
On Tuesday, I posted about a few house rules I’ll be implementing with my new Gamma World campagin, which starts in about a week. This post is a continuation of that discussion; these particular house rules are not specific to Gamma World, but could apply to any D&D 4e campaign. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Using 4d6 for trained skill checks
This is a concept I’ve been mulling over for almost a year now. I want characters that are trained in a skill to have a better chance of success and a more level set of results than a character who is just winging something on intuition and innate ability. Using a trained skill, therefore, will be a straight 4d6 roll. I know this will yield less “high” results, but it will also yield less swingy results. 4d6 yields results between 12 and 16 about 50% of the time. Results between 11 and 17 show up almost 70% of the time. That means that a level 1 character using a trained skill with their primary ability will hit or exceed a DC 20 70% of the time. Am I concerned that this will make skill checks too easy for some characters? Yes, I am. If skill checks (and challenges) are always trivialized, I may end up either upping DCs slightly or leaning more heavily on group checks. Time will tell.
Session based leveling system
Because most of my players are seniors in high school, I know I only have them for two hours, twice a month, until the end of next summer. I wanted to take the campaign all the way to level 10, and if I leveled them simply by experience points, they wouldn’t make it there in time. So instead, the characters will simply level up every two sessions (once a month) regardless of what happens in those two session. In this way, we will finish up the campaign in July before they all leave for college. Of course, less bookkeeping on everyone’s part is another good reason to do this. I’m free to put together whatever type of encounter I want, or have a role-play only session, without having to worry about hitting target xp numbers. Hopefully it will put more focus on fun and flexibility.
These next two items aren’t house rules, but rather approaches I’m taking to campaign design. Neither of them are my own ideas; unfortunately I can’t give credit where it’s due in one case because I can’t remember where I read it.
Using ex-players as villans
Instead of doing all the work involving the movement of villans in the background of the campaign, I’ve turned over the villans to three of my ex-players. They’ve each designed a villan for the PCs to face and hopefully defeat, and working with them, I’ve inserted them into the campaign at certain points. They also have a plan and timeline that the villan will stick to barring any reactions to character movements. As the characters interact with the world, I will inform the “villans” of anything they would catch wind of, and they can adjust their plans accordingly. Not only does this take a bit of work off my shoulders, but it also brings another real personality into the campaign, and hopefully simulates the villans more realistically because my ex-players will only be reacting to the information about PC movements that I choose to give them.
AngryDM’s Project Slaughterhouse
Presented in his Schroedinger, Checkov, and Seamus article, this last campaign planning tool is something that I may or may not end up using. It’s a great idea, and since the campaign will be taking place in our “Gammatized” town, the location-with-claimed-territories requirements are met. However, I’m going to wait and see if the group leans towards hooks involving more sandboxy faction politics or if they lean towards linear hooks. If they want to reclaim territories in town or shift power from one faction to the other, I will certainly be implementing this. However, if they choose to follow more “railsy” paths presented to them, I’m not going to go through all the planning work involved. This one will all come down to player preference, and since I haven’t played with this group yet, I’m going to wait on committing to it.
In just a couple of weeks, I’ll be starting a Gamma World campaign with a new group. As mentioned previously, my last group broke up because they all went off to college, and so I was left with an empty game table. The library (where I DM) was open to me continuing “game night,” so I got another group together; however, they want to play Gamma World.
While I’m a little sad to not be running D&D on a regular basis anymore, I’m also quite excited to really take Gamma World out for a campaign long test drive. I have lots of plans, and you can expect me to share them with you in the coming months. (Never fear, there will still be D&D content to be found here on a regular basis)
With that in mind, I’m going to be implementing some small house rules that will hopefully make the game more fun in the long run. I felt house rules were necessary because Gamma World seems to have been designed with as low complexity as possible. That’s fine for a one shot (which is how most people use the system) but I felt adding a little complexity might add to the campaign overall.
What follows are the first half of the house rules I’ll be implementing. These are the rules that will directly affect the players. On Thursday, I’ll be presenting rules changes from the other side of the screen, as well as a couple of “out of the ordinary” campaign planning tools I’m using.
I think the biggest change will be the (re)addition of domars to the game. In case you are unfamiliar with earlier editions of Gamma World, domars are the currency of Gamma Terra. By using domars instead of a bartering economy, I’m actually removing a bit of DM work from the game. I don’t have to figure out how much Omega Tech equals a tank of gas when PCs want to make a trade. Also, I’m adding a resource to the game – I can drop it as treasure, or allow the characters to circumvent obstacles by spending it (e.g., buy train tickets instead of making a travel skill challenge). So, adding currency removes a layer of complexity for me, as the DM, and adds a layer of (hopefully fun) complexity for the players through a spendable resource. It’s also a necessary addition in order for me to implement…
The Black Market
The Black Market will be a specific location in the PC’s home area where they can buy and sell Omega Tech and Alpha Mutations (in potion form). There are a few reasons I’m doing this. First, it will simply be a fun location full of all sorts of characters. Second, buying items in the market will be the only means of players building custom Omega and Alpha decks. So instead of starting at level 1 with a deck stacked full of items and mutations they want, the players will have to earn domars through adventuring in order to buy items for their decks. Hopefully this will create more investment in the items that a player owns. Now, that’s not to say I won’t also be giving out random Omega Tech as treasure, but the market will allow players to buy items from their “wish list” instead of hoping something they want comes up in a random draw.
There will be a future article explaining how I will price Black Market items, as well as how I will determine the amount of treasure to give out in the form of Domars.
The Alpha Pen (or “AP”) will be a consumable item that looks a lot like an Epipen. It will allow a player, as a free action, to dump an Alpha Mutation they don’t like, and draw a new one from their deck. This particular mechanic won’t change the game too much, as the APs will be quite rare, but I thought it would create an interesting decision point for players – when is an appropriate moment to spend such a rare consumable?
Partially Non-Random Characters
Yes, I get it. The whole point of character creation in Gamma World is “hey! totally random!” but I wanted to give my players at least a tiny bit of control over what their final character would look like. And really, it was a truly tiny bit. Instead of rolling their third skill, I allowed them to simply choose it. On top of that small amount of control it gave my players over what their character would look like, it also gave them the opportunity to make sure all the skills were covered. As it turned out, there is a LOT of “interaction” at the table and none of several other skills, so we’ll see whether they try to actually cover their bases, or just go with what seems interesting.
I’m interested to see how these changes affect gameplay. If I had to guess, I’d say the Alphapen won’t change too much, but the Domars and Black Market will be radical changes – for the better, I hope. What are your thoughts?
I have to say, when I started this series back in February, I had no idea it would take me into July! In fact, I originally thought that suggesting miniatures for specific origins would fit into one post. Really, go back and read the introduction. Before I bring the series to a close, however, I wanted to tie up a few loose ends. First, what good is it to have perfect PC minis on the board if there aren’t at least semi-appropriate monster minis?
Don’t worry, I’m not going to start a new series on Gamma World Monster Miniatures. No, not even if you want me to.
If you’re looking for monsters, there is a great thread over at the Wizards of the Coast forums for that. Plus, not only are suggestions for monsters, but there are also great suggestions for PCs as well, including some we didn’t mention in the series.
Second, I wanted to briefly explain why some origins didn’t get chosen for their own article. Many origins (Mind Coercer, for example) do not manifest themselves as a specific physical form. I’ve marked these origins “NSP.” In these cases, your appearance is either informed by your other origin, or simply “humanoid.” (We did cover humanoid minis in a previous installment.) Other origins (Pyrokinetic, for example) manifest themselves as a minor part of the PC’s general appearance. I’ve marked these origins “PNT.” In these cases, applying paint in the appropriate areas is the way to go. Finally, there are a few origins (Reanimated, for example) where I thought the choices were obvious or too numerous to cite. I’ve marked these origins “OBV.”
Here are the origins we didn’t cover, and why. In some cases, we’ve also listed places you can look to find appropriate miniatures.
AI – NSP
Android – PNT I always think of androids as looking human, not metallic, though you could just paint a human mini a metallic color. Pulp City miniatures also has a mini called “Androidia.” If you want more robot, and less human, check out the Star Wars droids minis.
Antimatter Blaster – NSP
Cryokinetic – NSP, PNT
Doppelganger – NSP
Ectoplasmic – PNT, OBV
Electrokinetic – NSP
Empath – NSP
Engineered Human – OBV
Entropic – NSP
Exploding – NSP
Giant – OBV Half-giant and Goliath minis are a good place to start with this origin.
Gravity Controller – NSP
Hyprecognitive – NSP
Magnetic – NSP
Mind Breaker – NSP
Mind Coercer – NSP
Mythic – NSP
Nightmare – NSP If you want a truly horrific appearance, sift through the Dreamblade miniatures.
Photonic – NSP
Plaguebearer – NSP
Plastic – NSP Old Glory Miniatures has quite a few Plastic type minis in their Superfigs and New Superfigs lines.
Prescient – NSP
Pyrokinetic - NSP, PNT
Radioactive – NSP, PNT Pulp City miniatures has a few “radioactive” minis.
Reanimated – OBV
Reanimator – NSP
Regenerator - NSP
Seismic – NSP
Shapeshifter – NSP
Speedster – NSP
Telekinetic – NSP
Temporal – NSP
Vampiric – OBV
A few final notes. I will be going back sometime after Gencon and rearranging the earlier lists to “Painted/Unpainted” categories rather than my originial “Primary/Secondary” categories. And speaking of going back to the older articles, there were often times when I came across good miniatures for an origin that I had already covered. In these cases, I went back and added the mini to the article; if you go through the older articles, you may find something that wasn’t there before. I intend to keep adding to the lists in this way as I keep coming across good Gamma World miniatures.
I think that’s about it, thanks again for reading this series!