Monday, January 28, 2013

Hopes for the Gamma World

I had an epiphany the other day, putting a game report together for the Black City.  Somewhere deep down, I clearly have a yearning to run a Gamma World campaign.  It's manifested through me stocking parts of the Black city with robots and mutants, lightning guns and techno-magic items, insane super computers loaded with psychic powers, and most recently, radioactive zombies.  Somewhere, maybe in the attic, or buried in the garage, I might even have a coffee-stained, beat up copy of the 1E Gamma World rules.

Most fantasy gaming is already post-apocalyptic… older civilizations, more advanced than the current age, have fallen, leaving behind their relics and artifacts.  It's just that in the traditional approach, those relics are the many magic items found strewn about dungeons.  Depending on your point of view, this might be a legacy of Tolkien's influence on the game, or a historical nod to the dark ages and the passage of Rome.  The dissolution of earlier civilizations plays a large role in the weirder inspirational fiction - Lovecraft's elder things, Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique and Hyperborea stories, or Vance's Dying Earth.  I've been enjoying the Marvel comics adaptation of Stephen King's Dark Tower, and that's a post-apocalyptic setting filled with gunslingers, robots, demons, and ancient magic.  It's a glorious mixed omelet.

Now that WOTC has lifted the embargo on PDFs of their games, will we see a high quality scan of the 1st or 2nd editions of Gamma World?  Why not, right?  Bring it on, WOTC brothers.

Have any fellow gamers posted reviews comparing Gamma World to Goblinoid's Mutant Future, or looked closely at Sine Nomine's Other Dust?  I'll have to take Mutant Future and Other Dust off the shelf and give them a thorough read, just to get a sense on how they differ.


  1. Gunslingers, robots, demons and ancient magic? Well, that really is a glorious omelet. I'll take mine with a nice smoked cheese, please.

  2. I feel much the same but the more vocal of my players always complains that GW is 'broken' (con xd6 hp, AD&D weapon damage). I'm not ready to throw in the cards over one mechanic that can easily changed but the mutations would also have to go or else it can turn into a bizarro supers game.

    Briefly looking at MF, it is similar but more D&Dish; an improvement for what I think you are aiming at. So I'd go MF, using the LL conversion notes to add levels as HD, and limit or eliminate mutants as PCs, there, sorted.

    1. Gamma World without mutations? That is throwing the baby out with the bath water.


    I can see gamma world treasure hunters hear of a black continent arising with a certain lost city of the ancients.

  4. _Gamma World_ 1E is very very close to _Mutant Future_. But basically _Mutant Future_ and 0E D&D and AD&D and _Labyrinth Lord_ and _Gamma World_ 1E are damn near mechanically interchangeable, and _GW_ 2E is not far off.

    _Bring Me The Head Of Frank Sinatra!_ works fine in either GW or MF.

  5. I bought Gamma World 1st edition in Toy City when it first came out. It was a game I wanted to immerse myself immediately into. Stared for hours at the box cover. The GM screen with the Erol Otus cover image was so seductive. Shitty game system though. Now that rules lite systems are available, this game has so much romantic, retro, new vision potential it is dizzying.

  6. I'll probably always mash sci-fi with fantasy. Ever since the guidelines in DMG 1st edition for mixing Gamma World with AD&D.
    Hell, just look at my blog.
    I hope WOTC does release the older Gamma World stuff, but even more than that, I hope they are developing Gamma World next right along side D&D next.
    It seems silly not to. Gamma World has always been the sci-fi sibling to D&D.

  7. Still hoping they republish GW 4E. I think back in the day all the other early versions had made it to PDF except this one.

    In the mean time, anyone seen Dyson's relisting of the Mutant Future mutations?

  8. GW and MF are very similar. The main differences being the poison/radiation ,matrices of GW are replaced with compatible rules.Physical Combat is level based for PC. Levels are explicit with boosts in combat ability along with virtually identical bonuses to those a "level" granted in GW. Saving throws closely resemble those of D&D and are tied to level. There's a host of different mutants in the rules so no badders, orlens, and serfs unless you carry them over or restat them. There's a heap of similar and different technological items waiting to be used as treasure.
    As written very compatible without being identical.

  9. I put a copy of Other Dust and Mutant Future on the ipad to read, and just started Other Dust. So far, it seems to be a little less gonzo than MF or GW, tries to be a bit more grounded in hard sci-fi. I'm glad to circle back and to a head-to-head comparison once I get through both rule books.

  10. It's true- I was going more for a point about halfway between the Morrow Project and Gamma World when it came to setting the gonzometer for Other Dust. Other Dust characters tend to be more compatible with baseline old-school fantasy games because they use the same hit die and weapons damage scaling, as opposed to the Gamma World scaling where just about everybody is slinging 10dX hit dice at the game's start and firing 5d6 laser pistols before too long. Still, there's a whole lot that can be mixed-and-matched between the systems if you put in some kind of shim to deal with the HD and weapons scaling differences.