stevekenson: (go-play)
Ever since first edition Gamma World I’ve been fond of this “monster” because it embodies the setting’s ethos of “even the landscape is out to get you”. I’ve updated it for the current edition of the game, with a little added benefit/story hook to encourage characters to actually brave the risks involved, making it a bit more than just a random hazard.

Gamma Grass: Known as “zeeth” in the language of the seer lizards, this purple sward reproduces by teleporting its seeds into the guts of nearby creatures. The seeds release a deadly neurotoxin, killing the host, which decomposes and fertilizes a new patch of gamma grass.

Mature gamma grass is a hazard that attacks any animal creature that begins or ends its turn within 5 squares of the patch. Seed teleports that miss materialize in the air nearby with a sizzling “pop” as they burst harmlessly.

Attack: Ranged 5, +7 vs. Fortitude. Targets protected by force fields are unaffected.

Hit: 2d6 poison damage, plus ongoing 5 (save ends). If target drops to 0 hit points or fewer, it dies and a patch of gamma grass sprouts from the corpse the next day.

If mature gamma grass is harvested, dried, and smoked, it grants a particular type of alpha shift: the smoker may draw the next two Psi mutations from the alpha mutation deck and choose to retain one, gaining a +2 bonus to overcharge that mutation for the next encounter.

Because of its benefits (along with a mild euphoric “high” from smoking it), serfs, sleeth, and some badder tribes use slave labor to harvest patches of gamma grass. Those that do not survive the process simply ensure a bumper crop in the following season.
stevekenson: (go-play)
I recently picked up the latest edition of Gamma World from Wizards of the Coast (or should that be “D&D Gamma World”?) after a fun preview game at GenCon, and fully intend to run a game at home; at least a one-shot, but we’ll see how it fares.

As some know, the first edition of Gamma World (the old grey boxed set) was the very first RPG I ever purchased or played, even before the D&D Basic Set. So I have a strange and special place in my heart for the game. Thus far, I’ve got to say that the new edition seems to do it justice.

One element I really like about the new edition is the high concept: essentially (and no real spoiler here), the apocalypse comes about when particle physicists manage to accidentally collapse a multiversal continuum into a single timeline (oops...). Thus, Gamma Terra isn’t “our” Earth after an Apocalypse, but basically every Earth, after a wide range of apocalypses (apocali?): a crazy patchwork of worlds that once were, some of them destroyed millennia ago, others quite advanced, at least until their entire timeline was mushed into a blender with every other timeline...

This premise (covered in less than half a page in the rulebook) makes this potentially the most “wahoo” edition of Gamma World ever, and fulfills much of the game’s promise. Just about anything can exist on Gamma Terra, as a remnant or descendant of some forgotten timeline, from an entire ruined city (hell, continent, if you want your mutants to go exploring Atlantis) to a single creature or artifact. Although the game book doesn’t get into it, that can extend to even weird arcane or fantasy elements, if you want to harken back to the old 1st edition Dungeon Master’s Guide and do a Gamma World/D&D crossover. There is a nod to it with the illustration of a displacer beast in the GW rulebook, and plenty of D&D monsters would also make good mutant menaces (and vice versa).

I’m working on my first adventure (as the one included in the set is a bit thin) and I’m looking forward to revisiting the wastelands of Gamma World!

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stevekenson

July 2011

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