Posted by : David Guyll August 12, 2014

Two words: Gamma World.

The setting of Gamma World is more or less Earth, just 150 years after the Large Hadron Collider goes south and mashes a bunch of timelines together (kind of like how in Sundered World shit hits the fan and all of the planes get mashed into one reality).

What makes this game weirder than others I have played largely boils down to the characters: you randomly roll for a pair of origins out of twenty. The Legion of Gold and Famine in Far-Go expansions add more (as well as new monsters, and rules for feats and cryptic alliances), but just with the main box you can end up as a radioactive cockroach, swarm of birds, a fire-flinging cat, a mind-controlling plant, and so much more.

There was also a deck of cards for drawing random powers called Alpha Mutations. My games are still packed up, but I was able to find a few card effects online just to give you an idea of what to expect: you can learn information from a corpse, cause your body to explode (and you remain exploded until you make a save), or grow a second head. I recall one mutation causing your feet to get really big, and the book mentions growing feelers that let you see in the dark.

Now these powers were always temporary: you drew one when you made your character, and replaced it every time you completed an encounter or rolled a natural 1 (alpha flux). As you got higher level you could stock more mutations, but since you swapped out the ones you didn't use there was no real incentive to hang on to them for very long.

There are also some weird monsters, but honestly I've played most editions of Dungeons & Dragons so only a handful really stand out to me: gun-toting, telekinetic raccoons, humanoid rabbits that can turn nonliving materials into rubber, and a bat-winged, lion-thing that has laser eyes and eats clothes.

The game itself is very simple, largely being based on 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons mechanics, except that it only goes up to 10th-level, you get +1 to lots of things based on your level, everything is based on the encounter (I recall you full-healing, too), you randomly roll your non-key stats, and weapons and armor are based on whether they are light or heavy, and how many hands you need to use it.

If you're a fan of d20 games, post-apocalyptic settings, and don't mind weird shit I'd recommend snagging it.

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