Gamma World Report

I ran a short session of Gamma World for the first time last night with Josh and Liz. Josh rolled a speedster/seismic that he called Rockslide, while Liz played a felinoid/hypercog that she simply named Jingle. Following some advice from the book, I placed the adventure in my local area seen through the shattered lens of apocalypse-vision. The skeleton adventure I wrote up had them going to a shanty town built atop the nearby Beaverton Transit Center before hitting up the ruins of Fred Meyer's looking for power cells to help repair a MAX train so that they could quickly (and relatively safely) get to downtown Portland.

Since Gamma World is purportedly much deadlier than Dungeons & Dragons, I decided to pit the pair against a quartet of porkers perched on an old bridge, which a rampart of cars for added defense. Basically, twice as many monsters as I really should have, with the terrain advantage. Oh, and I gave one of the porkers a shotgun.

Things didn't go well.

For me.

I learned something from this first encounter, the least of which is that Gamma World characters are really fucking bad ass. As a "future cat", Liz's character has an initiative bonus of +13, so she basically always goes first. She's also insanely fast, and on the first round easily made it up to the bridge and hid behind a car, making her already high Armor Class even higher. Josh, though a bit more cumbersome, also closed most of the distance and also hid. On their turn, the porkers waddled over to the mess of cards and readied actions to hit them with chains, since it was the best I could do.

Well, Jingles leapt over the cars, dodging a chain, and tore the shit out of one porker, bloodying it with one attack. Rockslide just charged the whole mob, shrugging off the blows, and with his stomp attack spattered the wounded one and knocked the others down (except for Mr. Shotgun). I took a gamble with the shotgun, hitting Jingle and another porker with the blast, and had the last porker pathetically--and vainly--flail on Rockslide. Things didn't last much longer, even with minor action belching and bellybucking, it was pigs to the slaughter. It lasted all of three rounds, and that's only because they took a bit running up there.

The safely made it to Beaver Town and picked up a quest from Mayor Theo (a beaver mutant) to clean out some more porkers camping out by an Ancient hydroponics facility attached to a ruined store (ie, Fred Meyers), as the townsfolk often made forays there to scavenge food. They had another shindig in the parking lot, but even robot minions didn't amount to much as Jingle tore both them and the porker controlling them apart with her claws, while Rockslide stabbed the rest the rest with a combination of quills and a makeshift sword. Again, this was a quick fight, 2-3 rounds tops, and they rarely if ever used mutations (mostly because I think they kept forgetting about them).

Things got challenging when they found the hydroponics lab, underneath a massive tree. The place was flooded, with plant life growing rampantly throughout the complex. Inside they fought ambulatory fungi, spine-flinging cacti, and kai lins. Kai lins were a hassle up until Josh used a mutant power that rendered him invulnerable to physical damage, meaning that all I could do was hope he tried to run away from them and trigger their electricity attack. The most dangerous thing they encountered were the horl choos, since they had a nasty acidic spike they could fling that dealt ongoing 10 acid damage. That encounter was frantic because Rockslide actually crumbled under the onslaught of damage, but stabilized before dying.

By this point they'd gathered a healthy inventory of Omega tech, including fusion rifles, photonic spears, and jet packs, allowing them to weed out the rest of the flora without breaking a sweat. Horl choo? BLAM! 4d8 plus etcetera damage, thank you very much. Uh oh, Jingle is almost dead? Overcharge whatever-the-fuck power she had at the time, vanish for a round, and return fully healed. Anyway, the adventure ended once they battled their way to the basement and exterminated a few obbs (in like, two rounds), picked up some power cells from the nuclear-powered machinery--with some mutated fruit that was probably edible--and went back to Beaver Town.

A lot of the time I was able to bring them close to death, especially since most of the mosnters ganged up on Rockslide. His damage resistance helped a lot, while Jingle's double-claw made short work of everyone. Liz felt like the striker, while Josh was clearly pulling the defender. Alpha mutations helped in some cases, but fucked them over in others. When Josh tried to overcharge his quills, he botched it and took ongoing damage himself. One of Liz's mutations would have allowed her to blind a target for a longer duraiton, but light herself on fire if she messed up the overcharge, so she opted for the safe route.

We didn't have as much fun as we could have, considering that I didn't have a lot of time to sufficiently plan an adventure, there were only two players, and it was a new genre for all of us. The game's got a lot of promise, and I think that as we play more, I'll get a better handle on planning adventures suited for post-apocalyptic wasteland-romps. For now, it's back to the drawing board so I can prepare for a lengthy train tunnel throwdown. I'm thinking giant mutant cockroaches, or perhaps graboids?

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