The Black Country
I'm not exactly breaking the laws of time, but I am bending them a little.
I've been resistant as of late to 'new RPGs'. The likes of the simplified D&D4 and the card system of Warhammer 3rd Edition. So I decided, on a whim, to try get over myself and buy one of these new fangled RPGs. So I bought Gamma World. And boy am I glad I did, this is so much fun. I've not laughed so genuinely in months. Here's what happened...
My Gamma World
Rather than go for the desert setting that is common with many post-apocalypse settings I went with a wet, flooded rainy setting. Thick black plumes of smoke all but block out the sunlight in the Dark Lands that will be the settings of my world. In fact I've gone for role-playing in my local area, although with so much change the players hardly noticed.
Areas of note
The Dark Lands - a play on words because I live in The Black Country. The black plumes of smoke would have been evident for real 100 years ago, I've made it a lot worse for my Gamma Terra.
Bremgraffe - This would have been Bromsgrove, now it is also known as the Porker Pens, and area brutally controlled by tribes of savage Porkers.
Canals - well there are lots of canals in my area, but in Gamma Terra these are flowing with radioactive slime.
Village of Despair - this zombie infested village is cut off by the canals. IRL this would roughly be where either Kinver or Enville is now.
The Ward - This is the shanty town the PCs call home. Decayed building in a flooded area of the Dark Lands. IRL this is roughly where Wordsley is.
Let it begin
Character generation proved to be nearly as much fun as the actual adventure. I went for totally random character generation with no re-rolls. I also allowed an extra roll on the ancient junk table for a sentimental item. When rolling for Origins I first randomised one from the Core Rulebook, and the second from across both books with the only real choice the players had was deciding which of the two Origins would be their Primary one. All characters were allowed one light weapon of their choosing.
The Player Characters
And as you can see they all named themselves in a way connected to their character, which was pretty cool.
Peter & Judith Surname
Peter has a high Wisdom (20) and low everything else. Peter is a bit slow, but luckily his Puppet does the talking and can also be used as a light melee weapon. We never really established if Peter was human looking or not.
Gear - camcorder, digital photo frame, Puppet (Judith)
Sentimental item - Foosball Table
This spider-lady would use Spider throwing stars in combat.
Gear - heavy flashlight, wagon, 5 gallons of fuel, draft animal
Sentimental item - Laptop computer (hence her name being Acer)
This character would prove to be the scout of the party, flight proved to be very useful, as did his Radiation eyes.
Gear - night vision goggles, pickup truck, winter outfit, matches
Sentimental item - plastic water bottle;
The player even had a plastic water bottle with him as a prop, fantastic
Appearance is along the lines of Bicentennial Man. Mind Coercer. Knowing the types of character he usually plays the table laughed when the player rolled this. I swear it was a fix, and I watched him roll the die.
Gear - Gas Mask (LOL, great item for an AI)
Sentimental item - Snow Boots
He looked, well however he wanted to, to be honest. With a Charisma of 20 and all his bonus's he ended up with an Interaction Skill modifier of +19. That's one smooth taking dude!
Gear - draft animal, Canoe
Sentimental item - high-heeled shoes (LOL - I think it was decided they belonged to his father who was a Rocky Horror Show fan. I swear I'm no making this up!)
The Complicated book of Science
The PCs awake to discover they have all been taken prisoner by a gang of Porkers. They are in some kind of stun field connected to a weird looking machine, if a machine can indeed look weird next to this group of characters. Suddenly an odd looking man enters the room. He's not very tall and is dressed how a small kid might draw a picture of a friendly Dracula. He has the tux, the medal and the high collared cloak, although the cloak appears to be made of black feathers. He turns off the energy field holding the PCs. "Quick, quick, we must hurry before the Porkers come back," he says, with me doing my worst ever Romanian accent. He introduces himself as Professor Cocksure. As he talks he pulls the weirdest wide-eyed grins as if he is trying to fake an emotional expression but has no idea how to. Professor Cocksure quickly explains that the evil Mistress Ladybug is capturing people trying to find a way to absorb their Alpha Flux mutations. She thinks she can steal their powers for herself. Suddenly several Porkers and Shield Drones enter the room and combat begins. Peter & Judith attack the machine to destroy it while the rest of the group take much satisfaction in trying out their special abilities such as Frederick's Radiation Eyes and I's Blue Screen of Death. The Professor takes cover during this encounter shape-shifting into a swarm of black cocks. That's cockerels!
After the encounter the group find a way out, in the process they search the Porker Pens and find a small stash of Omega Tech.
Outside the Professor has a Land Rover for the group to escape in. When I say Land Rover, I don't mean the common 4x4 vehicle like the one I drive, no.
This Land 'Rover' is a giant mutant dog with wheels and seats on it's back
On the journey back towards the Dark Lands Professor Cocksure says he must go free some other captives of the Mistress Ladybug. He wants the group to help him though; he wants them to go to the library in the Village of Despair, just down the road, and get the copy of the Complicated Book of Science before the minions of the Mistress Ladybug do. GM note - I think this is the first time where my adventure quest has been to 'go get a book from the library.'
After agreeing to help Professor Cocksure once more turns into a swarm of cocks and flies off.
The journey to the Village of Despair is uneventful as they drive their Land Rover down the broken and flooded highway. Torrential rain continues to fall; maybe Kenny's canoe wasn't such a silly item after all, but all the big gear is back at their home in The Ward.
The highway comes to a junction next to a derelict swimming pool and alien corner shop. A quick search of the corner shop finds only a tin lunch box with a model airplane inside. The Village of Despair is past the woodlands on the far side of the canal, but there is no bridge in order to keep in the zombies! Frederick flies over to see if he can find any rope or old cable to help the group cross. He does find some cable but disturbs a nest of Blood Birds. Frederick easily deals with this solo encounter and soon the group make their way over the canal.
On foot the group move carefully with Frederick flying ahead as scout. A group of zombies are spotted, and one of them is a big one! GM note - these were just zombie minions except for a zombie brute, I thought he might be tough, yeah right! The group ambush the zombies; Kenny disguised as a rock, Peter hid behind a tree, Harriot climbed the tree. I has no brains for the zombies to eat so didn't bother hiding, Frederick was flying. Kenny charged in and scored a critical hit on the zombie brute. Harriot hit with a burst of Toxic Web that destroyed all 4 zombie minions before the rest of the group finished off the zombie brute before it even had chance to hit back!
So, the group trekked into the village no doubt battering a few more zombies on route until they find the village library. Using a piece of Omega tech he had found Peter sent in Ingrid, his inflatable Friend (yes, seriously), with his camcorder to record what was inside. It was a library, rows of shelves with a few books on them, and an old lady with a Zimmer frame stamping in library books. The group enter. Peter asks if she has the Complicated Book of Science. She says she does, but unfortunately it has just been booked out so they cannot have it; the group can clearly see the book in the old woman’s bag. After some failed negotiation the group decide to try threats on the frail looking lady. This doesn't go down too well. Suddenly a swarm of books fly off the shelves, swarming around the group distracting them. The old lady suddenly splits open and a large mutant insect is now standing in her place, a Parn, a very nasty blood beetle. Combat ensues with with usual Alpah Flux, Peter & Judith getting the Teleport power.
The group batter the Parn with all they have, Kenny (rolling a 1) is hit by Alpha Flux. Peter teleports over to the Parn and grabs the book. The combat continues and the next round Peter teleports away, all the way back to the Land Rover parked by the shop and swimming pool.
The rest of the group make a tactical LEG IT!
And that was my first game of Gamma World. FANTASTIC FUN!