Archive for May, 2014

More Gamma World – Against the Moon Nazis!

May 30, 2014

We got together for another session of D&D Gamma World yesterday.  We had two new characters this session: John/Redshirt (Doppleganger/Nightmare) and Miku (Speedster/Hypercognitive).  Hooch, loca fungal-encrusted cockroach bartender, turns the gang onto a rumor that some Radioactivists have taken over a nearby salvage operations center, and they probably have some good tech to scavenge.  The gang arrives, murders a bunch of Sleeth and Hoops (and their junkbot minions), interrupting a meet between the hapless Radioactivists and some sinister Moon Nazis.


Salvage Operations center

The Nazis acquire some kind of case from the Radioactivists (in exchange for a few barrels of radioactive waste) and try to make a quick get away in their giant drill machine.  Our boys, however, sensing great loot in the case, do their best to stop them.  After a fierce fight, resulting in the deaths of many Nazis, including their officer, our mutant gang succumbs to their wounds and is captured.

The unconscious PCs are brought aboard the Nazi’s drill machine and bound up, their equipment confiscated.  However, one of the mutants uses a recently acquired alpha mutation to slip out of time and reappear a few seconds later next to their guards, free of his bonds.  John summons his doppleganger, Redshirt, to similarly fight the Nazis.  Their guards defeated, John again makes clever use of Redshirt to acquire the case from the Nazis and make off in haste, escaping the drill machine before it departs the salvage center.  Opening the case, they discover a 3.5″ floppy disk containing a single text file of a long string of numbers…an encryption key of some sort.

Attack of the Moon Nazis!

They return to Paradise Junction, mentioning the Moon Nazis to Hooch, who almost immediately takes off to “run an errand.”  Next day, Hooch asks the group to make a trip to the Warden’s main base to deliver a mysterious note to another bartender there named Gus.  They’re joined by young Miku (think The Feral Kid from Road Warrior, complete with metal boomerang, with mutant powers as well).  The trip is uneventful, but as they arrive at the Warden’s, they see a small group of Moon Nazis arriving right behind them.

The group makes a bee-line for Gus, delivering the note just as the Moon Nazis show up and start interrogating Gus about the computer disk.  Gus feigns ignorance while John pops a smoke grenade; in the confusion, Miku sneaks out and ties some wire around the Nazi officer’s boots, causing him to trip.  All Hell breaks loose: the Nazi goons open up with their MP-40s, spraying lead everywhere, the officer (using an encounter power) orders the goons to fight to the death while he takes off, yelling for Warden guards.  The Moon Nazis are gunned down in the halls, but not before attracting the attention of the Wardens.  Gus hides the group in the air ducts, allowing them to escape the Warden’s complex.

They decide, however, to do a frame up between the Wardens and the Moon Nazis, hopefully getting the two factions to fight a war against one another.  John/Redshirt uses a captured helmet to pose as a Moon Nazi and bluff his way back into the Warden complex.  He sets a leaky fusion rifle to overload, and in the confusion of the explosion, plants the helmet and a luger in the Warden’s base.  They beat feet, returning to Paradise Junction, enlisting the aid of Hooch to spread word to the Moon Nazis that the Wardens are killing Nazis and taking souvenirs.  And that’s where we ended.

So, we’ll probably play one more time next week.  I think it’s time for a Moon Nazi invasion of Paradise Junction…

D&D Gamma World – Consolidated Origins Chart

May 26, 2014


Here’s a quick, consolidated chart of all the origins from all three GW sets.  Just roll d100 twice to determine your primary and secondary origins.  The chart includes book and page reference, stat, overcharge, defense and skill bonus as well.

GW Consolidated Origins Chart


Ran my first game of D&D Gamma World

May 24, 2014

GWI’m not a huge fan of 4th Edition D&D, so though I’ve always been intrigued by D&D Gamma World (based on a streamlined version of 4E), I’ve also been a bit wary of actually running it.  However, when our regular Saturday game cancelled this week, rather than sit at home bored, I offered to run something for a couple of the guys, which turned out to be GW.  And we had a blast.

The rules run much smoother than I anticipated, though it probably helped that we only had two players today.  One played a Mythic Plaguebearer and the other was a Radioactive Giant.

The characters awake in a vat chamber, slowly rousing from stasis shock.  They remember their names and abilities, but have little recollection of how they came to be in a stasis vat.  Soon they are aware enough of their surroundings to notice squat, pale skinned humanoids lifting bodies out of a massive vat tank, talking about “meat.”  That’s all the PCs needed to hear to wipe out the ‘Vat Men,’ subsequently cleaning out a Vat Complex, killing several cannibalistic Vat Men and looting a few interesting pieces of Omega Tech.

The Vat Complex, done up using Dwarven Forge dungeon tiles.  The green-ish circle is a pool of acid.

The Vat Complex, done up using Dwarven Forge dungeon tiles. The green-ish circle is a pool of acid.

At the end of the Vat Complex they discover a tube car, which whisks them away to the nearest junction, Biodisposal Center F91 (affectionately known as “Paradise Junction” by the locals).  Paradise Junction is the PCs first town, where they level up, gear up and talk up the locals.  They discover they are located on a rogue moon, hurtling through space.  The moon may be a prison, or a research lab, or something else entirely…no one is really sure anymore.

Hooch, the local fungoid-encrusted cockroach bartender, also tells them of the Service Tunnels, a good place to pick up some loot, though they’re warned to watch out for the “spider things.”  So, I ran the Service Tunnels as a kind of treasure hunt/race.  First, I incorporated the players, having them take turns laying down Space Hulk tiles to create the service tunnels.  I told them rooms were places where they could search for loot.  Meanwhile, each turn “spider things” enter the board from various entry points, making a bee line for the party (basically, I re-skinned robot minions to be spider things, represented by gene-stealer minis on the board).

It was an interesting experiment, but where I was envisioning a race against the clock, it really turned into a bit of a slog.  The players bottle-necked long chains of the spider things in one-square wide corridors, taking them down one at a time.  Even with the spider’s ability to climb over the PCs, it was still way too much of a grind.  Though, it should be noted that things could have gone differently if the characters had different sets of powers (such as more area attacks, push or teleportation powers).

Still, they got a decent amount of loot and XP out of it.  I think the concept is viable, it just needs a bit more tweaking.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the game, and the Rogue Moon setting.  We’ll probably play again later this week.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get a couple more players to join us.  Cheers.

Bounty Killer

May 21, 2014

bountykillerChart this one under inspiration for weird post-apocalyptic role-playing game campaigns:

In the future, corporations wage world war against one another in the pursuit of profits, destroying most of the planet in the process.  Bounty killers are commissioned to hunt down the corporate criminals and bring them to justice.  Yes, the premise is over-the-top, but it makes for a fun movie to watch, and could be a very interesting post-apoc campaign.

Bounty Killer is kind of a mix between a spaghetti Western, Mad Max and Deathrace 2000.  Not the greatest acting in the world, but decent enough for B-movie faire, and plenty of gunplay and action.

There is, however, gratuitous amounts of blood and gore, so if that’s not your thing then you probably want to skip this movie.  Definitely not a family friendly film.

If you’re interested, you can find it on Netflix.  Cheers.

Godzilla Movie

May 16, 2014

godzillaHad the chance today to watch the new Godzilla movie on IMAX (also 3D, which didn’t do much for me).  I wound up enjoying it much more than I thought I would, and it’s a vast improvement over the last American version of Godzilla.  I’ll try not to give away too many spoilers here (nothing that hasn’t already been given away by the trailers), but if you’re worried about spoilers, just stop reading now and go see Godzilla ASAP. 🙂

The movie does a good job of focusing on the human element, so it’s not all just about giant monsters smashing everything in sight.  Most often, the screen focuses on humans doing their best just to survive while the kaiju fight in the background.  This both makes the movie a bit more immersive for the audience and emphasizes the massive scale of the monsters and the destruction they cause.  At other times, the kaiju might be portrayed, surreally, fighting on the news, or glimpsed through a car window.

In many respects, Godzilla emulates the classic Japanese films:  Godzilla is the good guy fighting multiple “bad” kaiju, he’s modeled after the look of the guy in the rubber suit, and he’s got his atomic breath attack.  So, most of the classic elements of Godzilla are still there, from what I could tell.

And the movie still has the Godzilla “message,” that playing around with atomic energy is bad and going to destroy us all.  Make of that what you will.

I highly recommend Godzilla, unless you just really don’t like kaiju movies.  The IMAX experience was great, but the 3D element just really wasn’t there for me (but then, I’m not a huge fan of 3D in the first place, so I’m probably biased).  If you can see it on IMAX, it’s worth it.  And if you can do so without the 3D, so much the better.


Wandering Monsters Checks

May 13, 2014

So, now that I’m done with classes I’ve got a bit more free time…at least for a few weeks.  I’ve been thinking about running a one-off OD&D game using Chainmail’s man-to-man combat rules.  Towards that end, I’ve been reading up on Chainmail, OD&D and reviewing Philotomy’s OD&D Musings.

As I read up on exploration movement, the need for careful time-keeping in the dungeon once again crossed my mind and, by extension, the frequency of making wandering monster checks.  Modern versions of  D&D tend to do away with wandering monsters, at least in dungeon environments.  And I must admit, growing up we tended to ignore the rules for wandering monsters as well (along with most of the record-keeping aspects of dungeon exploration).

However, in OD&D wandering monsters are an important strategic aspect to the game.  Given OD&D’s lethality, and the fact that wandering monsters have little treasure, they serve as a sort of timing mechanism, keeping the players from futzing about in the dungeon all day long, giving them powerful incentive to stay focused on the job at hand (usually finding big hoards of treasure).

Despite my best intentions, I find that I usually fall back on old habits, and stray from faithful implementation of such record keeping rules of the game, particularly regular and systematic wandering monster checks.  Some versions call for a check every 3 turns (30 minutes); others every 6 turns.  Sometimes it varies from module-to-module.  But in the end, I lose track of the exact number of turns spent in a dungeon, and thus fail to make the requisite number of wandering monster checks.

Setting this guy off would probably attract some unwanted attention.

Setting this guy off would probably attract some unwanted attention.

I think a happy compromise (well, happy for me, at least) is to make a wandering monster check during “dramatic” moments, usually when the party makes a lot of noise.  Battles are noisy, as are fireballs and lightning bolts, or bashing in doors, not to mention setting off alarm traps.  Or when the party argues over their next course of action…yelling tends to attract attention.  Such a system plays better to my laissez faire style of GMing and makes a certain amount of sense.

However, this method does imply a few things.  First, I suppose technically they wouldn’t be ‘wandering’ monsters really…the mechanic would be more like a kind of perception check to see if a wandering patrol hears the commotion.  Also, it implies that the ‘wandering’ monsters automatically could not be surprised…only the PCs might be surprised.  Surprise is quite powerful in OD&D, so the danger level increases appreciably for the party, especially low-level parties.

Despite that, I kind of like this way of handling wandering monster checks.  Aside from the decreased bookkeeping, it requires the players to really step up and make smart, strategic decisions.  It gives them an even greater incentive to avoid unnecessary battles, to employ lighter armor so they can move through the dungeon faster and more stealthily, not bash down every door they come across and not nuke everything in sight with fireballs and lightning bolts.

We’ll see how it goes, if/when I get the chance to run another ‘old school’ D&D game.  Cheers.

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