Ran my first game of D&D Gamma World

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.

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3 Responses to “Ran my first game of D&D Gamma World”

  1. David Jenks Says:

    Nice! I’ve been replaying (yet AGAIN) Fallout 3 and feeling the love for some post-apoc gaming. Just a few days ago I pulled out my copy of Gamma World 7th ed (a/k/a “the only 4th edition D&D product I’ll ever own”) and was thinking about running something.

    Great minds must think alike!

    Did you run into any issues, problems, flukes, or things you’d change in the GW7 rules?

    • edowar Says:

      There were no major problems, and running it was much easier than I’d expected (though I only had two players). I did have to look up a few things for clarification, but that’s to be expected running a new system for the first time.

      Also, character creation went amazingly fast (about 10-15 minutes), though I did skip equipment selection (which probably only would have taken a few more minutes). I combined the origins from all three books into one d100 chart (which I’ll post later, once I’ve finished it). Next project may be to put all the origin material into one source so I don’t have to go flipping through three books looking for them.

      I do wish that WotC had printed some handy reference guides on the back of the rule books, as Paizo did for the BB. Also, the Omega Tech and Alpha Mutation cards both have the same backing, so you may want to put one set or the other in card sleeves to make it a easier to distinguish between them.

      I had some ‘salvage’ cards printed out on business cards that I used for my Reno Apocalypse game, and I found them quite handy for handing out junk loots. For this game, I’m treating junk loots as a form of currency, tradable for goods and services in town.

      One change I did make, I didn’t let the players select Alpha Mutations right away, owing to “stasis shock.” However, the level 1 monsters were more resilient than I anticipated. You might want to consider handing out Alpha Mutations after the first encounter (toning it down a bit); let them play around with their origin powers first, then ease them into Alpha Mutations in the second, then into Omega Tech after the third.

      I find the rules for building encounters does a pretty good job of reflecting appropriate difficulty levels (at least at low level). However, I have no idea if I’m giving out too much Omega Tech or not. I’m not too worried about, though, because Omega Tech charge rolls are sort of a self-correcting mechanism: the more OT they use, the more charge rolls they have to make, they more tech they’ll ultimately loose.

      One house rule I’m considering: letting players ‘cannibalize’ an Omega Tech card they don’t want to gain a +2 bonus on a charge roll for an OT card they want to keep.

      Also, I let the players re-skin their origin powers, just as long as it didn’t change any of the mechanics of the power. For example, Plaguebearer has plague touch attack, but the player wanted to say it was actually projectile vomiting, so I rolled with that.

    • edowar Says:

      Oh, one other thing that does irk me about 4E is the way difficulty DCs go up as the characters gain levels. So, I’ve house ruled flat difficulty DCs:

      Easy = DC 10
      Average = DC 15
      Hard = DC 20

      Simple and to the point. 🙂

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