There may be a common attitude among players that Gamma World is the game where the world has ended, so you can just blow up whatever you want, and it's best to shoot anything that looks strange. That can make it difficult for a GM who wants to introduce non-combat elements.
GM: "You see what looks like a cyborg. He turns toward you --" Player: "I shoot it." Other player: "Cyborg? I throw a torc grenade at it."
Post by foster1941 on Dec 20, 2016 14:55:15 GMT -5
The budding sociopath in my BITD gaming group was definitely the biggest Gamma World fan. He loved all the heavily artillery, the random rolling for mutations with wildly different power-levels (meaning he could cheat on his rolls to create a "legal" super-character), and the totally lawless environment and nihilistic concept - that there was no earthly or cosmic authority to restrict or judge his actions. I don't think the game is necessarily intended to work that way - both Legion of Gold and Hiero's Journey are centered on pockets of fairly stable civilization - but I don't think it's surprising that a lot of people approached it that way, especially in the wake of The Road Warrior. None of us had read Hiero's Journey back in the 80s, but we'd all seen The Road Warrior.
Post by geneweigel on Dec 20, 2016 16:03:22 GMT -5
Yeah, cryptic alliance thing is not playable. Its like saying at 3rd level you can see if you can join the forces of Gondor, the forces of Rohan, the Forces of Isengard, the Forces of the Old Forest, the Forces of Moria, the forces of Cirith Ungol, the Forces of the Black Gate or the Forces of Rivendell. I mean it sounds cool but after a few "Let's not attack my secret allegiance" the game is going to rot. What they should have done is have all that implied and leave it at that. I think first edition GW is a lot more subtle than 2nd edition with the CA for players. Jim Ward sounded like the kind of GM that entertained backstabbing tomfoolery as an actual game session from what I garnered.
Post by geneweigel on Dec 20, 2016 17:50:40 GMT -5
Maybe if it was more like the alignment system it wouldn't seem so bad like for instance they could have leanings towards certain things instead of it being a specific grouping:
Archivists (Servants of the Eye) Superficial Antique Collectors Brotherhood of Thought (The Brotherhood) Peace and good Followers of the Voice (Programmers) Machine worshippers Friends of Entropy (The Red Death)Murderous Nihilists Healers (The White Hand) Monks with Medicine Knights of Genetic Purity (Purists) Eugenists Radioactivists Mutation addicts Restorationists Advanced Traditionalists The Created (Machinists) Killer machines The Iron Society (Mutationists) Malgenists Seekers (New Dawn) Anti-tech traditionalists Zoopremisists (Animal Liberation Front) Anti-human animals
One of the main things that I did as GM was coe up with a lot of twisted future wihtout the CAs as a crutch thats probably why it lasted as long as it did which was solidly 1984 to 1989 after GW 4th edition it got derailed. 3rd edition was largely ignored but the 4th edition seemed very colorful enough to lure us all in and assassinate our interest in the detail.
Post by foster1941 on Dec 20, 2016 19:17:38 GMT -5
Due to an accident of circumstance (i.e. I found a copy of it in a used bookstore that was cheaper than buying it new) we played Gamma World using the 1st edition rules, which I understand placed less emphasis on the CAs than later editions (IIRC they were covered in 1-2 pages that just gave a one-paragraph description of each one). I don't recall any players ever having the idea to try to join one of them. Rather, they were just background detail, a source of helpful and/or inimical NPCs. That said, our GW games were very unsophisticated and I don't think we ever revisited it after about 1987 (even though that one player I mentioned before always wanted to and would occasionally bring it up).
Post by geneweigel on Dec 20, 2016 21:03:50 GMT -5
This is a major difference between GW 1E and 2E:
PAGE 23 of the GW 2E ADVENTURE BOOKLET
"HOW TO RANK AFFECTS"
4) Characters of Rank 3 or higher may elect to join a Cryptic Alliance. A character may try once per month per Rank above 3 to join a Cryptic Alliance. Thus, a Rank 4 character could try twice to join a particular Cryptic Alliance in a given month. For each such attempt, the GM rolls d% and consults the description in PART IV of the Cryptic Alliance being joined. The Type section of each Cryptic Alliance description includes a percentage chance for each character type that the Cryptic Alliance will accept a character of that type as a member. If the percentage dice roll for the character's attempt at joining the Cryptic Alliance is less than or equal to the percentage chance given in this section for his character type, the character is immediately accepted into membership. If not, the character may try again if he has sufficient Rank. If he does not have sufficient Rank, he must wait one month (30 days) before trying again. A character may try to join only one Cryptic Alliance in a 3- month period. If he is turned down by one Cryptic Alliance during that period, he must wait at least 3 months before applying for membership in another Cryptic Alliance. Immediately upon joining a Cryptic Alliance, a character treats that Cryptic Alliance as the community of which he is a member. He may no longer be considered a member of his former community.
Then at the beginning of the next area on the same page:
"COMMUNITIES AND CRYPTIC ALLIANCES"
In general, a character cannot change the community of which he is a member except by joining a Cryptic Alliance
This is definitely a major thing to do with your "status" another new feature.
I only played Gamma World once. Didn't own it back in the day. The only kid in our clique only tried running it once. I've owned it for years now, but haven't played it yet. Gaming times is so limited and I have such big, unfulfilled plans for my D&D campaign.
Post by geneweigel on Dec 20, 2016 23:28:51 GMT -5
I did not get involved with GW until the 1984 second edition which had a Larry Elmore fantasy meets the Road Warrior feel to it. The people that I was playing with all had the first edition but I just didn't play it. I had already been there and done that with STAR FRONTIERS and STAR FLEET BATTLES but they insisted that I give GW a try because people said that I would be a good match from my DMing. So I grabbed a copy when they released the "new" one. I think it was next to the giant robot table in the basement of the 80's version of the FORBIDDEN PLANET comic store. I had already been playing VILLAINS AND VIGILANTES before I even started D&D in 81' (1980?) and that had automatic crazy sci-fi in it. V&V is one of those things where I think I put too much energy into the game but the game didn't stand on its own for me. I think GW was also in that vein where I poured out the post-apocalypse PLANET OF THE APES' exasperation "Oh my God... I'm back. I'm home. All the time, it was..." into every session possible. I had made so many monsters of my own for GW some of which I feel like I've abandoned. I was going to make a post-apocalypse comic (to be read by maybe 12 people like all my homemade superhero garbage comics) in 1986 but it never happened because it piled up and got too bizarre.
As for doing stupid crap, I don't usually associate that stuff with games. If there is a highlight reel of all the stupid shit that you've done all your life after you die then mine would be pretty frightening. And here is the 400th YOU SHOULD HAVE DIED segment...
I also only have 1st edition GW and didn't realize later editions had an option for you to be able to join a Cryptic Alliance (I briefly played 2nd edition but didn't do much more than roll up a character in that system). I agree that stuff works better as background info that may or many be introduced. It doesn't work well as an analog for the alignment system. But I do think the Cryptic Alliances concept is one of the most distinctive features of Gamma World, although I don't ever remember them coming up in actual play. I think it works best if most of this stuff is relegated to the NPCs, with the players being free agents who may or may not work with a Cryptic Alliance depending on the circumstances... Sort of like Mad Max in the early part of THE ROAD WARRIOR: he doesn't care about these warring factions, he just wants to survive, fuel up his car and get out there. Or like in BENEATH THE PLANET OF THE APES, you might be caught in the middle between mutant intelligent apes versus radiation-scarred humanoids who worship an atomic bomb... "Just get me away from all of these crazy idiots" could be the theme a lot of the time.
Last Edit: Dec 21, 2016 11:28:25 GMT -5 by GRWelsh
Post by foster1941 on Dec 21, 2016 12:48:57 GMT -5
Although we were already playing GW 1E, I did pick up (or maybe received as a gift?) GW 3E, mostly because I liked the cyborg wolf on the cover. Boy was that ever disappointing! They replaced the rule system with the stupid Marvel Superheroes color-coded percentile chart, they included a poster of maps that weren't referenced in the text (I later learned that they were the maps from the sample module in GW 2E), the sample adventure they did include didn't have any post-apoc feel (and also recycled its map from a previous module - CM5: Mystery of the Snow Pearls), and as if that weren't enough they left so many of the rules out that you had to send off to TSR for a thick (16pp?) errata booklet with all of the missing stuff. Even as a kid I recognized this as being super-slapdash and shoddy and felt ripped off. I also bought a couple of the GW 3E modules and they were even worse. I swear that one of them literally recycled the maps from S3!
Although we were already playing GW 1E, I did pick up (or maybe received as a gift?) GW 3E, mostly because I liked the cyborg wolf on the cover.
Even that image was recycled. My office in the basement back in the 80's was wall to wall comic, sf and fantasy calendars and the "borg wolf" (I think its a wolverine) image up for a month about a year or so before it was repackaged as the GW cover. It also served as the cover of that 1986 AMAZING STORIES calendar:
Post by geneweigel on Dec 21, 2016 13:15:50 GMT -5
I was under the impression that the calendar was a preview of some kind believe me I looked through that thing just to find out what that was supposed to represent.
Its like Parkinson's "Splugorth Slave Barge" on the Palladium Games' RIFTS rpg cover, even though it was really forced interpretation of a painting regurged and cleaned up then shitted out over endless $30-$40 supplements, at least they reiterated with some quality artwork that it was a continuous world although it didn't last long. TSR under Williams just threw shit out without correlation all the time. Perfect example is DARK SUN.
Post by foster1941 on Dec 21, 2016 14:02:03 GMT -5
I had that calendar, and it was weird - it seemed at the time like the pieces were depicting characters from things I didn't know (presumably stories published in Amazing) but I don't think they were. I think, rather, that the TSR art department was just given instruction to "paint some sci-fi looking stuff." A lot of the art from that calendar was later recycled (I'm pretty sure every GW 3E cover - both the box and all of the modules - came from it) and of course never had anything to do with the contents of whatever book they randomly stuck it on. Yet another example of how post-Gary TSR was almost literally just throwing shit at the wall to see what would stick.
In retrospect post-Gygax TSR is an odd thing, because they finally had the slick, corporate, professional art and layout down to a science. They had products that looked great on the surface, but often there was this huge disconnect between the outer look and the actual product inside. I don't normally mind artwork not perfectly corresponding to the text, but when the reason is the company is just being cheap and doing a lot of recycling, then yeah, that is annoying!
Gamma World artwork was all over the place... Often just silly. I remember this recurring motif of characters using stop signs as shields. What? Even in a post-Apocalyptic world, I don't think anybody would be using a stop sign for a shield!