Gamma World Campaign FAQ

1. All right, Gamma World! Um … what’s this game about again?

Gamma World is a sci-fi post-apocalyptic future RPG. Basically, the Hadron Collider went kablooey and ripped open gateways into a hundred other alternate dimensions. During the ensuing chaos, nukes were launched, and the world became a radiation-filled wasteland filled with mutants. You’re playing descendants of the mutated survivors, moving from place to place in search of treasures of the Ancients.

Picture “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome” crossed with “Thundarr the Barbarian”, except with more mutants.

Or …

2. What version of the game are we playing? I Googled this puppy and there’s a crapload of different editions.

We’re going to be playing the newest version of the game, which is heavily based on the D&D 4E rules. Truth be told, rules-wise, there’s not much difference between GW and D&D 4E – GW is mostly just a rules-light version of D&D 4E. (Sometimes it’s a little too rules-light – for example, the GW rules don’t cover things like charging, or grappling – so in those cases, I’m going to be relying on the D&D 4E Rules Compendium to cover those situations).

The game looks like this:

- and it can be found in most game stores, Barnes & Nobles, and Borders, if you have one nearby that isn’t being shut down.

That being said …

3. Do I need to buy a rulebook? What do I need to bring to the first game?

Would it probably be helpful if you bought the game and read the rules first? Yes. Do you need to buy the game? No. Like I said, if you can play D&D 4E, you can play GW. There’s a few minor differences (which I’ll note below) but you should be able to get through the first game session just fine without it.

4. How do I make a character, especially if I don’t have a rulebook?

Welcome to the handy world of the online Gamma World Character Generator.

Feel free to make as many random characters as you like. When you have one (or two) that you like, change the character name if you want, print the sheet, and you’re all set for the first adventure. (And, if you can, scan it and e-mail to me as well.)

Or, if you’ve got the rules, you can roll up a character the standard way that’s listed in the rulebook.

If you’re going “okay, I rolled up a character … and I have no idea what it is!” – look at the origins. The primary origin explains well, what your character is “mostly” like, with the secondary origin explaining additional, smaller mutations.

So a yeti pyrokinetic means you’re basically Bigfoot (the primary origin) with some additional cool flame-shooting powers (the secondary origin).

Additional explanation here:

5. You said there’s differences between D&D 4E and GW. What are they?

The primary difference is the use of a card deck. There’s two types of cards – Alpha Mutations and Omega Tech.

Alpha Mutations are essentially temporary Encounter Powers. Depending on the situation, you draw an Alpha Mutation at the beginning of an encounter. You get the Encounter Power associated with that Alpha Mutation for the encounter; at the end of the encounter, if you don’t use it, it’s gone. You can also attempt to “overcharge” an Alpha Mutation to maximize it – if you roll well, you get a critical success when you use it, if you don’t, it’s a critical failure.

Omega Tech are essentially magic items. You find Omega Tech at various points in an adventure, much like treasure. Some are temporary items, some are permanent (or can be made permanent).

It’s not like Magic: The Gathering, where there’s some deck with an “optimal build”. It’s all pretty random – some stuff’s helpful, some isn’t. And all of it, for the most part, is meant to last a single encounter.

Players are allowed to use their own deck of cards if they want – that’s fine. If players don’t have a deck, that’s also fine. :)

The GM has a deck that can be used by all players – “player decks” are completely optional.

The Alpha Mutation and Omega Tech cards only affect player characters – NPCs can’t use them.

So no need to go out and get cards, I’ve got decks that the group can use if so desired. But if you want to use your own, I won’t be offended. :)

6. Anything else?

Well, I’m sure there is, but for the moment, if you want to check out the Wizards of the Coast site:

I’m sure it’ll answer some of the obvious stuff I missed.

Questions? Comments? Please send ’em to me.

Gamma World Campaign FAQ

Legion of Gold Mike