Saturday, December 4, 2010

Gamma World: A Delicious Melange

Nothing is more fun for me than anachronism. I've been trying for ages to put together my campaign ideas for a western campaign inspired by Desperado, Hard Boiled and the Spaghetti westerns I've talked about before: a game where it doesn't matter that the bad guys are coming into town on a combination of horses and old sidecar motorcycles because you've got to Fonzie slap the jukebox in the saloon into playing Misirlou before you flip-cock your Winchester and get ready to shoot someone through a plate-glass window.

(God damn I want to run this so bad)

Regardless, that's the way I feel about Gamma World. It's fantastic because of this wildly fluctuating technology level. Some communities might have a still functioning slushie machine in their local cantina and as a result, that's what the town's known for! Firefly-esque prospectors with laser rifles! Tribes of robots with rebar spears! A group of Programmers worshiping a crazed mechanical digger!

I love this machine and the post-apocalypse makes it even better

And that's why I really like the new Gamma World rules. Albeit, I've never played any of the previous editions and I'd like to get my hands on a copy of 2nd if only for the map of post-apocalyptic Allegheny County, but I like the feel. The rules support that anachronistic melange in a way that I didn't feel that Mutant Future does.

One of my favorite additions to the new set are the generic weapons (Light One-Handed Melee, Heavy Two-Handed Ranged, Light One-Handed Gun, etc...) because it levels that playing field. Under the rules, a crossbow can be as effective as a hunting rifle or a harpoon gun made out of car parts, depending on what you decide its stats are. It feels a lot more natural than either limiting characters to medieval weapons at the start or ending up dropping your trusty spear completely when you pick up a plasma rifle.

By its nature, the post-apocalypse should be off-beat. Chuck all your favorite influences into it, let 'em simmer and season with gonzo or serious to taste. But for Pete's sake, don't make it prosaic.

Picture from Six-String Samurai. If you like Gamma World and haven't seen this movie, what the hell are you waiting for?!


  1. I love that giant mining machine, too. All it needs is an AI and it'd be uber-awesome!

  2. Bullets & Tequila: sounds good to me. That mining machine is awesome. Where'd you find the photo?

  3. Someone posted it on Something Awful a long time ago and I kept it in a folder. I think it's inspired a fair number of people to put a crazy robot in control of it for their campaigns. :)

  4. My dad worked on a construction project for Loy Yang in Victoria, Australia with a machine that looked just like that in the early '80s. My mom probably still has pictures of my dorky young self standing near the scoop.