Sunday, 6 January 2013
RPG Review: Gamma World
This review was originally posted by Thadeus Lorefield at Accursed Farms Forums on August 26th 2012.
I recently found this game fairly cheap at a local gaming site, and to be honest, I really like it, here is a little more in depth of why.
Gamma World is a RPG akin to Dungeons and Dragons, anyone who have played D&D will almost instantly be able to draw several similarities between them, however, Gamma World does a few things very differently, for instance it is more technology based while D&D is generally more magic focused.
It's also a plus in my opinion that you can play it without any prior experience with D&D.
The setting is very interesting, as it doesn't really have any limits beyond the DM's imagination, even more so then most RPG's, the basis of the backstory is as follows, in 2012 experiments involving the Large Hadron Collider, causing all possible realities to merge into one, for instance in one reality various wars might have had different outcomes, or never happened at all, or a scientist takes over the world with machine men. 150 years has passed since this event and as a result, the earth is now a very different place, mutation, anicent ruins and jungles of never before seen plants have appeared everywhere, even humanity itself has changed after over a hundred years of exposure to radioactivity, mutagens and other such substances.
Now here is where I expect options to be vastly separated, because the character creation is pretty different from standard D&D with no set races or classes to choose from, instead what you do is rolling 2 twenty sided dice which choose your primary and secondary origin, these origins decide what you look like and what your abilities are.
The reason i like this system is because it puts emphasis on creativity, as your origin doesn't give you an exact look for your character, for instance: you might have a character who has the origins Android and Seismic, so combining the two you might get a android mole for instance, or how about the origins Plant and Radioactive, you could be a big plant who's mutated and achieved sentience through mutation, or a human who merged with plants upon exposure. It's all up to your imagination.
So lets go through the process of creating a character, so you can see how it would work.
Character creation is a lot simpler technically in gamma world, but more creatively demanding then, say, D&D, on a technical stand point you just roll a few dice and fill in the abilities, which leaves more time to think about the actual appearance of your character, your back-story etc.
So, without further ado, let's take a look at generating a character, first off I'll show you the character sheet for gamma world and we can go through it step by step.
https://dl.dropbox.com/u/14984375/D%26D ... 0Sheet.pdf
Alright, Name, is obviously your character's name.
The next we have are origin 1 and origin 2, for this you need a 20-sided die and the table with reference to what numbers are what origins, I'm just going to go ahead and roll twice and tell you what we get: 6 (felinoid) and 7 (giant), putting these together are fairly easy, felinoids are humanoid cats, and giant speaks for itself, so you are a huge humanoid feline. So we fill those in on the sheet as the origins.
Next is traits, which are basically the abilities you get from your origins such as skill bonuses and other such abilities.
The next part of the sheet are for your powers, at 1st level you get the novice power for both your origins and more later.
Now, here's a major difference between Gamma World and D&D, for ability scores you get a 18 in the ability score of your primary origin (in this case dexterity) and 16 on your secondary origin's ability score(in this case strength) and if both origins have the same ability score you have a 20 in that one ability score, the remaining ones you roll 3 6-sided dice and add them up (for instance 2+5+1=8) for each ability score in order (excluding the ones you have a value for though your origins).
So for this character, it's ability scores might look like this:
Dexterity: 18 (+4)
Constitution: 12 (+1)
Intelligence: 8 (-1)
Wisdom: 15 (+2)
Charisma: 7 (-2)
This system ensures that you have at least some good stats for your character, which in my opinion is a good thing.
Next we have skill bonuses, when you create your character you add the skill bonus your origins give (here we get +4 on stealth checks and athletics checks) as well as on chosen at random using a table in the rulebook using a 10-sided die, let's say in this example that we rolled a 5 which gives us a skill bonus to interaction checks.
The 4th part of the sheet is pretty self explanatory, it's simply what gear you're carrying, which brings me to another thing I like in this RPG, weapons only have generalized stats, what do I mean by that? Let me explain:
Any weapon of a certain type has the same stats, so any light one-handed melee weapon has the same stats, meaning you (or the DM) are free to imagine what your weapon looks like freely, it can be (in the case of a light one-handed melee weapon) a club, or a wrench, or a piece of rebar.
Next up we have determining your HP, the way we do this is as follows: 12+ constitution score and you gain 5 max HP per level.
Your bloodied score is half of your max hp score (rounded down), in this case 12+12=24.
A quick explanation of what bloodied is, is that once you are down to half your HP, you are bloodied, hich might activate certain abilities in either you or your opponent.
Speed is 6 plus or minus any modifiers from your origin, in this case +1 from felinoid (while wearing no or light armor)
Your defences are chosen as follows:
AC (Armor Class): 10+ your level +armor bonus +shield bonus, if you are wearing light armor or no armor you add the modifier for whichever is better of dexterity or intelligence.
Fortitude: 10+ your level + strength or constitution modifier, whichever is better.
Reflex: 10+ your level + dexterity or intelligence modifier, whichever is better
Will: 10+ your level + wisdom or charisma modifier, whichever is better.
The next part is explained on the sheet, so I will skip repeating it here.
Finally when you begin play you draw 1 alpha mutation card and a omega tech card from a special deck the DM has, alpha mutations being more or less a one usage special ability your character can use and the omega tech item is a weapon you can use.
As I'm sure you've gathered by now, I really like this RPG personally and would recommend anyone who are interested to check it out.
That's more or less what I'm going to cover in this review, so I don't sit here for days writing this one review, if you have any feedback or questions, drop a comment below