athelind: (grognard)


I confess that I was a little disappointed when the new edition of Gamma World decided to use a collectible card model to implement random mutations. Gimmicky mechanics like that tend to keep a niche game limited to a niche market.

I was also a little dismayed when the game description included adjectives like "wacky" and "rollicking". On the day of its release, one of my store's regular customers, looked at the blurb on the box, and summed up exactly what I'd been thinking: "Aw, jeez. We always played it straight."

On the other claw ... one problem with the White Wolf version of the game was that they took it too seriously, downplaying the frankly comic-book super-power mutations of "classic" ΓW, trying to treat it as semi-hard SF.

And ... certainly, Back In The Day, we "played it straight" -- but only as "straight" as we played D&D. In those ancient days of yore, there was always a level of whimsy at the tabletop. A D&D adventure could include a Burma Shave sign or an encounter at Monty Python's Bridge of Doom, and it didn't derail the game or detract from the atmosphere. A game like Gamma World wasn't played so much "straight" as "deadpan", and surely, Gabe and Tycho's tale of a Funeral for a Deceased Laser fits perfectly with that style.

The new game uses D&D4 "as a foundation". I hope it's a solid foundation that leaves it essentially D&D-compatible; a huge chunk of the critters in any given Monster Manual fit a post-apocalyptic science-fantasy setting far better than they fit the Tolkien Bar Sinister motifs that the "traditional" D&D settings try to ape.

And, yes ... I'd love to be able to effortlessly treat one game as a supplement for the other, and run a setting with the mix of "sorcery and super-science" of Thundaar the Barbarian.


I have half-a-dozen entries with the "Gamma World" tag, but somehow, I've never managed to link any of them to Bigfella Machine's Mutant Bastards gallery. WotC really should have hired the Bigfella to create the look and feel for the new book.
athelind: (gaming)
Posting this so I don't lose the link: d20 Modern, The Full Monte

They have a zipped, downloadable version right there on the front page.

For those baffled by this, geeky prattle follows. )
athelind: (Default)
Posting this so I don't lose the link: d20 Modern, The Full Monte

They have a zipped, downloadable version right there on the front page.

For those baffled by this, geeky prattle follows. )
athelind: (cute)
Amongst various other loot which I will quite enjoy, I received the entire seven-book Dark Horse release of Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series -- a seminal sword-and-sorcery saga that contributed much more to the heart and soul of Dungeons & Dragons than Tolkien's more superficial influence.

Combine this with my recent ruminations re: Gamma World, and Your Obedient Serpent may be hankerin' to run a good, old-skool, High Adventure campaign in the near future....


athelind: (Default)
Amongst various other loot which I will quite enjoy, I received the entire seven-book Dark Horse release of Fritz Leiber's Lankhmar series -- a seminal sword-and-sorcery saga that contributed much more to the heart and soul of Dungeons & Dragons than Tolkien's more superficial influence.

Combine this with my recent ruminations re: Gamma World, and Your Obedient Serpent may be hankerin' to run a good, old-skool, High Adventure campaign in the near future....


athelind: (hoard potato)
Last week, I went through the RPG section at work, sorted everything out, and stuck almost anything published before 2004 on the Half Price Rack. One reason I did that was because there was some really intriguing stuff for d20 that had gotten buried amidst the piles of Cheap-Ass Third-Party Powergaming Supplements, and I wanted to get it out and visible. D&D 4th Edition has come along, and disenfranchised a bunch of hard-core 3d-edition players who could make good use of the off-beat material.

Today, after debating it for the last week, I purchased a big bag o' half-price Gamma World d20 stuff. Yes, that's a lot better than my employee discount.

Is there a conflict of interest involved in convincing the manager to let me put the old game stuff on sale, picking out what gets put on the sale rack, and then buying the stuff I really want myself? Maybe, but after speaking to a customer who had owned and played every edition of Gamma World since the first, and spoke highly of the d20 version, I decided to go for it.

First Impressions:
I am a happy serpent indeed.

It's been a long time since I've sat down and read a game book pretty much cover to cover, but I did just that this evening.

The "Sword & Sorcery" team over at White Wolf really had a feel for Gamma World. Sure, they could have thrown in a lot more weird and wild mutations, but a little Tim Truman art goes a long way. Too bad they didn't get Bigfella Machine, as well.

The high point of the book: the Community Development rules. In thirty years, I've only seen two or three other RPGs that even attempted to devise mechanics for social change, and to integrate it as an essential part of gameplay. D&D long ago abandoned the idea that player characters would eventually (and inveitably) build strongholds, gather followers, and gain political as well as personal power, and each subsequent edition has moved further and further from that idea.

Sure, when I was 16, that kind of thing seemed like a nuisance and a burden to my PC's adventuring lifestyle, but, um, I haven't been 16 in a very long time.

The Community rules were, I believe, new to Gamma World, and it's well-suited to the setting. While this is a post-apocalyptic setting, the emphasis has never been on destruction and despair, but on rebuilding from the ashes.

Confession:
While I rant and grumble about how disconnected Dungeons & Dragons has become from its sword-and-sorcery roots, and how it has, over the years, become its own, inbred genre of Dungeon Fantasy... I didn't read much fantasy at all until after I started playing D&D.

On the contrary: I grew up watching the Planet of the Apes movies, and reading Kamandi: Last Boy On Earth. Thundarr the Barbarian debuted just a couple of years after I got sucked into the role-playing hobby.

The first D&D game that I ran, in fact, was set on a post-apocalyptic Earth -- as was the first one in which I regularly played.

The resurgence of Dungeon Fantasy that accompanied D&D 3.0/3.5 left me cold -- especially when I saw that first wave of offbeat fantasy settings for d20 getting pushed off the market by that flood of poorly-written compilations of cheesy spells, imbalanced prestige classes, and Monty Haul magic items.

I thought that it was because I'd "used up" the Dungeon Fantasy genre, wrung every possible note of interest from the Heroic Fantasy paradigm. I mean, as my major PC, I'd played out the Hero's Journey that Joseph Campbell so lovingly described without my DM or myself really realizing it until years later, when I finally got around to reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Maybe that's not it at all, though.

Maybe it's that my personal paradigm for over-the-top High Adventure doesn't have much at all to do with Elves and Dwarves and Orcs, and everything to do with ancient ruins, bizarre creatures, and (surprise, surprise) anthropomorphic animals.

Who wants to play?


One of my earliest LiveJournal entries, made almost exactly six years ago, was an anecdote about my favorite Gamma World character.
athelind: (Default)
Last week, I went through the RPG section at work, sorted everything out, and stuck almost anything published before 2004 on the Half Price Rack. One reason I did that was because there was some really intriguing stuff for d20 that had gotten buried amidst the piles of Cheap-Ass Third-Party Powergaming Supplements, and I wanted to get it out and visible. D&D 4th Edition has come along, and disenfranchised a bunch of hard-core 3d-edition players who could make good use of the off-beat material.

Today, after debating it for the last week, I purchased a big bag o' half-price Gamma World d20 stuff. Yes, that's a lot better than my employee discount.

Is there a conflict of interest involved in convincing the manager to let me put the old game stuff on sale, picking out what gets put on the sale rack, and then buying the stuff I really want myself? Maybe, but after speaking to a customer who had owned and played every edition of Gamma World since the first, and spoke highly of the d20 version, I decided to go for it.

First Impressions:
I am a happy serpent indeed.

It's been a long time since I've sat down and read a game book pretty much cover to cover, but I did just that this evening.

The "Sword & Sorcery" team over at White Wolf really had a feel for Gamma World. Sure, they could have thrown in a lot more weird and wild mutations, but a little Tim Truman art goes a long way. Too bad they didn't get Bigfella Machine, as well.

The high point of the book: the Community Development rules. In thirty years, I've only seen two or three other RPGs that even attempted to devise mechanics for social change, and to integrate it as an essential part of gameplay. D&D long ago abandoned the idea that player characters would eventually (and inveitably) build strongholds, gather followers, and gain political as well as personal power, and each subsequent edition has moved further and further from that idea.

Sure, when I was 16, that kind of thing seemed like a nuisance and a burden to my PC's adventuring lifestyle, but, um, I haven't been 16 in a very long time.

The Community rules were, I believe, new to Gamma World, and it's well-suited to the setting. While this is a post-apocalyptic setting, the emphasis has never been on destruction and despair, but on rebuilding from the ashes.

Confession:
While I rant and grumble about how disconnected Dungeons & Dragons has become from its sword-and-sorcery roots, and how it has, over the years, become its own, inbred genre of Dungeon Fantasy... I didn't read much fantasy at all until after I started playing D&D.

On the contrary: I grew up watching the Planet of the Apes movies, and reading Kamandi: Last Boy On Earth. Thundarr the Barbarian debuted just a couple of years after I got sucked into the role-playing hobby.

The first D&D game that I ran, in fact, was set on a post-apocalyptic Earth -- as was the first one in which I regularly played.

The resurgence of Dungeon Fantasy that accompanied D&D 3.0/3.5 left me cold -- especially when I saw that first wave of offbeat fantasy settings for d20 getting pushed off the market by that flood of poorly-written compilations of cheesy spells, imbalanced prestige classes, and Monty Haul magic items.

I thought that it was because I'd "used up" the Dungeon Fantasy genre, wrung every possible note of interest from the Heroic Fantasy paradigm. I mean, as my major PC, I'd played out the Hero's Journey that Joseph Campbell so lovingly described without my DM or myself really realizing it until years later, when I finally got around to reading The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Maybe that's not it at all, though.

Maybe it's that my personal paradigm for over-the-top High Adventure doesn't have much at all to do with Elves and Dwarves and Orcs, and everything to do with ancient ruins, bizarre creatures, and (surprise, surprise) anthropomorphic animals.

Who wants to play?


One of my earliest LiveJournal entries, made almost exactly six years ago, was an anecdote about my favorite Gamma World character.
athelind: (Default)
Just days after my reminisence about Gamma World, someone sends me this:

SWORD & SORCERY STUDIOS TO PUBLISH "GAMMA WORLD®" CAMPAIGN SETTING FOR D20 MODERN
athelind: (Default)
Just days after my reminisence about Gamma World, someone sends me this:

SWORD & SORCERY STUDIOS TO PUBLISH "GAMMA WORLD®" CAMPAIGN SETTING FOR D20 MODERN
athelind: (Default)
After spending a few minutes out front locking eyes with one of the local felines, I recalled a Classic Geek Moment:

From Gamma World, c. 1983 or so...

The party included a mutant panther played by "Doc", and Hood-Spreading-To-Catch-The-Dawn, a mutant cobra played by Your Obedient Serpent. At some point, the party found themselves in disagreement, leaving Doc and Hood glaring at each other, and our respective players RPing it by staring each other down at the table.

Doc: "Not many people can stare down a cat."

Moi: "Snakes... don't... have... eyelids."

I miss Brother Hood. Fun character.
athelind: (Default)
After spending a few minutes out front locking eyes with one of the local felines, I recalled a Classic Geek Moment:

From Gamma World, c. 1983 or so...

The party included a mutant panther played by "Doc", and Hood-Spreading-To-Catch-The-Dawn, a mutant cobra played by Your Obedient Serpent. At some point, the party found themselves in disagreement, leaving Doc and Hood glaring at each other, and our respective players RPing it by staring each other down at the table.

Doc: "Not many people can stare down a cat."

Moi: "Snakes... don't... have... eyelids."

I miss Brother Hood. Fun character.

November 2016

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