I’m pretty chuffed right now. Last night, I ran my first proper game of Gamma World for my little gang of geeky misfits, and it was a blast. I was especially happy since my girlfriend also decided to join in, and thus have her tabletop pen-and-paper RPG cherry popped.
The last few weeks had been taken up with character creation sessions as my group sketched up their characters (an insectoid mind controller, a reanimated mind breaker, a prescient plaguebearer, and an ectoplasmic android) and generally got very giggly about their powers, Omega Tech items, and their increasingly bizarre and unlikely weapons; the guys played it straight with truncheons and meat cleavers, but the ladies were happy to have their characters swing around vorpal-tipped umbrellas and golf clubs.
I hadn’t spent a great deal of time on adventure prep. I had a rough idea of the adventure planned and where I wanted it to go, and I was mostly making up enemy stats on the fly, but it worked out okay. I know some people who’ve GM’ed and prepared in-depth notes and done everything by-the-book, and that’s fine; heck, I’ve even done that myself. But last night was a bucket load of improvisation.
The adventure had a simple start; the four were inhabitants of the mutant community of Arr’s Craque (lulz), and were requested by the mayor (a sentient pot plant, lifted straight out of the Famine in Far-Go published module) to go and explore a mysterious tunnel that the village scouts had found. And so, led by the trusty Tripod (the morose three-legged scout), the four found the tunnel and explored its depths, finding it to be an old underground railway. They weren’t alone down in the darkness however, as they ran across a group of mutant vagrants… Who they proceeded to flat-out murder.
No, seriously. The group were walking down a tunnel, and I mentioned they could hear voices approaching. So, our brave heroes went into hiding, and then – totally unprovoked – proceeded to ambush and totally curb stomp four mutant hobos. The poor dudes didn’t have a prayer as they got munched, poisoned, crushed, and frozen (the insectoid had a freeze ray as her Omega Tech item).
Following the tunnel further, they came to an old underground station, and more mutant vagrants, led by their chief, a fat mutant with a gatling gun and dressed as Lady Gaga. After a tough brawl, the group was victorious. As they explored the station, they found a huge metal door, covered in warning signs and hazard markings… to be continued…
Overall, it was a great success. The group kicked ass, my n00b girlfriend really got into the whole RP experience, and we all had a great laugh (it’s not a proper Gamma World game unless you’re all hysterical). Everyone wins!
As a GM, I’m always learning. Lessons learned from last night…
1) It’s a good idea to personalise minions. There were only two types of enemies in the game last night, the generic mutant thugs, and the boss. The boss was distinctive enough, but each thug had the same stats (in my head). The monotony was easy to break up by making them all physically distinctive, which added some real character to what would’ve otherwise been a crowd of faceless opponents. So, when the plaguebearer was attacking, he wasn’t just hitting Mutant Thug Number 3; he was hitting the four-legged mutant in the gimp suit and fez.
2) Players (especially new players) need to be aware of what all their options are. In a game like Gamma World where you have several actions each turn, it definitely would’ve helped my players to have a handy reference sheet describing what they can do in greater detail than I can. I don’t think anyone used a minor action last night, and I count that as being my fault for not informing my players properly.
Part 2 coming soon!