So we had A Taste Of Gamma World this weekend at Labyrinth in DC (just off of the East Market metro stop) and I gotta say it turned out swimmingly. 4 tables of 4 players each (16 out of our 18 sign-ups — the two who didn’t make it had unavoidable complications), all of them hoppin’. We framed the whole thing as four teams sent to find the Our Guide, rumored to be stashed in the fabled Mith Son Muse Castle…
The Mith Son Muse questers were split into four teams, each tasked to follow a different color path into the bowels of the ancient ME-TRO. The table I ran was the Green Line team, and I set up three scenes (two of them full on encounters) on their path:
- The Devil-Cow of Green Bel
- The Format Ki of Fort Ott
- The Ultimate Battle Against the Guardians of Mith Son Station
The Ultimate Battle scene was the same for all four teams, so each of us came up with the challenges along the way. Dave took the Red Line, Tom took the Orange (I think), and Bob the Blue (I think). I’m curious to get a recounting of what their points along the way were since I missed out what was going on at my table.
Setting this up was fun. The Devil-Cow encounter was based around the idea of a bunch of mutated farm animals, so there was a Devil Cow, a Hell Pig, a Big Damn Bug, and a Glowing Chicken, all reskins of one form or another. The chicken (a reskinned blood bird) turned out to be the highlight of that one. I challenge anyone to say that reskinning a blood bird as a radioactive chicken isn’t a move for the better — the high comedy of one of our guys, the Empath/Mindbreaker, having a glowing green chicken latching on to his head and trying to peck him to death while radiating his allies was fun while it lasted. (The other members of the party were a Yeti/Gravity Controller, a Plant/Felinoid, and a Plant/Mindbreaker — the level of overlap was more than I expected.)
They recovered the key hanging around the neck of the Devil-Cow, used it to enter Green Bel, and found an ancient train which took them to FORT (t)OTT(en) where a rumored FORMAT KEY could tell them how to find Mith Son Station. The Format Ki was an artificially intelligent InFORMATion KIosk in the middle of Fort Totten Park, which had convinced all of the semi-sentient plantlife in the park that it was their god. I purposely designed this part of the plot to be “soft” in terms of its time footprint, the sort of thing that could drag out into a bigger deal, or be resolved in a few quick skill rolls. That said, I wanted to make the “skill encounter” reinforce the potential lethality of Gamma World, so I set things up such that if they failed skill rolls, the Format Ki would become displeased and would encourage its herbaceous minions to retaliate. The player’s speaker goofed once, triggering the wrath of the SCREAMING TREES, hitting 3 of the 4 PCs with a little sonic damage that they carried forward into the final encounter. That said, they managed to milk out the maximum information from the Format Ki: “THE MUSE lies between THE ENIGMATIC TRIANGLE and CHIVEY PENN. To reach THE MUSE, you must continue on the GREEN LINE until you reach FANT PLAZZ. Another train awaits you there bound for VEENAFAX. Board, and you shall reach MITHSON. Beware the guards of MITHSON STATION. They are skilled in the ancient art of ninjaness and have a love for consuming plants.”
That last piece of information, achieved thanks to a DC17 Interaction roll, had my half-vegetal party on edge as they followed the directions and rolled on in aboard a ME-TRO TRAIN at MITH SON STATION. Speaking of the station:
That’s the map I cooked up for the encounter, had copies printed out for each GM. Worked pretty well. The real killer — which ended up being a hazard mainly to the bad guys — was the glowing/interdimensionally charged THIRD RAIL going down the center:
Third Rail – Level 3 Hazard (XP 150)
Detect – Perception DC 15 Initiative —
Attack (special) • At-Will
Trigger: A creature enters or ends its turn in a square containing the third rail.
Attack (Free Action): Melee 1 (triggering creature); +6 vs. Reflex
Hit: Roll 1d6:
1 = Photonic! 2d6 laser damage and the target is blinded until end of its next turn
2 = Atomic! 2d6 fire damage and ongoing 5 radiation damage (save ends)
3 = Electrical! 2d6 electricity damage and target is dazed until end of its next turn
4 = Psychic! 2d6 psychic damage and target is slowed (save ends)
5 = Hyperkinetic! 2d6 physical damage, target is pushed 5 squares in a random direction
(roll 1d8), and knocked prone
6 = Wormhole! Target winks out of existence until the end of its next turn, when it
reappears in any square to either side of the third rail
Miss: Target is pushed up to 3 squares left or right along the rail.
… but I also filled the encounter with two Hoop Ninjas, a Hoop Battlemaster, and a Hoop Sharpshooter. Further, the train was on the fritz, so every round I randomized which doors were open and which were closed, at one point cutting the PCs off from exiting the train unless they wanted to chance the Third Rail (they did not). The original plan had been to kick the PCs into the Third Rail occasionally, but the rolls did not work out that way. Instead, as an opening move, one of the hoop ninjas on the opposite platform bounced across the tracks and… stepped onto the rail. Got hit with some straight up electrical, but made it into the car and made an attack. But, dazed, it just sort of sat there in a stupor afterwards. That’s when the Battlemaster with a grenade launcher popped in at the opposite end of the car and launched a grenade at the group. Two took cover, but our already-injured Yeti went down hard (he didn’t die, thanks to some very solid death saves, and was back on his feet, barely, a few rounds later). But of course, the dazed ninja was also hit, and blown back out of the train; he landed on the third rail again, which this time inflicted its atomic mode, and the ninja went up in a cloud of fire/radiation damaged smoke. The party made short work of the rest, with the plant guys really showing these plant-eating rabbits who was boss. The food chain is forever broken!
The epilogue involved recovery of a BRO CHURR from the hoops that told how to find Mithson Muse Castle. Armed with this map, the PCs had to make a mad dash across the radioactive wastes of ASHINGTON DEECE to reach the castle. Again, this was a “it’ll hurt ya” skill thing, but even more brisk: PCs got to choose one of three skills to roll, and had to accumulate 3 successes before their hitpoints ran out. Everyone made it, though the Empath/Mindbreaker did so only barely (of the three options for skills he had, all of them sucked). And so they claimed the Our Guide… and now faced the problem of figuring out how to get back home with it. Curtains.
A player at my table had some embarrasingly hyperbolic things to say about my game, so I suppose I acquitted myself well.