Thursday, February 10, 2011

Playing the Roles: More Radiated Seeds for the Garden

Hey everyone and welcome to a brain stormy installment of the Dispatch!

My grand plans of diving into the setting of Gamma World have been momentarily put on hold due to still more illness in Snowman's Land. Just gotta love it when the family just starts sharing the germs along with the love! Still, I've had a few other ideas pop into my melon and I figure I might as well throw them up here for your perusal.

Mutant Bastard Goodness

Years ago I first stumbled across the Mutant Bastards web page, a site dedicated to an old first edition Gamma World campaign. Really nice layout with beautiful illustrations, the site just rocked. Problem was 1) I didn't have my old copy of 1st. ed. Gamma World on me and 2) I didn't have a group to run a game for anyway. Still, it was pretty to look at and I really liked the more modern twist that they'd taken to describe the Big One. Instead of the rather dated "it was the big bad radiation" approach of 1st. ed., he modernized it into an engineered virus that went out of control.

Recently there was another post apocalyptic game released called (appropriately enough) Apocalypse World which has a much grittier and more realistic feel to it then Gamma World. Don't know if I'll ever play Apoc World but after listening to an actual play of it on The Walking Eye it got me thinking about the New West again and some of possibilities that are hidden away therein.

When I laid out my original campaign idea I had something of an overarching story in mind. I don't really like the idea of just having an endless campaign so I'm really trying to structure it with a definite beginning, middle, and end. That's not to say that we couldn't come back to it in the future and continue it with another "season" but I really like the idea of the having an ending to it.

In contrast I can see a campaign set in the New West being much more episodic. I can see it opening with the PCs riding into town, getting caught up in the local mess, sorting it all out, and closing with them riding off into the sunset. Sure, some of the scenarios might take more than one session to resolve but you get the basic idea.

Lost... In... Spaaaaaaaaace...

Another idea harkens back even further to the predecessor of Gamma World, Metamorphosis Alpha. Instead of being set on a futuristic Earth Metamorphosis is set on the long lost colony ship, the Warden.

One of the largest colony ships ever made, the Warden even carried massive ecologies within its hull. Unfortunately disaster struck the ship when it strayed too close to a radiation cloud. Large numbers of colonists were killed instantly while most of those who survived were changed by the radiation. Society collapsed within the ship and people gathered into small villages within the ecologies. Generations passed and gradually people forgot that they were traveling aboard a colony ship limping between the stars, trying to find them a new home.

At its heart this seems to be a typically campy early sci-fi concept but it on a positive note it is completely fictitious unlike the basic concept of Gamma World which has some ties to reality. There are definitely possibilities with this idea but its not one of my top choices. Still only seemed right to mention it though.

A Slight Case Of Mental Freezer Burn

The last idea borrows from the whole Warden concept but on a smaller scale. Instead of having the characters on a massive colony ship, I thinking just have them as the cryogenically frozen crew. The twist is that the overall setting is more of a space game (I'm thinking something like Firefly) but using the Gamma World mechanics. Probably no crazy physical mutations though those could be used as templates for various alien races. The skill system might be a little too stripped down to really carry off something like this but its still tempting to give it a try.

As for the mental freezer burn, I'm thinking have the whole crew suffering from some kind of cryo induced black out. This would really leave the whole thing wide open as you could introduce the players and the characters to the setting at the same time. Like I said, it seems like there are some possibilities with this but I'll have to see.

The Parting Shot...

And that does it for now. I'd love to hear what anyone else thinks of these ideas (good, bad, or indifferent) so feel free to leave comments here on the blog or you can shoot me an email at Until next time...


Spacejacker said...

The movie "Pandorum" has a bunch of characters waking up from cryo with mental freezer burn as a central plot device. It's a kind of average movie, but if you haven't seen it worth a rental for this idea alone.

Sin City Snowman said...

Hadn't heard of it so I decided to cheat and read the IMDB synopsis. Sounds like an interesting take on the whole freezer burn thing with some twists thrown in. Definitely going to have to keep it in mind. Thanks for pointing it out!