Friday, June 3, 2011

Welcome To The New West!

Developing My Post-Apocalyptic Setting

Ever since I first read the original Gamma World rulebook years ago, I've loved the setting. Exploring a world that's been devastated by technology more powerful than Humanity was meant to wield, picking through the detritus of a future society that was destroyed in ages past.

I was never able to get into a game all those years ago but when I heard about the new edition of Gamma World coming out I was excited at the possibilities. I finally had a group that I would be able to role play with again so exploring the ruins of Gamma Terra was at last an option!

For those of you who might not be familiar with the latest iteration of the game, it uses a variation on 4e for the game mechanics. Some aspects have been drastically changed (no feats, a very condensed skill list, etc.) but at its heart its still 4e which is actually one of the problems that I'd been running into.

Even though the basic rules have a wide variety of creatures to draw from to populate your world I have never been one to take the easy route for such things, plus I have some pretty specific things in mind as well. Unfortunately one of the things that GW 4e is lacking is a system to make your own creatures, at least in some kind of a balanced fashion. So how do you get past this rather annoying hurdle? In my mind there are two options that are available.

Number 1: Use the tools that you have at hand. Try to focus on the options that have already been presented to you and possibly re-skin some of them into something closer to what you have envisioned. This is all well and good but for someone as stubborn as I am the other option is more appealing. Can you guess what it is?

Number 2: Wing it! If all else fails, just make shit up!

To that end, I've decided to post some of the critters that I've concocted (or found) to live in the Desert Lands that are the American Southwest in Gamma World. Are they balanced? Hell no... but hopefully they won't be as completely out of whack as they could be. With all that said, lets take a look at what we can find...


A particularly nasty mutation of the Saguaro Cactus, these monster plants grow in a single column up to 20 feet in height, topped by a hideous set of gnashing jaws. The plant is surrounded by a network of tangle vines that grow just beneath the surface of the ground. When hapless victims blunder too close and become entangled, the main body attacks them with vicious bites. On top of all of this, the Cactisaurus Rex can let loose a sonic blast when it is wounded as it tries to stun those near itself. Every year the Rex releases small number of mobile seed pods which are called Squealers by the locals because of the weaker sonic squeal they make when they are wounded. While no where near as dangerous as the parent plant, even the squealers can cause some serious damage if left unchecked.

Cactisaurus Rex
Level 4 Lurker

Medium animate plant 175 XP

HP 48; Bloodied 24 Initiative +4
AC 17 Fortitude 17 Reflex 14 Will 15 Perception +5
Speed 0 Tremor sense 5

Hide in plain sight: The Cactisaurus Rex look like a regular cactus to the untrained eye. Players must make either a DC 20 Perception check or a DC 16 Nature check to recognize them as a threat. Otherwise the cactisaurus automatically gains surprise.

Triggered actions
Tangling Vines
(physical) at-will
Trigger:Creature enters or starts its turn within 2 squares of the plant.
Attack (Opportunity Action):Melee 1 (triggering creature); +9 vs. AC
Hit:Target creature takes 1d6+2 damage and becomes immobilized (save ends).
Miss:Target creature becomes slowed (save ends).
Special:Any creature that starts its turn immobilized within 2 squares of the plant takes 2d8+6 physical damage.

Sonic Boom! (sonic) encounter
Trigger: Cactisaurus becomes bloodied.
Attack: Close burst 4; +7 vs. Fortitude
Hit:Target creatures become dazed (save ends).

Str 14 (+2) Dex 10 (+0) Wis 12 (+1)
Con 16 (+3) Int 2 (-4) Cha 10 (+0)

Level 1 Skirmisher
Small animate plant 100 XP

HP 34; Bloodied 17 Initiative +2
AC 15 Fortitude 13 Reflex 13 Will 11 Perception +1
Speed 6 Tremor sense 5

Standard actions
Nom nom nom...
(physical) at will
Attack:Melee 1; +5 vs. AC
Hit:Target creature takes 1d8+2 damage.

Triggered actions
Sonic Squeal!
(sonic) encounter
Trigger: Squealer becomes bloodied.
Attack : Close burst 2; +4 vs. Fortitude
Hit:Target creatures become dazed (save ends).

Str 12 (+1) Dex 12 (+1) Wis 10 (+0)
Con 14 (+2) Int 2 (-4) Cha 10 (+0)

A quick side note... I must admit that the Cactisaurus (along with some of the other critters you'll be seeing in the future) is not an original creation from my diseased imagination. You can find the original creature at the Mutant Bastards New West page which I've mentioned before. New to you? Then go check it out! Lots of interesting ideas, some of which I'll be borrowing in the future, but more on that later...

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