Gamma World – Patreon Pick, 020917

Today, I’m bringing you a Pick from Patreon supporter and seriously good buddy Rick Chatwell, who is a fan of Gamma World. Though this pick features the current 7th Edition version, Rick genuinely loves this much older version’s cover.

Here’s the current cover as well, for the latest WotC version –

A wacky, wily roleplaying game of post-apocalyptic peril.

Earth. After the apocalypse. Never mind the radiation—you’re gonna like it here.

The D&D Gamma World Roleplaying Game offers hours of rollicking entertainment in a savage land of adventure, where the survivors of some mythical future disaster must contend with radioactive wastes, ravaged cities, and rampant lawlessness. Against a nuclear backdrop, heroic scavengers search crumbled ruins for lost artifacts while battling mutants and other perils.

This product is a complete, stand-alone roleplaying game that uses the 4th Edition D&D Roleplaying Game system as its foundation. It appeals to D&D players as well as gamers interested in fantasy science fiction set in a bizarre, post-apocalyptic world.

  • 160-page book with rules for character creation, game rules, and an adventure
  • 2 sheets of character and monster tokens
  • 2 battle maps
  • Character sheets and mutation power cards
  • Mutation power card deck
  • Loot power card deck

Excerpts from the Product History –

A Brief History of Gamma World. By 2010, the classic Gamma World game had gone through six and a half editions. The first edition (1978) appeared over three decades previous as an offshoot of Metamorphosis Alpha (1976). More recently, D&D 3e (2000-2008) had seen two versions of the game: “Omega World” in Dungeon #94 / Polyhedron #153 (September 2002) and Gamma World d20 (2003) from White Wolf.

Through its many editions, Gamma World was usually based on another game system. The first two editions (1978, 1983) evolved from OD&D (1974), the fourth edition (1992) was closely tied to AD&D 2e (1998), the fifth edition (2000) was an Alternity (1997, 1998) supplement, and the sixth edition (2003) was a d20 Modern (2002) game. So it’s no surprise that the seventh edition (2010) again paired up with a current system from its publisher. To be precise, it’s a variant of D&D 4e (2008).

Exploring the Gamma World. The sometimes serious, sometimes silly backstory of Gamma World was constantly changing over its many editions. Most recently, White Wolf’s sixth edition (2003) had done away with the weirdness of previous editions of Gamma World, instead offering up a largely serious post-apocalyptic game. Gamma World 7 entirely reversed that. Baker reports that Slavicsek requested a “zany, kitschy” game that was reminiscent of wacky RPGs like “Paranoia or Ghostbusters”. And that’s what he and Cordell delivered.

As usual, the designers updated the timeline of the game, this time basing its backstory on the Large Hadron Collider, which at the time was seen by the public as a potentially apocalyptic technology — as evidenced by TV shows like FlashForward (2010-2011). In the new Gammaverse, the Collider caused a horrific smashing together of dimensions. This created the post-apocalyptic basis of the game, as the Cold War led to a nuclear exchange in 83% of dimensions. But it also allowed for over-the-top combinations of weird things — from dinosaurs to aliens.

With that said, there’s very little background in Gamma World 7 — other than the big picture of what Gamma Terra looks like after the Big Mistake.

Monsters of Note. Gamma World 7 is full of monsters from the game’s long history, including piles of ‘bots and androids, the ever-popular hoop, badders, and more. The monsters in this core rulebook were mostly intended for conflicts with lower level characters: they focus on levels 1-6, with an emphasis on 1-3.

Love It or Hate It? Initial reaction for Gamma World 7 was somewhat mixed. Some players felt like it wasn’t Gamma World, because it focused too much on outlandish wackiness, while the collectible element was widely reviled. However, Gamma World 7 quickly generated a fanbase of its own, and now is considered one of the most successful releases during the D&D 4e era (2008-2012).

Sean Patrick Fannon
Writer & Game Designer: Shaintar, Star Wars, Savage Rifts, much more
Please check out my Patreon and get involved directly with my next projects!

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