Main menu

"Goodbye, Jean-Luc, I'm gonna miss you. You had such potential. But then again, all good things must come to an end."
- Q, Star Trek: TNG

Glitches in Gamma World's Background Radiation

by Ken Newquist / November 15, 2003

After a long hiatus from publication, Gamma World is back. This time around, Sword & Sorcery (the White Wolf Games imprint) has licensed the venerable science fiction setting from Wizards of the Coast, and is publishing a bunch of books for it, including a Player's Guide, a Gamemaster's Guide, a monster book and more. You can check it out at the official Gamma World Web site.

It's based on a mutated (but in a good way) version of the d20 Modern rules, and you need that d20 book to run it.

I'm playtesting it for an upcoming review, and I was happy to find that S&S has put out a demo adventure for it. Demos make my job a hell of a lot easier, since I don't have to spend tremendous amounts of time building characters, and can instead focus on reading (and then running) the game.

I downloaded and quickly read through it, and at first glance, it seemed pretty straightforward. There was some background information on the setting and the town the characters would start in, as well as six pre-generated characters. The only problem was I couldn't find the maps, but I figured I must have missed them while paging through it.

I didn't think much of it, and then tonight I read through it again, and discovered that the maps didn't exist. Now I can do with out the overland maps, but the lack of a map for the core facility the players are supposed to be exploring is problematic ... especially when the adventure describes it as a "four-story biomedical research facility". It then proceeds to tell the GM that he/she should use this opportunity to create the facility, and -- when completed -- thrown in the encounters with the scenarios signature creatures.

Basically, it wants the GM to whip up a quick little 4-level above-ground dungeon, for a system he or she isn't really familiar with. Needless to say, I wasn't thrilled. Yeah, a lot of the work was done for me -- just having the PCs created saved me time -- but still, when a demo adventure is available, I don't expect to have to do more than make minor tweaks. Having to throw together the "dungeon" that's the crux of the adventure is just aggrevating.

Fortunately, there's Google. I did a quick search on "biomedical research facilities", and found a PDF floor plan, which I quickly Photoshopped into something I could use. I marked it up a bit, adding the appropriate encounters and noting the "front" and "back" doors, and I think I've got something that should work pretty well.

Aside from this flaw, the adventure (and the game) looks solid. I haven't gotten my copy of it yet, but it includes most of the GW-specific rules you need to run it and as long as you've got a copy of d20 Modern , you should be good to go. My gaming group's certainly excited about it -- we're holding a game day down in Delaware tomorrow, and of the dozen-odd people playing, half of them have signed up for my Gamma World playtest.

More to come after the playtest is done and I have a chance to look at the rulebooks.