The ChaosGrenade

Quick & Dirty Tabletop Role-Playing

My Take: Fantasy Origins for Gamma World

2011-01-09 Fan Stuff R.E. Davis

It’s only natural that with the newest edition of Gamma World being an offshoot of D&D 4E to possibly explore mixing the fantasy elements with the game.

For me, Gamma World is my choice pick between the two. I like the loose, simple character origins, low level curve and the flexibility of character design. You can have two characters with the same origins and powers, and yet they’d feel different just by how the players choose to role-play with those powers. And, yes, Role-Playing seems to take precedence in the game than stat and gear optimization. As many have said before, GW is one of those titles that has helped proven that the d20-inspired GSL mechanics can stand fine on their own without all the bloat.

After doing the take on Gamma World for D&D-based Supers, I thought about going a different direction on re-imagining some fantasy classes as Gamma World origins. I also had a good gab over twitter with DazedSaveEnds who has totally gone wild with Gee-Dub love on her site. She also had started her own D&D Origins for Gamma World, which for those looking for a pretty straightforward conversion I highly recommend. Although, just a heads up, they’re a rough draft work in progress. Still, an awesome launch pad for such a thing.

My own tinkering

Still, it wasn’t what I was looking for. For my own needs, I’m wanting to embrace Gamma World as-is, and create some origins that can be added to pre-exisitng ones to add some fantasy flare with the mutant powers.
So, I’ve sat down the last couple days with both the Gamma World core book and Famine in Far-Go, looked over some different Origins and began tinkering with my own interpretations of “classic” D&D.

My design goals:

  • Design more universal/”classical” origins than trying to reinvent 4E roles.
  • Keep them with the existing 10 Skills and 3 Power Origins in mind
  • Maintain Gamma World’s comical style and influence to maintain the fun factor

So far I’ve managed to scheme up the original four “basic” origins: Fighter, Cleric, Scoundrel and Mage.

  • The Fighter is probably the most middle ground of a modern and classical interpretation. I looked to origins such as Giant, Yeti and Seismic for inspiration. It has a lot of tank qualities, but I also wanted to make sure it delivered as a front line fighter. Probably the most generic of the Origins I threw together.
  • The Cleric was probably my favorite to scheme up. I wanted to keep a sort of healer/protector role without overshadowing origins like the Empath. I also wanted to keep the minimalist heals and no resurrections of Gamma World around. So instead, I gave it the ability to give up a Second Wind for an ally. The rest of the powers are more support and utilitarian in nature. Fun fact: This origin uses 3 pop culture references, including two Monty Python quotes in a single power!
  • The Scoundrel fills in the Thief/Rogue/Sneaky Bastard role as you would expect. Like the Fighter, it has a mix of modern 4E influence and some older throwbacks.
  • The Mage was probably the most ponderous one for me. Magic Users, Mages and Wizards across the editions have so many different shoes to fill, so many different ways to expand, and I had it to compress it all into a single origin. My final take was, simply, to use some iconic powers (one of them made up, but, feels iconic in my mind) to go along with another pew-pew style Origin to flesh out the flavor and feel. Yes, I went with Magic Missile, but it’s NOT the 4E version.

Note on Power Sources:

Based off what I mentioned in my Supers article:

  • Dark = Arcane, Shadow (I made the Scoundrel Shadow based, for flavor purposes.)
  • Bio = Martial, Primal
  • Psi = Divine & Psionic (it’s just my take; I know DazeSaveEnds prefers Dark for Divine since it’s magic, and that works too. In my head Wisdom and Divinity feel more Psionic and opposite of Arcane. Just me.)

I’ll put these up in further blogs, starting with The Fighter later today. Thanks for reading and stay tuned!