Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So what's the plan?

I'm far enough along with the initial conceit of Gamma World War that I have a few assumptions I'm ready to share "out loud", meaning, they've been rattling around in my brain and I need to write them down so I can think about/refute/or move forward with them. I've already mentioned a few, but just in case, here's the deal:

1. It's a sandbox setting. Duh!

2. It's a 3-sided war: mutants vs. humans vs. aliens. Mutants are the hard-luck underdogs and outnumber the other two forces. Humans are austere, subterranean living, better off tech wise. There are surface dwelling cousins, but we'll get to that in a sec. Aliens may be powerful and intimidating, but they're not invincible. Two factions listed under "mutant"could technically be split off for a total of five sides to the war:  artificial beings (not including cyborgs though) and undead. Zombies might actually be considered "mutants" though. I'll leave that door open for those at the gaming table.

3. In the beginning, there are no factions--those will grow organically through gameplay between PCs and the GM. Races are aligned mainly through simplicity and for survival purposes. Alliances and/or rivalries between species will be formed through exploring Gamma Terra. By encountering one another and experiencing the eventual invasion of the aliens, players will have to figure things out as they go.

4. Certain races and the aliens will be controlled by the GM. At least in the beginning. I guess I'm still not-quite solid about this, but to get the ball rolling I think the aliens should play the heavies. Things can change once the battle starts. Maybe this is more of playtest thing. I've created a few race/species categories, but I'd be open to others from previous GW or MF editions.

5. To be a true "world war" we'll need a little Player vs. Player. Another thing I'd like to experiment with, which is why I asked about it a while back is the PvP or Team vs. Team aspect of gaming. I've never done it, but it sounds like it can be really fun. I can see writing this into a ruleset at some point--giving everyone the chance to go at it, once everyone gets into building up alliances, armies, etc. Or maybe just as a cap to a long campaign.

6. Setting will likely be the "standard" two centuries after the current timeline. I'd like to give some time for humanity to grow into more advanced tech--which of course is lost to irradiated winds once the cataclysm happens. I spoke earlier about other possibilities. They could just as easily be shoehorned in. Maybe Gamma Terra blinks into another reality temporarily. Seems like a good enough excuse to run GW in a different setting for a one-off trial.

7. What is the cataclysm? Unlike Gamma World or Mutant Future, I'm not planning on defining it. Maybe it will come out in game play. I do like the latest GW excuse of using the Hadron Collider to rip open reality. But I'm not sure it's even necessary to get that into the setting early on. If radiation is out of fashion, we'll blame genetic "mutagens" (the catch-all used by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). An alien invasion that wiped out collective memory is another good one. If that doesn't work, reality rifting works just as well.

8. Which rules? TBD. Honestly, I've played Mutant Future based off AD&D rules and a few versions of Gamma World. I bought the latest GW based on 4E, after trying it several years ago. Frankly, I'm quite impressed. But I'm more impressed by simplicity. Once I get going on write-ups they'll likely use Mutant Future since there's an open license for that, and it can easily be converted to other systems. UPDATE: I've been using MF rules so far when I need to do write ups (seems like it's the easiest to convert, as well).

9. What about Thundarr and Warlord? Hmm. I'm not sayin' that they're not going to be hanging around--the sword-wielding-barbarian-hero-types, that is--but mutants are more fun. So are silver-suited killjoys who live underground. Aliens might even beat them out. If there are pure-strains living amongst the ruins, they're likely slightly mutated. Even if they look normal, there's something...different about them. Thundarr always looked a little stronger/more resilient than regular folks, I mean have you seen how far that guy can leap? That's not normal. And there's no way Warlord wasn't part cockatiel with that hair! ;)

10. So when does the first session begin? Don't know yet. I'm focused on other projects at the moment, but I hope by this summer to get a few games going, test out some concepts, write up play reports and see how the war effort progresses. 

More to come.

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