Monday, November 24, 2014

VIDEO: Mad Max has nothin' on these "New Barbarians"


This trailer for The New Barbarians, a.k.a. Warriors of the Wasteland (1983) sold me when they showed a motorcycle bandit take an exploding arrow to the neck (hilarity ensues thereafter). This is Italian-made Saturday afternoon, eighties Gamma-cheese at it's finest.

It looks like the prequel to my favorite Spaghetti-pocalypse film, 2019: The Fall of New York. (Somehow I missed doing a recap on that one, I'll have to correct that soon.)

It stars exploitation film staple Fred Williamson (Black Caesar, the Black Cobra series) as said, explosive archer. Really, what more can you ask for?

Anyway, check out the awesome trailer for Barbarians:

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

RANDOM ENCOUNTER: Tasty mutagen comes with side effects...


Here's a random table and some GM notes to help fashion a nice little complication for your next gamma adventure. The PCs stumble upon a canister of mutagen tablets. The tablets themselves appear like large, chewable multivitamins (and should be introduced as such) and smell like delicious, sugary confections.

Once ingested, the tablet goes to work mutating its prey...

1d20 of icky random mutations:

  1. Eye tendrils, flailing all the time
  2. Back scales (2"-3"), itchy and molting
  3. Constant, loud wheezing from your new, tiny "throat mouth"
  4. Sideburns, running down neck, shoulders, ending at wrists (hopefully)
  5. A slippery ooze between extremities that won't go away, even with washing
  6. Extra teeth! Pop out of jaw line, hairline, and along knuckles of hands and feet
  7. Shoulders begin to bubble and swell into large sacks of leaky, too-sweet smelling fluid
  8. "Everything is normal!" say the tiny faces that appear where your kneecaps used to be
  9. Iguanna tail sprouts, greens up nicely, turns brown and dies and falls off...on an endless cycle
  10. Roll twice on this table, if you get #20 both times, you lucked out--no mutation!
  11. Knees now bend the other direction, walk like a chicken (add +2 to your move if you roleplay a headbob for the rest of the session)
  12. The person on your left gets to pick any two from this list for you
  13. Heel hooves! Which are hooves. On your heels.
  14. Fancy colored fish fins line your cranium and spine; also, constant dry mouth for some reason
  15. Polydactyly protrusions overcome hands, constantly wiggling
  16. Gurgling a pungent slime when attempting to make persuasive arguments
  17. Narwhal tusk! You know that's a tooth that protrudes through your face, right? 
  18. An ankylosaurus tail bursts out the back of your pants---pray you have the abs, back, and calf muscles to counter the added mass
  19. Pheromone firestorm gives you a massive +5 Charisma bonus, any NPCs you encounter follow you around for 1d10 rounds
  20. All of the above (you poor bastard!)
Optional GM imposed fun!
Apply as desired...

  • PCs with one mutation from the above list suffer -2 on any rolls involving NPC interactions (interviewing, negotiating, bluffing) but gain +2 to intimidate
  • PCs with two or more mutations will be considered "monstrous" and hunted on sight by any armed NPCs
  • Bounty is equal to Hit Points times 10 credits
  • If PC rolled any of the following mutations: 2,3,5,7, 9, 16, 19, it's nearly impossible to cover her/his tracks as she/he flees (pursuers gain +2 to track you)
  • If PC evades capture for longer than 1d10 rounds, the bounty on his/her head triples
  • If PC evades capture the entire game session, the PC becomes a local legend and the bounty now equals HP times 100 credits
  • If PC becomes a local legend, a squad of killer androids (8) with cyborg hounds (4) is unleashed to hunt he/she down; androids are equipped with infravision, +1 laser-eye sights (to hit bonus) and a 2d4+1 sub-machine gun; hounds have olfactory and audio sensors (+2 tracking) and armed with 1d8 robo-bite and 1d6+1 cyber-claw
  • If adventuring party finds a science or medical lab, a cure can be reverse-engineered from mutated PC's blood; at least one member of the party must have relatable skill (science, medicine, genetics, etc.), or find an NPC who can concoct antidote in 1d10 rounds -1 round for each level of experience in that skill; cure takes effect immediately
  • If more than one PC consumed mutagen tablet, the cure works for all affected and they return to their "normal" selves
Enjoy!

A previous version of this table was posted on Exonauts.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

VIDEO: So Dino-Riders is basically off-world, Gamma World



Somehow I'd forgotten that in addition to the insanely cool action figures and playsets, there was also a Dino-Riders television series. The pilot is equal parts awesome/terrible/surprisingly dark for a kids show. So chances are you'll love it!

Check out the pilot episode...

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Why do the aliens invade?


Any number of MacGuffins or standard scifi tropes would likely do, to serve as impetus from otherworldly conquerers. But this story gave me a pretty good idea as to why aliens in GWW might have reason to take over our planet--and not care if the surface was scorched clean by death rays. As it turns out, the Earth may hold up to three times more water reserves than previously thought--deep underground.

The V mini-series from the 80s was right all along!
From The Guardian:
The water is locked up in a mineral called ringwoodite about 660km (400 miles) beneath the crust of the Earth, [emphasis mine] researchers say. Geophysicist Steve Jacobsen from Northwestern University in the US co-authored the study published in the journal Science and said the discovery suggested Earth’s water may have come from within, driven to the surface by geological activity, rather than being deposited by icy comets hitting the forming planet as held by the prevailing theories.

“Geological processes on the Earth’s surface, such as earthquakes or erupting volcanoes, are an expression of what is going on inside the Earth, out of our sight,” Jacobsen said.
So the Earth is, in fact, an even bigger source for water in the solar system. Not to mention the fact that the reserves could be inspiration for the "great cataclysm" itself. It makes sense, from a narrative standpoint why the subterranean-dwelling valids would want to jealously protect the Earth's remaining, untouched resources.

What more can I say, science is cool!

Read more

REVISION: Cybornas vs. Mechloks

When I'd first written about robotic races in GWW, I'd called the overarching race/class (we'll get into that in a second) "Mechloks". One of the subraces--a group of anatomically altered beings, usually sporting crude mechanical components--was classified "cybornas".

But I've had a while to think on it, and that term is more appropriate to the parent group, since all are, in some fashion "cybernetic" in nature. Plus, the earlier cyborna race was more inclined to be mechanical in nature. The term actually derives from "morlock," the subhuman savages featured in H. G. Wells' The Time Machine. Mechlok sounds more in line with the Mad Max feel of that group.

Henceforth, Cyborna shall refer to the entire group of cybernetic beings, which now includes Mechloks (mechanized cyborgs), Syndrones (genetic androids), and Golthans (mute giants).

As for that earlier point on races as a class--yes, I intend to make the different races operate more like classes in the game. The intention is to create loose factions, based along racial cultures and characteristics. More on that later. For now, here's the revised entry...

RACES: CYBORNA

Cybornas are artificial or artificially-enhanced humanoid beings of which three are three distinct types: Mechloks (half biological, half  electromechanical), Syndrones (organically grown  androids), and Golthans (manufactured, giant androids).

Mechlok clans roam the ruins of fallen cities and industrial sites in search of tools, fuel, or tech to enhance their motley features. They can range from highly-sophisticated composites to hack-n-slash monstrosities (in the wilds, the latter are usually more prominent). About half of all mechloks have some sort of enhanced, if not totally, mechanical means of locomotion.

They are largely nomadic raiders, attacking small- to medium-sized settlements for food, fuel, and spare parts. Just about every clan is lead by a chieftain that's chosen by right of challenge, crewed by mechlok "claners" (junkers who cherry pick spare parts, and accompanied by some sort of ground-based war machine or juggernaught. They don't like outsiders, which can include rival clans.


Syndrones are grown from genetically spliced pods that act as spawning plants. After the cataclysm, their mental development seemed to accelerate, allowing them to form highly-advanced colonies. They're descendants of ancient androids that--in the quest for self perfection--began modifying their own manufacturing. The result is something akin to a humanoid made from organic-based polymers, filled with a densely-woven positronic network.

Syndrones typically live in agricultural communes, spending the bulk of their resources on cutivating new crops of young and acting as healers for all forms of cybernetic life. Some factions have been known to associate with Valids, providing intelligence in return for certain, hard-to-find resources found only underground. They appear as exceptionally graceful beings with an enlightened sensibility. Make no mistake though, they will do anything to acquire the resources needed to keep their birth/sleep pods in peak performance.


Golthans are giant, mute androids that range in size between 3 and 10 meters and appear in a variety of humanoid forms. They were built as artificially intelligent combat units by Goliath Robotics International in the late 21st century, but an attack by a radical sect of hackers turned Goliath's best-selling products into an army of curious, robot children.

The hackers uploaded a virus into a GRI server that provided realtime updates to all model types located throughout the world. The virus included an algorithm that would allow their positronic brains to develop highly-emotive personalities (originally intended by the virus authors to be passive).

Around the time of the cataclysm they all simultaneously lost the ability to speak. Whether by misunderstanding or the simple fact of their unusual size, Golthans are usually loners, living for centuries at a time in the wilds, where they can observe nature away from the rest of mutant society. As they tend not to comprehend their own size and strength compared with lesser beings, those that encounter them should exercise extreme caution.

Cyborna races are intended for use as player characters, NPCs, and as templates for monsters. 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

GEAR: Motopeds Survival Bike, a.k.a, The Apocacycle!


No humanoid scavanger, roving gang of mutanted hoodlums should be without their own personal mode of transportation. If you can find one of these babies, count yourself extremely fortunate as they were made for exploring (or escaping from) the ravages of the surface world.
Manufactured by the tens of thousands in the early part of the 21st century, the ZASser (as it came to be known) could be the perfect bike to give you a clean getaway from the hordes of zomibies/rogue robots/angry warlords/what-have-you. Have a look:

MOTOPEDS SURVIVAL BIKE*

  • 2-stroke engine
  • Range: 120 miles per gallon
  • Speed: 40 MPH
  • (More to come)

Accessories Package:

  • Barnett Recruit Compound Crossbow (20 bolts, 2d6 dmg)
  • Rotopax RX-1G Gas Packs - 1 Gallon ea. (120 MPG)
  • United Cutlery M48 Tactical Survival Shovel
  • United Cutlery M48 Hawk Tomahawk (1d6+1)
  • United Cutlery M48 Hawk Harpoon (1d8+1 dmg)
  • Gerber Fixed Blade Saw
  • Blackburn X6 Light System (up to 200 lumens, range of 75 feet)
  • Black Diamond Carabiners / Climbing rope
  • Cree Mini LED Flashlight (up to 300 lumens, range of 35 feet, short periods)
  • BioLogic Bike Mount for iPhone4/gps
  • Tool Logic Tactical Multifunction Knife / light (+1d4 on any related mechanical skill rolls)
  • Tool Logic Credit Card Companion multi-tool (+1d4 on any fine motor control technical skill rolls)
  • CRKT Guppie multi-tool (+1d4 on any survival-related technical skill rolls)
  • Tactical-Warrior Neck Knife (1d4+1 dmg)
 
Fully loaded...
 

...versus, the stock version...
 


*Couldn't resist imagining this for game use! Two caveats: 1. Motopeds hasn't released the specs yet and 2. I am not a motorbike person so I'm totally guessing on stats. I'll update as soon as Motopeds announces the final product (this is apparently just a prototype).

Via The Mary Sue and the Motoped Facebook page

EDIT: Motoped has updated the specs on their survival bike.

VIDEO: The 80s were a Golden Age of Cyborg movies with Elminators (1986)



Spied this over on io9 this morning--an awesome clip from the 80s cyborg flick Eliminators. Half man, half robo-tank? That dude is definitiely a Mechlok!

Monday, July 28, 2014

TRAILER - MAD MAD: FURY ROAD



Whoa! The new Mad Max trailer that debuted at Comic Con last week looks INSANE! So excited!!! The film premieres May 15, 2015.

UPDATE: Here's four character posters also released at Comic Con!



Friday, June 20, 2014

VIDEO: "Apes" raises the stakes!



This latest Dawn of the Planet of the Apes clip shows just how crafty the apes have become. And brutal!

Friday, May 16, 2014

VIDEO: X-men: Days of Future Past brings the post-apocalypse



I'm really looking forward to this new installment of the X-men. It looks like they've done a bang-up job of envisioning a desolate future. This clip apparently appears early in the film with mutants on the run. It'd make a great adventure scenario--similar to the first part of the Gamma World War campaign's adventure path.

In any case, the visuals are stunning--and that's more than enough reason to post it!

Excelsior!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

VIDEO: Viral ads for Dawn of the Apes are great setting primers!



Need something to help set the scene in your next Gamma-esque game? Give players the heebie-jeebies as they watch civilzation fall into ruin in seconds! These timelapse clips from the upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes flick should do the trick nicely:

LONDON



SAN FRANCISCO



NEW YORK

TRAILER: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes--Caesar speaks!



"APES! TOGETHER! STRONG!"

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Gamma World War campaign idea

So I've been hammering on how to organize a Gamma World War campaign in a string of adventure's (okay, an "adventure path"). Basically this would take you step-by-step through the storyline. You'd get to play different characters representing different sides of the conflict, but it could also be written to include a storypath for single group (but where's the fun in that?).

In my mind's eye, I envision this to be sort of tournament-style play where multiple groups play each round and outcomes get reported back to a "master judge" who can then give results, story cues, and other details to the GMs to run the next round. So each round should build on the previous.

Players would likely generate a few different characters at the outset, namely a few pure-strain humans, several mutants, and a few alien characters. At least three of these adventures (currently, anyway) have alternate takes where players could play for the other side (I've marked them as ALT).


ROUND 1: MUTANT SNIPE HUNT


You're a member of an elite team of pure strain humans called "Valids" that is out to clear the surface world of mutant scum and make the Earth safe or habitation again. Your team is one of several culling squads sent to hunt, capture, and eradicate the mutated hordes.

The hunting parties are given profiles of which mutants are valued for scientific study (capture) and which are too dangerous to roam (kill). Take your crackerjack team of specialists to the surface in a mechanized drill tank along with your Mother May-bot (artificially intelligent chaperone/drill sergeant) to keep you in contact with other squads and central command.

Good luck and Mother's Blessings be upon you!

ALT: Mutant players must rescue their comrades from a the brig inside the giant drill tank before it dives back beneath the surface.

ROUND 2: ARENA ROCKED


You're a mutated survivor of the Great Calamity who's recently been captured by those pompous human under-dwellers. They tossed you into a holding area with a great many other mutants where you were shipped to a walled-in city. There's little food, but LOTS of weapon caches in this abandoned urban wasteland. It's been turned into some sort of gladiatorial arena and you'll have to fight your fellow mutants to survive. But wait--there's an active resistance growing! It's time to set aside petty differences and form a fighting force to overcome your oppressors and escape!

 

ROUND 3: WALKING DREAD


You're an outlander--a human or mutant wanderer of the Gammascape's furthest reaches. As you enter a small city strange happenings give you an uneasy feeling that things are about to change in a big way. You stumble upon a skirmish between pure strains and mutants. Before you know it, a horde of zombies arrive to feast on the survivors. Outnumbered and overwhelmed, now seems like a realy good time to stick together--humans and mutants alike!


ROUND 4: INCOMING TRANSGRESSION


You're part of a new breed of Gamma Terran--an allied band of humans and mutants, trying to restore order to the ruined chaos. Reports keep streaming in about weird weather and the reanimated dead. You've got to fight off the necrotic hordes--and make allies of former foes--before something even more terrifying from beyond arrives to take control!

ALT: Undead players must divide and conquer the humans and mutants. Feast alone won't do it--they've got to turn some of them in to increase their own numbers in order to overwhelm and claim victory.

ROUND 5: BATTLE GLOBALE


The invasion has begun! Alien aggressors want this planet--ruined or not--for themselves. Only you and your coalition of humans and mutants stands in the way. Make your way to the World Security Council's HQ and activate the World Alert Beacon--the last remaining scrap of global civilization that could be humanity's only chance to call all Earthlings to arms. It's an all-out, gamma-lit, firefight. Who will claim victory in the Gamma World War?!

ALT: Alien characters are trying to put down the Earth's remaining humans and mutants and stake their claim in taking the planet!


Five adventures (modules?) seems like a good number, being not too long but still hitting all the key plot points. Plus, there's still room for a robot uprising, weaponized kaiju, and cyborg raiding party or five that I'd like to sprinkle in. :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

GODZILLA is the ultimate weapon!


HOLY F@#$! The new trailer for Godzilla reveals a previously unreleased plot detail. A BIG ONE. Monster movie fans will immediately get what's going--and it changes the big G's role in the film.

This feels like a spoiler to me, so fair warning to you--though, this just makes me want to see it even MORE!



If you watch it and comment below, spoilers be damned!

Has anyone statted-up Godzilla for use in a Gamma World or Mutant Future campaign? I recall once someone doing the Krakken from Clash of the Titans, but it was basically a force of nature. Impossible to destroy, but still had some stats to make it playable.


Some content reposted from Exonauts

Friday, March 28, 2014

Akira by....Kirby and Lee?

This recent entry by to The Line Is Drawn (a weekly online happening celebrating mashed-up comic book themes) imagines Akira being created Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. It's got all the hallmarks of a Bronze Age Kirby. This week's theme was Japanese anime and manga cast in a style of more American/western artists. The Akira/Kirby piece is by the fantastically talented Marco D'Alfonso.

Throw in a little of Kirby's own Kamandi and you've got the makings of a really interesting Gamma-style campaign!

Via io9.com