I've been thinking a bit more about adding "Thundarr the Barbarian" elements to the D&D Gamma World game. The previous three posts (and a few others that I'm still fleshing out) are some of my thoughts on characters whose primary abilities come through training rather than through mutations. I have some more ideas on these types of characters, but there are other ways to approach this problem. The Gamma World game has some suggestions on other origins that can be imagined as coming via training rather than training -- such as the Felinoid, Yeti or Speedster origins might be used for a martial artist, or the Hypercognitive as someone with highly trained intuition and reflexes.
This is approach I've been thinking about when it comes to magic-users in the Gamma World game. The Dark and Psi based origins almost all scream wizardry - pick two, put them together and you have a wizard. An elementalist, for example, could be built using some combination of Pyrokinetic (fire), Seismic (earth), Telekinetic (air), Cryokinetic (ice) and, with a bit of re-themeing Gelatinous (earth or water) origins -- different combinations of these origins give you different elementalists.
Other combinations can yield other types of magicians. The combination of Photonic and Empath creates a set of spells similar to the ones that Ariel from Thundarr the Barbarian uses. Entropic and Reanimator is a classic necromancer, while Demon and Pyrokinetic together give a slightly different take on a fire mage. Nightmare, Shapeshifter and a re-themed Doppelganger could be used to build an illusionist. For some serious sci-fi/fantasy crossover, combinations of Electrokinetic, Gravity Controller, Radioactive, Entropic, Magnetic, Temporal, Antimatter Blaster, and Photonic give a more modern science (or perhaps Mage the Ascension) take on the "elementalist" archetype.
While I think this approach can go far, I don't think it quite covers all the bases as far as classic wizard types go. For example, while the Doppleganger origin might be re-themed to work for a Summoner, a second origin for Summoners would be nice. Also few of the "elementalist" types include an effective "wall" power - walls of fire, ice and stone are kind of classic elementalist spells and it would be nice to have some of those. And some of the non-wizard magicians aren't really covered very well by these combinations -- while mixing a Plant origin with one of the elementalist choices above might make for a decent Druid, it still feels weak. And the only cleric option I've been able to think of so far seems to be a Mythic/Empath combination. So a few additional new origins might be called for, but in general I think this is a workable approach.
Another thing that would up the magic level of the game is to import Rituals to some degree from the D&D 4e rules. I know a lot of folks are less enamored with the rituals rules than I am, and I know my players haven't really made much use of them in my 4e game, but I still think that somehow those rules would be a good way to bring a bit more Thundarr into the game. I'll have more thoughts on those ideas in a later post.