Monday, October 10, 2011

Gamma World Update

Yesterday we had our third session of Gamma World and much was accomplished.  The band of merry mutants were able to beat back the robots at the back door of the Federated Robotics factory and push into the main factory area.  After an encounter with a lonely and bored security door (bypassed because the AI was more friendly than smart and easily distracted by a laptop plugged into a local interface port), they fought their way into the main factory floor and waged a pitched battle with barbaric hoop bandits and their robot servitors.  Mid battle an alpha flux occurred - shifting all of their powers and throwing them a bit off balance.  In the end the party triumphed and discovered a cache of Omega Tech weaponry that made everyone happy.

So that ends the first adventure for this group - the adventure that came in the Gamma World boxed set.  Overall it was a lot of fun, but I have to admit we've tweaked a few things.  For starters, we've made the Alpha Mutations a lot more stable - instead of changing after each encounter the characters keep their mutations until an Alpha Flux happens.  We tried the "change after every encounter" rule and it just didn't work as well in practice as it seemed like it would reading it.

As of right now we're planning on keeping with Gamma World when our next game day comes up.  The characters managed to get to 3rd level through the course of this adventure, and it will be interesting to see how the game operates at higher levels.  We'll get back to the D&D game, but for now the Gamma World game has a grip on us.  And who knows - with the crazy way Gamma World works these characters may end up over in the D&D game before things are all said and done.

(Lords of Creation is also messing with my head - I have some ideas about laying a Lords of Creation mask over the top of the Gamma World setting as it sits right now.  But that's probably another post - maybe after I talk about the "Powers" setup in Lords of Creation...)

Monday, October 03, 2011

Lords of Creation - Skills

The skill system of Lords of Creation is one of the more unusual elements of the game.  The game provides a large list of skills, with each skill broken into 5 levels.  Each level of a skill carries a "name" that indicates the capabilities of that skill at that level.  For example, the Detective skill is broken down into four levels as:
  1. Police Connections
  2. Basic Criminology
  3. Wiretapping
  4. Advanced Criminology
  5. Futuristic/Magical*
The named level of a skill gives an indication of what the character is capable of doing with the skill.  The game advises that if a character has a skill level that indicates he can do something, then the skill should work automatically.  For example, a character with Detective - 1 would have Police Connections, which means he automatically gets access to small favors from his friends in the police force like checking addresses or tracking a license plate, and he also gets a number of criminal informants who answer questions "for a price".  Essentially this "skill" mostly operates like a perk would in other games (like Champions or GURPS).

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Lords of Creation - Creating Characters

After the one-page intro section, Lords of Creation moves to what I often considered the most important part of an RPG during the days of my youth - character creation.  When I first started gaming I would often sit and create character after character just to get the hang of a new system.  I don't do that so much anymore, mostly because the character creation process in modern games isn't as much fun.  Often character creation in games these days boils down to a process that is only slightly more fun than filing my annual income taxes.  I think that this is because most modern RPGs have taken their character creation process directly from Champions, where no randomness is allowed.  While this allows players to realize the exact character they have in their heads, the character creation process loses aspects that I have always found fun - that bit of randomness that spontaneously generates a character you would never in a million years have conceived of yourself.  This is one of the things I love about the new Gamma World - the random character creation process that has a bit of a "throwback" feel to earlier days.

Like most games of its time, Lords of Creation has a semi-random character creation process.  Every character has five basic attributes that feel very familiar to folks who grew up on D&D - Muscle, Speed (which covers "muscular coordination and manual dexterity"), Stamina, Mental ("intuition, logic, and willpower") and Luck.  The first four of these map to 5 of the six standard D&D attributes (Strength, Dexterity, Constitution and a mix of Intelligence and Wisdom), and are generated with scores between 2 and 20 for new characters.  Which again makes for very familiar territory, though unlike D&D the scores are generated by rolling 2d10 rather than 3d6.