View Full Version : Journal After the Bomb (A Gamma World Campaign Journal)

2015-02-16, 12:30 AM
Enter a new world, successor to planet Earth. It is a savage land of brooding forests, wild unbroken plains, and rugged mountains. In places the wilds give way to radioactive wastes where cities once stood. Scattered across the continent are the few surviving pockets of humanity, forcing a precarious living from the hostile land. Faced with a harsh environment, men are highly suspicious of strangers and jealous of each others' possessions. A moment's lack of caution may mean swift and painful death. Weird and powerful mutants lurk amidst the populated world. Clandestine organizations, known as Cryptic Alliances, plot and scheme against each other, each devoted to reorganizing society according to its own beliefs.

Journey into the far future where life is both dangerous and exciting ... where the wonders of Man's highest technology exist side by side with the stone axe and the coat of chain mail armor ... where exotic mutations abound and strange new powers of the mind shape human life. This is the bizarre and ever-changing Gamma World.

Scientists say the genus homo (Man) has been on Earth for some three million years. During this time, one particular talent has set men apart from every other creature - their ability to conceive and create new tools. Indeed, man has been defined as the "tool-making animal." He began with chipped rocks and polished bones, and progressed to neutron bombs and computers. Man has been constantly redesigning, improving, and refining his tools to meet his ever-changing needs. Some of his tools have been children's toys. Other tools have improved his way of life. A few tools have nearly caused Man's extinction.

Early in the 24th century, mankind's existence was unparalleled. The rape of the Earth's beauty and resources had been halted and reversed, due to man's tools. Man had reached for and attained the stars with the help of his tools. Yet in spite of these tools (or perhaps because of them), the idyllic life of the 24th century came to an abrupt end.
Man had conquered the rigors of simple survival. The foundation-stones of the mountains, the smallest components of the atom, the deepest-hidden secrets of life itself were Man's to command. He was able to turn his efforts to more esoteric considerations: theology, political ideology, social and cultural identification, and development of self-awareness. These pursuits were not harmful in themselves, but it became fashionable to identify one's self as a member or supporter of various leagues, organizations, and so-called "special interest groups". Over time, most of these groups became polarized, each expressing and impressing its views to a degree that bordered on fanaticism.

Reconstruction of events before 2322 has been difficult due to lack of intact records. Historians now generally mark 2309 as the beginning of the Final War.

The Final War involved all the nations, peoples, and "interest groups" of the earth. Every one of them was destroyed. The mightiest and the most inoffensive groupings of men alike became embroiled in the conflict. There was no sanctuary; no place escaped attack from some quarter. The weapons which wrought the destruction were many and varied. Targets were seared by lasers, blasted with fusion devices, and razed by unfathomable energies developed in the last months of the conflict. The fighting was carried out with a fury never before witnessed on the face of the Earth. Oceans boiled; continents buckled; the sky blazed with the light of unbelievable energies.

Finally it was all over.

The civilization of Man had been slashed, burned, crushed, and scattered to the four winds. Not even 1 out of 1000 humans survived. Some of the combatants completely annihilated their foes. Others tried but failed. Some may have destroyed themselves (and everything else within reach) rather than face defeat. At the time, and even now, the question "Why?" is moot.

What DID matter was that Man survived. The decades that followed the Final War were spent struggling to survive in a suddenly savage and vastly changed world. The process was a painful one, filled with nearly as much terror and violence as the Final War. In this time, almost two-thirds of the survivors perished, trying to learn the new lessons that would permit them to survive.

The devastation had changed the very fabric of life on earth. The weapons and devices used had completely obliterated some forms of life. Others were mutated to the point where they could not be recognized as what they had oncebeen. Mankind was not immune to the doses of biogenetic chemicals and radiation. All manner of mutations entered the gene pool. Most were defects that did not survive. But many others survived and became part of the breeding stock.

Perhaps the most startling change was the development of latent mental abilities (psionics) in nearly all organic life, including man. These powers could range from simple emotional empathy to the ability to control or kill other beings with mental force.

Through it all, the death, the pain, the horror, and facing the prospect of an unknown future, man searched for his lost knowledge, and struggled to regain his tools ... to rebuild a self-destroyed civilization. In these years, those who hold the tools, hold the power. The year is now 2471. It is nearly impossible to describe the vast changes that have occurred since the devastation of the Final War.

Only the most highly fortified areas (military headquarters, spaceports, and the like) remained even partially intact. Neutron bombs and other tools of death decimated those who remained within even these strongholds. They left concrete and metal tombs housing incredibly complex equipment, now stilled for lack of human guidance.

The ecological balance of nature was shattered as violently and suddenly as man's civilization. Many of the weapons used were of a biogenetic nature and nearly all life forms suffered some form of mutation. Animals began to repopulate the earth ... and what strange animals they were! There were intelligent snakes with man-like arms and shoulders; horse-sized jackrabbits spread across the Great Plains. The sudden animal extinctions and mutations generated a world-wide wilderness inhabited by savage creatures who, like man, were struggling to survive. Man's intervention and attention to this process was limited to his own immediate survival needs.

The loss of so much of man's knowledge and records has shrouded the world in ignorance and superstition. Areas containing the ruins of the old civilization are often looked upon as taboo - "Death Lands." The people who once lived there are referred to as "the Ancients," usually with quasi-religious overtones. Artifacts from the past may be simple curiosities or objects of terror.

This is the tale of the campaign I'm currently playing in: a tale of robots, mutants, lasers, and complete and utter insanity. We are using the original Gamma World published in 1978, the rule book is older than I am. The system boasts high-lethality combat, rolling 3d6 for stats in order and randomly rolling for your characters mutations.

The party is as follows...

The 'referee' a very tall man with questionable sanity.

Hektor: a 20 foot tall raven with two brains, four wings, flame breath, a calcium deficiency, the ability to mind control things, and a giant 60 foot long floating arm that follows me around and does thing I want. He comes from the northern town of 'Kouver' (the game takes place in North America and all the cities have twisted names.) He is part of a tribe of mutant ravens who worship a massive intelligent tree with tentacles called the Doomroot. He was the first from his tribe to be sent off the mountain where his tribe lives since the beginning of the black years. It is his mission to spread the word of the Doomroot and report to his wooden master on the state of the world. Played by me.

GM Tromples: a 20 foot deer with over 100 hit points, thanks to some lucky roll and the ability to retrace his steps perfectly. He declined, like the rest of the party to write any sort of backstory.

Axzilwiwithz (or something to that effect, I honestly can't remember.) His player managed to convince the referee that scientists might have managed to clone dinosaur fossils in the future. Thus, he is playing a t-rex with a turtle shell and the ability to shoot radiation from his eyes.

Amanita muscaria, aka Ralph: a mushroom with eyestalks, bags of helium that let him fly, spiked tentacles that can bore through metal, and four feet. Worships a ancient history book he found and tries to tell people about the prophecy of Upper Canada.

We start off in the town of 'Enver'. A small village located deep in Iron Society territory (a group of mutated humans dedicated to wiping out normal humans.) We decide to leave town and follow the nearby river. After about three days of travelling along the river and hunting some deer (Tromples wasn't so happy about this) we encounter a group of two horribly disfigured humans travelling. We stop to talk to them and they tell us that they came from the city of 'Nu Ork City'. Me and Ralph attempt to recruit them to our respective religions and are soon running for our lives. After regrouping we decide to travel across Gamma World to reach the fabled 'Nu Ork City'. We continue traveling for a couple of days until we enter a thick forest. Seeing no way around we enter.

After only a few hours we hear something large and heavy crashing through the bushes. It turns out to be a wilderness robot, malfunctioning and murderous. It looks like a floating silver disk with clawed metal tentacles. I blast it with my fire, Axzilwiwithz tries in vain to use his radiated eyes, Ralph grapples it with his tentacles and Tromples does nothing because the robot is flying. We defeat the robot with little injury and continue on our way.

Then there was a unexpected issue and the session had to end :smallannoyed:.

Kid Jake
2015-02-16, 12:50 AM
Multiple 20ft monsters in the same party, one of them fire breathing? Sentient mushrooms and radiation spewing dinosaurs.... I've apparently got another system to learn. :smallbiggrin:

2015-02-16, 01:02 AM
Multiple 20ft monsters in the same party, one of them fire breathing? Sentient mushrooms and radiation spewing dinosaurs.... I've apparently got another system to learn. :smallbiggrin:

Oh, Gamma World is a classic one - you can end up with epic and broken and epic-ally broken characters all in the same party.

Kid Jake
2015-02-16, 01:07 AM
I've glanced at it a time or two, but never realized just how ridiculous it could get. I'm entranced.

2015-02-16, 03:23 AM
I did QA on a cancelled GW video game once. I'll be interested to see how this compares.

2015-02-20, 11:52 PM
Session 2

The session starts out with our party of bold mutants leaving the forest. We travel for several days until we reach the ruined city of Linkin, a bombed-out wasteland with no signs of life. We find a small village of wooden shacks on the outskirts of the village but they are empty and abandoned. We approach a large, mostly intact warehouse on the outskirts of town. Before we can get in the door a acid-spitting beetle the size of a car breaks through the door and spits a glob of acid in my face. Almost dead I take to the skies and begin breathing fire, Tromples charges the beetle, Axzilwiwithz blasts it with radiation and Ralph bores into it with his tentacles. After a difficult fight that almost resulted in a TPK we kill the beetle and enter the warehouse. We find some canned peaches and some sort of anti-gravity sled used for transporting boxes. Ralph manages to activate the sled and we depart from 'Linkin'. We travel through wasteland with Ralph on the Anti-Grav Sled until we reach the city of Dubyue, one of the only walled cities in Gamma World. Dubyue is ruled by the Ranks of the Fit, a military nation of what is literally Italian, Nazi, Mutant, Bears. I know it's amazing right. We manage to convince the guard at the gate to let us into the ramshackle ghetto that surrounds the ancient city. We sell the canned peaches for a hefty sum of 48 'domars'. (the ancient currency used before the shadow years) I decide to roost on the roof of a building, Axzilwiwithz and Tromples wander off to sleep in a alley, and Ralph murders a small child in an alley and absorbs it's nutrients. The next day we decide to buy a map from one of the market vendors only to discover that our destination, the fabled Nu Ork City is actually underwater. Rather disappointed we instead decide to head to the northern city of 'Montrel'. We start heading north around the great lakes and the session ends.

2015-03-23, 12:18 AM
Just posting to let people know that the campaign is not over. We've just had some issues getting together to game. A new post will be going up this week.