Friday, December 16, 2011

Gamma World: Trouble in Freesboro [RPG]

With our weekly Forgotten Realms campaign session understandably cancelled last night due to holiday festivities, The Wife, Scurvy Ron, and myself decided to instead try out Gamma World for the first time. I had bought the box set months ago as much out of curiosity as anything else, as I'd never played or directed a post-apocalyptic game before. When I bought the set, the store gave me a free copy of the Trouble in Freesboro module.

The eponymous Freesboro is the PCs' home village in the module, but since it's barely detailed at all (only the Mayor is mentioned before the PCs are set off on their quest), I changed the setting to add a little more flavour for my players. Their characters became members of the Eatonite tribe, a hardy band of survivors that defended their settlement, Eaton Steadfast, against jealous rival tribes. Eaton Steadfast is a massive structure built by the Ancients for an unknown purpose, but it remained relatively intact during The Big Mistake. Surrounded as far as any tribes-member has ever ventured and returned by a concrete wasteland, Eaton Steadfast offers a direct southerly view of the great, mysterious Tower of the Ancients, which legend has it is stocked with their greatest secrets.

The session began with the Eatonites waking up to a strange sound, as a strange flying chariot circled near the settlement and then landed some distance away, giving up a plume of black smoke. Boss-Leader Thomspoon (hereditary possessor of the token of rulership containing the mystical inscription "Mall Security") summoned the Great Divine Oracle, a device of the ancients, in which numbered white balls emanated to provide the answer to questions. When Boss-Leader Thompspoon asked it to designate which members of the tribe should go on a holy quest to obtain this flying chariot, the PCs were naturally called!

With just two players, I was a little worried that they might be underpowered in a module designed for 4 to 5. I had each of them play one level 2 PC and one level 1 PC, which may have overpowered them a tad, but not greatly. The four PCs (rolled completely randomly, as directed) consisted of:

Slate, a Cockroach Seismic;

Bolt, a Cockroach Felinoid;

Beeper, a Radioactive Rat Swarm (my favorite of the bunch, as The Wife described him as being comprised of lego blocks); and

Madge, a Pyrokinetic Radioactive

The four PCs set off and made fairly quick work of the first encounter in the module, destroying five Porkers and a Blood Bird Flock thanks to some awesome Omega Tech and Alpha Mutation cards. These two decks, and their inherent randomness, proved to be one of the favorite parts of the games for my players, as they liked getting something new every encounter.

When they reached the building east of Eaton Steadfast where the flying chariot had been seen landing (in the deserted region known as Stmikals), the PCs completely departed from module script. Instead of either going in through the garage or the first floor doors and then working their way up the interior of the building, my PCs climbed the outer walls and thus avoided all the planned encounters! (the two cockroach characters could climb automatically, one of the PCs had an applicable Alpha Mutation card, and the fourth had a Climber's Kit and help). After securing the rooftop from the lone Hoop guard, the PCs barricaded the rooftop access door and sent the signal for an Eatonite recovery team (consisting of a gravity controller). The module's main bad guy, Boss Tangh, eventually managed to bust through the door with his cohort to provide a final challenge, though the PCs had some amazing tactics and rolls and managed to quickly render him prone, deafened, blinded, and (for one round) immobilized, all at the same time! Boss Tangh only got one attack off before he was knocked to 0 points, and on that he rolled a natural 1. Suffice it to say, it wasn't the bad guys' day, and they retreated, carrying the unconscious Boss Tangh with them (after swearing eternal revenge on the Eatonites).

All in all, it was a quite fun 2 1/2 hours. I can't speak much to the quality of the module, since my PCs avoided most of the planned encounters. Everyone seemed to have fun with the quirky, somewhat silly setting and I think it'll be easy to talk them into trying it again sometime.

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