Saturday, 12 March 2011

Rollin' with it: Lessons learnt from GammaWorld...

...or: The ongoing Misadventures of Murtt and Bugeye.

My GW campaign is on hiatus - we've rotated DM, which means I get to play. Yay!  We'll be playing Pathfinder, but that's irrelevant...  I've been thinking about this for a while, as GW has been zero-prep for me over the last month, but still satisfying and great fun to run.

SO: What have I learnt from running Gamma World?

  • Sometimes - sometimes! - having anarchic fun is superior to telling "proper" stories.
  • Having a world set up, with places, people, groups with agendas and template NPCs (courtesy of the Alternity Gamemaster's Guide, that is) is FAR superior to having an adventure path in terms of seat-of-the-pants DMing.
  • I didn't write down any of the HPs of my minions after the first session or two.  The game did not suffer.  That's not to say I didn't keep track; I just wasn't too precise.
  • Fudge Dice are an excellent way of generating random encounters without relying on player rolls: + + + + is amazingly lucky (found a flamethrower and grenade launcher in Zombietown), - - - - is very unlucky (building you are searching will catch fire in d4 rounds) with zero being "nothing much happens".
  • If the players want to do something cool, that doesn't break the game, then why not let them?

Over the last few weeks, our heroes have gone from starting a perfectly normal "deliver the package" newbie quest... been framed as terrorists, committed murder through not backing down against the town guards, been locked up and busted out, ended a potentially lethal encounter with a single amazing hit, found a mysterious "hatch", returned to town as heroes - having lied to their elders, crept away to start a new life but been dragged back for vengeance, murdered people in their beds, been captured and sold as slaved, escaped to freedom at the last minute, slain over a hundred zombies in increasingly creative ways, fought a squad of the most feared troops in the world - and won through intelligent and strategic use of terrain and a grenade launcher... and alternated between having more stuff than they could feasibly carry and having only their underwear and each other for comfort.

Here's the plan for rollin' with it in future:

  • Set up a few interconnected locations, each with a couple of Important People and/or plot hooks (yeah, it does sound a bit like starting a Dresden Files game...)
  • Build a few basic monsters and have them ready - which would be significantly easier if I was running an Epic 6 game, for example...
  • Say "yes" to inventive ideas - even more than I already do!
  • Let the story roll on without the players - there's always another adventuring group around to move the plot along if needed - and let the players enjoy telling their story... turning adventure "paths" into adventure... "clouds"?

Any thoughts? Leave a comment below or write a guest post.

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