Thursday, June 24, 2021

Amish Characters for Gamma World

This is mostly just a post for my sake and to share a small aspect of the Gamma World game I previously posted about here

So traditionally in Gamma World, there are only three options for characters: Pure Strain Humans, Humanoids (sometimes rendered as Mutated/Mutant Humans), and Mutated/Mutant Animals. There have always been options for making plant-based characters since the first edition but there were also always strict "no players can be plants" stuff which honestly is kinda cringe; basically the mutant plant rules were there to make mutant plant NPCs. Not like the "players can't be plants" rule would really stop you, since NPCs/monsters basically function the same as player characters. Some later games inspired by Gamma World have expanded that to definitively include mutant plants and/or robotic beings (both of which are included in Mutant Future, the Gamma World-based ruleset put out by the folks over at Goblinoid Games).
The classic "Hopeless Character" from GW1e... sadly not very represented here in this mutationless post

I've always found it kinda interesting how Gamma World and other similar post-apocalyptic science fantasy rulesets rarely go beyond that. The biggest example I can think of is Gamma World 7e (the one that used D&D 4th edition rules), which completely did away with the character types from the older editions in favor of random combinations of "origins" that represented different kinds of mutants or groups in the game world. That mode of character creation is definitely cool, but its kind of incompatible with the way old school Gamma World works. I've been interested in potentially taking a Gamma World esque game in the opposite direction: instead of generalizing things into broad categories like GW7e's origins or even classic GW's character types, having something like D&D "races", more or less genetically stable populations of mutants that have a kind of community identity. Obviously I still love the weirdos too, but I think tying character options more directly into the world would be a really cool change.

This is kinda like that but not really, because this post isn't about mutants per se. The Amish are the unmutated overlords of an expansive empire stretching from just south of Gary, Indiana to the Hudson river valley in the world of my (hopeful) Gamma Ohio game, and thus I felt I wanted to make a distinction between Amish unmutated humans and other unmutated humans. With the character type described below, there would be four available: Amish, Pure Amerikan, Humanoid, Mutant Animal. Since I'm splitting PSH into two, I'll also include the modified form of that too below.

Hooligans of some lesser noble line, of course

  • They can defend, but not attack in Mental Combat.
  • They roll 4d6 for Intelligence and Constitution rather than 4d6 drop the lowest.
  • They will be recognized (sometimes obeyed) by certain normally troublesome robots or security systems.
  • They won't normally be attacked by robots except for those programmed to kill (such as military machines, securidroids, or crazed robots).
  • They exert a level of social influence over all characters or intelligent creatures that rank below them. Mutant animals and humans give way when they approach, and a +3 is added to any reaction rolls with creatures that recognize the authority of the Amish.
  • They can send for assistance from their family back in Amish Country. This is only possible if they still have a family, are on good terms with their family, and have access to a messenger/courier. The Amish character can request a specific need or type of assistance, and there is a base 2-in-6 chance that their request is granted. This roll is modified by the manner of the request and the relationship that the character has with their family. It will take a number of days for the request to be granted or for the character to be informed that they have been denied based upon where in Amish Country their family lives.
  • They have good knowledge of architecture, ancient Merigan history, and agriculture. They speak the Deutsch language.
  • When fighting unarmed, the fight as a character of half as many hit dice.
  • They roll 1d8 for the figuring out of artifacts (same as Mutated Animals).
  • They will receive a negative reaction if other Amish characters see them using ancient technology, with repeated instances of prominent technology usage resulting in them being anathemized. Other Amish characters in the party don't count for this (unless said Amish character's player wants to be mean).
  • They do not mutate during play.
The archetypal Amish character is a young man or woman, an offshoot of some lesser noble line, out on Rumspringa in the wasteland. They're not completely cut off, able to send messages back home for help from Mama und Papa, and they have been prepared for adventure with their... rather academic knowledge base and almost ritualized refusal to use ancient technology.

GW7e's unmutated human illustration... pretty alright if I do say so myself, if not really the most inspiring or interesting.

Pure Amerikan Characters
  • They can defend, but not attack in Mental Combat.
  • They roll 4d6 for Dexterity, Constitution, and Charisma rather than 4d6 drop the lowest.
  • They will be recognized (sometimes obeyed) by certain normally troublesome robots or security systems.
  • They won't normally be attacked by robots except for those programmed to kill (such as military machines, securidroids, or crazed robots).
  • They roll 1d12 for the figuring out of artifacts.
  • They receive +1 when fighting with a weapon type of their choosing (must be mundane weapons, not ancient technology).
  • They are compatible with all medical equipment and do not suffer social consequences for using advanced medical tech (or any other ancient tech for that matter).
  • They fight unarmed as normal (unlike Amish characters).
  • They do not mutate during play.
  • They speak the Amerikan language.
Making these exposed me more to some of the rather obtuse and not so good rules of Gamma World 2e, which I think has spurred on thoughts of house rules and such in future... but for now I'm mostly happy with it! I hope these character options are interesting enough, even if you're not intending on playing with GW2e... Personally, I already see places where I want to change things (starting with that ability score generation system, I already wasn't the biggest fan of 4d6 drop the lowest and then GW2e throws in 4d6 just keeping it even if its over 18 when the game is just designed for stuff up to 18?? I kept some of that in here just to not muck with the number balance of the game but in making my own post apocalyptic game I would uhm... want to change that.) I've honestly always had a weird feeling about the "Pure Strain Human" character type in these post apocalyptic games... on the one hand yeah not everybody should be a mutant so the mutants stand out and it wouldn't make sense for Everyone to become so weird and monstrous, but on the other hand the unmutated human archetype I like the most is by far the isolated weak but intelligent Vault Dweller type, yknow what I'm talking about, and the Gamma World PSH just... isn't that. I've tried to keep closer to the Gamma World PSH but in future I might mix things around, who knows.

Have a lovely day!

No comments:

Post a Comment