Saturday, November 14, 2009

Post Apocalypse Gaming - what gives?

Okay, so I admit it, I have long been a Gamma World junkie (although these days I must admit that I am secretly more attracted to Mutant Future than Gamma World - it's free and available now).

Traveling, with your mutant mates, across the wasteland. Stop in at a friendly village for some radiation-free melons handed out by lovely green-skinned girls, trading a rusty hubcap for some referee whistles (valuable goods), and having that bad infestation of glowing slugs on your left tentacle be treated by the local ripper doc. And then after all that rest and relaxation, its off to the local robot guarded missile silo for valuable copper, or into the nest of the angry mutant crocodile-men, or hauling yourself up 200 meters to the robot-operated algae skyfarm to rob parts and food. All part of a normal day in the life of a typical post-apocalypse hero.

But the overall idea of post apocalypse gaming really depresses me. That is - if it is realistic. The futures of settings like Mad Max (where the oil dries up, and civilization collapses), or Twilight 2000 (depressing third world war, and civilization collapses), or Morrow Project (civilization collapses, with real effects of radiation, disease, etc), or Planet of the Apes (Apes win, civilization collapses). You get the idea. If it is a little too close to home, or too realistic (think - Threads or Day after Tomorrow), then it is just too much of a downer to be a fun game.

But it the whole thing is a total lark, and absolutely preposterous - such as the future radioactive playground of Gamma World (still potentially depressing, but who can stay down for long in the world of the polyester-devouring Yexil), or the Barbarian sword-fest of Robert Adams' Horseclans novels, or further fun with Sterling Lanier's Hiero books (who hasn't dreamt of riding a telepathic warmoose) - then it can be a whole lot of fun.

This is what lured me back into the genre with Mutants and Death Ray Guns, but I am also thinking of running a game of Mutant Future at MarsCon in January. If I do I will do a mixed lot of characters (2x Pure Strain Humans, 2x Mutant Humans, 2x Mutant Animals), and probably revolve around rescuing a young mutant child from a group of brigands living in an old military site of the Ancients. Warbots, androids, zombies, mutants galore, traps, radioactive pits - the fun is just bubbling out of me (or is that the lo mein from dinner?) and I haven't even written down anything yet.
I guess I gotta do a quest for miniatures (this sort of game DEMANDS miniatures - when else would I get a chance to use my green mutant in a house coat?), and build some suitable terrain. The good news is that it will all be useful for Mutants and Death Ray Guns, as well.

Some fun blog reports out there. First, Society of Torch, Pole and Rope has a nice write up on the classic Gamma World Deathbot for Mutant Future. Second, Savage AfterWorld has an interesting link to a conversation about incorporating Mutant Future into Hackmaster. Bizarre. Dwarf and Basilisk has a nice listing of games, films, and books that are inspirational. Facebook has a Gamma World page. Finally, Grognardia has a nice loving homage. He also has a great review of Mutant Future.

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