October 12, 2012 by Jeff
Halloween is upon us and I am preparing to return an old tradition, this year, in the form of a Gamma World mashup.
I used to run the old Castle Ravenloft adventure every year at Halloween. But this year, I finally had a chance to run Gamma World, which I purchased oh-so-long ago and have yet to crack the spine on. Oh, what is a DM to do…?
I chatted it over with my buddies on Behind the DM Screen and started to formulate an idea. Then I thought about some of the Lazy DMing tips that you’re going to get to read about in Mike Shea’s upcoming book over at Sly Flourish and I’ve started to piece together a plan.
I’m going to try to do everything in sets of three. Three plots to follow, three major villains, three major NPCs, three major locations, etc. etc. Then I can list everything on note-cards, have them when I need them, and be ready to go without doing any serious prep work. It’s an experiment on top of an experiment on top of a post-apocalyptic wasteland!
So the setting is the Gamma World version of the town where my game group lives. To making things feel more at home, we’re going to bring in some local politics.
Let’s start with our three Villains:
1. Strahd – he’s taken over the Capitol building and declared himself the Duke of the South. Some of the building will be mapped with iconic features from the old module, some will be familiar with the real building. Plus, you know, vampire politicians hanging out by the blood-warmer (instead of water-cooler).
2. Khill – The current head of the Gamma World School Board, and also leader of the local werewolves. The rest of the board is split between werewolves and vampires.
3. Berdu – The governor who is a mysterious being who is never really seen and works entirely through proxies. In reality, she wasted away due to plague and is almost entirely all robot at this point.
1. The School Board Monster Mash – there’s a party going on. This is where things will probably start and something will happen at the party to kick start events. It’ll be held in a park downtown.
2. Strahd’s Castle – i.e. the capitol building.
3. The Governors Manor – it’s spooky, it’s ooky, it’s probably haunted.
1. Snagged – Strahd kidnaps Isabelle because she reminds him of his lost love.
2. Vying for Power – Khill tries to get the party to kill Strahd allowing the werewolves to fill in the power vacuum.
3. Revealed – Everyone is curious why the governor hasn’t shown up lately…lets bust in and see what she’s up to (which may be sinister…maybe she’s trying to release a nano-plague to convert everyone into her).
1. Isabelle – The mayor’s aide, a cockroach lady, who resembles Strahds lost love. Everyone sees her as an innocent, she’s not as innocent as she seems.
2. Todec – Strahd’s toadie on the School Board, who secretly wants to overthrow Strahd himself.
3. Merle – The large, bear-like cyborg who is the mouthpiece for the mayor. A big, lumbering, slow fellow who secretly likes to eat people.
That’s what I have so far.
I’ve also bookmarked some pages in the various Gamma World books for possible monsters to use/reskin on the fly. I don’t expect to have more than one or two encounter, so I don’t likely need a lot. What I’ve found includes:
Death Knell Bugaboo, Gravog, Zombies, Arks, Tar Horror, Robot Guardbot, Soul Besh.
The only other prep I’ve done is to start to come up with some Fiasco-style character relationships that I’m going to try out (also inspired by Mike from Sly Flourish). I have about 13 of these done so far, I’d like to get to 20. Here’s what I’ve come up with, if you have more ideas please, leave them in the comments…
1. You have a child together
2. They stole your greatest love
3. Your contact with the vampires
4. Your dealer
5. Your teacher
6. Your political advisor
7. Your student
8. You voted for them
9. Dating your sister
10. Caught you spying on the werewolves
11. Is going to introduce you to Isabelle
12. Thinks you know the mayor
13. Your long-lost best friend
14. – 20. ????
Lastly, I’m hoping to put together a handful of maps that I can pull out and use for various locations and otherwise find a print out some real world maps of the actual locations as well as pull out my old Ravenloft module to merge in with the rest of the settings. And boom…game prep almost done.
Are there anythings I haven’t done that I need to? Should I work more on getting a few key monsters ready or do I have what I need for making changes on the fly? Should I be prepping specific maps or NPCS? Are there any lists of three I didn’t come up with yet that I probably should? This is my first time trying a really low-prep game session, it’s also my first time running Gamma World, or doing something so kookie for the Halloween game, so I’m an open book…post your suggestions or thoughts below!