The Alexandrian

Posts tagged ‘gamma world’

I’ve collected The Egyptian Incursion into a convenient PDF. You can download it here.

Egyptian Incursion PDF

The Egyptian Incursion is a quick scenario I threw together in a couple of hours for Gamma World. It was designed to serve as an introductory adventure for four 1st level characters. You can read it online here.

Gamma World: Playtest Report

November 21st, 2011

D&D Gamma WorldSince writing my review of D&D Gamma World, I have GMed two more sessions of the game while picking up a couple new players. On the basis of these sessions, I offer this random assortment of final thoughts on the game:

(1) The “incompleteness problem” (where powers will reference and use rules which are present in 4th Edition but have been removed from Gamma World) is really huge and glaring. It proved to be far more troublesome than I had anticipated. If I didn’t have previous experience with D&D, I would have quickly found Gamma World completely unplayable.

(2) Encounters in 4th Edition just take too damn long. When I put together The Egyptian Incursion I thought it would be a fun little one-shot: 6-7 modest combat encounters, a light scaffolding of investigative work, and some evocative Egyptian pulp mythos. Instead it took three sessions, with even the simplest combat encounters taking 70-90 minutes to resolve.

(Direct contrast: On Friday, I ran Gamma World. One of the encounters was a big, solo bruiser vs. 5 PCs. It took 70 minutes. On Saturday, I ran my Ptolus campaign. One of the encounters was a big, solo bruiser vs. 6 PCs. It took 15 minutes.)

(3) I made a strategic error in handling the final encounters of the adventure. I momentarily forgot the system I was using and made the mistake of playing the game world: I allowed the surviving monsters outside the tomb to flee into the tomb and seek reinforcements. This completely unbalanced the precarious encounter balance of 4th Edition and resulted in a near-TPK (with only two PCs managing to flee the scene in a badly damaged pickup truck).

(4) This is one of the reasons I really dislike the My Precious Encounters(TM) school of adventure design. Balancing every single encounter on a razor’s edge can make the game very unforgiving. And Gamma World is even less forgiving due to the lack of any characters fitting into the role of Leader and a complete paucity of healing. There’s simply no elasticity in the system for dealing with situations that turn pear-shaped.

(Nor can you simply design encounters using a different methodology, because Gamma World hard-codes My Precious Encounters(TM) into the system.)

FINAL ASSESSMENT: I had a couple of players at my table who had only previously played in my OD&D open table. They preferred the system to OD&D, which is probably a fair assessment. (I noted particularly positive responses to having a skill system, which I hadn’t anticipated but which makes perfect sense in retrospect.)

The character creation system was universally beloved. There was a lot of talk about taking the character creation system and grafting it onto some other system: Legends & Labyrinths, OD&D, Apocalypse World. (I might also take a look at something like Mutant Future or Encounter Critical.) This is something that I think is quite likely to happen in the future. I’m also strongly tempted to start goofing around with how to generally cannibalize the whole “randomly determine two origins and then combine them” thing for all kinds of character generation. It’s very, very effective and evocative as an improv seed.

But unless my perception radically shifts in wrapping up the “Famine in Far-Go” adventure I’m playing in with another group, D&D Gamma World is going to get shelved.

Go to Part 1

Osiran Swarmhounds - Earth Delta

BACKGROUND: Two Osiran Swarmhounds (each containing eight Buzzswarms) appeared far enough away from the rest of the Osirans that they’ve escaped control and have been wandering free.

ENCOUNTER: There’s a 1 in 6 chance of this encounter occurring while traveling between each location after the Roadside Ambush (Encounter 1).

The Osiran Swarmhounds wear battle armor which has been pitted and scarred. On the left shoulder of each is an acid-engraved Eye of Osiris.

Egyptian Incursion - Osiran Swarmhound

Egyptian Incursion - Buzzswarm

CREDIT: Swarmhounds are from Earth Delta, designed by Lizard with art by Joshua Diffey. Check it out.

Go to Part 1

BACKGROUND: The Lesser Emperor brought six Osiran sarcophagi to this abandoned building and had them installed. As nano-mummies are processed from the Nano-Embalming Compound (Encounter 4), they will need to come here and rest in a torpor for a week in order to stabilize their neural-physical interfaces.

Nano-mummies who go through the full period of torpor will be more powerful than the ones seen in this adventure.

LAY OF THE LAND: This encounter was designed for a battlemap from Into the Shadowhaunt, which was given out at the 2008 D&D Worldwide Gameday. (If anyone knows an alternative source where people can find it, lemme know in the comments.)

The Tomb - Into the Shadowhaunt

ENCOUNTER – OUTER GUARD: Two Eyes of Osiris, two Osiran Rocket Bots (see Gamma World, pg. 155), and eight Osiran Zombies guard the entrance to the complex.

Egyptian Incursion - Eye of Osiris

Egyptian Incursion - Osiran Zombies

ENCOUNTER – INNER GUARD: Two of the sarcophagi are currently occupied by nano-mummies. Once the outer guard raises the alarm (or sounds of combat are heard), the Lesser Emperor will activate the sarcophagi. On a 5+ recharge, the sarcophagi will open. Once both sarcophagi are open, the Lesser Emperor and both nano-mummies will move out to assist the outer guard.

Egyptian Incursion - Osiran Zombie

Egyptian Incursion - Lesser Emperor


  • 1 Omega Tech card per PC.

Next: The Random Encounter

Go to Part 1

BACKGROUND: Among the material pulled to this world from the Lesser Emperor’s funerary chambers were two nano-embalming vats. The vats and accompanying materials have been brought here, jury-rigged to some generators, and activated.

A nano-embalming vat can transform a recently dead corpse into an Osiran Zombie. It can also take a still-living subject and transform them into an Osiran Nano-Mummy. The vats are currently programmed to slave any zombies or mummies created, subjugating them to the will of the Lesser Emperor and his Battlepriests.

These vats are the key to a rapid expansion of the Neo-Osiran Empire: They can take in prisoners, slave them as zombies and mummies, and quickly raise an army from the farmsteads around Hogtown. If these vats are destroyed, the Lesser Emperor’s plans will be significantly delayed (although he does have the know-how to construct new vats given the necessary time and resources).

Bodies from the bandits (Encounter 1) and living prisoners from the Ford Bunker (Encounter 3) have been brought here to be transformed in the nano-embalming vats.

LAY OF THE LAND: This encounter was designed for a battlemap from the Gamma World boxed set.

Nano-Embalming Compound - Gamma World

The compound is inside a berm bunker similar to the Ford Family’s, but much older. The entrance appears to have been recently dug out and the sealing bolts on the vault door cut with a powerful acetylne torch (actually one of the battlepriests’ firestaves).

ENCOUNTER — OUTSIDE: The compound is guarded by two Eyes of Osiris (floating, mechanical eyes of clockwork silver and gold surrounded by energy auras to create the swirling shapes of the ancient symbol) and eight Osiris Monitor Bots.

Egyptian Incursion - Eye of Osiris

Egyptian Incursion - Osiris Monitor Bot

ENCOUNTER — LASER ROOM: The first chamber of the compound has been rigged with a laser mesh (see Gamma World, pg. 136). On the far side of the laser mesh are two Osiran Rocket Bots (see Gamma World, pg. 155).

ENCOUNTER — NANO-CHAMBER: The inner chamber of the compound contains an Osiran Battlepriest and eight Osiran Zombies. Once the chamber is breached by the PCs, one of the zombies will pull a lever on the far wall, sending cascades of electricity into the nano-embalming vats and activating the nano-mummies in the vats (who will emerge on the next round).

(The nano-mummies are Peter and Bruce from the Ford Family Bunker (Encounter 3)).

Egyptian Incursion - Osrian Battlepriest

Egyptian Incursion - Osiran Zombies

Egyptian Incursion - Osiran Zombie

NANO-VATS: These have no effect on Osiran Zombies or Nano-Mummies. If living creatures are thrown into the vats, the vats make a +7 vs. Fortitude attack. On a hit, the creature is immobilized (save ends) and must make a death save each round (even if they have positive hit points).

The vats can be used to turn living humanoids in Nano-Mummies and dead humanoids into Osiran Zombies, but this requires a hard Mechanics check. (Any creatures so created will still be slaved to the Lesser Emperor and his battlepriests. It would require the the Lesser Emperor’s slave key and a hard Mechanics check to re-key the system.)


  • 1 Omega Tech card per PC.


  • Margerie and Timmy are shackled to the wall of the inner compound. They can tell them about the assault on the Ford Family Bunker (Encounter 3).
  • Radio Communique on one of the computer banks (which scrolls only Egyptian heiroglyphics). If the heiroglyphs can somehow be translated, it an give a lot of details about their goals and origins. Even without a translation, however, the system has automatically triangulated the origin of the signal — the Tomb (Encounter 5) — and a hard Nature check will pinpoint the coordinates.
  • Holographic Map, carried by the battlepriest. If activated, it will show the location of the Crater (Encounter 2). An inventory of the equipment taken from the crater is included (showing that several sarcophagi are not accounted for at this facility) and a warning about the scarab beetle left to guard the crater.

Next: The Tomb



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