Master of Mutant Design
Here is the part of the editorial that is based on Gamma World
It is one of my inspirations for making Mutant Future critters. Another is an editorial that is soon coming up- the one with Cthulhu sized lake monsters.James M. Ward (TSR’s GAMMA WORLD® game): I was in a GAMMA WORLD game that Jim Ward ran a few years ago. It scared me to death. Jim has a habit of rolling huge numbers of dice of damage at the snap of a laser, and his campaign was full of amusing things such as Cthulhu-size lake monsters and deathray satellites that diced up ground targets with impunity. But his most famous creation was the subtly named Death Machine, a nice little military relic of the Social Wars of the game’s background.
What’s a Death Machine, some of you may ask. Here’s a story: A few years ago, when I was in the Army, I told everyone in my gaming group to each pick his or her favorite deity from the AD&D® game, and prepare to role-play that deity in a special scenario I had developed. The next hour was spent in feverish excitement as a large assortment of gods and supermonsters met on a deserted plain and awaited their opponents. Suddenly a huge space-time warp opened up in front of the incredible assembly . . . and out of the alien warp came three brand-new, fully armed, fully powered Death Machines on random programming.
Two gods died in the first 10 seconds of combat, each taking over 700 hp of damage. A third god died before the minute-long fight was over, and two other gods (including Demogorgon) fled the battlefield in utter panic. All the rest of the deities were pounded with atomic missiles, lasers, bombs, rockets, shells, bullets, force fields, and death rays. Thor bent the nose of one Death Machine with Mjolnir but took a nuke in return. If I had not used random attacks, all of the gods would have died in 30 seconds, no sweat. It was wonderful.
None of the PCs in any GAMMA WORLD games we had thereafter ever stayed within sighting distance of a Death Machine. However, I understand that Jim has run GAMMA WORLD campaigns in the past in which whole fleets of Death Machines would fly off into the wilderness and be completely destroyed by mutant strains of crab grass. Properly run, a good GAMMA WORLD game should cause Fear with a capital F in any pitiful, barbaric mutant who dares poke his head out of his cave. Thank you, Jim.