Gamma World

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Gamma World is a science fantasy role-playing game, originally designed by James M. Ward and Gary Jaquet, and first published by TSR in 1978. It borrowed heavily from James M. Ward's earlier product, Metamorphosis Alpha.[1]



Gamma World takes place in the mid-25th century, more than a century after a second nuclear war had decimated human civilization. The game's designers took inspiration from the post-apocalyptic novels and movies of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s; the first edition rules cite Brian Aldiss's Hothouse, Andre Norton's Star Man's Son (also published as Daybreak - 2250 A.D.), Sterling E. Lanier's Hiero's Journey, and Ralph Bakshi's Wizards.

The war that destroyed civilization in Gamma World is only vaguely described in most editions of the game, and what details are provided change from version to version. The first two editions place a first nuclear war near the end of the 21st century, with the final war in the years AD 2309-2322, and ascribe the final annihilation to a terrorist group called "The Apocalypse[2] and the ensuing retaliation by surviving factions. The 2010 edition introduces a significantly different backstory that attributes the destruction of civilization to the activation of the Large Hadron Collider, which caused multiple realities to exchange features in an event known as "The Big Mistake". All editions, however, agree that the cataclysm destroyed all government and society beyond a village scale, plunging the world into a Dark Age. In many editions of the game technology is at best quasi-medieval (in the first edition, the crossbow is described as "the ultimate weapon" for most Gamma World societies). Some, such as the 2010 edition, feature advanced, but rare, technology that is risky to use due to the average Gamma World character not knowing how to properly operate such devices. The post-apocalyptic inhabitants of Earth now refer to their planet as "Gamma World" (or "Gamma Terra" in later editions).

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