How well did GW4E and AD&D 2E mix?

A wacky, wily game of postapocalyptic peril.
Post Reply
User avatar
Doc Necrotic
Hobgoblin
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:49 am
Gender: male
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

How well did GW4E and AD&D 2E mix?

Post by Doc Necrotic » Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:31 pm

Dragon 183 gave some ideas on mixing things together, but what about going all out? (Heck, Dragon 57 and 114 have some ideas, kind of.) The most I ever did was sample some items to twist around into "steam tech" for a game that already mixed MotRD with standard 2E for a pulpy steampunk themed game way back.

I'm curious how attempting to fuse the two together would go, into some kind of science-fantasy monstrosity of heroic fantasy and high technology. I already understand that there are different takes on balance and organization, like hit dice and leveling, but I'm sure things can be hand-waved. I'd probably have to one of the core systems (either AD&D or GW) and go from there.
Follow my delves into madness via the Daemons & Deathrays blog!

User avatar
Dread Delgath
Storm Giant
Posts: 1780
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 10:09 pm
Location: "The Good Life"

Re: How well did GW4E and AD&D 2E mix?

Post by Dread Delgath » Tue Dec 10, 2019 4:37 pm

I didn't have any problems mixing the two systems, but I've never ran a pure AD&D or Gamma World RAW game - no matter what edition it was.

When I ran D&D in the early 80's, it was a mix of BX and 1st edition rules. When I switched to 2nd edition, it was a mix of 1st & BX. When I first ran GW, it was GW2nd ed, but GW3rd was a very different system, so we did our best, but wound up using mostly GW2nd ed rules.

When GW4e came out, mixing it with AD&D/BX was a no-brainer. We only did a few sessions with some mutants with high-tech from GW stepping through a portal to Greyhawk for our D&D game, but when we switched to GW, we didn't use our D&D characters - we just switched altogether.

We didn't need any monsters, spells, or any magic at all, nor were D&D/AD&D characters desirable. We wanted native GW characters for our GW4e game. I soon started tinkering with the GW4e classes and came up with a LOT of classes to supplement the GW4e core 4 of Enforcer, Esper, Scout, and Examiner. I created the Jack of All Trades, Medic, Burglar, Martial Artist, and also incorporated other game systems like Paranoia. I created a character generation system that allowed characters to be "Alpha Clones". When WotC released 3.0 rules for D&D, I could trace the d20 system back to its GW4e prototype.

In the 2000's, I joined a Gamma World Yahoo! group, and collaborated & traded ideas with a lot of other Gamma World fans and met some of my best friends thanks to that group. There was a rabbit hole of ideas there, which I quickly got lost in and frustrated by the added complexities of D&D 3e/3.5 SRD rules. I added 3.5 skills to GW4e, and admitted what a mess of a system I now had. I loved the simplicity of the GW4e system - lite on skills and classes, and eventually shaved everything back to factory resets.

Someday I hope to revisit my set of clunky, kit-bashed rules and sort them out for another run at GW4e, but since there is an unofficial D&D5e set of GW rules out there (sorry, no link...) I believe that a crossover with D&D5e and GW is more likely than going back to the past rules and redoing all that.
So Long and Thanks For All the Fish!

User avatar
Cthulhudrew
Green Dragon
Posts: 4467
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:13 pm
Gender: male
Location: Long Beach, CA

Re: How well did GW4E and AD&D 2E mix?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:02 am

I've never actually played 4E GW, in spite of having had the book practically since it first came out. The baseline was similar enough for most things, which was part of the point of the revision (to bring it closer to 2E)*. One of the design goals was to make them so close as to be compatible.

I think the biggest issues to deal with would be 1) HD/HP as you point out, 2) Mutations, and 3) Saving Throws. To wit:

1) HD/HP: I would probably use the GW HP process (1d6 x Con at 1st; +1d6/each additional level). The 1st level boost in hp from this system is something that will be needed once PCs (and creatures) get their hands on some of the more advanced weapons, which can cause considerable damage on a single hit (most melee weapons are comparable between systems). You could play around with it a little bit, and give different HD for the different classes and/or adding Con modifiers, to resemble AD&D's system, but be wary of making it too robust because of that 1st level boost. 1d10 x Con can be potentially much greater than 1d4 x Con, obviously.

2) Mutations are a real mixed bag and don't have the advantage of having levels to kind of differentiate the really dangerous/beneficial ones from those not so good (admittedly AD&D spell levels weren't always so good at accurately portraying power levels of spells either). The other thing that makes mutations difficult is that many of them require Mental Attacks (MHAC) which is not a thing in AD&D. Adding it is isn't hard, but you then need to consider how that will apply (if at all) in relation to spells, which leads into...

3) Saving throws: As Saves are non-existent in GW 4E, but are intrinsic to a lot of things in AD&D you have kind of a dilemma. If you keep saving throws, then you need to reconfigure some things when converting GW (for instance, changing MHAC to saves vs. the most applicable effect). If you decide to keep some of the GW systems instead, then you need to revisit magic (ex. changing mind-affecting spell saves to MHAC), and monster abilities (saves vs. poison to Health hazards, etc.)

*In fact, some elements of 4E GW would later be revisited and become part of the 3E/d20 system, such as escalating AC/Thac0, evened out ability modifiers, unified XP table, etc.)
Moderator of the Mystara and Greyhawk forums. My moderator voice is gray-green.
Image

User avatar
Doc Necrotic
Hobgoblin
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:49 am
Gender: male
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re: How well did GW4E and AD&D 2E mix?

Post by Doc Necrotic » Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:24 pm

Cthulhudrew wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 5:02 am
I've never actually played 4E GW, in spite of having had the book practically since it first came out. The baseline was similar enough for most things, which was part of the point of the revision (to bring it closer to 2E)*. One of the design goals was to make them so close as to be compatible.

I think the biggest issues to deal with would be 1) HD/HP as you point out, 2) Mutations, and 3) Saving Throws. To wit:

1) HD/HP: I would probably use the GW HP process (1d6 x Con at 1st; +1d6/each additional level). The 1st level boost in hp from this system is something that will be needed once PCs (and creatures) get their hands on some of the more advanced weapons, which can cause considerable damage on a single hit (most melee weapons are comparable between systems). You could play around with it a little bit, and give different HD for the different classes and/or adding Con modifiers, to resemble AD&D's system, but be wary of making it too robust because of that 1st level boost. 1d10 x Con can be potentially much greater than 1d4 x Con, obviously.

2) Mutations are a real mixed bag and don't have the advantage of having levels to kind of differentiate the really dangerous/beneficial ones from those not so good (admittedly AD&D spell levels weren't always so good at accurately portraying power levels of spells either). The other thing that makes mutations difficult is that many of them require Mental Attacks (MHAC) which is not a thing in AD&D. Adding it is isn't hard, but you then need to consider how that will apply (if at all) in relation to spells, which leads into...

3) Saving throws: As Saves are non-existent in GW 4E, but are intrinsic to a lot of things in AD&D you have kind of a dilemma. If you keep saving throws, then you need to reconfigure some things when converting GW (for instance, changing MHAC to saves vs. the most applicable effect). If you decide to keep some of the GW systems instead, then you need to revisit magic (ex. changing mind-affecting spell saves to MHAC), and monster abilities (saves vs. poison to Health hazards, etc.)

*In fact, some elements of 4E GW would later be revisited and become part of the 3E/d20 system, such as escalating AC/Thac0, evened out ability modifiers, unified XP table, etc.)

Hmmm... I could either tone down high tech to be more in line with AD&D magic weapons/armor/whatever or I could push the AD&D classes to have more GW style HP, I guess, to avoid sacrificing the feel of tech? I dunno. As for Mental Attacks? I'd probably sample the Psionics rules and fiddle with Mental Combat, maybe take from the Astral Plane (Planescape) rules a bit too. And as for saving throws? That's no biggie either. For example, I've used Radiation as Save vs. Poison or Death Effects (I've bounced on this one).
Follow my delves into madness via the Daemons & Deathrays blog!

User avatar
Digitalelf
Bugbear
Posts: 184
Joined: Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:09 pm
Gender: male
Location: United States

Re: How well did GW4E and AD&D 2E mix?

Post by Digitalelf » Tue Dec 17, 2019 7:02 am

You might look to TSR's Buck Rogers XXVc rules for some ideas for bridging the gap between AD&D 2e and GW 4e as BR XXVc used 2nd edition AD&D, albeit slightly modified (e.g. it used an actual skill system in place of Proficiencies).
-That One Digitalelf Fellow-

User avatar
Dread Delgath
Storm Giant
Posts: 1780
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 10:09 pm
Location: "The Good Life"

Re: How well did GW4E and AD&D 2E mix?

Post by Dread Delgath » Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:23 pm

Digitalelf wrote:
Tue Dec 17, 2019 7:02 am
You might look to TSR's Buck Rogers XXVc rules for some ideas for bridging the gap between AD&D 2e and GW 4e as BR XXVc used 2nd edition AD&D, albeit slightly modified (e.g. it used an actual skill system in place of Proficiencies).
It also had classes, so that will help inform you how to adjust them to either system.
So Long and Thanks For All the Fish!

User avatar
Cthulhudrew
Green Dragon
Posts: 4467
Joined: Tue May 27, 2008 2:13 pm
Gender: male
Location: Long Beach, CA

Re: How well did GW4E and AD&D 2E mix?

Post by Cthulhudrew » Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:22 pm

Now I'm curious about Buck Rogers, which I never owned. I wonder how similar it is to GW4E, which came out 2 years later.
Moderator of the Mystara and Greyhawk forums. My moderator voice is gray-green.
Image

User avatar
Doc Necrotic
Hobgoblin
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Nov 27, 2019 5:49 am
Gender: male
Location: New Jersey
Contact:

Re: How well did GW4E and AD&D 2E mix?

Post by Doc Necrotic » Wed Dec 18, 2019 5:40 am

I'd happily mix XXVc into the mix. But, beyond other means, it's extremely hard to track those down. Should I get around to the core book, I'll happily give it a look over and see what can't be translated. Heck, I'd probably fuse it with spelljammer, for some high gonzo science fantasy space opera antics, on top of D&D-meets-Gamma.
Follow my delves into madness via the Daemons & Deathrays blog!

User avatar
Dread Delgath
Storm Giant
Posts: 1780
Joined: Mon May 26, 2008 10:09 pm
Location: "The Good Life"

Re: How well did GW4E and AD&D 2E mix?

Post by Dread Delgath » Wed Dec 18, 2019 10:38 am

Actually, Buck Rogers XXVc came out in 1990, two years before GW4e!

Slade Henson worked on supplements for both GW4e ("Treasures of the Ancients") and BR XXVc ("Hardware"), and some items (Graser, UV, VS, IR, and FIR Lasers, Cyclorator, Lightning Gun) and other gear from the main books that show up in both products.

In fact, it was BR XXVc that inspired me to MIX GW4e into space, or at least the Solar System, via the XXVc setting. In BR XXVc, Earth is supposed to be mostly in ruins except for the Orgs and Arcologies, so that isn't too far removed from total radioactive apocalyptic ruin that is the central theme of GW. I simply started the GW4e campaign as a normal campaign, but when the PCs discovered a working shuttle in Albuquerque that takes them to a space station on auto-pilot, that's when they discover the truth about Man going to the stars. Or at least they've colonized the Solar System and left the Earth mostly alone.

I've also taken great joy in designing two arcologies called "Alpha Complex", ran by insane computers and believe the other Alpha Complex are traitors, mutants, and of course: Communists!

But the truth may actually be that Mars agents have infiltrated one of the Alpha Complexes (perhaps both!) and introduced a virus to Friend Computer(s), rendering them insane!
So Long and Thanks For All the Fish!

Post Reply

Return to “Gamma World”