2011-03-25, 01:16 PM
Has anyone run this adventure before? Any tips or caveats for running it? Can it be completed in a normal 4-5 hour session? Since it starts at level 3, is it friendly enough for new players who have never played 4e before, or should I go with something at level 1? I have both the original boxed game and the "Trouble in Freesboro" adventure from the Gamma World Game Day, but a couple of our players have played these before.
Thanks in advance for any input!
2011-03-28, 11:34 AM
Whether or not it can be completed in 4-5 hours depends on how you play it. It can be done, I suppose, but a lot of the fun is poking into the nooks and crannies which end up requiring the DM to flesh stuff out. The way my groups end up I'd say I'd expect 5-6 4 hour sessions, but that really depends on the group.
It helps to understand the area (remember that the original came out when TSR was still in Wisconsin, and a few of the system's in jokes are still nods to that). You can look at an atlas map of Minnesota (I don't think it leads far enough off into the Dakotas to need to go farther west, but it's possible. The basic setup for the adventure assumes you're originally coming from WI via Minneapolis (Appolzz, IIRC) along Interstate 94 or US 10 (in game The 94 or The 10) or Duluth along US 2 (The Great Northern (r)Oad). You can come from elsewhere, within reason, but you'll have to flesh out the region yourself.
I'd start at level 1, the first box set's adventure should get them to level 3 and the trip to Far-Go following hooks should net them another level.
This is the definitive Gamma World adventure, it's nice to see that they're reincarnating stuff from the late 70s.
The only real advice for running it is to lighen up and have a good time. Good characters tend to lead to overconfidence and death, really bad characters live longer through paranoia. Accept the fact that PCs will die. There are a lot of mutants out there, it doesn't take much to get someone back into the party. If you need inspiration or genre-savviness, watch Mad Max/The Road Warrior/Beyond Thunderdome a few times and let your imagination wierd out from there.
2011-03-28, 01:21 PM
If your players who have played the main box set's adventure don't want to go through it again and you don't have any starting place in mind, just level them up along the road with small adventures starting in or around Duluth, just lead them out of town on a different road than US 2. US 53 leaves town to the northwest heading to Virginia, MN, which doesn't have much for post apocalyptic advenure in its history other than a lot of pro hockey players and Robert Mondavi the winemaker, who was born there. What it does have is the start of US 169, which winds its way west and before heading south to Minneapolis, MN. It heads through Hibbing before crossing US 2 (The Great Northern Oad) in Grand Rapids, MN, where you can get them heading towards Far-Go.
This route has a lot to offer the post apocalyptic storyteller. Aside from what I list, there is a lot of Native American territory along the route. The eastern half of Minnesota is Ojibwe this far north, and after the midpoint it changes over into Dakota Sioux. Both have a lot of interesting lore, history, and people.
Duluth has Lake Superior, it is the farthest west you can easily get on the lakes. It makes it a good starting point coming from points east, and the Great Lakes do have a lot of mythology to work with. Duluth itself has a small city park that is home to a huge amount of black bears. What you have then is a place to put a group of black bear based humanoid mutants, friendly or unfriendly that have to be dealt with or need help of some kind.
Heading to Virginia, it's kind of the eastern edge of the largest and purest iron range in the world. From here until you reach the Great Northern Oad there are huge piles of bright purple stones (iron ore/taconite that wasn't pure enough to bother with due to how rich the ore really is in the area). These piles are up to a couple hundred feet tall and miles long. There are lots of stuff that could be used there for storytelling or just wierding out the players. Until you hit Grand Rapids, you can see several iron ore processing/smelting facilities in the distance. They are *enormous*. They make more good backdrops.
Leaving Virginia (qeechaquepagem is the Native American name for it, possibly leading to a good post apocalyptic name), going through these man made mountains of purple rock you come to Hibbing, MN. Hibbing is the childhood home of Bob Dylan (and more pro hockey players, plus Kevin McHale and Roger Maris with his 61* homerun season, lol), and hasn't historically thought much of him, though that's starting to change. Good place to drop a small scale holy war between the locals and Bob Dylan followers or something. Hibbing is also home to one of the largest open pit iron mine in the world (Hull-Rust mine, 2 miles by 3 miles by 535 feet deep, home to one of the largest excavators in the world, too).
The next decent sized town along 169 (as you get close, there are small suburbs including Bovey, home of the famous photograph grace and not much else) is Grand Rapids, and 2 and 169 meet up in the middle of the town where US 169 turns south. Grand Rapids is the childhood home of Judy Garland, Dorothy in the movie version of Wizard of Oz. At least one building has the main 4 characters of that story painted on the side of it. There's a lot you can do with that...
That gets you halfway from Duluth to Fargo, but there's less to work with between Grand Rapids and Fargo than from Duluth to Grand Rapids. You start to leave the forests and enter the plains region at this point.
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