The Esper Class for Gamma-Hacked!

So, in ‘Gamma-Hacked!’, humans are divided into two different groups.  The Pure Strain Humans are descendants of the humans that were safely inside underground bunkers and vaults, and have been able to preserve their genetic code throughout the centuries.  The Mutated Humans are those who were caught in The Cataclysm, yet by some miracle they somehow survived, albeit at the expense of their DNA getting scrambled.

Most Mutated Humans are physically deformed in some way, but some end up being born superior to humans.  The Esper is one such example.  While The Esper appears mostly to be a frail human with some minor physical mutated trait (their eyes are different colors, or there might be hair where there should not be, or no hair where there should), The Esper is born with mental mutations that can make them powerful, although they usually find it is best to keep such powers hidden from the general populace, as their mental mutations sometimes make them feared.  Nevertheless, there are always those who will pay much for an Esper to aid them.

Starting HP: d4 + 4HP
Per Level/Resting: 1d4
Weapons & Armor: Daggers, Knives, Slings, Hide Armor, and Shields
Attack Damage: 1d4/1 Unarmed or Improvising

Have Advantage on saves against other’s Mental Mutations.

The Esper has 1d5 Mental Mutations.  See Esper Mental Mutations (below).

Roll to see if attributes increase; roll twice for INT or WIS.

WEAPON: Dagger, knife or sling
ARMOR: Hide armor or shield
ADDITIONAL: stones for sling (if chosen), rations (1 week), lantern, 1d6 flasks of oil, compass.

INTERESTING TRINKET (roll 1d6): 1) earphones; 2) military medal; 3) portable electric firestarter; 4) holocube containing Ancient home videos; 5) start capacitor; 6) audio CD

Level 1 has 1 use/day.
Level 2 has 2 uses/day.
Level 3 has 4 uses/day.
Level 4 has 5 uses/day.
Level 5 has 7 uses/day.
Level 6 has 9 uses/day.
Level 7 has 10 uses/day.
Level 8 has 13 uses/day.
Level 9 has 15 uses/day.
Level 10 has 17 uses/day.

When The Esper uses one of their Mental Mutations, an INT test is made to see if the attempt is successful.  The target must be Nearby or closer to be in range of the Mental Mutation.  Unless otherwise stated, any Mental Mutation being active after the first round requires the concentration of The Esper.

Beguiling: A Nearby target considers The Esper a friend and obeys his commands.  Test WIS each turn to see if the effect lasts.

Confusion: The target is confused for 2d6 rounds.  Each round, roll 1d6.
1 – Urinates
2 – Curls into a fetal position
3 – Walks in a random direction
4 – Attempts to destroy closest object
5 – Attacks an enemy at random
6 – Attacks closest creature

Death Field Generation: All living things Nearby, including The Esper, lose 1d4+4 HP.  Any living thing reduced to 0 HP is killed instantly (again, including The Esper).  If The Esper survives, he is able to regain HP lost due to his own Death Field Generation at 1 HP per hour.  The Esper can only use this power once per week.

Density Control Others: Makes another living creature either half or twice its size, but the same weight.  Those shrunk have their movement reduced by half and Attackers suffer a Disadvantage.  Those grown have their movement doubled and Attackers gain an Advantage.  Those affected return slowly to normal over 8 hours rest.

Displacement: Unlike most other Mental Mutations, this one is attempted automatically if The Esper ever believes himself to be in mortal danger.  If the INT test is successful, The Esper teleports himself Far Away from his current position to wherever The Esper believes to be the safest position.  This power can only trigger once per hour.  This power does not trigger if The Esper has no uses left.

Empathy: The Esper can read the emotions of a living creature, or force an emotion (such as courage, fear, love, hatred, or happiness) onto it.  However, keep in mind that some living creatures may not act solely on their emotions.  If an emotion is forced onto a creature, test WIS each turn to see if the emotion lasts.  Concentration each round is not required.

Force Field Generation: The Esper creates an invisible barrier around him that can absorb 20 points of damage and regenerates 5 points each round.  The force field collapses after 5 rounds, if it loses all its points or if The Esper becomes stunned or unconscious.  The Esper is unable to interact physically with anything, including making physical attacks, but can use its other Mental Mutations while the force field is up.

Life Detection: The Esper can sense any living creature Far Away or closer.  The Esper can only use this Mental Mutation once per hour for one round.

Life Leech: The Esper drains the life essence out of all living creatures Close and Nearby, causing them to lose 1d4 HP for up to five rounds, if The Esper is able to pass the INT test each round.  The Esper gains the HP the living creatures lost, which heals The Esper to full HP, then creates extra HP which stays with The Esper for four hours, after which the extra HP dissapates.  The Esper can only use this power once per day.

Mental Blast: The Esper can mentally attack the mind of a Far Away or closer living creature, doing 1d6 damage/level.

Mental Invisibility: The Esper can force all living creatures Nearby, friends and foes alike, to not see, hear or smell The Esper, blocking him out of their minds, until The Esper turns off the power or til he physically interacts with something or someone that would unblock him, such as attacking a creature, or moving/interacting with an object that could only be explained that The Esper is doing it.

Mental Paralysis: The Esper is able to disconnect all voluntary muscle skills from a living creature’s brain, causing it to collapse.  The creature can still see, hear, think and use any mental powers it has, but cannot move or speak.  Test WIS each round to see if the effect lasts.

Mental Reflection: If targeted, this Mental Mutation automatically triggers an INT test.  If successful, The Esper is able to choose new targets for any Mental Mutation that targets him.  Please keep in mind that users of mental mutations will attempt to turn them off if possible the following round if they are doing something undesirable.  This power does not trigger if The Esper has no uses left.

Molecular Disruption: The Esper is able to disintegrate any object up to 5 cubic feet in size.  If used against a living creature, it does 1d8 HP damage.  The Esper must rest for 4 hours immediately after using this Mental Mutation.

Photokinesis: The Esper can manipulate light, causing one of the chosen effects each round for five rounds:
1) can bend light around him, making him appear invisible to anyone not Close.
2) can either double the damage of a Nearby laser attack or decrease by half the damage of a laser attack, reducing it below the visual spectrum.
3) can block light, “putting out” a Nearby light source.
The Esper can only use Photokinesis once every 4 hours.

Suggestion: The Esper can plant a thought in the mind of a living creature Nearby or closer.  The creature will believe the thought came from itself only if it is something the creature could have conceivably thought on its own.

Telekinesis: The Esper can move Nearby objects within sight with his mind as if he was physically carrying them, using his INT instead of his STR.  Telekinesis can also be used to disarm an opponent, sending the weapon flying out of his hands to a Nearby location.

Telekinetic Flight: The Esper can fly at the same movement speed he has on land for 10 minutes per level.  Concentration each round is not required.

Telepathy: The Esper can either read a Nearby living creature’s mind or transmit his thoughts to another Far Away living creature for up to 5 rounds, although using the latter power will not control the recipient in any way.

Teleportation: The Esper can teleport himself to another location that is Far Away, or Distant if The Esper studied that destination for eight hours within the past month.  The Esper can only use this mental mutation once every 3 hours.

Thermakinesis: The Esper can increase or decrease the temperature of up to a 5 cubic yard area Far Away or closer, causing anything in that area to either burn or freeze for 1d6 HP damage per round for up to five rounds.  Thermakinesis can also be used to reduce Nearby heat and cold attacks by half for up to five rounds.


‘Gamma-Hacked!’ is my first project that I will be blogging about.  Ever since I bought ‘Gamma World: Fourth Edition’ in 1993, I have been a fan of the Gamma World role-playing game and setting.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the maker of ‘Dungeons & Dragons’, TSR, created a post-apocalyptic role-playing game called ‘Gamma World’ as a change of pace from fantasy role-playing.  Described as “science-fantasy” (which means that, while part of the science-fiction genre, the setting is not grounded or based on science at all), this game takes place in the far future – centuries after an event called ‘The Cataclysm’ occurred, which caused nuclear, biological and chemical weaponry to be released on a massive scale, causing global climatic changes and an extremely mutated gene pool.

In this setting, civilization is dawning for the second time after hundreds of years of strife and suffering.  Towns have rediscovered how to make printing presses and gunpowder.  While most sentient species want to rebuild, there are many who still want to destroy, and those who want to rebuild have their own ideas on what this new world should become.  The world is still mostly unexplored and uninhabitable, with much undiscovered technology of The World That Was hidden…and thinking.

When playing Gamma World, the greatest problem I would encounter was that the players would expect their characters to start out with futuristic armor and weaponry.  I always found it bizarre that I had to explain to players that what they were requesting was the equivalent of starting a Dungeons & Dragons campaign with high level magical items.  However, I think the “gonzo” game design within ‘Gamma World’ was partially to blame for this misconception.  My players simply believed that the game master was going to throw such powerful monsters and obstacles at them from the get-go, they assumed their characters would be properly equipped to handle any obstacle in any way they chose.

While I never believed that I should resort to this (upon which the disagreement would usually end a campaign as quickly as it would start), my beliefs were confirmed upon reading Wrathofzombie’s post about how he made his characters realize that, like ‘Gamma World’, ‘Hubris’ is not a setting where you should assume that the game master will bend over backwards to make sure your opponent is designed to be easily vanquished upon the player characters showing up on the scene.

However, do not get me wrong.  I have always believed that the game design could be improved to make ‘Gamma World’ a bit less random and, dare I say, a bit more balanced.  I also wanted to find a way to make ‘Gamma World’ a tad less rules heavy.

One day, while reading Wrathofzombie’s excellent blog, I read his post about a new rules light game system called ‘The Black Hack’ that he had fell in love with so much, he was going to shy a bit away from ‘Dungeon Crawl Classics’.  This made me extremely worried, as leaving a well known game system for a lesser known one had me picturing the demise of his new company, ‘DIY RPG Productions’.  But after checking it out for myself, and seeing what Mike Evans was able to do with the rules in his product, ‘Cyber-Hacked!’, I was convinced he was on the right track, as always.  I then saw that other people were creating products also using ‘The Black Hack’ rules system.  This made me put it together that ‘The Black Hack’ and ‘Gamma World’ could be the perfect marriage (since Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie sure ain’t – Zing!), and thus, my idea for ‘Gamma-Hacked!’ was born.

Now, before anyone decides they need to point it out to me, I do realize that Wizards of the Coast owns Gamma World, and I can never, ever sell ‘Gamma-Hacked!’.  However, I do not believe that to be a sufficient reason to not write what I believe would be an excellent game, such as the DIY RPG Productions product, ‘Into the Wasteland’, which combines the ‘Into the Odd’ rules with the ‘Fallout’ setting.

So, while I have many other ideas I cannot wait to blog about, my upcoming posts will be articles regarding ‘Gamma-Hacked!’.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

First blog post

So, I have been extremely impressed with Wrathofzombie’s blog for a very long time.  I have also been thinking about a way to get my writing out there.  I was going to wait until an article I wrote and got paid for was published in a magazine, but that magazine ended up going out of business.

I was going to use Google Plus at first, but WordPress offers much easier access and like Mike Evans, I can post links there to come here, anyway.

I have had a lot of plans and ideas – works that I have either attempted or planned to get out there.  I had posted articles within a message board community, until I read that any posts within that community became the property of the message board owner.  So, I deleted my own articles, but that caused me to get banned by the message board owner, and she restored them after banning me, giving her ownership again, and my emailed pleas to her asking she grant me ownership of my work never received a reply.

I also met with a local writer and self-publisher who had seemed eager to discuss my ideas.  However, when I arrived at his home, all he did was ask me if I liked Star Wars, then made me watch a horrible dubbed European horror movie from the 1980s.  On top of that, he paused it when he went to go to the bathroom adjacent to the den, and I had to sit in the dark while listening to his urination.  After the “meeting”, he then sent me an email asking me for my name, which was on Google Plus, and had been the initial way I was contacted by him.  Suffice it to say, I blocked this person every way I knew how and moved on.

So, now I am here, where there is nobody to steal my work out from under me and no creepy person to use my desire to be published as a way to get me to watch crappy films with him.  I have many great ideas, and while I am not sure if there is any way I can post the article I sold (I have thought about breaking it down and expanding each section to avoid legal trouble), I am eager to get my writing out to the public at large.