Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been posting these Building Character articles for the Gamma World roleplaying game. Today I’m posting my third and final article in the series. Creating player characters for Gamma World is very different from most RPGs, because a lot of the character traits are generated randomly. Therefore, these articles focus on how I took the randomly generated traits and tried to imagine a cohesive interpretation of what sort of character this might be. The game’s publisher, Wizards of the Coast, has a very handy online tool for quickly generating the random elements of a character. You can see it here. I used that to generate this characters’ traits.
This third character’s name is Tajoezoa (I pronounce it TA-jo-EHZ-oh-uh). If you’re wondering where I’ve been coming up with the weird names for these Gamma World characters, they’ve come from the same random generator linked to above. You don’t have to use a random name for your Gamma World character, but I decided to make use of them since the feature was there.
The first thing you get from the random character creation is two origins. These describe what exactly the character is. Tajoezoa’s origins are Empath and Temporal. Empaths manipulate emotions and life energy to heal their allies and pacify their foes. Temporals are time travelers. Something prevents them from traveling great lengths of time, so they’re stranded in the current era, but they do have limited abilities to displace themselves and others by a few seconds. Both of these are rather unusual powers. Both suggest rather advanced mental abilities. I decided to play up the mystery of these two origins by making the character an enigma even to himself. Tajoezoa simply woke up in the desert one day without any idea who he was. All he had on him of note was his Kevlar-reinforced trench coat and a long-barreled laser rifle.
There are very few actual choices that you make when creating a character for Gamma World. One of those is choosing equipment. Since the Temporal origin already gives Tahjoezoa a bonus to his defense, I decided not to slow him down with heavy armor, but to give him light armor instead. This mysterious young stranger wears a Kevlar-reinforced trench coat. Because of his ability scores, he’s better off with light weapons. The other choice you can make is to choose a vocation. Vocations give you a few extra bonuses as you level up, but the first bonus doesn’t come into play until the character reaches level 4. I’m creating Tajoezoa as a first level character, so vocation is irrelevant. If I were to play him at a higher level I would choose the Medic vocation, which would give him further healing abilities to supplement the powers he’ll get form the Empath origin.
Characters in Gamma World have 6 primary abilities. The values of two of these are determined by your origins, and the other four are determined randomly. Icahbog’s ability scores are: Strength 6, Constitution 11, Dexterity 15, Intelligence 10, Wisdom 16, Charisma 18. With a low Strength and only moderate Constitution, I picture him as a sort of pale and weakly fellow. His high Dexterity and Wisdom suggest that he’s very alert and quick to react, though. He’s the kind of guy that, if you tried to sneak up on him, would have his gun out and leveled with your brow before you knew what was happening. Going along with the idea of him as an amnesiac, I’m going to say that he also possesses preternatural fighting skills without really knowing where he learned them. Perhaps these skills are even connected with his Temporal origin, which allows him to see an attack coming before his enemy even makes a move. In contrast with this image of him as a very quick and volatile character, is his very high Charisma score, which suggests a character that is extremely friendly and sociable. That makes sense as an extension of his Empath abilities. He was perhaps trained as an elite soldier in some possible future, but finding himself stranded in the current era with no memory of his past or his mission, he’s actually a quite amiable young man. If he was to join a cryptic alliance (Gamma World’s political factions), I’m not sure which one he would choose. Probably his main objective is figuring out who he is and where he’s from. Aside from that, he’ll probably just look for ways to use his unusual abilities to help others. Since the Restorationists seem to have the most inclusive outlook for the future he might side with them.
The young man woke up alone in the desert with no memory of where he came from or who he was, not even his own name. All he had on him of note was his Kevlar-reinforced trench coat and a long-barreled laser rifle. After wandering for a couple of days in search of any kind of settlement, he was happened upon by a band of marauders. He tried to bargain with them for supplies, or transportation to the nearest town, but it quickly became apparent that they only wanted to kill him and take his stuff. When one of the bandits leapt at him with a knife, he flew into action. Before he knew it, he stood alone with a dozen bodies strewn about in the sand. He didn’t understand how he had done it, and worse yet, he had felt the fear in the marauders’ hearts as he had ended each of their lives. As the last bandit lay dying, he spat a curse: “Tajoezoa!” – the name of a desert devil from the local folklore. The young man understood intuitively the significance of the curse and took it as his name. He feared what he may be, and didn’t want to forget the degree of death and destruction he was capable of if he let his instincts control his actions.
Taking what supplies he needed, and a map, from the fallen bandits, he began making his way from one town to the next. At every stop he searched for clues to his identity and looked for opportunities to aid the community. He found people distrustful and unhelpful. Finally, he wound up in the town of Far-Go, where the locals were more accustomed to strangers coming through and getting involved. There he met two other adventurers looking for another companion. He decided to join them in their travels, continuing his quest for answers and helping people where he can.
Tajoezoa is a tricky character to play in combat. He’s all about support, really. Apart from his Armor Class, the rest of his defenses are nothing exceptional. He doesn’t have a ton of Hit Points either, so you’ll want to keep him out of the thick of things as much as possible. The powers he gets from his origins will allow him to heal himself and his allies, and to hinder his foes. I would try to keep him away from enemies where he can focus on making ranged attacks and supporting his friends.
For weapons, he’s got a light one-handed melee weapon. Coincidentally, this has all of the accuracy of an unarmed quick attack and the damage of an unarmed powerful attack. So, I’m inclined to picture this as simply being his unique fighting style that combines speed and leverage to deal powerful blows. Perhaps he uses this in conjunction with some very simple weapon, such as brass knuckles or nunchaku. He’s also got a light two-handed gun. This is his laser rifle, which doesn’t do a ton of damage but has an extensive range.
From his origins, he gets the power to weaken a nearby enemy and reinforce either you or an ally with some temporary Hit Points (Empath’s Vitality Transfer power). When he hits an enemy with one of his weapons he can displace that enemy in time by a few second, teleporting him a short distance and leaving him dazed (Temporal’s Temporal Fugue power). As he increases in level, Tajoezoa will gain powers that let him transfer life from one ally to another (Empath’s Share Strength), prevent anyone nearby him from attacking (Empath’s Zone of Pacification), remove himself from the battlefield to reappear a few seconds in the future (Temporal’s Temporal Jaunt), or do the same to an enemy (Temporal’s Time Shove).
As you can see, there aren’t a lot of choices being made here while building a character for the Gamma World RPG. This is mostly me deciding how to interpret the results I got from the random generation process. I’d be curious to read your thoughts on this character and on how I chose to develop him. You can download a copy of his character sheet below, if you would like to use him in your home game. (Simply right-click and pick “Save image as…”, or whatever the equivalent function is for non-Windows-users.)