This is my second in a short series of Building Character articles based on the Gamma Worldroleplaying game. You can read the first one here. 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.
Voxva is the second character I’m creating for this Building Character series on Gamma World. The first thing you get from the random character creation is two origins. These describe what exactly the character is. Voxva’s origins are Wheeled and Hypercognitive. Being Wheeled, she has one or more wheels instead of legs. Being Hypercognitive, she can see the future before it happens. When I tried to picture what kind of being would bring both of these ideas together, I imagined some kind of robot or cyborg that was built for racing at extreme speeds. She was created with advanced artificial intelligence that allows her to read sensory data and process it incredibly quick. This was only supposed to help her make split-second judgment calls on the track, but it has the additional side effect of allowing her to predict the very near future in other tense situations.
There are very few actual choices that you make when creating a character for Gamma World. One of those is choosing equipment. Since the Wheeled origin increases Voxva’s speed by 1, I didn’t want to give her heavy armor, which would negate that advantage. Instead I gave her light armor and a shield to help her avoid getting beat up too much. I also gave her heavy one-handed weapons. Because they’re heavy weapons they’ll do more damage. She could do more damage with two-handed weapons, but then she would have to give up the shield. 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 Voxva as a first level character, so vocation is irrelevant. If I were to play her at a higher level I would choose the Tribal Scout vocation, which gives her some additional bonuses to perception and mobility. At level 10 I would switch her to the Marauder vocation, because the third Tribal Scout feat won’t actually do anything for her – it is redundant with an ability she gets at first level for being Wheeled.
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 9, Constitution 18, Dexterity 7, Intelligence 16, Wisdom 16, Charisma 13. Her Strength is kind of low, but her Constitution is rather high. This makes me think she’s not particularly strong, but tenacious. Her Dexterity being low seems at odds with her being so fast. I’m going to say that when she’s moving in a straight line she has the grace of a cheetah, but any other time she’s a pretty clumsy girl. She’s smart, intuitive and charismatic. I’m going to contribute this to her predictive abilities. In a conversation she can often predict how someone will react to what she’s about to say, and change her statement if needed. She’s also great at comebacks, because she can start thinking one up before you even say whatever it is that she’s going to need a comeback for. I picture her as very outgoing, but a bit snarky and impatient as she’s always eager to move things along. Sometimes, she probably wonders why it takes so long for the rest of the world to catch up with her. If she was to join a cryptic alliance (Gamma World’s political factions), she would join the Restorationists – the most forward-thinking faction, striving to bring about the future people once dreamed of before the world went mad.
Voxva used to be an ordinary girl. She grew up on the streets of Ew Yo scavenging for food and other supplies while she tried to stay clear of the gangs. One day, she was hit by a motorcycle. The motorcyclist belonged to one of the street gangs, and he was practicing for an important race coming up in which all of the gangs competed for territory rights. He was fine, but his bike was ruined, as was much of Voxva’s body.
The street gang offered Voxva’s parents an opportunity to help their daughter. They knew a scientist who wanted to test out some experimental cybernetics. The implants would save the girl’s life, if the operation didn’t kill her, but she would have to race for the gang if things worked. Desperate to save their child’s life, Voxva’s parents agreed.
Not only did her new cybernetics replace Voxva’s legs with a wheel and equip her with a powerful electric motor, but enhancements to her brain made her hypercognitive, allowing her to predict the very near future and make split-second decisions with greater accuracy than any normal person. Her life was saved, but now she had to race for the gang. Racing wasn’t so bad. Voxva was good at it, and she quickly earned fame and accolades. She let the rush of power and prestige go to her head, and she soon became absorbed in her own self-gratification.
Her hypercognizance grew stronger at times, especially in situations she had become very familiar with. In the weeks leading up to the biggest race of her life, she began to have dreams about the race. In her dreams, she would pull ahead of the pack, and then somebody else’s desperate attempt to catch her would cause an accident that would result in the deaths of twelve other racers. She told her parents about these dreams, and they advised her not to ride in the race. To self-centered and proud to take the advice, Voxva reasoned that if anyone did get hurt it would be their own fault for running against her.
The day of the race came, and events played out exactly as Voxva’s dreams had predicted. As she drifted across the finish line, she looked back at the wreckage, heard the moans and cries for help from the injured and dying racers, and felt very sick deep inside. She took to the highway that day and never looked back. She didn’t stop until she had driven half way across the continent, to a town called Far-Go. On the way she had plenty of time to think. She had decided she wanted to quit thinking only of herself and find some way to help others. In Far-Go she found two other young adventurers looking to see more of the world and to make a difference in it. She’s been riding with them ever since.
In a fight, Voxva is all about speed. She has a pretty substantial bonus to Initiative from the Hypercognitive origin, so she’ll likely go first in most encounters. She can also move farther on her turn than most people, even ignoring difficult terrain, by virtue of her Wheeled origin. She’s good at avoiding attacks that she can dodge, but anything that tests her fortitude or will might cause some problems. Fortunately, she has a pretty high number of starting Hit Points, so she can stand to take a hit or two.
For weapons, she’s got a heavy one-handed melee weapon. This could be almost anything, but I think the idea of a racer wielding a stop sign as a weapon is just the kind of irony Voxva would enjoy. She’s also got a heavy one-handed ranged weapon. This does decent damage, but it has a pretty limited range. Maybe she stuffs a rock in her tailpipe and then launches it at an enemy. Or, maybe she spins her wheel and sprays debris on the bad guy.
Voxva is very much a team player. She is good at chasing down elusive enemies and picking them off before they can cause too much trouble for her and her friends. She may often be able to get to enemies that her allies can’t reach. A couple of her powers make her target more vulnerable to her allies’ attacks. From her origins, she gets a very mobile attack that draws the attention of her target away from her friends (Wheeled’s Maximum Overdrive power). Or, she can strike her foe in a way that opens him up to further attacks (Hypercognitive’s Uncanny Strike power). As she increases in level, Voxva will gain powers that let her literally blaze a trail, leaving a line of fire behind her (Wheeled’s Burning Rubber), plow over her enemies, crushing them beneath her tires (Wheeled’s Monster Truck), predict her enemies’ attacks and get out of the way (Hypercognitive’s Saw it Coming), and strike an enemy a blow that will leave him reeling (Hypercognitive’s Exploit Weakness).
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 her. You can download a copy of her character sheet below, if you would like to use her in your home game. (Simply right-click and pick “Save image as…”, or whatever the equivalent function is for non-Windows-users.)