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Sunday, December 25, 2011

Mas Day in New Hope

Mas Day in New Hope by Jim Ward

     Mas Day in New Hope is a mini-scenario for the 2nd edition of Gamma World, published in Polyhedron #15 (Nov 1983, pg 22-23). Polyhedron was bi-monthly at the time, so this was the holiday issue. The scenario was written by the creator of the game, Jim Ward, and thus could be held as official GW content. Around this time Ward had a series of Gamma World articles in Polyhedron; most of these remain obscure due to the low profile and lack of CD archive for Polyhedron as compared to Dragon magazine.

     The scenario begins with the PCs in the town of New Hope near Quests Mountain, a location also featured in the 1983 Endless Quest book by Ward, Light on Quests Mountain. New Hope celebrates an annual Mas Day holiday descended from Christmas:

     "Mas Day arrives and all of the children and cubs of the village are up early and outside playing around the Tree of Life. Your parents and friends are just climbing out of abed when the village is shaken by sonic blasts from an unseen force ... Your vision is drawn to a point just beyond the edge of the village; there to your surprise is a huge man with a white beard, dressed in strange red clothing - flying a large metal chair of the Ancients pulled by eight giant, flying brown creatures".

     The villagers naturally feel threatened and attack the visitor to little effect. See the artwork above by Jim Holloway illustrating this scene. The man is an X.M.A.S. unit, a deadly Santa robot (long before the one on Futurama), "originally designed to serve in department stores around the world". They are manufactured by a recently awakened robot factory on the glacier-covered mountain, but because Gamma World is so deadly the units keep getting destroyed, and the computer system in charge has heavily modified them to increase offensive and defensive capabilities: "it was made radiation-proof, was designed with battle armor, and was given three different internal weapons systems and two auxiliary laser weapon systems. The brown servos [i.e., reindeer] were all enlarged and given mini-missile launchers in their antennae and flame throwers in their tails" and the sleigh (grav sled) was given force fields to protect from everything but large nuclear blasts.

     Despite the weaponry, unless the assault continues it will "be friendly to all the people of New Hope and give out toys and the like to the kids. It will talk to everyone and ask them what they want and promise to bring it the next year (a promise that cannot be kept)".

     If you are a fan of Jim Ward's postapocalyptic material, check out his material available for first edition Metamorphosis Alpha available on, including a nice pdf of the original  Metamorphosis Alpha rulebook from 1976 with some bonus material included.

     And if you missed it, the Greyhawkery blog interviewed Ward about two weeks ago.

     Merry Christmas to all!

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