Wednesday, June 22, 2016

An Open Letter to Jim Wampler (aka Shameless Plug for Mutant Crawl Classics)

Pictured: My Imagination
Dear Mr. Wampler,

I once wrote the Save or Die podcast a gushing letter about (among other things) how excited I was for Mutant Crawl Classics. At that point, MCC was still in the rumor phase, though you talked about it often enough that I knew it would eventually see publication in some form or another. Last year, at Gen Con 2015, I sat right behind you at the "What's New With Goodman Games" panel. I almost said hello, but I felt kind of like a stalker, so I chickened out.

Let me explain. I love Gamma World. When I was little, circa the early 80s, my older brother played D&D as part of that particular game's fad popularity at the time. I was too young to play, but the magic of this strange game captured my young imagination. Soon after, my mom caught on to a kind of fad herself, the Satanic Panic, and all the anti-D&D sentiment that came with it. My brother had to give up his books as a result.

He left behind a few notebooks that contained, among other things, his drawings of various friends' Gamma World characters. These were not high quality works of art, mind you, but high school level doodles of the caliber one might find sketched on the front of a pale yellow math or social studies folder. To my young eyes, however, these were works of pure genius. A dog man with a glowing sword. A human with an eye patch, cyborg arm, and laser blaster. It was the coolest thing I'd ever seen.

Sometime later, I picked up the fourth edition of Gamma World, the one TSR put out in 91 or so. I had fun with it, and although D&D remained the game of choice for my friends and I, Gamma World retained a special place in my heart and imagination.

Now and again, I tried my hand at brewing up my own version of the game, with varying degrees of success. I had a working model based on Castles & Crusades for a while, but it never turned out exactly how I wanted it. It was hard to capture the unique mixture of gonzo weirdness and deadly sincerity that the game seemed to promise me as a little kid.

Fast forward years later. I was by myself at an army base in Korea, running a solo funnel to test out the yet-to-be released DCC RPG rules, when it occurred to me that this game, with just a little tweaking, would be the perfect basis for a new version of Gamma World. Imagine my excitement when I heard you say very much the same thing a few years later.

It's not often that the universe seems to hear our silly wishes and then does its measured best to make them a reality. I have been selfishly cheering you on this whole time, waiting for you to write this game that felt I'd custom ordered it. I don't have a lot of cash right now, but I have just a little put aside for the MCC Kickstarter.

Thank you for making this game. Thank Joe Goodman for publishing it. My kids and I have our notebooks ready for our own wacky characters.

Bring on the post-apocalypse!


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