I never played Gamma World. I’m just not a post-apocalyptic guy, I guess. Some people’s inner psyche resonates to a brutal, hopeless desert world filled with mad Maxes. My “quiet place” is a verdant forest, dotted with wildflowers and limpid pools, and it’s being set on fire by orcs.
Although I’m not the Gamma World demographic, I do want to read the Gamma World rulebook. I like reading RPG combat mechanics. I have this 19th-century idea that RPG game rules are steadily progressing towards perfection. (That’s opposed to the classical worldview of old-school bloggers: that every RPG generation is a further-debased descendant of a Golden Age.)
WOTC preview articles have shown ff some of the Gamma World rules. One of my favorite of these mechanics is the rule for ammo use.
Ammunition is a problem in D&D. Do you make all the players count arrows? (Probably not.) Do you let people buy a sheaf of 20 arrows, and let them use that from level 1 to retirement? (Probably.) What about magic arrows? should PCs count them?
The Gamma World rule is this: when you use ammo, you may either try to conserve it or be profligate with it. If you conserve it, you can use it once per encounter. If you’re profligate with it, you can use it as many times as you like during this encounter, but at the end of the encounter, you’ve used it up.
This strikes me as a great way to introduce ammunition-conservation decisions without adding an irritating arrow-counting step to every ranged combatant’s turn. It wouldn’t work with normal arrows, of course: you can’t have a ranger who fires one arrow per encounter. I’d prefer to handwave normal ammunition and use this rule for what it was designed for: limited, powerful resources: a sheaf of magic arrows, perhaps. It could also replace the pre-4e rules for magic items with charges.
There’s an extra benefit of this rule, besides avoiding accounting. In video games as well as D&D, do you know how many times I use magic ammunition/items with charges? ZERO. I hoard. I like a rule that circumvents my hoarding instinct.