Okay, so sometime last year I bought a Gamma World 2nd edition boxed set off Ebay (with Star Frontiers, to boot.) I was surprised to see that the seller threw in a copy of Famine in Far-Go, which, as far as I know, did not originally come with said boxed set. I let Famine sit in the box until earlier this evening. Looking for inspiration for the Mutant Future campaign I should have started several weeks ago, I thought I'd give it a peek. The module seems to be fairly highly regarded in grognard circles, so what the heck...
My initial reaction: What. The. Fuck.
My secondary and tertiary reactions were similar, though with added expletives.
In middle school, I was apparently doing Gamma World all wrong, in that I did not steep the entire game in total absurdity. (Of course, I was ten, so I didn't pick up on the...er..."finer points of humor" in the game.) To me, GW-and, by extension, Mutant Future- were weird, sure, but they were games about science fantasy and wonder.
Hallucinogenic berries lead the characters to a factory full of mutant chickens with guns. Oh, and there's a radioactive meteor up in there, too. Don't forget the self-referential Gygax encounter, including the characters having the opportunity to find a damaged copy of a Gamma World rulebook.
Perhaps I was a bit naive to take the game seriously at all. I always interpreted the game as bizarre with a dash of gonzo, rather than double-gonzo-all-the-way.
Mutant Future, on the other hand, is practically a re-skin of D&D. (To me, anyway)
I think a lot of the cognitive dissonance that Famine in Fargo is causing me results from my own very specific interpretation of Gamma World and Mutant Future. Of course, specific interpretations of D&D are part and parcel in this corner of the internet; that's how we end up with stuff like Carcosa, The Metal Earth, Planet Algol, etc. (The latter two are fine blogs and you really should check them out, by the by.)
It looks like I'm back to the drawing board, or at least back to the AD&D notes on Tarraxian. I don't even think my Mutant Future is is a post-apocalyptic Earth. Then again, TSR went that route with Metamorphosis Alpha, and even the Mutant Future rulebook suggests some alternatives.
Hell, maybe I just want to play MA with Mutant Future's rules.
At any rate, Famine in Far-Go is going back into the boxed set.