Enter a new world, successor to planet Earth.  It is a savage land of brooding forests, wild unbroken plains, and rugged mountains.  In places the wilds give way to radioactive wastes where cities once stood.  Scattered across the continent are the few surviving pockets of humanity, forcing a precarious living from the hostile land.  Faced with a harsh environment, men are highly suspicious of strangers and jealous of each others' possessions.  A moment's lack of caution may mean swift and painful death.  Weird and powerful mutants lurk amidst the populated world.  Clandestine organizations, known as Cryptic Alliances, plot and scheme against each other, each devoted to reorganizing society according to its own beliefs.
Journey into the far future where life is both dangerous and exciting ... where the wonders of Man's highest technology exist side by side with the stone axe and the coat of chain mail armor ... where exotic mutations abound and strange new powers of the mind shape human life.  This is the bizarre and ever-changing world - GAMMA WORLD - that you, the player character, are invited to enter!
Scientists say the genus homo (Man) has been on Earth for some three million years.  During this time, one particular talent has set men apart from every other creature - their ability to conceive and create new tools.  Indeed, man has been defined as the "tool-making animal."  He began with chipped rocks and polished bones, and progressed to neutron bombs and computers.  Man has been constantly redesigning, improving, and refining his tools to meet his ever-changing needs.  Some of his tools have been children's toys.  Other tools have improved his way of life.  A few tools have nearly caused Man's extinction.
Early in the 24th century, mankind's existence was unparalleled.  The rape of the Earth's beauty and resources had been halted and reversed, due to man's tools.  Man had reached for and attained the stars with the help of his tools.  Yet in spite of these tools (or perhaps because of them), the idyllic life of the 24th century came to an abrupt end.
 Man had conquered the rigors of simple survival.  The foundation-stones of the mountains, the smallest components of the atom, the deepest-hidden secrets of life itself were Man's to command.  He was able to turn his efforts to more esoteric considerations: theology, political ideology, social and cultural identification, and development of self-awareness.  These pursuits were not harmful in themselves, but it became fashionable to identify one's self as a member or supporter of various leagues, organizations, and so-called "special interest groups".  Over time, most of these groups became polarized, each expressing and impressing its views to a degree that bordered on fanaticism.
Reconstruction of events before 2322 has been difficult due to lack of intact records.  Historians now generally mark 2309 as the beginning of the Final War.
The Final War involved all the nations, peoples, and "interest groups" of the earth.  Every one of them was destroyed.  The mightiest and the most inoffensive groupings of men alike became embroiled in the conflict.  There was no sanctuary; no place escaped attack from some quarter.  The weapons which wrought the destruction were many and varied.  Targets were seared by lasers, blasted with fusion devices, and razed by unfathomable energies developed in the last months of the conflict.  The fighting was carried out with a fury never before witnessed on the face of the Earth.  Oceans boiled; continents buckled; the sky blazed with the light of unbelievable energies.
Finally it was all over.
The civilization of Man had been slashed, burned, crushed, and scattered to the four winds.  Not even 1 out of 1000 humans survived.  Some of the combatants completely annihilated their foes.  Others tried but failed.  Some may have destroyed themselves (and everything else within reach) rather than face defeat.  At the time, and even now, the question "Why?" is moot.
What DID matter was that Man survived.  The decades that followed the Final War were spent struggling to survive in a suddenly savage and vastly changed world.  The process was a painful one, filled with nearly as much terror and violence as the Final War.  In this time, almost two-thirds of the survivors perished, trying to learn the new lessons that would permit them to survive.
The devastation had changed the very fabric of life on earth.  The weapons and devices used had completely obliterated some forms of life.  Others were mutated to the point where they could not be recognized as what they had oncebeen.  Mankind was not immune to the doses of biogenetic chemicals and radiation.  All manner of mutations entered the gene pool.  Most were defects that did not survive.  But many others survived and became part of the breeding stock.
Perhaps the most startling change was the development of latent mental abilities (psionics) in nearly all organic life, including man.  These powers could range from simple emotional empathy to the ability to control or kill other beings with mental force.
Through it all, the death, the pain, the horror, and facing the prospect of an unknown future, man searched for his lost knowledge, and struggled to regain his tools ... to rebuild a self-destroyed civilization.  In these years, those who hold the tools, hold the power.  The year is now 2471.  It is nearly impossible to describe the vast changes that have occurred since the devastation of the Final War.
Only the most highly fortified areas (military headquarters, spaceports, and the like) remained even partially intact.  Neutron bombs and other tools of death decimated those who remained within even these strongholds.  They left concrete and metal tombs housing incredibly complex equipment, now stilled for lack of human guidance.
The ecological balance of nature was shattered as violently and suddenly as man's civilization.  Many of the weapons used were of a biogenetic nature and nearly all life forms suffered some form of mutation.  Animals began to repopulate the earth ... and what strange animals they were!  There were intelligent snakes with man-like arms and shoulders; horse-sized jackrabbits spread across the Great Plains.  The sudden animal extinctions and mutations generated a world-wide wilderness inhabited by savage creatures who, like man, were struggling to survive.  Man's intervention and attention to this process was limited to his own immediate survival needs.
The loss of so much of man's knowledge and records has shrouded the world in ignorance and superstition.  Areas containing the ruins of the old civilization are often looked upon as taboo - "Death Lands."  The people who once lived there are referred to as "the Ancients," usually with quasi-religious overtones.  Artifacts from the past may be simple curiosities or objects of terror.
 The GAMMA WORLD science fantasy role-playing game is an exciting game of action and adventure set in 25th Century America.  As a single adventure, a game can be played in under an hour.  It can also be enjoyed as a connected series of adventures played over an extended period of time.

 Many terms of modern society are alien to the player characters.  If GAMMA WORLD characters see a jeep driving through a field, they won't call it a jeep.  In fact they probably won't think of it as a gasoline-powered machine intended to get its driver from one place to another.  Instead they might see it as a steel horse with a person held captive in its belly.

 Below are some common terms used in the GAMMA WORLD game.  These are by no means the only foreign terms used by the inhabitants of this strange world.  However, this is a good representative list.  Different societies might have slightly different terms for the same thing, and other commonly found remnants of the Ancients will also have been named by ordinary folk.  GM's should try to use these words when describing scenes, speaking as an NPC, and at other appropriate times.
 ADAMANT  The Ancients used a material they called duralloy for many of their artifacts.  This super-tough metal surpasses any other metal or plastic in resilience, hence the common name adamant.
 ALTERED MEN  This name refers to the general class of Humanoids.  Any human with even a single mutation is an Altered Man, or one of the Altered.  See also True Men.
 ANCIENTS  The people who lived before the Final War.  'The Ancients' should always be spoken with a capital 'A,' to differentiate it from a common slang term for old people.
 ARTIFACTS  The generic term for objects made before the Final War by the Ancients.  They are considered to hold great power, and even the most worthless can be bought and sold for a handsome price.  'Artifacts' should be spoken with a capital 'A' to distinguish them from tools made by GAMMA WORLD inhabitants some time ago.
 BONES OF THE GIANTS  The metal frame of an Ancient building.  Frequently all that is left by now.
 CLOUD TOWERS  This name refers to any large building, particularly skyscrapers, left standing (and in reasonably good shape) from the time of the Ancients.
 THE CURSE  Radiation is something that cannot be seen.  It is the invisible source of radiation sickness.  Therefore, the inhabitants of GAMMA WORLD do not have a term for it, since they can't see it.  They do, however, have one for the resulting illness.  It is called the Curse, or the Legacy.  People do know that the Curse is the result of the great weapons of destruction used by the Ancients.
 THE FINAL WAR  Long ago (150 years), the Ancients fought a great war with devastating weapons of mass destruction.  This cataclysm was the Final War.  It is occasionally known as 'the Time of Troubles' or 'the Time of Terror'.  It cast the entire world into barbarism, from which it is only now recovering.  The fights and quarrels since then are so petty (by comparison) that they are not considered true wars by modern historians.
 THE GLOW  The light shed by radioactive areas at night is called the Glow.  Unfortunately for the characters, it also refers to the light produced by light bulbs.  To the inhabitants of GAMMA WORLD, there is little difference between a rock that glows and a piece of metal and glass that glows.
 GREENFOLK  All intelligent Mutated Plants are referred to as the greenfolk.  They should not be confused with Grens (see Creatures), who are called the Green Folk.
 THE LEGACY  See The Curse.
 LIGHTNING  This is obviously a common term for electrical discharge in a storm.  However, the inhabitants of GAMMA WORLD believe, correctly, that the Ancients were able to enslave this force to do their bidding.  Therefore, ALL electricity is called lightning.
 LIVE METAL  Most self-powered machinery is called live metal.  In particular, robots and vehicles are given this name.  It refers to the appearance of life in a metal object.  The machine moves, walks, talks, &c; so it must be alive.
 NEW ANIMALS  This is a term for Mutated Animal characters.  Any animal that is obviously intelligent is a new animal.
 NOGRAIN  This is probably the most perplexing material left behind by the Ancients.  It bears no resemblance to any naturally occurring material.  It has some of the attributes of wood, ceramic, and resin.  Most notably, plastic is a material with no grain.
 ROARING CONDOR  A term for an airplane or other flying craft, particularly one with noisy engines.  See also Sky Chariot.
 SKY CHARIOT  A common term for an airplane or any other flying craft that carries a pilot.  See also Roaring Condor.
 SOFTROCK  Concrete crumbles and deteriorates much faster than natural stone, hence the term softrock.
 SUN BOLT  This is the name coined for energy blasts.  Usually it refers to visible beams, such as those produced by plasma guns, conversion beamers, and the like.  Laser beams are rarely given this name, probably because the beam itself is invisible.
 TRUE MEN  These are the unmutated descendants of the Ancients, also called Pure Strain Humans.  Their bodies and minds are sturdier than those of Altered Men, but they lack the advantages of powerful mutations.  See also Altered Men.
Conducting Campaigns
 Before doing anything else, the GM should sketch a rough terrain map of the Campaign area, showing mountains, rivers, forests, &c.  An atlas or common road map will help in laying out the basic shapes of these features, but he need not be too concerned with the source map's accuracy.  Remember that rivers will have changed course, mountains will have fallen, and new forests will have sprung up, so an accurate 20th century map will be of little use in positioning these features.  When completed, this map will serve as a guide to construction of a detailed Area Map, but it is used initially to help organize one's ideas.
 The suggestions that follow are only some of the things the GM will want to include in his conception of GAMMA WORLD.
1) Settlements.  In establishing areas populated by the survivors of the Final War, the following guidelines are suggested.
    A) Cities.  There should be a minimal number of cities.  There were simply too few survivors, and there hasn't been time enough for any new great cities to have grown.  ALL of the old cities lie in radioactive ruin (or some other deadly hazard), have been completely obliterated, or were swallowed up by the rising seas.  Any new city will generally be on a coast or river, and is near one of the few remaining robot farms (explained below).  City populations should range between 3000 to 30,000 individuals of all genotypes.  The largest city in GAMMA WORLD has a population of 50,000; there may be as many as three dozen cities spread across the whole continent.
    B) Villages.  This is by far the most common settlement, with populations of 50 to 500, roughly half males and half females.  Villages usually have a low tech level.  Villagers are a very suspicious, shy people, often ruled by a shaman, chief, witch doctor, or priest who has gained his position through possession of knowledge or a device of the Ancients.  Some villages are inhabited entirely by members of a cryptic alliance.
    C) Towns.  This is a large village, with a population between 500 and 5000 individuals.
    D) Tribes.  Many organized bands of people are semi-settled.  They stay in a given location for a year or so, then wander when the land around them is used up and can no longer support their population.  While these tribes are not literate, their strong verbal tradition allows them to live close to the land and exist in relative safety even among some of the most fearsome mutated creatures.  Most tribes have their own war and peace chiefs and band together into clans or "nations" for security purposes.

  E) Bands.  Smaller than tribes, these are more mobile, smaller groups of 100 or fewer members, about a third of whom will be warriors.

  F) Nomads.  These tribes guide herds of cattle, seeking the best fodder and water locations.  The members use in turn the produce of the beasts' bodies (milk, hides, &c) for their own needs.  They are completely mobile, and are about as numerous as tribes.

 2) Ancient Areas ("Tombs of the Ancients")  The ruins of the cities, fortifications, &c of the past (often called "Death Lands" or "Taboo") will be found in all parts of the world.  Their number, size, and content are left to the GM's discretion.

  A) Mech-Land (Robot Farm)  This is an automated complex that grows different crops in an efficient rotation system.  The products of this complex are canned and stored there for pickup by authorized shippers (who disappeared long ago).  The Mech-farm is controlled by logic circuits in the main control building.  In the area are 3-12 maintenance robots, 1-10 security robots, and diverse farming units with rudimentary logic circuits for farm work.  There is a chance that humans coming into the area can prove proper authorization without alerting the security robots.  Often these farms are the private property of a local tribe, village, or city, and will have living guards as well as the robots.  Robot farms are found in all parts of the world, including mountains, deserts, and under oceans and lakes.

   B) Building  To remain after the devastation of 2322, a single building must be made of tough stuff!  This type of building would be either a military installation of some sort, a structure built to withstand earthquake forces, or a scientific research building.  If it is a military installation, it invariably has 1-10 security robots, a 25% chance of 1-4 defense/attack borgs, and a 50% chance of still having electronic security equipment, still in operation.  Earthquake-proof buildings usually have important government records inside.  Scientific research buildings were always guarded electronically and there is a 75% chance that this powerful security system is still functioning.

   C) Ancient Village  Found in differing states of decomposition, these areas have usually been picked clean of useful materials and are only good for shelter.  They are often overgrown by various types of vegetation.

   D) Ancient Town  Much the same as Ancient villages (only larger); stripped of usable materials, they now provide shelter for travellers.

   E) Ancient City  The remnants of larger concentrations of population, these desolate places are left with a residue of hard radiation (or some other hazard).  This makes them dangerous places to enter but, by the same token, it also makes them likely places to find Artifacts.

   F) Metropolis  Generally, these are now nothing more than mile upon mile of radioactive slag.  Occasionally, however, portions of these now-dead giants escaped destruction, and the intrepid adventurer who braves the radiation is almost sure to find valuable Artifacts among the rubble.

   G) Fortifications  Military complexes, scientific research stations, law enforcement headquarters, and records areas were commonly heavily fortified to resist terrorist or regular army attack.  These fortifications were designed with extreme care to keep out ALL unauthorized personnel.  This included physical barriers such as resilient steel and concrete walls, electric fences coupled to sophisticated electronic security systems, patrolling robotic units, and any other GM-designed protective measures.

 Fortifications may range in type from prominent buildings to vast underground complexes.  Contents will vary, depending on its original function.  Many times, due to the strength of the fortification, the contents will be relatively intact and unharmed.
 Fortifications will be found in one of three states: depowered, active, and manned.  Depowered complexes have no security system in operation and are quite likely to have been sacked of most usable contents.  Active complexes still have a functioning security system, robots, &c, but lack an "intelligent" commanding force and function according to pre-War programming.  Manned complexes are active fortifications with a directing intelligence, such as the remnants of a group of Ancients, or a band of Restorationists.  The GM must determine the extent of function, supply, &c for all fortifications he includes in his game.
    H) Spaceports  These were primary targets during the Final War and are usually found in the center of an extremely devastated area, saturated with hard radiation.  The construction and shielding of the spaceports was such that many survived, relatively unaffected by the holocaust.  The GM can fill his spaceports with highly complex equipment, aircraft, spacecraft, and possibly a starship.
3) Other Suggestions
    A) Radioactive desert  These appear to be conventional deserts, but are actually the results of high-yield fusion weapons.  They are taboo to nearly all races of life, as the hazards are many.  Every being spending time in a radioactive desert has a 5% chance per day of suffering exposure to random Intensity radiation.  The presence of radiation-resistant mutants is another danger to be considered. On the bright side, however, since these were created by target-seeking weapons, the target may be close by, or even in the center of the desert.  Thus, even though radioactive deserts are dangerous, and often used as areas of banishment for outcasts, they can hold treasures of the Ancients in the ruins of whatever was the target of the fusion weapons.
    B) Roads, etc.  Most roads, railroads, and other avenues of transportation have been destroyed.  However, some portions of a vast transport network (similar to the interstate highway network) remain, due to the incredibly tough duralloy metal from which it was constructed.  The underground mass transit systems in Ancient cities may also remain in varying states of disrepair.
Having a general idea of what he wants the Campaign area to be like, the GM should draw an Area Map, following these steps in order:
   1) Fill in water areas.  The rough sketch of the area should show as accurately as possible the lengths and direction of rivers, and the location of lakes and reservoirs.
   2) Add mountains and hills.  Following the rough sketch, the GM should add the location of mountains, hills, ridges, and other similar features.
   3) Show deserts and swamps.  Where the land is very low, especially near rivers and lakes, the ground may be wet and swampy.  Low ground inland from mountains will often be dry and such spots make good locations for deserts (treat as Deathlands for most purposes).
   4) Add Deathlands.  Where large population centers or important military installations once existed, the GM should draw in the Deathlands around them and then place any surviving features.
  5) Add roads and trails.  Using his sketch map as a guide, the GM should add roads and trails linking the destroyed places of the Ancients.  Roads will only exist where Ancient duralloy superhighways once ran.  Trails will follow the routes of smaller (state and county) roads and will be crumbling, overgrown ruins.
 6) Add Bases.  Almost all occupied villages, towns, cities, monasteries, and other permanent communities will be found on a road or trail built over the remains of the road network that existed before the Final War.  The Campaign area should be populated with Bases of all types.
   7) Add Installations.  Most Installations were destroyed in the Final War or will be the site of Bases constructed by communities anxious to take advantage of the Installation's unique assets.  However, the GM should always try to place a few "lost installations" on the map as sources of loot.
   8) Show political divisions.  The GM should decide if he wants all social organizations to be very small (a few hexes at most) or if he wants to have large areas controlled by Cryptic Alliances or other groups.  He should then set borders for these divisions and note them on the map.
   9) Key the map.  All important hexes (those with Bases, Installations, or other interesting features) should be "keyed".  The GM should put a number, letter, or name after that feature and write up a short description for reference.  At the beginning of each description should be the same number, letter, &c that he wrote on the map for that feature.  Descriptions should include the number and types of inhabitants, the Tech Level and government of the Base (where appropriate), and any other information the GM feels the players need to know.

 In a stand-alone adventure, the place the player-characters hold in society is unimportant, but in a Campaign the question is crucial.  There are scores of distinct social structures in GAMMA WORLD.  All can be broadly classified as:
    1) Tribal and Clan societies.  Most societies are primitive in both technology and organization.  They are generally made up of a group of tribes organized into a large clan.  Each tribe is usually run by a council of elders or by a "chief".
   2) Feudal societies.  Most Tech Level 2 societies are feudal in nature.  That is, they are peasant societies ruled by a "nobility" charged with the protection of that segment of society.  The nobles, in turn, owe loyalty to nobles of higher rank.  Such societies are usually localized, including a dozen castles and villages within 20 kilometers of each oother.
   3) City-States.  Some Tech Level 3 societies are organized as city-states of 3000 to 30,000 people.  These may be ruled by a single "tyrant" or king, by an appointed council, or by an elected assembly.
   4) Cryptic Alliances.  Societies of all levels of technology will often be part of a cryptic alliance.  Many small independent villages will be Bases for such organizations.  Most cryptic alliances are tightly organized and continent-wide.
 Not everything needs to be done and detailed before a campaign setting can be used.  As players adventure through an area, the GM develops additional details and should add these to his campaign key.  Only major factors need to be detailed at the beginning of a campaign.  These include the following:
- Potential foes or competitors
- Potential allies and friends
- The PC's base
- Lairs of major creatures that prowl the region
- Possible adventure locations
- Ancient roads and ruins of note
- Special transport systems available
- Specialized dangerous terrain and hazards of the area
- Trade routes
- Types of obstacles the players will commonly encounter, including social pressures and laws, creatures, dangerous terrains, bandits and ambushers, etc.
Designing Adventures
Before the players can take their characters on an adventure, they will need to know something about their goals, the area through which they will be travelling, and what dangers they will have to overcome during the adventure.  The GM must create this necessary background.  This section gives a step-by-step method for providing that background.
 A "scenario" is an idea or theme that ties together an adventure and keeps it from being just an endless series of meaningless encounters or combats.  Like a good novel, a good scenario always gives the players a reason for their adventure.  In addition, a good scenario will present the players with challenges that will test their capabilities to the utmost while giving them a chance of surviving.  The best scenarios are those which present a realistic environment filled with inhabitants whose motivations and relationships with each other are easily grasped.  The paragraphs below describe some common types of scenarios the beginning GM may want to try out.
1) Exploring the Unknown.  The players are recruited or hired to explore a wild area (deep forest, ruined Ancient town, &c) to determine its potential value as the site of a new settlement.
2) Destroying a Terrible Menace.  The players are recruited or hired to find and destroy some deadly menace that threatens the peace of a tribe or holding.
3) Fulfilling a Quest.  The players must travel to a particular place and bring back something to prove that they were there or bring back some particular item from that place.
4) Escaping from Enemies.  The characters begin the scenario as prisoners or fugitives and must make good their escape.
5) Rescuing Prisoners.  The players must rescue certain prisoners being held by a cryptic alliance or a band of savage NPC's (Arks, for example).
 There are many other possibilities, such as escorting a caravan or important person, retrieving a lost or stolen item, infiltrating a cryptic alliance to stop a deadly plot, attempting to unite the tribes in an area, etc.
 Once a scenario has been selected, the next step in structuring an adventure is to decide where the adventure will take place, what the surrounding area will be like, and what main features the adventure's final action will have.  It is not necessary to know where every element of the setting is located or to have a detailed map of the area.  However, the GM must form a general idea of what the setting will be.  Popular settings include:
    1) Mech-Farms  These farms are always computer-controlled and are an excellent source of processed foods for those who can convince the controlling Cybernetic Installation to turn the food over to them.
    2) Ancient Military Installations  These might have any purpose connected with government or war.  Most will have large numbers of Security Robots, Defense Borgs, and Security Monitors in them.  Many will contain weapons, armor, and transport.  Some will house government records in shock-proof buildings or caverns deep under the Installation.  A few may be Military Experimental Labs which contain partially tested weapons of great power.
    3) Ancient Communities  Most of these were destroyed during the Final War and thoroughly looted in the years since.  However, the vast weed-grown fields of rubble and vine-draped statues that mark their sites will be the objects of religious worship to many.  In some cases, portions of these communities will be fairly intact and will still yield some functioning Artifacts.  The rare village, town, or city of the past will even have a functioning Broadcast Power Station and the robots powered by that station will keep the buildings in repair and will replace worn-out equipment and machinery.  Even some Ancient metropolises may have partially escaped the destruction.
    4) Spaceports  Most spaceports were built near what were population centers and will be surrounded by wide belts of radiation and rubble.  Their sturdy construction will have saved them from destruction and they will be good places to find Artifacts.
    5) Deathlands  These radioactive deserts will usually be shunned by travellers, but it is within such areas that the largest troves of unlooted Artifacts will be found.  However, all characters who spend any time in these areas will have a 2% chance per March Turn of exposure to random Intensity level radiation.  These areas will often be places of exile for wanderers or will have religious significance to Radioactivists or others.
    6) Enemy Strongholds  The bases of hereditary tribal enemies or of cryptic alliances will often be armed strongholds that the characters must escape or penetrate (to rescue prisoners, for example).  These may be located in castles or towers of post-War construction, in caves, caverns, or old mine shafts, in walled towns and villages, or virtually anywhere else the GM desires.
 Once the GM has decided on a setting and planned out the surroundings in a general way, he should make a preliminary decision as to the general number and types of NPC's who inhabit the setting and the surrounding area.  With this in mind, he should proceed to draw detailed maps of the setting and surroundings.


 Once the setting is mapped, it must be "stocked."  This is the process of deciding what interesting or dangerous NPCs and equipment, fixed machinery and hazards will be present and where exactly they will be located.  The GM will need to first decide what NPC's (if any) have to be present in a setting because of the scenario he has chosen.  (For example, if the scenario is the rescue of a friend from a Badder village, the GM obviously must make sure there are a lot of Badders present.)  Once he has determined who MUST be present, he may then use his own judgement to add other NPC's to the area, or he may use the Encounter Table for this purpose.  (Reroll any 'No Encounter' results.)  If the setting is an Installation, some of the NPC's should be replaced with Robots.
 After selecting the NPC's for a setting, the GM should decide what equipment is present.  He will need to consult the Equipment Tables for this purpose in most cases.  He may also roll on the Loot Table, if common Artifacts are desired.  When deciding what equipment is present, the GM should remember that very valuable or powerful items should not be common or easy to acquire.  In general such items should be found only in the heart of difficult-to-penetrate Installations, or should be part of the equipment of powerful NPC's.
When all NPC's and equipment have been placed in the setting, the GM should fill in any other details of interest and establish where there are Radiation or other hazards.  He may, at this time, wish to adjust his maps so as to direct the players towards any interesting situations he has cooked up (block a passage with rubble so the players MUST enter the room occupied by the powerful enemy sidekick, for instance).  Finally, he should locate any small items of fixed machinery present.
In some cases, the GM will need to create special Encounter Tables if the players will be wandering around some area for hours (or days) on end.  In this case, use the same format as the regular Encounter Table, but use only those creatures he has decided are present in the area.
 Once the GM has decided on a setting and planned the surrounding area in a general way, he should decide on a major villain.  The major villain is an important element of every adventure for he gives the players someone to strive against and to eventually overcome in the finale after having encountered and defeated several of his minions.
A villain should be intelligent, devious, and even mysterious.  He (or it) may be striving for the same goal as the players, treat them as unfortunate intruders, or may even be the players' goal.
Villains should always have minions who do their dirty work for them or act as guards.  Sometimes they will use wild creatures' lairs as a line of defense to deter the curious.  The GM should also decide what other types of creatures or special new mutants are present in the area.
 There are many obstacles that may need to be overcome for the players to reach their goal.  This provides some examples of the types of encounters that may be used to create an adventure.  Not all are obstacles; some add atmosphere to the adventure.
1) Guardians that repel intruders
2) Sensors to warn the villain
3) Automated defense systems, such as mine fields, laser banks, and gas fields
4) GM-created mutant creatures that inject an element of the unexpected into the adventure
5) Patrols and security forces.  These lead to battles that may be ambushes or organized defenses
6) Traps that snare the players or cause damage
7) Dilemmas or puzzles that must be resolved to continue (how to climb a smooth cliff, cross a river of fire, open a door locked from the other side).  The penalty for not solving the dilemma properly is often damage.
8) Negotiation and investigation - chances to gain clues and valuable information
9) Hazards - physical terrain dangers that must be passed
10) Searches for secret passages, keys, or IDs
11) Omens - clues to the adventure awaiting the players
12) Eerie or bizarre places.  These need not challenge players, but should create an alien feel: a plant with eyes that watches them, a swath of purple color that oozes across the ground, an area of tilted gravity, &c
13) Rewards.  The GM should not give out rewards and Artifacts haphazardly.  The players should have to overcome some challenge before they can gain the item, or else it may prove faulty.

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