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Painting a Picture of Destruction
Think of your favorite serene landscape. Perhaps a peaceful meadow with rolling hills and a babbling brook. Birds float by on careless wings, and bunnies hop to and fro. The sun slowly slipping down behind the far off mountains dyes the sky purple. Close your eyes and picture this for a moment, and file it away in a mental vault you can return to from time to time. You're going to need it, cause it aint going to happen on Gamma World!
Gamma World has been devastated by nuclear war and most of its surviving inhabitants are either mutated or radio-active. Bunnies no longer hop to and fro across lush green pastures, Chances are, they're twisted into some strange and eerie resemblance of what they once were. Gamma World is filled with carnage, chaos and lawlessness. The scenic vistas are all now barren, ugly and abominable.
This scene you've got logged away in your mental image vault would look a little more like this: A vast empty desert, with ruins of buildings from the mid 1980s. Bugs the size of minivans fighting one another for their next meal. And I couldn't have said it better than Wizards of the Coast: super-evolved badgers with Napoleonic complexes.
Who wouldn't want art from a setting like that?!
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Gamma World Art
Yet another perk of being a Dungeons and Dragons Insider subscriber, you will have access to all the official Gamma World Art and maps!
The a rt includes mutant biker pigs, sewers filled with leaking biohazard drums, a rat scientist in a lab coat (now, how ironic is that?), and a drawing of a card that shows a set of six gaming dice, labeled, so you know how many sides are on each one.
In my honest opinion though, if you subscribe simply to get the art and the maps, you are not getting your money's worth. The art is very cartoon-like. Not only does most of it look like something you might have seen on the mid 1980's Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles, but the art style is pretty much the same as well.
As far as the maps, they too are somewhat cartoonish. Most of them remind me of the maps of the Sky-Castle.
Wizards of the Coast had its "fail" moments in art before, as with most of the books of the 3rd edition (In my humble opinion), but where that art was just bad, this is not. The pictures are well drawn, but the style is much less "real" than what WotC typically goes for. It's possible the artists chose to go this route because too much realism in such a grim setting might be just a little disturbing.
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The views expressed above are, of course, my own personal opinion, though I do find it echoed pretty commonly throughout the gaming community.
I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, and if you have some Gamma World art of your own that you'd like to share, please do!