In Gamma World 7e, are PC powers only used once per encounter?

If so, how about monster powers, are they only used once per encounter?

I know it states "you renew your encounter powers" during a "rest".

Unlike D&D where you have to "rest" to remember your spells, the PC powers in GW are who the character is built on with their origins, so why the limit on using a natural power?


2 Answers 2


Yes, encounter powers can only be used once per encounter, hence the name. The rule you quote about only getting them back during a rest is literally how they work.

But why?

Because. That's really the only answer. Because that's how the game is.

If it helps, think of Gamma World 7e as running like a movie about the weird post-apocalypse instead of simulating "real" life in that world. In a movie, a big, flashy, pivotal move is only going to get used once in a certain conflict, because that's how movie screen time and plot-writing works. So too, in GW 7e, a pivotal, flashy move is only available once in a given conflict, because that's the only time it actually makes a difference in the outcome.

A note on D&D-based intuitions: In some editions of D&D, only wizards need to rest to regain their one-use powers—their spells. However, Gamma World 7e is based on D&D 4e, and in D&D 4e it's normal for a character to have powers usable at-will, once per encounter, and once per day—so that includes fighters, thieves, and the like having single-use powers too, not just spellcasters. Any intuition about how Gamma World "should" work in 7e, based on earlier editions of D&D, won't be helpful in understanding Gamma World 7e and will more likely interfere with understanding its rules.


Gamma World has both Encounter and At-Will Powers

Player characters and Monsters in Gamma World have both Encounter and At-Will powers. Their name indicates the frequency with which they may be used. At-will powers may be used, 'at-will,' or multiple times within a given encounter. Encounter powers may only be used once per encounter.

For the purpose of story, I tend to view those powers as actions or abilities that take a physical or mental toll on the individual carrying them out. This makes a great deal of sense as many of the Encounter abilities are related to extreme actions granted to you by your mutations, rather than their more subdued at-will counterparts. As SevenSidedDie stated in his answer, this gives some powers a more cinematic appeal.

Mechanically, this breakdown gives you an array of powers that have different impacts during a combat encounter, and provide additional opportunities for tactics/strategy as PCs and the GM budget out their power uses.


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