Most people in my active social circle don't play RPGs. This just had to change. I recruited two people who'd played in the past (though their experience was limited to just a couple of sessions), and another friend decided to join as well (without any prior RPG experience). Because all my players are into surreal, weird stuff, I offered to play Gamma World. 2nd ed., the one I'm most familiar with.
The first session was mostly about getting our heads wrapped around this whole concept of role-playing and rolling dice. One person got sick, that left me with two players. Character generation took some time, but it also included some collaborative world building.
The party so far:
- A dog-headed wandering philosopher. With great physical and low mental stats... She has the ability to open portals into other dimensions (Planar Travel)... I don't know whether it will be actually used at any time, especially given the note in the book that if somebody enters the portal, they "will never find their way back to their own plane" -- Sliders, anyone? Maybe it will be used as a high-risk offensive weapon (opening a dimensional rift under a powerful enemy)?
- An oversized cat, coming from a tribe of similar cats, with some nifty telepathic powers.
The anarchistic community of the cat tribe served as the starting point of the game. We outlined the place they live at (a small pool / pond and a grove inside the ruins of a blasted city), their lifestyle, etc. The dog-headed philosopher arrived at this place, being chased away from the nearby village of mostly humans. She was stopped at gates of the tribe, where the cat PC was on a look-out. A lengthy discussion ensued, and the cats agreed to provide shelter to the harmless wanderer.
After resolving some trust issues, the PCs decided to go hunting. The time-honored way of doing this is going out with spears and digging up mole hills and hoping you don't find the angry albino moles. The two hunters happened upon a previously unknown mole/rat creature, which proved to be easy prey, but gave off a piercing dying cry -- which attracted a significantly bigger bloodthirsty rat. In this creature's case, the piercing scream was amplified into a Sonic Blast. The fight was basically an introduction to the GW mechanics, and took more time than usual, but it's the process of learning... The PCs were seriously injured, but in the end defeated their foe. They butchered it and returned to the tribe --- only to find the gates open and two guard cats vanished into thin air!