Gamma World. Its author is Phil Taterczynski, whose only other game writing credit I remember is Operation: Fastpass for Top Secret, published in the same year. The would make 1983 a banner year for Gamma World; never before had it received so much official support in the span of so short a time. (I have some thoughts on that score that I'll save for a later post).
Unfortunately, The Mind Masters isn't a particularly good module. Set in southern Illinois and surrounds, the adventure starts out promisingly but quickly degenerates into cliche. The PCs are members of a community called Iac South, which, unlike most archetypal Gamma World communities is not wholly primitive and superstitious. Indeed, the community is governed by a group of scholars called the Collegians, whose leader is known as the Dean. As part of a coming-of-age ceremony -- alas, some things never change in Gamma World adventures -- the PCs are ordered by the Dean to journey into the wilderness to find a reputed storehouse of Ancient artifacts. Accompanying them is a NPC mutant named Rath Travenix, a more experienced explorer who treats the PCs with some contempt.
The first part of the module consists of a series of wilderness encounters, as the PCs wander about, looking for clues to the location of this reputed Ancient installation. Along the way, Travenix is killed by fiat -- the text simply states that he dies in an attack, with no option to save him -- which I suspect was intended to be a traumatic event, but, since Travenix is portrayed so negatively, I have a hard time imagining his death will be met with any tears. Likewise, Travenix's whole purpose in the scenario is to lead the PCs by the nose through the wilderness so that they can reach the "right" place the module intends them to be. Furthermore, that right place is the site of a no-win encounter, where the PCs are captured. Again, there is no option for escape and the text even includes the dreaded phrase "no matter what the PCs do." Yes, The Mind Masters is a railroad.
Two days after their capture, the PCs awaken to find themselves inside a strange, high-tech place, which, conveniently, turns out to be the very place they were seeking. Of course, the inhabitants of this place are themselves strange, consisting largely of what appear to be pure strain humans who ask the PCs bizarre questions and subject them to a variety of tests of their mental and emotional capacities. I don't think I'm giving anything away if I reveal here that the place to which the PCs were taken is a pre-apocalyptic mental health facility under the direction of an artificial intelligence that, despite being super-intelligent, is nevertheless clueless about how much the world has changed. Consequently, he finds the PCs' belief in mutant powers and the like to be signs of mental illness and is taking steps to "cure" the PCs. Somehow the PCs must prove both their sanity and the nature of the world outside the facility or suffer the consequences.
I really can't tell you how much I dislike The Mind Masters. When I bought this module, I was initially quite excited about it, as I was glad to see that TSR was continuing to support one of my favorite games. But The Mind Masters is so heavy-handed in its presentation and its central concept, while certainly workable within the context of Gamma World, so poorly executed that I never even tried to run it. I felt that I had wasted my money in buying this, because, aside from some maps and some new mutants and technology, there really isn't much to recommend The Mind Masters and even those things aren't unique enough to alter my opinion of the module. Even after all these years, I consider it a low point for the Gamma World line and, alas, an omen for what was to come in the years ahead.