[Other Systems]

Remembering Twillight: 2000

Recently, I was involved in some Air-soft stuff. It's funny seeing people "play" war that way. It also got me to think about one of my favorite games from the 80's, although I admit we didn't play it that often. That game was Twilight: 2000 (T2K).

The basic premise went something like this. World War 3 happened. There was limited nuclear exchanges. The war kept going on after that. The players are assumed to be what remains of the US Army in Europe. I think the traditional starting point was the players were part of the last battle in Poland after which most of the armed forces sort of disintegrated. So the players were on their own and usually they were trying to get out of Poland. Eventually there was a supplement that gave the players a way to get back to the US.

I'm sure I'm not doing the game justice in my description above. I think for many people the Cold War had a lot to do with people's interest in it. I think this was certainly true of the people I played with at the time, since half of them were actually in the military. It always sort of interesting when people play a game about something they could actually face in real life. Of course it also meant that sometimes there were discussions about how certain thing really worked rather than what the game said.

One thing for sure, is that T2K, was a very complex game. The game had it's own worksheet you used for character creation. The longer the player had been in the service, the more skills they had but usually the more radiation exposure and other issues they had too. Player had to qualify for certain MOS/Groups if memory serves and it was usually hard to do. And you wanted to because they usually gave you more skills. As complex as character creation was, the combat system was more so.

I just remember the damage system was complex. Each weapon had an armor multiplier (I think) and a damage. So you rolled damage, and subtracted the result of the armor used times the weapon's armor multiplier. Then the result I think was referenced in some way to determine the resulting wound. The same basic system was used for all weapons large and small. So, M16's against APC armor could be determined or hand grenades vs tank tracks. I just remember that as the GM, I would do all the math because it was just easier and faster than having my players do it.

It's odd but I don't remember too many complex adventures. In many ways, I think we use to run T2K as a form of sandbox game. The players went where they wanted and the GMs just decided on what happened from there. Mostly the players were just running for their lives and trying to scrounge for equipment to survive.

I should note that there were several adventures published for T2K, I just never really used them. A few of them had more MOS choices in them. One them including Navy Seal and other Spec Op choices. All of which were very hard to qualify for but if you did, you had a lot of skills.

You can currently get the Twilight: 2000 Bundle on DrivethruRPG for 40 USD. Which includes a revised combat system, that I've never seen nor used. I'm half tempted to pick it up. Since it seems to have every supplement made for the old game.

It should be noted that there was a revised edition of T2K that used the GDW house rule system that was used for Dark Conspiracy and Traveller: The New Era. The 2300AD game also use the background history of T2K because of the way the 2300AD history was created.

I wondering how many people have played this old game and what your memories of it are.

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Player Reception to Old School Gamma World!

Recently, I had to reform my gaming group. You see after our Christmas hiatus, we found that we didn't have enough people anymore. This was due to players moving or having changes in their job schedules. This left us with too few players. This of course meant we needed to get new players. This left us with a big problem. What to we play?

You see there were two different Pathfinder Games that were going on. Do we try to integrate the new players into those games? Both games had already gone through massive players changes in the past and only may one or two characters that started the adventures were still around. As Game Master (but not for these games), I could not fathom trying to retcon the new players into the those games. I had the added wrinkle that some of the new players I got couldn't guarantee that they could make it every session. It was decided that we should just play a new game, hopefully one that adventures could be done in one or two sessions. That way players could come and go more easily.

We discuss several games that I could run with little effort. In the end, Gamma World won out. Although I own three editions; 1st, 2nd, and 4th, I decided to stick with 2nd edition. I choose it because I could easily run the classic GW1 Legion of Gold module with little or not modification. It was cool because it had 3 mini-adventures that I thought could be played in 1 or 2 sessions. I think even the final part of the adventure can easily be played in 1 or 2 sessions.

Since almost no one had the rules, we had to make characters at the first session. A few people came over a little early to make them. One nice thing about GW 2nd is that character generation is simple and random. I think including buying equipment most people got it done in about one with several of the players doing things at the same time. Smartly, I printed out copies of equipment lists and the like. In the end, we ended up with four mutated humans and one pure strain human.

No matter who you are, I don't think you can take Gamma World seriously. I know I can't. My players certainly couldn't. But for me, that is what makes it fun. Player get to have crazy mutations like 4 arms and 4 legs, wings, hand that emit low level radiation, and the like. They also get to run into really silly creatures like humanoid mutant badgers with axes and crossbows or giant termites with gas generation. Of course Gary Gygax's GW1 module does help matters. Gygax pretty much seemed to have written as fantasy module but with mutants and technology instead of elves and magic. It takes place in a barony for example. I think he also assumes that most people are normal humans and not mutants. At least no where can I find where major NPCs are said to mutants.

So what did the players think of the game system? I think they enjoyed the lack of rules. For example character creation is easy, there are no classes nor skills. There are only race choices after that, the players can decide for themselves if they are sneaky or more martial in attitude. After using the hardcore initiative systems in most modern Role-Playing Games, the rather simple system was nice change of pace. When it was the player's turn, we either went around the table or the players just decided which of them would go first. It was a little odd to get use to doing again. Still I think the players enjoyed the experience. There was much laughter and mockery. In general, I think everyone had fun.

The only downside is that we only game every two weeks and our next session is not until the first weekend in March.

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RPG Blog Carnival: Let's Show a Little Love for Spacemaster!

It's been a while since I've posted a blog entry but thought I would jump on this month's Blog Carnival to get back started into do a blog weekly. It was really a hard choice. After all this month's topic is Pimp A Game. So which little played game to show love to? I was toying with Justifiers RPG, but I no longer have that game. In the end, I decided on SpaceMaster.

SpaceMaster is an old game from Iron Crown Enterprises. The version of the game that I've played a lot and still own is the one based on Rolemaster version 2. This was before all the RMSS silly that happened.

So what was so great about SpaceMaster you ask? After all it was based on Rolemaster. Is not Rolemaster a complex game? Strangely enough, parts of SpaceMaster were much simpler than Rolemaster. For example, there were certainly a lot fewer weapons charts. Much like Middle Earth Roleplaying (MERP), it's charts combined many weapons on a single chart. Have a laser rifle, it use the laser chart. Have a laser pistol, it uses the laser chart. The only difference is where they max out on the chart much like Rolemaster's shock bolt or fire bolt spell charts. The super fun critical charts remain the same.

One of the other things that was interesting was the fact that even with an implied setting, one could still create and use one's own setting. Much like Rolemaster, they have a rather interesting section that gives information on creating your own. Which is nice because I'm not 100% down with the 10,000 years in the future setting that comes with SpaceMaster. I found it was usually pretty simple of just removing some of the races, equipment, and some skills. Being an old Traveller player, I prefer my FTL to take a little longer. The default speeds of FTL are something around 10 LY per day. I usually divided that by 10. Which was useful because one could easily use published material with just a little work.

If one also had the Star Strike and Armored Assault Games, then Gear Heads could make short work of the design systems. One thing that I always thought was cool was the fact that vehicle and starship construction rules were nearly identical. As a matter of fact by combining the rules, you could create a starship that has vehicle drive system (or vice-verse). Outside of maybe Mega-Traveller, I can't think of too many games that had that amount uniformity across starship and vehicles.

The nice thing is that you can get various parts of the Spacemaster from DriveThruRPG. So check it out if you feel so inclined.

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Dreams of Electric Sheep!

I find it interesting that there seems to be a resurgence in my interest Cyberpunk. While I know that there have been Cyberpunk genre games out there, it seems there has been a lot of Cyberpunk related stuff that starting to come out again.

First there was the Cyberpunk 2077 video for the some video game. While not an RPG, it does seem to be based on the old RPG in some way. At least it seems that way if they have a picture in the background of Alt. Then there is the Savage Worlds Kickstarter, Full Metal Cyberpunk. It all got me to thinking about the viability of a Cyberpunk setting.

You see, I still remember when Cyberpunk the RPG first came out in the 1980's. It seemed so relevant at the time. The United States Economy was so-so. Japan seemed to be taking over the world Economically. No matter what anyone else says about that time, I remember thinking about how many of the Cyberpunk Elements could happen. I guess in a way the future looked a little bleak to me at the time and Cyberpunk seems to reflect that.

The odd thing about Cyberpunk is that by the time Cyberpunk 2020 came out, the world didn't seem so bleak. Of course I purchased it and thought much of it was still cool. Then something happened. It seems like Cyberpunk was more about the metal than the meat. Which is the danger of almost all Science Fiction type games. Somehow we what the flashy metal. Which explains why there were at least three Chromebooks for Cyberpunk 2020 that I can think of. I own two and have to say while the first one was OK, I think they really started to stretch things there. I'm almost thinking that some people wished there was not the whole concept of Cyberpsychosis. I pretty sure some people ignored it.

I guess the problem always seems that much of the Cyberpunk stuff just didn't seem as bleak to me anymore. I guess I always liked my Cyperpunk to be a little more gritty and honestly tied to reality in some way.

To be fair, I am considering that Full Metal Cyberpunk thing for Savage Worlds. The information sounds interesting and it is for Savage Worlds.

So, I wonder how many of you still play a Cyberpunk type game? And Yes, I'll count Shadowrun. Even though personally, I don't quite call that Cyberpunk at all. It's more modern urban fantasy then Cyberpunk (I think it lacks Attitude, but that's just me). So, please let me know what if anything you run!

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Converting Adventures is Not So Easy

As a gamemaster, I am sure that we all have had adventures that we loved to run. Some that we have played many times with many different groups over a long period of time. Then one day a sad thing happens, we no longer play the game that the adventure supports or we just find a cool adventure that is for another system. What do we do then? Well, If you are like me, the first thought that comes to mind that we should do a quick conversion.

Which to be honest is what I was thinking for my game group's one-shot adventure we still have left to do. However quick isn't really quick in this case. The only time I think one can get away with saying quick conversion, is where there two games systems are fairly similar. Something like using the Basic Module B2 in and AD&D game. Or using a D&D 3.5 adventure in a Pathfinder game. Sure there are some work to be done, but you could almost do it on the fly. I know I've done that. Normally, however it's going to take real work.

Which is what I'm stuck with doing right now. As some of you are aware, I'm currently doing a few Deadlands one-shots, while our Pathfinder game is on hold. Last time, I ran one of the freely available One-page adventures, but I thought it was too short. So this time, I found an old TSR Boot Hill adventure that looked promising. The adventure premise was simple, Tame a Town. The adventure had it own rules on how to do that and were pretty self contained. The problem is I have a lot of work still to do.

One major area is that fact that the adventure has quite a few NPCs. They run the few businesses in town and they are also some of the people that are causing problems in the town. Which means I have to create NPC Stats for some of them. It also means I need to Deadlandize some NPCs. After all Deadlands isn't quite the west we think we know. Luckily, I can use some standard NPCs for some of the townsfolk. That should save me sometime, but I still have to create at least 9-10 special NPCs and I have to decide which of them are Wild Cards. As you can see this is where my work is cut out for me. In other game to game adventure conversions, this where one would try to convert monsters. One thing of course to look at is power levels. In some games an creature, such as an orc, might be low powered, but in other games they might be higher powered. Hell, you may even have to substitute a creature or create your own version of a creature if doesn't exist in the system.

A unique bit about this adventure that I'm converting is that it has a random crime time. That's because as the players tame the town, some crimes happen less frequently and other become more frequent. For example when the players first arrive, murder is fairly common, but yet by the time they tame the town, it's less common. Basically, who's involved in the crime is random but is influence by the location since certain people hang out at a location. The problem is that the adventure only tells you where NPCs are either in the NPC description or in the location description. I had to create a master table of locations and key it with that information for play. Again more work for myself, but it should hopefully pay off in game play.

Lastly, I had to do a little map conversion. This is something we always think we don't have to do. After all a map is pretty much system independent right? For the most part I would agree. For my part, Since I decided to just go ahead and layout the map on our playing surface, I had to re-arrange a few buildings to get it fit on my table. So again work for me, but I'm hoping it pays off when we play.

Before I close out, I'm wondering if any of you have ever done any adventure conversions? Or played such conversions, since for many of the older AD&D modules there seems to conversions to various editions?

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