Twilight:2000 has very little to do with sparkling vampires who emotionally abuse high school girls. In fact, it's about as different as you can get, and still take place on Earth in the same rough time period. So, if you were expecting some sort of Twilight/Buffy/Angel/X-Files crossover, well, get to work running that game, 'cause it would be pretty fun.
Twilight:2000 is an older RPG, that had a niche, but loyal following (And still does, just even more of a niche), and aimed to give players a gritty, fairly realistic sense of roleplaying in the aftermath of a nuclear Third World War. The first edition, published in the 1980s postulated a NATO/Warsaw Pact/Chinese threeway in the near future, while the second edition, published in the 1990s, made it an alternate history game. The third edition completely rewrote the history into the context of the Global War on Terror, and the nukes flew once the French launched a nuclear strike against Belarus, and the less said about that setting, the better. However, we will, in a sense, be using the third edition rules, but more on that below. (And, also, below, you'll find a very short history of the war.)
In this particular game, rather than the traditional survivors of 5th Mech's destruction in the last offensive in the war, players will be in a more structured environment: the 4/4th Cavalry Squadron (Armored), the divisional cavalry squadron of the 3rd Mechanized Infantry Division. If that just made your eyes glaze over, but you're still interested, you will play characters that are part of a military unit in a post-apocalyptic environment, which means that while you have to follow orders, you'll enjoy the support of 5-7000 other veterans of hard combat and stockpiled supplies. Because of the unit you're in, you'll largely conduct operations on your own, where you can employ your own initiative in getting the job done, though you'll have less support because of your independent operations- in other words, if you're used to a format like D&D or Shadowrun, where you get a job and aren't told too much about how to do it, you won't have too much adjustment. And, if you like more sandboxy stuff, we won't skip over all the downtime between operations- so, you'll have as much freedom to explore that as you may want. (Or if you just want to pull guard duty and sleep back at camp, we can accommodate that, too.)
The plot of the game starts as Operation OMEGA wraps up. OMEGA was the massive evacuation of US troops from Central Europe to the US, using the last sealift capacity in the world, and will be the last major operation of its type for a long, long time. (If you're familiar with the game, these are the events described in Going Home, though we're picking up with the results of that effort, and I'm fudging it so that there's enough sealift to move US Heavy Equipment and supplies out of Germany) Because of the food problem- that is, there's no more industrial food production/processing complex- the arriving units are going to be landing along the US East Coast. 3rd Mech will try to find a place to land along Chesapeake Bay, where it will hunker down for the winter of 2000/2001, and prepare for further operations in support of the Military Government of the United States. However, the US that the characters will return to is not at all the one that they left. Things have changed nearly beyond recognition, and, in a real way, the PCs are part of an army invading their homeland. (If you're playing an American- there's plenty of good reasons why a non-US National would be along for the ride, if you have a hankering to play something else. See more below.)
Here's a fairly compressed version of game info for easy reference, using Moraline's excellent topic guide.Game:
Game Master Info / GM(s) Participation Level (If/where applicable)
- Section the Game will be placed in and whether it is a system game or not.
This game will be placed under Extreme, mostly because of the fact that, when you get desperate, well armed people in the same place, there's going to be a lot of violence. This game will use the 3rd Edition of Twilight:2000 (Twilight 2013), but most of the actual rules stuff will be handled by me, and so the game will look and probably feel more freeform. See "The Combat Problem" below for more details.
- Who is the RP open to? (Gender, Sexuality, etc..?)
The RP is open to all people- sure, the US military in the 1990s discriminated against a lot of people, but in WWIII, that mattered a whole lot less all of a sudden. Sex isn't the focus of the game anyway, though if it happens, hey, it happens.
- Short Summary of Player Roles and General Story/Plot.
Characters will be members of a US military unit returning to the US after several years fighting a nuclear World War III. The story I have in mind starts with trying to land and establish a garrison for the division in Maryland, surviving the winter, and, if the game continues, crossing the Allegheny/Appalachian Mountains to put the Ohio area under control of the US Military Government. See, "Do I have to play a member of the US Army?" for more details.
- Setting. A post Nuclear Exchange Eastern US.
- Character creation info/guidelines.
To keep people who would be interested in a game from having to invest in an out of print book, I'll handle the mechanical side of character generation, just like I'll generally handle the mechanics side of the game. I'll work with interested players to make characters, based on backgrounds they write and skills they want to have. It'll take a little work, and a few messages back and forth, but it'll turn something out useful that fits in with the game. If you have access to the rules and want to run your own generation, then let's chat about your character, then make it on that basis.
- Required Resources
None are needed. See, "I love the idea, but I don't know an AK-47 from an RPK-74."
- Game Pacing.
I'd expect to make 2-4 posts per week, if I were playing. Some posts will be longer, others shorter. No one liners- you can at least tell us a little about what you're thinking, or put a little action into the post, but posts in the two-three short-medium paragraph range will usually work.
- How much sexual activity is likely to occur or expected, if any?
So, sex isn't the point of the game, but people have sex. It's neither really encouraged or discouraged.
- Will there be a Co-GM?
I'm not planning for one, but, if the game somehow turns out to be way, way more popular than I expect, I may have to take one on, if someone appears.
- How guided will the play be?
The game will have two levels of direction: a mission focused mode (A briefing, gearing up period, and mission execution- the moments of sheer terror) and a downtime mode (The long intervals of boredom where you, as players, can pursue some goals of your own.)
- To what extent will players be allowed to create/use environment or setting details?
Players can create and use parts of the environment that are reasonable- "Johannes busts into the apartment, looking for cover- he finds a heavy table, which he quickly flips over and hunkers down behind," works out pretty well, but, "Johannes busts into the apartment, and just so happens to find 10,000 rounds of ammo in the rare caliber his pet rifle uses," doesn't. Basically, I'll pass you a PM if I need to veto something and have you edit it.
- How NPC's will be handled. (If any) - (By GM and/or players, and what expectations)
Generally speaking, I'll handle NPCs, particularly major ones involved in the plot. Players can use NPCs to provide someone to talk to, or as extras in a poker game or something like that. Having Captain Anderson, the Squadron Commander, pass one of the PCs and compliment him on completing the mission is fine. However, having Captain Anderson say, "Sure, you can use my tank. Just put the keys on my desk when you're done," won't be.
- How active will the GM be?
Fairly- I'll answer PMs at least a couple times a day, and post every day or every other day, if the game threads warrant it.
- Will there be an OOC thread? (expectations of thread usage)
Yup! The OOC thread will be a lot like the table talk of an RPG- a place to sort out things as a group before posting IC actions, if needed, or to talk about how things are going in the game. There may be separate OOC threads, if that proves useful.
- How to contact/approach GM with questions? (use OOC thread, direct PM, etc...)
PM me if you have questions that I can answer alone, OOC for questions that everyone should hear.
- How will decisions be resolved?
Either A) By reference to mechanics, B) By negotiation between players, if applicable, and C) I'll make the call, if needed.
- Will PvP be allowed (if applicable)?
Killing another PC is probably murder under the UCMJ. It's a bad idea. Though, see "So, are we all just going to die horrible deaths?"
- Respect other player's Offs. If you have a problem with what's going on, speak up.
- If you're going to be absent for a time, let us know. Your character can get assigned to a different duty.
- If people want to join after we get rolling, let me know, and I'll try to find room. Your character can get added in when it seems doable, plot-wise
- Write in a third person, present style, in general. Make it hard hitting, when you can.
I'll need three players, at a minimum to make this work (section commander, driver, trooper) though, 5-6 would be a better number. I could probably drive this puppy with up to 12, but that'll be tough, and I don't think we'll have that many takers.
If you're interested, give me the EAM Authenticator MUASSTE43E7UNO1 in a reply, and if you know that reference, you get +1 internet. Have a character idea? Post some of that, too. Questions? Bring 'em.
The big problem in running a game like this is the combat system- by trying to provide a gritty, realistic game that covers a lot of possibilities, the rules really slow things down. I've found that combat proceeds, at the table, in a roughly 1:60 to 1:90 rate- that is, one minute of combat time is 60-90 minutes of table time. And that's with people who are generally on board with the system. That's not going to translate well to a forum, especially one with good writers. So, I propose to take advantage of the fact that the system has breaks in the combat system- basically, there's a period of intense action, then a longer break. Thus, it seems reasonable to "black box" mechanics- as your character attempts something, I'll handle the die rolls, then describe what happens.
In combat, this means that, as an exchange of fire happens- the intense bit- players can narrate what they do. (Based on the situation, and after asking any relevant questions in OOC.) I'll, rather like a computer, interpret the posts, run the mechanics, and make a post about how it played out. It means less minute control over your character, perhaps, but I think it'll prove an interesting experience. This will mostly extend to all rolls- I'll worry about the mechanics, you worry about telling everyone what your character does.
Short answer? No. Not at all. While the majority of people in the unit are members of the US Army, beggars can't be choosers. The unit will take just about anyone coming along. Most of the support arms in the division have been stripped down, and the members pushed forward into the combat arms to try and keep them up to strength, especially on the voyage across the Atlantic. So, playing a tanker with no tank, or an infantryman that needed a change of scenery is easy. Other branches aren't hard- people get cut off from their units all the time. Marines that took a wrong turn Worclaw. Air Force personnel whose airbases are smoking craters, and don't have any planes to fly anyway. Sailors who realize that this is the USNS Roger Young's last voyage, and figure it's time to do something else. That's pretty easy.
Want to have some civilian backgrounds? Also simple. Every one between 18-35 was subject to conscription. Men first, but the voracious RP/DP units got less picky about plumbing quickly. The entire National Guard and all Reserve forces were called up, down to the bottom of the list. This makes it easy for older characters to have lesser rank, if you want to play someone older, with some civilian time, with a lower rank.
What if you don't want to play a US National? No problem! Like I said, it's been a long war. Units get cut off and destroyed, stragglers get lost and swept up, and generally things have gone to hell. NATO members easily fit into units in other NATO armies- their weapons shoot the same ammo, their radios work the same way, and procedures are pretty similar. If there was no real way to get someone cut off back to his home unit, he or she would make a good replacement, and you landed in this unit. Warsaw Pact members? Don't have POW camp to send them to, so give them a choice- give us the guns and get lost in the wild world out there, or sign up and take point for a while. Don't betray anyone, and eventually you'll be treated like the rest of the group. All you have to do is accept you'll have to learn English, and be ready to explain why your character decided to tag along to the US. (Which could be as simple as, "The unit's my family, now.")
Let's talk character death.
Twilight:2000 is a brutal game of survival. PCs are a little tougher than NPCs, but not too terribly much. The game's realistic- one bullet to the head or chest can end your life right there. Even one to the arm or leg can be pretty bad, and without good first aid, you can just bleed out, right there in the middle of the Maryland countryside. Take that out of the game, and it's not the same game. So, we all have to agree that it's okay if your characters don't live long enough to die of leukemia in a couple of decades, and that dying of cholera is just the kind of thing that can happen if you're not careful. Not everyone gets to die like a hero.
On the other hand, your characters have a lot of advantages- guns, body armor, skills in combat, and a strong knowledge of how not to die in post-apocalypita. (If you didn't, you'd be dead already.) This will help you survive. Also, I promise that, as GM, if your character dies, and you want to keep playing, I'll contrive things to get you back in the game as fast as I can, even if it means straining coincidence.
In sum, this is a game where survival is something you from which should derive satisfaction. I don't want to cheapen it, and I ask you to have the maturity to handle it, and still give your all to playing your character.
No worries. While Twilight:2000 was written by wargamers, and tends to attract people interested in military stuff, it's not required to enjoy the game. Here, OOC is your best friend- if you don't know what it is someone's referring to, ask. I mean, E has a well deserved reputation for not being judgmental, and that extends to playing a military based game and not being a sweaty palmed gun fondling gear queer. (You can leave the sweaty palmed gun folding gear queeriness to me, if you want.) Your character will know a lot of basic stuff that you may not, and that's fine. Just ask if you don't understand, and don't sweat if you don't know what "Rolling block blowback recoil" means.
If you want to have some help in character, take the Tactics skill, which you can roll to get some idea of what to do in combat. Or, hit the deck, bring up your rifle, shoot towards the enemy and wait for orders.
If I can help you out any further, just send me a note- I don't mind a bit.
Faced with the looming collapse of the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact, a conspiracy of high ranking Soviet hardliners, known as the State Committee for the State of Emergency, arrested and detailed Mikhail Gorbachev in August, 1991. Despite popular pressure, led by Boris Yeltsin, the reforming mayor of Moscow, the conspirators moved quickly to consolidate power, culminating in the KGB assassinating Yeltsin, and loyal troops enforcing a "Tiananman Solution." Nationalist movements in the Republics are put down by loyalists, while countercoups succeed in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. East Germany is already too closely integrated into the West, and Yugoslavia is already falling apart too fast to matter. By 1993, the countercoup governments have reformed the Warsaw Pact, and Germany has reunified.
Tensions in Europe remain high, and military spending increases. However, while war looms in Europe, it explodes in the Far East. In the early 1990s, nationalism comes to replace Maoism as the guiding ideology of the Chinese elite. Clashes between the Soviet Union and China along their long border increase in 1993 and 1994, leading to an ultimatum in early 1995: China demands lands it claims as part of the Middle Kingdom, taken in Russian expansion in the 19th Century. It's just a pretext. The Chinese want a war, and, boy, do they get one.
While most observers expect China to not last long once the Russians launch their inevitable counterattack, Chinese resolves proves deep. Nationalist militias rise to take the place of collapsing military divisions, and, despite suffering millions of casualties, the Chinese have millions to give. The Far East quickly absorbs all the Russian divisions stationed there, and the Red Army begins mobilizing its reserves, as well as pulling troops from the Western TVDs to attack into China. Soviet mobilization makes NATO- particularly Germany, both nervous and emboldened.
Ever since the coup, Poland has been in turmoil. Solidarity had never been fully suppressed, and had taken root in the large number of ethnic Germans in the Western part of the country. Concerned about the fate of their countrymen, Germans military officers begin pressing their counterparts across the border, leading to a series of minor clashes as Germans in Poland try to escape west. In 1996, responding to a major Polish incursion, the German army crosses the border. Poland immediately appeals for help from the Warsaw Pact. The Soviets respond, while the others demure for the moment. The combined Soviet-Polish forces can slow German advances into Poland, but at high cost. However, as Germany drives deeper into Poland, it has to pull troops off the Czech border- and, then, are unprepared for the Czech offensive against their reservists. The German front breaks, and Soviet reserves arriving in theater begin pounding their way to Berlin.
On the verge of collapse in late 1996, Germany appeals to NATO for aid. The Anglosphere- Canada, Britain and the US- drive across the border as the Soviet Union attacks Norway. France, Italy, Greece and Belgium renounce their membership in NATO. The arrival, and full mobilization of US forces, breaks the siege of Berlin in 1997, as Soviet B and C divisions prove no match at all for the cream of the US Army. As the US enters the war, it begins to expand in the south. Romania formally splits from the Warsaw Pact over a dispute with Hungary, and is invaded by her neighbors. Turkey rushes to support Romania, and doesn't mind running through Greek Thrace to make it happen. Greece declares war on Turkey, and allies with Italy. A NATO effort to support Turkey leads to NATO attacks against Greece, which pulls Italy into the war, launching a series of attacks across the Alps.
The action in the south, however, is a distraction compared to NATO's advance across Poland. By August, NATO forces crossed into the Soviet Union, on the road to Kiev- and the lead elements of NATO forces started absorbing nuclear strikes. While on the Central Front, NATO responded warhead for warhead in the tactical region, the use of nuclear weapons in the Far East and Turkish fronts blew them wide open. China's nuclear arsenal lasts a week, but the Russians never stop once the war crosses the threshold. The assault continues, and NATO forces gradually retreat west under heavy pressure. In September, NATO forces on the Central Front begin operational strikes against Warsaw Pact marshalling grounds, airfields and rail junctions to slow their advances in the Central Front and South. This gives NATO the upper hand until the Soviets start targeting major ports in the UK and Germany in October. By the week of Thanksgiving, 1997, the ICBMs are flying over the pole, as each side eases their way into a strategic exchange. Not an all out one at once, but gradually, leaving a number of warheads destroyed on the ground- and almost all of the world's refining capabilities destroyed.
The exchanges are not the end of the war, but they slow things down quite a bit. 1998 sees another Pact offensive, driving to reestablish the Polish Border. Chaos reigns in China, as Soviet units try to take control of Manchuria and the mineral deposits there, while the US and most of the Soviet Union begin to slide into anarchy. In southern Europe, what's left of various national armies try to recover, and prosecute the war on a local level. The war continues to wind down for lack of interest in 1999, units on both sides establish the "You grow food and we don't kill you" racket, drafting as many men as they can to fill out their ranks. In 2000, NATO launches one last offensive, but it fails.
During the transport phase of OMEGA, the 3rd Division began a massive reorganization, mostly to formalize a large number of informal situations, cope with a number of Europeans opting to stay in Germany, and and influx of US forces that had their parent formations disbanded. This reorg included an effort to push as many troops from rear formations forward as needed to bring fighting formations up to some sort of useful strength. Many of the rear area positions were filled with camp followers who made the trip with the unit, since they were really doing most of the work anyway. The 4/4th Cav has maintained five Troops- four combat Troops, labeled A, B, C and D, with HQ serving as a fifth. Other than A Troop and HQ Troop, most Troops (Which should be company sized) are platoons.
A Troop is the only Troop that is still largely Armored. It consists of a tank platoon- with 2 M60A3s, a M48A2GA2 picked up in a swap with a German reserve unit, and a T-72, put together from spares. It has two mech platoons, one in Bradleys, one in M113ACAVs. A Troop considers itself the elite, most other troops consider it a pampered unit, since HQ rarely commits is valuable vehicles to major combat. B and C Troop are both organized as Light Cavalry platoons, using a variety of light trucks. (The TO&E calls for Humvees, but good luck having enough to fill out the TO&E, so a smattering of Jeeps, Land Rovers and even a few armored cars are in the mix.) D Troop is still called "Air Cav," but the only theoretically functioning helo is in HQ- and it hasn't had fuel in a year and a half. Instead, D Troop is divided into two platoons, one on motorcycles, the other on bicycles. HQ has absorbed a large number of functions. In particular, HQ is responsible for food preparation- the unit tries to live off of local production as much as possible, supported by allotments from Division. This leaves preserved rations for emergencies. HQ also is responsible for running the large industrial stills that produce the ethanol and methanol that power the unit's vehicles. Division has some diesel and some gasoline, but those stocks are largely reserved for the Armored Battalion's M1s. HQ also has a battery of a mix of NATO 155mm howitzers, manned by what is left of the 1-115th Artillery Battery.
The PCs will be assigned to 3rd Platoon, B Troop. 3rd Platoon has two sections, each centered around one vehicle and the soldiers manning it. (Which section has the PCs in it depends on if the section commander is an officer or a sergeant.) Each section has between 3 and 6 men, a truck, and perhaps a heavy weapon such as a .50 cal MG, or, more rarely, a MK-19. HQ in B Troop has a few logistical supports- most of that his handled at Squadron- but a fairly strong mechanical and medical team under the First Sergeant. It also has a mixed mortar battery, though ammo is pretty light at the moment. There are a few camp followers in HQ.
This is the standard loadout for a trooper in 4/4th Cav. Because of the way the rules work, you'll probably have more gear, but just about everyone will have the following:
1 Set Fatigues and Boots
1 Kevlar Vest + Extensions
1 Kevlar Helmet
1 M16A2 + 1 Magazine + Sling
On Load Bearing Gear:
2 Quad Magazine Pouches
8 Magazines, M16A2
6 Grenade Loops
2 Fragmentation, 2 Concussion, 2 Smoke Grenades.
1 Canteen Carrier
1 Canteen, 1L
1 Medical Pouch
1 Radio Pouch
1 Tactical Radio
1 NVG Carrier
1 Flashlight Pouch
1 Knife Sheath
1 Sleeping Bag
1 Shelter Half
50 Chlorine Tabs
1 Flint and Steel
2 Rolls, Duct Tape
1 Gun Cleaning Kit
2 sets, rechargeable spare batteries
3 Days MREs.
Cold Weather Gear
1 piece Team Camp Gear (Stove, filter, tent, etc.)
Skills are rated on the following scale, in descending order of ability:
Expert and Professional are good levels for skills you use a lot. Competent is fairly easy to get to, and covers a lot of normal applications.
Agriculture: Growin' Stuff.
Animal Husbandry: Basic care of animals.
Aquatics: Swimming and the use of small boats.
Archery: Shooting Bows.
Artillery: Shooting large indirect fire weapons.
Artisan: Making things by hand.
Aviation: Flying Stuff
Climbing: Climbing Stuff.
Command: Giving orders that will be followed, organizing efforts.
Computing: Operating computers.
Construction: Building things, and tearing them down.
Driving: Making ground vehicles go.
Electronics: The use and repair of electronic devices.
Fieldcraft: How not to be seen in the field.
Survivial: How to live off the land.
Forensics: The gathering of evidence in police investigations.
Freefall: Jumping out of perfectly good airplanes.
Gunnery: Shooting large bore guns.
Hand to Hand: Beatin' people up.
Hand Weapons: Stabbin' folks.
Instruction: How to teach.
Intimidation: How to threaten people.
Language: Knowing how to communicate with humans.
Longarm: Shooting things with a stock: rifles, shotguns, SMGs, SAWs. (Not GPMGs or HMGs)
Mechanics: Fixing broken engines and vehicles.
Medicine: Fixing broken people.
Mounts: Riding animals.
Performance: Singing, dancing, etc.
Persuasion: Convincing people to do things.
Seamanship: Driving big boats.
Security: getting into something, or keeping people out.
Sidearm: Shooting pistols.
Special Equipment: How to use something not covered by another skill, like a nuclear power plant.
Special Vehicle: Driving something not in another skill, like the Space Shuttle.
Streetcraft: Hiding in built up areas.
Scrounging: Finding useful things.
Support Weapons: The Big Guns: GPMGs, HMGs, Grenade Launchers, flame throwers, ATGMS, RPGs...
Tactics: How best to engage the enemy.