The Twilight 2000 Campaign And More Thoughts

From my travels across the internet, I’m proud to share the Twilight 2000 Polish Campaign  that I found while looking at the WW3 1987 blog. It’s a good AAR/let’s play of the game at its best.

I’ve blogged about Twilight 2000 in largely critical terms before, but the initial Polish/German campaign setting is the game at its best. There’s talk on the about page of maybe, if/when the players survive, taking them back to the continental US.  Now here I have a recommendation, if that indeed happens (it’s a big if). Ignore the actual 1.0 modules on the continental US and go homebrew.

Maybe it’s because I like the idea of them returning to a battered but largely peaceful homeland as a proper reward. Or maybe it’s because the North American modules I’ve seen basically seize the always-existed dichotomy I mentioned in my previous post and take it to 11. They’re something. In fact, if the game’s plot had existed only of them, I might even consider them worthy of a Bad Fiction Spotlight.

The later v1 modules have the impression of turning more and more from the “survival and maybe solve some local disputes” theme to a full-blown and ultra-blatant Adventure Friendly World. (That was always there, as it would be in any tabletop RPG, but it was more subtle and interesting).  Even a lot of other T2000 fans have been disdainful of the North American modules, one not unreasonably comparing them to “bad Mad Max”.

Having read the “Kidnapped!” module, I can see it. The first is a description of the megadrought that’s about to strike North America. I’ve heard grumblings about its plausibility, but from an in-universe perspective, there’s worse things. Where I think the megadrought goes wrong is that it’s a clear attempt from an out of universe perspective to up the stakes and become “darker” still. So yeah, there’s a megadrought, and food/water is going to become worse yet. I guess that means the scenario will be about…

Seizing a fascist-populist leader in his supervillain’s lair in West Virginia? You don’t say.

The “Kidnap Carl Hughes, the leader of New America” part is incredibly gamey and has obvious contrivances throughout. There’s the necessary evil of an adventure tip, and then there’s the lair itself. In true game fashion, the lair down to its final bunker is drawn out in massive detail, but to balance it for the players, it’s accessible. Hughes conveniently happens to be in the most vulnerable parts of the lair throughout much of the day, and infiltrating a secure complex run by a mega-paranoiac is suspiciously easy provided the players have the right clothes.

Then there’s a second lair that is long-deserted and only exists to provide clues to get the players to the real lair (yet is also massively detailed in its description).

Yeah.

There’s more on New America itself and even the MilGov/CivGov split (in short, the former is clearly there to be a convenient supervillain faction, the latter there for contrived drama), and how it’s handled, but that’s for another time.

 

One thought on “The Twilight 2000 Campaign And More Thoughts

  1. Thanks for the hat tip!

    Interesting point about the America modules. Last time I reffed/played them was back in the 90s. We always ignored the drought. I don’t think it’s necessary to explain America’s wretched condition. It’s not a country anymore, not without fossil fuels, anyway.

    Human and animal power is a hand-to-mouth existence; difficult to accumulate a surplus. All the easy-to-access fossil fuels were extracted long ago. So many industrial assets were destroyed in the nuclear attack, and those remaining are decaying and bereft of experts to run them.

    America has a long and harsh recovery ahead. There’s a whole lotta empty, uncontrolled space. Opportunists everywhere. Only the military binds the country together – maybe – and its legitimacy is questionable. I’ll be playing the military as having one over-arching priority: Securing and controlling power production and fuel. Without that, little else matters.

    We’ll see if we get as far as America. It’s taken us since June last year just to get part-way down the Vistula. :^)

    I might just borrow your “idea of them returning to a battered but largely peaceful homeland as a proper reward” and call it a campaign-ender there.

    Liked by 1 person

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