Tabletop Game / Twilight 2000

Tabletop RPG first produced by Game Designers' Workshop in 1984 set in the aftermath of World War Three (which took place in the late 1990s in that universe) and popular during the 1980s. Still played today, though- RPOL has a number of games in the setting.

The game centered around military characters, with the set-up in the first boxed set involving the last survivors of a US military division in Poland. The first few published adventures let the players journey through Poland and finally to the U.S., where they become involved with a conflict between the military and civilian governments of the shattered U.S. and the fanatical New America group. Supplements were also provided for playing in the Middle East or Britain. A popular trilogy of adventures also involved the last few nuclear submarines.

Suffered massively from The Great Politics Mess-Up, with the end of the Cold War invalidating the time line. The second edition released in 1990 featured a new timeline. The new timeline didn't prove popular, especially in Germany, since whereas NATO launching a land invasion of Poland made some kind of sense when the latter was part of Commie Land, the new timeline basically had Germany starting WWIII by invading Poland. This led some players to disregard it and use the original timeline, treating the whole thing as an exercise in Alternate History.

A science-fiction RPG also from GDW and featuring many of the same writers and designers but not the same rules set advanced the first-edition timeline three hundred years and moved the action into Earth-colonized space. Originally called Traveller: 2300, the name was soon changed to 2300 AD since it had nothing to do with any flavor of the Traveller RPG. See that page for details.

The first scenarios were set in Poland, which surprised some of the Polish roleplayers, and they featured horribly mangled Gratuitous Polish.

In addition to the main game, GDW released two alternative settings for the second edition of the rules:
  • Merc 2000, a game involving mercenaries (duh!) in another 2000 where the Twilight War didn't happen and a general global economic collapse leads to increased use of mercenary forces... the Germans and Poles still have a war, but it's a short one.
  • Cadillacs and Dinosaurs set in the universe of Xenozoic Tales

The second edition of the game also became GDW's in-house rules set, and was re-used with some modifications for the New Era edition of Traveller and the Dark Conspiracy game.

A Spiritual Successor, Twilight 2013 which featured yet another rules set and a very different timeline was released in late 2009 by 93 Games Studios, but they went out of business in 2010 with little more than the core rulebook having been released.

Not be confused with Twilight, with which it probably doesn't have a large crossover demographic. Though a crossover fic between the two would be hilarious, confusing the two is one of the Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG.

Provides examples of:

  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: In keeping with the game's military tone, there are a lot of abbreviations used in the rules.
    • Along with abbreviations for attributes, which is normal for a tabletop RPG, all of the skills also have a two or three letter abbreviation.
    • The vehicle damage location lists are full of abbreviations used in describing exactly what happens when it is shot at. So you get a dozen lines like R: LH(200),G(1000),HB(80) D,R,G,E,F for the M1 Abrams tank.
  • After the End: Kind of the point of the game, and played deadly straight.
  • Anti-Air: Aircraft became very scarce after 1998 or so, when most of the world's refineries were destroyed and aviation fuel became scarce. Anti-air units that were still functional have almost all been re-purposed as Anti-Infantry units as a result.
  • Anti-Armor: By 2000, anti-armor missiles are more common than the tanks they were made to target.
  • Army of Thieves and Whores: By the end of the war, most armies were taking anyone they could draft, even conscripting locals. Many regular military units have also turned to banditry and pillage in Europe, becoming this.
  • Alternate Timeline: More recent versions of the game explicitly said that the Twilight War and the events leading up to it are this.
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: Any critical hit to the head is instant death; in the first edition getting damage more than four times your hit capacity to the chest and abdomen also counts (in the second, it's death within 10 minutes unless the bleeding is stopped).
  • Despair Event Horizon: The game starts its players right next to the horizon, and it's up to them to find a way to avoid crossing it.
  • Divided States of America: The prewar United States government has actually split into 'Civgov' (the old civilian federal government apparatus, led by Congress, the Supreme Court, and the President) and 'Milgov' (the United States military ruling its territory as a totalitarian dictatorship, led by the Joint Chiefs of Staff). Confusingly, Civgov has its own military consisting of units which have defected from Milgov and units mustered after the end of the war, meaning that for the duration of the setting there are actually two Armies, two Navies, etc. Taken together, the two control about a quarter of the old United States, with the rest ruled by a wide variety of different tribal warlords, local powers, foreign invaders, and the neo-Nazi 'New America' movement.
  • Fallen States of America: Several of the sourcebooks, written as historical texts on past events, reveal that this is what eventually happens to the United States after the time in which the setting takes place. The nuclear autumn combined with the ongoing civil war results in a nation that doesn't have enough arable cropland to feed its population, in addition to all the other problems that come with the apocalypse. The different factions are eventually forced to call off the civil war and peacefully reintegrate in a desperate effort to save what little remains of the country.
  • Great Offscreen War: World War III is actually pretty much over in 2000 when the first adventure is set, with the players as survivors of one of the last major battles. Everybody lost.
  • The Great Politics Mess-Up: A major impact on the game, forcing the major timeline revisions between editions. It also impacted Merc 2000, released as The Gulf War was going on.
    • Interestingly, stuff predicted by the timelines included Germany reunifying (first edition has it as the trigger for the war), the split of Czechoslovakia (Merc 2000, although it involves a civil war) and Kosovo's independence.
  • Hopeless War: Nothing has really been solved by the war. The setting is more about survival and going home than accomplishing any of the war's original objectives.
  • I Will Fight Some More Forever: The destruction of civilization happens pretty much because the world's militaries didn't know how to stop fighting, and they kept throwing good resources after bad until there was nothing left to fight with and the infrastructure that kept civilization going had been destroyed.
  • Lowered Recruiting Standards: By 1998 the U.S. Army in Europe was taking anyone they could get, even recruiting deserters from the other side and locals.
  • Mexico Called; They Want Texas Back: Mexico invaded the US in 1998, with the help of the Soviet "Division Cuba", nominally to protect refuges that had fled from Mexico in prior years. As 2300 AD shows, some parts of the former US remained in Mexican control for at least the next 300 years, though not Texas itself.
  • Military Coup: The heads of the military in the US refused to recognize the civilian government that was elected in the aftermath of nuclear strikes on Washington, so they effectively headed a coup.
  • Military Science-Fiction: when it was produced it was of the 20 Minutes into the Future variety, with only a few extrapolations in military hardware from the then-present, like an M1 tank variant with an un-manned turret.
  • Modern Battlefield Weapons: Modern at the time, anyway. Some of the slightly more futuristic stuff, like the German army issuing the G11 as a standard weapon, never happened in reality.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: What any player group in this game is. By the year 2000 US Army units included lots and lots of personnel who were hardly regular army: other NATO military personnel from defunct units, deserters from the other side, and even local recruits. The 1st edition rulebook recommends that at least half of the group be American.
  • Scavenger World: With the nuking of most major cities and the plagues and starvation that followed, the world has become this.
  • Shout-Out: A subtle one in the 'Boomer' adventure. The Soviet Typhoon-class submarine 'Barrikada' is stuck in the polar ice pack. In the mission briefing, it's mentioned that the Barrikada is named after one of two famous factory complexes in Stalingrad. The other? Red October.
    • The name of the supplement detailing the situation at New York City (which is overrun with criminal gangs)? "Armies Of The Night".
  • Tank Goodness: "Lucky" player groups could start out with a main battle tank, but it's usually more trouble than it's worth, since fuel and munitions for it are extremely scarce. That makes them Awesome, but Impractical.
  • Trapped Behind Enemy Lines: The introductory adventure features this for the players.
  • Urban Warfare: This happens quite often in the game, though the biggest cities are usually radioactive craters.
  • Vehicular Turnabout: With working vehicles as rare as they are in 2000 this happens all the time.
  • War Is Hell: Amen.
  • World War III: A limited nuclear exchange with a lot of conventional ground fighting mixed in.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: One published adventure ("Airlords Of The Ozarks") pits the Player Characters against a neo-fascist warlord that has managed to obtain several commercial zeppelins (plus the means to create more) and plans to use them to provide air support to his growing army as they take over the Ozarks.