Kalisz. We’re still only in Kalisz. We need to get out of here. Fast. The artillery barrages are getting closer. The Soviets will be here soon. Sarge says we move out after dark. I’m not sure we’ll last that long.
A classic roleplaying game returns. This new retro-apocalyptic edition of Twilight: 2000 goes back to the roots of the franchise with open-world roleplaying in the devastation of World War III. Just like the original 1984 edition, this new game is set in a year 2000 devastated by war – now in an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union never collapsed.
A Post-Apocalyptic RPG Stalwart [ edit ]
Twilight: 2000 was first released way back in 1984, and despite quickly becoming outdated by real world events (what was once a game of a possible future is now one of an alternate past) has managed to survive and remain relevant over the years. This is a feat very few such older RPGs have managed to achieve.
The game has updated several times since its release, and its most recent (4th) edition was released in 2020 by Free League Publishing, in concert with the game's original publisher, Game Designers' Workshop. The latest edition builds heavily on Free league's "Year Zero" core RPG engine (an engine developed for another RPG on this page, Mutant: Year Zero). Given the success of the Year Zero system, it's no surprise that Free League/Game Designer's Workshop went with it over the game's original (and arguably dated) rules.
A Near Future Post-Apocalypse [ edit ]
The basic premise of Twilight: 2000 is that the NATO alliance engaged in a limited nuclear war (the "Twilight War") with an alliance of communist ones in the mid-1990s. At first the Soviet forces invade Europe using only conventional means (planes, tanks, and ground troops), but when America got involved it quickly lead to the use of nuclear weapons by both sides.
Twilight: 2000 begins as the Western forces stage one final campaign ("Operation Reset") against two key Soviet strongholds ... and fail. The final words from command to the troops afterwards are that they are "on their own now" ... and this includes the party.
The party can be made up of either soldiers, civilians, or a mix, and the campaign can begin in either Poland or Sweden (two key battlegrounds in the war). It could also be based elsewhere, if the GM doesn't mind doing some world-building. Wherever they start, the group finds itself in a new post-apocalyptic world free of any national governments. They might work to try and return home, or try to help some of the unfortunate souls they come across, but (as with any post-apocalyptic RPG) a lot of their efforts will simply involve trying to survive.
Twilight: 2000, 4th Edition - Rules SummaryCollapse
Character Creation [ edit ]
Twilight: 2000 has two different character creation systems, a quick "Archetype" option and a more detailed "Lifepath" option.
There are nine archetypes in T:2000 to choose from. Most are military-based (eg. The Officer, The Gunner, or The Grunt) but there are also two civilian ones (The Civilian and The Kid), and two that could be either (The Mechanic and The Medic).
Nationality, Branch and Rank
Next, the character selects which country they came from (this determines their starting languages and gear) which branch of the military they belong to (if applicable), and then finally they roll to determine their rank in that branch.
Next the player chooses the character's attributes. There are four attributes, similar to Dungeons and Dragons except that Constitution is combined with Strength, while Wisdom has merged with Intelligence and also Charisma (which has been renamed as "Empathy"). All attributes use letter grades, so a very strong character would have an "A" in Strength.
Characters start with Cs in all attributes and get two improvements (ie. two B's or one A). They can also get a third improvement by lowering one stat to a D, and they can only raise their archetype's primary stat to an A (all others max out at B).
Skills are similarly ranked by grade, and each character gets a single archetype-determined skill at A. They then get to choose one skill at B, two at C, and three at D, and there are twelve skills to choose from.
Each character starts with one speciality, which provides them a +1 bonus to a particular skill, but only in certain conditions. For instance, one character might specialize in fighting in close combat without weapons (Brawler), while another might instead specialize in using close combat weapons (Melee).
Next the player chooses details for their character such as their moral code, their "big dream", appearance, how they met the other PCs, and of course their name. They also choose their "buddy": whenever the character makes a sacrifice for them they get +1 to the roll, and potentially extra experience for the act.
Equipment (and Rads)
Finally each player selects their equipment (from options based on their archetype), and then the group also selects group equipment, eg. a vehicle.
Finally each member rolls a d6 to determine how irradiated they start the game, and then they are ready to play.
The lifepath option lets the player follow the character through their life, potentially gaining more skills and specialties, but also risking losing attributes due to age.
With this option each character begins 18-years old, and then goes through periods of time (d6 years each) which build the character (although there's also a "childhood" roll).
To begin the player starts with their nationality and attributes, the same as an archetype character. They then gain a random skill and a random speciality from childhood before selecting a career. Their career gives them two skill ranks (in a relevant skill or skills).
The player then makes a skill roll (using a career-relevant skill), and if they succeed they do well in that career path, gaining a random speciality and an increase in rank.
The character then ages d6 years, and if the result is less than the number of rounds they've completed they lose an attribute level. They then roll a d8, and if it rolls lower than the number of rounds war breaks out (otherwise they repeat the above process until war does break out).
At this point the player gets two more skill increases of their choice and a random skill specialization, and they also age three years (with no loss of attributes).
They then select all of the "story details" such as their name or how they met the party, and they also select their "buddy" at this point.
Core Mechanics [ edit ]
The primary success mechanic in Twilight: 2000 is the skill roll.
To make a skill roll a player rolls one die based on their skill rank, and one based on the corresponding attribute. The die used varies by rank, from a d12 (for a rank of A) to a d6 (for a rank of D).
In order to succeed the die must roll a 6 or higher. Also, if a die rolls 10 or higher it counts as two successes. If there are no successes then the roll fails ... unless the player chooses to "push".
Pushing the Roll
For particularly important rolls a player can opt to "push" a failed roll by re-rolling it. However, if they fail the re-roll they take a point of damage (for physical skills) or stress (for mental ones).
If both dice roll a one, or if the character was making an unskilled (ie. single die) roll and it rolls a one, the character suffers a mishap. Similar to a critical failure in other systems, a mishap indicates that an unfortunate event occurs, such as the character's equipment breaking.
Players can't push a mishap roll, but they can suffer a mishap on a pushed re-roll.
There are a variety of modifiers that can apply to rolls. For instance, having a relevant specialty or using familiar equipment (ie. your country's) offers a +1 modifier, while using unfamiliar equipment instead results in a -1 modifier.
Interestingly these modifiers do not apply to the roll itself, but rather to the highest die being used. For instance, if you were going to roll a d8 and a d6 to set a mine, but you were using your country's mines to do so, you'd instead roll a d10 and a d6.
If a modifier pushes a die past d12 it instead increases the other die, and if both die are increased past d12 an extra d6 is added.
When a roll depends on another PC or NPC (eg. when trying to persuade an NPC) the roll counts as an opposed roll. Both characters make a skill roll, and the defender subtracts each success they make from the attacker (but the attacker still needs at least one success).
Combat [ edit ]
A Hex Grid System
Twilight:2000 relies on hexagonal grid maps for combat, where each hex represents 10' in the real world (the game provides several hex maps in the box, and also offers a free blank one for download on their website). Each hex can have different terrain, which can affect movement and offer penalties to ranged attacks.
Instead of miniatures the game relies on tokens (which can represent both individuals and vehicles).
When combat begins all participants draw one of ten initiative cards (the game provides some, or you can use playing cards). The lowest card goes first, and play proceeds in order from there.
Surprise and Exchanging Initiative
If a character successfully ambushes another they automatically draw the first initiative card, before random cards are drawn.
Also, if two characters are in communication with each other their players can opt to trade their initiative cards (when the first character's turn comes).
A round of combat in T:2000 is 5-10 seconds long, and a character can complete one "fast" and one "slow" action in that time, plus any number of free actions. Slow actions including firing weapons or crawling, while fast actions include normal movement or drawing a weapon.
To make an attack in T:2000 a player makes a skill roll using the appropriate skill (eg. Close Combat or Ranged Combat). Every success after the first adds an extra point of damage to the damage roll.
When firing ranged weapons the player gets to roll an additional ammo die (or potentially multiple depending on the rate of fire of the weapon). These dice don't add successes that count towards hitting, but if the attack hits they do count for damage.
However, after the attack completes the player totals up all of the ammo dice used, and that much ammunition is used up by the attack. Also, if at least two ammo dice both roll 1's, a mishap occurs.
When a person is hit in T:2000 the location where they are hit (Legs, Torso, Arms, or Head) is determined randomly by rolling a d6. If ammo dice added any extra hits those hits roll for hit location separately.
If the defender is wearing armor on the affected location the weapon first applies its armor modifier (ie. armor piercing ability), and then the armor's (remaining) rating reduces the damage dealt. If any damage breaks through the armor, the armor itself loses a rank of armor as a result.
Incapacitation and Death
A character can take up to their "hit capacity" (ie. hit points) in damage before they are effectively incapacitated. Incapacitated characters can be killed easily by an attacker, but to do so the attacker must fail an empathy check, and even if they do so they still lose a point of stress from doing so.
An Oldie, But is it a Goodie? [ edit ]
Aggregated Review Scores
|Source||Average Score||# of Reviews||As Of|
|Amazon||4.9 / 5||20||1/27/2022|
|Drive Thru RPG||4.8 / 5||60||1/27/2022|
|RPG Geek||8.1 / 10||10||1/27/2022|
Twilight: 2000 offers a post-nuclear war setting from the 1980s, using the core rules system from another post-apocalyptic RPG (Mutant Year Zero) in 2015, which is certainly a bit of an odd coupling. Nevertheless, it appears to have been a very successful one, as you can see from the review scores.
Both Amazon and DriveThruRPG offer extremely high (4.9/4.8) average ratings, and even RPG Geek (which tends to be more critical) still gave a very solid 8.1/10 average. In short, while a more realistic and militaristic European post-nuclear war setting won't be what every post-apocalyptic gamer is looking for ... if that combination sounds appealing to you, you're almost certain to enjoy Twilight: 2000.