Sunday, December 30, 2018

Twilight: 2000 and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Vehicle maintenance and breakdowns are an important part of the post-Twilight War setting, but there's not really a simple summary of the rules for GMs to make it easy to manage this in actual play without getting bogged down.

I've therefore decided to provide an example of the rules in play and look at some of the assumptions needed to solve the "mini-game" and attempt to simplify the mechanics while hopefully retaining the flavour and intent, like the recent "Still Week" simplified travel rules summary post.

For an example Mechanic character, see my pregen "Wheelman" character based on "Monk", one of the iconic characters from the original v1.0 Boxed Set in-character fiction.

Maintenance and Breakdowns 

"In the world of Twilight:2000, a good mechanic is worth his weight in gold, and is indispensable if the PCs have vehicles they want to keep running. A good mechanic, for all his worth, will sometimes be considered a pest by the rest of the group. He will want to spend as much of his time as possible with the vehicles, going over them and conducting minor re- pairs and preventive maintenance." - T2k v2.2, p151
For a mechanic character, Strength (STR) (also used for most combat skills) is the primary attribute for the Mechanic skill with Intelligence (INT) for Scrounging coming in second. Agility (AGL) is useful for more specialised repair tasks. Leaving out Constitution (CON) and Charisma (CHA) as outside of the Mechanic build focus, Education (EDU) is probably the least useful or "dump stat" attribute, so having a dedicated Electronics specialist may be a worthwhile consideration instead. 

The STR based Mechanic skill is a vital resource in T2k, regardless of which version you play. Secondary associated skills include EDU Electronics (for range-finders etc), AGL Gunsmith (for small arms <20mm, fabricating weapons parts), AGL Ground Vehicle (as a backup or support vehicle driver), INT Scrounging (to find needed parts), and CON Small Watercraft (for boats). AGL Machinist is optional and needed to manufacture vehicle and weapon repair tools.

Looking through the T2k v2.2 core rules, the following skill checks involve using Mechanic:

  • Change fuel type used by vehicle (EASY, p151)
  • Routine maintenance (AUTO, p152)
  • Avoiding an actual breakdown (DIFF, p152)
  • Preventative maintenance (AUTO, p152)
  • Fabricating non-weapons parts (DIFF, machine shop, p153)
  • Repairing a turret (DIFF, 1/2 hour, p153)
  • Repairing an autoloader (DIFF, p153)
  • Repairing a >20mm weapon (DIFF, p153)
  • Repairing an engine (DIFF, p153)
  • Repairing suspension (DIFF, p153)
  • Waterline patch repair (AVG, p153)
  • Permanent waterline repair (DIFF, p153)
  • Repair a rudder/screw (DIFF, average with Swimming, p153)

In addition, if using my "Still Week" based simplified travel rules, rigging extra fuel capacity for a vehicle with a "jerrycan" value of 3 or less is a Mechanic: AVG task and a Mechanic: DIFF task for vehicles with higher "jerrycan" values ie. those where a whole 80L or more spare tank is needed.

The following activities require associated skills:

  • Fabricating weapon parts (DIFF Machinist, p153)
  • Repairing range-finder / gun sight / night vision (DIFF Electronics, p153)
  • Repairing weapons <20mm (DIFF Gunsmith, p153)
  • Scrounging for parts (VAR Scrounging, no specific rules for parts)

As most tasks are DIFF (x 0.5), having an Asset value of 10 only guarantees a 25% chance of success - this is roughly the same as a Veteran character with an Asset of 11. A higher Asset value of 20 (eg. Attr 8 and Skill 12) is needed for a 50% success rate, so aiming for an Asset value of 15+ (Elite NPC level) and at least a 35% chance of success seems a reasonable goal when designing a specialist character. 

Aircraft Mechanic is used for similar checks for helicopters, jets and ultralights etc.

Example: Monk's Motorcycle

The usefulness of motorcycles in the Twilight World cannot be under overemphasised in my opinion: they are cheap, readily available, carry a significant Load, are inexpensive to run (in terms of fuel or days spent distilling fuel they require only a single "Still Day" - see earlier post on simplified travel using "Still Weeks"), and of relevance to this post, are very simple to maintain.

Let's say my example "Wheelman" pregen character Monk (STR Mechanic Asset of 15, Elite) owns a beaten up extra fuel capacity modified motorcycle (56L, 2 "jerrycans"), fueled with enough methanol for two 4 hour periods of travel ie 8 hours. Normally carried strapped to the back of an armoured vehicle such as a LAV-25 as external cargo (156kg) it is used for scouting expeditions or to run from camp into a local friendly town as needed. If not Monk then an Elite NPC Mechanic.

His bike has a base Maintenance 2 and Wear 5 (therefore valued at only $1000), equating to needing 2 hours of maintenance every 8 hour period travelled and a 5 in 10 or 50% chance of a potential breakdown every 8 hour period. The chance of a major breakdown relates to the Wear value, so Monk's bike has a 50% chance of having a serious issue instead of just a minor breakdown.

Spending an extra 2 hours (a full 4 hour period) of preventative maintenance between each 8-hour use reduces the risk of a potential breakdown to 30%, spending 6 hours in between trips reduces the risk to 20% and a full 8 hours (two 4 hour periods) drops this to 10%.

As the group is camped in some woods and avoiding the remaining roads, Monk rides into the nearest friendly town to buy some spare parts, fuel, and likely some food.

Assuming the bike has had 4x the amount of minimal maintenance ie 8 hours (2 periods) before the trip, he has only a 10% chance of a potential breakdown on the outward journey, and if the trip is less than 4 hours on the return leg as well. However, if he then uses the bike with only minimal maintenance of 2 hours before the next trip, he runs the usual 50% risk of a potential breakdown. As a dedicated mechanic, he's not foolish enough to skip the minimal maintenance - that would guarantee a 50% chance of an actual breakdown.

Let's say a potential breakdown occurs on the return trip despite his efforts.

Fortunately for Monk, he did the basic 2-hour maintenance and as he was the last to do maintenance on the bike gets to make a DIFF roll against his own Mechanic Asset (ST 7 + Mechanic 8) of 15 or less on D20.

He sadly rolls a 17 on the D20, so his bike suffers an actual breakdown.

He then rolls a 7 on the D10, a minor breakdown.

This means he may need or may not need parts, but he rolls a 4 on the next D10 so parts are needed.  His third and last D10 roll is a low 2 luckily, so only 2 parts are needed. He's not carrying his tools with him, so this would be a Formidable (FOR, x0.5) task with a modified Asset of 7 to attempt a repair.

He's not feeling lucky so he shoulders his pack and some of the extra food, preparing for the 2 day hike back to camp about 70km away (covered on foot with two 4 hour periods per day) to collect his tools and perhaps a few extra parts, cursing himself for not packing his tools.

Back a few days later with his tools and a few extra parts in hand, he uncovers the bike from where he's hidden it and attempts to repair it. He now rolls against a Mechanic: Difficult check (DIFF, x1.0) and scores a 12 - success! The breakdown adds a "experience point" to the motorcycle's Waear value, but fortunately a full 10 breakdowns or points are needed to increase the bike's Wear value to 6.

Rather than jumping straight back on the bike he then spends a full 4-hour period (2 hours minimal maintenance + 2 hours preventative maintenance). He's already wasted over half the week walking to camp from the bike and then back for what was meant to be a single day round trip (fortunately without any significant or hostile encounters), so the extra time becomes reasonable.

Note: it's probably easier to just roll a D20 and four different coloured D10s up front for a potential breakdown check, skipping the D20 if no minimal maintenance was performed. The D20 for the repair roll could be rolled at the same time if the correct tools and available parts are carried.

T2k v2.2 Rules Analysis

As the above example shows, breakdowns are a real potential risk, particularly with older / more worn vehicles, even when the party has an Elite level Mechanic Asset like Monk available. A good mechanic really is worth their weight in gold in the Twilight World. A 4-hour period or two of minimal maintenance over a week or two is easy enough given the slow "stuttering" travel of most groups relying on distilling their own fuel but at a significant risk of breakdown. Only a foolish group would forgo this very basic precaution, especially if they have high Wear value vehicles considered essential such as a "still truck" or their main APC / light combat vehicle eg. a LAV-25 or similar.

Preventative maintenance becomes critical for essential vehicles with high Wear value - a HumVee or UAZ has a similar minimal maintenance requirement to a motorcycle sure, and most trucks only require a 4-hour period to keep in shape, but a LAV-25 or a M113 APC requires 6 hours of minimal maintenance. This is a real investment and means three full 4 hour periods are required between each 8-hour travel period to reduce the chance of a potential breakdown by 2, so a vehicle with a Wear value of 4 or more still has a 20% or greater chance of risking an actual breakdown.

Tools are essential. Although carrying the combination of hand tools and wheeled vehicle tools adds 15kg to the load on a motorcycle, not carrying them has a significant negative impact. A full set of tools for other vehicles seems a must, and while weight may be a minimal consideration, the combined cost of a full complement for a tracked vehicle (hand, tracked vehicle, small arms, heavy ordnance, electronics) is significant at around $3000.

Parts play a vital role. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of details on vehicle parts as a resource other than the rules to fabricate them on p153 using a machine shop. Even the Scrounging rules are vague about parts, requiring a GM ruling to assign a Difficulty level. This is perhaps a design flaw as for beginning players on the run a machine shop is not only prohibitively expensive ($75,000) and inconvenient, requiring a 60kw generator ($8000, 40L fuel per 4-hour period). The scrounging option becomes the default unless the characters can barter for the components or salvage them and most repairs require 1D10 specific parts (engine, tracked suspension) so this may be difficult.

So my suggestions, based on the above:
  • Protect your mechanic, preferably have more than one in the group
  • Always do at least minimal maintenance between trips
    • If the vehicle has a high Wear value, invest time in preventative maintenance
  • Always carry a full complement of relevant tools
  • Always carry a varied selection of spare parts

Simplification & Risk Approach

Initially I wasn't too sure how to go about simplifying these rules, but I think I've instead settled on a way to build in a degree of "risk management" as a standard travelling approach based on the importance of Wear and minimal maintenance time as interacting variables with the number of 4-hour periods that are part of the stationary time in a typical "Travel Day", in most instances this is only 2.

Wear is far, far the most important in influencing risk. As a variable it influences not only the chance of a potential breakdown but also the severity of the breakdown (major vs minor) - the former can be modified by preventative maintenance (time) whereas the latter is fixed and results in the need for parts, compounding the difficulty of resource management aspects.

To abstract all this for a GM's use in play, I think it's easier to work out a risk approach based on the chance of a potential breakdown derived from the vehicle's Wear value and then factor in the success rate of preventing a breakdown attributable to an Elite mechanic (Asset 15, ie only 25% of actual breakdown when checked for) and then work out the maintenance time needed:

  • Cautious - 10% chance of potential breakdown, 2.5% (1 in 40) chance of actual breakdown
  • Safe - 20% chance of potential breakdown, 5% (1 in 20) chance of actual breakdown
  • Normal - 40% chance of potential breakdown, 10% (1 in 10) chance of actual breakdown
  • Risky - 80% chance of potential breakdown, 20% (1 in 5) chance of actual breakdown

Note: if the group (or vehicle) only has access to a Experienced mechanic (Asset 11, ie ~45% chance of failing a DIFF skill check), this roughly doubles the chance of a breakdown, shifting the risk up one category eg from Safe to Normal or Normal to Risky - this is exactly doubled if the mechanic has an Asset of 10 in Mechanic, just one point higher than a Novice NPC Asset of 9.

Minimal maintenance is expressed in 2-hour increments, ranging from simple vehicles (motorcycles, HumVees etc) with a value of 2 hours up to 16 hours for main battle tanks (M1A1, T80 etc). These are therefore effectively multiples of 4-hour periods similarly ranging from 0.5x to 4x, which are a component of the standard "Travel Day".

  • x0.25  Mnt 1: Bicycle, Wagon, Cart, Trailers
  • x0.5    Mnt 2: Motorcycle, HumVee, UAZ, 3/4 ton truck
  • x1.0    Mnt 4: 2.5 ton truck, 5-ton truck, 10-ton truck
  • x1.5    Mnt 6: M113, LAV-25, BTR-80, OT-64
  • x2.0    Mnt 8: M2A2 Bradley, Leopard I, T-55
  • x2.5    Mnt 10: AIFV, M8 AGS
  • x3.0    Mnt 12: BMP-2, BMP-3
  • x3.5    Mnt 14: M1, M1A1
  • x4.0    Mnt 16: M1A2, T-80

Combining the two, use the following table to calculate the number of 4-hour periods of maintenance required to achieve the desired risk of breakdown for the next 8-hour travel window:

Breakdown Risk (Assuming Elite Mechanic Asset)

Preventative maintenance can RAW reduce the potential breakdown risk to 0%, but the concept of a vehicle never breaking down in the Twilight World seems unlikely so I'd keep the minimum risk as 10%, regardless of the amount of maintenance undertaken.

For an average group, allowing for two rest periods per day, travelling only one or two 4-hour periods per day, spending up to 7 periods a week is no issue and even 14 hours a week is achievable if the group travels one period per day. For vehicles with a "Still Week" value of 1 where the group must wait 7 days before travelling again, a mechanic can easily spend up to 21 periods in maintenance and still have a free period and two periods for sleeping.

Example #1: Monk's motorcycle, with Wear 5 and Mnt 2, needs two 4-hour periods of maintenance to travel at "Safe" risk ie 10% chance of a breakdown or only one and a half 4-hour periods if wanting to travel at "Cautious" risk ie 20% risk of breakdown. 
Example #2: the group's LAV-25, with Wear 6 and Mnt 6, needs six 4-hour periods of maintenance to travel at "Cautious" risk ie 20% risk of breakdown and three 4-hour periods at "Average" risk ie 40% risk of breakdown. To reduce the risk to "Safe" or 10% risk of breakdown, a mechanic must spend seven and a half 4-hour periods in maintenance.
Example #3: the group's HumVee barely limps along with Wear 9 and Mnt 2 so needs four 4-hour periods of maintenance to travel at "Safe" risk or 10% chance of a potential breakdown. Due to it's high Wear value and risk of destruction if it reaches Wear 10, it should command the priority of mechanic time.
Example #4: the combined fleet of vehicles (including the motorcycle) requires 13.5 periods of maintenance to travel at "Safe" risk - slightly less if the motorcycle is only maintained when needed, slightly more if it used to travel while the other vehicles are stationary for 10-11 days and the group is distilling enough fuel for the next burst of travel. This should not be a major issue if the Mechanic is readily available and the group is stationary but they need to spend at least 2 periods a day in maintenance.  


The need for maintenance is a readily winnable mini-game within the core T2k v2.2 rules.

For most groups not carrying significant reserves of extra fuel, the typical stuttering movement between distilling enough methanol to travel one 4-hour period provides ample time for appropriate maintenance to ensure "Safe" risk travel ie a potential breakdown risk of only 10%. Coupled with even a Novice/Experienced mechanic (Asset of 10), this equates to only a 1 in 20 actual breakdown risk, even less with an Elite mechanic (1 in 40, 2.5% risk) provided appropriate tools and a supply of spare parts are available - these should be a priority for all groups.

As breakdowns are time-consuming, expensive (in terms of spare parts) and potentially dangerous (stranding the group stationary in often hostile territory), a typical group should try and avoid them whenever possible unless the GM feels the added risk serves a narrative function.

Compared to fuel scarcity, breakdowns are readily solved as a major limiting factor for overland travel by spending time, so unless the group needs to travel continuously at 8 hours per day and their fleet of vehicles requires more than 7 (or 14) periods of maintenance per week the mini-game does not affect play significantly.

A group containing a mechanic/driver character like my pregenerated "Wheelman" can travel in relative security, provided the fleet of vehicles has a 4-hour maintenance period multiple of less than 14 per week, which seems readily achievable... 


Monday, December 24, 2018

Twilight: 2000 v2.2 PreGen "The Doctor"

Think “Bones” McCoy, but think it in Polish and without the Vulcan slander.

Kapitan "Sice" BrzeziƄski, 41 year-old Male Polish medical officer


Age 41; Weight: 80 kg Load: 33 kg Rads: 16


Init: 4 Melee: 0 Throw: 16 m
Head: 14 Chest: 33 Abdo: 22
R Arm: 22 L Arm: 22 R Leg: 22 L Leg: 22


STR Autogun 0 / 4
STR Grenade Launcher 0 / 4
STR Small Arms: Pistol 2 / 6
STR Thrown Weapon 1 / 5
STR Unarmed Martial Arts 1 / 5

CON Swimming 1 / 8

AGL Ground Vehicle: Wheeled 3 / 7

CHA English 6 / 10
CHA German 4 / 8
CHA Polish 10 / 14 (Veteran)
CHA Leadership 2 / 6
CHA Persuasion 1 / 5

INT Observation 4 / 10

EDU Biology 3 / 11 (Experienced)
EDU Chemistry 5 / 13 (Veteran)
EDU Computer 3 / 11
EDU Medical: Surgery 13 / 21 (Elite+)


Allowance: $4,500 unspent
Gold Pieces: $2000 in cache

Basic Load (Polish): US army fatigues, doctor's medical kit, gas mask, surgical tools, old Polish army fatigues and surgical gowns.

Armor: Kevlar helmet.

Weapon: P-61 pistol

  • 6 x 9mm M 8-round magazines


  • 5 personal medical kits, $5000 worth of unspecified medicine and supplies
  • concealed UAZ jeep with Polish markings (Wear Value 2).

Design Notes

Concept: the good doctor and dedicated Polish pacifist.

Role: a superb medic but poorly capable and unwilling combatant, his language and observation skills make him valuable beyond his surgical role. There is enough justification for his inclusion in an “away team“, although if he is injured or killed this risks his vital support role. Regardless of how he is persuaded - perhaps through the promise of obtaining rare medical supplies, it will be with definite reluctance on his part!


  • “B-Troop” Variant: minimal changes required other than cosmetic or flavour, this build can be shifted to German or another nationality with minimal change except for changing the default languages and basic weapon. For a Polish US version, just flip to English 10 and Polish 8, dropping to German 2 and adding back in the extra base US skills (Armed Martial Arts 0 and Tac Missile 0) and change to the usual M9 American pistol.
  • Soviet Defector: another mainly cosmetic change, just flip to Russian 10 and a PM Makarov. Note: given Captain "Molly" Warren's antipathy towards Russians this is better suited for a co-opted medic character or an "Opposing Force" campaign.

Note: there are not a lot of other options for this build as focussing on optimising Medical Assets requires a very specific Term progression sequence and is difficult to vary to another EDU based build. I may need to create another Civilian Term "Professor" build with Undergraduate, Graduate x2 and Professor to create a scientist specialist default.

Design Calculations

Method: 32 point allocation method; Init roll 4, Init roll 4, Rads roll 2; no age loss of STR or AGL

Background: English x2, German, Ground Vehicle: Wheeled
5 Term(s): Undergraduate, Medical School, 2x Medical Doctor, 1x Medical Officer (Doctor)
Secondary Activities: Activities: English x2, German, CON +1
War Term: 1x Medical Officer (Doctor; regular x2 skills)
Promotions: 3rd (na, Computer), 6th (Captain, Leadership)

Contacts: 1 academic (Polish), 5 medical (2 foreign ie US), 2 military (Polish)

Equipment: access to full trauma facilities and medical clinic in Dobrodzien.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Trouble with Stills and Vehicles in Twilight: 2000

Summary of T2k Still Statistics
A key element of a Twilight 2000 campaign is the almost complete lack of gasoline, particularly in a default Polish start that kicks off with the "Escape from Kalisz" starting scenario.  This effectively forces the use of much less efficient alcohol-based fuels, limiting vehicle movement to either local trips or short bursts of overland travel interrupted by week-long bivouacking to gather materials and distil enough fuel for the next burst. 

While an integral part of the setting and beloved by some, for many the book-keeping required is time-consuming and in my opinion presents a potential barrier to new players.

In this post, I'm going to see if I can simplify the mechanics not only for use in a T2k game, but also to see if I can channel some of the flavour across into an OWB (Operation: Whitebox) conversion idea...

The above insert summarises the characteristics of stills - essentially only the medium still (2 tonnes, 80kg material to create 35 litres of fuel, $2500 cost) is of practical use for a travelling party as the small still produces only a negligible amount of fuel per day and the industrial production large still is too heavy for anything other than a settlement to take advantage of readily.

Unfortunately, as most towed trailers can't carry anything other than a small still. So despite the original in character description of the LAV-25 towing a 1-ton trailer implied to be carrying a still sufficient for the group's needs in the v1.0 boxed set this is an unlikely configuration (although perhaps the medium still components and tubing are spread across the internal cargo area, the external strapped on cargo capacity and the towed trailer).

From this point on when I refer to a "still", I am referring only to a medium still and all vehicle calculations are assumed to be based on methanol as that's the more easily producible alcohol.

Simplified Fuel Mechanics

So the logistics of simplifying travel just come down to:

  • how many days of still operation are required to produce enough fuel for a 4-hr move 
  • whether the vehicle can carry it's own still or needs a "still truck" support vehicle to supply it
  • how many dedicated "still trucks" are accompanying the group 

Considerations such as a vehicle's choice of alcohol for fuel are quite minor - ethanol is only slightly more efficient and it's benefit over methanol works out to about a day difference over a week, becoming insignificant for more fuel hungry vehicles. Likewise, the actual Fuel Capacity is only a minor factor as most vehicles have a capacity about 3 times their gasoline Fuel Consumption, although some vehicles technically need additional "jerrycans" (20L units) of ethanol/methanol above their listed fuel capacity. This extra amount required can be assumed to be jury-rigged into the existing fuel system capacity by any decent mechanic to avoid the need to stop and "top up" (suggested Mechanic: AVG task taking 4 hours for a Jerrycan value of 3 or less, a Mechanic: DIFF task taking 8 hours for a Jerrycan value of 4 or more). As the capacity is assumed to be jury-rigged inside the vehicle into the main fuel tank and fuel lines, the vehicle's cargo Load is reduced by 20kg for each "jerrycan".

Of the common US vehicles below that are generally available to starting characters, only those marked with an "*" have the capacity to carry their own still easily (ie. 2.5 ton and heavier trucks), although the LAV-25 and M113 can squeeze one in the cargo capacity at a pinch. All other vehicles need a support vehicle, usually a 5-ton or larger truck that then needs to supply both itself and the primary vehicle or tow a trailer capable of transporting a 2-ton still (see Paul Mulcahy's website for US trailers or Russian trailers). I haven't done the calculations for common Polish and Soviet vehicles yet, as these are likely to be captured or co-opted during a Polish campaign but they're not that different in terms of broad categories.

Simplified T2k v2.2 Vehicle Travel 
(assumes using a single Medium Still)

The table above is derived from calculations from a Google Spreadsheet I developed to calculate each vehicle in terms of "Still Weeks", which correlate to a simplification of the number of 7-day periods a party must remain stationary / "still" while producing fuel from a single still.

A few simple rules of thumb to help with calculations:

  • default fuel is methanol unless otherwise noted
  • adding another still to the group's resources halves the Still Weeks time to fully refuel
  • more than one vehicle requires weeks equal to the sum of each vehicle's Still Weeks value
  • a still truck forms an essential component of most travelling parties


Motorcycles are not listed above as regardless of whether they use ethanol or methanol, they require only one "Still Day" to completely refuel  ie. 35L, compare to their Fuel Consumption of 8 (24 for ethanol, 28 for methanol) and a Fuel Capacity of 16 so have a "jerrycan" value of 1. Although motorcycles have a base Load 300kg they can't tow trailers or carry even a small still, so they are always dependent on either a stationary still at a base or need to accompany a still carrying vehicle for longer travel.

This makes motorcycles very useful for scouting and interim transport of part of the group while the group is otherwise stationary and preparing enough fuel for their main vehicles - travelling up to 10/4 hexes. As 2 jerrycans (40L) readily provides an extra 4 hour period of travel, a simple field modification connecting the extra fuel capacity is common (a Mechanic: AVG task, 4 hours as above) and allows the motorcycle to travel for 8 hours if needed, a significant round trip.

As Ground Vehicle is a cascade skill, all characters with at least a score of 2 in either of Ground Vehicle: Tracked or Ground Vehicle: Wheeled have an equivalent Ground Vehicle: Motorcycle 1. At a base cost of $5000, even not accounting for Wear (which even if only Wear 2 drops the price to less than $2500), this makes for an almost essential option even for groups with larger vehicles.


I haven't bothered presenting tanks here as although the calculations are there in the spreadsheet, they worked out to be prohibitive to run on alcohol - even the comparatively fuel-efficient T2k v2.2 version of the M1A2 requires 2 months of operating a medium still daily to generate and has a Jerrycan value of 10, whereas both the M1 and M1A1 need 4 months and ~100 jerrycans of methanol to operate. This is beyond simply jury-rigging some extra fuel tank capacity or strapping some extra fuel to the outside of your armoured vehicle - it equates to two 1000L tank trailers!

To me, this means these tanks in T2k Poland are completely impractical to travel overland with - they need the production of an immobile large still (2400L per day, 83 tons) to supply them or access to a large reserve of gasoline or diesel. Once their main gun ammunition runs out, they're basically just heavily armoured MG emplacements and are probably better off being used for static defence.

But a fully fueled tank running on gasoline, now that's a different story...

I wonder if it would actually make more sense stripping off the tracks and engine to decrease the weight significantly and then hauling one on a semi-trailer to create a sort of super-heavy "gun truck", parking them on a river barge (as suggested in this play report), or using them as an emplacement on a train (see Going Home, page 8-10 but the limit for a gun to be fired is 75mm without derailing).

Similar arguments to the above could be made for most self-propelled artillery.

Simplified Hex Based Travel

The "20mile Hex" column indicates the number of hexes travelled in a full 4-hour period using Jed McClure's "An Old School Polish Sandbox" post invaluable Eastern European Hexmap (the main maps overlain with a 20-mile width hex-grid with a carefully compiled index based on the Polish modules).

This abstracted system effectively converts vehicle travel into multiples of human on foot travel, emphasising the relative benefit of fast vehicle travel while demonstrating the limitations of the inherent "leapfrog" interrupted travel as opposed to relatively continuous travel on foot (or by horse), particularly for off-road travel where the benefit of a vehicles is lessened. 

  • A human on foot (or on horseback) has a 1/1 travel value and moves 1 hex per 4 hour period either by road or off-road
  • A motorcycle has a 10/4 travel value  ie. a rider can travel either 10x as far as a human on foot via road or 4 times as far if off-road.   
  • An 8-ton truck has a 5/2 travel value ie. the occupants can travel 5x as far as a human on foot via road or 2 times as far if off-road. 

For groups making shorter travel bursts, simply divide the number of hexes travelled by four and multiply by the number of hours travelled for the journey, leaving enough fuel for the difference in hours ie. 4 - # of hours travelled.

The default 5-ton "Still Truck" 

M809 - the basis for the default US Army "Still Truck"

Let's start with an example to help illustrate the simplified system.

A party of 2 characters owns a default 5-ton truck (M809, Star 266, KAMAZ or similar) with a full tank of methanol carrying a medium still or a so-called default "still truck", has values of Still Weeks = 1 week and Hex Move 8/2 and a remaining Load 3 tons. Assuming no extra fuel is carried or towed in a tank trailer, this means that it can move one 4 hour period move and then requires 7 days stationary to distil enough fuel for the next move.

Note: a 2.5 ton truck (such as a M1078, Star 66 or GAZ-53) works similarly with only minor differences: Hex Move 9/2 and only 500kg Load remaining, assuming the extra fuel requirement is accommodated by jury-rigging in a 2 jerrycan modification as described above.

For this example, the party starts at Lodz and intends to travel by road to Warsaw, so they have several options in how they can choose to travel:

  • The whole party can travel 8 hexes by road (eg. from Lodz to Warsaw) in one 4 hour period driving the truck, distil fuel for 7 days and then be able to move again. If the start with no fuel, the can distil fuel for a week to produce enough fuel to drive to Warsaw by the end of day 8.
  • The same party leaving the truck and travelling on foot for 2 periods a day for 4 days can cover the same distance but camps 3 times, or if travelling 1 period a day covers the same distance in 8 days and camps 7 times, assuming they can carry enough food and don't need to forage extra food. If both party members travel, they can't distil any fuel but if one remains behind then a just over a Still Week of fuel (~285L) is produced, enough for a full tank of fuel.
  • If one of the party is using a motorcycle they can travel 10 hexes in one period, and if extra fuel is carried perhaps by waiting a day to distil enough fuel for the return trip, they can move another 10 hexes in another period. This means they can readily travel from Lodz to Warsaw and back in one day. Assuming the other party member is distilling fuel over that day, the motorcycle can then be used the next day to travel 10 hexes by road. 

So in 8 days, the party can either:

  • Drive the truck from Lodz to Warsaw by road, arriving with an empty tank and then distil methanol for a week and be ready to drive back to Lodz on day 9.
  • Distil fuel for a week then drive to Warsaw and back in one day.
  • Travel on foot by road to Warsaw and back to Lodz, either as a group or if one remains behind, having enough fuel to drive the truck to Warsaw and back on day 9.
  • Travel by motorcycle to Warsaw and back to Lodz and still distil enough fuel to then drive the truck to Warsaw in the following week with an extra tank of fuel.

If say the party adds two extra characters and a HumVee towing a 1-ton trailer, the Still Week value for the party rises to 1.5 weeks and it takes 11 days for the whole party to move from Lodz to Warsaw. Adding an extra still to the 5-ton truck drops this to 5 days but then the majority of any additional equipment, motorcycles and surplus fuel must be stored in the trailer.

By comparison, adding 2 characters and a LAV-25 or an M113 increases the Still Week value to 2 and 3 weeks respectively, equivalent to 14 and 21 days. Adding an extra still (likely to the track but possibly inside the armored vehicle even at the expense of any internal cargo) drops this to 1 week and 10 days, but the majority of any additional equipment needs to be carried in the cargo area of the armoured vehicle, strapped to the outside or towed in an additional trailer.

For both additional examples, travel by foot or a motorcycle or two can be readily accommodated without greatly affecting the overall movement pattern and duration of the group as a whole - the detail of the math becomes relatively minor and can be factored out in my opinion.


So I think, with a few assumptions (eg. use of methanol as base, medium still, extra capacity jury-rigged "jerrycan" fuel tanks if needed) and the use of Jed's Hexmaps, we can greatly simplify the book-keeping in T2k v2.2 travel while still retaining the original "post-apocalyptic" feel intended by the scarcity of gasoline and the resulting reliance on distilled alcohol fuel and stills mounted on unarmored supply vehicles.

Using the above assumptions, vehicles need only 2 values for overland travel:

  • Still Weeks value = Fuel Con / 70
  • Hex Move value = Travel Move / 20

If the vehicle is capable of carrying it's own medium still, it's assumed to default function as a "still truck" and it's Still Week value can be marked with an asterisk "*". All other vehicles require either extra fuel or must accompany one of these "still trucks".

I'd suggest rounding any fractions to half a week (4 days), although if you want to use fractional movement (travelling less than the whole 4-hour period) it may be easier to convert to "Still Days" by multiplying by 7 or just assuming that each hour spent travelling adds an extra 2 days production time per Still Week. For vehicles with Still Week values of 2 weeks or more I would suggest this just becomes a narrative rather than mechanic effect and for vehicles with a Still Week value of 3 or more other than the M2 Bradley or similar Pact equivalent, their need to refuel should become a core story point to be played out.

As the Hex Move value converts a vehicle's travel into multiples of a human on foot, it should be a lot easier I think to judge the choice of travel options and keep track of time in a campaign.

I'd be interested in any examples from play or comments about this approach, either in the comments section below or otherwise over on the MeWe (or Google+ till April 2019) "Twilight: 2000" groups.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

A River Runs Through It... Twilight: 2000 Amphibious Start

In the original "Escape from Kalisz" scenario, there is an explicit setup meant to drive the characters in a southwards direction (towards Krakow and/or Silesia) due to the initial placement of the Soviet forces and the natural geographic features eg the unfordable Warta River. This post explores an option of a more northerly route, extrapolating on the potential if the characters start with or readily acquire an amphibious vehicle or vehicles.

Northern Kalisz Escape Route map circa 20th July 2000 (spoilers)

So let's imagine the characters start with just a M113 tracked APC. Probably an M113A3 to be exact (T2k v2.2, page 74). In the woods to the northeast of Kalisz, south of the Turek-Uniejow road and east of the Warta as shown in the above map.

Compare to a group travelling with a mixture of a couple of HumVees, motorcycles, and/or a few trucks (eg "deuce-and-a-half" and/or a 5-ton truck/tanker) perhaps converted into "gun trucks" this opens up an interesting option of (albeit somewhat limited) amphibious capability, and it's the river crossing capability that allows for the potential of a different departure route for an Escape from Kalisz campaign...

1) Northeast, straight towards Warsaw in fact via Kutno then Lowice, bypassing Krakow and the Vistula completely for a segway directly into the Ruins of Warsaw supplement arriving in the west near the road through the suburbs Srodmiescle, Mirow and Mokotow. 
2) West or Northwest, either along the Warta westwards directly to the Oder or else northwards following the canal near Konin that leads to the Notec via the Bydoszcz (Bromberg) lock complex and then again onwards to the Oder and the more friendly territory of Germany... (see Going Home for useful details).

A campaign involving a fully amphibious movement capable party ie. *all* vehicles (or a solo vehicle without trucks or a trailer) capable of crossing or traveling along stretches of rivers would therefore be different to a group with a wheeled LAV-25 and a Hum Vee, like the iconic T2k v1.0 group used for play examples in the original boxed set.

Note: this post uses some variant from canon details drawn from Paul Mulcahy's "Tracked APCs - US" page. Unless otherwise noted however I refer to the "base" vehicles from the core book or the American Combat Vehicle Handbook (page 22 for the M113, page 26 for the LAV-25) .

Why an M113, not just a LAV-25?

Mainly because I like the idea of a variation to the example group and using the M113 - it's always been and will likely remain such an iconic vehicle from its inception and in widespread use in its many variants and upgrades. The image below shows a later modification circa ~1999 which enables "sea to shore" capability that may not have come into production in the Twilight World:

M113A3 "AmphGavin" fitted with "AAV-like" nose for sea to shore travel

Superficially, the LAV-25 wheeled infantry fighting vehicle occupies a similar starting vehicle "slot" (accessible only to a party of 4 or more on a roll of "10" on 2D6 as opposed to a "11" on 2D6) and has similar capabilities - it's amphibious, similar Weight (11 or 12 tonnes), has slightly better Fuel Consumption (base 90 vs 120), and has a faster Combat Move and a better road Travel Move than the tracked APC whereas their off-road Travel Move 85 is actually equivalent. The M113 has full radiological shielding and headlights instead of just the enclosed status and passive IR of the LAV-25.

Both vehicles have the same Load (2 tonnes, but an extra 10% strapped to the outside as both armoured), and reasonable armour protection although the LAV-25 is slightly less protected than the M113. Given a medium still weighs 2 tonnes, for independent travel ie. not needing a support vehicle mounted still / tanker such as perhaps the M-548 below, either vehicle sacrifices their whole internal carrying capacity.

Unfortunately there don't appear to be any real amphibious US or NATO trailers apart from the small 340kg capacity M-100 jeep trailer from Paul Mulcahy's website, but I'm unsure whether this could be adapted to be towed in water as both the APC and the wheeled IFV sit very low in the water anyway. Any trailer cargo would have to be shifted to the outside of the armoured vehicle for a river crossing and the trailer abandoned.

Designed for carrying a troop complement, each option has enough space to carry a small beginning party - the LAV-25 can carry a total of 9 characters, but needs a crew of 3 compared to an M113 ability to transport 11 characters beyond the base crew of driver and commander. That's 4 extra characters for an M113 equipped group, which I think is a significant positive - the M113 really is an APC and it shows in this capacity for a starting campaign, readily allowing for dependents and non-combatants.

Sure, if you're looking for firepower the LAV-25 carries a 25mm autocannon in a turret used on the Bradley (as does the Dutch/Belgium AIFV variant of the M113 or the improved M115A1 AACV) with Fire Control +1 and Basic stabilization (no penalty while moving at normal speed), but it has only a lighter co-axial MAG MG.  The basic M113 variants lacks this autocannon, but has the advantage of the heavier 2HB MG on the M113 that can be readily dismounted onto a NHT and is unlikely to run into ammunition issues (the LAV-25 has a base of only 630 rounds for it's 25mm, after which it's main gun is useless unless this uncommon NATO round can be bought or scrounged in useful quantities. Tanks in the starting scenario are rare and best avoided or dealt with by anti-tank missiles IMO, so I feel that while the autocannon may be an early advantage or deterrent, it's role reduces or expires as the campaign progresses.

The M113 does lack the (6) firing ports of the LAV-25, but it has not only rear access but also top deck access for all the passengers with 2 additional heavy weapons mounts (and capacity to jury-rig more with the right tools and character Assets). This allows the APC to work more like a tracked "gun truck" ("gun track"?) rather than just a "battle taxi" as while the gunners are less protected, for combats with lighter "soft-skinned" vehicles or troops, the whole passenger troop can contribute if the rear deck doors are opened. The ACAV style modifications from the Vietnam era and/or applique armour kit (see Paul's website for suggested details) add to the survivability, as does the AACV option (American Combat Vehicle Handbook, page 23). To me this is more in keeping with my concept of vehicle use and travel in a beginning Poland campaign - patched up and field modified older equipment desperately maintained.

In the late 1960s, a waterjet propulsion system was developed for amphibious operations. This allowed the M-113A1 on which it was tested to roughly double its swimming speed and greatly increase waterborne mobility. The waterjets were steered by vanes. Air was sucked in from the top of the waterjet modules and pushed out under the water level to form the jets. Ballast was added in the front to ensure stability. The waterjet system was, however, decided against by the Army. In game terms, adding a waterjet propulsion system adds 300 kg to the weight of the vehicle (which is subtracted from the M-113s cargo capacity) and adds $4000 to the cost of the vehicle. 
- Paul Mulcahy's Twilight 2000 website

M-548 as 5-ton "truck" variant amphibious support option

Similar in concept to the M113 (and cheaper at around $50,000 base cost depending on whether using an official source (American Combat Vehicle Handbook, page 10) or the "Heavy Unarmoured Vehicle" section of Paul's website) is the M-548 "heavy track" 5-ton amphibious cargo carrier:

Even if not rolled as an option (equivalent to a 5-ton truck, ie a roll of an "8" or "9" on 2D6) it's low price makes it readily accessible as a secondary starting amphibious cargo vehicle (particularly if reduced by accepting a Wear value of 2 or more ie. only $25,000 or even less, potentially affordable by a starting group of 4+ characters). 

It's main drawcard is it's considerable cargo capacity of 6 tons - easily enough to accomodate a medium still (2 tonnes) for itself and the M113, with perhaps a 1000L tank to accomodate spare fuel supplies and enough room left over for other equipment. Offset against this is that while it has comparable base Fuel Consumption (140 vs 120)  it is somewhat slower than the M113 (off-road travel only 70), "soft-skinned" (unarmoured), somewhat unreliably amphibious, and has no significant radiological shielding or passive IR capability. It does come with the same M2HB machinegun on a ring mount shared with it's M113 cousin however, allowing for consolidation of ammunition supplies with the APC.

Optionally, at the loss of the reliability of amphibious capability (reflected by the need for a Skill check to not founder when used at a river), it could be upgraded into a solo "gun track" similar to the base conversions of the "deuce-and-a-half" and 5-ton "gun trucks" from Challenge Magazine #55 (pages 6-8). This "gun track" field improvisation adds steel plate armor (equivalent to HF / HS / HR: 4 level) and at least 2 additional weapons mounts, but at the cost of dropping the speed and decreasing the available Load to only 4 tons. For a smaller group interested more in gear than personnel, this less glamorous option could be an interesting variant starting vehicle option.

A Marines Variant?

Rather than a M113A3 (or modified "gun track" M-548), a group somehow linked to the Marines or with a few Marine characters may choose to use a so-called "Amtrac" AAVP7A1 or variant instead - a roughly equivalent in price and capability APC exclusive to their armed forces branch with an increased personnel carrying capacity, load and some sea-going capability, shown here cruising down a river:

AAVP9 Tracked Amphibious Vehicle crossing a river

AAVP9: The AAVP9 is an advanced version of the AAVP7A1 amphibious armoured personnel carrier, entering service in the early 1990's. A 40mm AGL and M2HB MG combination is mounted in a small cupola on the right front hull deck, and there are two smaller hatches for the driver and vehicle commander on the left front hull deck. The rear deck contains two large doors for disembarking personnel, and the rear has a ramp/door which can be lowered as well. The vehicle is fully amphibious. The 40mm AGL is identical in performance and characteristics to the Mark 19.
Price: $80,000 (R/R) RF + 15 Armament: 40mm AGL, M2HB MG Ammo: 350 x 40mm Tr Move: 120/70 Com Move: 40/30 Fuel Cap: 360 Fuel Cons: 120 Fuel Type: D, A Load: 4 tons Veh Wt: 18 tons Crew: 2 + 22 Mnt: 6; page 30 US Army Vehicle Guide (v1.0) or page 25 American Combat Vehicle Guide (v2.2).
As you can see from the above, the "Amtrac" is all around better armed and armoured, reliably amphibious with some sea-going capacity, has more crew protection for it's crew operated weapons and has a bigger cargo capacity, overcoming most of the limitations of the M113A3 for a similar core rules cost. Although slightly slower it has not only greater personnel capacity (a commander and an extra 11 characters beyond the M113) but also the advantage of carrying not only a medium still but also a remaining 2 tonnes of internal cargo and 1800kg of external cargo strapped to the outside.

To me the "Amtrac" has a big personality - it's rare in Poland and distinctively American, can operate independently and I think has the potential to become almost a separate "vehicle character" in it's own right or legend in itself amongst the remaining Soviet forces in the area. Discreet? Not so much - it's very uniqueness makes it stand out and marks it as a potential trophy to enemies.

Explaining Marine character(s) presence and such a signature vehicle with the remnants of the US 5th Division forces in central Poland may require some back-story explanation but given the chaotic nature of the later stages of the Twilight War and the tendency for remnants of disrupted units to be incorporated into remaining units, it's a plausible beginning single vehicle option if somewhat higher powered.

Rules References

Addit: Wayne suggested the following relevant amphibious vehicle references from the v2.2 rules:

  • Page 213: Movement
  • Page 214: Swamping
  • Page 220: Penetration

"A referee that wants to allow amphibs, but not be used immediately in Escape From Kalisz, can add a few hull penetrations along with the Wear roll. The PCs could patch their amphib up later, but are quite busy at the moment."

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Twilight: 2000 v2.2 PreGen "The Scout"

Bobbi Lee joined up with us back around Frankfurt-on-the-Oder and she’s walked point ever since. The Major says he’s never seen anyone with an eye for an ambush like she has. Well, he’s seen more than I have. All I know is that we’ve never gotten cracked with Bobbi Lee on point. She says it’s because her brothers used to take her coon hunting. Maybe. But I’ve got a feeling that Ranger scroll on her shoulder has something to do with it.

31 year old Female American ranger / scout


Age: 31; Weight: 73 kg Load: 33 kg Rads: 24


Init: 4 Melee: 3 Throw: 32 m
Head: 10 Chest: 39 Abdo: 26
R Arm: 26 L Arm: 26 R Leg: 26 L Leg: 26


STR Armed Martial Arts 0 / 8
STR Autogun 0 / 8
STR Grenade Launcher 0 / 8
STR Small Arms: Rifle 6 / 14 (Veteran)
STR Thrown Weapon 3 / 11 (Experienced)
STR Unarmed Martial Arts 4 / 12 (Experienced)

CON Parachute 2 / 7
CON Swimming 1 / 6

AGL Ground Vehicle: Wheeled 1 / 7
AGL Stealth 8 / 14
AGL Tac Missile 0 / 6

CHA English 10 / 14 (Veteran)

INT Observation 8 / 15 (Elite)
INT Navigation 1 / 8
INT Survival 3 / 10
INT Tracking 2 / 9


Allowance: $8250 unspent
Gold Pieces: $1500 max

Basic Load (US): US army fatigues, pack, shelter half, gas mask, combat webbing (ALICE); sleeping bag, flashlight, personal medical kit, thermal US army fatigues.

Armor: Kevlar Helmet & Kevlar Vest

Weapon: M16A2 assault rifle

  • 6 x 5.56N 30-round magazines, 180 loose 5.56N rounds


6 frag grenades
2 smoke grenades


Any items that cannot be reasonably carried or stowed in vehicles.

Design Notes

Concept: a good ol' southern girl that can spot a coin at 1000 yards.

Role: primary wilderness scout and “point” due to high Observation / INT and Stealth / AGL, she guarantees automatic success for all but the hardest ambush or encounter rolls. However, rather than just be a “hand wave” of the mechanic, is valid in a secondary role being as a sniper and support combatant.


  • “B-Troop” Variant: minimal changes required other than cosmetic or flavour, this build can be shifted to another nationality with minimal change except for the loss of the extra base US skills (Armed Martial Arts 0 and Tac Missile 0) and starting weapon loadout.
  • Marine Sniper: increase to Small Arms: Rifle 9, drop to Unarmed Martial Arts 2 and lose Tac Missile 0. Change basic training to Marine and her last (War) Term to Sniper. Her personal weapon becomes M21 sniper rifle and she carries an M231 submachinegun for closer quarters. See also the "Battlesight" article on zeroing rifles (Challenge #63, page 12).
  • Knife Thrower: this close combat variant sacrifices Observation for proficiency with Armed Martial Arts and Thrown Weapon. Drop to Observation 4 and Unarmed Martial Arts 2, increase to Armed Martial Arts 4 and Thrown Weapon 5. Add a half-dozen knives, invert the frag grenade to smoke grenade ratio and change the M16A2 to a M177 carbine.
  • Forward Observer: swap one (or more) of the later Ranger terms for Airborne Infantry, dropping to Observation 6, Stealth 6 and adding Forward Observer 4, keeping the other skills the same. This variant partners well with a "Heavy" character with a focus on Heavy Artillery or a Combat Engineer with a mortar.

“B-Troop” Variant basically the same character mechanically as one of the options above but switching her background to West German or Austrian. This necessitates only flipping her main language and dropping the US default skills of Armed Martial Arts 0 and Tac Missile 0, and I'd suggest dropping to Thrown Weapon 1 to allow for English 2. Her weapon loadout shifts to a PSG1 sniper rifle and backup G11 submachinegun.

Design Calculations

Method: 32 point allocation method; Init roll 4

Background: Observation, Survival, Tracking, Unarmed Martial Arts
3 Term(s): Ranger x3
Secondary Activities: Observation x3
War Term: Ranger (regular x2 skills)
Promotions: nil

Contacts: 3 military (no foreign)

Equipment: consider a FAV-Warrior UAV (see Paul Mulcahy's pages, est $3,500 or optionally est $4,000 if a Wear value of 5 based on Challenge magazine stats) with a full tank of 60L of gasoline.

Background: Bobbi Lee is one of the original Play Manual example characters and used to illustrate similar examples in T2k v2.2. She’s noted as being a ranger, excellent at detecting ambushes, and uses a M16A2. She technically meets the criteria for Marine Corps entry but this basic build is regular US Army as though the fiction calls her a ranger, it's never mentioned she's a marine.

Her expertise in Unarmed Martial Arts is clearly demonstrated:

"One day everyone was out foraging, except for me. I was working on the LAV-25’s transmission. The story of my life. First thing I know there’s this Hungarian sergeant leaning under the LAV-25 and sticking a Makarov in my face. Beats me what he was doing this far north, but he was pretty skinny and raggedy looking, so I figure he was probably a deserter. Well, I was tired of working on the LAV-25 anyway. so I crawled out and stood up. 
About then Bobbi Lee got back to camp, and I guess she wasn’t expecting trouble, because it’s the only time I’ve ever seen her surprised. She dropped her M16, but then the Hungarian looked back at me. Wrong move. BobbiLee kicked him. She kicked him in the HEAD. She kicked him so hard she broke his neck. This I do not believe she learned coon hunting with her brothers."

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Europe's Navigable Waterways

So I came across this resource that I think is helpful for using rivers as a central element in RPGs - it's the UNECE interactive map of Europe's Navigable Waterways (click here for the PDF download but note it's at least a 2MB file when compressed to JPEG).

It's very, very detailed, and although the legend/key (in English, French, and Russian) doesn't appear in the above image, it's readily accessible in the bottom right of the PDF version.

Looked at from an overall perspective, the map shows the waterways by several characteristics:

  • Type (free-flowing river, canalised river, canal)
  • Class (regional vs international significance)

In addition, major local features are detailed such as:

  • Locks & Weirs (common)
  • Ship lifts (rare)
  • Dams (those without locks)
  • Bridge maximum heights and minimum draught
  • Local restrictions (shallows)

Taken together with the basic geographical elevations outlining the relevant uplands and mountain ranges, this map suggests some interesting potential play options for a campaign (whether set in Europe in the "modern" period eg T2k v2.2 or in a "European" style fantasy world with steam level technology eg WFRP, or perhaps even the default 16th century time period suggested for LotFP).

Riverine play, whether adventures or in fact as a central element of a campaign, isn't featured as a major option in most campaigns - WFRP 1e Death on the Reik being perhaps the notable exception that proves the rule, and to a lesser extent the difficult to source GURPS Riverworld.

This map, although in many ways just a technical representation, to me opens up the possibilities of transcontinental riverborne and canal centred campaigns.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Twilight: 2000 v2.2 PreGen "The Heavy"

“I like big guns, and I cannot lie…”, with apologies to Sir Mix-a-Lot circa 1991. Think Mac Eliot from the Predator film, or even the HWG from TF2, but think him with an Irish accent... just because.

Spec 4. Desmond "Deacon" James, 30 year old Male American


STR 10 CON 4 AGL 8 EDU 4 CHA 4 INT 4
Age: 33 Weight: 88 kg Load: 42 kg Rads: 12


Init: 3 Melee: 5 Throw: 40 m
Head: 8 Chest: 42 Abdo: 28
R Arm: 28 L Arm: 28 R Leg: 28 L Leg: 28


STR Armed Martial Arts 0 / 10
STR Autogun 6 / 16 (Elite)
STR Grenade Launcher 1 / 11 (Experienced)
STR Heavy Gun 2 / 12 (Experienced)
STR Mechanic 1 / 11 (Experienced)
STR Small Arms: Rifle 4 / 14 (Experienced)
STR Thrown Weapon 1 / 11 (Experienced)
STR Unarmed Martial Arts 5 / 15 (Experienced)

CON Climbing 2 / 6
CON Small Watercraft 2 / 6
CON Swimming 3 / 7

AGL Ground Vehicle: Tracked 2 / 10
AGL Ground Vehicle: Wheeled 1 / 9
AGL Gunsmith 4 / 12 (Experienced)
AGL Machinist 3 / 11 (Experienced)
AGL Tac Missile 0 / 8

CHA English 10 / 14 (Experienced)

INT Survival 2 / 6

EDU Electronics 1 / 5
EDU Metallurgy 1 / 5


Allowance: $8600
Gold Pieces: $1000

Basic Load (US): US army fatigues, pack, shelter half, gas mask, combat webbing (ALICE); sleeping bag, flashlight, personal medical kit, thermal US army fatigues.

Armor: Kevlar Helmet & Kevlar (Ballistic Nylon) Vest


M60 Machinegun with included bipod / NLT 
  • 6 x belted 100 7.62N rounds, 180 loose 7.62N rounds

6 frag grenades
2 smoke grenades


NATO Medium Tripod.

Design Notes

Concept: a big guy that is really good with big guns and his body. Pretty simple really.

Role: this character is a heavy grunt / human tank, able of withstanding a high amount of punishment and deal out a great deal of damage in return, accessing various heavy and vehicle mounted weapons (such as a M214 6-Pac gatling), tank guns, or even just his body. A secondary role is as a gunsmith, although can be a backup driver or operate small boats effectively.


  • Anti-tank specialist: a supportive fire variant created by switching Armor Terms for Infantry. Drop Heavy Gun 2 and replace Autogun 6 with Autogun 3, Forward Observer 1 and Grenade Launcher 3. Increase to Small Arms 6. Replace the M60 with standard M16 (or M177 carbine) and underslung M203 and a selection of M72 LAWs / M136 (AT4)s or a M3 MAAWS / Carl Gustav recoilless rifle.
  • TOW specialist: a less versatile variant able to use Tac missiles might be a specialist option by trading Armor Terms for Infantry but at the loss of overall effectiveness, given the rarity of these weapons in the post Twilight War setting. Drop Heavy Gun 2 and replace Autogun 6 with Autogun 2, Forward Observer 1 and Tac missile 2. Increase Grenade Launcher to 2 and increase Small Arms to 6. Replace the M60 with a M177 carbine and several TOW2 missiles (the launcher usually being part of a starting vehicle such as a Bradley or variant Hum-Vee) or more likely a cheaper Tankbreaker and several missiles.

“B-Troop” Variant basically the same character mechanically as one of the options above but the option of switching his background to West German or Austrian. This necessitates only flipping his main language and dropping the US default skills of Armed Martial Arts 0 and Tac Missile 0, and I'd suggest Electronics and Metallurgy should be dropped to allow for English 2. His weapon then shifts to a MG3 machinegun.

Design Calculations

Method: 32 point allocation; Init roll 6/2 = 3 (reserve), Rad roll 2; active reservist grants Autogun +1

Background: Survival, Small Watercraft, Unarmed Martial Arts x2
3 Term(s): Technical College, Armor, Factory Worker
Secondary Activities: STR +2, Climbing, Swimming
War Term: Armor (reservist x2 skills)
Promotions: none

Contacts: 1 specialist (Gunsmith), 2 military, 1 business

Equipment: consider upgrade M60 to MAG. Add a LAW or two perhaps and some rifle grenades.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Crossranting: Twilight 2000 Play Reports & Kalisz Resources

This post is a short collection of ideas and resources for *starting* T2k campaigns, partly for my own use but also as a potential draft to be reorganised later into a primer or starter kit. 

It's by no means a complete collection but the most recent resources are listed first, and I'm aware there are other more comprehensive collections, but it's something I can refer to and add to over time.