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Old 05-18-2016, 08:15 PM
fact275 fact275 is offline
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Default I wish GDW had...

It's fascinating to see people still posting about an RPG over 32 years old and horribly out of date in many ways. Nostalgia is powerful!

I'm 44 and my friends and I spent many hours playing Twilight. I later became a US Air Force historian and realized much of the game wasn't realistic militarily never mind the plot holes it had in its geopolitical background.

A few years ago, I bought most of the game materials in PDF and they are still entertaining reads even with the dated material and plot holes. Many of those plot holes have been discussed very well here.

What I want to write about are details that GDW did not provide--and I wish they had. Ironically, as companies are still putting out 2300 materials, Twilight's dated and often flawed backstory still lives on into the 2010s!

1. General Cummings and "President" Broward

Howling Wilderness has ZERO NPC profiles on the two biggest NPCs in the United States! My GM and I always saw Cummings as being based on General Colin Powell, who was Reagan's National Security Advisor so we just used him as inspiration. What about MILGOV's structure? Foreign relations? CIVGOV's cabinet? Popular support? Nothing, nada, zilch. But some urban mapping system? Here you go!

2. NATO

Bear's Den mentions a turned Soviet division as a "NATO" division. Say what? By that time in the game, most US forces have left Europe. France, Belgium, Italy, and Greece are not part of NATO. Where is NATO now headquartered and in what form is the alliance? Any civilian leadership? Who are the former Red Army troops reporting to?

3. Nuclear weapons

T:2000 made clear that the nuclear war was not a full exchange. So what about the other remaining warheads and delivery systems? Even if you say the latter were destroyed by conventional or nuclear methods what of the warheads? Other delivery systems could be presumably fashioned. Every so often a loose nuke or the Soviet Typhoon shows up but it never made sense why the USA would not just plaster Mexico. Really the thought that there could never be only a "limited" exchange while the war continued gains currency right?

4. TF:34

So Task Force 34 sails to Norfolk and all we ever hear later is some mentions of some troops being sent to New York. Say what? A massive--by game standards--force that could (even mainly as infantry) easily defeat New America strongholds, the Mexican invasion, or subdue CivGov just becomes an afterthought. And what of forces like the 8th Infantry Division who stay in Eastern Europe? What becomes of them? What of CivGov's troops in Yugoslavia? You have to buy 2300 to find out what happens to CENTCOM in Iran.

5. Speaking of CENTCOM...

I loved the RDF Sourcebook. You have the Ambassador who seems as good a candidate for President as any other back home. What happened to him? CENTCOM presumably are still in Iran to secure the Gulf oil fields. Why not send TF34 and whatever tankers or makeshift takers to go get some of that oil and bring it back home?

6. "That stuff we did the last time we shelled out $20 for a module"

My GM and I always complained that we'd do things in modules and it never seemed to affect the developing game narrative: Reset chip, recovered weather satellite, locating supply caches, even kidnapping the New America chief never made much difference as GDW wrote future modules. As for New America, the kidnapping was written in but only as a way of saying why NA did not take over the country in full. In reality, it should have been a major turning point against them just as Roger Caldwell intended.

That said, I have fond nostalgic memories of when everyone in our PC group was some sort of special ops member (Mine: SEAL Team 6, Delta, SAS, Special Forces, and one Armored Division veterean--all present), carried seven weapons including exotic Finnish hunting rifles that did 1/2 armor value, and had enough hit points to take 12.7mm rounds to the head and not really be phased! I fear that while latter generations have their video games, they don't have the joy of imagining out their game worlds.
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Old 05-18-2016, 08:56 PM
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Raellus Raellus is offline
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Those are some good questions, fact275, and ones that many of us who have delved into the T2K materials have also wondered about. #1 and #4 are real head-scratchers. We can only speculate as to what the rationale for those rather egregious omissions were. In some case, I think that the authors didn't want to circumscribe things too much by detailing out the results of certain major in-module missions. I think they left it open to GMs to determine the large-scale, long-term effects of completing certain major missions (Reset, for example). If they spelled everything out, then T2K does become more like a video game, as creative control is taken out of the hands of GMs. Perhaps they were trying to avoid that happening. It is strange, however, that they didn't at least present possible long-term effects- a menu of options, if you will- for GMs that struggle with that sort of macro-level world-building.

I do have some pretty definite thoughts on a couple of your questions. I hope you don't mind me sharing them.

#2. I think the authors used "NATO" to describe Western forces post-2000 for ease of reference. We all know what they mean. Perhaps the U.S., through CivGov, is still a part of the alliance- it's still got forces in Europe in 2001, as does MilGov if one counts US XI Corps, which gets left behind in NW Poland after OMEGA. I think making up a new acronym for NATO 2.0 would have just confused matters. Consider that, even before 2000, NATO had lost members, some even having turned coats. It would be hard to keep track if they changed the name of the alliance every time a country came or went throughout the timeline.

3. I don't see unused, unaccounted-for warheads as being a plot-hole. In fact, I see it more of a plot-hook. There are weapons to be found and kept out of the hands of tin-pot dictators, warlords, etc. Heck, if PCs can get their hands on a warhead, they can set themselves up as major power players.

As to why the U.S. didn't nuke Mexico, I see a perfectly reasonable explanation. In a basic cost-benefit analysis, it's not worth irradiating one's next-door neighbor when one has confidence in one's conventional forces to stop and roll back a conventional invasion. The U.S. would have had enough issues with fallout and the like without radioactive dust clouds of their own creation rolling back over the border from a nuked Mexico as well.
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Old 05-18-2016, 10:24 PM
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It's fascinating to see people still posting about an RPG over 32 years old and horribly out of date in many ways. Nostalgia is powerful!
Yup its full of holes and that's why we love it!
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Old 05-19-2016, 04:56 AM
.45cultist .45cultist is offline
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We had a thread about the unreal aspects of the Mexican front. I think most people modified that data for thier campaigns.
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Old 05-19-2016, 08:15 AM
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Well we do know some things about Cummings and Broward - we know Cummings was part of the Grenada operation in the 80's and got injured and that he has a granddaughter but you are right there should be a lot more

As for your point

4. TF:34

So Task Force 34 sails to Norfolk and all we ever hear later is some mentions of some troops being sent to New York. Say what? A massive--by game standards--force that could (even mainly as infantry) easily defeat New America strongholds, the Mexican invasion, or subdue CivGov just becomes an afterthought. And what of forces like the 8th Infantry Division who stay in Eastern Europe? What becomes of them? What of CivGov's troops in Yugoslavia? You have to buy 2300 to find out what happens to CENTCOM in Iran.

Remember that 2300, which originally was canon, later became more of one possible future - so that future can be ignored if you choose to - which opens up things considerably for GM's who see, as I do, that the US never driving Mexico out of the Southwest and Texas and letting them take over almost the whole Caribbean and Central America makes no sense at all

And the total waste of the Task Force 34 troops is also a very big hole - frankly for me that is where Howling Wilderness fell apart for me even before you got the unreal drought that if it had happened per GDW would have delayed any rise of the US again for at least a century if not forever, not the twenty years of the 2300 timeline

If you add up what HW says basically about 1800 men from Europe were used for reinforcements - meaning 40,000 plus were never used for anything. Which makes absolutely no sense at all. Even if they left half of them go, that leaves 20,000 men to reinforce the 194th, 197th, 49th and get to CA.

And your point 6 - I agree with you there as well - we helped get back that Russian couple who knew how to build the cold fusion reactors and grabbed Reset as well. The way those modules are played its very obvious that is the general intent of the GDW authors - yet where is "Reset allows computers to start going back on line in the US by the middle of 2001, starting in the Colorado Springs area" or "the information gathered from the NA chief leads to the overthrow of the Florida regime by late December and the capture of several NA supply and fuel dumps " or "with the oil from the refinery in Texas, US and Texan forces, led by the Grange, begin to drive the Soviet and Mexican forces out of Texas" or even a simple "cold fusion reactors begin to come on line, with the first being in NJ, IL and CO, late in 2001"

and it didn't have to be in HW's timeline set in stone - a simple Challenge article could have been done saying here is how the timeline changes depending on if those modules come off if for, against or neutral - i.e. "if the players do get Reset back to the DIA, computers come back on line six months later as it goes into production" or the statement above about the reactors

that is a general note that a GM could then use as part of their campaign background and serve to connect the modules results to real world consequences and not just be - ok we did Reset, we did Last Submarine, whats next?

GDW did a pretty good job of having an organized timeline with related modules so that you could really do an organized campaign if you wished to with all kinds of goals. It would have been nice to see those goals being achieved show up - sort of like those old books where there were multiple outcomes and depending on what you did the book changed.

Last edited by Olefin; 05-19-2016 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 05-19-2016, 09:33 AM
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Regarding #6: Once one side or another has the McGuffin, they would first make sure it's safe for THEIR side. Next, they would spend lots of time deciphering it, then producing copies for their use only, always preserving their advantage likely to the detriment/exclusion of any competing groups or even the populus at large. Only after their monopoly was fully established, and v.2.0 debugged and in place in their own organization's TOE, would they release any information about v 1.0.
On a related note, I once asked a friend in the electronics industry what core components and materials would be needed to be stashed (in a Faraday Cage to exclude EMP effects) to allow a quick restart of the Integrated Circuitry industry, even on just a small to medium scale, if only to produce simple ICs to fix phones, personal computers, vehicle emission control modules (fuel efficiency there)? I never got an answer, but the question remains: what if some tinfoil-hat paranoid crank with some bucks did stash such a cache of bleeding edge/not the best and brightest technology, including photoetching materials, etc, etc.? Or even just a bunch of junked worn-out pc's that had been replaced enmasse with newer models (think the leftovers from a large-scale corporate upgrading). Not completely workable as is, but kit-bashable/cannibalizable to produce several more-or-less workable units.
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:41 PM
Draq Draq is offline
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See that's my thinking. Instead of have the latest I.e: win'95, you might have to build a few old DOS systems. Its a lot better than having to, for example, keep logistic and inventory records or a census on paper.
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:53 PM
.45cultist .45cultist is offline
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Quote:
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Regarding #6: Once one side or another has the McGuffin, they would first make sure it's safe for THEIR side. Next, they would spend lots of time deciphering it, then producing copies for their use only, always preserving their advantage likely to the detriment/exclusion of any competing groups or even the populus at large. Only after their monopoly was fully established, and v.2.0 debugged and in place in their own organization's TOE, would they release any information about v 1.0.
On a related note, I once asked a friend in the electronics industry what core components and materials would be needed to be stashed (in a Faraday Cage to exclude EMP effects) to allow a quick restart of the Integrated Circuitry industry, even on just a small to medium scale, if only to produce simple ICs to fix phones, personal computers, vehicle emission control modules (fuel efficiency there)? I never got an answer, but the question remains: what if some tinfoil-hat paranoid crank with some bucks did stash such a cache of bleeding edge/not the best and brightest technology, including photoetching materials, etc, etc.? Or even just a bunch of junked worn-out pc's that had been replaced enmasse with newer models (think the leftovers from a large-scale corporate upgrading). Not completely workable as is, but kit-bashable/cannibalizable to produce several more-or-less workable units.
There are a lot of small computer repair shops that buy and renovate old company towers. Usually there is a central warehouse that sells them.
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:56 PM
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Or as Kato pointed out to me once, Brazil/Argentina might have a large quantity of them for trade since, thats been discussed, they had no nuclear targets.
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Old 05-19-2016, 04:05 PM
.45cultist .45cultist is offline
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Didn't T2013 have expanded computer rules? I think it allowed limited reconstruction of networks and had old and latest computers stats.
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:26 PM
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If you compare it to real world data the whole computer thing doesnt work.

GDW like almost everyone else underestimated the growth of the computer industry in 1984. Remember that was the year of Apples big splash.

They did not appreciate that in 1997 something like 600 million PCs would be available around the world. If 1% survive the whole "No computers" goes out the window.

In 1997 I toured multiple EMP hardened data centers (local in Illinois) each with literally 1000s of computers protected with multiple redundancies. Project Reset would be a joke in the real world.


I did some calculation on Dark conspiracy (another gdw game) and it was supposed to take place in 2013 take a look at the computer specs GDW expected for that year. Clearly they did not follow Moore's Law.


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Old 05-19-2016, 05:37 PM
Olefin Olefin is offline
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to be fair everyone from the mid-80's underestimated the growth of computers in this country - its pretty funny that the supposed Star Trek tech shown in early 80's movies was already passť by the time we got to where the war started in real life - let alone things like cell phones (have to laugh looking at movies like Wall Street and thinking of what they had back then compared to what we have today)

I would say that if any module needed a serious rewrite for version 1 it would be the Reset one - not the rest of it but turn Reset into something that actually makes sense compared to the real world tech progress
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Old 05-19-2016, 05:39 PM
fact275 fact275 is offline
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Thanks for all the replies!

At the time, as a Reagan kid, I found 2000/2300's narrative of a lost American Southwest to Mexico highly implausible (we ditched the idea and that of a independent Texas when we moved to 2300 games). However, in 2016, living in California where I see buses in the SF Bay Area having only Spanish-language ads, the idea is not so far-fetched to me (and I am not a Trump supporter). That said, a Mexican Army able to sustain an invasion even in the face of weakened US forces is still a stretch.

I have to remember at the time when I was 16-20 that we played T:2000 not so much for its post-nuclear world but because it was a military RPG and there were few of those. You had Merc (I think), Delta Force, and then the Merc:2000 supplement. Phoenix Force provided modern firearms rules. T:2000 was the most fleshed out.

I tried running Merc:2000 but I found my friends had less interest in a game that took place in Nigeria or the Philippines with (fictional) wars that they couldn't relate to. WWIII of course was all too real a thought.

By the time of the early 90s, we laughed at 2nd ed T:2000 and its attempt to preserve the Cold War narrative. We moved on to 2300 though I had one hard core friend that kept running T:2000 into 1992 by just pretending the USSR still existed in his alternate universe. I joined in one night but just didn't find it the same fun by that point. By the mid-90s when I was an Air Force historian, I declined to take part in all attempts by friends to restart Twilight as I knew the idea of special forces all-star teams carrying seven rifles with specialty ammunition riding around in M1A2s as we had played were not at all realistic.

A few years ago, I wanted to gather the old gang for one last session using Bear's Den. I changed the timeline to an alternate 1980s to account for the dated technology and equipment. I rewrote the history to use real persons like Powell and Clinton. Sadly, despite some "I'll play if he plays and if he plays I'll play" conversations, it came to naught.
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Old 05-19-2016, 08:30 PM
Adm.Lee Adm.Lee is online now
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Quote:
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I have to remember at the time when I was 16-20 that we played T:2000 not so much for its post-nuclear world but because it was a military RPG and there were few of those. You had Merc (I think), Delta Force, and then the Merc:2000 supplement. Phoenix Force provided modern firearms rules. T:2000 was the most fleshed out.
This is why I liked (and still like) T2k: other post-apoc games leave me cold.

Quote:
I tried running Merc:2000 but I found my friends had less interest in a game that took place in Nigeria or the Philippines with (fictional) wars that they couldn't relate to. WWIII of course was all too real a thought.
That's too bad: I had a lively game of Merc running for about 2 years in the mid-90s. Anymore, I have trouble coming up with fictional wars that I'd want to run/play, they seem all too real.

Regarding your gaps:
Most of these, I think were places that GDW felt they didn't need to define.

6. I still have the price tags left on some of my modules, would you believe they were $7 or $8? The idea of a Challenge article for "what could happen next" would have been super cool!
I was pleasantly surprised at a convention years ago to find lots of interest in playing T2k; it seems to be largely nostalgia-based, though there are some that enjoy it as a military/WW3 game. I joined forces with that GM, as he was running tables of 12 or more people, several times over.
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Old 01-31-2018, 02:26 PM
Olefin Olefin is offline
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Saw this old thread and figured it would be fun to bring it back to life - hopefully with people like me and Raellus writing new canon material we can finally answer some of these questions

What we have written has already shed some light on some areas you may have wanted to get resolved and with luck in the future there may be more holes filled in the canon besides "what exactly was going on in Kenya and Africa besides the two tiny mentions in the canon", "what happened to the divisions that left Europe" - which was answered at least for the 2nd Armored with the East African Sourcebook- and "I wonder if the Soviets knew about Omega and tried to stop it" which Raellus so ably filled in.
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Old 02-01-2018, 12:46 AM
Matt Wiser Matt Wiser is online now
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Speaking of what GDW hadn't done, there was an announcement in a Challenge issue back in '90 or '91, about a Korea sourcebook-then nothing came of it. That's a theater that certainly deserved canon treatment.
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Old 02-01-2018, 10:26 AM
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You will be happy to know that Raellus is working on a Korean Sourcebook right now - and I know he is looking for inputs on the naval side. You might want to get in touch with him.
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Old 02-01-2018, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
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On a related note, I once asked a friend in the electronics industry what core components and materials would be needed to be stashed (in a Faraday Cage to exclude EMP effects) to allow a quick restart of the Integrated Circuitry industry, even on just a small to medium scale, if only to produce simple ICs to fix phones, personal computers, vehicle emission control modules (fuel efficiency there)? I never got an answer, but the question remains: what if some tinfoil-hat paranoid crank with some bucks did stash such a cache of bleeding edge/not the best and brightest technology, including photoetching materials, etc, etc.?
Actually, all the technology needed to do that was available in New England. The machines, starting from lower tech, non-computer driven chip builders on up to full manufacturing facilities. And software teams
. And the people who knew how to repair, rebuild, and use them; all within a 60 mile radius of Maynard, MA (Digital Equipment Corporation's HQ), some 25 miles west of Boston.

(This was one of my points about New England, it's lack of nuclear targets, and available power sources.)

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Old 02-01-2018, 08:27 PM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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This is why I so drastically changed my Version 2.2 timeline. Today my guys much prefer to play a Mercenary Style game than the "Cold War gone Hot" scenario.
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