Twilight 2000

On every computer I have owned for more years than I would like to count, I have had a game installed on my hard drive that I have almost never played.

The game is called Twilight 2000 and is a kind of Megatravellerish RPG set in Poland in the immediate aftermath of WW3. It is notable for an insanely detailed character generation system (ex. Billy Bob, the Canadian, went to university where he learned to speak Yiddish and the basics of civil engineering; spent time as a criminal and then a member of the idle rich, and finally was drafted into the air force when war broke out where he learned to fly fixed-wing aeroplanes) with dozens of skills, many of which are of no use at all in the PC game, for a clunky but colourful interface and for a painfully bad first-person driving segment.

In all the years of owning this game, I have NEVER had the faintest clue how to design my party (which consists of up to 20(!) characters) or how to play it. Before making my annual pilgrimage to try again, I thought I’d ask the hive mind. Does anyone know how to play this, what skills are worth having, etc? The internet appears to be mostly unaware of the existence of this game; I’ve not seen a walkthrough anywhere or even a hints and tips sheet.

Oh man, I have no idea what to tell you, but I hope you’ll update this thread as you dive in!


I remember the pen & paper RPG. I didn’t even know they made a video game version.

I played this game, too. I remember being similarly impressed by the character generation system and clueless about the actual game play and how to proceed. I will be following this thread eagerly as well.

Dude, that game is 20+ years old. It was complex for the time (and hard), but I loved it.

This along with mega traveller 2 are some of the best RPG tools out there… Oh wait there’s a game after party generation?

That aside definately look in the manual at the skill list. As the generator was expected to be used in the PnP version of the RPG there are skills that are completely worthless in the game. Look for the little indicator the developers put in the manual to tell you which skills to avoid.

I never really got to far into the game so I can’t tell you much else but I am assuming from what I’ve seen us that you’ll want primarily combat heavy characters, it is a military based RPG after all, with some forager/repair/doctor types thrown in the mix too. Vehicles get a little arcadey I never really learned to deal with that hopefully someone else will have some advice.

Oh and for languages the setting is Poland so Chinese and Afrikaans should probably be passed over. A cheap way to get the polish and other bloc languages in your party is to recruit from those countries directly in character generation.

Tom M

Ah, Twilight 2000. One of the original post-apocalyptic role playing games. With a much more military bent (small groups and units of survivors scrounging and fighting little brush wars) and fewer zombies.

I remember Gamma World (more weird science and mutated creatures) being a fun game in that vein as well.

Oh man, you’re going to make me find my Megatraveller 2 disk, aren’t you. I’ve never survived past character generation yet, so I know exactly where you are coming from.

I remember playing twilight 2000 pen & paper waaaaaay back in the early 90s. I recall the damage model was truly screwed up, like you needed to empty the clip of a 9mm pistol into someone and then finish them off with some brisk pistol whipping. It was faintly ridiculous.

I played that game at the time it came out.

By which I mean “I tried to play it but it was completely freaking incomprehensible along every possible axis.”

My belief is that it is, in fact, a broken and unplayable game. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar; sometimes a crappy game is just a crappy game. I think it’s really easy to get caught up and hypnotized by the platonic ideal of what we think a game like this should be, but that’s not what the game actually is.

So while on the one hand I am curious for you to spend lots of time trying to play the game and documenting it here, if I were actually your real-life friend I’d just advise you to delete the damn thing and forget about it.

Twilight 2000 PnP was probably my most played RPG, and definitely my favorite. The computer game’s character creation actually spit out sheets that could be used in the real PnP game, which is probably why that process is remembered so fondly. It really went all out.

As for the gameplay… my brother and a friend of mine both beat this game and I saw them do parts of it. I know the endgame involves collecting resources to take on a final fight against a warlord, but unlike certain recent Mass Effect 3s, the resources actually matter (OH SNAP!!!111!).

Having said that, definitely spread your skills around, don’t be bashful to know a decent spread of languages. My game got squashed when I needed Spanish to continue and only had Eastern European languages ready to go since the game takes place in Eastern Europe.

Overall, I don’t remember loving what I played… reading over what I just wrote, I guess I don’t remember much of anything about when I played it.

Oh god, I played both the computer and PnP versions of Twilight 2000 back in the day. I don’t remember the computer version all that well, I seem think it was extremely bulky and not a ton of fun. The PnP deal I played a lot and loved the heck out of it.

— Alan

Am I right in remembering that, like in PnP Traveller, your Twilight 2000 character could also die during character creation?

I forget if it was possible but it is harder. There is a random check between each ‘term’ to see if the war breaks out. Forcing an end to generation quicker then traveller. The check gets progressively more in favor of war so I think 7 terms was the effective max. Not sure on that one.

Tom Mc

I was a big fan of the PnP game, but the computer version is pretty flawed. Probably the biggest issue is with the combat system. They tried to make it realistic in terms of range and such, but the screen only displays a relatively small area. So you see an enemy several screens away and then when you fire at them the camera follows each shot all the way so you can see if it hit or not. Very annoying.

you…ahem…have the manual etc? I have this link i’ve used in the past:

And i might have other sources of info to help you (if i can find them). It is a clunky crpg with one of those 'awesome’™ 90’s gui’s. I was into the pen and paper system for a number of years back in school (our group switched between this, Traveller and RuneQuest as our preferred list), and i’ve had the game since it came out on PC, i’ve even played it a number of times.

From what i can remember (of the top of my head), is that creating your party is the least of your issues, just wait until you get into the game itself! I think it probably IS all awesome (in the same way Emperor of the Fading Suns is), just trying to get it, whilst not dying, is the big issue.

EDIT: this should help with Char gen

I spent many hours playing Twilight 2000 back in the day. It was a great game and the character generation process was more in depth than any I had seen before.

@Zak - thanks, I have the manual :) Incidentally, the youtube link shows off the process but doesn’t I think tell you what skills are needed. I mean, the dude selects ‘Parachuting’ as a skill which seems odd since that’s not used in-game.

Attributes seem to go from 1 to 10. I am assuming that skills are on the same scale, so ‘5’ is average and ‘10’ is perfect. This isn’t said expressly but characters’ language skill in their native tongue is 10 so I think it’s a reasonable inference.

The Attributes are:

Strength (STR)
Education (EDU)
Constitution (CON)
Charisma (CHA)
Agility (AGI)
Intelligence (INT)

So here are the skills which are in-game, but I don’t really have a sense for how useful they are or which ones are just flavour (toaster repair, anyone?). From what I remember of the game it’s mostly driving and fighting. Each skill is tied to an attribute. I think from the manual description that the game only checks skills for success rolls, but that the attribute acts as a cap on how much benefit you get out of skill levels. Basically, skill levels higher than the level of the attribute only count for half. So if your skill is 8 but the related attribute is only 6, your effective skill level is 7.

Weapon Skills

Heavy Weapons (STR) - can use RPGs, missile launchers, grenade launchers and ‘large-caliber guns’ which I assume means machine guns of various kinds.

Unarmed Melee Combat (STR) - be a master/mistress of hand-to-hand fighting. Yeaaah…no. Can’t see that being useful against guys with AK47s.

[b]Pistol/b - can use pistols. I guess someone should have this for flavour? Otherwise I can’t see why I wouldn’t everyone to be toting rifles or heavy weapons.

[b]Rifle/b - can use rifles. I am presuming that this is the basic skill for most weapons that I will be firing in the game, so everyone should have this.

Thrown Weapon (STR) - can use grenades. EVERYONE should be able to use grenades. But I’m not sure which careers make you good with this skill.

Forward Observer (INT) - can fire indirect weapons. I’m a bit puzzled by this one. I think it just means firing tank guns, but the blurb talks about ‘grenade launchers, tank cannons and larger weaponry’, so who knows? Is a grenade launcher really controlled by this skill not by Heavy Weapons?

Also note that all of these skills are governed by STR not INT, so presumably I want everyone to have as high a STR as possible. My sense is that most of the game is the tactical battles (which are kind of proto-jagged-alliance-ish).

Anyway that’s the guns out of the way. What else is out there?

Utility skills

Mechanic (STR) - can repair/maintain vehicles. This is going to be important.

Biology (EDU) - wow. “Knowledge of plant and animal biology.” Not sure how this would be used but, um, good to have a couple of levels on a scientist character?

Chemistry (EDU) - “Knowledge of chemical interactions and compounds.” Yeah. Same as biology. Maybe we can manufacture explosives somehow? But there doesn’t seem to be a key for that.

Medical (EDU) - This sounds useful, you always need healers/combat medics. Maybe I should have 2?

Combat Engineer (CON) - the blurb mentions placing demolitions charges so I guess this is the Demoman skill.

Swimming (CON) - this could either be essential or totally useless depending on whether the game includes any positions that could be flanked / accessed by swimming there.

Disguise (CHA) - I think the game has dialogues although I never made it that far before. It’s at least conceivable that this will give dialogue options so someone will get a couple of levels in this.

Language (CHA) - this isn’t one skill. It’s like fifty, one for each language. All or most of the European and Central Asian languages are in there; Welsh, Yiddish, Chuvash, Romany, Scotsgaelic as well as English, Polish, French, German etc. My sense is that since the game takes place in Poland most people should have Polish, German or Russian as their native language, plus maybe reps of each of the other nationalities so we have those in a pinch, and then try to cover the rest as best as possible.

Leadership (CHA) - not sure exactly what this does but you have to select a leader so make sure he has a few levels I guess?

Persuasion (CHA) - yeah the leader should have this. I guess he should be Polish to get the best use out of it.

Electronics (AGI) - this is about repairing electronic stuff. I’m not sure how much electronics stuff is in the game. Someone can have this skill but I’m not going to prioritise it.

Gunsmith (AGI) - making/reparing weapons. This sounds pretty important.

Lockpick (AGI) - always have a thief in the party!

Snow-skiiing (AGI) - ummm. Too situational. There don’t seem to be any skis in the game but there are snow-shoes so I suppose I can train 4 people (the max you can bring in one mission) with this in case there are any snow-bound missions.

Stealth (AGI) - could be handy for a scout.

[b]Tracked vehicle/b - can drive a tank. Fuck yeah.

Wheeled vehicle (AGI) - can drive a Hummvee/truck. Someone needs this.

Foraging (INT) - can find food in the wild. Oh god oh god this game has food management. Someone gets this.

Fishing (INT) - in the grim darkness of the post-apocalypse, there is no time to go fishing.

Navigation (INT) - reading maps. “I told you to turn left at that last intersection!” Driver / scout (backseat driver) gets this.

Observation (INT) - Scout!

Scrounging (INT) - interesting, sounds useful in post-apocalyptic Poland. I’ll try to get a couple of levels on someone.

Tracking (INT) - Scoouuut!

So there you have it. 20 characters, 23 utility skills (22 if you don’t count language). 4 people on any mission at one time. I’ll have a think about the implications for party composition but if anyone has any bright ideas in the interim, please chip in!

Ouch, that must have sucked. OK, so make sure during chargen that someone has at least one level in every language. Do you know if it matters what your skill level is? They range from 1-10 but it seems like you can only select each language once so unless you’re at university / in military intelligence, or bilingual (random on character generation), you are limited to level 1 in any skill that’s not your native tongue.

Man, I loved Twilight 2000’s setting and played a play-by-post game on RPGnet for years. The system is clunky and if I played again I’d use Silhouette or something for it, but the setting is great. I still own a crapload of T2K sourcebooks and adventures.