• Paul Wolfe

Points of Light on the Edge of Twilight

Updated: Dec 2, 2021



Free League has released a new version of the old game Twilight 2000. If you're like me, a child of the '80's, a soldier in the Cold War, and... you know... old, this is a good thing. I used to love to flip through the old Twilight 2000 books (I believe I had the 1st edition). But, I found the rules to be unintelligible at the time. Years later, I still found them unplayable without serious modification. But, we suffered through the clunky mechanics a bit using the old system.


Free League's version doesn't have that problem! Out of the box, this is a playable game that's quick to learn, really fun to create characters (using a life path system or an archetype system) and built on the expectation of open/hexcrawl gameplay.


Anyway -- this isn't a review of the game -- I've only just started playing around with it (but signs are good). This is an article concerning how to generate potential safe havens for your characters wandering the war-torn wastes.


Now, there is a system for doing this in the new Twilight 2000 edition -- admittedly, I haven't tried it out. These tables are a retread of a system I use for a variety of campaign genres.


Why Do We Need This?

TW2000 takes place, at its core, in the chaos and ambiguity of a world war where nuclear, biological and conventional weapons have devastated the landscape and social order. As characters wander this hellscape, they not only encounter enemies, wild animals, and dangerous environmental situations, but also refugees, allied soldiers and other folks just trying to live another day. So, we need a fast way to generate a place where both might gather, whether it's in improvised camps in the ruins shattered cities or villages relatively untouched by the war and off the beaten path.


Secondarily, the TW2000 system is very lethal -- it always has been. Characters need places to hole up. They need people to interact with, care about, hate, and ultimately, build compelling stories with.


Settlement Size and Population

This is a bit of a crib from various sources -- even the original TW2000 had a pretty good table for quick generation of a settlement. This table feeds into the next one, as it gives you the number of times to roll on each entry.


NOTE: Though the numbers seem low -- especially for a Town -- I expect that the area is rather depopulated and larger groups of people would only gather where there were plentiful resources (especially water and shelter) in these war-torn places. If you want to build larger settlements, simply combine rolls -- hamlets and villages could be neighborhoods and towns could be city centers.


What is this Place?

Roll

Roll 1 time

2

Unsheltered Group

3

Makeshift Village

4

Makeshift Hamlet

5

Makeshift Camp

6

Makeshift Ruin

7

Fortified Ruin

8

Fortified Camp

9

Fortified Hamlet

10

Fortified Village

11

Fortified Town

12

Connected Settlements (roll 1d3 times and combine)

Settlement Population

Roll

Group

Camp

Ruin

Hamlet

Village

Town

1

10

30

30

50

1000

5000

2

20

60

60

100

1500

7000

3

30

90

90

150

2000

9000

4

40

120

120

200

2500

11,000

5

50

150

150

250

3000

13,000

6

60

180

180

300

3500

15,000

7

70

210

210

350

4000

17,000

8

80

240

240

400

4500

19,000

9

90

270

270

450

5000

21,000

10

100

300

300

500

5500

23,000

Base Settlement Details

Each settlement has some base details that you can extrapolate from its size/type.


What I Do: I generate a few settlements in advance of a session -- within a few hexes of the party's current position. If you're using an existing map (i.e. Poland, Sweden, or otherwise), pre-generate settlements for those marked on the map that you want to use.

  • Unsheltered - These poor souls have congregated in an area where they might have access to some critical resource -- like fresh water -- but they do not have adequate shelter. The population of these "settlements" are constantly shifting, as folks die from exposure, disease, or predation or simply drift away to find better shelter.

  • Camp -- Groups in a camp have temporary shelter -- like tents, caves, makeshift cabins or the like -- and don't have access to permanent resources, such as food and water. They may have camped for a few days to a few weeks, but within that time, the folks in the camp will move on or disperse.

  • Ruin -- Similar to a camp, this is a small group of people that have found temporary shelter in a ruined place -- it might be a section of an abandoned farmstead, an old warehouse, or even a small area of a bombed out city. Like a camp, the group doesn't have access to permanent resources -- such as food and water. As such, these folks will move on within a few weeks.

  • Hamlet -- A hamlet is a small, permanent settlement that generally has access to regular, basic resources, such as food and water. They may also have resources to trade, strong leadership, and relationships with other settlements.

  • Village -- A village is like a hamlet, but bigger. It may be on a major road or rail line, but otherwise (as you'll see in the tables below) have more complicated social situations. There may be several factions with different loyalties and goals.

  • Town -- A town is the largest settlement contemplated in these tables -- and is considered rather rare. If you're trying to generate a city, simply divide it into towns, villages and hamlets and roll everything out. Towns always have fortifications of some kind.



Settlement Descriptors

The next table lists different descriptors for similar settlements.

  • Unsheltered -- The majority of the inhabitants here sleep rough. This is almost always a very temporary "settlement," such as a group of refugees or soldiers on their way to somewhere else.

  • Makeshift -- The settlement has very few permanent shelters. Most may be in tents, lean-tos, or even vehicles. There is little regard for security.

  • Fortified -- The settlement has some fortifications, and the members are generally security conscious.


Settlement Details

Roll on the tables below as indicated.



Who?

Settlements are peopled. Roll below to determine the bulk of the residents, the major industries/activities and other notable NPCs that might be there.


Each group (from "Who Lives Here?") might represent a single faction -- or there may be multiple factions within a group. NPCs generated from "Who Else is Here?" might be leaders of factions generated. NOTE: On the tables below, roll 1dX times per settlement. Roll more if you want to add diversity -- especially for larger settlements.


Who Lives Here?

What's their Deal?

Who Else is Here?

Roll

Roll 1d6 times: 2d6

Roll 1d4 times: 2d6

Roll 1d6 times: 2d12

2

Cultists

Slavery

Cult Leader

3

Marauders

Wreckers / Banditry

Slaver

4

Deserters

Scrounging

Assassin

5

Stragglers

Hunting / Foraging

Operative

6

Peasants / Farmers

Farming

Guide

7

Peasants / Farmers

Farming

Forward Observer

8

Peasants / Farmers

Fishing

Chemist

9

Refugees

Mining

Bombmaker

10

Organized Militia

Distilling

Con Artist

11

Organized Military

Manufacturing

Local Outlaw

12

Government

Plague Settlement

No One

13

No One

14

No One

15

Local Celebrity

16

Doctor

17

Mechanic

18

Military Figure

19

Political Figure

20

Media Figure

21

Scientist

22

Surgeon

23

Religious Figure

24

Roll 1d3 Times


What?

Where ever people gather, other stuff is going on. There might be a critical outpost or resource and some ongoing issue that's got everyone's attention (besides the war). Finally, The citizens (or groups of them) have some general loyalty to a ruling regime -- even if it's just local/themselves. Tip: You can use the "Where do their loyalties lie?" table on individual NPCs, as well. If they are leaders of a faction within the settlement, the faction probably has the same loyalty. (Thanks to Krzysztof Jaxa Rudek for clarification on loyalties in 90's Poland).

What Else is Here?

What's Going On?

Where do Their Loyalties Lie?

Roll

Roll 1d6 times: 2d12

Roll 1d4 times: 2d6

Roll 1 time / faction or settlement: 2d6

2

Tank or Artillery Piece

Haunting

Soviet

3

Slave Arena / Market

Imminent Invasion

Polish (Warsaw)

4

Chemical Weapons Factory

Occupation

Local Gang or Militia

5

Bomb Factory

Constant Raiding

Local / Independent

6

Salvage Yard

Nothing

Local / Independent

7

Military Camp

Nothing

Local Gang or Militia

8

Mine

Nothing

Church (Catholic)

9

Depot

Privation (food / water)

Church (Catholic)

10

Inn / Bar

Kidnappings

Church (Orthodox)

11

Brothel

Plague

Polish (NATO)

12

Nothing

Madness

American

13

Nothing

14

Nothing

15

Refugee Camp

16

Water Treatment Plant

17

Trader

18

Slaughterhouse

19

Distillery

20

Aid Station

21

Weapons Factory

22

Vehicle Factory

23

Chapel

24

Roll 2 Times


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