• 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