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Default Rejected by Pyramid, btu let me know what you guys think

Jason Weiser 06-14-2004, 06:56 PM "Those Hard Charging Old Games or What to do with that Orphan Game?"

by Jason Reade Weiser


In this world of Storyteller systems and D20, one has to wonder, what to do with that great "orphan game"? Ebay? Give it away? No! DO NOT DISPAIR! All is not lost for that lonely game in the corner. Read along as I tell you not just about the web resources available for that old, and perhaps, obscure game you play, but where to look for new stuff for it, though, as time goes on, that's getting more difficult. But as we say, don't despair, and don't put that game away in storage just yet! There still might be some life in the old girl!

Note, this article is based on games I own, mileage may vary and as a result, you may have a differing opinion on what defines a classic than I do. I say, to each, their own, and perhaps this will get you looking for something new to pull out that old copy of Gamma World or Skyraiders of Jorune. (I don't own either game). I've also listed the apropos GURPS books to convert these game worlds over. I'll be using 2300AD and Twilight: 2000 for my examples, mainly because that's what I own! But don't feel limited, remember, a good idea isn't a limiting factor!

But here are some basic ideas and what one needs to keep in mind.

1. The internet is your friend. Find web resources and pages for your orphan, if there aren't any, then create one! HTML is easy to learn, and you don't need to make a busy flash heavy page that's more eye candy than content. Who knows, your page might encourage others!

2. Discover the world of listservers and email groups. I know, the spam factor, but you can always set it up to check the site for messages, or have a digest, rather than simply just download a gigantic amount of messages.

3. Convert to another system you like (GURPS being a good example) and use the older game's universe and format. The conversion doesn't have to be perfect, just close enough for you and your player group.

4. Don't hesitate to advertise at game shops and the like for "players wanted". You might be surprised who's in for some "old school" and hey, like minded gamers who can introduce you to other "orphan games" can be a hoot too! It's how I discovered Morrow Project.

Now for some specific examples, remember, even if you don't own these games, read along, you might get inspired. As I can't say enough, what you put into your campaign is what you will get out. Do the work before hand, and your campaign will prosper. Much of the advice I will give you can be transferred to other games, and to be honest, there are more popular "orphans" out there than the ones I mention here. And if there aren't resources, make them yourself, based on the ideas you see here!

Twilight: 2000:

This was my first RPG and it appealed to me on a lot of levels (being a Navy brat, and a child of the Reagan years). Thankfully, the NATO-Warsaw Pact conflict that the game portends is alternate history. But, there is still folks playing it, mostly via PBEM, and more than a few have converted the background to a more modern system (usually GURPS). The fact is the nature of the earth-shattering apocalypse can be as varied as you want. And with three versions of rules, not to mention conversion to other systems, Twilight is a neat way to play. If nuclear war isn't your cup of tea, then you have Merc: 2000, where the world hasn't so much gone to heck, as is simmering in a perpetual bad mood. Players play mercenaries hired to use their expertise in this world of low-intensity conflict. Sure, you have gasoline, and plenty of ammo here, but help is usually even further away, if at all, and your employers may be no more trustworthy than the enemy!

There are some great online resources for the Twilight player, and I've listed some of the best below. With a little searching you can find more, but these are in my mind, the pick of the litter.


This is the link for the RPGHost Boards for the Twilight 2000 Board, which is a VERY lively place. It is the place for Twilight 2000 discussion and for bouncing ideas and announcements off of folks. It's even more popular than the two or three list servers out there. (And a whole lot easier on the old mailbox). The discussion level is urbane and covers the gamut from alternate backgrounds to ideas for adventures to just plain asking questions about equipment and gear.


Mitch's Page is something that not only expands on the original Twilight 2000 version 2 character generation system, but touches on what these characters DO! To a lot of first time Twilight players (especially those without any military experience) this is a valuable resource. It hasn't been updated in a while, but the data there is a gold mine!


This page belongs to a friend of mine, TR, who has so much data for Twilight equipment, it's scary. His page is often updated and is very well carried out. The links almost always work and there are oodles of content. Simply put, this is the mother of all Twilight: 2000 fan pages.

There are some really great Twilight PBEMs out there as well, proving that the game's fans may be scattered, but the game isn't dead, among them are T2K_opfor (a game with the players playing Soviets) and T2K_Iran (A Mideast campaign set in Iran). There are others out there as well, don't hesitate to look, and perhaps join in. Even lurking can be fun, and you can get ideas from that too.

Now, for those of you that want to convert to GURPS, some of the books you might need are:

-GURPS High-Tech: Let's face it, doing any modern campaign without this book

would be very difficult. There's a lot of good stuff in this book, and you can use the

ideas in this book to extrapolate for some other gear.

-GURPS Modern Firepower: Twilight 2000 is a violent game world, ditto for Merc.

And Modern Firepower is well worth the money to any modern GURPS campaign,

for Twilight, again, it's indispensable and full of toys for GM and players alike.

But a friendly note for GMs, be careful what you give your players, parsimony is a

good thing.

-GURPS Special Ops: Another nice book to have, not just for the Special Operations

aspects, but for the equipment, and ideas included, both for plain vanilla, and Merc


-GURPS Vehicles: You'll need this. With the amount of vehicles there are in the

Twilight 2000 world (even if most of them run on alcohol), you will need this book.

A cheaper alternative is Vehicles Lite, but hey, go the whole hog I say! Plus Vehicles

is a very versatile book that translates well to a lot of conversion projects. In short,

it's nothing short of indispensable.

I am sure there are other books folks can think of to include on this list, but I don't want this to simply be an article of lists, but I do want to make sure that you orphan gamers know, there are options. Whether you convert or not, make use of the resources in and out of these books and hey, you might find some new ideas to breathe life into existing campaigns.

2300 AD:

I found 2300 in High School, and it links into Twilight, which was fun, but the Hard Sci-Fi background appealed to me a lot. I like my science explained, and not just technobabbled. 2300 never sold well, but the fans of the game were hard core, dedicated and are still very much so today. The amount of 2300AD material on the web is simply staggering. And, by the looks of it, 2300 may not be dead for much longer, as 2320 is set to hit stores soon, based on the D20 system. So see, "orphans" can find homes!

Here are some web resources for the 2300 die-hard!


Etranger is probably one of the most ambitious fan projects for an orphan game I have ever seen. It's consistently of high quality, both graphically and in the quality of its writing. The bar is constantly raised and as a contributor. I am always finding myself challenged when I work on stuff for this site. The data here should be useful to any sci-fi RPG. If you can't get ideas here, you're simply not trying.


Kevin's site was among the first of 2300 on the web, and it's still among the best. He's a solid website designer, and his no-frills-high-content approach is a literal gold mine for one to look over in search of material. The fact that he has many of the 2300 articles from Challenge and Space Gamer up on his site (with permission) is a BIG bonus!

Yahoo Groups also has a lot of groups of interest to the 2300 Gamer.

- 2300: The granddaddy list, it's still there and the content and discussion is of high intensity!

- 2300 Non --Canon: A list to incorporate alternate ideas into one's 2300 campaign

- Etranger: The list related to the site of the same name, it's a bit quiet of late, due to recent events, (a lot of the membership is military) but it should pick up again, as it always does come summer.

Now, in terms of GURPS conversions, I have seen some work floating around on the net, but nothing comprehensive. I think there is a need for it. In any event, some useful books for the 2300-GURPS conversion are:

-GURPS Ultra-Tech and Ultra-Tech 2: Not everything will convert well, but there are

some real fun ideas here that will convert over well to 2300.

-GURPS Transhuman Space: 2300 and TS share many similar aspects, both have a

hard sci-fi background and both have similar political complications. A lot of ideas

can be ported from one game to the other.

-GURPS Robots: A great design aid for Combat Walkers, combine it with Vehicles

and new tech is a snap, but remember, the numbers won't port over exactly, but

you can always use it to rationalize matters between the two games.

-GURPS Biotech: Some really great ideas can be yanked out of here on a variety of

levels, mainly for Pentapod inventions, but some human drugs, and even some ideas

for the Kafers might be discovered here.


In parting, I'd simply like to leave you with this thought; RPGs are only as obsolete as your imagination. It remains to you to breathe life into your orphan game. Use the internet, and whatever resources you can find. Don't hesitate to make changes, or come up with ideas that violate "canon". This is now YOUR game, and as such, it's your fun.

Don't let someone tell you how their "fill in the blank universe is better than yours". If your players are having fun, then who cares. I have run both above games a bunch of times, some games were gritty, some cinematic, and some, shall we say, a touch comical. It the game works then go with it. As for the resources, use only those that you wish. It's not a moral imperative, but I do encourage you to use them, or if they don't fit your orphan, resources like them.

I do ask you one favor: if you like the resources, tell the authors of these pages, and better yet, contribute. I know from experience, we're always looking for quality work on Etranger. If there aren't any such resources, then create your own. All it takes is a will, and a willingness to sit down in front of a word processor, as well as a good idea or two. In any event, make the most of what's out there, you'll find your orphan game isn't such an orphan anymore.


TR 06-14-2004, 07:20 PM I think they missed out as a lot of people would certainly relate to their own favorite games that are currently in production limbo.

Thanks for the nod in the article by the way!

Until Later



TR 06-14-2004, 08:35 PM SIGH, looking over my own site I saw the list of all the games I've played... the number of them no longer in production is huge.

TSR (Both Star Frontiers & Marvel Superheroes)

Victory Games James Bond

GDW (Both Dark Conspiracy & Merc: 2000)

Star Trek (Both FASA & LUG)

West End Games (Both Ghostbusters & Star Wars)

Games Workshop Warhammer Fantasy

Palladium (Both Beyond the Supernatural & Recon)

Until Later



ReHerakhte 06-15-2004, 04:38 AM Hey Jason, I like the article, did they give any reason for its rejection... (or do they just not like Twilight )

And as for TR, with the amount of stuff he ends up with on his web pages, I have to wonder if he is actually a live, flesh & blood person, or a sentient AI that's active 24/7... or perhaps I have read Dark Conspiracy once too often




TR 06-15-2004, 08:40 AM Gee thanks Kevin, I can assure you I am a flesh and blood type... no computer AI's here.

Not to worry you will be assimilated... resistance is futile...




Jason Weiser 06-15-2004, 09:40 AM To be honest they liked it, but they had done this sort of thing before.


ReHerakhte 06-15-2004, 10:07 AM Done it before, yeah I can understand that but we know what it's like to trawl through back issues of Pyramid. I can see that there would be benefits by doing it again, even it it was just refreshing the memory of those who had read such things before and forgotten about it.

Still, considering TR might not be a rogue AI but something worse, we could always have him assimilate the SJG crew...

"These are the voyages of the Starship... err...Borgship...umm, SteveJacksonShip?"

Yeah yeah, I know, a pissweak joke but someone was gonna say it...

Okay, maybe not

Cheers & running for my flame-proof suit (I don't think Duck & Cover wll protect me from this one!)



evilmike 06-15-2004, 09:51 PM Philistines........everyone knows that TR is actually a Mi-Go doing research.

Kids today, I swear.......


TR 06-15-2004, 10:22 PM

I guess I have an identity crisis and I haven't even hit 50 yet! Ah it's probably best to get it out of the way now anyhow...

Seriously many kind thanks to everyone, I'm just one man trying to overwhelm the GM's with a bucketload of gear for a beloved old game.

Which reminds me... shotguns revision goes up tomorrow in the PM then it's off to Bolt Action revisions and so on.

Until Later


"The Machine"

I'm not evil, I'm just misunderstood.... now evilmike he's just plain EVIL!


For those that didn't catch the Lovecraft refrence there I present you this translation.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

The Mi-Go are fictional characters of the Cthulhu Mythos, a race of alien beings created by Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

The Mi-Go (or Fungi from Yuggoth) resemble human-sized crustaceans with wings that allow them to fly through the vast reaches of outer space. Although they originate from beyond our solar system, they have set up an outpost on Pluto (known as Yuggoth in the mythos) and sometimes visit Earth to mine for minerals and to get various other natural resources.

They can carry humans from Earth to Pluto and back by removing the human's brain from his skull and placing it in a "brain canister", which can be attached to external devices to allow it to hear, see, and speak.

These creatures were first featured in the short story "The Whisperer in Darkness" by H.P. Lovecraft.


evilmike 06-15-2004, 10:38 PM *revels in his Evilness*

Remember...Evil is Tax Deductable!


Chuck Mandus 06-16-2004, 12:25 PM Good article. Myself, that's how I've found out that Twilight had a lit of life to it as well as discovering the Morrow Project. Wish I knew of Morrow Project in 1980/83 time frame, I wouldn't have blown all my money to T$R on Gamma World. I guess I'd better revise my pages too, been too long since I've worked on them plus I got to write my "Radio in Twilight" or any RPG article, I've been promising to do that since 1999 but never got a "round tuit."



Chuck Mandus 06-16-2004, 12:33 PM Originally posted by TR

Gee thanks Kevin, I can assure you I am a flesh and blood type... no computer AI's here.

Not to worry you will be assimilated... resistance is futile...



Heh, a little OT, but that reminds me of a friend I had way back when where he would have loved to have the opportunity to be assimilated by the Borg to become a drone and be sent out on missions. Needless to say, his "elevator didn;t run all the way to the top" and he "wasn't firing on all 8 cylinders."

Before anyone asks, yes, he's the same guy who ran his Twilight character like Charlie Manson (and had to be kicked out of gaming), my signature RPG horror story. If I had to place him on the gamer chart, I think he would have made a good but dark "Loonie."

If any of yuns want to feel better, last I heard, he did clean up his act though and seems to be pretty normal.


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