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Old 03-23-2021, 11:40 PM
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Okay so this brain drop comes from some discussion on the Discord channel and some emails with a couple of friends who were big into T2k.

The bastard child of the system is Merc 2k. It wasn't really given a chance to blossom as an alternative to the bleakness of T2K.

Here are the books that were published for it and note it was designed to work with V2.0 and V2.2 rules. Not sure how easy it would have been to convert to V1.0 rules of the core T2k.
  • Merc 2000 - The rule book This is the book you need to run a non-nuclear war campaign. Where you can be "The Wild Geese", "The A-Team", "The Professionals", "The Dogs of War", etc.
  • Special Operations - You want to add some SWAT, CIA, KGB, DEA, MOSSAD, etc as either NPCs or as potential threats. This supplement gives you the chance.
  • Merc 2000 Gazetteer - This was a small supplement that gave you a bunch of different and interesting places to run a campaign based on some both real world potentials and future threats. Such as fighting in Africa, battling drug lords in SE Asia, helping against a popular uprising in the Philippines.
  • Operation Crouching Dragon - So this was a full module from setup to get away. All about oil and corporate espionage.
  • Bangkok Cesspool of the Orient - So this one might or might not cause some debate. I think this is a Merc 2000 source book and not a T2K source book. The reason is this quote from the opening introduction of the book:

    Quote:
    GETTING THERE The setting of Bangkok is so far from the previous series of Twilight: 2000 modules that it is almost not worth the effort to try to explain in any depth how the characters got there. Players who wish strict continuity to be maintained may work outwith their referee some means by which they have arrived in Bangkok: perhaps they arrived as a result of the Last Sub- marine trilogy of adventures, perhaps by the sailing ship described in Spanish Main, perhaps as a result of some mission gone awry. Players might wish to generate characters from the US 2nd Infantry Division, stationed in Cam Ranh Bay at the start of the war and now seeking their fortunes in Bangkok
    Almost like GDW knew this was going to be hard to segue into most of the other modules or adventures published. It was also an attempt to generate as the introduction mentions, a whole new type of source book for T2k. Yet, the book feels more in its writing to fit better in the Merc 2000 world.
  • Nautical/Aviation Handbook - This provides a number of planes and small boats for the players to use. Again, the book has a number of planes and some ships that would be out of sorts as being flying even in the RDF adventures. So there appears to me that this is themed more to being a Merc 2000 book and should have been classified as such.

So with all that said, my question for debate on the floor is this:
Was it a good addition to the rules as we had them? Did it provide something for players to get their fix of the game engine without having to deal with nuclear weapons and still not be under the thumb of military leadership. Or was it a complete waste of time and effort by GDW?

My own personal view since I had it, Special Ops addition, Bangkok, and the Gazetteer; is that it was a fun and different challenge for us when I played the game as a teenager. If we wanted to do some A-team like adventures or some Mack Bolan/Stony Man cheese adventure novels it worked great. We use to break it out and either do a quick one shot or even a mini-campaign when our GM or even us players hit a wall in our current T2K campaign.

Question 2: So does this deserve a reboot sometime or even a fan made new source book taking in the modern era of the post 2001 environment and entities like Blackwater, Aegis Defense Services, or Paladin Group?
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Last edited by Southernap; 03-23-2021 at 11:42 PM. Reason: fix some typos
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  #2  
Old 03-24-2021, 01:28 AM
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Was Merc: 2000 a good addition to the rules?
In my opinion yes. It added some new rules that weren't included in T2k such as noise levels, sleeping enemy garrisons and guard dogs and the Quick Kill Rule (which would show up in the 2.2 version of T2k but wasn't present in earlier editions)
It also included some extra equipment that was definitely useful for T2k such as the Individual Tactical Radio, Snorkel Gear, Extreme Cold Weather Gear, Grappling Hooks, Suppressors.

And probably the most important reason for me personally, I could never find enough people interested in playing a survival/post-apocalypse game so I could never get a group to play Twilight. But there was a lot of interest in mercenary type games because the crowd I started gaming with had played lots of Advanced Recon and MechWarrior so mercenaries where a "cool" subject to them.
So Merc was the game that allowed me to dive into the T2k 2nd Ed. rules and then later into Dark Conspiracy and Cadillacs & Dinosaurs.
Now that last game was important to me for other reasons, I loved the artwork done by Mark Schultz and was very vaguely aware of his Xenozoic Tales comics (Cadillacs & Dinosaurs being a licenced game of the comics)
Having the game motivated me to hunt down Xenozoic Tales so that I could actually read them and I'm still happy to have them in my possession.

If the T2k series had not included Merc, I might very well have missed Dark Conspiracy and Cadillacs & Dinosaurs. My T2k books would have ended up sitting on a shelf with me wistfully staring at them wishing I could get a group to play it

Does it deserve a reboot?
I think a reprint with updates to T2k 2.2/Traveller: TNE rules would work fine. I think there's still enough interest in small scale/tactical combat rpgs and mercenary/PMC type games.
I would hesitate to ask for a reboot because I generally don't think reboots do much for the original game. Often they change too many aspects and it becomes a totally new game.
As an example of what I mean, I have always loved the X-Com video games since I was first introduced to them on the NES. When the 2010 remake titled XCOM was announced I was initially very interested, then when I saw gameplay footage and borrowed a friend's copy to actually play, I was left bitterly disappointed - it was nothing like X-Com and should have been called something totally different as it missed almost every single thing that made X-Com great.
I feel the same way about the reboot of Twilight: 2000 by Free League (and enough has been said about that, so I'll leave it at that).
Generally, I don't think reboots work (with some exceptions in movies/novels)
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Old 03-24-2021, 06:29 AM
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Bangkok I would say is one of the modules that straddles both worlds - its definitely Twilight 2000 but its also Merc - i.e. it could be played either way - a failing nation state in either system

When I wrote the East Africa book I also saw it as a place where those who love to play mercenaries could play as well - even had one of the NPC's I detailed be a person who runs a mercenary group that runs various missions for hire. With some tweaks that book could also be used for those who want to run MERC scenarios - i.e. the situation in Uganda, Somalia, the Congo and Tanzania would be with them as failed nation states (which for Somalia and the Congo is actually accurate) and the US troops there to prop up Kenya - but doing it entirely in the MERC world and not the T2K
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Old 03-25-2021, 01:56 AM
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Originally Posted by StainlessSteelCynic View Post

If the T2k series had not included Merc, I might very well have missed Dark Conspiracy and Cadillacs & Dinosaurs. My T2k books would have ended up sitting on a shelf with me wistfully staring at them wishing I could get a group to play it

Does it deserve a reboot?
I think a reprint with updates to T2k 2.2/Traveller: TNE rules would work fine. I think there's still enough interest in small scale/tactical combat rpgs and mercenary/PMC type games.
I would hesitate to ask for a reboot because I generally don't think reboots do much for the original game. Often they change too many aspects and it becomes a totally new game.
As an example of what I mean, I have always loved the X-Com video games since I was first introduced to them on the NES. When the 2010 remake titled XCOM was announced I was initially very interested, then when I saw gameplay footage and borrowed a friend's copy to actually play, I was left bitterly disappointed - it was nothing like X-Com and should have been called something totally different as it missed almost every single thing that made X-Com great.
I feel the same way about the reboot of Twilight: 2000 by Free League (and enough has been said about that, so I'll leave it at that).
Generally, I don't think reboots work (with some exceptions in movies/novels)
I will admit that Cadallics & Dinos is one of those games that I saw the ads for in the back of GDWs products or in the catalogs when I bought a couple of boxed sets. I never saw it live and its probably one of my products that I most lust for out of GDWs RPG line, just to give it a go for all its pulp like fun.
As to Dark Conspiracy, I never had a chance to play again saw the ads in all of my T2K books and the few times I got a catalog in the mail.
Yet, I can see how one would progress from T2k -> Merc 2k -> DC or C&D.

Since the GDW made an effort to standardize the game engine across all their major games. Except for a couple of them before the company went out of business.

I totally agree the new rules they introduced and some of the new equipment they introduced in Merc2k would have worked well into the T2k game. Since they gave a some expansion to an already robust set of rules and equipment lists.

As to the reboot idea. I was thinking more along the lines of a maybe a soft reboot. Where the manual and rules gets tweaked based on the released errata, maybe do some editing so the rules flow a little better. Heck, maybe even just call it a V1.x release of the rules.

I also just wish I had the writing skills, I would try and craft a supplement like the recent Pac NW released for T2K or the Korean supplement. If not a good scenario like the Rook's Gambit.

I know the Gazetteer gave us ten spots including:
  • Chinese Warlords
  • China vs Vietnam
  • Indonesia vs Australia
  • Philippines civil war
  • Angola vs Zaire/Congo
  • Indian Subcontinent unrest - both internal to India and issues in the Kashmir
  • Nigeria vs Biafra
  • Mali vs Burkina Faso
  • Guatemala vs Belize
  • Peru rebellion

Thinking through to the more modern era. I could potentially see the obvious of combat zones in the Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria.
Yet, I could also see maybe something like the narco-terror groups in Central and South America. Going to anyplace in North Africa/Sahara Africa and the unrest there. Some industrial sabotage or even espionage against multi-national corps by other multi-nationals or NGOs.

Maybe even creating a new supplement book on how to create your own merc company with rules on how to become your own version of Blackwater or Aegis Defense or some other PMC for hire.

Like I said in the opening, Merc 2k offers up some interesting ideas on where the game engine could go and could provide ways as SSC mentions for folks that don't want the bleakness of post-apocalypse world to maybe something as harsh, but you still have TV that works with 3 hots and a soft fluffy bed to sleep in.
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Old 03-25-2021, 04:01 AM
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Between the Merc main book, Bangkok, Special Operations and the Gazetteer there was a really good mix of locations, equipment and missions that could be used/undertaken.
Plus M2k had rules for acquiring patrons and renown as well as expansion on parachuting while Special Operations expanded the options for melee combat as well as clarified rules regarding the 3-rd burst option found on the M16A2 and G11.

The Gazetteer was generally good but let down by a lack of research in some cases. For example Australia is listed as using the L85 and L86 but we never gave serious consideration to adopting them for service, (even at the time the Gazetteer was written it would have been relatively easy to find out that the main contenders were the M16A2 and the AUG).
The L7A1 was a reasonably accurate guess (we adopted the MAG58 rather than the British L7 version of it) but overall, it appears that the writer of that section didn't bother to do any research and instead believed Australia would just adopt whatever the British were using.

The section dealing with Indonesia has a similar lack of research, assuming they would be using the AK-74 when a little research would reveal that Indonesia had a healthy small arms industry and produced a number of their own designs as well as local copies of European designs. The Indonesian forces while not against acquiring WarPac/Soviet/ChiCom vehicles, aircraft and heavy weapons, have traditionally eschewed small arms from those nations and used North American and Europe small arms instead.

As for Cadillacs & Dinosaurs, it won't likely ever get a reprint as it was licenced from Mark Schultz and there's been no desire to re-acquire the licence (I emailed Marc Miller some years ago about it and that's the gist of what he said). Which means it won't be available anytime soon as a PDF on DriveThruRPG (and most likely never).
The best you can do is locate a second-hand copy or find someone who will do a scan for you.
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Old 03-25-2021, 06:35 PM
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One of my two long running T2K games was mostly an M2K game with only some post-apocalyptic elements (in some areas). I liked the equipment and mechanic additions rule-wise and the setting was also interesting.

If anything I'd just like to see a modern re-print with errata added and the setting extended to 2020. The setting conceit was the world was experiencing severe social issues in the midst of an economic depression. The whole reason Mercs were a thing was every country had to seriously scale back their militaries due to economic issues. So it wasn't as bleak as T2K but it wasn't all sunshine and roses.

The setting pulled forward to now would be interesting. Organized crime and international terrorist organizations could be added as OPFORs. There would also be opportunities to add new "battlefields" like cyber warfare and hunting down bad guys via digital forensics and such.

I always saw M2K as more of a techno-thriller setting so seeing it lean into that would be interesting to me. Even barring those kind of setting changes just errata'ed rules and an updated equipment guide would be cool.
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Old 03-25-2021, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by bash View Post
One of my two long running T2K games was mostly an M2K game with only some post-apocalyptic elements (in some areas). I liked the equipment and mechanic additions rule-wise and the setting was also interesting.

If anything I'd just like to see a modern re-print with errata added and the setting extended to 2020. The setting conceit was the world was experiencing severe social issues in the midst of an economic depression. The whole reason Mercs were a thing was every country had to seriously scale back their militaries due to economic issues. So it wasn't as bleak as T2K but it wasn't all sunshine and roses.

The setting pulled forward to now would be interesting. Organized crime and international terrorist organizations could be added as OPFORs. There would also be opportunities to add new "battlefields" like cyber warfare and hunting down bad guys via digital forensics and such.

I always saw M2K as more of a techno-thriller setting so seeing it lean into that would be interesting to me. Even barring those kind of setting changes just errata'ed rules and an updated equipment guide would be cool.
This is my take on things as well. My own Merc campaign (set in Africa) follows the techno-thriller pattern as well. I had wanted to do an update of the game but I figured that Free League would pitch a fit if someone were to try and publish a V2.2-based game while they were rebooting Twilight2000. That and like Southernap, I lack the skill set to publish a commercial work.

I was going to change one thing though. Merc2000 is such a boring name. I liked the idea of stealing the name of another idea from the designer's notes in V2.2. I would have called my work CONTINGENCY FORCE.

The World continues to spiral into chaos as the economic decline hits the various nations that once supported the World's economy. In such desperate times, belts must be tightened and sacrifices made. Thus law and order have begun to take a back seat to just keeping the lights on. When the forces of evil attempt to prey on the innocent; towns and corporations need the help of those willing to confront the violent with violence themselves. Such "Contingency Forces" are now common throughout the World.

In Contingency Force, you can play as a Private Military Contractor, keeping the peace on a budget. Perhaps you would choose to be a Private Investigator, finding the lost and solving those crimes that the local PD no longer have the time or funding to solve. Maybe you're a Gun For Hire, selling your own special talent for death to the highest bidder. It's all possible with Contingency Force!
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Old 03-25-2021, 08:25 PM
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There's been some small indication from GDW that the severely depressed world economy that was the background for Merc: 2000, was the beginning of the Greater Depression background to the Dark Conspiracy setting.
It seems at first glance, a tenuous link but there was one adventure in Challenge magazine that involved your M2k PCs investigating a corporation that is a Dark Minion controlled organization.

It was written by Craig Sheeley and is titled "Things Got Weirder..."
It can be found in Challenge 62, page 12. It's listed as a "Merc: 2000/Dark Conspiracy combined scenario". Sheeley was involved with a few products for the T2k line, notably the East European Sourcebook and perhaps less notably, the adventure scenario City of Angels.

So, if you wanted to, you could have the M2k setting slowly morph into the Dark Conspiracy setting - which is pretty much what I did with my first DarkCon campaign (I let the Players use their M2k characters because I didn't want them to realise too soon what was happening - and this was before I knew of Challenge magazine!). Or you could use the DarkCon economic and social setting, (remove the Dark Minion elements) to further develop a more economically depressed, more corporate dominated world background for M2k.

P.S. I believe it was Swaghauler who was one to remind me about this combined scenario so all credit to and a big thumbs up to him!

Last edited by StainlessSteelCynic; 03-25-2021 at 08:30 PM. Reason: adding afterthought
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Old 03-26-2021, 12:27 AM
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An aside about Cadillacs & Dinosaurs for people that don't have it: it's not a fun game. There's just far too little lore to really bite into and with only a single book for the whole game the GM has a lot of work to do in order to run a campaign. It definitely reads like GDW had an option for a license that was expiring and had to publish something. I don't know if that's what happened but that's how the book reads. I think the setting needs "pulpier" mechanics than what v2.2 has to offer.

That being said it does have some useful stuff for T2K/M2K games. Besides the dinosaur stats there's sort of Twilight: 1955 equipment and weapons and non-military PC careers and stuff. It's worth picking up if you find it cheap but not critical to own. I've owned a copy for decades and have never once run a game in the C&D setting, let alone a C&D game using the book.

Aside over, sorry if this was a massive derailment. For an M2K game the C&D book is marginally useful but a letdown otherwise.
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Old 03-26-2021, 02:12 AM
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Quote:
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An aside about Cadillacs & Dinosaurs for people that don't have it: it's not a fun game. There's just far too little lore to really bite into and with only a single book for the whole game the GM has a lot of work to do in order to run a campaign. It definitely reads like GDW had an option for a license that was expiring and had to publish something. I don't know if that's what happened but that's how the book reads. I think the setting needs "pulpier" mechanics than what v2.2 has to offer.

That being said it does have some useful stuff for T2K/M2K games. Besides the dinosaur stats there's sort of Twilight: 1955 equipment and weapons and non-military PC careers and stuff. It's worth picking up if you find it cheap but not critical to own. I've owned a copy for decades and have never once run a game in the C&D setting, let alone a C&D game using the book.

Aside over, sorry if this was a massive derailment. For an M2K game the C&D book is marginally useful but a letdown otherwise.
Well, I'm one of those who definitely does NOT mind this sideline discussion!
I've owned a copy of C&D since the time I saw it in my favourite game shop back in the day. They only ever had a few copies and because it used the same rules as T2k 2nd Ed./M2k it was always going to be potential purchase.
However because it was about Mark Schultz' Xenozoic Tales I would have bought it no matter what rules it had!

But yes, unless you watched the cartoon series (titled Cadillacs & Dinosaurs - I don't think it was ever shown in Australia though), or read the Xenozoic Tales comics, you would have precious little background material to make a good campaign of C&D just from the game book. The included background isn't too bad, it's comprehensive but misses a lot of little details found in the comics that really illustrate the relationships between various personalities or gives some extra explanation about the "what, why, where & when" of certain events.
I'm of the impression that GDW had plans for more product but the reception of the main book was not encouraging so it never progressed further. A number of reviewers felt the T2k rules were too serious and complex for what should have been in their view, a pulp-adventure style game.
There were some adventures published in Challenge and I believe some of them were actually written by GDW staff or GDW contract writers (I think they were but I'd have to check to be certain).

I think where the C&D book still proves useful for Merc, aside from equipment (such as the small boat types), is in the extra careers. They form a useful expansion of the careers in the Bangkok sourcebook.
And although it's not about T2k or M2k, it's also quite useful for Dark Conspiracy and Traveller: The New Era.
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Old 03-26-2021, 01:27 PM
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Question 2: So does this deserve a reboot sometime or even a fan made new source book taking in the modern era of the post 2001 environment and entities like Blackwater, Aegis Defense Services, or Paladin Group?
A reboot could be cool.

I never played M2000, but I've run a modern (c. 2020) mercs campaign using T2k v2.2 rules. They worked just fine as-is. Paul M's site has every modern weapon one could possibly encounter in game statted up already.

Really, there are so many low intensity conflict hot spots and/or failed states in the world right now, there's a ton of setting info out there for anyone who cares to do a little internet research. These conflicts are changing so quickly that, by the time a sourcebook was released, the info would be fast approaching obsolescence.

Legally speaking, I don't think a game designer could detail real-life PMCs like the ones you listed (without express written permission). I'm not a lawyer, but I reckon doing so could expose creators to trademark infringement, defamation, and/or libel lawsuits.

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Old 03-26-2021, 01:55 PM
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I too am happy to see Cadillacs and Dinosaurs isn't forgotten.
Back in the day my group didn't play it, sticking to the more mainstream Twilight 2000 and Merc 2000. We'd just started dipping into The Morrow Project (and also Aftermath) when the group broke up. A TMP campaign was started but hadn't progressed far (4 or 5 sessions only). I wanted to try to create a crossover with the Morrow Project, setting the players up as normal but with the team waking up in the C&D environmet instead of the expected one. It would probably have worked for a short campaign but not for anything long term. Of course they would have been well equipped compared to the locals, so it really would only need a small team and careful managing but it could have been fun.
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Old 03-26-2021, 07:01 PM
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Well, I'm one of those who definitely does NOT mind this sideline discussion!
I've owned a copy of C&D since the time I saw it in my favourite game shop back in the day. They only ever had a few copies and because it used the same rules as T2k 2nd Ed./M2k it was always going to be potential purchase.
However because it was about Mark Schultz' Xenozoic Tales I would have bought it no matter what rules it had!

But yes, unless you watched the cartoon series (titled Cadillacs & Dinosaurs - I don't think it was ever shown in Australia though), or read the Xenozoic Tales comics, you would have precious little background material to make a good campaign of C&D just from the game book. The included background isn't too bad, it's comprehensive but misses a lot of little details found in the comics that really illustrate the relationships between various personalities or gives some extra explanation about the "what, why, where & when" of certain events.
I'm of the impression that GDW had plans for more product but the reception of the main book was not encouraging so it never progressed further. A number of reviewers felt the T2k rules were too serious and complex for what should have been in their view, a pulp-adventure style game.
There were some adventures published in Challenge and I believe some of them were actually written by GDW staff or GDW contract writers (I think they were but I'd have to check to be certain).

I think where the C&D book still proves useful for Merc, aside from equipment (such as the small boat types), is in the extra careers. They form a useful expansion of the careers in the Bangkok sourcebook.
And although it's not about T2k or M2k, it's also quite useful for Dark Conspiracy and Traveller: The New Era.
The YouTube channel Retro Rerun has all of the TV episodes available. I found the book to be rather shallow on background material and lacking easy hooks, but I haven't read it recently so my opinion might be different if I did so now.

As far as Challenge goes, there are two articles I can recall: Frank Chadwick's The Horror Below in issue #47 and Chuck Kallenbach II's A Job for Toulouse in issue #73. I think Tales from the Floating Vagabond had more articles than C&D.
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Old 03-26-2021, 08:38 PM
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The C&D book most definitely lacks in some areas and story hooks is one of them. Taking Southernap's comment from the initial post about Merc: 2000 being the bastard child of T2k, I'd be inclined to disagree with that and argue that C&D was the bastard child!

I mentioned that the background given in the book is comprehensive and it is sufficient to give a condensed background of the original material but the book never develops anything with it. For example, it's implied in Xenozoic Tales that the Wassoon tribe want a strong alliance with the City by the Sea but if an alliance cannot be achieved then acquiring technical knowledge from the City by the Sea should be attempted.
It's also hinted at that the City by the Sea, while using a collection of mismatched equipment for farming that does give them the edge over other tribes in the region, is having problems with expanding its agricultural industries and it's hinted at that the Wassoon tribe have a more sustainable approach to agriculture that may solve the problems the City by the Sea is having.

There is a throw-away part of the game book that shows this, it's one panel from the comic and while it states the situation clearly, the book never goes further with the notion.

The game book also doesn't really stress enough the almost druid-like treatment the Old Blood Mechanics receive (not just because of their mechanical skills but also because of their attempts to preserve the balance of Nature in the world). This sets up a number of minor and a few major conflicts between the Old Blood Mechanics and members of the Tribe who are pushing for the expansion of various industries e.g. mining, or who are involved in various criminal enterprises e.g. poaching.
It also doesn't really push the idea that the Tribe of the City by the Sea are the most successful society in the region, having well developed primary industries and a scientific branch that is attempting to research the world around the City by the Sea, learn what various items of equipment in the Vault are used for and how to operate them, reverse engineer equipment as well as understand the past history of the Tribe.

Unfortunately, success also breeds corruption and smuggling and poaching as well as stealing equipment from the vaults are good money earners for a number of people of the Tribe. (The vaults are the shelters the people inhabited when the world turned apocalyptic, they are controlled by the scientists but the Old Blood Mechanics have a lot of sway over what equipment can be recovered, the Old Bloods fear that if people become too technologically advanced or too reliant on tech, they will damage or destroy the world like their ancestors did.)

All of that can easily lead into story hooks but the game book just doesn't seem to go there. It's as if the writers felt that GMs would be experienced enough to extract those ideas themselves. This is very similar to the situation in regards to Dark Conspiracy - there is little to no guidance on how to use the background material presented in the book as it seems expected that experienced GMs will run the game and known how to use the book.
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Old 03-26-2021, 09:51 PM
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A reboot could be cool.

Legally speaking, I don't think a game designer could detail real-life PMCs like the ones you listed (without express written permission). I'm not a lawyer, but I reckon doing so could expose creators to trademark infringement, defamation, and/or libel lawsuits.

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I wasn't really thinking of using those companies and those names in a reboot. Rather, mine some of their history for things that could be done with the rules. Maybe even sand them enough so it looks like, sounds like, but isn't them. Which is things I have seen done in other RPGs about licenses like Transformers, GI Joe, Boeing, IBM, Microsoft, etc.
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Old 03-27-2021, 02:00 AM
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The C&D book most definitely lacks in some areas and story hooks is one of them. Taking Southernap's comment from the initial post about Merc: 2000 being the bastard child of T2k, I'd be inclined to disagree with that and argue that C&D was the bastard child!

I mentioned that the background given in the book is comprehensive and it is sufficient to give a condensed background of the original material but the book never develops anything with it. For example, it's implied in Xenozoic Tales that the Wassoon tribe want a strong alliance with the City by the Sea but if an alliance cannot be achieved then acquiring technical knowledge from the City by the Sea should be attempted.
It's also hinted at that the City by the Sea, while using a collection of mismatched equipment for farming that does give them the edge over other tribes in the region, is having problems with expanding its agricultural industries and it's hinted at that the Wassoon tribe have a more sustainable approach to agriculture that may solve the problems the City by the Sea is having.

There is a throw-away part of the game book that shows this, it's one panel from the comic and while it states the situation clearly, the book never goes further with the notion.

The game book also doesn't really stress enough the almost druid-like treatment the Old Blood Mechanics receive (not just because of their mechanical skills but also because of their attempts to preserve the balance of Nature in the world). This sets up a number of minor and a few major conflicts between the Old Blood Mechanics and members of the Tribe who are pushing for the expansion of various industries e.g. mining, or who are involved in various criminal enterprises e.g. poaching.
It also doesn't really push the idea that the Tribe of the City by the Sea are the most successful society in the region, having well developed primary industries and a scientific branch that is attempting to research the world around the City by the Sea, learn what various items of equipment in the Vault are used for and how to operate them, reverse engineer equipment as well as understand the past history of the Tribe.

Unfortunately, success also breeds corruption and smuggling and poaching as well as stealing equipment from the vaults are good money earners for a number of people of the Tribe. (The vaults are the shelters the people inhabited when the world turned apocalyptic, they are controlled by the scientists but the Old Blood Mechanics have a lot of sway over what equipment can be recovered, the Old Bloods fear that if people become too technologically advanced or too reliant on tech, they will damage or destroy the world like their ancestors did.)

All of that can easily lead into story hooks but the game book just doesn't seem to go there. It's as if the writers felt that GMs would be experienced enough to extract those ideas themselves. This is very similar to the situation in regards to Dark Conspiracy - there is little to no guidance on how to use the background material presented in the book as it seems expected that experienced GMs will run the game and known how to use the book.
So I did some digging through the internet. One of the hard parts with C&D is that the licenses were all over the place and with only 14 issues of the original comic to draw from and only 13 episodes of the cartoon to draw from, it seems hard to make lore for it. Then not stray hard from the original intent of the creator.

In addition it appear that the creator of Xenozoic Tales had to pay a licensing fee to General Motor for every last car that was featured in the cartoon and the right just to use some of the descriptions of cars that he drew about with trademarked names, including Cadillac.

So this is one that if anyone wanted to renew it, they would either have to have big money upfront to pay the royalties or find a way to heavily sand it into something useful with more generic names or obvious parody names.
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Old 03-27-2021, 06:07 AM
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And to further muddy the waters... of the original 14 issues done by Schultz, some also had guest artist do stories in the Xenozoic world. Later reprints by publishers such as Dark Horse do not include these extra stories (I assume because they didn't get any agreement with the authors).
Those stories are parts of the world and you do miss out on further information if you don't have them.

So, not only would you have to navigate through all the other licensing details, you have to contact those other authors and get some agreement with them as well.
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Old 03-28-2021, 08:47 PM
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So with all that said, my question for debate on the floor is this:
Was it a good addition to the rules as we had them? Did it provide something for players to get their fix of the game engine without having to deal with nuclear weapons and still not be under the thumb of military leadership. Or was it a complete waste of time and effort by GDW?
I rather liked Merc; I ran a 1- or 2-year long game of it in the mid-90's. It took me too long to get a copy of Bangkok, but I had all the other books.

I ran an episodic-style game using the Biafran and several of the Caribbean-region missions, often with names & places changed. My group had a flying boat and flew to their missions that way. (Yes, I was deep into a Jimmy Buffett phase at that point, what's your point? I liked Miami Vice a lot, too.) I created "Big Bob's House of Boom" as a hiring hall and weapons store (stores in Miami, Manila, and Las Vegas, ask Bob about franchise opportunities!).

I hadn't really done much with v2 or v2.1 within the Twilight setting, so this was my opportunity to learn that game engine, so yes to the 2nd part of the question.

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Question 2: So does this deserve a reboot sometime or even a fan made new source book taking in the modern era of the post 2001 environment and entities like Blackwater, Aegis Defense Services, or Paladin Group?
I'd be OK-ish with a reboot using the v4 rules, I'd be happier with a revision/collection of v2.2, perhaps adding some of the gear from various other sources.

I'm not sure I would like a setting update, though. Call it what you like, but I like my RPGs both gritty and still fantastical, in faraway places with often made-up names (San Cristobal, Ruritania, Rio Lindo, etc.).
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Old 03-29-2021, 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Adm.Lee
"I created "Big Bob's House of Boom" as a hiring hall and weapons store (stores in Miami, Manila, and Las Vegas, ask Bob about franchise opportunities!)."

Ok that is out and out genius -I love that name - makes me laugh every time I read that - must have been one fun campaign
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Last edited by Olefin; 03-30-2021 at 01:56 PM.
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Old 03-29-2021, 08:47 PM
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As an item of interest for Merc campaigns, one that can be used as a roadmap for planning out the shady connections of the corporate world and/or the black market, the following video is quite useful.

It covers an investigation by the New York Times into oil smuggling to North Korea and shows how intricate the operations are to avoid complying with UN sanctions against North Korea.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hDTCHdcPYTQ
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Old 03-30-2021, 12:48 AM
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I created "Big Bob's House of Boom" as a hiring hall and weapons store (stores in Miami, Manila, and Las Vegas, ask Bob about franchise opportunities!).
That reminds me of this from the old Jagged Alliance 2 game, Bobby Ray's Guns and Things.
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Old 03-30-2021, 06:47 PM
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Bobby Ray's a cousin of Big Bob, I'm sure.
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