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Old 05-07-2019, 06:12 PM
vihkr vihkr is offline
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Lightbulb Crowdsourced / Co-branded Alternative v4 Rules

I know this has been discussed before but I wanted to have a thread on this with the news of v4 and Modiphius being confirmed by Marc Miller. I have long been mulling over being involved in a v4 release and supplementary materials, like many of you have, while some of us have been actively working towards by releasing their own v1 and 2.2 sourcebooks and materials.

I propose that we crowdsource (forum-source?) our own fan-approved alternative version of v4 and release it during the same timeframe as Modiphius' version, or soon after. Competition is healthy, after all. I have a few suggestions on how we can proceed and if there is interest, why don't we just do it? We can work out the general plan here. Kickstarter is an option.

Ruleset discussion--which one to use?:

First a note on copyrights of existing games and game mechanics.

1. Create a version of GDW House Rules System, hybrid v1 and v2.2 if you will, with enhancements: v2.X. The general consensus here is that v2.2 is not broken, being a cornerstone in the GDW/FFE "house rules" system.

Pros are character generation, a feature and notoriety it shares with Traveller, a generally good combat system including vehicles and skill resolution with enough crunch to tackle relatively complex systems such disease and long distance travel and survival. I personally miss the deck of cards NPC motivation system from v1 but can live without it. Another big pro is the wealth of sub-systems which have been developed for it, many of them originating from this forum. A pro we can't deny is that we have a built-in, experienced in v1 and v2.2 playtest audience here.

Cons are its crunch (especially for the modern, post-Masquerade RPG audience), and its relationship with Traveller. Traveller 5e was a disorganized mess and it got creamed and rightfully so, in reviews. Furthermore, Twilight 2000 v1 or v2.2 generally scores between 2 and 3 out of 5 stars on popular RPG sites so call it a 2.5. This score is generally replicated by T5e on these same sites. Ironically, T2300AD tends to score higher, despite having the same rule system, but I partially attribute this to its setting. In all 3 cases, it is not a popular system with the modern RPG audience. Another con is its lack of integrated miniatures or skirmish rules to resolve larger battles (partially resolved with supplements) nor rules for the strategic aspect (like taking over a cantonment and becoming a local warlord). Another big con is that T2000 is really a sandbox system with poor organization and lack of coherent narrative to realize that kind of gameplay (until Twilight Encounters came out). Sandbox games have become really popular since the concept was (re-)popularized in retro gaming circles in 2012 or so. See this blog for more on T2000 as sandbox.

2. Go with a GURPS supplement or BRP system (like D101 from OpenQuest).

Pros are a built-in audience for those types of platforms and generally good market awareness and marketshare (and reviews). It would also be comparatively simple to graft our setting into either one of these game systems, which would allow us to come to market in relatively short order. A derivative of the latter system, Delta Green, even has detailed rules for modern systems such as electronics, hacking, holographic sights and recent body armour and a great way to model automatic weapons fire, as well as fear and reactions during combat. It also has a gear catalogue which rivals T2000! In a lot of ways, a derivative of BRP is a shoe-in for a system to consider.

Cons: if we go GURPS, we'd have to qualify as a licensed supplement with SJG; a BRP derivative, no such problem. GURPS and to some degree BRP, are rather crunchy systems, with extensive skill and equipment lists with heavy record-keeping which are generally out of vogue with the modern gaming crowd. GURPS and BRP are known as love-it or hate-it systems, but judging by purchases of either, there's a lot of people who love them. The character generation systems for both also leave a lot to be desired (point-buy vs. old-school D&D).

3. Warhammer/WFRP Hybrid: very much how like Flames of War and Team Yankee are derivatives of Warhammer, and WFRP is an RPG implementation of the latter, we could create our own version of WFRP but set in T2000.

The big pro is miniatures and the massive popularity of these games. While most of the RPG industry flounders, the titles listed above are growing. Check out BF Events and bear in mind that they are the junior partner to giants such as GW, Warmachine and Fantasy Flights Games with their Star Wars line of miniatures games and RPGs. Ease of accessibility, nice physical accessories and appeal to a wide market are all drivers of these games. As a follow-on RPG, WFRP has been praised as a great game system, although its setting largely helps with this. Built-in audience.

Cons: the rules themselves have been criticized as being tournament-focussed. The telescopic scale systems are gamey. There is a considerable cost and time to entry (unless we are talking about a Team Yankee RPG as the existing miniatures collections could be transferable). We'd have to negotiate licensing with Battlefront to go the Team Yankee way.

4. Ambush Alley/Force on Force-RPG Hybrid: add an RPG element to a skirmish game system.

Pros: a good skirmish game has been a long time coming and Ambush Alley filled the bill. Now repped by Osprey and with some sort of connection to Battlefront, this is effectively WFRP-lite but for Battlefront and Team Yankee. The same pros as above apply but the system itself is truly sublime. Like Fistful of Tows, Ambush/FoF biases character skill over everything else. This is a system which begs to be expanded into an RPG. A lot of players have huge modern and/or apocalyptic 20mm 1:72 miniatures collections and that is perhaps the scale which always worked best for T2000. We should consider 1:72 as a default scale for any T2000 v4.

Cons: may be difficult to make an RPG out of a skirmish game. Same cons as 3., above.

5. "Open World Survival" (i.e. retroclone B/X D&D):

Pros:
Forgotten Lands was a pretty huge success in this "new" field of games as of late. It's not really new as it's just a re-imagining of B/X D&D but with a clear hexcrawl sandbox bent. It has rules to facilitate the strategic aspect of the game, like fortress maintenance and domain expansion, without simply being a shopping list of what it costs to employ serfs to build the walls. Into this marketspace you could also add any retroclone, but IMO, Forbidden is the best of them, taking the crunchiness of B/X D&D or Torchbearer, for instance, and making the rules as simplistic and easy to play as possible. The key pro is that these types of games are immensely popular, for the fantasy RPG market, at least. They have a small barrier of entry (vs. say v2.2 or GURPS) and can introduce new audiences in short order.

Cons: The big one here is how to develop a contemporary ruleset in this type of framework without ending up with a busted system like d20 Modern. I haven't seen anyone be able to do it, although perhaps RECON came close and is the best example of this type of effort. In a lot of ways, Ambush Alley is really a modern imagining of RECON. Another con is the d20 moniker. Maybe we can go out on a limb here and use 2d6 or 2d12 or something but then we're in Modiphius' territory.

Settings:

1. Double down and go straight T2000 v1 or v2.2. Pros: alternate timeline nostalgia. Cons: not very popular, especially with everyone else outside this forum who couldn't even tell you what the Cold War was.

2. T1965. Pros: homegrown alt-timeline from this forum. Cons as above.

3. Team Yankee (the 198X alt-history timeline): Pros: good tie-in with rules system 3. or 4., above. Relatively popular, especially with wargamers (who can and do cross to RPGs). Tie-ins with a wealth of material such as Viktor Suvorov, Chieftains, Red Army by Ralph Peters, Red Dawn, Red Storm Rising and recently Brad Smith* Cons: licensing is going to be a legal issue, especially if designing a WFRP version of Battlefront's Team Yankee.
* Interesting side-note: Brad Smith is a wargamer and could be persuaded to be involved in our little project.

4. T2025 or T2035. As 1. and 2., above. Pro: outlined right on this forum. A big con is that this timeline is subject to becoming irrelevant like T2000.

5. Go more mass-market appeal with a generalized apocalypse setting with a military feel. Pro: appeal. Cons: misses the central design premise of T2000, which was: How do we roleplay military characters and weapons without the restrictions of the military? Another con is that the field is swamped--anyone wanna play Fallout RPG?

If you are still reading, thanks, I wasn't expecting to create a 9500 char post.

Last edited by vihkr; 05-07-2019 at 06:16 PM. Reason: URLs
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