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Twilight: 2000 — characters

·2726 words·13 mins

This is the first chapter explaining Twilight: 2000, and it’s about the character. First I’ll go over how a character is defined while also filling in some details on how things work, then I’ll describe the two methods of character creation.

Twilight: 2000 is a skill-based game with a YZE 1 mechanic that I’ll explain below. Each game using the YZE has an adapted version of the basic system and Twilight: 2000 is probably the more detailed of the bunch, which is understandable considering the history of the game 2. It’s a crunchy game (with many modifiers and things affecting skill resolution) but the basic mechanic is simple and fluid.

Characters #

Here’s an example of a character in Twilight: 2000 (first tab of the FoundryVTT T2K4 character sheet).

Carl Paradis
Carl Paradis, Civilian Archetype

Characters are described by four basic attributes:

  • Strength (STR): Muscle power, toughness, and physical endurance
  • Agility (AGL): Body control, speed, and fine motor skills
  • Intelligence (INT): Perception, intellect, and mental stability
  • Empathy (EMP): Charisma, amiability, and emotional stability

Each attribute is rated from A (best) to D (worst).

Each attribute is associated with three skills:

  • Strength: Heavy Weapons, Close Combat, Stamina
  • Agility: Driving, Mobility, Ranged Combat
  • Intelligence: Recon, Survival, Tech
  • Empathy: Command, Persuasion, Medical Aid

As is the case for the attributes, each skill is rated from A to D, with the addition of ‘F,’ or ‘untrained.’ Your character also has a number of specialities which we’ll discuss later.

Each rating is associated with a die:

Rating Die Die Size Description
A d12 12 Extraordinary
B d10 10 Capable
C d8 8 Average
D d6 6 Feeble

Other characteristics #

You hit capacity is how much damage you can take before being taken out of action. It is the sum of the die size of your STR and AGL divided by 4, rounding fractions up.

Likewise your stress capacity is equal to the sum of the die size of your INT and EMP divided by 4, rounding fractions up.

Your Coolness Under Fire (CUF) is your ability to resist panicking when the bullets start flying your way or when something dramatic happens. Its starting value is determined during character creation and it can be improved during play. It is rated from A to D just like an attribute.

There are a number of other characteristics like your nationality, which determines what languages you can speak and the type of gear you beging with, the branch you come from (civil or military), your appearance, your moral code, etc. More on these later.

Skill resolution #

When a skill resolution is required, you roll two dice, one for the attribute and one for the skill. These are called base dice. If you’re untrained (if you don’t have the skill), then you only roll for the attribute. If you have to test Driving, you roll one die representing your Agility (AGL) and one die representing your Driving skill. For example if you have an Agility of B and a Driving skill of C, you roll 1d10 and 1d8.

Any result of 6 or more gives you a success. A result of 10 or more on a single die (only possible with a rating of A or B) results in two successes. In some circumstances, additional successes improve the result and in opposed rolls you are able to offset successes from the other party.

In addition to the base dice there might be additional dice rolled, for example when using automatic fire with some weapons. In those case, additional d6s, called ammo dice, are rolled alongside the base dice. These cannot determine success (only the base dice can determine success) but they provide additional damage or additional hits (more on that later), and even if the roll failed, rolling a ‘6’ on an ammo die can suppress 3 an opponent.

Pushing #

A core aspect of skill rolls is the possibility to “push the roll.” When you make a skill roll and fail to achieve what you intended, you can lean into it and push the roll. Reroll all dice not showing a ‘1’ or a ‘6+’. You cannot change back to your previous result. There is a risk involved though, since any dice showing a 1 after you pushed the roll (even if rolled on the first try) incurs a penalty. For each ‘1’ rolled you incur one point of damage if you were rolling for STR or AGL, or one point of stress if rolling against INT or EMP. This happens after the action is resolved.

If you used a tool, such as a weapon of a vehicule for a pushed skill roll based on STR or AGL, any damage from pushing will affect the item instead of yourself and decrease its reliability rating.

When using ammo dice, you have to roll all dice not showing a ‘1’ or a ‘6’ as well and any ‘1’ will reduce the reliability of the weapon.

Specialities #

While there are only twelve skills in Twilight: 2000, there are over 70 specialities that add more detailed expertise in narrower applications. Most specialities simply give you a +1 modifier in specific situations or when using particular gear. Others give additional benefits from a successful skill roll or enable you to accomplish something. Specialities are grouped by the skill they most often are used with, but note that you don’t have to have a particular skill to learn a speciality.

Modifiers #

When external factors help or hinder your attempt then some modifiers might be applied. Positive modifiers step up dice while negative modifiers step them down. For example if you have a +1 modifier and your base dice are 2d8, one of those would become a d10 and you’d roll 1d8 and 1d10. If you had a -1 modifier, one would become a d6 and you’d roll 1d8 and 1d6.

Positive and negative modifiers negate each others out. If you have a +2 modifier and a -1 modifier at the same time, simply apply a +1 modifier. When applying modifier you always step up the lowest die and step down the highest one. You can’t step up past 2d12. When stepping down past 2d6 you remove one d6. You can’t step down below 1d6.

Character Creation #

There are two methods to create player characters in this game:

  • the archetype method which gives you a template with some choices, and
  • the life path method which is much more detailed.

With the archetype method, you know exactly what you’ll get, there are no surprises: you get a character with 3 stat increases (from C) with an optional fourth (by decreasing one C to a D), exactly 6 skills and one speciality.

With the life path method you can steer how your character develops but you can’t be sure what you’ll end up with. Typically a character made with the life path method will have more skills and more specialities than an archetype, but he may end up with fewer skills if unlucky. The stat increases are also more varied, and aging can reduce those stats. As an example, the last character I did with this method ended up with 8 specialities, 8 skills (including two at level A), but with three stats at C and one at D. The one just prior to this had 5 skills (highest at B), two specialities, two D stats, one C stat and one B stat. One thing to remember with the life path method is that you don’t decide when to stop, you’re in for the ride and it’s the dice that decide when the war breaks out.

Archetype #

The first method, the archetype method, is quick and easy. There are 10 archetypes to choose from. Each gives you a number of options to choose from in terms of skills and specialities, and a specific set of starting gear.

This method is quick and gives characters of similar expertise overall.

The 10 archetypes are: civilian, cop, criminal, grunt, gunner, mechanic, medic, officer, operator, and spook.

Each archetype specifies the following:

  • which branch you’re from, sometimes with a choice of a few
  • your rank if applicable, often in a random table
  • your key attribute, which is only for information and has no mechanical effect
  • your key skills, which is a list of typical skills for this archetype. You must pick one of these skills for your higher skill (see below)
  • your starting Coolness Under Fire (CUF)
  • a list of specialities to choose from (but the Referee might allow you to pick outside this list)

The archetype also gives you a list of starting gear, including a variable amount of food and water rations. Equipment will be affected by your nationality for things like firearms.

Aside from these there are a number of suggestions regarding other aspects of your character, like moral codes and big dreams.

Every archetype has the same method to determine attributes. All attributes start with level C and you can make three increases however you like. You can make a fourth increase if you reduce one of the level C attributes to a D.

You choose one skill from your key skills and make it level B. You then choose two level C skills and three level D skills. These can be chosen freely.

Aside from that you must decide: your nationality, your moral code, your big dream, a buddy among the other PCs, how you met the others, your appearances (there are a few suggestions in the archetype), and a name (and perhaps a nickname).

You then roll 1d6 for your starting permanent rads and you’re done!

Life Path #

The original Traveller RPG, made by the same company that produced the 1st edition of Twilight: 2000, was famous for the fact that a player character had a chance to die during character creation! This 4th edition of Twilight: 2000 has a similar character creation method but at least you cannot die. Instead, the risk-reward tension is that your career plans can be cut short by the start of the war.

In the life path method you choose what your character does each ’term.’ Perhaps he starts by getting an education, then enlisting in a military career or in a civil career. Each term gives you skills and perhaps specialities or a promotion, but with a chance of feeling the effects of age and with the prospect of being interrupted by the world war.

This method gives a more detailed character, but with greater variation amongst the players as their luck varies.

You start with a fresh and inexperienced person of 18 years. You start with C in all stats and you get 2D3 increases that you can apply to any stat you choose. As with the archetype method you can get an additional increase by reducing one of you C stat to a D, but note that some career terms have a requirement that no stat be a D (see below).

You then roll 1D6 to see what your childhood was, which gives you a first skill and a first speciality.

From then on you repeat the following steps until the war breaks out:

  1. chose a career for the term, you should check the requirements and plan accordingly.
  2. you can then increase two skills by one step each, or one skill by two steps, among those listed on the career OR the generally available skills of Stamina, Mobility, or Driving. If you choose a skill you didn’t have previously then you get it at level D. Also, on your first term of a military service you must choose Ranged Combat no matter what skills are listed.
  3. you make an unmodified skill roll for one of the skills you just increased in the previous step. You can’t push that roll. If you succeed, you receive a promotion and roll 1D6 to get a speciality. In a military career a promotion increases your rank and also your CUF.
  4. you age 1D6 years and roll 1d8 and if the roll is LOWER than the number of terms you have completed you must reduce one attribute one step.
  5. roll 1D8 again, if the roll is LOWER than the number of terms you have completed, the war breaks out (go to the “At War” term steps), otherwise cycle back to step 0 above and chose a career for the next term.

At War Term

When the war breaks you can increase any two skills one step (you cannot increase one skill two steps). And then you roll a final D6 to get a speciality. But there are two possibilities depending on your last term:

  • if your last term was in the military (including intelligence careers) or if you’re a local of the country where the game is set, then you can pick any two skills to increase and you roll 1D6 in the column corresponding to your last term on the table on page 39 (military, blue collar, white collar, or other);
  • if your last term was as a civilian (except intelligence careers) and if your character is not a local of the country where the game is set, your At War term is spent as a draftee and one of your two skill increase must be in Ranged Combat (unless you already have it at level D or better), you roll for a speciality in the military column, and your starting gear is as if your last term had been Combat Arms instead of your civilian career.

You DO NOT roll for promotion or age effects after the At War term. You determine your hit and stress capacities, chose moral code, big dream, buddy, how you met, your appearance and your name and nickname.

You pick your gear from your last term before the At War term (except for the condition mentioned above). In addition you get D6 rations of food and D6 rations of fresh water, plus D6 rounds of ammo as currency. You also roll D6 for your starting permanent rads.

The choices for career for each term and the requirements for each are listed below. Aside from minimum attributes, some require prior terms in education or some other career. Some also require that no attribute be a D. It is advised to see what the requirements are and to plan your career path accordingly, hoping of course that the war doesn’t interrupt your plans!

Military Requirements
Combat Arms STR or AGL B+
Combat Support INT B+
Combat Service Support None
Special Operations STR and AGL B+, INT C+, at least one term in Combat Arms
Officer INT B+, no D attribute, at least one term in Education, requirements for the functional area 
Police Requirements
Police Officier No D attribute, no term in prison
Detective EMP B+, at least one term as a Police Officer
SWAT STR and AGL B+, at least one term as Police Officer
Crime Requirements
Gang Member STR and AGL C+
Burglar AGL and INT C+
Hustler INT and EMP C+
Prisoner None
Intelligence Requirements
Agent INT B+, at least one term in Education
Assassin EMP C or D, AGL B+, one or more terms as an Agent
Paramilitary STR and AGL B+, one or more terms in the Military
Blue Collar Requirements
Driver AGL B+
Farmer None
Mechanic None
Construction STR B+
Education Requirements
Liberal Arts INT and EMP C+
Sciences INT B+
White Collar Requirements
Doctor Two terms in Education (sciences), EMP B+
Professor Two terms in Education (liberal arts), INT B+
Manager One term in Education (any), EMP B+

Each career table from page 32 to page 38 has one or more skills to choose from, a table for specialities and starting gear (if it’s the last term you do before the war).

Conclusion #

This has covered what a character is and how you create one. In the following posts I’ll discuss skills and combat in more details.

You can find more about Twilight: 2000 on Free League web site.

I made a Life Path Worksheet and also a document with lots of basic information necessary for character creation. I also have a summary of the equipment list to make things easier.

  1. Year Zero Engine, in reference to the first game that used that system: Mutant Year Zero. ↩︎

  2. The first edition of Twilight: 2000 was famous for containing a huge number of tables and modifiers. ↩︎

  3. more on this in the following posts. ↩︎