Marcus L. Rowland (ffutures) wrote,
Marcus L. Rowland

Another RPG bundle offer - 2300 AD

This is the original version of GDW's 2300 AD, briefly sold as Traveller 2300. It's a near-future SFRPG with some interesting mechanics for interstellar travel.

"In 1986 Traveller publisher Game Designers' Workshop debuted a near-future RPG called Traveller: 2300 -- a confusing name, because it had nothing to do with Traveller and, in fact, followed on from GDW's modern-day military RPG Twilight: 2000. The company quickly renamed the line 2300 AD and published a Second Edition two years later under that name.

2300 AD starts from Earth 300 years after the cataclysmic Third World War, the Twilight War depicted in Twilight: 2000. Nations still clash, but civilization has crawled back to its pre-war levels and beyond. The world is dominated by the Third French Empire. A space elevator in Gabon lets passengers ride to geostationary orbit. Long ago humanity made first contact with ten sapient alien species, and commerce with aliens is now common. But exploration still goes on. Having discovered a practical faster-than-light "stutterwarp" drive, Earth's hundred nations are just starting to colonize the stars.

For 2300 AD GDW produced the most accurate star map ever made of the star systems within 50 light years of Earth -- over 700 stars, each listed by location, spectral type, size, and magnitude in a separate Near Star List. The local neighborhood contains white dwarfs, red giants, and warm yellow stars like our own. The map also shows the three principal trade routes of human space: the Chinese Arm (Sol to Tau Ceti), currently beset by mysterious terrorists; the French Arm (Sol to Xi Ursae Majoris), where the alien Kafers are invading human space; and the American Arm (Sol to Ellis -- a dead end for further expansion, because the next stars lie beyond stutterwarp's maximum range of 7.7 light years).

2300 AD uses a task resolution system different from Classic Traveller and from the Twilight: 2000 system GDW eventually adopted for its other RPGs. Players roll 1D10 against a difficulty number set by the GM; failure calls for a separate 2D6 or 3D6 roll to determine consequences: mishaps, damage, or simply a loss of "determination." The rules (which convert easily to the GDW house system) cover all aspects of conflict resolution, from arguments to all-out battles, as well as detailed character generation, starship operations and combat, and economics.

2300 AD has a gritty, grounded feel -- less Space Viking, more Aliens. Aside from its FTL drive, the game has unusually low tech for a setting three centuries in the future. To the 1980s players of First Edition (1986) and Second Edition (1988), everything felt relatively familiar. 2300 AD found new life in 2012 under Mongoose Publishing's licensed Traveller rules (2008). We presented that version in our June 2014 Mongoose 2300 AD Bundle.

For this all-new GDW 2300 AD Bundle, we provide each ebook complete in .PDF (Portable Document Format). Like all Bundle of Holding titles, these books have NO DRM (Digital Restrictions Management), and our customers are entitled to move them freely among all their ereaders.

Ten percent of each purchase (after gateway fees) goes to the charity designated by Traveller and 2300 AD designer Marc W. Miller, Human Rights Watch.

The total retail value of the titles in this offer at launch is US$180. Customers who pay just US$16.95 get all eight titles in our Starter Collection (retail value $90) as DRM-free .PDF ebooks, including the Traveller: 2300 1E rules, the Ships of the French Arm guide, the Aurore and Nyotekundu Sourcebooks and four adventures for First Edition: Beanstalk, Energy Curve, Kafer Dawn, and Mission Arcturus.

Those who pay more than the threshold (average) price, which is set at $27.95 to start, also get our entire Bonus Collection with eight more titles worth an additional $90, including the 2300 AD Second Edition core rulebook; the 2300 AD Equipment Guide and Ground Vehicle Guide; the Colonial Atlas of all the planets in human space; the Kafer Sourcebook, one of the best books in the 2300 line; and three Second Edition adventures: Bayern, Invasion, and Ranger."

My feelings on this are mixed; it was an interesting idea that seemed to have some real potential (and I wrote one short scenario for it, The French Lieutenant's Connection, which appeared in GDW's Challenge magazine), the snag was that there ultimately didn't seem to be a huge amount to do with it - a lot of the historical background became obsolete with the collapse of the USSR, scenarios etc. were almost entirely combat-orientated, to the exclusion of other activities, and there was basically only one significant alien race who were (of course) a threat. But the space travel system has some very nice ideas (the Stutterwarp drive especially), and the big map mentioned above really is pretty good - unfortunately it's provided here as several JPG files which must be printed separately and glued together (or assembled as one large image before printing), which probably isn't the most convenient format. I would have preferred a scaleable vector graphics file. I'd probably download the introductory offer if I didn't already own all of it in dead tree format, but leave the rest alone.

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Tags: rpg

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