Blast from the past

Millennium's End 63044One of my [many] favorite tabletop RPGs from the ‘90s is Millennium’s End. (ME v2 was updated in 2009.) It’s also one of the few games [of any kind] that I have ever seen that made a conscious effort to maintain backward compatibility between its v2 and v1 products.

Like many earlier generations of RPGs, its character creation involves some random generation of attributes. Very Gygaxian. The skill system is incredible rich and complex. What’s a 14-letter word for really complex?

Like a lot of RPGs, not just RPGs in the ‘90s, it’s combat rules seem absurdly complex at first blush. Every combat turn represents 2-seconds of real time. A typical human has 25 different hit locations, which are determined by a separate percentile role on a clear plastic overlay of a representative figure outline once a successful hit is determined. For each bullet fired. Then there’s different types of armor, different types of ammo, different types of… You get the picture. When we were in high school, we had time to burn six hours to run a 30-second combat scenario. Not so much anymore.

The rules (which I think are based on Phoenix Command, but I could misremember) are not what I love about the fabulous game that Charles and company produced. The complexity of the simulation engine is obviously the opposite end of the spectrum for what we have adopted for Modernity, but the gritty and contemporary cyber feel of the game are in many ways similar to aspects of Modernity. The technology obviously is years out of date, but if you’re looking for inspirations for your Modernity game, there a hundred plus pages in Millennium’s End that will serve you well.

You could even ignore the rules portion and play through the entire Millennium’s End campaign with the Modernity rules. It’s a lot of fun!