With the 40th anniversary of the seminal 2000AD anthology comic soon to be marked, I was musing at the start of the week about who now held the licence to produce a Judge Dredd roleplaying game (now that it has, thankfully, be taken away from Mongoose).
By the end of the week, I was fully aware that the baton had now been picked up by EN Publishing, who will be producing not just a Dredd RPG but a range of roleplaying games for many of the characters seen in the comics four decade history - all using the same core rule system.
“2000 AD has forty years of rich history and storytelling and this worldwide license allows us to explore those characters and stories and bring them to the tabletop.” Angus Abranson, Business Manager of EN Publishing said.
The first release will be Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD Tabletop Adventure Game, a full colour hardcover book which contains the core ‘Worlds of 2000 AD’ rules as well as the setting information enabling the players to not only play Judges, but also civilians and perps, in Mega City One.
"The rules system we’re using is our own WOIN (What’s Old Is New) engine that also powers our N.E.W. – The Science Fiction Roleplaying Game which spent some time as the #1 best seller on RPGNow,” said system designer and EN Publishing Owner, Russ Morrissey. “The system is incredibly flexible and can cater seamlessly for the Celtic environs of Slaine to space faring hijinks of the Ace Trucking Co.”
Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD will be followed by a series of adventure sourcebooks giving players and Game Masters the opportunity to play through the story arcs that made Judge Dredd such an enduring character.
“We’ll be publishing a series of books, starting with The Robot Wars, which will not only allow players and GMs to play through the events that took place in the comic arc, but also add to the game setting with additional rules or source material relevant to the period or location. So, for instance, Robot characters will be expanded in The Robot Wars whilst in Luna-1 we’ll be providing detailed information on the moon colony and life there.” Nick Robinson, Line Developer for the Worlds of 2000 AD Tabletop Adventure Game said. “The idea is to move chronologically through the classic story arcs in the 2000 AD Progs providing adventures for not only Judges, but for those players who may wish to explore the Dredd Universe from a different perspective – that of a Civilian or even a Perp. Each book will contain a core adventure, mini-adventures based upon the other story arcs at the time, as well as expanded setting and rules information.”
In addition to the support material for the Judge Dredd campaign a series of ‘Campaign Guides’ are planned which will cover other 2000 AD settings.
“There is such a vast wealth of exciting characters and worlds to explore in the 2000 AD stable that it’d be criminal not to explore them. By using the core rules in Judge Dredd & The Worlds of 2000 AD rulebook we can then create a range of Campaign Guides that give you setting information, adventures, new careers, etc, across a host of titles. Worlds of 2000 AD: ABC Warriors, Worlds of 2000 AD: Indigo Prime, Worlds of 2000 AD: Nikolai Dante, Worlds of 2000 AD: Rogue Trooper, with the depth of the 2000 AD catalogue we literally have universes to play with,” Angus Abranson said.
Writing and development is well under way with writer Darren Pearce (Doctor Who; Lone Wolf) working on the core rulebook alongside Russ Morrissey and Nick Robinson, with additional content from Robert Schwalb (Dungeons & Dragons; Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay) whilst Andrew Peregrine (Doctor Who; Firefly; Buffy The Vampire Slayer) is writing The Robot Wars.
There's a lot to like here: starting with the fact that EN Publishing is coming out of the gate with much already written for the game system - even though What's Old Is New is a pretty blah name for a games' engine, you can learn a lot about the mechanics via its own dedicated website.
This means that by the time Judge Dredd And The Worlds Of 2000AD hits games' stores (later this year) you can have a head start on the mechanics if you wish.
The 2000AD RPG website itself also has quite a bit of intel already, especially for a game that's just been unveiled to the public,
This includes some sample characters and a tantalising list of proposed future "worlds" that the game could embrace - from The ABC Warriors to The V.C.s.
Although the game has no connection to the old West End Games' d6 games (such as the original Star Wars RPG, Ghostbusters etc), there appear to be some, at least, superficial similarities
These include two personal bugbears of mine (dice pools and massive stat blocks), but I'm quite certain the setting material should overcome those reservations.
Honestly, with minor reservations over the mechanics, I'm really pumped to see what EN Publishing does with this licence.
Depending on the book costs, and the rapidity of their output, I'd love to think that I would be as "all-in" as possible on this line (budget willing).
Even if I don't get to play the individual settings, I'm hoping the books will still stand as invaluable resources for the different worlds featured in the galaxy's greatest comic!