- The first edition was called Traveller:2300. Other than being a science-fiction RPG produced by GDW there was no real connection to Traveller, and when the game was revised in 1988 it was re-branded as 2300 AD.
- The primary game mechanic was a variation of the MegaTraveller task system, using a d10 instead of 2d6 roll. The other game mechanics, such as the combat rules, where unique to this game.
- The game's setting is a direct follow-on from GDW's earlier Twilight:2000 game, set 300 years later. It is not in the same universe as Traveller's Third Imperium setting.
Overview Synopsis: 2300 AD is set at the dawn of the 24th century (between 2298 and 2301 depending on the book or supplement). At the end of the 20th century, a global thermonuclear war took place between the United States, China, the U.S.S.R. and other nuclear powers. (This is the same "Twilight War" that is depicted in the role-playing game Twilight: 2000, also produced by Game Designer's Workshop.) In the intervening three centuries, mankind has rebuilt and returned to space. A practical means of faster-than-light (FTL) travel has been discovered, leading to the exploration and eventual colonization of many star systems. The post-Westphalian nation-state remains dominant, and most space colonies are considered the territories of various nations back on Earth. This fin de siècle society is analogous to the European colonial era of the 18th and 19th century (indeed, this seems to have been a great source of inspiration for some of GDW's other games). The dominant power, both on Earth and in space, is the Third French Empire. France escaped the nuclear war relatively unscathed by abandoning its NATO allies at the start of the war, and thus had a head start in the technology race in the aftermath. Competing powers include Great Britain, Manchuria, Japan, a recently re-united Germany, Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and an alliance of America and Australia, all of which control many extrasolar planets themselves.
Mankind has met with several alien species, all of which are decidedly strange and truly alien, from the genetically-engineered Pentapod to the vicious Kafers (The game writers coined this name based on the German word Käfer for bug, not on the African insult "kaffir" or its Afrikaans equivalent kaffer.) The Kafers are the most humanoid of the alien species; unfortunately their history and biology means that war between the Kafer and mankind is inevitable; in 2301 the Kafer start an invasion of human space that will be costly to both attackers and defenders and serves as one of the major dramatic events of the game line.
Storyline & Setting
Technology: A faster than light device called the Stutterwarp Drive allows mankind to colonize other solar systems. The primary limitation of the Stutterwarp drive is that it can only propel a ship up to a maximum of 7.7 light years before it needs to enter a gravity well and discharge lethal radiation that would otherwise kill the crew. Because ships need to reach a world within this distance, the effect of this limitation is the creation of lanes along which travel and commerce are conducted and along which wars are fought. There are three major lanes through human-colonized space, called Arms, named after the nations which dominate them (thus the French Arm, The American Arm and the Chinese Arm). It is still early in mankind's expansion into space, and exploration has reached little beyond 20-40 light years from Earth.
Overall, the technological level of 2300 AD is not terribly more advanced than the modern day. What is depicted refines or updates currently used technology, with occasional instances of breakthroughs predicted by modern science. The wonder-tech cliches of Space Opera are deliberately absent (with the notable exception of FTL). For example, there is no artificial gravity or FTL radio, and most personal combat is still conducted with guns firing chemically projected slugs even though energy weapons do exist.
Popular Artists & Authors
This game has the following external links available:
- EXTERNAL LINK: Etranger: The Military of 2300AD
- EXTERNAL LINK: QuikLink Interactive's page on the upcoming 2320AD game setting
- EXTERNAL LINK: 2300 AD Collective
Library Data Entries (Public)
Influences: The background history of 2300 AD is a continuation of the nuclear war depicted in the Twilight 2000 role-playing game by the same company. A custom strategy game called "The Great Game" was used by the authors to develop the background history for 2300 AD.
The alien Kafer (bugs) could be seen as loosely modelled after the Bugs of Heinlein's Starship Troopers. The game also includes several types of powered armor combat suits quite similar to those of the Mobile Infantry of the same novel.
Finally, late in the line GDW added a Cyberpunk campaign to the game with the publication of the "Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook" and two adventures for the same, capitalizing on the Cyberpunk fad of the 1990s. References to such works as Neuromancer or Blade Runner inevitablely appear.
Bibliography-Ludography (Published Products)
This edition is best known for the following products:
- 2320AD is a sourcebook for the Traveller D20 rules.
- Mongoose has released their own version of 2300AD. It is based on the Mongoose Traveller core rule book (you actually need a copy to play as the 2300 AD books are just setting information). Currently there are two additional books available for Pre-Order: French Arm Adventures and Tools for Frontier Living.
- Traveller: 2300 boxed set - original basic rules set (1000)
- 2300 AD boxed set - revised basic rules (1000)
- Star Cruiser - tactical space combat boardgame and ship construction (1050)
- Colonial Atlas (1013)
- Aurore Sourcebook (1010)
- Nyotekundu Sourcebook (1012)
- Ships of the French Arm (1011)
- Ground Vehicle Guide (1036)
- Equipment Guide (1037)
- Invasion - Kafer War sourcebook (1034)
- Kafer Sourcebook (1014)
- Earth/Cybertech Sourcebook (1015)
- Kafer Dawn (1032)
- Energy Curve (1031)
- Beanstalk (1030)
- Mission Arcturus (1033)
- Ranger (1038)
- Bayern (1035)
- Deathwatch Program (Cyberpunk subcampaign) (1016)
- Rotten to the Core (Cyberpunk subcampaign) (1017)
- Operation: Overlord (Kafer War adventure, published by 3W Games) (402)
Third Party products
Few third party products were published for the game, but there were some spaceship deck plans.
- U.S.S. Hampton American Warship (Published by Seeker Game Systems) (3002)
Several RPG magazines carried articles for 2300 AD, but GDW's own Challenge magazine stands out for its quality 2300 AD contributions.
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