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Free League Publishing's Twilight 2000 RPG banner art by Niklas Brandt
Free League Publishing’s Twilight 2000 RPG banner art by Niklas Brandt

Welcome to When You’re Going Through Hell, our Twilight 2000 RPG campaign log.  Last time on War Is Hell, I started a review of Free League Publishing’s Twilight 2000 RPG; this series will expand upon that.  Here is a chance to meet the motley crew that we rolled up using the Life Paths character generation system which I really liked.  I’m not going to detail all of their stats but you get the idea from the backstories.  So, without further ado…

Meet Our Crew

Twilight 2000 RPG characters Kyle, Nadya and Roger as drawn at ease by Jennifer Weigel
Kyle, Nadya and Roger, drawn at ease by Jennifer Weigel

Kyle Van Schoen (Ice) as written and played by myself

Kyle Van Schoen is an American machine gunner.  Kyle grew up in a wealthy family in the suburbs of Los Angeles, CA, USA.  He learned Russian as a child to engage with his matriarchal grandmother who ruled the roost.  And he went to college as expected.  But he really wanted to do something more physical developing his strength.  In college studying science, Kyle took up wrestling which became his passion.  He developed a name for himself in the wrestling circuit while specializing in chemistry, and this attracted the attention of an influential gang expanding their meth market.  The gang welcomed him as family and rewarded his physical prowess in ways his family never acknowledged. When close friend and gang leader Moondog, the brainiac of the operation so to speak, was shot by a rival gang in a bloody spectacle, the police became involved and quickly swept up the remaining gang members.  Through his grandmother’s clout, Kyle was offered opportunity to join the Army to fight in the war in Europe rather than being hauled off to jail, court and prison, which would have smeared his birth family’s reputation.  His incredible strength quickly cast him as a machine gunner.  He nicknames his comrades under the premise that you should never reveal your true self because you don’t know who is listening.

Moral Code (quoted from Mal in Firefly, Serenity): I look out for me and mine.

Big Dream: He secretly wants to be reunited with his gang family and return to the streets of LA.

Nadya Wojcik (Nadi, nicknamed Wheelz by Kyle) as written and played by myself

Nadya Wojcik was born in Milicz to a Polish father and French mother and is much more at home under the hood of a car than engaging socially. Nadya was an only child, raised by her father after her mother died when she was only 3 years old.  She took on her father’s affinity for cars and helped him out in the garage from an early age.  As she gained skills as a mechanic, she became fascinated with how things worked and dabbled in gunsmithing, locksmithing, blacksmithing and finally improvised munitions as the world began to fall into upheaval.  Her father was killed and their garage was destroyed when the Russians took over Milicz, and Nadya fled the city in her pickup truck.  She began to learn some quartermaster skills, developing her ability to set up camp wherever she went looking for work, until she was recruited by the US Army to help with vehicle repairs after losing most of its internal logistical support.

Moral code: Fix it right the first time dammit!


Big Dream: To someday set up an auto body shop in her father’s memory.

Roger Smith (nicknamed Maestro by Kyle) as written and played by myself

Roger Smith is an African-American 1st lieutenant who comes across as a very courteous and polished man of impeccable moral character.  Roger grew up in small town Alabama in the US and enjoyed deer hunting every season with his cousins, learning to handle a rifle on their isolated property away from judgmental eyes.  He had wanted to make a name for himself in rock-n-roll but, in college, he soon realized that his dream of becoming a big name musician was out of reach – he was just too clean-cut for the popular scene at the time.  So he went into the military to find another way to get out of the small town.  His musical background and liberal arts education led him to want to inspire others and he quickly wound up on the officers’ track.  Although he had only spent two terms in the military before the war broke out, he excelled at tactical training and was named a 1st lieutenant before being sent to Europe.

Moral Code: We’re all in this together.

Big Dream: To fulfill his duty to his country and then return home to his family having seen what is left of this decaying world.

Twilight 2000 RPG characters Alek, Trisha and Jack as drawn at ease by Jennifer Weigel
V’s characters, Alek, Trisha and Jack, drawn at ease by Jennifer Weigel

Aleksy Sowka (Alek, nicknamed Scope by Kyle) as written & played by V

Aleksy (means defender of man) Sowka (means owl), Alek’s grandfather grew up in Poland.  He liked to go hunting with his father.  When he turned 12, his father told him he was to hunt on his own, as a rite of passage.  When he was on his way home, with 3 small rabbits, he saw militants in his village.  They were burning houses, killing adults and rounding up children to be sold as sex slaves.  He saw his sister being raped by militants.  Knowing he couldn’t change the situation, he used his rifle to shoot her in the head so she would be spared the horrors to come.  Afterwards, he scavenged the village for money and supplies and made his way to the United States.

Alek grew up in a military family.  His father was a Non-Com officer and ruled with an iron – but not abusive – hand.  His father taught him to hunt and told him the story about his grandfather many times.  Alek enjoyed using a rifle and became adept at hunting. He also learned the art of stealth, and was all that more successful because of it.  He day-dreamed about saving innocent people from oppression and being the hero in a movie.  As soon as he could, he enlisted in the military and thrived under the structure and discipline which accompanied military life.  He eagerly learned as much as he could about ranged combat, scoped weapons, stealth, recon and combat awareness.  He went into special ops as soon as he qualified.  Now, as 1st Sergeant at the age of 33, he learned medical aid and command training.  He was even second in command in the aftermath of a nuclear strike so has a working knowledge of radiation sickness. 


Moral Code (a quote from Mahatma Gandhi):  “Though violence is not lawful, when it is offered in self-defense or for defense of the defenseless, it is an act of bravery far better than cowardly submission.”

Big Dream:  An idealist, he wishes to live in a community without oppression.

Patricia Smith (Trisha, nicknamed Doc by Kyle) as written & played by V

“Trisha” grew up in rural Kentucky.  Her father was a farrier – a trained specialist who cares for horse’s feet.  It combines the skills of blacksmith and veterinarian to trim and balance horses’ hooves, craft & maintain horseshoes and apply them to horses’ feet.  Her mother was a home health aide.  As a child, she loved to go with her father around the countryside. Initially, she wanted to be a veterinarian for horses.  But then her father developed the tremors and shuffling gait of Parkinson’s disease. The area was so rural that there wasn’t a doctor for 200 miles.  So she watched her father deteriorate.  He died when she was 17.  When she graduated from high school, she made a promise to herself that she would become a rural doctor.  In college, she developed a fascination for and proficiency with chemicals… and discovered she threw up when she saw blood.  Realizing this would make being a general practitioner difficult, she revised her goal.  She decided to go into research.  No blood there!  But getting there would be a challenge.  First, she had to earn her way up the ladder of skills – field surgeon, treating diseases, chemical poisons and antidotes, radiation sickness, etc.  To her dismay, just as she was applying for that research position at John’s Hopkins University, she was drafted.

Moral Code:  1st – Don’t throw up.  2nd – Do no harm.

Big Dream:  To find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease and be lead researcher at John’s Hopkins University.


Jack Max (nicknamed Brick by Kyle) as written & played by V

Jack grew up in a small house in urban Detroit.  Both of his parents worked in the automobile factory and made a decent living.  Jack had a little sister, 2 years younger than he.  His father frequently became drunk.  And when that happened, he was abusive to Jack, his sister and his mother.  Jack became fiercely protective of his mother and sister, and would antagonize his father to distract him from hurting them.  Unknown to him, Jack’s sister started using drugs.  When she was 16, she died from an overdose of heroin.  Not able to deal with the trauma of her daughter’s death, Jack’s mother hanged herself.  When he graduated from high school, he was hired by a construction company and learned many useful skills.  He had a good work ethic and developed an aversion to alcohol and drugs.  He also became adept at scrounging for parts to fix things around his house.  His short stature, however, resulted in him being bullied and picked-on by the older workers.  He had to quickly learn to defend himself and gain the upper hand in order to avoid injury, or worse.  Out of necessity, he developed skills in all methods of combat.  Soon, his first reaction was to fight.  He definitely was not a team player.  With the money he earned and the skills he learned, he developed a side job fixing houses for others in the neighborhood.

When he was 25, he heard about the military’s need for recruits due to the increasingly precarious situation in Eastern Europe.  Rather than getting drafted, Jack enlisted.  He liked the idea of getting to fight and not get into trouble for it!

Moral Code:  Every man for himself.

Big Dream:  Not to have to rely on ANYBODY.


Jennifer Weigel is a multi-disciplinary mixed media conceptual artist residing in Kansas USA. Weigel utilizes a wide range of media to convey her ideas, including assemblage, drawing, fibers, installation, jewelry, painting, performance, photography, sculpture, video and writing. You can find more of her work at:


The Last of Us: Episodes 8 and 9: The End



Sometimes life gets in the way. Maybe you watched the episodes the nights they came out, but then you got your stomach tattooed so you didn’t have the energy to type on your computer, and then you had to work nonstop for six days straight and housesit 20 miles out of town, and then you got into a hit-and-run car accident with your boyfriend (luckily you’re both okay but really very angry at the asshole that just drove away), etc. etc.. March has been a lot, but I finally rolled up my sleeves, made time for my computer and stopped procrastinating the job of writing my final review on HBO’s The Last of Us.

Here we will cover the final events of Joel and Ellie’s saga. Both episodes were directed by Ali Abassi and written by Craig Mazin and, in episode 9, Neil Druckmann. The adaptation continued to cover the story elements of the game, leaving out and/or changing most of the fighting and action scenes. This change is especially noticeable in episode 9, “Look for the Light,” but we’ll get to that in a minute. Let’s first do a recap of episode 8, “When We Are in Need.”

“When We Are in Need”

Ellie is on the hunt for food and comes across a deer, which she shoots down almost effortlessly. It is in this moment that she meets a preacher named David (Scott Shepherd) and his partner, James (Troy Baker, (Joel’s voice actor in the video games)). After a moment of hostility towards the stranger, Ellie agrees to give the deer to David in exchange for penicillin. Shortly after giving Joel the medication, Ellie has to leave again to deter David’s religious crew from hunting her and Joel. It turns out Joel killed a few of David’s men, and the preacher is out for revenge.

The religious group captures Ellie and puts her in a cell, where she discovers David has been feed them human remains. Meanwhile, Joel finally awakes and is stable enough to escape the house and search for Ellie. He tortures two men into disclosing her location, but he is almost too late. David places Ellie on a butcher block and is just about to chop her up when she narrowly escapes. The two fight until she finally has the advantage and takes him down, bludgeoning him to death with an insurmountable fury of vengeance.

“Look for the Light”

Episode 9 begins with a flashback of Ellie’s pregnant mother, Anna (Ashley Johnson, (Ellie’s voice actor in the video games). An infected bit Anna just moments before she gave birth to Ellie. Moments pass, and Marlene finds the two in a pool of blood. She is forced to take the baby and kill her friend. Fast forward 14 years, and Joel and Ellie are almost done with their journey. They finally made it to Utah. Ellie, still processing everything that happened with David, is sad and somber. Joel tries his best to cheer her up, but nothing seems to work.


Suddenly, the youth sees something and runs off to get a better look. Joel chases her until he stops and stares in awe. The camera pans from him to Ellie inches away from a giraffe. She is her old self again, cracking jokes and asking a myriad of questions. Later on, when Joel reveals that he tried to kill himself after Sarah’s death, Ellie provides him as much comfort as she can. But the fact that Joel can trust her enough to reveal such a secret means is a comfort on its own. He asks Ellie to read some puns to lighten the mood, but his moment is interrupted when a group of Fireflies knock them out.

Joel wakes up in a hospital to see Marleen, who informs him that the doctors are preparing Ellie for surgery to remove the part of her brain that makes her immune. This procedure, however, will result in Ellie’s death. No matter how hard Joel fights, Marlene won’t budge. She instead has two Firefly soldiers escort Joel out of the hospital, but he kills them and everyone else until he finds the surgery room, where he murders the doctor in cold blood. He escapes with an unconscious Ellie and makes it as far as the parking garage until Marlene stops them. The camera cuts to Joel driving a car with Ellie in the backseat.

The End

Ellie wakes up and asks Joel what happens. While he lies to her that there is no cure, the camera flickers back to the parking garage scene with Marlene. He shoots her once. After listening to her begs and pleas, he kills her with a final shot.

The duo have to walk the last few miles to Tommy’s town. At the top of a waterfall, they get a spectacular view of their new home, their new futures. Before making the final trek, Ellie tells Joel about her past and how she saw her best friend die. This lead to watching Tess, Sam and Henry die because of the disease. The fact that they all had to go through such gruesome deaths, only for there not to be a cure, is too much for Ellie to handle. She makes Joel swear that he is telling the truth, and in a beat, he does.

Series Verdict

HBO’s The Last of Us is a remarkable video game adaptation that deserves all the high praise it has received the past few months. From the set design and effects to the filming, screenwriting and acting, the show is a peak example of how to do an adaptation well. It is heart-throbbing and terrifying.

A few issues with HBO’s adaptation is how much they excluded the game play scenes. Despite the world being filled with infected, they were rarely on screen. This is disappointing, especially because it increases the stakes and so much of Joel and Ellie’s relationship builds in these fight scenes. The biggest disappointment was in episode 9, in which the show completely cut out the game’s highway scene. Furthermore, there are numerous creative weapons the show could have included to illustrate Joel and Ellie’s means of survival, from molotov cocktails and nail bombs to the beloved shotgun and its shorty companion.

Despite these small quibbles, the show is arguably one of the best American video game adaptations out there. Pedro Pascal and Bella Ramsey were the perfect casting choices for Joel and Ellie, as was the casting for all the other characters.


It will be exciting to see where Neil Druckmann and Craig Mazin take The Last of Us 2. I hope they will include more gameplay (aka a little more violence), more screen time for infected, and some creative liberties with the original story while also sticking to the heart of it. We will just have to wait and see what they come up with. Until we meet again, don’t forgot to read about the other shows and games we’re loving here at HauntedMTL.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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Review: A Plague Tale series



Asobo Studios A Plague Tale series consisting of Innocence (2019) and Requiem (2022) has been out for a while. Weirdly enough, I struggled to put my thoughts into words about these games until now. The way I see it, it’s impossible to talk about one without the other, so let’s dive in, shall we?

Plot and characters


The story of A Plague Tale games takes loose inspiration from the Black Plague times with a touch of the Hundred Years’ War. Amicia and Hugo are siblings on the run from soldiers while also fighting off infected rats, meeting allies along the way. A huge theme of Innocence is Amicia finding a solution for Hugo’s long-term sickness. As one would suspect, it turns out to be connected to the plague itself. Amicia also goes from being a disconnected older sister to his biggest protector throughout the game. 

Promotional poster, Amicia is facing away from the camera looking at a scenery of the river.
Source: Focus Entertainment

Hugo himself is more or less an annoying kid who wants his mother. This is frankly a realistic characterization as he actually speaks and acts as a child would act. Granted, him essentially walking into the Pope’s trap is frustrating but the climax needed to be set up somehow. I also enjoyed Lucas’s character as an alchemist apprentice as he proved to be one of the more consistent helpers to the duo. 


While Innocence ends on a hopeful note, with the characters on the verge of starting over somewhere new and the plague contained, Requiem shows this was a fake out. The sequel really puts Amicia through her paces. Her character is broken both physically and mentally to the point where she is barely recognizable. Hugo is more mature, although his insistence on this magical island that will fix the Macula issue is an immediate red flag. It’s not surprising the supposed safe haven turns into hell quite quickly. 

The generational curse where the protector and carrier story repeats itself means a tragic ending for our protagonists. This means it can feel fruitless to play the two installments as the whole point of Amecia’s journey is to protect Hugo at all costs, which proves to be impossible. Was it because of certain choices they made or just extremely unfortunate circumstances? Either way, I felt horrible for them both while playing Requiem, so at least it invoked a strong emotion in me. 



The series is a third-person stealth adventure with survival horror elements. Innocence has a clear-cut mechanic that relies on Amicia sneaking past or distracting threats with a certain number of puzzles to get past the rats. She is also extremely vulnerable, dying from one enemy hit, forcing the player to start all over. This is something Requiem updates, adding the opportunity for you to recover by running away from the enemy. 

It can be frustrating to have to restart a whole section because of one mistake. However, it does make the player think methodically about what the best approach is. I found the challenges a tad repetitive which stopped me from binge-playing the game, but that’s just my opinion. 

Overall thoughts


After taking this time to digest my feelings towards A Plague Tale games, I can still vouch for the amazing experience. The historical aspects are endearing, and the graphics are beautiful, as is the score. The scriptwriters knew what kind of emotional punches would hit the players just right and the voice actors really gave it all. It’s obvious a lot of love went into this project and I am grateful to have played it. 

Amicia is holding Hugo's hand and they are walking towards a foggy village.
Source: Steam

Regardless, there were certain aspects of the story that for me personally, did not sit right. I am not a massive fan of a tragedy that ends, well, in tragedy, especially with hints history will repeat itself again. The entire concept of the ‘greater good’ and the main characters sacrificing their happiness has been done before and while I can understand why they went that way, it also left me feeling a bit empty. 


4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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The Last of Us: Episode 7: Left Behind



The Last of Us series is winding down with only three episodes left. Directed by Liza Johnson and written by Neil Druckmann, “Left Behind” adapts the video game’s DLC story of the same name. Ellie and Joel are hiding out in a basement, and Joel is suffering greatly from his stabbing. He orders Ellie to go back to Tommy and leave him behind, but she’s reluctant. The episode cuts to a flashback of the events that happened before Ellie and Joel met, thus beginning the sweet, tragic backstory of our young protagonist.

First Love

Ellie is stuck in a FEDRA boarding school in Boston. Her best friend and roommate, Riley, ran away a few weeks back and Ellie has been grieving the loss. She gets into fights with classmates and even sends one girl to the infirmary to get 15 stitches. Everything changes when Riley suddenly returns and reveals she joined the Fireflies, the organization FEDRA is training students to fight and kill.


Ellie disapproves of her friend’s choices, but there isn’t anything she can say that will change Riley’s mind. However, as a sort of apology for leaving without saying goodbye, Riley asks Ellie to sneak out for a few hours and join her on a little adventure. Ellie reluctantly agrees.

The two sneak into an abandoned mall that was once used to hoard infected. Now it is filled with wonders and surprises beyond the youths’ wildest dreams. The girls connect like they haven’t been separated for weeks, and their chemistry is sweet and wholesome. Riley gives Ellie an array of gifts, from a photo booth and carousel ride to an arcade with Mortal Kombat and a brand new pun book.

All Good Things End

The evening comes to a halt when Riley reveals the Fireflies are sending her to the Atlanta base and this is her last night in Boston. Ellie is furious and runs away, fully intended on returning back to her dorm room. But she only gets so far before caving into her feelings and running back to Riley. They reunite in a Halloween store, where they wear goofy wolf and clown masks (replicas of the game’s masks) and dance to Etta James’ “I Got You Babe.” They share a kiss and the moment is so delicate.

The abandoned mall

Everything is perfect until it’s not.

An infected emerges into the store and attacks the girls. Riley shoots it and Ellie stabs it to death, but neither are unscathed. The clicker bit both of them. At the moment, any and all hope has been destroyed.

The Verdict

HBO’s “Left Behind” is the show’s truest adaptation of the video game thus far. The show cuts out the parts of the video game where Ellie roams through a mall and evades hunters as she searches for a first aid kit for Joel. Instead, The Last of Us focuses on Ellie’s history with her best friend and first love, Riley.

Just as Bella Ramsey is the perfect casting for Ellie, Storm Reid is perfect as Riley. The actors’ chemistry maintains the game’s charm; their portrayal of teenagers after an apocalyptic pandemic is pure and authentic. For the first time, Ellie and Riley can act like the kids they are, not the soldiers every adult is training them to be. It is endearing to see their relationship come to life.

Ellie’s backstory mirrors Joel’s in that it emphasizes their experiences of loss and grief. The pair have formed a connection they cannot lose. It is because of this that, at the end of “Left Behind,” Ellie goes against Joel’s wishes and stays with him to help him heal. She had to leave one friend behind before and she refuses to do it again.

“Left Behind” deserves five out of five Cthulhu. 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)


There are only just a few episodes left in The Last of Us. Episode 8 releases Sunday, March 5, where we should expect to meet the notorious cult leader, Dave. Until then, check out the other shows and games we’re loving here at HauntedMTL.

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