Connect with us



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

So to bring a close to the saga of my review and ongoing campaign log for Free League Publishing’s Twilight 2000 RPG, we met for our second session in late April.  Here’s what happened since you tuned in the last time.

The continuing story as told by Kyle Van Schoen (Ice)…

It didn’t take long to wear out our welcome, and it seems the villagers got tired of feeding our asses.  So they put us to work to earn our keep.  Doc (Trish) went to help the local medic.  Wheelz (Nadya) managed to get Maestro (Roger) to stay and watch our stuff while she worked on the car like she’d promised.  Brick (Jack), Scope (Aleksy), and I were dragged off by Copper D to some nowhere on the outskirts of town to help clear land to farm.  There, we found a family in wait and, after much gesturing, we began hauling rocks and rubble out of the way.

It didn’t take too long before I noticed that Brick and I had an audience; the farmer’s daughter, a sheepish young woman, was watching us intently.  Brick either didn’t notice or didn’t care, too intent on what he was smoking and muttering something about this not being his job.  So I did what anyone in my position would do, I gave her a nod and a wink and picked up a second rock, ‘cause you just gotta make it look effortless despite doing twice the work and then you can reel ‘em in.  Before too long I had her undivided attention, until I walked into the disapproving gaze of her father, who shouted something at me and Brick in Polish and gesticulated something about just doing the job.  He sent the womenfolk away, and so there was no more need to get flashy anyway.  It evened out as Brick picked up the pace, and we worked through the rest of the day uneventfully.

Farmer's Daughter as drawn by Jennifer Weigel, flavor text for the setting to start session 2 of our Twilight 2000 RPG campaign
Farmer’s Daughter as drawn by Jennifer Weigel

When we got back, we learned that the car Wheelz was working on was worse for wear than we thought and she had to raid the other spare part we’d salvaged to get it going.  Oh well, at least we still got the still out of the deal.  After dinner, town leader Hirek strongly suggested we get on our way.  Maestro was eager to reconnect with US troops before we got too isolated so we decided to hit the road then and there and take advantage of the cover of night.  We’d learned something about a bunch of religious fanatics called the Shepherd’s Flock and didn’t want to stick around another week until Easter to see what that was about.  Best not to let moss grow under our feet anyway…

I was sleeping in the truck when Wheelz and Maestro took us off road, so I had no idea where we were when we set up camp.   Something about a roadblock.  No bother, I have no idea where we are anyway – just that it’s sure as Hell not L.A.  I was keeping watch while Scope set up camp and Wheelz and Doc slept.  Brick was drumming up some shit for the still when he cried wolf, but apparently he just wanted someone to sing his praises after he cut its heart out because by the time we took note it was stone cold dead.  Whatever.  Brick dragged its carcass back to camp and unceremoniously dropped it at our feet for breakfast, like we were supposed to get our bitch asses in the kitchen and cook him up his grub.  Scope complied and set to skinning, butchering and cooking the mongrel after he finished setting up camp.

Wolf as drawn by Jennifer Weigel, a 2nd session camping mishap in Twilight 2000 RPG
Wolf, drawn by Jennifer Weigel

We were just laying low for a bit when later on in the day, Maestro hailed a small hunting party – perhaps he wanted to talk trash about the Ruskies or something and I guess they seemed harmless enough.  No one had anything to barter, but they stayed to cook some meat over our fire and gossip-gab for a bit so it wasn’t all bad.  No sign of our troops, and the sheeple-cultists are apparently all over.   Time to pack up camp and go.  We drove through the rest of Palm Sunday uneventfully, but the tide turned as we dawned on Monday morning.

Maestro was driving so Wheelz could sleep, and barely along the road, the truck sputtered and gasped one last heaving cough before it passed out in the path.  Scope spotted some Ruskie off atop a hill and we poured out of the truck at the ready right before the first blast hit.  It was like a star fell from the sky and landed right beside us.  I know it was a howitzer blast, but still – it was far bigger than any scrap Moondog and us had ever gotten into back home.  So here I was, skirting death and taking cover in the trees as we scattered.  Maestro and Scope headed out of sight towards the far side of the blast radius after Scope took a pot shot at the dude he’d first seen on the far hill.  Brick joined me diving behind a big rock.  Wheelz refused to leave the truck despite the continuous blasting while Doc erupted out of there as if she were on fire and took off for the nearest trees.

Truck Hit as drawn by Jennifer Weigel, from our first encounter with a Soviet patrol in Twilight 2000 RPG
Truck Hit, drawn by Jennifer Weigel

It was pandelerium…  We could’ve been killed or even worse.  The trees erupted in gunfire at anyone caught with their pants at their ankles out in the open and the howitzer kept blasting away at the truck from God only knows where.  The trees murmured in Russian, I caught something about radioing in directions amidst swearing that would have made my grandmother pale.  In the midst of the fray, I pushed my SAW too far to try to shoot at some movement in the trees when it seized up.  Brick was shot and was down and out.  I don’t remember much after that except someone nearly shot my fool head off and I was taken back to California, but not in a good way, more of a West Side Story vibe.  Yeah I switched to the carbine and got a few shots off, but nothing really solid.

Wheelz was obviously pissed about the truck and was taking on the world redneck style, crouched behind a rock with a shotgun.  She just needed a good jug of moonshine and she’d have been set.  She did manage to take out someone in the trees though, and ran off to follow up on the guys who’d been shooting at Brick and me.  I have no idea what Doc, Scope and Maestro were up to – they were off in another part of Hell from all that I could tell.  Hopefully things were going better over there but I doubt it.  When the sky opened up and the last howitzer-flung star finally took out the truck, I thought Wheelz was going to come unhinged.  Things grew quiet and we emerged from the wreckage to assess the damage.

Truck No More as drawn by Jennifer Weigel, aftermath of our first encounter with a Soviet patrol in Twilight 2000 RPG
Truck No More, drawn by Jennifer Weigel

The truck was no more.  The stuff we’d stashed in the truck was no more.  Everyone was pissy.  Wheelz stole off to get some sleep.  Brick was spread flat on his back unable to move.  He seemed better with Doc’s expert assistance once she regained her composure from seeing him downed.  She flat out refused to leave him for all that he probably would have wanted it that way or done the same for any of us.  I took off to see what the Ruskies had on them since no one else seemed to want to get on it.  They’re cold dead, or most of them anyway, like seriously it’s time to take their stuff.  #thuglifeforever…  Anyway, there wasn’t much worth taking except some food and water, though I did take Wheelz a clean-ish blanket.

After all that, Scope worked on getting a stretcher together to haul Brick’s ass outta there while Doc slept.  Maestro kept watch for all that he seemed to be dozing on and off.  Wheelz mourned the death of her truck, digging around its burnt metal carcass to haul out a couple of souvenirs.  I got my SAW unjammed and tied up the last of the Ruskies, an efreitor or some kind of corporal, with a torn-up fallen comrade’s blood-soaked blanket. I asked him a bit about their group and the howitzer.  He was more or less cooperative and said that he and his comrades were everywhere and the howitzer was in the far woods north of where we had passed through.  I took most of his stuff but tossed him his blanket and 1 days’ food and water, and told him to get outta my sight, cause it’s not worth having some fool’s revenge wrath on your head later and he was just doing his job like the rest of us.  He thanked me and obliged.

Nadya Mad as drawn by Jennifer Weigel, in our Twilight 2000 RPG campaign
Nadya Mad, drawn by Jennifer Weigel

Wheelz packed up a bunch of stuff, I’m not really sure what all, shouted a string of what could only be profanities in Polish at Maestro pointing to where the truck had been, and stormed off alone.  We watched her go in silence before we began rummaging through all the crap I’d looted to pick out a couple of things and hit the road ourselves.  It was a quiet trek to the west for the rest of the afternoon with Scope and I hauling Brick’s ass on the stretcher and Maestro limping along with Doc.  The evening greeted us with a scream in the near distance and smoke rising through a gap in the trees.  Must be Americans; no one else around these parts typically screams in English, and Doc and Maestro were biting at the bit to check it out.

Turns out a pretty solid group of US soldiers had been ambushed by bandits and had fallen to some sort of roadside bomb.  Most of them were dead already but three were still moving, and Doc grabbed Scope and rushed in to assist.  Doc insisted on staying so I nabbed the blanket and snuck off to catch some shuteye after the long day.  I wasn’t in the mood to help a bunch of nobodys; I was cold and tired and it was late.  Maestro muttered something about it was gonna be alright, he was getting the fire going, but I was done and just clutched the blanket closer and shut out what remained of the Hellscape we were thrust into.

Kyle & Blanket as drawn by Jennifer Weigel, in our Twilight 2000 RPG campaign
Kyle & Blanket, drawn by Jennifer Weigel

I woke to more gunfire.  Seems another Russian patrol had caught us with our pants down at our ankles.  Again.  Scope had been off in La La Land looking for his gun instead of keeping watch and they’d closed in on him.  The leader sent up a flare; it was only a matter of time until more Hell rained down on us in some form or another and we couldn’t afford to stick around to find out what.

But we couldn’t get away fast enough.  I tried to SAW a couple of guys in the woods at the back and pushed it too far, my gun locked up with a resounding thud as if something had snapped inside of it.  Scope took out a couple of dudes with some amazing slick shots to the arms but the rest of them were on us like shit on a shingle before we knew it.  Bayonet kept knocking me down and trying to stab me after he’d downed Doc. And the others chased down Scope and Maestro like the dogs we all were.  We were captured and hauled off to some God-forsaken corner of The Universe, wherever-the-Hell we are now.


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:


Slay the Spire Downfall Review: A Masterclass in Fan Content



Slay the Spire Downfall, also known as Downfall, is a fan-made mod to Slay the Spire by Table 9 Studio. Table 9 is a small game studio that has primarily specialized in small projects but is soon to release its own original game, Tales & Tactics. Downfall is one of its first projects, and has been met with heavy support from the Slay the Spire development team and community. It has been so successful, it even has its own Steam page

If you aren’t familiar with Slay the Spire, check out my review! Now that you’ve familiarized yourself with the base game, let’s get into the expansion!

A screenshot of me playing Downfall with The Slime Boss as my character fighting The Hermit Boss.


Downfall adds considerable content and new playing options to Slay the Spire. Generally, there are plenty of new cards, events, and relics. Additionally, there is a new hero, The Hermit, an undead gunslinger. Cards in their deck have increased abilities when played from the middle of  a hand, creating better outcomes the more deliberate you play.

In addition to traditional Standard mode, the game’s meat and potatoes is Downfall mode. In Downfall mode, you can play as one of seven bosses from Slay the Spire. Instead of climbing up the tower, you work your way down defending it from the same heroes you’d play as in the base game. Each boss has its own unique playstyle and deck, resulting in even more varied play experiences.

The seven playable bosses are The Slime Boss, The Guardian, The Hexaghost, The Champ, The Automaton, The Gremlins, and The Snecko. All can be encountered as enemies during a Standard run. Their playstyles are as follows:

The Slime Boss


The Slime Boss’s special mechanic includes slime minions that can split from the Boss and have a variety of effects. Additionally, the Boss has cards that add Goop, increasing the damage of the next attack and causing additional effects when consumed.

The Guardian

The Guardian’s special mechanic is that they are able to phase between modes after taking a certain amount of damage. The cards also have gem slots, which allows gem cards to be combined with other cards to make them more powerful. 

The Hexaghost

The Hexaghost’s special mechanic is that it has six Ghostflames that can be ignited by playing certain card type combinations. When ignited, a special effect occurs. A large portion of the cards in this deck are centered around end-of-combat buffs and cards that disappear if not played immediately.

The Champ

The Champ’s special mechanic is that they change between Defensive or Berserker stance, giving them bonuses depending on which stance they are in. Their cards interact heavily with their stances.

The Automaton

The Automaton’s special ability is that they create functions, cards which are the stored combination of three already played cards. Their cards can cause compile errors when certain cards are used together, and the deck is focused on function synergy.

The Gremlins


The Gremlins’ special ability is that you play as all five gremlins, each with their own health bar and buff effects. Cards have extra abilities depending on which gremlin is the main gremlin at the time.

The Snecko

The Snecko’s special ability is that they play cards of any class. This means they have access to hero and boss cards of all types throughout the run. 


The new playable characters are a hit. They are so much fun to play and add an intriguing new dimension to the game. My favorite new characters are The Automaton and The Slime Boss, though every time I play any character a few times, I find a new favorite! Each character is refreshing and interesting in its own way. 

Generally, the gameplay takes an already great game and gives it even more replayability. My biggest critique is that Downfall currently doesn’t work on the Steam Deck, unlike Slay the Spire. However, it’s an absolute blast to play either way. Because this is a fan expansion, it is free to download! But you do still need Slay the Spire in order to play.

I can’t recommend this game enough. It is enjoyable, has a high level of replayability, and a greatly executed concept. I only wish I could play it everywhere! 5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Continue Reading


Slay the Spire Review: Deckbuilding & Monsters



Slay the Spire is a roguelike, deckbuilding video game created by small indie studio Mega Crit Games. Released in 2017, Slay the Spire is the first and only game created by Mega Crit. However, the game has continued to see updates from the development team and fans alike since its release. In fact, a Slay the Spire Board Game just launched in November 2022 on Kickstarter to great success.

In Slay the Spire, you play as one of four characters as they battle their way through a magical tower filled with monsters, loot, and curses. The further up the spire you go, the harder and more lucrative your journey becomes. Will you defeat three of the many bosses awaiting you and receive your glory?


Within Slay the Spire, there are four characters (The Ironclad, Silent, Defect, and Watcher) each with their own deck and playstyle. You begin by choosing which one you will play as for the journey ahead. The Ironclad has a focus on healing and strong attacks, and is the simplest adventurer to play as. This makes sense, as they are the first character you have unlocked and introduces you to the mechanics of the game. Meanwhile, The Silent has a focus on many small attacks and poison. The Silent is very accessible in its mechanics just like The Ironclad, however is less forgiving to strategic mistakes. The Defect is more complicated and has a focus in channeling different elements to produce varied effects on the battlefield. Lastly, there is The Watcher, the complicated character, who has a focus on utilizing different combat forms to gain advantages. In addition to different playstyles through their unique decks, each adventurer also begins with a special ability and starting health.

After selecting your character, you journey deep into The Spire, choosing pathways filled with monsters, merchants, more relics, rest sites, and mystery events. Killing enemies provides rewards through gold, cards, single-use potions, and occasionally powerful relics which stay with you the whole run. Elite enemies provide better rewards, however, healing opportunities are usually few and far between. Fighting too many elite enemies may prove more dangerous than lucrative. At merchants cards, potions, relics, and the removal of a card from your deck can be purchased in order to improve your strength. Rest sites provide either healing or card upgrades, forcing you to choose between your precious health and the improvement of your build. There are three acts in a full run, with a boss at the end of each act. As the acts progress, the bosses become harder, testing the mettle of your improvements throughout the game.

A screenshot of the map in one of my runs in Slay the Spire.


I have absolutely adored my time playing Slay the Spire. The progression within a run is difficult but rewarding. There have been times when poor luck ended my run, however I still always had fun anyway. The diversity of characters and the resulting playstyles is great, even if I have found myself going back to The Ironclad time and time again. Additionally the game gives the player a significant amount of agency in the decisions on how to improve your deck and character. This creates replayability and a sense of ownership over a given run. The game also rewards and encourages taking chances, making it a blast to push your luck. 

A screenshot of one of my runs as The Ironclad in Slay the Spire.

While I’ve had a great deal of fun, there are some areas for improvement. My biggest gripe is that there aren’t more unique characters, monsters, events, and bosses. I’d love to see more playstyles as well as see less repeats of bosses, monsters, and events. The system and gameplay is so robust, it just needs some more content to be a top tier game. That being said, there have been periodic content updates (including the addition of The Watcher in 2020) and the community has created an extensive content mod that even has its own Steam page. Also, despite my issue with the amount of content, I definitely will be putting at least 30 more hours into this game. 

Overall, I love this game and highly recommend it, so much so, I cannot wait for more content. For $25 on Steam, this game is a must play if you enjoy rogue-likes and deck building games!

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

Continue Reading


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)

Continue Reading