It’s been over 40 years since the grim and faceless Judge Dredd first appeared in the pages of 2000 AD. To celebrate, Rebellion Developments is teaming with EN Publishing to bring Dredd and other iconic 2000 AD characters into EN’s What’s Old Is New (W.O.I.N) system for tabletop RPG gameplay. Launched on September 25th, the Kickstarter for the game was fully funded in only 9 minutes, and at the time of this writing had already exceeded its initial funding goal by over $100k.
This will not be the Judge’s first foray into the world of tabletop. His first run came out in 1985, published by Games Workshop (no stranger to grimdark satire) with a rules system quite similar to their Warhammer Fantasy RPG. GW supported the RPG through expansions and in their magazine White Dwarf until 1992, and then lost the license until 1995. The Law returned to the dinner table in 2002, when Mongoose Publishing picked up the license and fitted it to Wizards of the Coast’s open source d20 system.
Their run of the property was more successful than its predecessor, and it was joined by other 2000 AD adaptations like Sláine and Strontium Dog. It was also joined by a miniatures game adaptation in Judge Dredd: Gangs of Mega City One. In 2011, Mongoose were acquired Rebellion Developments, who owned the 2000 AD licenses. Mongoose held onto their licenses until 2016, when they lost it in favor of EN Publishing, makers of the W.O.I.N system as well as the company behind the yearly ENnie Awards at GenCon.
The new core rulebook for Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000 AD will be essential to all of EN’s future releases in the system. It starts, however, with 2000 AD’s most iconic hero and in its most iconic locale: Mega City One. Within the new rulebook, players will find rules that allow them to be a judge like Dredd, dispensing justice with their Lawgiver as they race through the grimy streets on the Lawmaster motorcycle (if you can’t handle many, MANY uses of the word “law” then Dredd may not be your cup of tea).
Or perhaps you are a Perp, breaking the Judge’s precious laws and living a life of crime. Maybe you’re in between, a civilian caught in the crossfire just trying to get by as the city explodes around you. All are valid and all are playable in the new game, with each having their own sets of origins and careers (classes) a player can use to customize their character.
The game will run like most other tabletop games, with players forming a team as the GM shapes the story around them. Unlike, say, Pathfinder, only one type of die is needed for gameplay: the humble d6. Rather than juggle a million shapes and sizes of dice, the W.O.I.N system uses dice pools to handle everything in game. It’s a very crunchy system, however, so while its dice choice is simple, its rules are not. The beauty of the system, however, is its flexibility.
While the game assumes you’ll begin with Dredd, a GM can easily use it to bring in other 2000 AD characters like the time traveling bounty hunter Johnny Alpha or the genetic infantryman “Rogue.” Even other settings, like the Celtic fantasy of Sláine or the near-future apocalypse of the ABC Warriors, are not out of the question for ambitious GM’s.
EN has brought in an all-star group of writers and designers to bring the new RPG to life, with EN’s own Russ Morrissey bringing in fantasy author and game designer Darren W. Pearce (Doctor Who RPG, Lone Wolf) and WotC vet Robert J. Schwalb (D&D 5e, A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying) to get Dredd and 2000 AD out of the comics and onto the table.
After the publication of the core rulebook, EN plans on releasing a series of adventure source books that draw on 40 years of Judge Dredd storylines. The first, Robot Wars, will be written by Andrew Peregrine (Doctor Who RPG, Blue Rose). These adventures will not only allow players to participate in, or even change, the story, but also flesh out the world with new rules, such as Robot Wars and robot characters. They also will be releasing campaign guides in the future to help GM’s work in the other worlds of 2000 AD that lie beyond Mega City One.
While the Kickstarter has reached its goal, and all its stretch goals, it will still be up for a few weeks. Backers can get everything from PDF’s to special limited edition hardcovers and GM screens, with access to the core rulebook starting at £15 (about 20 Freedom Dollars). You can find out more info on the Kickstarter, as well as on their website. And stay tuned to the Fandomentals for all the news and previews of Judge Dredd and the Worlds of 2000 AD.