Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pocast Madness

Lots of podcast stuff for Modern20 fans this week.

First, the Accidental Survivors and me did a pocast totally focused on the game that went into some depth on the core rules.

Second, Chris and I held an advanced talk in which we broke down the early draft of my upcoming, full length Modern20 adventure, Modern Mayhem (working title). Hear me and Chris go over an early draft of our next product!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What Chuck does in his spare time part 2

This is actually a continuation of a post I made at my blog on the RPGObjects site. Since my wonderful blogging appears to have temporarily broken the site, we're back here kicking it old school for a bit.

So, what DOES Chuck do in his spare time you ask?

He writes the entire Diablo article for Giant Bomb, a wikipedia/video game review site.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

First blog post at RPGObjects

So in a way this is sad but the only constant is change as they say.

For the time being, I'll put little posts like this one here to let folks know about the new blog, which will be one of many content offerings at the new RPGO website.

Eventually, some "classic" posts from here will be migrated over there, especially ones like the Modern20 and Supers20 previews that are product-y.

Check it out!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Modern20 Influences: Television

What TV Shows translate into great modern20 games? This list is by no means exhaustive, but it's some of the things I watch not only for adventure ideas, but just for inspiration when writing the game.

Also, the shows on this list are in no particular order. I think they're all great.

1. The Shield: simply put, the best cop show of all time, transcending even my beloved Homicide in Seasons 4 and 5, with guest stars Glenn Close and Forest Whittaker.

Also, unlike Homicide, which is a true procedural, something that doesn't make a good d20 game in my experience, the Shield is active. These cops aren't solving crimes during CSI montages in the evidence room.

They solve them by kicking down doors, running through walls (you heard me), punching dudes in the face and asking Miranda who?

2. Spooks: People keep telling me this show is getting worse, but 6 seasons in, it remains exciting, visceral and smart. This is what 24 should be. It's team based, and, even though there isn't quite enough dudes shooting dudes for MY taste, it's active which is the single best quality to look for when trying to figure out if a show will translate into a good game.

3. Dexter: This breaks one of my cardinal rules for media that I look to for game inspiration: it's not team/group-based. Still, this show combines brooding murder, CSI-like detective work and a vigilante serial killer.

4. Burn Notice: Burn Notice is sort of the bastard TV-child of MacGuyver and the A-team in that our hero, Michael Westin, uses brain more than brawn and our team of operatives always has a good montage to help them save the day.

A "burned" intelligence agent (of an unnamed agency), Michael Westin has settled in Miami where he does good for people with his friends, an ex-Navy Seal (played by Bruce Campbell) and an ex-IRA trigger-woman (played by Gabriel Anwar).

This show is great and constantly amazes me in how unselfconscious its characters are about doing the right thing. You might not think a spy, a SEAL and an IRA member would go around helping the good people of Miami every week and well, that might not even make any SENSE.

But it doesn't matter. Burn Notice is a TV show, and it's OK being a TV show.

5. The Academy: This Fox reality show about the LA County Sherriffs boot camp is constantly informative and entertaining, giving little glimpses into real police training.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Modern20 more dangerous?

The recent RPGSite review, by Krakajak, brought up some discussion and thoughts among my home group. Specifically, one point he made about combat being much more dangerous.

One point was made about called shots. Yes, they make things more dangerous, but not a lot. You have to be high level before you can reliably pull off head shots and even then, that's just an increased chance for double damage.

As opposed to multiple attacks, it seems that called shot and burst fire remain more of a wash than anything else. A stylistic choice.

You can do both at low levels (make a called shot, or find an automatic weapon and go burst fire) and you get better at both as you raise your ranks in the firearms skill.

A second point, brought up in the review, was the presence of Hit Location, and how the double damage it can bring randomly makes combat more deadly.

Now Modern20 has three hit locations (out of 20) that inflict more damage, two that inflict double damage, and one that increases damage by 50%.

However, there are FOUR locations, out of 20, that inflict half damage.

I'm more of a "gut" statistician than a trained one. I have a sense of how things will work in game and a good eye for balance when I'm running things.

Still, my gut tells me that a 15% chance to inflict more damage, a 20% chance to inflict less, and a 65% to inflict normal damage isn't that much more dangerous than d20 Modern's flat 5% chance of a critical hit inflicting double damage (with no chance to inflict less).

Finally, there were a couple of points my players raised that weren't raised in the review:

First, on the less dangerous side, there's the fact that armor in Modern20 acts as Damage Reduction.

Second, on the more dangerous side, is the fact that Modern20 firearms inflict more damage than their d20 Modern counterparts at close range, effectively enough to negate the damage reduction of armor (more or less).

And of course, if you dont have body armor, this makes a point blank firearm attack VERY dangerous in Modern20, especially with a chance for a headshot.

Of course, this is not accidental. One of my goals in Modern20 was to make gunfire at point blank range bad, and gunfire at point blank range without body armor a Very Bad Thing (TM).

I wanted players to respect guns.

But, my feeling, and my players agreed, is that if you were moderate level, wearing body armor, and able to keep the enemy from getting too close, that Modern20 wasn't much more dangerous than d20 Modern.

A little, but not much.

What do you guys think?

Modern20 gets another review!

Not quite as high a score as the other reviews, a 3 on a 5 point scale (the average score has been in the 4 point range) but still a well done review that explains enough about what the reviewer likes and doesn't (and why) to let the reader make up his own mind, which makes it a well done review in my book.

Check it out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Justice has a name. And the name that it has, besides justice, is Captain Hammer.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Modern20 and Supers20- stuff is happening

So some things going down on the Modern20 and Supers20 fronts that I think folks should know about.

First, Modern20 has been reviewed a few times lately.

Alan "Psion" Kohler, ENWorld Staff Reviewer has a review that he's put up at RPGNow here.

Mark Gedak, who has reviewed for RPGNow and most recently for the Digital Front podcast hosted by Daniel Perez, has a review of the game up here that originally appeared on the DF.

Lastly, on the Supers20 front, there's an excellent fan-produced campaign model by Darrel Miller which can be found here. There's a lot of good stuff in here, including some well-done NPCs and the way the campaign model is structured is pretty much spot on from the way the official ones are done in the core rules, and in the recently released Whispers in the Dark.

Thanks for taking the time and making something for everyone running Supers20 to share Darrel!

Ok, that's it for now, going back to watching Dr. Horrible.

First look at Urban Mayhem

So I'm about 6 pages into Urban Mayhem, the first full-length adventure for Modern20, which casts the PCs as criminals on the run from the law, framed by a dirty cop for a crime they didn't commit.

And since an adventure without crunch is like half a bl** job, here's your first look at the adventure, and it should give you an idea of the kind of trouble the PCs could land in if they're not careful.

I present a new elite occupation: S.W.A.T.

S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics)
S.W.A.T. units are elite police units specially trained and equipped to deal with high-risk operations that fall outside the abilities of normal police officers, including counter-terrorism, hostage rescue and apprehending heavily-armed suspects. The first S.W.A.T. team was established in Los Angeles in the 1960’s but since then many other cities have adopted similar units. A typical S.W.A.T. team consists of 60 men, divided into 6 ten-man teams, which are each comprised of 2 five-man units known as elements. A typical element consists of 1 leader, 2 assaulters, 1 scout and 1 rear-guard.

Not every element has a sniper. Assume that 1 out of 10 members of a S.W.A.T. team is a sniper, approximately 1 per unit (or one per 2 elements). So a full 60-man S.W.A.T. team would have 6 fully qualified snipers.

Prerequisites: Legal 8 ranks, Firearms 8 ranks

Professional Skills: Athletics, Firearms and Vehicles

Improved Feats: Attack Focus: +2 to attack rolls; Awareness: your Will save is considered +2 higher for purposes of this feat; Strength Training: +2 Strength; Teamwork: +3 to attack rolls

Occupation-Specific Perks: Police Powers: you have the power to arrest and detain within the law

Friday, July 18, 2008

Modern Dispatch 121: Whispers in the Dark

The first supplement for Modern20 has been released!

In this street-level campaign model, the PCs are gifted with magical abilities, recruited and trained by a mysterious sorcerer to combat the cult of an elder god that is spreading its worship throughout the world like a cancer.
While the people of their home city go about their daily lives, a war for the very safety of their dimension is being waged in secret, from the glittering skyscrapers high above to the dank sewers beneath their feet.
The wars between the servants of light and the servants of the elder gods have been waged for millennia and are the source of countless “war in heaven” myths, including those found in Babylonian, Christian, Greek and Norse religions

You can buy Whispers in the Dark here.

You can also see the lineup for the next 5 dispatches, coming to you weekly for the next 5 weeks here.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

WWII Supervillain: Charismatic

Once there was a little girl who danced in a beer hall. But I took her away from all that. Now she works for me. My name... is Adolf.

Charismatic (Empath 10): HD 10d8+20; HP 80; Init +1; Spd 30 ft, Fly 60 ft; Defense 24, flatfooted 17 (+1 Dex, +6 Wis, +7 Class); BAB +7; Atk +6 melee (2d6-1 NL, unarmed), or +13 ranged (6d4+0 NL, telekinetic bolt); SQ Resolute, 3 DR vs. physical and energy; AL Traumfrau, Adolf Hitler, Nazi Party; SV Fort +13, Ref +8, Will +13, Rec +11; Rep +10; Str 8, Dex 12, Con 15, Int 10, Wis 22, Cha 14.
Background: Athlete
Occupation: Super team: Perks 4+2 power stunts (Government Sponsored Team, Professional Reputation, Superior Will, Telekinetic Shield; Telekinetic Bolt, Telekinetic Flight)
Hobby: Languages
Skills: Acrobatics 4 (+5), Athletics 4 (+3), Legal 4 (+4), Outdoorsman 13 (+23), Perception 13 (+23), Power Control 13 (+15), Read/Write Language (English, French, German), Speak Language (English, French, German), Streetwise 13 (+23), Unarmed 13 (+12), Vehicles 13 (+14)
Feats: Career Advancement, Mind Over Body, Poise, Power Level x6, Psychic Strike, Superhuman Wisdom, Teamwork (Kampfgruppe Eugenik): +3 attack rolls, Telekinesis
Access/Contacts/Followers: Complete Access, Supply Contact (Kampfgruppe Eugenik): 29 wealth
Wealth: 14
Possessions: None
Character Disadvantages: Code: Sadistic (DSR 5)
Background: Reconnaissance Report: Charismatic
Brunhilde Albrecht was a dancer with her identical twin sister at the beer halls where Hitler got his start in politics. Like her sister, she also is a mutant, though whether her mutation had manifested before Doktor Eugenik experimented on her is unknown. What we do know is that she can crush tanks with her mind and seems to enjoy it.
Quote: “Please continue to struggle. Make me hurt you.”

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Supers20 and the Summer Spectacular

RPGObjects latest book, Supers20, is out now!

And even better, for the next 6 weeks, in honor of the release of Supers20, RPGObjects is taking the dispatch weekly again!

First up, Whispers in the Dark, a street-level magic campaign where the players play fledgling magicians who attempt to stop cults of the Old Gods: Baal, the Jotun, Kthon and Mephistopheles.

Then, it's a complete WWII campaign model in 5 weekly installments!

Week 2 features WWII small arms suitable for any Modern20 campaign set during the war, super or not.

Week 3-6 features the super-teams of WWII: Germany's Kampfgruppe Eugenik (the Eugenics Brigade), Britain's Crown Guard, Japanese Shinjuwan Juunigatsu (Pearl Harbor December) and America's Vigilance Force. Each NPC team features between 6-8 fully fledged NPCs, support characters, adventure hooks and a history of the team prior to the war.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Ok- this guy rocks

Katanamochi “Sword Bearer” (Powerhouse 10): HD 10d10+20; HP 90; Init +9 (+11 when using aggressive stance); Spd 35 ft, Fly 80 ft; Defense 20, flatfooted 17 (+3 Dex, +7 Class); BAB +10; Atk +16 melee (2d6+8 plus 2d6 electricity, Kamikaze Blade wielded two-handed), or +15 ranged (8d4+0, electrical energy blast); SQ Melee Master; AL The Emperor, Japan; SV Fort +9, Ref +6, Will +4, Rec +7; Rep +5; Str 14, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Background: Athlete
Occupation: Weapon Master: Perks 2+2 power stunts (Aggressive Stance, Flurry; Lightning Strike, Wind Rider)
Hobby: Languages
Skills: Acrobatics 4 (+7), Athletics 8 (+10), Outdoorsman 13 (+14), Power Control 13 (+15), Read/Write Language (English, German and Japanese), Speak Language (English, German and Japanese), Unarmed 13 (+15), Weapons 13 (+15)
Feats: Accurate Attack: + 3 attack per –2 damage, Armor Piercing (Unique Weapon), Attack Focus (Katana): +2 attack rolls, Control Weather (PL +4, carried device, personal, Kamikaze Blade), Deflection (PL +4, carried device, personal, Kamikaze Blade), Improved Initiative: +6 Initiative, Kenjutsu, Power Level x4, Teamwork (Shinjuwan Juunigatsu): +4 skill checks, Unique Weapon (PL +4, carried device, personal, Kamikaze Blade): +2 attack and damage rolls, +2d6 electricity
Access/Contacts/Followers: Complete Access
Wealth: 14
Possessions: Kamikaze Blade
Character Disadvantages: Obsession: Loyal to the Emperor (DSR 5), Code: Will not refuse honorable, single combat (DSR 5)
Background: Reconnaissance Report: Katanamochi
The Emperor’s personal guard, this warrior has been trained from birth to wield the Kamikaze blade, an ancient weapon capable of controlling the weather and wielded by the Emperor’s chosen protector of Japan for centuries.
Quote: “I am the divine protector of Japan, chosen by the Son of Heaven himself. No one can defeat me!”

Friday, July 04, 2008

Things are happening

Just a quick rundown on what's coming from RPGO:

1. Supers20 is in layout and the first round of edits have been made to the final.
2. Chris and I recorded a podcast where we discussed future plans (including talk of future fantasy stuff from us), and a Supers20 specific podcast where we go through the book and highlight stuff we think is cool.
3. The Whispers in the Dark Campaign Model for Supers20 is done and will appear as a dispatch issue the same month the game is released.
4. A new version (version 1.2) of Modern20 has been done, just a few tiny tweaks. This will also release the same month as Supers20. This will of course be free for all current owners of Modern20.
5. Supers20 WWII supplement (working title) is at 21 pages and counting. So far this book includes 2 hero teams, 2 villain teams, and WWII small arms for the Modern20 and Supers20 rules sets. This may appear as one book, or be broken into numerous dispatch issues (probably 3-4). Stay tuned.

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