Saturday, January 02, 2010

"Modern Pathfinder"

So there's been some talk lately about a "Modern Pathfinder" on various fora lately.

Basically, it's going to be d20 Modern, brought to you by the guys that brought you d20 Modern.

I have a couple questions about this. Such as- will it actually be compatible with d20 Modern? When I hear the word "pathfinder", I think backwards compatibility, but some comments have led me to believe a lot might change.

Oh, and I've been name-checked in threads on the topic several times, which is flattering as hell.

I guess in some ways, I'm seen as a standard-bearer for modern games because I never stopped writing modern games.

Here's a tip on how that came to pass: I am not faking the funk on liking modern games. Since the first time I laid eyes on Champions, Danger International, Justice Inc. (hell yeah Justice Inc!), Here be Tigers (oh man, here there be tigers), Gamma World and even Marvel Faserip, I've loved the idea of gaming outside a fantasy setting.

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against fantasy games, as witnessed by all the work I've been doing on OSRIC stuff lately, and sci-fi is cool as hell, but there's something awesome about a modern game that no other game can capture for me.


Larry Clapp said...

So, are there people that actually a) read e.g. X-Men or Iron Man, and b) play D&D, and nevertheless c) don't think it'd be *cool as hell* (or, more to the point, really fun) to play a superhero? What fools these mortals be! :)

Chuck said...

Oh yeah, there are many people who want to do that, especially these days, with superheroes having fully entered the mainstream through the movies.

This is why supers is *the* #1 modern genre. Post apocalypse is #2, but its a distant #2.

But neither of those games actually take place in our world.

The minute you tread even a little bit toward the real world, running like a spec ops game, you lose a lot of people.

I have a suspicion Modern Pathfinder will be urban fantasy, if its a successor to d20 Modern in the slightest.

And hey, that's really hot right now, what with the Twilight and the True Blood and the Harry Potter.

Desert Rat said...

Don't underestimate Urban Fantasy. There's a growing market over the last decade for the genre. It's smaller than Supers, but I suspect a "good" urban fantasy/horror setting (which d20 Modern's Urban Arcana really wasn't) that captures the feel of things like True Blood, Harry Potter, the Harry Dresden novels, Twilight (as much as I hate Twilight as a series), etc. would be a big hit.

I certainly think it could dwarf post-apocalyptic as a modern genre, which is a pretty dated genre, if you think about it.

Desert Rat said...

Adding on to what I wrote before, one of the problems with Urban Arcana was its D&D roots.

If you think about it, with the exception of Harry Potter, a lot of the settings seen in the latest wave of novels, and television series is that the settings are low to middle magic. d20 Modern just wasn't built to handle a low magic setting (though several third party publishers got closer to it with their settings).

The sort of magic system I'd like to see in a Modern Pathfinder would be something akin to the magic system in Adamant Entertainment's The Imperial Age. More ritual based magic, and less of the mutter a few words, throw out a physical component or two, and six seconds later your torching the enemy with fireballs.

Chuck said...

Please don't interpret anything I said as me bagging on the modern fantasy genre.

Twilight might not be my thing, what with the glittery prettyboys and all, but I am a huge Buffy fan, and always felt that was a huge influence on d20 Modern, and I think it's a fine genre to emulate.

As for post-apoc being dated, there I have to respectfully disagree: Fallout 3, The Road, Book of Eli, Jeremiah and others prove that the genre still has legs- these are all pretty recent, released in the last 5 years or so.

Also remember that post-apoc is a fantastic gaming genre because it must include exploration or ruins and lost lands.

Some have argued (and I tend to agree) that exploring the unknown is *the* crucial element to a good roleplaying game and a big reason why fantasy, sci-fi and post apoc have been so enduring, they pretty much have exploration built in.

You could also add that this is why supers games are *soooo* god damn crunchy- what you're "exploring" in a supers game is your character and his powers.

Masada said...

I started with RPG Fantasy, but after 30 years, I've killed every orc, dragon, wizard, ooze, ghost, vampire, wight, and evil king there is. The genre is cool, but so very hard to do in a fresh way now. A few years ago I discovered Modern as a theme and I've loved it. I'm not in to supers as much, but I do love a gun fight and a car chase. I love the complexity of the modern world and the ready made tropes to explore lifted from real headlines. It is a more gritty "real" experience for me. I'm not dissing Fantasy at all. I loved it. It just doesn't hold much new for me today.

Desert Rat said...

Chuck, good points.

Perhaps I'm a little jaded on post-apoc, since I've been doing on again, off again Gamma World since the early 1980's.

While Fallout 3 is visually stunning, and far better than most RPGs out there these days, I don't think it held a candle to Fallout 1 & 2 in terms of just pure RPG goodness. Still, there's a bit of life in it I suppose, though I think Darwin's World has the territory better covered than Paizo is ever going to do it.

Masada, D&D is pretty much the gateway game of RPGs (though White Wolf's Vampire: The Masquerade became that for a time in the 1990's). Some people will stay with it forever, most of us realize it's pretty tired at a certain point and move on.

I run or play in Star Wars SE, D&D 3, and d20 Modern, but my group tends to prefer Modern (Supers, 1930's Pulp, Alien Conspiracy, mostly).

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