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Modern Settings

Modern Settings

So I've been running a custom Sci-Fi campaign for the last 3 months, and I thoroughly enjoy doing so. Prior to this I've been doing Fantasy for years, this got me into thinking about other settings.

Of them I've considered fantastical/psychedelic (akin to Nimmorgist by Steven Lumpkin), Post apocalyptic, and Modern.

Now modern is really something else as there are few if any rulesets that support this that I can rattle off outside of modern d20 which is based on gangs, and international conspiracy.

What kind of scenarios do you envision? The most I could conjure up is something akin to the 'Secret World' which is in itself outlandish, but the setting allows a magical/modern fusion without the cyberpunk of shadowrun.

Modern is such a huge, unfocused term. You cna run plenty of things in a 'modern' campaign. You can do horror, supernatural/cosmic or otherwise. You can do an action/military game. You can introduce weird tech or lost/hidden magic. What do you want to run?

Terminator is something you could run. DM fiant will be needed on the robotics side; Arnold is big but still not large. So a 1HD construct who stops working at 0HP regardless of automated repair systems is hardly threatening. The liquid ones still can have up to 7HD by default.

Hogwarts (heavy molding there I'm afraid), Buffy, Charmed, 007, Avitar, expendables, Kickass, Star trek, plus so many more.

While bland with a capital B one can see the dream and intent behind the system. Problem is the workload making it all fit.

"Modern", is...uh...hard to define.

XCOM: Enemy Unknown takes place in 2015.

Questionable Content has AIs and walking around robots with civil rights, and supposedly takes place in present day.

Misfile takes place in modern day, but has a lot of fantasy elements like the angels and such.

The Sims series alone should cover how insane "real life" can get with enough expansions.

Just saying modern day can be anything from "Post Cyberpunk" to "Twenty minutes into the future" to "Magical realism" to "Alternate History", the sheer amount of worlds they ended in during Sliders should be an example. Remember that in Sliders they were NOT "time" travelling, they were travelling to parallel universes where the timelines changed. They were always in "present day".

I'm just going to give you the advice I give myself.

Figure out your campaign's "gimmick" and build from there. What kind of 'point' does your story have if you're writing satire for example.

Basically figure out what tropes you're not playing straight, and the rest should fall into place.

Good point on the broadness of the term. I was more thinking of settings within the modern scope of 'today'.

I suppose I should clarify it to be realistic modern with 'undertow' That undertow can be secret organizations, a shadowy secret world, supernatural elements. VTM would qualify as it takes place in 'modern' times as you noted but in a very almost realistic environment but at the fringe.

XCOM and the Questionable Content (unfamiliar with the theme) would fall in the realm of alternate reality. More undertow examples would be:

- Modern werewolves/vampires (underworld movie series)
- James bond
- Modern arc of the covenant / holy grail / holy pretext / historical faux pas
- Illuminati / secret orgs
- Generic conspiracy cult here or secret war (knights templar etc..)
- Generic commando/military campaign

I'm kind of fishing for something more than the "it's a conspiracy" or shadow world angle without an over the top alternate reality. So far I can't come up with any outside of those listed.

There's also the matter of game system. I suppose there's modern d20 and GRUPs, but is there more? Perhaps FATE?

If you want urban fantasy as a setting, you can't go wrong with the Dresden Files RPG, which is for Fate. Or, well, you could, but that's only because Dresden Files Accelerated is out for Kickstarter backers and it's a lot smoother and better built as a system.

It can certainly do werewolves (or three types as I recall), holy relics, secret organizations, secret wars, etc. The books have done all of those, in one degree or another.

Do old gods count as a conspiracy? There's plenty of systems for Cthulhu gaming. How about folks like Tom String or Doc Savage; again, plenty of systems for pulp action.

Who are the players going to be, what are they going to do, and what is the game about?

James Bond + Vampires have enough romance elements to make a case for Breaking the Ice (a dating RPG), with the plotting and fighting as just a backdrop to how they meet each other, R+J style, though I doubt that's your intention.
I'm stretching it a little, but the point remains that some games deal with certain scenarios better than others.

Now that I've said it though, that sounds exactly like the type of game I want to be playing in right now...

You know. I actually find that Mutants And Masterminds works better for Modern then Most systems.

Also Side note... Super Heroes are normally "Modern"

There are a billion different game systems that will allow you to play in a modern setting, with a dizzying variety of different undercurrents.

A few have already been mentioned. Some of my own favorites are Feng Shui (a game based on Hong Kong flavored martials arts movies), Night's Black Agents (A GUMSHOE system game based around a vampire conspiracy), Ninjas and Superspies (a Palladium game focused around intrigue and face punching), Spycraft (about spies, of course), Dark Conspiracy (A game by GDW, with mechanics similar to the Traveller RPG about a secret conspiracy to take over the world), Twilight 2000 (Another GDW game focusing on post-nuclear exchange war), All Flesh Must be Eaten (a zombie apocalypse game), the various World of Darkness games (already mentioned, but there's so many of them that they are worth bringing up again). GURPS (the Action and Monster Hunters lines are specifically aimed at the modern era), and so on.


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