Phoenix: superheroes for Modern

Hi everybody,

I'm on the gaming board for the first time, here, so I thought I'd make my little project available to you all. It's a superhero expansion pack that fits over top of d20 Modern (which some strategic changes here and there), and it is 100% free and always will be. I have a day job, so I have no interest in spending large amounts of money in order to make small amounts of money off of this game.

You can find a link to the most recent published version in my sig (below), but you'd probably like a preview before you start, so here's a chapter-by-chapter breakdown (because I'm procrastinating at said day-job):

Chapter 1: Character Creation

This chapter covers how some things are special in Phoenix such as alternative uses for Action Points (e.g., the Death Retcon), and some notes about how to construct a superhero character concept. There's also many pages of Advantages and Complications, something that you're probably familiar with.

Chapter 2: Classes

This chapter contains eleven core classes (on the D&D model) as well as three optional F/X classes (again, D&D style) as well as details for playing Modern classes (Base/Advanced) in Phoenix.

Chapter 3: Skills

Skills remain almost as they are in standard d20, but I've combined some of them (e.g., Spot + Listen = Observe), and I've installed D&D-style synergy rules with two changes: larger bonuses for ranks higher than 5, and synergy bonuses don't stack.

Chapter 4: Feats

Here is the first motherload of the book: a metric crappe-tonne of feats including altered standard feats (to raise the power level up to superheroic) as well as new feats and genre feats (things that make sense only in a superhero game).

Chapter 5: Powers

And here's the second motherload of the book (it has two mothers, no big whoop): sixty pages of superpowers lovingly constructed to give you as many city-flattening options for kicking villain as as I could think of, and several suggested by playtesters. The powers chapter is always expanding, so if you have suggestions, lay 'em on me. I love writing new powers. The general idea, here, is that you buy powers with Character Points, and each power grants a specific ability. You get what you pay for, and you pay for what you get. You can then assemble these basic abilities into as many different themed groupings as you like, and you can describe their in-game effects with a great deal of latitude because... isn't that half the fun?

Chapter 6: F/X

In addition to super powers, you can also buy spells and psi-powers (renamed for clarity) and use them as your power suite. There's not "vancian" casting in Phoenix. You cast as many spells and/or manifest as many psi-powers as your Power Points allow.

Chapter 7: Equipment

This chapter contains slightly altered Wealth rules (because they're a big holey by the RAW) as well as new rules for Generic Firearms (instead of brand-named guns), Generic Vehicles (again, instead of brand-names), and finally, Body Armour (because most superheroes could use that stuff). I plan to expand the chapter to include more contemporary pricing than what's in the book as well as gear that's specific to heroes: grapple guns, trick arrows, etc.

Chapter 8: Combat

New rules! New rules! I gotcha new rules here! I jammed this chapter with as many superhero clichés as I could think of, including Knockback, Building Damage, Swinging, Zero-G, Super Speed, and Super Strength, including rules for throwing cars and using telephone poles as baseball bats. Fun times.

Chapter 9: Game Mastering

This is mostly descriptive advice about how the superhero genre can work as an RPG, the ways in which you can challenge your players, and stuff like that. Advanced GMs might find the occasional nugget that's useful; new GMs might want to read through it all to get a feel for the game.

Chapter 10: Heroes and Villains

This chapter is just one long-ass listing of various NPCs created by either myself or one of my contributors--of which there are more than a few at this point!--to show off the great span of possibilities under these rules. I'm also always taking more NPCs for the book, so if you've built something out of Phoenix rules, then I'd love to have. You'll get a credit, and you'll retain copyright!


I have three useful things in here: a list of all the modifiers in the game (because those are just bloody confusing), a list of all the official game terms, and finally, some character sheets.

Once again, the whole game is free and it always will be because that's just the kind of guy I am. Although a lot of it still belongs to Wizards, all the parts that don't are released under a Creative Commons (CC) license. You can use it and print it, as long as you acknowledge the creator (hi!), you don't sell it, and you share it under the same terms.

Let me know what you think!