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d20 Modern, Past, and Future

d20 Modern, Past, and Future

So, I just came across someones collection of books (100$ for everything... and I do mean EVERYTHING!), and my questions to you guys is this:
  1. What are the positives and negatives to this system?
  2. Which (Modern,Past,Future) "era" is easiest to get started in for a new player?
  3. Are there any online resources that you can direct me to (both as a Player and GM)?
  4. Which class should I start out with, as I like to create a couple of characters once I get the hang of the creation rules... just as a test.

The reason I ask is because I own all the Star Wars Saga Edition books and I am still learning from the books even tho I have owned most for quite a few years now, and I STILL dont think I am ready for GMing a game! Anyhow, I just wanted to learn a new system and this one seems pretty good as I like the d20 system, but would like to get some feedback from you guys as most of you here are WELL seasoned players and GM/DM's

Any advice/resources/feedback that you guys could help me out with would be great and much appreciated.

It's pretty much 3.5 set in the past/present/future. You can play it with or without fantasy elements and it has always seemed pretty balanced to me. My only serious complaint is the lack of interesting base classes and abilities. You choose your highest ability score and that's what you build your character around -- Strong Hero, Tough Hero, Smart Hero, etc. Not a lot of freedom there. I've had some success combining two of the classes, allowing one talent tree from each and a combination of skills, averaging the HP, etc., but it's a lot of work for the GM.

Here is the online SRD, so you can look into the rules before you shell out for the books:

thanks for feedback and link. My buddy was getting rid of his collection and i set him up with the cash.

I play with the system quite a lot. It's really 3.1 rather than 3.5. Some think it was a test bed for some ideas they wanted to try out. The base class system was really cool as it really encourages multiclassing and creating the kind of character you want. The supplements are less great. It all has great ideas but the lack of playtesting left too much that just didn't work well (D20 future in particular) so you will undoubtedly find yourself tweaking it. That said, it's very modular and you can use or not use whatever you like.

Personally, I like it and it works for me.

I happen to love D20 modern, it has it faults (chief of which is the Wealth DC system). But if you think of it as a generic roleplaying system like GURPs then it's a massive tool kit of useful mechanics and character ideas.

You can play basically anything you want with it. However, as a new GM I would suggest you stick with something a little simpler. D20 Modern requires you to make up a lot of the content yourself, it gives you the basic framework but a lot of the foot work is yours. Run a couple D&D or Pathfinder games, stick to simple stuff and get your bearings before you expand out. That was the mistake I made when I first started GMing. It's like writing a book, you don't jump straight to Grapes of Wrath, start slow.

As a side note, if you do run D20 Modern I've got a suggestion for the Wealth system. Ditch it. Plain and simple. It doesn't make a lot of sense. I understand what they were going for but it just doesn't work in my opinion.

This is a simple system I came up with to circumvent the Weath DCs. It involves a bit of paperwork but you can convert DCs into cash values and just give out cash instead of Wealth Bonus increases.

Purchase DCs:
For DCs 25 or above make no change
For DCs 10 – 24 subtract 5.
For DCs 1 – 9 cut in half round up

Use the DC to Cash chart on page 204 of the D20 Modern Core Book

Starting income; 15 + Occupation Bonus + Level, this represents how much cash you have saved until this point.
Windfall Feat +4, Profession Skill +1 per 5 ranks
For each full day of work you do you receive 2d6 + the appropriate occupation bonus(es) + level.
Convert this DC with the rules above

Lifestyle cost per day
Destitute $1: You sleep on the street and eat from trash cans. Your biggest luxury is a bag of rolling tobacco or a forty ounce.
Surviving $15: You have a room with a bed, maybe a toilet. You eat but not well. Your clothes were stolen, donated, or bought from a thrift store. You make only enough to survive. You don’t have a budget for fun at all; you don’t even own a TV.
Poor $30: You make minimum wage and have an apartment. Your clothes are store bought but inexpensive and worn for a very long time. You have a fridge full of food but you rarely go out to eat. Occasionally you splurge and buy something nice. Your entertainment may be cable TV or the movies. You own a car but its old and run down or maybe you just take the bus.
Average Joe $50: You are solidly middle class. You own a house, a car, have a wife and kids, and a mortgage. You have plenty of money for food and fun but nothing extravagant. You work a full time job with a good wage and benefits. On your off time you have the money for a hobby like fixing up old cars.
Well Off $150: Anything you want within reason is yours. You have a big flat screen TV and the latest videogame systems. You go out every night and do pretty much whatever you want. You don’t own a Ferrari or anything but your car is this year’s model.
Rich $300: By now, you do own a Ferrari. Your house is one of the nicest in town and you can have anything you want, even if it does take some time to acquire the extravagant things.
Filthy Rich $1,000: You live in a palace. You have an army of servants and body guards. When you want something,
snap your fingers and it's yours.

I second many of the things others have already said, although I'm not totally opposed to the wealth system. I see it as just another way for handling money that may or may not appeal to some players. In games where treasure and loot rewards are a major motivator for adventuring and have a big emotional payoff for the players as well, the wealth system probably won't appeal much, but in games where the emphasis is on plot, character development and action, a simple system for effectively hand-waving money matters keeps the focus on those other things.

I think the system had a lot of potential that was never developed. The talent trees, for example, seem like a clever way of doing what Pathfinder essentially does with arch-types, allowing players to have a base class whose specific class features can vary based on more subtle variations on the theme.

As for using base classes keyed to each of the ability stats, that seems like an unnecessary degree of complexity in the name of simplicity. Few characters stick with a single base class and most quickly strike out into an advanced class, in my experience, in order to get that feel of a traditional role-playing "class". With relatively little adjustment, the 11 core classes of D&D 3.5 could have been ported directly into d20 Modern and given a modern make-over with fully implemented talent tree rules, better use of occupations and so on. This would have given the game more transparency with the core D&D rules and allowed for greater use of supplements for each game moving across genres.

I certainly agree with Penchant that d20 Modern is not 3.5, but rather something like 3.1. Many of the combat rules reflect D&D 3.0 conventions. I suspect this is mainly due to the fact that the system lost support before getting the kind of revamp that D&D 3.0 did.

I particularly like the concept of the Progress Levels introduced in the Future supplement and wish it would have seen more development and infusion from the start. This mechanic makes it easier to mix-and-match not only technology levels but cultural progress levels as well and provides a handy reference point for games in which a more technologically advanced culture meets a less technologically advanced culture.

As for which is easiest to get started in, I'd suggest keeping it simple and just using the core rule book for a while. There are plenty of adventures to be had with just that book alone, unless you're one of those "crunch hungry" gamers for whom a wide variety of mechanics options is more enjoyable than character or story development. Between just the core rule book and the Menace Manual you have plenty to keep you and your players busy for weeks and months.

The online resource that I use most is

I suggest starting play with the Fast Hero. The game is based on using guns and Fast Heroes are built for ranged combat. Of course, if you're looking for the most straight-forward, either the Strong Hero or Tough Hero can provide you with the basic "fighter" type character.

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