I am happy to announce a new series of columns here at Critical-Hits, authored by myself. It represents something we’ve never tried doing here before, coupled with a project that I’m quite excited about, and I hope you will be too.
If you’re an old, old fan of ours, you’ll remember how I mentioned the d20 Modern variant that I was working on while running a campaign of it at the same time. The genesis of that game was now 8 years ago when I ran Call of Cthulhu d20 set on the college campus that I was attending that ranks as my favorite campaign I’ve ever run. Then d20 Modern came out and it seemed like a natural fit for the next installment of the same campaign, but I could not help but tinker with the system and come up with my own advanced classes, feats, and so on. Then I moved on from that college and that group of players and moved back to Maryland. It would be a few years later when I would seriously try to resurrect the project by once again running a campaign of it. I wouldn’t call any of them failures, but none of them lasted long enough to tell me what I needed to know about the game overall, and moreso, I never devoted enough time to complete the game.
Well, flash forward a few years, and we have a mostly dead d20 Modern brand (updated by the excellent Modern20 but receiving little overall support) and a new system to play with in the form of D&D 4e.
That’s my long winded way of saying this: I want to do a new version of d20 Modern but updated with 4e-style rules. And I’m going to share the process of making it with all of you, and get your feedback as I go.
My working title is The 4th Power but is in no way a final title. Posts will ideally happen weekly and examine various aspects of the rules in development, as well as playtest reports, and so forth. Next week will discuss the core design principles (carefully crafted to annoy both d20 and 4e fans) and a broad overview. Then rules development will follow, and I hope to do a playtest within a month or so just to test the viability of the concept at all. That’s the thing about game design: this all could easily be a bad idea and end up scrapped. Or I could come up with something genius.
Now, some of you may be asking how I’m going to handle the tricky legality of it all. First, all of the materials I post will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial Share alike license, just like the rest of the site. That means you can repost anything I make here, print it out, etc. as long as you don’t try to sell it and you credit me.
Second, I’m assuming familiarity with the D&D 4e rules, and moreso, assuming you own a PHB. I won’t post any rules from the PHB, but I will reference them where needed. I also won’t be reprinting any powers, feats, etc. from the PHB, but will be posting plenty of my own creation to fit the game.
With those in mind, by the time all the posts are up, everyone who reads the posts will have a complete game to play set in the Modern world (alongside a campaign setting, or settings.) Legality may make it difficult to make it into a complete, assembled game in one document, but my hope is that the project will have gotten some attention and a publisher will be interested in it. Otherwise… hey, at least I’ll have a game that I’ll play.
Anyway, that’s the project plan. Next week will be a list of core design tenants that will guide the creation of the game, and why they’re important to me, and I hope that you’ll come along for the ride.