4th Power is my attempt to mash-up 4e and d20 Modern into an RPG that I want to play and run campaigns in, leveraging the stuff I like from both, along with other elements that try to fix what annoyed me about both systems.
Well, on Halloween, I ran the first ever playtest. I designed all the characters, constructed a scenario, recruited members of my regular D&D group, and GMed the game.
I am definitely happy to report one thing: the game didn’t combust in on itself…
…but the scenario did end in near TPK, and a total objective failure for the PCs.
Still, I was heartened to find that the system does work. The powers need tweaking, the selection of at-wills continues to be challenging (especially for mental stat-focused characters), and the amount of HP that each PC possess takes some adjustment, but overall, the core of the system is solid and that’s something to be thankful for.
What’s the next step? The one thing that’s definitely true is that I need more powers written. As before, the best way to drive me on is to have a goal in mind, and thus to that end, I’m going to run another playtest, with higher level characters, aiming to run around Xmas time. I have a specific, pre-written adventure in mind from another system. Unlike the 1st level game I ran, it will be less focused on survival, so it has a much greater chance of running all the way through.
Powers are not the only thing that still needs to be developed. Two pieces that still need sub-systems are:
- Extended Actions (which resemble rituals, though might fall closer to Martial Practices) for things like hacking, making cover identities, setting up a business, that kind of thing. I have some ideas, but need to work on it a bit more.
- Wealth. From my experiences with d20 Modern (and from some of your comments), this is the elephant in the room of d20 Modern and modern gaming in general.
My current thought on wealth was sparked by a chat (as it were) with my friend Phil, who was working on his own system for eliminating micromanagement of cash in 4e. I too don’t want players to be managing the exact amount of money in their bank account and their credit score and so on.
As part of those conversations, Phil proposed a skill to manage wealth, which is somewhat how d20 Modern handled it. Well, I already have a skill to handle it (Business). And I know already that I wanted to track social class alongside the system. Thus it made sense to combine it with another system that moves up and down over time based on skill checks.
Yes, I’m making Social Class a Disease.
Eventually I will develop a track, that goes from Destitute to Billionaire. Each one will cover a range of expenses that you can reasonably cover: middle class means you have a decent place to live and can afford reasonable meals on a regular basis. Buy something more extravagant (like a sports car), and you make a Business check. Succeed, and you manage to move your finances around in such a way to cover it. Fail, and your class shifts lower. There will be some bonuses and penalties depending on the situation (time involved, how familiar you are with the area, etc.) Voila. That’s my thought right now.
As I said, I have a new goal in mind, so my guess is that I won’t be updating as much on a weekly basis while I work my way towards my next playtest. I will try, however, to create a collection of everything I’ve developed so far for better reference, and add to it when I come up with more. And as always, if you have any questions or comments, lemme know.