d20 Modern RPG Week Day Six

Let’s talk monsters.

d20 Modern is a terrific system for shining the spotlight onto just one critter and making the players think just a little more about the foes they face. Drop a single Zombie into D&D and it’s barely even a speed bump. But a Zombie living in the basement of a Chicago apartment – that’s a story, right there.

The X-Files demonstrated this particularly well with their “Monster of the Week” episodes. Whether it’s a guy who can control fire (Efreet!), a Vampire or a Hairless  Cannibal (Orc!), these stories all centred on the weird and unusual, and how they would fit into the Real World – or not, as the case may be. This is prime d20 Modern territory. It’s trivially easy to crack open the d20 Modern core book, Urban Arcana or your D&D Monster Manuals, pick a beastie and work out a plot based around the monster existing in the modern world.

In fact, let’s do it right now.

My nearest tome is the Fiend Folio so I grab that and let it fall open to….. the Alkilith, a Demon who “appears as a shivering blob of phosphorescent green corruption surrounded by a cracked, leathery coating that constantly oozes, secretes, hardens, and splits open.” Lovely. Page 46, if you want to look it up.

Our heroes have been called in to investigate the disappearance of Philip Barbur, noted wealthy industrialist and owner of BarChem. Workers at the chemical treatment plant are also disappearing, and it is feared that there may be a killer with a grudge on the loose – BarChem is a very unpopular company with a poor environmental record. It turns out the Mr Barbur slipped and fell into a vat of his own goo following a scuffle with Joe Wallace (one of the protestors). His soul was rejected by Hell as his Tally of Souls had not yet been met (his company was supposed to kill thousands) and he has returned as an Alkilith, existing in the very chemicals that made his life, and his death.

X-Files, with a dash of Supernatural. See?

I’ve said it before: one of the big strengths of d20 Modern is that I could run this right off the page without alteration. D&D rules. Modern day style. I love it.

If you want to take a look at d20 Modern yourself the majority of the system is freely available under the OGL. Here’s a HTML version of the rules (mirror of the zipfile). Enjoy.

6 Comments on “d20 Modern RPG Week Day Six”

  1. Indeed. One of the campaign models at the end of the book was called The Shadow where Department 7 was a ghostbuster-like organization to kill monsters that appeared from the ‘Shadow’.

    Another take on this is Urban Arcana where monsters co-exist alongside humans in cities. Gotta love the picture of the gnoll pimp and mind flayer priest.

    Questing GMs last blog post..Questing’s Readings – Appendix N Edition

  2. I wouldn’t want to know the sort of scandals mind-flayer priests would get involved in, that’s for sure.

    The “Tally of Souls” thing is an interesting idea in itself. A company/group/person who is destined to kill and damn people! Heavy stuff. It would make for a very interesting redemption story. If you made it humorous, it would be in Good Omens territory, which is always fun. :)

  3. We also have kobold marines named Meepo and Medusa executives that are good at sealing the deal……in stone.

    But everyone knows that the real monsters are our fellow man. Right?……………..Right?

  4. The “chemical demon” and “soul tally” take on it ties nicely to one of the organizations presented in Urban Arcana: The Beloved. Basically, it’s an Illuminati-type death cult with “captains of industry” as its members.

    On the note of compatibility with D&D 3.X, this also means that anything from Pathfinder (the spiritual successor of the former) is fair game as well.

    Although at that point, you ought to take a gander at the d20 Modern rules as adapted for Pathfinder:


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