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 Tell me about... Modiphius' 2d20 System!

Maxen M

Somewhere off to the side
Validated User
#22
My memory of playing 2d20, is that firstly, the basic dice rolling mechanic is pretty satisfying. Though it might first appear to be more like playing D&D with advantage all the time, I would say that the game is sort of like the original storyteller system in disguise, as it's a success counting dice pool system, just with larger than usual dice.

Extra "spare" successes carry forward as momentum, allowing you to add dice later, or do other stuff, which can be good, although I've played before with a GM who got kind of irritated with players trying to keep track of all the different things they can spend their momentum on, which are sometimes implicit in the traits you have, or on some kind of list.

That may have just been a weird day for the GM though, as it is something that just printing out "this is what you can spend momentum on" sheets for everyone would have solved, provided they were customised to player character's powers.

I also remember it being a game with some tricky breakpoints and optimum stat assignment tricks that didn't add much flavour, though I think when we got to a playtest of the John Carter system, they'd simplified that out.

It gives the feeling of being designed by a kind of relaxed crew who don't mind pulling out weird rules exceptions or whatever, but are committed to listening to playtesting, so you'll often find things in the rules that are basically there because, some designer thought they were cool, and playtesting didn't tell them to take it out, rather than because they are the logical conclusion of some kind of design rule.

So despite the high production values in art and layout, the structure of the rules is pretty rough and ready, but in a way you might find charming.

For that reason, though I vaguely remember various economy problems and trap choices in versions of their games I played before, even without seeing the current versions I'm relatively confident they'll probably have been filed down to not be so noticeable by now, even if they aren't totally gone.
 

zasvid

slow but irresistible
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#23
I've run and played Conan and I love the system to bits. 2d20 has the finest action-adventure rules I've ever had the pleasure to play with. Momentum connects all types of actions together seamlessly and as a result, all action sequences are very dynamic and no-one's left out of any scene mechanically.
 

Francis Helie

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#24
So, I've got the Infinity RPG and going through it. Interesting so far.

But from what I understand, 2d20 is their house system that gets tweaked per-title, much like Margaret Weiss Productions did with Cortex. So, the games become more or less crunchy based on that. What else is there to know? How do you like them? Are particular versions more "generic" (in a good way) than others? What do you feel the overall range is best at?
The crunch varies a lot. The one you have is the crunchiest and at the opposite crunch scale you have John Carter, in which characters only have Attributes, no skills and you add two attributes together to roll under. The central mechanic is great fun and simple to understand and use. Roll 2d20 under a base (Attribute + skill being the classic choice.) You can use momentum to add more dice each roll under is a success. Difficulty is how many successes you need. There is a way of getting a critical if you roll low and that counts for two successes. If you roll more successes than needed, extra become momentum that can be used for effects, (extra damage, action and of course additional dice for future roll.

The part that impresses me is the same thing I love in Cortex, from the same basic mechanics you get very different games. Star Trek does not feel anything like Conan at the table.

We are playing Star Trek, Infinity, and Conan and we are having fun with all of them. We have even ripped Pendragon's resolution mechanics out and replaced it with 2D20 we never had so much fun playing Pendragon in at least 15 years. (a gaming sin I know, but I love everything in Pendragon except the way the resolution works)

Right now 2d20 is just above Cortex in my taste but I wouldn't replace Cortex by it for everything. Cortex is giving us Firefly (wouldn't switch systems) and our hacks for Gundam and our Comedy action Ronin high school anime game. 2d20 does great at ground narrative stories while Cortex can do relationship based games better in its Drama incarnation or hacks using it.
 

Emryys

Ethernet Roleplayer...
Validated User
#25
Achtung Cthulhu reboot will be using the 2d20 system of course... just wish they would continue to support the Savage Worlds version... ;)
 

Maxen M

Somewhere off to the side
Validated User
#26
We have even ripped Pendragon's resolution mechanics out and replaced it with 2D20 we never had so much fun playing Pendragon in at least 15 years. (a gaming sin I know, but I love everything in Pendragon except the way the resolution works)
Interesting, did you keep the option of giving the GM doom/heat/threat for extra dice? Or are you running exclusively on extra successes? Also interested in how you adjusted difficulties etc.
 

Tensen01

Go, Play; For Justice!
Validated User
#27
Having been involved with the playtests for every 2d20 game since Infinity (Infinity, Conan, Star Trek, John Carter), people are correct that so far every version has been lighter than the previous versions, lighter and slightly more abstract. I can also say I have never found a system of similar crunch that I enjoy running as much as 2d20. My personal favorite is Conan. I would call it's crunch level about the same as D&D 5e, but the game itself runs waaaaay faster. In fact, one thing that has been oddly consistent throughout the line, and has been lamented by the writers, is that the games play a lot faster and smoother than they read. Also I think even though the setting is specific I'd call Conan the most "generic" as you put it. I think it's the one that has been least molded and shaped around the setting, compared to STA and John Carter at least.

Strengths... The simple die mechanic that has little to no actual math(I have had games with people for whom D&D 5e was a struggle due to even that simple math). Even though it seems like it would bog the game down I've found the Three Metacurrencies don't slow it down at all really, and honestly are a Strength. They are more focused than, say, FATE, which i've never really been able to grok and I've been trying to for as long as it's been around. And are very straightforward and despite the numerous options, in practice they only get used for 2 or 3 things usually. I also find the system is fair flexible if you want to hack it into something else. I have recently used it to run a hellboy/BPRD game using my own super-light modification of the system.

I would certainly recommend picking up each of the various free Quickstarts for the games, as they contain basically all the core rules.
 

Gentleman Highwayman

Registered User
Validated User
#28
We have even ripped Pendragon's resolution mechanics out and replaced it with 2D20 we never had so much fun playing Pendragon in at least 15 years. (a gaming sin I know, but I love everything in Pendragon except the way the resolution works)
OMG! That is one of the coolest ideas I have read in a long time. Basically bumps up the SFX and stunt team budgets...
 

Francis Helie

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#29
Interesting, did you keep the option of giving the GM doom/heat/threat for extra dice? Or are you running exclusively on extra successes? Also interested in how you adjusted difficulties etc.
We have been running it pretty straightforward 2d20. Your Sword skill is 15 roll 2 d20 each under gives you a success. A 20 gives Threat to the GM. The GM starts with a pool of 2 threats per player. At this point we tend to default to difficulty two and anything else is GM's fiat. One thing We have been flip flopping on is opposed rolls, 2d20 often gives draws, while Pendragon very rarely does. We switched 2d20 to roll under but as close as the value (blackjack system like in Pendragon) We tried combat as opposed rolls and as 2d20 initiative, the jury is still out on that.

Values over 20 become an extra dice of value - 20. So for example Lancelot with 40 in Lance rolls 3 d 20 vs a 20 value.
Critical are on a sliding scale of value roll high, ex. 20 gives a critical on 16 to 20 (2d20 critical so worth 2 successes)

It has been working very well, even if it still needs tweaking.
 
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Maxen M

Somewhere off to the side
Validated User
#30
Hmm, makes a lot of sense, the high skills thing is trickier than it looks though, at least to do it to my satisfaction. Because 2d20 stats seem to work well in the range above 10, it might make sense to do something like lowering their stats by enough tens to get it under 20, then rolling that, with some benefit, like two more dice or an autosuccess for each 10 you took away. Maths is still very strange though, especially when you start spending momentum..
 
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