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

Tantavalist

Registered User
Validated User
#41
In STA, starship combat requires that both players and GM have a good idea what they're doing. I'd advise that a GM avoid starship combat for the first few adventures in order to make sure the players understand how the general system works; and then have the first starship battle be against something the PC ship outclasses.

It can go both ways, though. I actually got to be a player for a few sessions (rare for me in any system) and was the Captain of our ship. I'm a veteran (20+ years) GM and the guy running the game was a newbie GM. Me knowing the rules and directing the crew to support each other to build momentum/bonus dice to add to the attack rolls and other effects made us far more effective than a ship just firing with base rolls. That he'd not fully understood the rules was clear when it came to our turn to fire. Because we'd modulated the shields we took hardly any damage from the Klingon warship; not only did they not modulate shields, the GM hadn't thought on the various ways that extra actions could be gained or what the special effects of Phaser Arrays or Photon Torpedoes meant.

(It meant that a Klingon K'tinga-class battlecruiser became a cloud of incandescent vapour after one round.)

Moral of this story? STA and all 2d20 systems is fast-moving, dramatic and easy to use- provided someone at the table knows the rules well enough to advise people new to the system on how everything works for the first few sessions. And if the GM is one of those who aren't fully up with the system then the players will walk over damn near anything. 2d20 needs a GM who's very good at judging how well the PCs are doing and upping the stakes on the fly enough to challenge the players without a TPK.

Oh, and don't expect 2d20 games to run along planned scenario routes. The dramatic systems make it very easy for players to get around any obstacle if they want to badly enough that they spend the required metacurrency.


Edit: If I didn't make it clear, I love the 2d20 system and it's now one of my go-to systems for games with a more heroic, action-movie feel to them. It doesn't do gritty and realistic well, so if that's your thing look elsewhere (I use Mythras for that) but it's amazing for larger-than-life heroism. John Carter is probably my favourite incarnation, but the other games are good for inspiration if you want to adapt the system for another setting- the books are all compatible to the point you can take rules from one and use them in the other. I'm currently pondering a conversion for Luther Arkwright- the Mythras sourcebook is a good supplement for Mythras in general but I always felt that something like 2d20 would catch the feel of the comics better.
 

loconius

Registered User
Validated User
#42
I haven’t had a chance to play yet but I like the rules as read. I’m curious how the challenge/combat dice work in projects from STA. It sounds neat on paper, but I feel like players would be wary of the added complexity
 

Francis Helie

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#43
I haven’t had a chance to play yet but I like the rules as read. I’m curious how the challenge/combat dice work in projects from STA. It sounds neat on paper, but I feel like players would be wary of the added complexity
It has very well for us the project/science rules from STA are the most Startrek rules I have ever gmed. It makes the science and engineering moments as exciting as combat, which I feel is required for a proper Star Trek rpg.

I switched them into Infinity as the Infinity extended tasks rules are not as well realized I feel. That being said if someone feels the STA rules are too complex you could switch them the other way. Infinity works purely with Momentum, no combat dice needed.
 

CitizenKeen

Rules Lawyer
Validated User
#44
I watch 2d20 closely. I'd love to see something come back closer to the Mutant -> Conan spectrum of crunch.

Even moreso, I'd love to see some kind of 2d20 SRD, preferably in the vein of Cortex Prime wherein the different crunch levels are just dials you can tweak for a given campaign. I think the community could do a lot for 2d20. Not that it hasn't been doing fine under Modiphius' leadership, but it's the kind of medium crunch, multiple-subsystem kind of game that I think flourishes with weird community implementations. See, e.g, Forged in the Dark or Cortex.

Personally, I don't think I'd ever run it over Genesys, but I've played a fair bit and I enjoy it, and I buy a lot of books because they have some cool ideas baked in that I've stolen for my Genesys games.
 

Heavy Arms

Registered User
Validated User
#46
I'm pretty sure a few of the Modiphius folks have expressed interest in doing something similar to Cortex Prime with 2d20, though it might be more of a freelancer desire than something the company is going to push for any time soon.
 

Altheus

Not a nice person
Validated User
#47
The 2D20 system as a base is brilliant, however, when customised for the systems I've run (Conan and Star Trek) it becomes very fiddly in practice with extra momentum gains, skills that make the rules behave differently.

What this means is that each player has to know how their character works and have a reasonably in depth understanding of at least the rules that relate to their character while the gm needs to have a reasonably in depth understanding of all of it.

I have printed out summary sheets in the past explaining what you can do with momentum and this generally helped players.
 

Ineti

Playing mind games! Woo!
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#48
What this means is that each player has to know how their character works and have a reasonably in depth understanding of at least the rules that relate to their character while the gm needs to have a reasonably in depth understanding of all of it.
Hmm...shouldn't that be true for just about any game system? I don't see 2d20 being unique in that respect.
 

Maxen M

Somewhere off to the side
Validated User
#49
Hmm...shouldn't that be true for just about any game system? I don't see 2d20 being unique in that respect.
Well, there are quite a few games out there where you can just say what you want to do, and the GM tells you what to roll, and so long as you know what your character is good at, how they do it mechanically is not so important, and you can find out on the fly. If you do that in 2d20, you will probably hit a few moments where the GM is pointing out to you ways you can improve or adjust your actions that you didn't notice, or people are reminding you that you can reroll those dice, or add dice from that, or spend effect on those dice to do this etc.
 

N0-1_H3r3

Bemused and Bewildered
Validated User
#50
So, I'm the chief custodian of the 2d20 System at Modiphius, though I don't work entirely alone in that regard (the Modiphius RPG team is growing all the time, before even considering freelancers). I'm happy to answer specific questions about the 2d20 System and specific games using it, though there are things I can't discuss for reasons of NDA (and I'm less familiar with the John Carter version, as I was working primarily on Star Trek Adventures while that was being developed).

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..
The "sweet spot" for target numbers (stat+skill, or equivalent) is about 8-16, in my experience - 8, with no Focus range, gives about a 64% chance of 1 success without buying extra dice, which is a decent lower bound. Extra dice are typically linked more to "effort" (as in, you need to spend something to get extra dice, because higher difficulties are at least partly about what the PC is willing to pay to succeed).

2d20 is an odd system. It’s very close to being excellent but there are just a few too many rough edges that can turn a person off that it is a bit of a gamble when introducing people to it.

My favourite iteration on balance is also Conan as it’s not too convoluted, but still feels like it has the right weight for the mechanical chassis. One caveat is that we do away with Combat dice and just treat each Combat dice as 1 damage with a. Effect for every 3 damage. We just found that by the time the system hit Conan, the CD felt like an unnecessary legacy from MC and Infinity.
Possibly. To an extent, there's a lot of "figuring out what we can do with it" in different iterations of the system, as we adjust or rebuild things for each project. Infinity and Conan were the first steps after Mutant Chronicles, so they're perhaps less ambitious and less experimental than later versions.

Combat/Challenge Dice are... weird, I know. In theory, you can get by with d6s, but that's a bit fiddly and often gets in the way in play (especially when teaching a game). From some perspectives, there are things they're useful for (like having a way to introduce weapon-specific effects independent of character skill, which was part of their early development), but there's a fiddliness to them that's not always helpful. With subsequent games, we've looked carefully about whether or not they're useful to that iteration of the system (though it's a decision that needs to be made early - we can't remove them from the rules if we've already designed and ordered custom dice, and the lead time on that can mean that the decision needs to be made early.

Oh, and for reference, the average damage for a single CD (in Conan, Star Trek, and John Carter) is 0.833; this increases to 1.167 if there's something which adds +1 damage to each Effect rolled (the Vicious quality, typically). It's close enough to 1 that just replacing it with flat damage is fine-ish, though I've found that flat damage makes things a little more predictable, which can defuse some tension.

2d20 is one of the best systems out there as its geared towards being good in play rather than being nice to read
I'd still like it to read better, though, and that goal continues to frustratingly elude me...

One player described the Sniper Rifles in Mutant Chronicles being the most satisfying Sniper Rifles he's ever experienced using, they took a turn to set up the shot, but did insane damage on that shot, evoking the cinematic description of a Sniper Rifle.
Always nice to hear. I'm not so interested in realistic combat as I am combat that evokes action movies and the like, and trying to get things to 'feel' satisfyingly right is a big goal of mine. My success/failure rate isn't anywhere near 100%, but I've gotten enough wins to feel good about the way I approach things.

As an aside, anyone know why I'm getting "Access Denied" popups when I try to post on Modiphius forums? Yes, I am logged in!
Technical issues with the site. I'm not sure if they're entirely fixed at the time I post this, but the site's working fine for me right now.
 
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