August 31, 2011

4E Modern - Tokens

Part of the trouble of switching from a typical medieval fantasy, D&D-style roleplaying game into one set in the modern era is the lack of physical props supporting your games. It's notoriously difficult (although not impossible) to find good, cheap modern-era minis. To help this, I've put together a ton of images for quick tokens. These are a collection of pictures from the original d20 Modern, as well as from Hollywood action movies and TV such as A-Team and G.I. Jane. Also, Wolfenstein. Print these bad boys out and glue them to the back of a 1" washer: instant token!

August 30, 2011

Baltimore Fourthcore Team Deathmatch - 10/15/2011

Introduction & Rules + Maps + Frequently Asked Questions

Attention dungeoneers!
Prepare yourselves for the coming onslaught!

Following in the unstoppable wake of national success at GenCon 2011, the D&D Fourthcore Team Deathmatch is arriving in the Baltimore-area for the first-ever local FTDM event. At high noon on Saturday October 15th, your collective faces will be melted by the sheer wall of awesome and Dungeons & Dragons nerdity! The most exciting and talked-about GenCon event of the year will landing at my friendly local game store, Games & Stuff (7476 Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard, Glen Burnie, MD 21061).

It is simply the most brutal D&D experience ever devised!

For those of you unaware, the D&D Fourthcore Team Deathmatch is a face-to-face competitive ladder tournament using the 4th Edition D&D ruleset. Full details on rules can be found at the links at the top of the post.

Players will be let in on a first-come, first-serve basis (with a maximum of 32 players), however full teams of four dungeoneers may register by emailing me (here) their Team Name and members' names to reserve their spot. The tournament will consist of an Entry Round debuting E1M4: Astral Ambush, followed by a Semi-Final Round of E1M1: Slaughterhouse, and a Final Round of E1M3: Tomb of the Iron Lich.

Please spread the word to all the dungeoneers you know, and godspeed you to victory!

4E Modern - Wealth and Omega Tech

image from

Whew! I've had quite a rollercoaster ride on both the home front and the work front these last 24 hours. Regardless! It is time to get back into the action, both guns blazing, and deliver some epic Modern adventure. 

Cue James Bond music!

August 29, 2011

4E Modern Delay

For those of you eagerly awaiting the next installment of my 4E Modern series; be patient! I'm swamped at work and can't write up the description of the post and all the appropriate Behind the Scenes kind of notes. If I'm gonna do this, I'm gonna do this right.

Everything should be back on track by tomorrow with 1). Wealth & Omega Tech, 2). Vehicles, and 3). Chase Scenes & Roads.

August 28, 2011

4E Modern – Talents

Talents can take the form of secret and high-grade military training (Spec Op), magical spells (Occult), or psychic powers (Psi). Talents relate specifically to the training or unique experiences your character has had in his or her life.

Talents replace Gamma World Alpha Mutations, but are always chosen by the player and are permanent benefits and powers. Overcharge options have been noticeably removed.

The Talents have been designed as a mix of straight conversions from Gamma World (psi), replications of D&D spells and rituals (occult), and permanent benefits harkening back to many of the common tricks and tactics of d20 Modern feats.

August 27, 2011

4E Modern – Mundane Equipment

Heroes in the modern world typically have access to a wealth of readily available goods and services that are unavailable to their medieval fantasy and post apocalyptic counterparts. Instead of random rolls on a the ancient junk table, Heroes in 4E Modern are able to take the maximum result (1d4+1) or the mundane items roll, and shop for what items they wish, in addition to picking out mundane armor and weaponry. In a modern industrialized world, characters can choose to buy literally anything they need for their current assignment. Anything prohibitively expensive (such as a car), or restricted by military licensing (such as a grenade), however, must be bought with a Wealth Roll. Wealth Rolls will be covered in a later post and are related to Omega Tech. Ammunition, gas, food, travelling expenses, etc. are not tracked and are assumed to be bought and taken care of “off-screen”, unless it is significant to the story.


Gamma World provides a great framework with which to base weapons off of. For a modern game, however, I thought a lot could be gained by providing more granularity here, although keeping far far clear of the kind of pointless detail that d20 Modern, and to a much greater extent Weapons Locker, provided. I split up each generalized category of basic weapon into three different components. I then fiddled around with the proficiency bonuses and damage types to give a bit of range and interesting choices to make for the players involved. Lastly, I chose different ‘Ammo’ effects based on the ammo rules, which really opened up a lot of possibilities and variance amongst the weapons, while at the same time satisfying the immersive aspects of having weapons act as the would in real life (or at least Hollywood). For example, assault rifles tend to have area burst ammo effects, in line with the autofire option of d20 Modern; whereas shotguns attack in a close blast.

You’ll notice many staple armaments, fragmentation grenades for example, are noticeably missing. They will be covered later as I have moved consumable items into the Omega Tech category.

August 26, 2011

4e Modern – Origins

Rewriting Gamma World Origins was conceptually the easiest part of this project for me, the generic class system of d20 Modern meshes pretty well with the Gamma World framework, however it required quite a bit of effort just due to sheer volume. Doing the final layout with the original artwork was pretty rewarding for me, as seeing all those old images brought back some nostalgia for me from the last decade.

For those of you not in the know, Origins represent your core background, training, and party role and fill in the same function as classes do in 4th Edition D&D. 4E Modern Origins function identically to Gamma World Origins, except that all Origins are chosen by the player. Each player chooses two different Origins for their character, gaining the benefits of both. Some Origins, such as "Gunslinger", imply a specific skill-set whereas other Origins, such as "Fast", imply only a generic descriptor and leave all the details up to you.

4E Modern Origins do not provide a bonus to any skills or overcharge. Skills in 4E Modern are identical to those in Gamma World, however, each character simply chooses any three skills to receive a +4 bonus in. Overcharge has been removed from 4E Modern Omega Tech.

August 25, 2011

4E Modern – Basic Rules Changes

To facilitate the style of game I want to play, I've incorporated a number of changes into the base Gamma World system. As with any kind of House Rule, care has been taken such that rules are not added in unnecessarily. Each new House Rule adds its own bit of complexity, coming in with a certain amount of negative impact to the game just by being there, by being a potential source of confusion and one more link in the chain that could break and send the whole system crashing.

August 24, 2011

4E Modern – A Sorbet (Introduction)

In elite culinary circles, a sorbet is often used in between courses of a meal to cleanse the palate of any lingering flavors. Sorbet is so often used because of its sweetness, its tartness, its lack of being a substantial meal. It is a brief, mindless indulgence. The tongue is cleared and ready for a fresh start of the next course’s flavors. When indulging in a certain dish, say a fatty duck or a salty soup, one’s senses can become accustomed and dulled by the relentless assault of that courses flavor, muddying the waters of subsequent courses. When one enjoys a high quality meal, it is not mere sustenance that one is seeking. It is to experience all of the subtle sensory nuances that can be had, to enjoy the food to its fullest extent.

So, too, are our role-playing games; namely Dungeons & Dragons. My thinking about D&D has become quite saturated and a little stale. My creativity has been sapped, and I’m burned out. The chaos surrounding GenCon certainly didn't help. It happens to everyone eventually, really. To help cleanse my palate, I chose a game both dear to my heart, and also containing the same visceral qualities as a delicious sorbet. I chose d20 Modern, produced by WotC back in ’02. Being very familiar with the rules, and not content with a great many of its minutia, I chose to create a Modern day, action-adventure role playing game built on the 4th Edition/Gamma World chassis. All this, in the end, I do to make my D&D game that much better when I inevitably return to it. I'll have a fresh palate, ready to savor the new tastes coming in.

Behold, the fruits of my labor! My most verbose blog post to date.

August 18, 2011

Fourthcore Team Deathmatch - E1M4

I am proud to present the latest map to be added to the Fourthcore Team Deathmatch roster, to be debuted at the upcoming Baltimore-area FTDM Tournament on October 15th, 2011:


tiles from Brian Rollins (

August 13, 2011

Fourthcore Team Deathmatch: Sights & Sounds

During GenCon, I was able to interview the top four FTDM teams. Some interviews were prior to the event, some immediately after.

Fourthcore Team Deathmatch Interview - Team Critzkrieg!

The first minute and a half or so has pretty low volume. My apologies. We had some technical difficulties.

Fourthcore Team Deathmatch Interview - Team Nighthawk!

Fourthcore Team Deathmatch Interview - combined Teams Cellar Dwellers and Don't Make This Weird!

Pictures below!

August 5, 2011

Fourthcore Team Deathmatch – E1M3: Secret

By the time this post goes live, I’ll be at GenCon in Indianapolis preparing to get ready for the showdown of champions known as the Fourthcore Team Deathmatch. It’s a little humbling to think of how long this has all been developing and brewing. The Secret Map, especially, as it was the first map I drafted and had the fewest changes from inception to implementation. Also, it’s the one I’m most proud of, the one I expect to wow the crowds the most. I’m really looking forward to springing this out and seeing the astonished faces of all the Fourthcore Fanatics.