Review: Ultramodern4

Today I’ll be doing a review of one of my hands-down favorite products ever, and easily my favorite supplement for D&D 4th Edition I’ve seen. With this book and the core D&D books, you have suddenly cracked open 95% of all flavors of the possible action-adventure genres to play with.

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Are you ready for a supplement that should and could have been a core gamebook?

The Game:

Ultramodern4 is a third-party supplement for D&D 4th edition, but before you start waving splatbooks angrily at me, take another look: this sucker is something like 300 pages long, and chock-full of mechanical details. It reads like one of the core 4e books, something halfway between a Player Handbook and the DM Guide with a small dozen pages or so of monsters in the 4e block format. RPGNow lists the following possibilities for genres to explore:

  • Cyberpunk
  • Espionage
  • Modern warfare
  • Space opera
  • Technofantasy
  • Urban fantasy
  • Wild west, with or without aliens

While not wrong, this list vastly understates the breadth of what you can do with this supplement book.

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Tangent: Collectibility and Ready-to-play Miniatures

This was sparked by seeing the latest news from WizKids, announcing 44 new D&D miniatures in collectible form. I wanted to touch on where I’ve seen this form of selling miniatures before, and where I think it succeeds and fails.

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Looking back at D&D 4e, Part 3

Sorry for the delay in finishing this section up; I’ve started a new job, and while exciting and engaging, it has siphoned away an unexpected great deal of my free time.

This is the final post covering the legacy (Thus far) of D&D 4th Edition, as covered in my two previous posts on 4e in general and the books released for 4e. Finishing with this, and I’ll hopefully be able to release more posts with more free games and reviews in the near future.

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Impressions: GMing Styles

So, this one is a temporary tangent from my previous discussions, but still an interesting topic. A few days ago, my wife and I were discussing DMing for D&D, and the discussion of GMing styles came up, whereupon we realized that we both sit on opposite ends of a spectrum I hadn’t thought about before. I very much trend towards Flowing game styles, and she towards Structured game styles.

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Tangent: How Many Skills Are Too Many Skills?

So something that has been on my mind lately as I’ve been brainstorming a new RPG (Inspired by the freeform skill/flaw choices in Eric Nieudan’s amazing White Books) is the concept of Skills. There seems to be two main schools of thought, and each has two subsections I’ll discuss a bit as well. The first of these categories is Structured Skills, indicating that the skills come from some sort of list that the player picks from and records, while the other is Freeform Skills, where the players are free to make up their own skills rather than pick from a list.

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Of the two groups, I have to say I heavily prefer Freeform, as it allows for far greater flexibility when making a character and generally requires less memorizing of rules as well. Examples of this include Risus and one of my personal favorites, Simple D6. Freeform skill systems also fall on a gradient, between Mechanical and Fluffy.

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