Everyday Heroes, The Rebirth Of d20 Modern: An Interview

d20 Modern is coming back under a new title with a new system. The first teaser information caused a nice bit of interest leading to this interview with Dave Scott of Evil Genius Productions. In this, he shares some more details for the upcoming Kickstarter and book.

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EGG EMBRY (EGG): This is an exciting concept to bring back to tabletop and I’m eager to talk with you about it. What are you bringing to crowdfunding?
: We’re refreshing d20 Modern by updating it to the 5e system. We brought a few of the original team back to help us with this refresh.

EGG: What will the name of this project be?
: The project is called “Everyday Heroes™.” We picked that name because we wanted to distinguish it from the super hero genre. This game is about the John McClanes (Die Hard), the John Rambos (First Blood), even the Snake Plisskens (Escape from New York). It’s about the heroes that look like you and me, but are capable of extraordinary things.

EGG: Are you planning a core rulebook? What about a monster manual or a campaign setting?
: The initial release will include a core rulebook. We’re also planning a few expansions. One will be focused on weapons, another on master villains. We also want to do an expansion focused on our military – the real everyday heroes.

EGG: This project brings the modern world to 5e. What inspired that?
: I have always loved modern RPGs – Top Secret, Champions, James Bond, and Spycraft. These were the games I played when I was a kid. Some people wanted to play in a fantasy setting, but I always wanted to recreate my favorite action movies.

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Dave Scott (left) and Jeff Grub (right)​

EGG: Who is working on this project?
: We’ve assembled an amazing team of designers, some well-known and some new to the industry. On the “well-known” side, we have Jeff Grubb. He was not only one of the original designers of the game, but also known for some of the most iconic games in the field. On the other side, we have Chris Ramsley. I fell in love with their work on Dungeon Master’s Guild where I discovered them. All Chris’ was rated 5 stars.

EGG: What makes this the right time to bring this classic to a new edition?
: Given that this is the 20th anniversary of d20 Modern, we felt like this was the right time to do this project. As I started to do my homework, I was blown away by how many people are still running the d20 Modern system – holding it together with gum and tape.

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EGG: I’m glad you’re bring them a new version to play. There have been other modern 5e projects such as Ultramodern5 REDUX or the cyberpunk GeneFunk 2090. Not to denigrate those projects, but what separates your version from those?
: I would classify both of those games as being a future or science fiction setting. Everyday Heroes is rooted in today’s world. When we first launched the game, we promised each other that the most advanced technology in the game will be a smart phone. This game pays homage to all of the great action films of the 80s, 90s, 00’s, and today.

EGG: That’s a fair call out. You’re still in early days on this project, yes? What sort of stretch goals are you considering for this campaign?
: We’re planning to go above and beyond the typical stretch goals such as new classes or special edition covers. We’ll have those, but we have some exciting stretch goals in mind. I can’t announce anything yet, but stay tuned.
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EGG: Beyond d20 Modern, what else are you working on?
: We see d20 Modern as a platform to launch several campaign settings. As far as we’re concerned, we consider the modern era as everything from the 1900’s to the near future. There is a lot of storytelling within that window.

EGG: Thanks for talking to me about this project. Where can fans learn more about your work?
: Please visit our website or check out our Kickstarter page.

Everyday Heroes: The Roleplaying Game from Evil Genius Productions
Everyday Heroes is a tabletop roleplaying game for the modern world using officially licensed content from your favorite action films.”

Egg Embry participates in the OneBookShelf Affiliate Program, Noble Knight Games’ Affiliate Program, and is an Amazon Associate. These programs provide advertising fees by linking to DriveThruRPG, Noble Knight Games, and Amazon.

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Egg Embry

Egg Embry

Well, then the ad copy should not explicitly say stuff that contradicts the art direction. Last time I checked, "every day people" weren't more muscle bound than Jack Reacher but maybe you run in circles that include professional wrestlers, body builders and other chemically enhanced super-men?
It's a little more John Matrix (Commando) than John Rambo, but it's not that far off.

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I wish for them total success in their project. I hope someday it was translated to my language.

Was d20 Modern published 20 years ago? Oh! I didn't notice! I bought some books, but d20 Future.

I don't mind sourcebooks about "crunch", firearms and high-tech gadgets, but I miss paranormal monsters, for example the famous walking dead.

Sir Brennen

I wonder, though, if they see this as somewhat of a "generic" system, like the original D20 Modern was. That is, even though Dave says it's about recreating action movies and not sci-fi like other similar products, could you easily create material to adapt the core rules to a sci-fi or urban fantasy game with it? Horror?


Well, then the ad copy should not explicitly say stuff that contradicts the art direction. Last time I checked, "every day people" weren't more muscle bound than Jack Reacher but maybe you run in circles that include professional wrestlers, body builders and other chemically enhanced super-men?

Hell's bells. What a ridiculous hill to pick a fight on. I work near a gym and I see folks like that all the time. The add copy doesn't say "your, specifically LongTimeLurker's, everyday", just "everyday".

Is today Pedantic Friday, and I missed the memo?


Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Well, then the ad copy should not explicitly say stuff that contradicts the art direction. Last time I checked, "every day people" weren't more muscle bound than Jack Reacher but maybe you run in circles that include professional wrestlers, body builders and other chemically enhanced super-men?
Everyday HEROES. Which can include police, firefighters, rescue operations. It can include people who are idolized, like professional sports and Olympic trainers. It can include spies and lifeguards and martial artists too. And yes, I know a couple people who body build, who are not chemically enhanced and look about like that. If you don't that's fine. But your criticism seems oddly over the top - muscle bound exaggeration, even. Was it perhaps chemically enhanced by caffeine and cynicism? :)

This might be alright? Let's hope they do more with it than WoTC did with the original; it was t he most underwhelming (boring even) system I've ever invested time in learning.
I liked that they made an official D&D-compatible modern-day game.

I disagreed with a LOT of design decisions in d20 Modern.

I hated the base/advanced/prestige class system. . .forcing characters to take generic "base" classes their first 3 levels before they could qualify for the advanced class that was usually more what their character concept was.

I really disliked the wealth bonus system. I figured it out and could make it work, but so many people couldn't and there were so many misunderstandings and errors in how that system was run in so many games. It was a good idea in theory, to have a game mechanic to represent someone's wealth in modern finance terms with concepts like bills, credit, net income etc. all abstracted. . .but when players are used to dealing with D&D gold coins first, going from that to an abstract number where it's fully possible to buy many everyday items at essentially no cost to the character (because the character could easily afford the items without it noticeably affecting their finances) was confusing for a lot of players.

The subdual/nonlethal damage system was awful. I get that it was probably meant to be able to imitate long, drawn out brawls (like a boxing match or maybe that long fistfight in They Live). . .but it also meant that most characters literally couldn't knock out other characters unless they heavily optimized for nonlethal unarmed combat.

Hit Points. It would have worked wonderfully if it had used the same Wound Point/Vitality Point system that had been introduced in the d20 versions of Star Wars (and entered into Open Game Content in Unearthed Arcana), but they steadfastly stuck with HP entirely to make it more readily compatible with D&D (despite a conversion to using HP being trivial to implement).

I really think they overdid it on the weapons and armor table, putting all kinds of really exotic equipment in the core book that was way more obscure in real life than something that should be in the equipment guide of a modern-day RPG.

I get they wanted the supernatural elements to be D&D compatible, but Urban Arcana felt indecisively stuck between 1990's "Urban edgy, dark, gothic" stuff like World of Darkness and D&D's usual tone.

Greg K

I didn't think the original was that bad, but I did have some issues with it. It has been a while since I looked at the rules as I switched to Savage Worlds when the best d20M third parties made an exodus to that system, but these are the issues that I recall having with d20M:

1. Not explaining the rationale for the d20M multiclassing rules in the core rule book. They appeared in a supplement published by The Game Mechanics, a third party company started by the creators of d20M
2. Escalating Hit Points: Wound/Vitality would have been better.
3. The Tough Hero tree abilities were kind of meh
4. Martial Arts/styes: Fixed by Blood and Fists (RPGObjects) which expands upon the Combat Martial Arts and Defensive Martial Arts Feats by having them as pre-requisites for martial arts stye feats based on real world styles that open up maneuvers and special abilities associated with a given style. it also added new advanced classes (e.g. Martial Arts Master, Contemplative Master, Bar Room Brawler), and rules for Ki and Pressure Points.
5. FX Magic Rules: Fixed by replacing the official magic rules with Elements of Magic: Mythic Earth (EN Publishing)
6. FX Psionic Rules: Fixed by replacing the official rules with Psychic's Handbook (Green Ronin)
7. I seem to recall a problem with autofire rules
8. Several of the official supplements-- especially, d20 Past
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I hope this truly is a standalone core rule book. With Ultramodern5 REDUX you need 5E core rule books too as some of the rules from those weren't printed in the Ultramodern5 REDUX book. Kind of a pain.

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