Grade the Modiphius 2d20 System

How do you feel about the Modiphius 2d20 system?

  • I love it.

    Votes: 8 8.9%
  • It's pretty good.

    Votes: 13 14.4%
  • It's alright I guess.

    Votes: 16 17.8%
  • It's pretty bad.

    Votes: 9 10.0%
  • I hate it.

    Votes: 3 3.3%
  • I've never played it.

    Votes: 37 41.1%
  • I've never even heard of it

    Votes: 4 4.4%


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kronovan

Adventurer
I'm going to go out on a limb and suppose that two of the most popular sci-fi franchises of all time move a lot of books.
There's no doubt that the popularity of 2 franchises which started in the 1960's with novels, movies and in the case of Star trek -multiple TV series- is part of the reason. IMO though, that's not all of it. I've read on a number of forums and blogs that Paramount Consumer Products is quite accomodating to their Star Trek licensees. And it seems that Herbert Properties LLC, which is apparently co-manged by Frank Herbert's son Brian, has evolved that way too. So a TTRPG publisher being able to create much support content quickly is no doubt benefitting from that.

Videogame studios and publishers on the other hand, seem for the most part to be the opposite. Both Bioware and Betheseda are known to be overprotective with their IPs. And as a worst case example, Bungie studios under the driection of Microsoft completely deep-sixed a Halo TTRPG - paid the money and burnt the content. Videogame studios seem to be very protective of their game's and that probably has something to do with the canon being younger. You could probably argue they have more to lose with their canon being taken in new directions by writers other than those on their own staff.
 

I've only played 2d20 Conan, which was the first game in that system. We played for about a year from early 2019 until the COVID lockdown in March 2020. I've talked about it before, but I don't remember if I have done so here.

I will say that I really liked the metacurrency of Doom and Momentum, but it is very divisive. Some people really dislike it. I felt like it was the first mechanic I've seen that directly encouraged cooperation and coordination between the players at all, so at the time it was really enjoyable even it if is gamist to the point of sometimes being unrealistic. You can tell that Modiphius really cared about Howard's world and lore, though. The biggest problem was the book. It was fine for creating a character, but as a table reference or rules manual the layout was really not great and it made playing the game more difficult and frustrating than it had to be. It's easily the worst organization I've seen in any TTRPG book produced in the last 20 years. The second big complaint was how broken (as in borderline non-functional) the magic rules were even with the Magic book. Seth Skorkowsky's review is 100% on point.

I would say that I had an absolute blast playing the 1 year of Conan that we did. I would not give up that one year of gaming at all. At the same time, I have zero interest in ever playing it again, and I'm not really interested in 2d20 as a system in general. I don't really care about the other IPs that Modiphius has gotten.

My understanding is that the book layouts and the overall system have improved with each new release, but I'm just not looking for what they're selling at the moment. Cthulhu? I like Chaosium. Fallout? Eh. Star Trek? Not as a TTRPG. Dune? Not as a TTRPG. Dishonored? This doesn't even seem like the right system. The rest don't really interest me, either.
 

Thomas Shey

Legend
Yeah, Momentum is one of those mechanics I can see as really cool and potentially problematic all at the same time. Besides being a metacurrency, its group functions are very narrative-driving in function, and that might fly badly with some people (I'm not 100% sure how it'd go with either of the two groups I've normally played with)
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
You can tell that Modiphius really cared about Howard's world and lore, though.

Agreed. The one really positive thing I'll say about Modiphius Conan is that, outside of any actual rules, the setting stuff is great.

In fact, in many ways it reminds me of MERP: fiddly 90s rules that don't fit the fiction, but it sure is fun to read the sourcebooks.
 

Kannik

Hero
The biggest problem was the book. It was fine for creating a character, but as a table reference or rules manual the layout was really not great and it made playing the game more difficult and frustrating than it had to be. It's easily the worst organization I've seen in any TTRPG book produced in the last 20 years.
While I might not go so far as to saying it's the worst I've seen, this is a good point to add. I find many RPGs of late are poor in their organization*, and the ST:A book unfortunately was among them.

* You really get a sense of this when, as I do tend to do for games that I play or run (link to mine for ST:A), you make cheat sheets for a game. The amount of backtracking to edit or add to something you'd think had been already covered can be quite surprising.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
While I might not go so far as to saying it's the worst I've seen, this is a good point to add. I find many RPGs of late are poor in their organization*, and the ST:A book unfortunately was among them.

* You really get a sense of this when, as I do tend to do for games that I play or run (link to mine for ST:A), you make cheat sheets for a game. The amount of backtracking to edit or add to something you'd think had been already covered can be quite surprising.
It tickles me that when someone points to some modern published RPG material and notes its brilliant layout/organization, it effectively boils down to "make it look like a good GM's table notes."

* Nice STA cheatsheet, btw!
 

Bill Zebub

“It’s probably Matt Mercer’s fault.”
It tickles me that when someone points to some modern published RPG material and notes its brilliant layout/organization, it effectively boils down to "make it look like a good GM's table notes."

* Nice STA cheatsheet, btw!

It's funny how long it took for adventure writers to realize they could cut out the middleman and just write DM table notes directly.
 

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