Ultramodern Firearms d20

By on 23 February 2008

Ultramodern Firearms d20 is a hardback book comprising 160 pages. The cover is simple and uncomplicated with a colour image of some weaponry and ammunition on the front and an image of rows of weapons on the back, while the interior is printed on non-glossy paper. Almost every weapon listed within has a black and white image (those that don’t have an image are, in the majority of cases, similar in appearance to one those already presented). Finally, new rules are presented in an easy to digest manner adding to the view that the presentation and layout is of a very high standard.

With a title of “Ultramodern Firearms d20” it is fairly obvious as to its likely content. Divided into seven chapters (Pistols, Submachine Guns, Assault Rifles, Rifles, Shotguns, Machineguns, and Ammunition) with three appendices (Glossary, Weapons in Use, and d20 Game Statistics) the relevant information is easy to find.

In addition to the chapters, there is the Introduction, which serves to explain the purpose of the supplement in greater detail as well as exposing the majority of misconceptions regarding firearms (especially silenced weapons – my personal bugbear). Following this are additions to the d20 Modern rules system including a simple conversion to the damage value which makes allowance for those who which to use the supplement with the vitality point/wound point damage system (such as Star Wars and Spycraft). Also included are ten new feats for use with firearms.

At the end of the introduction is the Features Index. This handy table allows you, as player or GM, to see, at a glance, how weapons compare with each other in categories such as silenced, concealable, large magazine, common, and inexpensive.

Each chapter, apart from Ammunition, opens with two or three pages detailing how that particular type of weapon works, in layman terms, as well as supplemental rules for use with d20 Modern. Following this are the details of individual weapons, ordered by manufacturer. Each weapon follows a similar layout, detailing the weapon name (followed by different version names), calibre, length, weight, magazine capacity and type, a descriptive paragraph or two, d20 Modern rules for use (if applicable) and a stat block. The stat block provides the standard information required for play: damage, critical range, damage type, range increment, rate of fire, size, purchase DC and restriction.

The Ammunition chapter opens with four pages detailing the different types of ammunition available, and even provides outline images (at 1:1 scale) allowing players to understand just how big some of these rounds are (the .50 Browning rifle round might scare a few people!). Like the other chapters, it also contains some rules that supplement those presented in the d20 Modern rulebook.

Of the appendices, perhaps the most useful is Weapons In Use. This appendix lists individual countries further split by Service (army, police, special forces, etc) and details their primary weapons. This sort of information is a boon to the average GM in that it allows levels of realism to be maintained.

It must be said that, in a small number of cases, the information appears to be contradictory to real life experiences. Perhaps this is to be expected as converting something a complex as weaponry into game statistics can be a very subjective experience. Regardless, barring these very small contradictions, the information provided contains everything you need to use the weapons in your games.

An extremely well written supplement, Ultramodern Firearms d20 will be of instant use to all d20 Modern players. Its price compares favourably with its main competition (Spycraft’s Modern Arms Guide) and the addition of the damage conversion rule will no doubt be of interest to Spycraft players. Finally, the hardback format is a boon and will ensure that heavy use won’t shorten the shelf life of the supplement.

About Dave McAlister

Dave has been roleplaying for over 30 years, having played and/or run most mainstream systems with the espionage genre being an early favourite. So much so that, in 1999, he started Modus Operandi. That same year he joined the Sarbreenar “Living” campaign team as their plotline controller before moving across to the Living Spycraft campaign team (as UK Regional Branch Director) in 2003. 2003 also saw the birth of UK Role Players as well as Dave’s first freelance writing appointment (co-writing World Militaries and consulting on both US Militaries and Battlegrounds, all for Spycraft).

Since then, Dave has concentrated on supporting the UK gaming scene. He has organised and run several small, one-day, events and was the RPG Area Manager for Gen Con UK in 2004. His current favourite systems are Dungeons & Dragons (specifically 5th Edition), Savage Worlds and Cinematic Unisystem. He has a (currently neglected) blog at dave.mcalister.org.uk and runs a D&D 5e SRD website at DnD5e.info.

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