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E.N. Mini-Games - Infinite: Epic Modern $3.75 $1.88
Publisher: EN Publishing
by Mark G. [Featured Reviewer] Date Added: 01/28/2006 00:00:00
?Infinite: Epic Modern? is a 29 page pdf in the E.N. Mini Games line by E.N. Publishing. This line is intended to ?present a new game run using the system you already know, each tweaked to suite the style and genre of the game in question.? Infinite is a minigame designed to allow you to advance your modern characters beyond 20th level.

The product is broken up into 5 chapters, detailing the Hidden Master (your epic opponents), basic rules for epic level play, a collection of epic feats, a collection of epic prestige classes, and some campaign option material. The product is bookmarked, has a clear open game content declaration, and is labels as requiring ?the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game?.

The premise of the product is that there is a secret organization known as the Hidden Masters, who have secretly been ruling or manipulating the world for centuries. It is the heroes? role to oppose this organization. It is designed to have a pulp feel, while set in modern days (referring to itself as Postmodern Pulp). The first chapter introduces the Hidden Masters which includes 7 men and 2 women. The masters have mythic or historical origins ? having been worshipped as gods, rulers of ancient lands, mid-age despots, or even Victorian scientists ? and thus resonant as more ?real? than a purely original cast. Each character has a paragraph of information, detailing their origin and role in the Hidden Masters? organization. The statistics of the Hidden Masters is not provided. There is also a discussion of the Hidden Masters servants and the Prometheus group that has stood against the Hidden Masters throughout time. Overall, this section covers only 3 pages of the product.

The second section (4 pages), provides a number of basics on epic play. Although the product indicates that it requires ?the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game? it is apparent from the introduction of this section that the GM also needs to be familiar with the Epic Level Handbook from WOTC. This section summarizes some of the information in the Epic Level Handbook as it applies to d20 Modern.

Unfortunately, as a summary it tends to leave little details out. For instance it takes about an epic attack bonus, but does not clearly spell out that this will not result in gaining more iterative attacks. Since there are no example npcs in this book, there is also no opportunity for the reader to infer this from examples. The discussion of action points indicates at 21st level a character rolls 4d6 instead of continuing and fixing the progression that is seen in the d20 modern rulebook.

There is a template for a ?Chosen? character that is destined for greatness; it gains +4 to all abilities, is considered epic for selecting feats and talents (regardless of level) and has an effective character level of +3 (even though effective character level is not a mechanic that exists within d20 Modern). Next the product details the 11th through 20th level progress for the basic classes (following the same talent, feat progression as levels 1-10) and then introduces new epic talent trees. The talent trees in this section do not follow the traditional talent trees in a number of ways. Some of the talents are simply reassigned epic feats from the d20 fantasy system (even though talents are traditional ? feats), some of the talents add to a chain incorrectly (Perfect Ignore Hardness ? ignores an additional 2 points of hardness (for a total of 10) even though each other in the chain add only 1 and additional +2 would make (5 total)), some talents requiring non-traditional features (skill ranks, specific feats, or ability score minimums). There is no explanation in the text why the book diverges from the original material so much here. The formatting of the talents is also inconsistent with prerequisites listed at the top (like feats do) some of the time and at the bottom (some of the time) as talents normally do. The final failure of this section is that advanced classes, follow the exact same progression as the base classes and no effort was made to add epic levels to them even though it is likely that characters entering epic level will have taken advanced classes.

In the third section (4 pages), covers a handful of epic feats with a modern twist. One of the things that bugs me about this product is all the heavy lifting, I mean this is supposed to be a mini-game (something that is supposed to be a sort of pickup and play sort of game) and yet I?m greeted by this phrase in this chapter:

?Infinite uses the following feats from the Epic SRD?

The product then lists a number of feats that would work, except they are d20 fantasy feats and in some cases have cannot be taken because their perquisites do not exist in d20 Modern (Epic Weapon Specialization for one). It also provides the advice:

?A GM who uses magic or psionics in the campaign may wish to make other feats from the Epic SRD available.?

But provides no other guidance on the matter. The product also makes no effort to tell the purchaser where the Epic SRD is located. I wonder?would it have added a lot of time to download and organize the relative sections for the customer instead of making them write and reorganize ? the material they would need?

The epic feats the author did manage to create often make sense and fit within the epic type very well. Two that have a problem are Arsenal which reference Weapon Specialization and Greater Weapon Focus and Bullet Time which allows you to make a Reflex save to avoid an attack by spending an action point, but then states that it?s a full round actions which is strange that we are allowed to take reflexive full round actions. In a couple of places, feats like Epic Living Weapon would not have been needed at all if the author had made the effort to develop epic progressions for the advanced classes.

The fourth and largest section of the book (9 pages) details prestige classes appropriate for this sort of campaign. The prestige classes are adventurer, avenger, champion, discoverer, immortal, legacy, mentor and paragon. Each of the prestige classes is only 5 levels and quite generic yet ionic. There represent the thrillseeker working against impossible odds, a person consumed with revenge, person with an ethical ideal, hero in search of the truth, characters made immortal by the Hidden Masters, the son or daughter of another great hero, the retired hero who trains the next generation and the hero dedicated to personal perfection. Most of the prestige classes have no dedicated skill lists and instead offer the option of selecting a number of skills to be class skills. The prestige classes seem to also spread nicely across the strong, fast, touch, smart, dedicated and charismatic character types. A number of the class features are modernized versions of d20 fantasy features and don?t really seem that epic in comparison to some of the feats (example Danger is my Business grants luck bonus +1/level which is not greatly more powerful than a paladin?s divine grace, or Nemesis is essential a +1/level version of the Ranger?s favored enemy, or the 5th level (Character level 25th) Spirit of Vengence that is the 1st level Barbarian rage triggered by an action point.

The last section is a 2 page campaign options section that a discussion of optional rules (ultratech, magic and psionics) and a selection of campaign ideas (how your characters fit into this campaign model).



LIKED: I liked the setting details.
Support sample adventure exists as a free download (uploaded yesterday) on E.N. World.
Layout, editing, and grammar was all very solid.
Clear OGC declaration.


DISLIKED: No sample masters or minions provided.
Talents are inconsistent with current design standards.
Feats chapter is done in a barely adequate because it forces the purchase to do a lot of work and conversion themselves.
Although the Prcs are ionic their abilities are not very epic.
No epic development of advanced classes.

QUALITY: Disappointing

VALUE: Satisfied


Rating:
[3 of 5 Stars!]
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E.N. Mini-Games - Infinite: Epic Modern
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