Eclipse – d20 Modern Class Breakdowns

I noticed that you have done the Level-by-Level Base Class Breakdowns for fantasy classes. I’m wondering if you’ve done the same for some of the d20 modern/future classes? Thanks.

-Michael Fuller

 Well, that’s simple enough, at least to start with.

The first thing to note with the basic Modern Classes is to recognize that – in Eclipse – Talents and Feats are entirely interchangeable (even if a lot of the official Talents are a bit lame compared to the kind of Feats that fantasy d20 games allow. After all, d20 Modern tries to stay on the “action hero” end of the spectrum, as opposed to the “high fantasy superhero” end). That means that the only real variances in the per-level cost are the extras they get at first level and their BAB/Saves/Defense improvements – so we can construct a quick table of those costs at various levels and, with that, quickly construct a cost table for each of the basic Modern Classes.

BAB Saves Defense
Level Gd Int Pr 1xGd 2xGd 3xGd Pr Int Gd
1 6 0 0 3 6 9 0 6 18
2 6 6 6 3 6 9 6 6 6
3 6 6 0 6 3 0 0 0 0
4 6 6 6 0 0 0 0 6 6
5 6 0 0 3 6 9 0 0 0
6 6 6 6 6 3 0 0 0 6
7 6 6 0 3 6 9 0 6 0
8 6 6 6 0 0 0 6 0 6
9 6 0 0 6 3 0 0 0 0
10 6 6 6 3 6 9 0 0 0

For our cost tables I’ll give the cost of each level and then the total – with negative numbers meaning overspending and positive numbers indicating unspent character points. Of course, an Eclipse character will usually have a few Disadvantages, Adept to cut the cost of their favorite skills, and Fast Learner specialized in something or other.

The Charismatic Hero: (BAB: Pr, Saves; 2Gd, Def; Pr)

  • Each Level: d6 HD (2 CP), 6 SP (6 CP), +1 Feat/Talent (6 CP) = 14 CP
  • Level One: Proficient with All Simple Weapons (3 CP), Action Hero/Heroism with +3 Bonus AP/Level (12 CP), +18 SP (18 CP).
Level L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8 L9 L10
Cost 53 32 17 20 20 23 20 26 17 26
Balance -5 -13 -6 -2 +2 +3 +7 +5 +12 +10

Like most of the Modern Base Classes, the Charismatic Hero starts off front-loaded – although not by very much – and starts falling behind later on, where fantasy characters would be gaining increasingly potent special abilities. Talent Chains and Bonus Feats are handy – but when they’re restricted to non-magical effects they’re a lot less potent.

The Dedicated Hero: (BAB: Int, Saves; 2Gd, Def; Int)

  • Each Level: d6 HD (2 CP), 4 SP (4 CP), +1 Feat/Talent (6 CP) = 12 CP
  • Level One: Proficient with All Simple Weapons (3 CP), Action Hero/Heroism with +3 Bonus AP/Level (12 CP), +12 SP (12 CP).
Level L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8 L9 L10
Cost 51 30 21 24 18 21 30 18 15 24
Balance -3 -9 -6 -6 0 +3 -3 +3 +12 +12

The Charismatic Hero is a reasonably solid build – but in the absence of really robust social mechanics I think I’d rather invest in being a bardic type – or at least in Mystic Artist/Oratory or something.

The Smart Hero: (BAB: Pr, Saves; 1Gd, Def; Pr)

  • Each Level: d6 HD (2 CP), 8 SP (8 CP), +1 Feat/Talent (6 CP) = 16 CP
  • Level One: Proficient with All Simple Weapons (3 CP), Action Hero/Heroism with +3 Bonus AP/Level (12 CP), Fast Learner Specialized in Skills (6 CP), +24 SP (24 CP).
Level L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8 L9 L10
Cost 64 31 22 22 19 28 19 28 22 25
Balance -14 -19 -15 -11 -4 -6 +1 -1 +3 +4

The Smart Hero’s 32 SP at level one tips this class into “overspending” territory at lower levels – but if I wanted to make a similar Eclipse character I’d be looking at a couple of purchases of Adept, to improve my skill point economy. Of course, given my fondness for mages, I’d probably wind up investing a fair chunk of those bonus feats in picking up some abilities from the Truenamer rewrite or something similar.

Tough Hero (BAB; Int, Saves; 1Gd, Def: Int)

  • Each Level: d10 HD (6 CP), 2 SP (2 CP), +1 Feat/Talent (6 CP) = 14 CP
  • Level One: Proficient with All Simple Weapons (3 CP), +6 SP (6 CP), Action Hero/Heroism with +3 Bonus AP/Level (12 CP)
Level L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8 L9 L10
Cost 44 29 26 26 17 26 29 20 20 23
Balance 04 -1 -3 -5 +2 0 -5 -1 +3 +4

The Tough Hero is a light-duty tank. Unfortunately, in d20 Modern, with relatively high-power weapons around, being a tank is usually less than wise. When it comes to a gun battle, getting out of the way is usually more important than being tough.

Fast Hero: (BAB; Int, Saves; 1Gd, Def: Gd)

  • Each Level: d8 HD (4 CP), 4 SP (4 CP), +1 Feat/Talent (6 CP) = 14 CP
  • Level One: Proficient with All Simple Weapons (3 CP), +12 SP (12 CP), Action Hero/Heroism with +3 Bonus AP/Level (12 CP), Fast Learner Specialized in Defense (6 CP)
Level L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8 L9 L10
Cost 66 29 26 26 17 22 23 26 20 23
Balance -16 -19 -19 -19 -10 -6 -5 -5 +1 +4

The Fast Hero wouldn’t be nearly so overspent if it didn’t splurge on a triple dose of Defense at level one. Personally, I’d be more inclined to spend a few points on cheap, indirect, bonuses to my armor class (Augmented Bonus is a good choice) and wait a bit on dipping into Defense.

Strong Hero: (BAB; Gd, Saves; 1Gd, Def: Gd)

  • Each Level: d8 HD (4 CP), 2 SP (2 CP), +1 Feat/Talent (6 CP) = 12 CP
  • Level One: Proficient with all Simple Weapons (3 CP), +6 SP (6 CP), Action Hero/Heroism with +3 Bonus AP/Level (12 CP).
Level L1 L2 L3 L4 L5 L6 L7 L8 L9 L10
Cost 48 27 24 24 21 24 27 18 24 21
Balance 0 -3 -3 -3 0 0 -3 +3 +3 +6

The Strong Hero is basically a fighter with a few proficiencies and hit points pulled off and a big pile of bonus feats and Action Hero tacked on. In a lot of roles and builds a Strong Hero is pretty clearly superior to a basic fighter – if only because the class actually spends almost all it’s points.

Now all of these are pretty much the simplest and most direct builds. Thanks to the fact that all D20 Modern characters start out in one of the basic classes, and the fact that new talents for those classes have been relatively scarce, d20 Modern has evaded quite a bit of the power creep that the fantasy systems have undergone. That means that straightforward builds are perfectly viable in d20 Modern games.

One thing to note is that quite a few d20 Modern Talents – the defenses in particular – really do suck by generic fantasy standards. Thus, in the basic d20 Modern rules, a Tough Hero can spend three (four if you count the prerequisite) Talent selections – in total considered to be worth 18 (or 24) character points – getting DR 3/-. In Eclipse you can buy DR 3/- for 6 character points. Similarly, the Energy Resistance Talent Tree, or the Increased Speed Talent Tree, can be purchased much more cheaply in Eclipse, where superhuman abilities are more or less the norm.

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One Response

  1. Thoth,

    Thanks a lot for the info. I really appreciate your time.

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