Original SA post
Remember how I said that I'd be trying the idea of vignette-style snapshots posts with a collection of small RPG supplements from one publisher, such as Chris Field? Well guess who I decided would be the best water-tester for the idea
As I've mentioned before, d20 Modern is my roleplaying game system of choice. Yes, as with almost anything, it's flawed, but it was the first roleplaying game I ever played rather than read, the first I dug deep into, and it has stuck with me in my consciousness. What a shame, then, that I have to give it a snapshots introduction in such a way as this.
D20 Modern doesn't exactly have many supplemental publishers anymore. Some of the most prominent ones either disappeared or jumped ship to either True20 or Savage Worlds, leaving the role of most prominent vanguard of paid supplements for the system to...Chris A. Field. Chris is a roleplaying game freelancer who has managed to net work with
different third party publishers over the years, describes himself as a creator of "innovative and unusual roleplaying games" which I guess is true in the most broad sense, likes Rifts, and is a fan of RPGPundit. He's also pro-choice and pro-creator's rights, though, so I guess we can't call him all bad.
We can, however, call the majority of his work pretty fucking insane. I mean, let's quote from the spell list one of his works in progress for starters:
Chris Field posted:
Sexy Furover (restyle a felinoid’s pelt to grant a +1 bonus on sexually oriented Diplomacy checks for a day)
Tit Show (turn armor and clothes transparent for one round, allowing you to activate abilities requiring nudity while wearing them)
Stunning Orgasm (target suffers 1d6 Pleasure and is stunned for ½ that number of rounds, minimum 1 round)
Shahteyan Puberty (female subject gains +2 WIS and CON temporarily, plus an awesome bush)
Anthropomorphize the Problem… And Fuck It (replace any skill check with a DC up to 20 + caster level with a DC 15 Perform (sexual) check instead)
Need I say more?
...Probably not, but I'm going to anyway. FATAL and Friends writers far braver than I have already delved into the depths of the larger sourcebooks of Field's such as the Black Tokyo, PsiWatch, and Otherverse series, but I'm going to do my duty as a cleanup crew for this snapshot post.
Advanced Class Updates
A series from Skorched Urf Studios, Advanced Class Updates consists of supplementals that each deal with one advanced class (basically a prestige class that has 10 levels - for whatever reason, d20 Modern decided to only call 5 level prestige classes by the name of prestige class). While not entirely written by Field, he does make up a brunt of the supplements in this line.
The American Nomad is an advanced class that, in spite of its name, is a worldwide concept: that of the wandering hero who can sniff out problems better than a bloodhound and is hell-bent on solving them. While class is for the most part a defensive-oriented version of the combat-oriented Martial Artist from Wizards of the Coast's core d20 Modern rules, it also has some neat new ideas such as having a small pool of temporary action points that you gain the first time you enter a town that must be used in order to solve that town's problems and the ability to take 10 on Sense Motive checks to sniff out a town's problems. An actually good idea
execution by Field to start us off? Don't worry, it's very much a fluke.
A generic cryomancer-type class. Not really anything objectionable, but the only thing that is particularly weird about it is that you need to be able to speak Russian to take the class. Not be part of a Russian experiment as stated by the flavor text of the class, just speak Russian.
Another unironically interesting idea in the form of a spellcaster that augment themselves with subdermal USB ports that allow them to "download" their spells rather than store them in a traditional spellbook. They are also capable of creating EMP fields and eventually using their computer and magical knowhow to teleport to the source computer of a website. The new spells that they get, however, show them to be huge assholes. These include a spell that deals untyped nonlethal damage when anyone in the spell's radius does an action the Digital Sorcerer deems as rude, a shoplifting spell, a spell that causes the target's gut flora to rebel and
eat them from within
, and a spell that deals more damage the wealthier its target is. The piece de resistance, however, is the spell Biological Imperative, where classic Fieldian hallmarks begin to show up on our journey:
Digital Sorcerer Spell List posted:
You take basic control over the target’s bodily functions. With a shouted word, you can induce vomiting, uncontrollable bowel movements, heart palpitation, short lived seizures, orgasmic contractions, or many other bodily functions. The victim might experience extreme pain or pleasure, but is virtually crippled by this vicious, invasive spell.
And with this, we plunge head-first into full-on Classic Chris Fields with an advanced class for a BDSM mage! With this class, you too can conjure psychic chains, force a save-or-die with your gimp mask, and even become immortal and raise people from the dead. I...I...what?
A generic telekinesis-focused advanced class, which Field of course decides to "spice up" by having the introductory fiction for the class involve a pedophile rapist having his bones snapped one by one by a little girl gravity slinger.
An advanced class that emulates the powers of cannibal giants such as the wendigo and is in no way related to the monster of the same name from Wizards of the Coast's Urban Arcana campaign book. Field, being Field, decides that a good choice of introductory fiction to get us to want to play this class is an ad executive Grendel Spawn eating a hooker and some FBI agents.
Congrats on making a perfectly useable gun-fu class awkward by unironically using the term "Chinaman".
I was sure I mentioned this class back when Bitchtits was doing the rundown of Black Tokyo, and it turns out I was right.
The character is basically an adult-child that can change their age category at will and learns such class features as magic that cannot be used to kill unless you spend an action point, a de-aging touch attack, and the crafting of clockwork soldiers.
One thing I forgot to note back then was that you can permanently give up your adult life and get to be an ageless member of the Fey creature type in exchange.
A class that lets you manipulate light and eventually transform into a being of light. Field, of course, describes transforming into pure energy as being like an orgasm. Because why wouldn't power be associated with sex at this point?
If you were expecting a mundane fighting-based advanced class, you came to the wrong place. Field's Luchadores are all monster hunters whose masks give them superpowers such as punching incorporeal creatures and being able to intimidate undead even if they are mindless.
A Psiblade by any other name would make psychic blades just the same.
NeoWitch Avenger and Guardian:
Anti-witch hunter witches, proving that even classes get into evolutionary arms races. The NeoWitch Avenger is an offensive class with blood magic and Constitution draining powers, while the NeoWitch Guardian is a defensive class that can use a broom as both a flying tool and a quarterstaff. Surprisingly unoffensive classes for Field, even if the name "NeoWitch" is a really stupid-looking without a hyphen.
Green Arrow: the advanced class. This would be our best shot at replicating the balance of good game design and non-Fieldian fluff since the American Nomad, but the introductory text describes a teenage Perfect Archer as "faggoty". Our man Field is pretty good at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
Prince of Doggs:
Male rappers who literally become ravening beasts. The class features have such creative names as "Foam at Da Mouth", "Dark Eyez", and "Muzzle 'Em". I don't think I even need to make snarky jokes at this one, it speaks for itself.
SLAM (Subspace Looped Armor Materialization) Soldier:
This advanced class is apparently meant to be for the PsiWatch setting, so I have no idea why the hell it wouldn't be in a PsiWatch sourcebook instead. This class is entirely focused around letting you teleport in requisitioned gear.
Scion of Masada:
You are a Hassidic Jew who has become a mystic assassin for Mossad. You are so Jewish that Jewish martyr ghosts flock to you and give you superpowers that grant you strength when fighting elementals, demons, and conveniently undefined "enemies of Israel". You can also get possessed by martyr spirits to temporarily have no need to use your lungs (wha?) and have automatic critical hits with your sacred martyr-knives.
Sentai Spectrum Ranger:
You're a Power Ranger. That's about the only way to say it. For whatever reason, rather than giving a list of archetypes you could apply, the type of Power Ranger role you get is defined by your suit color, like so:
Sentai Spectrum Ranger posted:
Pink Sentai Rangers are compassionate and sexy healers. They’re often flirtous and seemingly shallow, but they’re committed to getting all their troops home in one peice. Add Bluff and Treat Injury as class skills. The Pink Sentai Ranger recieves a +1 bonus on all Bluff checks made against someone who finds her sexually attractive, and recieves the Surgery feat.
This also confirms that Chris apparently has issues with "I before E except after C".
The Perfect Archer advanced class, but with shotguns instead of bows.
An advanced class that gives you a collection of abilities associated with the whole "zombie lord" archetype. This would be okay on its own, but Field decided that the class would be restricted to teenagers that committed suicide after years of abuse and rape from their parents.
is with you, Field?!
Wasn't this an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000?
You just spent 10 levels in an advanced class to get the powers of a ghost instead of taking a template. Bet you feel pretty dumb after that, huh?
Another class stated to be meant for PsiWatch, this time one that lets you be a space-flying cyborg who fights starships and pretends to be a bird-person. There's also a class feature that lets you get a marriage bond with another member of your "flock", because Field.
Giants in the Earth
After all of those advanced classes, I'm going to wrap this up with a bestiary of all things. If you couldn't guess, I love dinosaurs. Few people don't. Chris Field certainly doesn't, given he decided to do a dinosaur bestiary.
Somehow, though, he managed to fuck the simple premise of a dinosaur-centric monster manual up. I'm fine with reasonable speculation such as those that show up in the excellent palaeontological book All Yesterdays by Darren Naish and John Conway, but Field apparently decided that there was a point where logic just hinders you. While some of his speculation is quite reasonable, such as having the fish-feeding dinosaur
have a septic bite thanks to rotting flesh caught up in its ragged teeth, there are a few that must be noted for how far beyond logic they go.
A small theropod from the now famous feather-filled fossil beds of China,
has sailed on a breeze of popularity thanks to having four wings. Field, however, thinks that rather than being one of the evolutionary innovators of flight,
was an amphibious creature that used its four wings to paddle through prehistoric swamps.
While Field makes a big statement at the beginning of this tome that his dinosaurs are totally up to date and realistic, he decides to give the large north African apex predator Carcharodontosaurus this special quality:
Giants in the Earth posted:
Mindless (EX): The Carcharodontosaur has one of the smallest and most basic brains in the dinosaur kingdom. It is a mindless, predatory eating machine, driven purely by instinct. The creature is completely immune to all mind-influencing effects, as if it were vermin. The dinosaur cannot be communicated with, trained or influenced.
I'm sure there were even some early 20th Century palaeontologists that would have felt embarrassed at that line of dialogue.
is pretty upfront about what it probably did in life: big "fishhook" claws, crocodile-like head, and namesake sail produce a picture of a well-adapted giant coastal carnivore. Field, however, claims that
should be a saurian cheetah that runs at high speeds and leaps at its prey.
For this dinosaur that needs no introduction, Field decides that a "logical" hypothesis is that its horns leak neurotoxic venom. Not only do venom-producing bones tend to have clear grooves, but why the hell would you even think that? Is the idea of a 30 foot long cow-rhino from hell goring you to death not deterrence enough?
And with that, you've probably had more Chris Field in one dose than you would have ever desired and the first test run of the "Snapshots" style FATAL and Friends post has been made. Whether it's a successful idea or not, I'll probably be doing a more traditional post that deals with a singular book next time.