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True20, I Think I Love You

Originally published on my blog.

Though I spoke to a few publishers at GenCon, the only ones to provide review copies were the publishers with whom I didn’t do interviews. I find that really odd. Two of the three interviews did offer PDF review copies of their print books, but only after I asked if review copies were available. It might be because the Accidental Survivors aren’t known in those circles, though Chris Pramas at Green Ronin was free enough with the review copy once he learned we were podcasters.

And that is great, because I’ve been doing some reading of True 20, Revised Edition. There’ll be a review proper on the podcast, of course, but I just wanted to fire off a quick note and give the True 20 team a big two thumbs up. I’ve been a big Conan RPG (derived from d20), and that remains my choice for gritty, sword & sorcery type games, but True 20 in its fantasy form looks perfect for heroic fantasy, even low-magic. The three base classes (adept, expert, warrior) along with the heroic character archetypes (like champion, mentor, trickster and many more) is pretty near perfect.

But for my modern games, I’m thinking a synthesis of Modern20 and True 20 (TM20 anyone?). I prefer the ability based classes (call it Dedicated Hero or Empath, whatever), and the use of Backgrounds, Occupations and Hobbies M20 offers, but the mechanics of T20, especially the damage track, would work for everything but the most granular of game moments.

The damage track initially threw me. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized hit points don’t do anything differently. True, by decreasing by points rather than by sections, they are more–her comes that word again–granular, but is that really necessary? I usually graft on injury rules in order to replicate degrading abilities due to damage. The damage track does that automatically. It also allows for one-shot kills, though this is very, very difficult. M20‘s called shot system will help with that.

Something to note, most of the rules are available in the Pocket Player’s Guide. I asked, and the rules there are apparently the same as in the Revised, just that the explanations have been updated, so that is always an option. The cool thing about the Revised rule book are the options for adapting True 20 to fantasy, horror, sci-fi and modern. As mentioned above, I especially like the fantasy archetypes and their interaction with the three basic classes. The information for the other genres is also pretty good.

I’m a fan. Now I just have to find a group to play my new favouritest game with me!