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Dungeons & Dragons spin-off d20 Modern is getting a D&D 5E spiritual successor from some of its original creators

We could be heroes, just for one play.

20 years after its original release for Dungeons & Dragons’ third edition, the RPG’s spin-off d20 Modern will serve as inspiration for a new spiritual successor based on D&D 5E: Everyday Heroes.

Released in 2002 and based on the d20 System used in D&D 3E, the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game relocated Dungeons & Dragons to a modern-day Earth setting, swapping the fantasy world’s widespread use of magic for more ‘realistic’ weaponry such as guns.

In place of D&D’s fantasy classes were a series of heroes built around six core D&D stats such as strength, dexterity and intelligence, with characters able to advance into specialisations such as field medic, gunslinger, bodyguard and techie as they progressed. Characters could also take up careers that granted them wealth - a new mechanic in the RPG that indicated a character’s financial standing in the world.

Another addition to D&D’s gameplay was the use of action points, a finite pool that could be spent to boost the outcome of tests such as skill checks and saving throws, but could be recovered slowly by gaining levels.

Later supplements and expansions released during the RPG’s four-year lifespan introduced more fantastical elements such as telepathic powers and supernatural monsters, as well as alternate settings in the past and future, with 2003’s Urban Arcana bringing aspects of original D&D - such as spells and monsters - across to the Earth setting of d20 Modern.

Upcoming RPG Everyday Heroes is billed as a spiritual successor to d20 Modern, drawing from the game’s contemporary setting and changes to D&D’s classic gameplay. The new RPG will be built on the updated system used by Dungeons & Dragons 5E via Wizards of the Coast’s Open Gaming License, which allows third-party creators to use elements of D&D 5E’s rules in their own games. The core rulebook will be a standalone release; players will not need to own D&D 5E to use it.

Everyday Heroes will retain d20 Modern’s use of basic classes centred on core D&D stats, but will introduce a number of new character subclasses, backgrounds and professions, along with expanded rules for firearms, armour and cover, while overhauling other parts of d20 Modern’s system - including a revamped wealth mechanism and revised rules for both foot and car chases.

Everyday Heroes will be the first release from newfounded publisher Evil Genius Productions, with original d20 Modern co-designer Jeff Grubb and producer Stan Brown contributing to the reimagining of the older game alongside the studio’s team. Grubb said that Everyday Heroes would use d20 Modern “as inspiration, not duplication”.

Everyday Heroes is due to launch on Kickstarter this spring, ahead of a planned release in winter 2023. The core rulebook will be followed by supplements focused on weapons, the military and vehicles in spring, summer and fall of next year.


About the Author

Matt Jarvis avatar

Matt Jarvis

Editor-in-chief, Dicebreaker

After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.

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