BASTARDS d20 For The Criminally Inclined
Imagine the adrenaline of bolting out of the bank, a gun in one hand and a bag of cash in the other only to find the police are pulling up just then. Overhead you hear a helicopter and look up to see one from the local news watching you intently, and then you are thankful you're still wearing your mask. As one of the officers steps out of the cruiser, you open up on him. You see the one cop drop in a shower of glass from the car window. His partner fires wildly but you're already on your way. Bullets rip through the air around you as you round the corner and are gone down the alleyway. You dive into the waiting car out of sight of the chopper and your buddy guns the engine. You toss your mask and the cash into the back and grab the locked and loaded M-16 on the back seat, just in case they catch up with you. Thankfully for them, they don't.
Introduction: Crime Pays
Imagine the adrenaline of bolting out of the bank, a gun in one hand and a bag of cash in the other, only to find the police are pulling up just then. Overhead you hear a helicopter and look up to see one from the local news watching you intently, and then you are thankful you're still wearing your mask. Well, you resolve, now you've really got to get away. As one of the officers steps out of the cruiser you open up on him. In a hail of gunfire you run. You see the one cop drop in a shower of glass from the car window. His partner fires wildly at you but you're already on your way. Bullets rip through the air around you as you round the corner and are gone down the alleyway. You dive into the waiting car out of sight of the chopper and your buddy guns the engine. The powerhouse Chevy Nova roars to life and tears away. You toss your mask and the cash into the back and grab the locked and loaded M-16 on the back seat, just in case they catch up with you. Thankfully for them, they don't.
If that is role-playing excitement to you, than you are one of the Criminally Inclined. So welcome to BASTARDS: a game of crime, big guns, muscle cars, drugs and self-serving pricks. This is a game where you play the other side of the law, you don't just skirt the edge of what is legal, or even break the law to do the right thing, you break the law for a living and will gun down anyone who gets in your way, man, woman or child. You exist to serve yourself and sometimes maybe even your friends.
you break the law for a living and will gun down anyone who gets in your way
The default setting for this game is Miami, Florida in 1987 at the height of the drug trade. Miami is split between numerous factions all looking to get a piece of the action. You have Columbian cartels, Cuban smugglers, Mafia families from other areas and more street gangs than you can shake a broomstick at. All with the characters in the middle playing all sides to make as much money as possible. Or maybe they work for one side as a war breaks out, or are independents in town to take over or bring a power player down in the name of revenge. All the following rules are geared toward making characters for a game set in the 1980s, but this product can easily be made to work for other classic crime periods.
This supplement is intended for use with the Spycraft d20 rules set published by Alderac Entertainment Group (AEG). Many of the rules and information presented there has not been reproduced here, only referenced by chapter and page number. To use this product you will need a d20 Core Rulebook being either Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition Player's Handbook, d20 Modern, Call of Cthulhu or Star Wars Revised, all published by Wizards of the Coast and a copy of the Spycraft Espionage Handbook published by AEG. The writing of this product used the following books as well so you may wish to include them to enhance your experience; these include the Spycraft line of products, namely the Modern Arms Guide and Class Guides Soldier/Wheelman, Snoop/Faceman and Fixer/Pointman, all published by AEG. However, these are not needed to use this product. Other useful products you may be interested in include Stargate SG-1 d20 also published by AEG, and Ultramodern Firearms by Green Ronin Publishing.
As a final note, I feel I must make known this product would not have been possible and at least half credit for concept is due to my good friend Dan Pelligrini who helped build the concept in a rather long online brainstorming session.
Chapter 1: The Makings Of A Criminal
This chapter is meant to supplement Chapter 1 Agent Creation of the Espionage Handbook.
Concept: The first step in the creation of any role-playing character should be concept. First, you should check with your GM to see if he has anything special in mind for the story of the campaign. If not, you have a little more flexibility. First you should decide where your character is from and what caused this person to become a criminal. Once you have that determined, you should decide what kind of criminal you want to play. Do you want to be a gun toting thug or a sleek wheelman driving the getaway car? You get the point. Once you have your concept you are ready to continue.
Ability Scores: Ability Score generation should be your next step, but some people like to do this step first to see what a character's strengths and weaknesses are before building a concept. Always check with your GM to see what type of generation he prefers you use. These methods are described in the Player's Handbook as well as the Dungeon Master's Guide.
gun toting thug or sleek wheelman?
Departments: In the place of races, Spycraft uses Departments to detail where a character was trained. In BASTARDS, Departments are used for the same purpose but in the place of formal training; usually characters tend to learn from a mentor or the typical school of hard knocks. Departments are detailed on pages 17-19 of the Espionage Handbook.
For the purposes of BASTARDS, all Departments are allowed with the exception of D-3 Computer Espionage. This is to reflect the fact that in the 1980s, computers were not a major part of society like they are today. If the GM wishes to set the game in a more modern setting than D-3 would definitely be allowed.
The Class Guide book series introduces a number of new Departments and the "Macro-Department" option. While this product does not assume the use of those Departments, they would be allowed if approved by the GM. Always check first as he may wish to change them slightly to fit the setting or not allow them at all for simplicity's sake.
Classes: Classes explain a character's profession or area of expertise and are detailed on pages 20-34 of the Espionage Handbook. All Classes are allowed as presented there with the exception that Computer is no longer a class skill for the Snoop, and the Wheelman's Custom Ride ability is a starting bonus of $4000 plus $1000 every four levels to be spent on vehicles or vehicle modifications; any unspent cash can be saved for later use on the vehicle. The only other alteration is the abolition of Budget and Gadget Points, which is discussed in Chapter 4: The Devil's In The Details.
Prestige Classes: Prestige Classes are advanced character options in the form of higher-powered Classes available during the later stages of a character's career. The use of Prestige Classes is optional to the whim of the GM. This product assumes they are not used for the sake of simplicity, as many of the Spycraft Prestige Classes are specialized beyond the scope of this game. If a GM wishes, he may include them, it is his game after all.
Multi-Classing: Sometimes a player may wish to change the focus of a character and acquire the talents of another class. This is referred to as Multi-Classing. Multi-Classing is described in the Core Rulebook, as well as page 34 of the Espionage Handbook. BASTARDS, however, takes a different slant on Multi-Classing. In addition to the rules presented in the Espionage Handbook, a character also gains all core abilities available at 1st level with the exception of maximum Vitality and x4 Skill Points.
Chapter 2: Street Knowledge
This chapter is meant to supplement Chapter 2 Skills of the Espionage Handbook. Skills represent what your character knows and how good they are at it. For the purposes of this product all rules presented in the Espionage Handbook in Chapter 2 Skills, pages 36-66 are unchanged. How's that for simple?
Chapter 3: A Cut Above The Rest
This chapter is meant to supplement Chapter 3 Feats of the Espionage Handbook.
Feats: Feats are special abilities every character possesses that make them more than the average person. Maybe it's a secret stash of cash or the ability to hammer on a trigger faster than most, either way, these are what make you cooler than the other guy. Spycraft offers extended feat trees beyond most other d20 games to give some really cinematic abilities.
Most of these Feats are unchanged from the descriptions on pages 68-94. The only changes are as follows: The Feats Career Operative, page 69, and Field Operative, page 87, are renamed Career Criminal and Playing All Sides respectively. The feat Extra Budget, page 86, is renamed Extra Dough and has the benefit of giving a one time bonus of $5000 instead of the extra budget points, this feat may be taken multiple times. The Feat Filthy Rich, page 91, has the benefit of giving the character a bonus of $1000 every one month of game time instead of every mission; this Feat may be taken multiple times. The Feats Signature Gear, page 86, and Signature Gadget Or Vehicle, page 87, are combined into the Feat Signature Gear Or Vehicle which has the benefit of giving the character one item or upgrade up to an $800 cash value for free, this feat may be taken multiple times but only one item or upgrade my be received per Feat. The Feat Extra R&D Support, page 86, is eliminated completely.
New Feat: BASTARDS introduces a new Feat to add to the already extensive list:
Tough As Nails (Basic Combat Feat)
You are tougher than most people in your position.
Benefit: This Feat increases the Vitality Die available to a class by one type. For example, d4 would become d6, d6 would become d8, d8 would become d10 and d10 would become d12. This Feat may be taken multiple times but the die type can never increase beyond d12. If this Feat is taken at first level than the max Vitality is figured using the increased die type. The effects of this Feat are not retroactive. As an example, if a character were to take this feat at 5th level they would not go back and alter their 4 previous Vitality rolls or total.
Chapter 4: The Devil's In The Details
This chapter is meant to supplement Chapter 4, Finishing Touches of the Espionage Handbook.
Description: Now that you have all the vital statistics for your character, all you need to do is flesh them out and make them a person. Decide what you want your character to look like and decide how old they are, where they are from, their motivations, etc. This really is just a time to complete your concept from Chapter 1.
Backgrounds: Backgrounds are some really nifty things introduced in Spycraft to give your character more depth. Backgrounds are optional and you should check with your GM before taking them. Backgrounds are described on pages 96-98 of the Espionage Handbook. The rules concerning backgrounds are unchanged for BASTARDS with the exception that time is gaged by play session instead of by mission, as BASTARDS tends to not have clearly defined missions.
BASTARDS tends to not have clearly defined missions.
Action Dice: Spycraft changes the rules for critical hits and misses slightly from other d20 material in the form of Action Dice. Action Dice can also be used to help a character focus and perform actions better as well. Action Dice are described in detail on pages 99-101. All rules concerning Action Dice are unchanged.
Starting Cash: The use of Budget and Gadget Points has been eliminated for BASTARDS to reflect the street level feel of the game. All starting characters have a one time cash allotment of $1000 multiplied by their Charisma, modifier plus any bonuses earned from Feats. This is used to purchase starting gear or vehicles or can be bankrolled for use in game. As a character rises in level they will need to earn cash in game somehow and, besides Feats, will not be handed money by the rules.
To some it may seem characters do not start with very much cash, and you are right, but that is the point. At first level, your character is just a street level thug with no reputation. The point of the game is to improve your lot in life through crime. The high life needs to be earned.
Chapter 5: Blowing Shit Up
This chapter is meant to supplement Chapter 6 Combat of the Espionage Handbook. All the rules for combat are presented in Chapter 6, Combat of the Espionage Handbook, and are unchanged for the purposes of this product. Many of the Spycraft supplements include optional combat rules but they are just that, optional. For the purposes of this product they are not used, but a GM may wish to include them.
Chapter 6: Tools of The Trade
This chapter is meant to supplement Chapter 5 Gear of the Espionage Handbook and the Modern Arms Guide.
Lifestyles: For the purposes of BASTARDS, a Lifestyle represents how the character lives. It determines what kind of home they have, what kind of food they eat and what kind of clothes they wear. A character need not choose and pay for a lifestyle but the player will then need to keep track of daily cost of living expenses. All Lifestyles have an upkeep cost they must pay on a monthly basis in game time. If a character fails to do so than they are assumed to drop one level of Lifestyle per month until they are either homeless or can start making payments again. Lifestyle descriptions and upkeep are as follows:
- Homeless: This option has the benefit of not costing anything for upkeep but has the down side of not giving anything either. You have no home, no car, no stuff besides what you buy with starting cash. You wear and eat only what you can buy or steal.
- Squatter ($100): You live in an abandon building somewhere without the permission of the landowner. You have no vehicle. Your clothes are of the lowest possible quality. You often go hungry but manage to find enough food to survive. All in all this is not a comfortable option and only slightly better than homeless. Any peripheral entertainment is not covered by your Lifestyle and must come from personal cash.
- Low ($500): With this option, you at least have a stable roof over your head. It might be one of the worst places in town to live but at least you call it yours. You have a low quality vehicle that runs most of the time and then only with frequent troubles. Your clothes are of a normal to low quality but at least they're usually clean and not in need of patching. You never go hungry even if the food isn't gourmet. You even have enough money to do a few fun things after all your bills.
- Medium ($1000): This Lifestyle gives much more comfort and stability than the previous options. You have a stable roof over your head and it's the kind of place you don't mind bringing your family to. Your car is nothing special but at least it runs reliably and you don't need to worry about it breaking down without notice. You eat well and never need to worry about not having something you like. After everything you still have money to frequently go out for fun.
- High ($5000): With this option, you have a nice home. You have a nice car, or a couple average ones. You eat very well. You have some very nice clothes but most of your wardrobe is still average. After your bills you still have ample money for entertainment and peripherals.
- Plush ($10000): You live the high life. Your home is exquisite. You have multiple nice cars. You eat only the best food and wear only the best clothes. You go to the best restaurants and take in the best shows. You never need to worry about having enough money to have a good time.
Guns: And now for the cool stuff. Everybody's got to have a gun or a means of causing death and destruction. Guns are the best way to do that. The Modern Arms Guide has an extensive list of weapons of all kinds. For the purposes of this product and for the sake of the feel of the game, most of those are allowed and encouraged, especially the tactical weapons. There's nothing like blowing up your enemies with a well placed rocket blast, especially if it's a surveillance van.
Everybody's got to have a gun...
When purchasing weapons, match the caliber and weapon type to the lists in the Espionage Handbook, pages 109-123, and use the prices listed but reduce the listed cost by 20%, rounded down, to reflect lower weapons costs and to counter the effects of inflation for the 1980s. If you plan to not use the Modern Arms Guide, than you can just use the weapon lists in the Espionage Handbook with the reduced costs.
However, not all of the weapons listed were common on the streets of America in the mid-1980s and some of them had not even been invented yet. Following is a list of the weapons most commonly found on the streets, all following page numbers refer to the Modern Arms Guide:
All Melee Weapons, pages 32-36, Hurled Weapons, pages 38-42, and Exotic Weapons, pages 44-54, are assumed to be common with an emphasis on some of the cruder improvised weapons like the sledgehammer, nail gun and chainsaw are encouraged.
For Firearms, pages 56-104, the following list is considered to be common: Backup Pistols: Colt Defender, Makrov 9mm and Walther PP. Pocket Pistols: Walther PPK. Service Pistols: Beretta M1951 and M92, Browning High-Power, Colt M1911A1, Ruger P Series (89, 90, 94 and 97) and Walther P5. Target Pistols: Browning Buck Mark and Thompson Center Contender. Hunting Revolvers: All. Service Revolvers: All. Assault Rifles: Colt M16A1, H&K G3, Kalashinkov AK-47 and SIGArms SG 551 SP. Bolt Action Rifles: Remington 597 LR, Savage Arms Co. 116SE and US Rifle Caliber .30 M1903. Sniper Rifles: Barrett M82A1, Remington M700 and US Carbine M21. Break Action Shotguns: Winchester Supreme Field and Supreme Sport. Combat Shotguns: None. Pump Action Shotguns: Mossberg M500 Series (500, 500 Cruiser, 500A Police Special and 590), Remington M870 and Winchester 1300. Submachine Guns: Colt Defender, CZ Scorpion, IMI Uzi, Ingram MAC-10 and MAC-11, Ruger MP-9 and Sterling L2A3.
Firearm Accessories, pages 106-116, are altered only slightly. All accessories are available with the exception of the Illuminating Paint, page 109, Day/Night Scopes, page 110, Laser Grip, page 111, and Power Grip, page 112. All Night Vision Sights are considered to be 1st Generation sights.
No changes need to be made to Tactical Weapons, pages 118-136.
Gear: Simply put, Gear is stuff. Granted it is the cool stuff your character owns, but it is still stuff. Gear listed in both the Modern Arms Guide and the Espionage Handbook need only be altered slightly to match the 1980s time period. Any references to satellite gear like cell-phones, GPS, etc is not available. Night Vision Goggles are considered to be a scope that must be carried. Digital cameras and recorders are considered to not exist or are beyond the scope of the game. Computers are allowed but only in desktop models. All costs for Gear are as listed in the Modern Arms Guide and the Espionage Handbook.
Gadgets: Gadgets are items of super-science for the use of spies and the like, so they are not available to street hoods and are thus not used in BASTARDS.
Chapter 7: Wheels
This chapter is meant to supplement Chapter 7, Chases of the Espionage Handbook and Chapter 4, Vehicle Guide of the Soldier/Wheelman Class Guide.
Chases: An integral part of BASTARDS is mean cars and smash-em-up chases. Spycraft offers some of the best cinematic Chase rules available. The rules for Chases, both vehicle and otherwise, are unchanged for the purposes of BASTARDS.
Muscle Cars: And now for those mean cars. Chapter 4, Spycraft Vehicle Guide, pages 70-103, offers everything needed to put vehicles in the game, with the exception of two things. It offers no cash value for vehicles and gives no make and model lists of vehicles. The purchasing of a vehicle commonly falls under a character's Lifestyle, see Chapter 6 Tools Of The Trade, so a cash value is not needed. For simplicities sake, there is no list of vehicle values, though a good rule of thumb for calculating a vehicle's cost is to multiply its GP Cost by 2 and then by 2000 to determine it's worth. For example a vehicle requiring 5 GP would have a cash value of $20000. As an aid to players and GMs alike, BASTARDS does include a list of a few of the coolest of the classic muscle cars and gives the year, make and model of the vehicle:
1970 Barracuda, 1978 Chevy Camaro, 1986 Chevy El Camino, 1977 Chevy Nova, 1970 Dodge Challenger, 1972 Dodge Charger, 1968 Ford Shelby Mustang, 1970 Monte Carlo, 1987 Plymouth Grand Fury and 1969 Pontiac Firebird.
Chapter 8: Criminal Masterminds
This chapter is meant to supplement Chapter 8 Tradecraft and Chapter 9 Control of the Espionage Handbook.
BASTARDS offers the opportunity to play the darker side of things...
Running The Game: BASTARDS offers an interesting challenge to GMs. It offers the opportunity to play the darker side of things, where most games focus on heroes and the good guys. An important point is while the characters are not good people, they need not be the bad guys or villains of a story. Many crime films and stories will portray a theft or crime from the criminal perspective without making them the bad guys. As a GM you should try to do the same, unless, of course, you want to run it that way. Above all the point of the game is to have a good time, so try not to let anything got in the way of that.
Alternate Crime Periods: Not all players and GMs are going to want to play BASTARDS in the 1980s, so thankfully there are many other time periods that lend themselves to this crime genre. BASTARDS focuses on the height of the drug trade in Florida and the Gulf Of Mexico in the 1980s, but there are many other options.
The golden age of organized crime was between the years of 1920 and 1950. Chicago seems to be the epicenter of crime in this time period, with the likes of Al Capone and others starting the age. With Prohibition and then World War II this time period is ripe with conflict, as there were too many large crime families in too small a space.
During the 1970s and 1980s, many of the large East Coast crime families began to move influence to the budding city of Las Vegas. The city began to grow at a rapid rate with the construction of casinos and the mobs who came with them. They all tried to grab what control they could, and ended up viciously fighting each other over the claims.
The 1980s and 1990s saw the fall of many of the large crime syndicates and the rise of smaller street gangs. The government cracked down hard on the drug trade and organized crime, which caused the families to splinter by present day. New York City was hit the hardest by the factioning of the larger organizations. With no more large players, the city is the perfect place for some young up and comers to stake a claim.
An alternate present day setting would be the streets of Los Angeles. Money rules everything and the street gangs took hold before the larger players could move in, not that that matters anymore. The city is in a constant state of gang war with the police force getting as involved as anyone else.
Inspiration: The film medium is ripe with inspiration about criminals and the underworld. Some of the best, and not to be missed, include: 8 Heads In A Duffel Bag, American History X, Bandits, Bond: License To Kill, Boyz N The Hood, A Bronx Tale, Casino, Dog Day Afternoon, Donnie Brasco, Entrapment, The El Mariachi trilogy (El Mariachi, Desperado and Once Upon A Time In Mexico), Get Shorty, The Godfather trilogy (The Godfather, The Godfather Part II and The Godfather Part III), Gone In 60 Seconds (2000 version), Goodfellas, Heat, Jackie Brown, The Last Days Of Frankie The Fly, Menace II Society, Million Dollar Hotel, Money Train, Natural Born Killers, On The Waterfront, Payback, Point Break, The Professional, Pulp Fiction, The Punisher (2004 version), Reservoir Dogs, Ronin, Scarface, The Score, Set It Off, Snatch, Strange Days, Suicide Kings, Thelma & Louise, Traffic, True Romance, The Usual Suspects and The Way Of The Gun. Another great medium is that of video games, with Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City leading the pack.
These lists are by no means definitive. I only attempted to choose some of the best I had seen or played, and told the story from the criminal's perspective. I also made an attempt to remain in the general 1980s time period and omit other quality films and games that did not fit the time. For more information concerning classic vehicles and muscle cars I recommend the following web sites: SeriousWheels.com and MuscleCars.net.
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Open Gaming Content
In accordance with the Open Gaming License this entire document is considered Open Gaming Content with the exception of the Introduction. If you plan to reproduce any of this information I ask you give credit where credit is due. Regardless of content designation BASTARDS d20 For The Criminally Inclined is copyright Joshua Goudreau 2003. Spycraft is copyright Alderac Entertainment Group 2002. Spycraft is used without the permission of Alderac Entertainment Group but is not intended to challenge or infringe upon that copyright or Product Identity. Please refer to the Open Game Content portion of the Spycraft Espionage Handbook or appropriate supplement for OGC therein.