So, your gaming group gets together and the newest D20 supplement is making the rounds. Your players are practically drooling over all of the new and interesting things in the book, and they look at you with looks that would put hungry puppies to shame. Someone shoves the book under your nose and points "I want to be one of these! Can I?"

Have you ever been DM'ing a 3rd edition campaign and thought you had this really great challenge in store for your players (after all they are 4th level and it is a CR 7)? Then low and behold they defeat it in one round? You are not alone.

Ever since Wizards of the Coast released their Third Edition of the ever-popular Dungeons & Dragons, I have always been a big fan of the ranger. I love the great mix of stealth and strength, but after a few levels the class lost most of its luster. Sure, at level one you got both the ambidexterity and two weapon fighting feats free of charge, (given you wore light or no armor of course). But after that, there was really no need to advance in the class other than for purely role-playing reasons. Sure you got favored enemies, but what good is a plus one to attack at 16th level, while your wizard friend gets meteor swarm and power word kill spells? And the spells you did get you were so far behind the power curve they were almost useless. So what is one to do?

Ever since I started playing D&D back in 1992, I've always marveled at its complexity and genius. Every great piece of inspiration has its flaws however, and D&D was no exception. I could look past them all, enjoying the game for all it was meant to be, but one thing always stuck in my mind: what the hell is a Halfling and why is it here?

It seems fairly obvious that White Wolf has accumulated a veritable treasure trove over the years and has informally entrenched itself as the authority on role-playing games in the modern setting. In this light, Wizards of the Coast (WotC) has decided to enter this arena with the hope of providing some useful competition. As the self-proclaimed leaders of the fantasy genre of RPGs since it took TSR under its belt, they now present: D20 Modern. The name is short, with only two words, and too lackluster compared to the other games of its genre. However, there is a reason. D20 Modern sports not one but three game settings and promises to develop each beyond the scope of the Core Rulebook. Hence, what the name reflects is its versatility.

A very long time ago back in the mid 1980s I discovered role-playing. Not surprisingly the game that introduced me was Dungeons and Dragons. I was in my first few years of grade school, and although some of the concepts in the red boxed basic D&D set were difficult for my friends and I to puzzle out, there was still a giddy sense of fascination.

Okay so only a very few players out there would try to charm Cthulhu. But inevitably, love and all things emotional come into play in most fantasy game worlds. You gotta be bashing goblins for something, right? If it's not a god, why not some dame or dude the character is jonesin' for? But, oh wise article writer, you ask, how do I, a mere, geeky GM, have my characters fall in love? Without it turning into some horrible encounter best left to those instant messaging at 3:30 in the morning?

You're a filthy thief, d20 system. You've robbed me of fun! How dare you pilfer my precious rule systems, those which I have massaged to yield the fruits of less frustrating game play, and molded in my image of Game-Master, Game-God. Your beastly watering down of complex rules assaults my delicate sensibilities and forces me to launch into this well-thought out rant for the pleasure of Gamegrene's readership. Damn you!

A few weeks ago, the heroes in my 3rd Edition D&D campaign killed someone. Ooooo, shocking, I know. I mean, I've run RPGs for two decades: body bags are nothing new. But this time the heroes didn't destroy the ravaging demon or slay the red dragon or kill the power-hungry sorcerer.


So you used to play D&D ALL the time - and now you play card games (mostly CCG's). You do this partly because it was something new, partly because it's fun and partly because it takes SO much less time - and, at least in part, because that's what all of your friends are now playing, what with families and jobs and all that other 'real life' stuff getting in the way, they don't have the time either.

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