New Character: Captain Perry Scope

A character for D20 Modern games.

Captain Perry Scope is an American expatriate who plies the Indian Ocean in the 1920s with a stolen submarine, raiding and sinking vessels at a time when the scourge of piracy was thought to be at an end. Scope’s an arresting blend of rugged and romantic, with thick black hair and steely gray eyes. He possesses a singular charm when he chooses to display it, and his dry wit makes him popular among his peers.

Scope was raised in Virginia in a wealthy family with a strong naval heritage and a history of siring officers who bent rules and regulations when it suited them. The Scopes’ greatest attribute seemed to be their personal initiative, which placed his ancestors on privateers in both the American Revolution and Civil War.

Young Perry entered West Point Naval Academy but was nearly expelled due to poor grades. Though intelligent, he rarely applied himself and was far more interested in carousing than studying. There also was an incident where he and a fellow student — a yankee — were arrested for attempting to solve their disagreement with a duel.

Graduating bottom of his class in 1911, Scope found all the prized positions aboard battleships and cruisers spoken for. To the horror of his family, he was posted to the untried submarine force. During the Great War (World War I), Scope rose to command the submarine USS Skate, sinking thousand tons of enemy shipping vessels in the Adriatic and Aegean seas, including a pre-dreadnought battleship and light cruiser. He found the freedom of commanding a submarine exhilarating and dreaded returning to the tedium of a peacetime posting.

So he didn’t. After the war, Scope dropped the sailors who wanted to return home at a neutral port, rechristened his boat The Kraken and rounded out his crew with sea dogs of various sorts — including experienced veterans of the elite German and Austro-Hungarian submarine fleets. He keeps the boat seaworthy with the help of a brilliant German engineer, Chief Rutger Ritter.

With the United States and the other seafaring nations on his tail, Scope has operated as a swashbuckling pirate, ranging over the Indian Ocean from the Cape of Good Hope to the Suez Canal and from the shores of Africa to the port of Singapore. He does so with style, good humor and a minimum of casualties.

Scope always personally leads boarding parties, pistol and gleaming West Point saber in hand. He enjoys a hearty fight and throws himself into a fray with reckless abandon, but he’s not a violent man and prefers to avoid needless death.

After pillaging the cargo, he generally only disables a ship’s radio and engines to allow his crew to beat a safe retreat. However, ships plying “evil trade” such as slaves, drugs or smuggled weapons will be sunk and the crews set adrift. Likewise, he’s not above pulling particularly reprehensible individuals from among passengers and marooning them someplace as punishment.

When wrestling with a moral dilemma, such as whether to shoot a particularly pestersome prisoner, Scope often quotes his righteous “Auntie” Isabelle and expresses his desire to stay on her good side. As his alignment suggests, he is not always the most consistent interpreter of her guidance.

Class/Level: 6th-level Sailor, 2nd-level Navy Officer
Nationality/Sex: American Male
Height/Weight: 6′0,” 195 lbs
Hit Points: 52
Initiative: +3 (Dex)
Speed: 30 feet
Armor Class: 13 (+3 Dex)
Attacks: +6/+1 melee, +9/+4 ranged
Damage: 1d3 unarmed, 1d8 saber, 2d6 pistol
Special Attacks: -
Special Qualities: Inspirational Presence, Rank, Sea Dog, Sea Legs
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Saves: Fort +3, Ref +9, Will +4

Abilities: Str 11, Dex 17, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 14, Cha 17

Skills: Artillery +3, Balance +2, Bluff +1, Boat and Ship Piloting +8, Climb +3, Concentration +1, Firefighting +5, First Aid +1, Hide +1, Jump +3, Listen +3, Mechanic +3, Navigation +8, Search +4, Sonar +8, Spot +4, Swim +7, Torpedo +7, Wireless Telegraphy +6

Feats: Command Voice, Command Submarine, Dodge, Diving, Machinist’s Mate: Marine Engines, Naval Gunnery, Naval Tactician, Point Blank Shot and Port Savvy.

Possessions: West Point saber, two pistols, binoculars and a silver locket that’s a Token of Affection from his Auntie Isabelle (see below).

New Magic Item

Token of Affection: An item that can take many forms, such as a kerchief, love letter, ring or a locket with a photo, and has profound sentimental value to its owner. The item was given by a loved one to protect the recipient in times of war or other peril. The item was not created like a standard magic item but instead has implicitly manifested the gift-giver’s love toward the recipient as a +1 bonus to all saving throws. The item only works while in the posession of the recipient and grants no benefit to anyone else. If stolen or lost, the recipient is likely to go to any lengths to retrieve it.


This weblog entry is Open Game Content licensed under the Open Game License with the following Section 15.

15. Copyright Notice

Open Game License v. 1.0a Copyright 2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Modern System Reference Document Copyright 2002 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Bill Slavicsek, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Charles Ryna, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Richard Baker, Peter Adkison, Bruce R. Cordell, John Tynes, Andy Collins, and JD Wiker.

d20 Weekly January 15, 2003 Copyright 2003, Steve Jackson Games Incorporated.

Weird Wars, and Land of the Rising Sun Copyright 2002, Pinnacle Entertainment Group.

Seafarer’s Handbook Copyright 2002, Fantasy Flight Games.

D20Modern.Com Copyright 2009 World Readable.

Lethal Weapons in D20 Modern

Steve’s Occasional Game Blog is pondering how the D20 Modern rules system can be adapted to handle weapons that are capable of killing in a single attack, such as guns:

… when a weapon or class of weapons poses a real danger of killing outright in one attack – a handgun in a D20 modern setting suggests itself as the most obvious example of this – one could up the lethality of the weapon without changing the standard damage dealt by tweaking the critical hit roll needed and the damage multiplier gained.

Consider: A .32 revolver might be said to pack 1D10 + 2 (a figure I pulled out of the air for the purposes of illustration since I do not have access to a D20 modern sourcebook). Clearly people should be able to be killed or seriously wounded by a single shot, but also should be able to escape relatively unharmed for the purposes of PC heroism. One way to achieve this would be to set the Critical Hit roll needed to a relatively low number for this weapon, say 15, and let the damage multiplier be very high, maybe x4 or x5.

Monster: Mimetic Ooze

A monster for D20 Modern games.

Take human nerve cells and thread them through a newly developed form of plastic muscle fiber that becomes flexible when electrified. Cap the fibers with microscopic sensors that let the nerve cells interface with the human nervous system. Float the mesh in a bio-active gel that can adjust its density until those nerve cells grow together into something that approximates a brain. In an ideal world, you end up with an intelligent substance that can change shape on command.

This is not an ideal world.

Mimetic ooze, in its natural form, looks like an extremely tangled net of fine silver wires caught in a lumpy mass of silvery jelly. The ooze can change its shape at will in response to the commands of humans in its vicinity, but it has a problematic interpretation of the word “command.” It responds primarily to subconscious desires, impulses and fears, responding to strong emotion in a manner more empathetic than telepathic. If the ooze connects to a person, it does its best to obey the target’s unconscious desires and commands. Since most people are a contradictory jumble of impulses, this can have disastrous results.

Are you lonely? A mimetic ooze might take the form of your ideal mate — or kill anyone who approaches you to make sure you stay lonely. Hear a noise in the attic and wonder if it’s a monster? An ooze could become the physical manifestation of what you fear most.

The rogue biotech corporation that created the ooze was unable to profit from its work because of severe and unexpected staff cutbacks. Several oozes responded to the paranoid fantasies of one employee, locked all exits to the building and systematically killed all of his coworkers. That worker remains in the building in an abandoned office park, completely alone, as the oozes roam free in the form of the people they killed.

The ooze connects to people using exceedingly fine, sticky filaments of neural matter, like spider webs that extend from the creature and cluster on the skin of targets. An ooze so engaged is surrounded by a constantly changing set of connections as filaments extend and break. The filaments are almost invisible (Spot check at DC 30 to notice one), but they glow brightly when exposed to ultraviolet light. They also are as weak as gossamer unless strengthened by the ooze, which can toughen it by one hit point per round to a maximum of 30 hp.

Mimetic ooze has an inbuilt sense of self-preservation and will fight to defend itself by slamming pseudopods of gel into assailants. Otherwise, it attacks when connected to someone who feels threatened, suicidal, shameful or fearful.

Like all oozes, mimetic ooze is immune to mind control, poison, sleep, paralysis, stunning, gaze attacks, visual effects and other attack forms that rely on sight such as illusions. Oozes also are not subject to critical hits, flanking or the effects of massive damage.

Medium Ooze
Hit Dice: 3d10+10 (31 hp)
Massive Damage: -
Initiative: +1 (Dex)

Speed: 30 ft.
Defense: 13 (+1 Dex, +2 Natural), touch 11, flat-footed 12
Base Attack Bonus/Grapple: +1*/+2
Attack: Slam +2 melee (1d6+1)
Full Attack: Slamm +2 melee (1d6+1)
Space/Reach: 5 ft. x 5 ft. / 5 ft.
Special Qualities: Telepathy, Change Shape, Copy Abilities, Fire/Cold/Electrical/Acid Resistance 30
Weaknesses: Vulnerability: Sonics (30)
Saves: Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +2
Abilities: Str 13, Dex 13, Con 13, Int 10, Wis 13, Cha 13
Skills: None*
Feats: None*

Special Qualities

Telepathy (Ex): The ooze’s telepathy is actually nerve signals transmitted along its neural fibers. It can receive commands from all humans touched by these filaments and even send messages back, though they are usually simple and incomprehensible. The ooze can extend filaments to everyone within 30 feet, but it can choose to exclude some people. The filaments grow at a rate of 10 feet per round. The filaments only can¬†interface with bare skin but can thread through most clothing. Wearing a biohazard suit or similar complete covering prevents its telepathic intrusion.

Change Shape (Ex): The ooze can assume almost any form. Its mass stays constant, but it can adjust its volume and density proportionately. It has a maximum Strength of 30.

Copy Abilities (Ex): While connected via a neural filament to a player character, the ooze can use that character’s Intelligence, Base Attack Bonus, feats and skills.

OGL Horror

Special rules for OGL Horror.


Investigate (DC 10): Looks like chemical burns on the carpet — not especially serious ones. At a guess, there was a really bad stain and someone went overboard with the cleanser.

Investigate (DC 20): There are fragments of some sort of plastic lodged in the wounds. The killer was wearing some sort of latex gloves.

Investigate (DC 35): There is some sort of strange artificial spider web on the victim’s neck and hands.


Gather Information (DC 15): Neighbors say that the victim was being stalked by someone. Certainly, there have been quite a few strangers in the area recently.

Research (DC 30): A local research corporation was rumored to be on the verge of a breakthrough, but has since clammed up and denied all the rumors. Their stock price has collapsed.

Knowledge (physical sciences) (DC 30): The spiderweb found could be shattered by high-frequency sound waves.


Madness 12 when the nature of the ooze is revealed. Different forms may cause different types of Horror.

Game Ideas

The horror of the mimetic ooze is not the monster, but its ability to turn the thoughts and desires of targeted characters to horrific form. One good best time to use this monster is after a climatic world-saving adventure, when they’ve confronted and overcome a truly fearsome horror. How has that changed them? Throw them up against a mimetic ooze and find out.


This weblog entry is Open Game Content licensed under the Open Game License with the following Section 15.

15. Copyright Notice

Open Game License v. 1.0a Copyright 2000 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.

Modern System Reference Document Copyright 2002 Wizards of the Coast, Inc.; Authors Bill Slavicsek, Jeff Grubb, Rich Redman, Charles Ryna, based on material by Jonathan Tweet, Monte Cook, Skip Williams, Richard Baker, Peter Adkison, Bruce R. Cordell, John Tynes, Andy Collins, and JD Wiker.

OGL Horror Copyright 2003 Mongoose Publishing Limited.

D20Modern.Com Copyright 2009 World Readable.

New Modern20 Horror Supplement

The publisher 12 to Midnight has released Horror20, a supplement that expands horror support in the Modern20 roleplaying game:

This 89 page codex includes new skills, feats, equipment, and a player’s guide to ghost-hunting. Game Masters aren’t left out, either. With Fear and Sanity mechanics, help with creating “hauntings” for your players, and sample creatures including ghosts and undead, there’s plenty for the GM to sink his teeth into. …

With this guide you can enter the world of horror and introduce your heroes to spooks and terrors that they must defeat at the risk of losing their sanity. Can they persevere against an ancient long-forgotten evil or must they suffer defeat and become a quick snack to the hideous creatures and spirits of the darkest night?

Modern20 is a RPG Objects’ revision and expansion of the D20 Modern roleplaying game.

Welcome to the New Site

D20Modern.Com was relaunched this evening under new software.