View Full Version : What is...?

01-06-2009, 05:21 PM
What exactly is the D20 system?

Where did it come from?

What makes it any better or worse than any other universal system?

Barrier Peaks
01-06-2009, 06:43 PM
What exactly is the D20 system?

The d20 system is the system of game mechanics at the core of Dungeons and Dragons 3rd edition. It is suitably similar to D&D 3.0 and 3.5 to be easily played by anyone with relatively recent D&D experience (or Star Wars RPG experience, for that matter).

What makes it the "d20" system? Outside of damage rolls, everything from skill checks to saves are completed with a single 1d20 roll (plus applicable modifiers).

Where did it come from?

See above. :)

What makes it any better or worse than any other universal system?

The amount of support, both direct and third party, that the d20 system received over the years it was being published means that there is a ton of material out there that can be used or otherwise adapted for use with it. This is, however, a double-edged sword, since not all of the material released for d20 is top notch.

This doesn't necessarily mean that it's the best system -- or even a good system, depending on what you like or don't like. You might not like it at all.

I'm not entirely sure how much support, if any, the official d20 Modern line is receiving these days (or in the future, for that matter). Adopting it for your game might be akin to adopting a "dead" system. On the other hand, official releases were so few and varied (relatively speaking) that it probably wouldn't be too difficult to collect only the ones you wanted to use.

The official Wizards of the Coast d20 Modern site can be viewed here (http://wizards.com/default.asp?x=d20modern). I suggest you go and give it a look-see.

01-06-2009, 09:57 PM
At the risk of sounding redundant, I will answer as well, in brief.

What exactly is the D20 system?

The d20 system is the rules system that was created by Wizards of the Coast in the development of the 3rd Edition of the Dungeons & Dragons RPG.

Where did it come from?

WotC, having recently bought out the former D&D development company, TSR, decided that they wanted to create a new, revised version of the world's most popular RPG. They wanted to revitalize the game, both to streamline and simplify the core mechanics and to open the game up to a greater amount of character options than previous editions.

What makes it any better or worse than any other universal system?

As "better" or "worse" are exceedingly subjective terms, that is really hard to say. Considering the d20 System's origins as a "new treatment of D&D", one could say that it is heavily biased toward D&D concepts. Concepts such as "Hit Points", "Saving Throws", "Armor Class", "Experience Points and Levels" and "The Six Classic Attributes". These are inventions that come directly from D&D itself from its earliest days, and thus any game based on the d20 System is in turn borrowing concepts from D&D.

Whether you think that is a good thing or a bad thing, it definately biases the game in that direction.

Like any other system, it does certain things well and certain things poorly. It does good at what it is designed for which, while debatable, can generally be regarded as "high action/fantasy" (fantasy in the sense of "fantastic fiction" not just "swords and sorcery").

There are some notable games that have taken the d20 System and greatly evolved or converted it to great effect (such as Star Wars Saga Edition, Mutants & Masterminds and Omega World [a d20 System mini-RPG of a post-apocalyptic world]).

01-09-2009, 03:51 PM
What makes it any better or worse than any other universal system?[/quote]

Better - If you like D&D its very similar so you don't have to relearn the rules. Also there is a ton of 3rd party support.

Worse - Its really clunky for people who don't play D&D. The D&D motto is simple rules lots of exceptions. Those exceptions can make people who are not familiar with D&D get confused.