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It is a sourcebook presenting a variety of state-of-the-art firearms for the D20 Modern system. The cover has a black background with bold white lettering. The cover image is a photo of various small arms including an SMG and an automatic pistol and ammunition. The interior is black-and-white. The interior art is well done and realistic-looking, but is entirely limited to illustrations of various weapons and ammunition.
The interior text is very conservative in size. However, one thing that struck me immediately upon browsing the book was the large amount of whitespace. This format is used even in chapters that feature no illustrations.
In chapters that do have illustrations, frequently, if the illustration takes up a good degree of page length and there is little accompanying text, there is a sizable block of whitespace in the text column.
The result is that the book is easy to browse, but wastes a lot of page space. A Deeper Look Ultramodern Firearms is split into a non-trivial introduction chapter, seven chapters covering different types of weapons, and three appendices.
The introductory chapter contains a few new rules options for d20 Modern, a weapon features index, and a few comments by the author on basic firearms concepts and misconceptions. The section on concepts and misconceptions is a nice primer for those who may not be too familiar with specifics of modern firearms.
For example, this section points out fundamental concepts as the fact that "automatic" pistols are usually only semi-automatic, that pistols typically have less range and power than rifles, and that fully automatic weapons are normally restricted. The author does wax a little self-congratulatory, stating that many fundamental concepts about firearms that this book takes into account are misrepresented by many modern RPGs. I find this more than a little misleading, as I do not know of many modern RPGs that represent firearms in more than the most minimalistic terms that fail to represent these concepts.
In particular, I have a hard time believing many people believe that fully automatic weapons are "street legal. All of the feats seem to dovetail neatly with the D20 Modern selection of feats, which is perhaps unsurprising since the author also contributed to D20 Modern.
Potentially one of the neatest innovations that this book features is the Features Index. This book recognizes that many most? Accordingly, this table gathers together many salient features of many of the firearms in the following chapters into a big cross-reference chart, making it easy for a fairly mundane gamer to make a fairly informed decision on what to arm their character with.
Each chapter lists weapons by manufacturer, including some basic real world statistics caliber, length, weight, and magazine size , as well as d20 modern statistics, background information about the weapon, and some D20 Modern rules considerations. Of these, only the M14 a slightly older service rifle used by the US armed forces is not listed.
This perhaps speaks to the focus of the book, which is seemingly more concerned with only the very state-of-the art weapons. While this is probably the type of weapon that typical gun-bunny type PCs will strive for, it does go against the grain a little with the books very thorough realistic tone, as many such slightly older but eminently reliable weapons are still in service around the world.
Chapter Seven covers ammunition. The actual rules section in this chapter is very brief, with less than a page of rules providing the details of using specific ammunition types in your D20 Modern campaign.
Most of the chapter is explanatory text, useful for familiarizing the reader with the nuances of different ammunition types. The appendices include a glossary to terms used in the book when discussing firearms, tables summarizing the game statistics of all of the weapons listed in the book, and a table describing which weapons are in use for many military forces around the world.
This last table strikes me as a very useful tool for a DM with an eye for realism in the game, but it is less than complete.
For example, the US Navy is missing. What if you wanted to run a scenario onboard a US aircraft carrier or submarine, locales not at all unfamiliar to the technothriller genre that is likely to feature such firearms? Conclusion Ultramodern Firearms is an attractive and well-researched book covering many of the nuances of modern firearms. It should be a benefit to any d20 System GM running strictly modern campaigns. The rules are very well written and fit well with the D20 Modern system.
There are some limitations to the utility of the book, however. As the name of the book should imply, the weapons herein are very state-of-the-art. If you want to run an Afghanatstan or modern technothriller type game, the book should serve you well. As mentioned, the book does have a bit of white space. One might wonder if that space could have been used in other ways. I think that there are a few ways that it might have. For example, the book strictly concerns itself with firearms; other man-portable weapons such as grenade launchers are not touched on.
If you want more information on other types of weapons, or want more details on personalizing weapons, you might check out the Spycraft Modern Arms and Equipment Guide.
Ultramodern Firearms (d20)
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Ultramodern Firearms d20
It is a sourcebook presenting a variety of state-of-the-art firearms for the D20 Modern system. The cover has a black background with bold white lettering. The cover image is a photo of various small arms including an SMG and an automatic pistol and ammunition. The interior is black-and-white.