Within the pages of d20 Critical Locations you'll find 40 full-color maps of interesting modern locations, valuable to any d20 Modern campaign. Beautifully rendered by cartographer Christopher West and ready for use in any d20 Modern, each map comes with adventure hooks and pregenerated supporting characters. Some maps appeared previously in Polyhedron Magazine, but most are new for this product. The excerpts below include the introduction and the gothic church entry.
Contents and Introduction Segments
Great maps are hard to find, yet Gamemasters use them all the time in adventures. This book is aimed at Gamemasters who need maps of generic locations where scenes of action and intrigue can play out. d20 Critical Locations provides 29 such maps in glorious detail, with locations that you're likely to use regardless of the type of d20 Modern campaign you're running.
d20 Critical Locations was inspired, in part, by Christopher West's "Global Positioning" maps, which first appeared in Dungeon magazine. In fact, some of the maps that appear in these pages were originally published in issues of the magazine. However, many of the maps in this book are new, rendered in Chris's trademark style. Gamemasters praised the quality and utility of the "Global Positioning" maps, and we felt that a book loaded with more of the same would be as well received. Moreover, we recognize that many GMs consider mapmaking a painstaking, time-consuming exercise in futility; put another way, they can't draw a good map to save their skins.
In addition to dozens of maps, d20 Critical Locations provides adventure hooks and special rules tied to each mapped location. Use or ignore them as you see fit. Not every adventure hook will dovetail nicely with your existing campaign, but even the ones you can't use immediately might inspire future adventures or interesting diversions from your campaign's main story arc.
So, enjoy the book. Use it. Until now, you probably never thought or cared to run an encounter in a grocery store or bomb shelter--now, you have a reason to.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK
d20 Critical Locations is intended for Gamemasters (GMs) and provides ready-to-use maps, rules, and adventure hooks appropriate for any d20 Modern campaign. GMs are encouraged to build encounters and adventures set in the various locations presented herein, and permission to photocopy the maps for home game use only is hereby granted. Additional mapped locations are also available for free download at www.wizards.com/d20modern.
The maps presented in this book are generic enough to be used multiple times. (Frankly, if you've seen one corporate highrise, you've seen them all.) They are laid out on 5-foot square grids to make them easy for GMs to redraw on graph paper or a dry-erase battle mats. Most of the maps in this book work best for city-based adventures, although a few of them clearly take the adventure outside city limits.
Not every location the heroes visit needs to serve as the backdrop for a firefight or brawl. Just because this book presents a map of a sleazy bar doesn't mean that you should feel compelled to stage a fight in a sleazy bar at some point to keep things interesting. The maps allow you to more easily describe locations to your players, but if the heroes manage to leave the sleazy bar without breaking a single chair over someone's head, then this product has still served its purpose.
This book assumes that you own a copy of the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game. Other books in the d20 Modern line that can be used in conjunction with this book include the d20 Menace Manual, the Urban Arcana Campaign Setting, and d20 Apocalypse. None of these books is required to use d20 Critical Locations, however.
A city's character is defined by the attitude of its residents and the mélange of cultures present. Different neighborhoods add their own flavor to the mix. Most neighborhoods have an official name (such as Bricktown, White Springs Development, or Fox Run) but are likely to carry some unofficial nicknames as well (the Battery, Downtown, the Circuit, the Old Borough, Business Park, and so on).
The following are the typical hardness values, hit points, and break DCs for features found throughout the city. Particular locations have their own structural features as well; see the individual location descriptions for details.
ATM: Hardness 10; hp 250; break DC 28; Disable Device DC 40.
Kiosk: Hardness 5; hp 60; break DC 21.
Mailbox: Hardness 6; hp 30; break DC 18.
Street Sign: Hardness 10; hp 10; break DC 30.
Streetlight: Hardness 10; hp 50; break DC 20.
Here are some architectural terms used to describe common features among city buildings, particularly older structures. You may find these terms useful when describing a cathedral, museum, City Hall, or similar building to your players.
Acroterion: A stone ornament built into an arch, architrave, gable, or similar feature, often depicting a monster (such as a sphinx, gargoyle, gorgon, or griffon).
Amorino: Ornament depicting a chubby, naked cupid.
Arcade: A series of arches supported by columns or piers.
Architrave: A molded frame around a door or window opening.
Balustrade: A masonry railing with stone posts or balusters topped by a coping, usually hedging a stone flight of steps or balcony.
Bargeboard: An ornate wooden trim that projects from the gable line of a roof.
Buttress: A projecting mass of brickwork or masonry that supports a large wall or structure, such as a cathedral.
Caryatid: A support column sculpted in the form of a woman.
Cresting: A decorative fencelike ornament on the ridge of a roof.
Cupola: A small turretlike structure situated atop a roof, often domed with solid walls or arches.
Dentils: Small toothlike projections adorning an area under an overhang.
Dormer: A vertical window and window box that projects from a sloping roof, has its own roof (most commonly a gable roof).
Fanlight: A segmented, semicircular window above a doorway.
Finial: A spikelike ornamentation fixed to the top of a peak, arch, or gable.
Gable: The triangular end of a peaked roof.
Gambrel Roof: A double-sloped roof where the upper slope is of a lesser pitch than the lower, as seen on barns and many Dutch colonial houses.
Gothic Window: A triple-arched window where the central arched pane is taller than the side arched panes. Most commonly seen in churches.
Hipped Roof: A roof on a rectangular building that slopes upward on all four sides.
Linhay: An addition to the rear of a structure; either one story with a shed roof (single-slope) or two stories with a flat roof. Also referred to as a lean-to.
Palladian Window: A three-part window where the center window is arched and wider than the two straight-topped side windows.
Pilaster: A rectangular column projecting only slightly from a wall.
Portico: An open porch with columns supporting an overhanging roof, creating the entrance and/or centerpiece of a façade.
Raincap: A projection mounted over a window or door designed to shed water away from the opening. Raincaps can be heavy and ornate or light and plain.
Sidelights: Narrow windows placed on either side of a larger window or door.
Tracery: Decorative patternwork in the upper portion of a window.
Transom: A rectangular window mounted above a door.
ABOUT THE DESIGNERS
Eric Cagle is a freelance writer who lives in Washington State. A prolific contributor to the Wizards of the Coast website, Eric has also contributed to several published products, including Monster Manual III and Races of Destiny for the Dungeons & Dragons® game and Urban Arcana for the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game.
Owen K.C. Stephens, a freelance writer living in Oklahoma, has written numerous articles for the Wizards of the Coast website, including d20 Modern adventures and advice columns. His roleplaying game design credits include d20 Cyberscape and several supplements for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game.
ABOUT THE CARTOGRAPHER
Christopher West is one of the game industry's premiere cartographers. His work has been featured in Dungeon magazine and numerous game products. He also created the battle maps for the Star Wars Miniatures Game. Chris created all of the maps in d20 Critical Locations from scratch and drew upon real-world buildings and architecture for inspiration.
©1995-2005 Wizards of the Coast, Inc., a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Wizards is headquartered in Renton, Washington, PO Box 707, Renton, WA 98057.