Bullet Points
Omission Impossible
by Charles Ryan

Welcome to the fifth installment of Bullet Points. I'm Charles Ryan, one of the designers of the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game. I'm here to answer your questions about the game, offer advice on tricky issues, and give you a little peek into the minds of the designers. You'll be hearing from me every couple of weeks.

If you've checked out the earlier installments of Bullet Points, you know the format. Every two weeks I pick an issue that's provoked a lot of questions or comments, begin with a general discussion of the topic, and then answer specific questions related to it. If there are any unrelated but pressing questions in my mailbox, I might tackle them at the end of the column, but only if there's room and they can't wait for an appropriately themed column.

Typos, Omissions, and Misprints

I call this week's topic Omission Impossible. Some miscellaneous questions have piled up in my inbox recently, and a number of them have to do with typos or omissions in the rulebook. In many cases, these questions involve rules or explanations that were left out because of space concerns, or because we simply didn't foresee their necessity to the game. But, I'm sad to say, a few of the issues brought up involve pure oversights or misprinted rules.

Questions and Answers

Without further ado, then, here are some questions that have only one thing in common: They arose because we left out or misprinted the relevant rules. Hope you find the answers helpful!

The equipment chapter includes a description for the Benelli 121 M1, but the weapon doesn't appear on Table 4-4: Ranged Weapons. What are its statistics?

The Benelli was inadvertently left off the table. Its statistics are:

Benelli 121 M1 (12-gauge shotgun)
Damage: 2d8
Critical: 20
Damage Type: Ballistic
Range Increment: 40 ft.
Rate of Fire: S
Magazine: 7 int.
Size: Large
Weight: 8 lb.
Purchase DC: 17
Restriction: Lic (+1)

No ammunition weights are given in the equipment chapter. How much does ammunition weigh?

Ammunition comes in many, many, calibers. To keep things simple, I've put together the following table relating the weight of ammo to the damage dealt by the weapon and the number of rounds in a magazine.

------ Weight per Number of Rounds ------
Damage 10 20 30 40 50 100
2d4 0.5 lb. 0.5 lb. 0.5 lb. 0.5 lb. 1 lb. 1.5 lb.
2d6 0.5 lb. 0.5 lb. 0.5 lb. 1 lb. 1 lb. 2 lb.
2d8 0.5 lb. 0.5 lb. 0.5 lb. 1 lb. 1 lb. 2 lb.
2d10 0.5 lb. 1 lb. 1 lb. 1.5 lb. 1.5 lb. 3 lb.
2d12 1 lb. 2 lb. 3 lb. 4 lb. 5 lb. 10 lb.

To determine how much a loaded magazine weighs, first round up the number of rounds a magazine holds to the next multiple of 10. Then find the column that corresponds to this number and the row that corresponds to the weapon's damage. For example, a Glock 17 has a 17-round box magazine and deals 2d6 points of damage. Rounding 17 up to 20 and cross-referencing that with its damage on the table gives the weight for a loaded magazine as 0.5 pounds.

Since shotgun shells are a little heavier than standard ammunition, treat the weapon's damage as one step higher than it actually is for the purpose of using this table. For example, a 12-gauge shotgun deals 2d8 points of damage, but the weight of its ammo is determined as if it dealt 2d10 points of damage.

The D&D game includes two creature types that the d20 Modern game doesn't: the beast and the shapechanger. Why aren't these types in the rules?

This difference isn't actually an omission -- the beast and shapechanger types were deliberately excluded from the d20 Modern game. Here's why.

After some consideration, we decided that the beast type was simply redundant -- the vast majority of beasts could easily be recategorized as either magical beasts or animals. This omission made the game simpler without making it any less sophisticated. And that's good.

Simplification was also the driving force behind dropping the shapechanger type. A shapeshifting creature functions just fine if it keeps its original type in its normal or hybrid form but takes on the animal type when using an animal form. Thus, the type served no purpose that could not be achieved equally well in other ways.

How do you determine starting action points for a high-level character? The system on page 204 doesn't seem right.

The action point formula given on page 204 of the d20 Modern Core Rulebook is for NPCs. A high-level player character gets the number of action points granted by his last class level. For example, a 5th-level Strong hero would get 7 action points because his fifth level as a Strong hero gives him 5 + 1/2 his level, or 7.

In the Tumble skill description, the DC to tumble past opponents is given as 20 -- the same as tumbling through opponents. Is this correct?

Both DCs are wrong. The DC for tumbling past an opponent's square should be 15, and the DC for tumbling through it should be 25.

What is the Listen DC for hearing the sound of gunfire? Is it the same as the DC to hear a battle?

Given that a battle in a modern setting normally involves gunfire, it should have been made clearer that the given DC is for a melee battle or large fistfight. The Listen DC for gunfire is -20.

What happens when there's a loud noise that might mask quieter sounds?

Any time you're trying to hear a noise that is competing with another noise, there's a chance that the louder sound will mask the softer one. Compare the Listen DCs for the two sounds; if the DC for the competing noise is 10 or more lower than the one for the target noise, apply the "listener distracted" penalty to the check.

For example, let's say you're in a room where a large fight is going on (Listen DC -10). A gun is fired outside, 50 feet away (Listen DC -20 for a gunshot, +15 for the intervening solid wall, +5 for distance, for a total DC of 0). You take the -5 penalty for listener distraction on any Listen check made to hear the gunshot.

The same principle can also apply to opposed checks that involve listening. For example, if you're attempting to move silently, and your check result is 10 or more higher than the Listen DC for the background noise, your opponent takes the -5 penalty for being distracted.

The description of the Two-Weapon Fighting feat doesn't seem to match the rules for two-weapon fighting given in Chapter Five: Combat. Also, there's no Ambidexterity feat in the Feats listing -- is it supposed to be there?

There is no Ambidexterity feat in the d20 Modern game; its benefits have been rolled into the Two-Weapon Fighting feat. The text and table in Chapter Five (page 138) are correct. The text of the Two-Weapon Fighting feat is incorrect. It should say:

Benefit: Your penalties for fighting with two weapons are lessened by 2 for the primary hand and by 6 for the off hand.

The Armor Proficiency feats are confusing. Are they supposed to work differently than the Armor Proficiencies in other d20 games?

They do work somewhat differently, but the text is confusing anyway. Here's how the Armor Proficiency (Light) feat should appear:

Armor Proficiency (Light)

You are proficient with light armor (see Table 4-9: Armor).

Benefit: When you wear a type of armor with which you are proficient, you can add its equipment bonus to your Defense. Its armor penalty applies only to Balance, Climb, Escape Artist, Hide, Jump, Move Silently, and Tumble checks.

Normal: A character who wears armor with which she is not proficient adds only its nonproficient equipment bonus to her Defense. Its armor penalty applies to attack rolls as well as to all skill checks that involve moving.

The description of the Concentration skill is confusing. In what situation can I use Concentration to avoid attacks of opportunity?

Here's a clearer version of the relevant parts of the skill description:

Check: You make a Concentration check whenever you could potentially be distracted while engaged in some action that requires your full attention (such as making a Disable Device or Treat Injury check). Performing the action while riding in a bouncing vehicle or during severe weather can require you to make a Concentration check, as can taking damage while you work.

If the Concentration check succeeds, you may continue with the action. Otherwise, the action automatically fails and the attempt is wasted. Any ramifications connected with failure of the action ensue normally. A successful Concentration check still doesn't allow you to take 10 on a skill check when you are in a stressful situation; you must roll the check normally.

Special: You can use Concentration to avoid attacks of opportunity when attempting a skill check that normally provokes attacks of opportunity. The DC for such a Concentration check is 15. On a success, you may attempt the action normally, without provoking any attacks of opportunity. On a failure, the related check automatically fails, just as if your concentration had been disrupted by a distraction. However, the attempt still does not provoke attacks of opportunity.

This use of the Concentration skill applies only to skill checks. It does not apply to other actions that normally provoke attacks of opportunity, such as movement or making unarmed attacks.

If you have the Wild Talent feat but no levels in a psionics class, how do you determine the range and other effects of your power that depend on the manifester level?

The Wild Talent feat should read as follows:

Benefit: Select one 0-level psionic power. You can manifest this power up to three times in a 24-hour period. There is no power point cost for using this power. Where manifester level is a factor (such as for determining the range of the power), use your manifester level + 1. Thus, if you have no levels in an appropriate psionic class, you use the power as if you were a 1st-level manifester.

Special: You can gain this feat multiple times. Each time you take it, you select a different power.

Does standing up from the prone position provoke an attack of opportunity? Page 137 states that it does, but the chart on page 135 says it doesn't.

The table is incorrect; standing up from a prone position does provoke an attack of opportunity. And by the way, the Daredevil's nip-up ability should read "A Daredevil of 2nd level or higher can stand up from a prone position as a free action that does not provoke an attack of opportunity."

Do you have a rules question about the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game?
Send it to bulletpoints@wizards.com , and then check back here every
other week for the latest batch of answers!

About the Author

Charles Ryan has designed and written games for more than twelve years. His credits include such diverse titles as the d20 Modern Roleplaying Game,The Wheel of Time Roleplaying Game, Deadlands, Millennium's End, The Last Crusade, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium, and Star Trek: Red Alert!, to name just a few. Charles served as Chairman of the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts & Design, the professional organization of the games industry, from 1996 through 2001. He lives in Kent, Washington with his lovely wife Tammie, three cats, and a dog. He works for Wizards of the Coast, Inc.


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.