Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Update and Mini-d20 Modern FAQ (part 1)

So, I was planning to post this update like on last Tuesday, but that night, I got sick for the first time in a long time. I came down with a sore throat, which eventually turned into a really bad cough a couple of days later, so I wasn't able to do much most of the time. But now, one week later, I'm almost 100% healed. :) And one good thing is that now I've kinda gotten into the habit of sleeping earlier, so that I can actually wake up the next day lol. Thanks to everyone who encouraged me while I was sick.

Anyways, I've been reading a lot of d20 stuff, especially since I'm now helping Bao GM his campaign, and besides reading up on the combat rules and etc, I started reading about the different character classes, and especially the advanced classes. I was trying to decide what character I would want to play next in a campaign similar to Bao's, with no magic at all allowed. (I've always liked developing new ideas and strategies for different things; I've made up tons of Magic decks ideas in the past, but have never got to try the majority of them due to time and money constraints) Fortunately, making a d20 char doesn't cost any money, though making sure it's exactly how you like it can take a great deal of time.

I played my bodyguard for one mission, and although he is pretty cool IMHO, I wouldn't want to play him again...perhaps at a later point in time I'll bring him back. At one time in the past week, I was reading the requirements for one of the advanced classes, and I started thinking about how the book always says, "The fastest path into this advanced class is from the (insert basic class here) hero class, though other paths are possible." Of course, any character can eventually be able to take ranks in any of the advanced classes by putting skill points into cross-class skills, taking feats, and waiting till they are at a high enough level/Base attack bonus (BAB). I was more interested, however, in ways that a character of a class other than the associated basic class could be able to get into an advanced class by level four. (Ex: Making a character who takes his first 3 levels in strong, but then becomes a negotiator at level 4) The advanced classes are designed so that the earliest a character can begin leveling in them is at fourth level, and since some advancd classes only grant really good abilities at high levels, it would be in the player's best interest to start leveling in that advanced class as soon as possible. Being able to take an advanced class that's not "normal" for your basic class is also good 'cause it lets you combine different stregnths, and it would be a unique way of making a character as well. (Ex:The fastest way to become a field medic is to take 3 levels in dedicated first, but taking three levels of tough first might make a better field medic, since you can tank more and then heal your allies...)

Thus, this lead me to start researching ways to get to the advanced classes as fast as possible, without having to take any levels in the associated basic class. I've decided to post my findings here...since it'll be the easiest way to show it to everyone who would care...heh. So without further introduction, I present:

Quick Paths to Advanced Classes: A d20 Modern FAQ

The purpose of this FAQ is to educate players on ways to get to certain advanced classes faster when not starting in the associated basic class. It also might serve to inspire people to build more interesting and different characters, in order to better mix and match their abilities.

The main barrier that prevents characters from choosing any advanced class is the skill requirements or, in the case of the strong advanced classes, the BAB requirements. Most advanced classes require 6 ranks of some skills, and unless you're playing the associated basic class, odds are that those won't be class skills for you. Though you can still put ranks into those skills, it means that you'll have to wait until level 9 to be able to fulfill the requirements for that advanced class. (since the max ranks you can have in a cross-class skill is [half your char level + 3] divded by 2.) For the strong advanced (A) classes, you could just wait until your BAB reaches +3, but that might also take a while depending on what basic levels you've been taking.

It hit me very quickly that the solution to the class skills problem might lie within the occupation you choose. Since each occupation lets you choose a couple of skills that you make as permanent class skills, a character could simply pick an occupation that allowed him to get the class skills so that he could start taking levels in the A class that he wanted as soon as possible. The only problem would be finding an appropriate occupation for each A class, and judging if the stuff you have to give up in order to take that occupation is worth it. Below, I've listed each of the advanced classes and their requirements for convenience, and also all the possible ways (besides using the associated basic class) that you can start advancing in them by level 4.


-BAB +3
-Knowledge (tactics) 3 ranks
-Personal Firearms Proficiency

Martial Artist:
-BAB +3
-Jump 3 ranks
-Combat Martial Arts
-Defensive Martial Arts

The bad news is that only the strong basic class gets full BAB progression, so there's no way to take a strong A class by level 4, except by taking 3 straight levels in strong to start. :( But the good news is that both of these A classes only require 3 ranks in a certain skill, so you can wait till your character's BAB eventually grows high enough. Then, even if you don't have the necessary skill as a class skill, you'd only be "wasting" 3 skill points to pump it up, instead of 6.


-BAB +2
-Sleight of Hand 6 ranks
-Tumble 6 ranks
-Personal Firearms Proficiency

-BAB +2
-Move Silently 6 ranks
-Hide 6 ranks

Four basic classes (Strong, Fast, Tough, and Dedicated) will have +2 BAB at level 3. Unfortunately, there's no occupation that gives you both of the skills needed for the Gunslinger , so there's no quick way to become either one unless you're a fast hero. You can get tumble from athelete and sleight of hand from being a criminal, but no occupation provides both.

If you're aiming for Infiltrator though, you're in luck - a whole two occupations allow you to take both of the needed skills as class skills. Those occupations would be criminal and military. Although both of them only provide you with +1 wealth, they both offer you a nice selection of bonus feats, including personal firearms proficiency.


-BAB +2
-Concentration 6 ranks
-Drive 6 ranks

-BAB +2
-Concentration 6 ranks
-Intimidate 6 ranks
-Personal Firearms Proficiency

Dang Wizards. Concentration is like one of the most useless skills in d20 modern (without Arcana) and they make it the only tough skill. Even worse, only Tough heroes get it as a class skill, and no occupation grants it either, so there's no way to quickly become a Daredevil or Bodyguard outside of being tough. Intimidate is also a charismatic class skill and drive is also a fast class skill, however, and besides endurance being a pretty useless feat, both of these A classes are pretty good.


Field Scientist:
-Craft (chemical) or Craft (electronic) 6 ranks
-Knowledge (earth and life sciences)or Knowledge (physical sciences) or Knowledge (technology) 6 ranks
-Research 6 ranks

-Computer Use 6 ranks
-Craft (electronic) or Craft (mechanical) 6 ranks
-Disable Device 6 ranks

Now's where we start talking, heh. There aren't any occupations that grant the three skills needed to become a Techie. (There are, however, occupations that give each of those skills, especially many for computer use.) On the other hand, looking down the list of occupations, you'll eventually get down to the technician. Being a technician allows a character to choose 3 skills from the list to become permanent class skills. Among that list are Craft (chemical, electronic, mechanical, or structural), Knowlegde (business, earth and life sciences, physical sciences, or technology), and Research. Wow! What a coincidence that 6 ranks in those 3 skills are exactly what one needs to become a Field Scientist! This means that ANY character can become a Field Scientist at level 4 just by choosing the technician occupation. (That's what one of the characters I'm making is doing...being a technician to splash one level of Field Scientist in order to get Smart Defense...) The technician occupation also endows your hero with a +3 wealth bonus, which is pretty high. The only downside is that you don't get any bonus feats that way.


Field Medic:
-BAB +2
-Spot 6 ranks
-Treat Injury 6 ranks

-BAB +2
-Investigate 6 ranks
-Listen 6 ranks
-Sense Motive 6 ranks

Dedicated is the only basic class for which both its associated A classes can be quickly accessed through other basic classes by taking the right occupation....wooohooo? Too bad both dedicated A classes aren't that good. :P Nevertheless, it is possible to make ANY strong, fast, or tough character into a Field Medic. (Charismatic and Smart chars are limited by their slow BAB progression.)How, you ask? Simple, just take the adventurer occupation. (Field Medics have to be a little adventurous, after all.) That will let you choose spot and treat injury as permanent class skills, and also give you a nifty bonus feat to boot. That feat can either be archaic weapons proficiency, brawl, or personal firearms proficiency, and thus this occupation is a good choice despite only giving a +1 wealth bonus. Saving is usually worth more than gaining a couple more wealth points.

The Investigator kinda sucks, but if you're planning on making a smart hero, you can still manage to become an Investigator by level 4 if you take the religious occupation. Investigate is a smart and dedicated class skill, so you don't have to worry about that, and being religious allows you to choose listen and sense motives as bonus class skills. It also gives you an additional bonus class skill and +2 wealth, so it's not that bad...though personally I'd rather have a bonus feat. Investigator isn't a really good class, so I doubt I'll be seeing one soon anyways, let alone a smart one.

Finally, we have:


-Diplomacy 6 ranks
-Perform (any) 6 ranks

-Bluff 6 ranks
-Diplomacy 6 ranks

At first, I thought that any character could become a Personality OR a Negotiator quickly simply by taking the celebrity occupation, but then I realized that the celebrity only let you choose ONE class skill out of the list, and not two. :( Oh well, no one really wants to be a Personality anyways lol. Renown isn't really that useful, unless you have the frightful presence feat. Being a Negotiator, however, is a lot easier, one just has to take the entrepreneur occupation, allowing you access to bluff and diplomacy as permanent class skills. That course of action also gives you a reputation bonus of +1 and a hefty wealth bonus of +4. Not bad. The alertness feat also can help in certain situations, granting +2 on all listen and spot checks. Therefore, literally ANY character can become a Negotiator by level 4.

So there you have it, all the quick paths to the 12 advanced classes presented in chapter 6 of the d20 Modern core rulebook. I could do the psionic, shadow chaser, and other Arcana classes, but I think most people would be able to get the idea themsevles from this FAQ. If I've missed any paths or you think I've made an error, please leave a comment or let me know through some other means. Later on, I'll post a couple of sample unique characters that I've made using the knowledge from this FAQ, and I think they're pretty good, at least in combat. Like a 3rd level fast 1st level Field Scientist hero with a Barrett Light Fifty..hehe. Hope this FAQ has been of some use to you, or at least been entertaining.

-Alan Yu