The biggest release for Modern AGE this year will be the Modern AGE Mastery Guide. This book is a little different from similar offerings, which are usually aimed exclusively at Game Masters, or feature player-facing material. The Mastery Guide is for both GMs and other players. In some ways it can be thought of as a partner to the Modern AGE Companion, but while the Companion presented new options, the Mastery Guide not only has these, but digs deep into how to use the basic Modern AGE rules—and even revises some of them.
Which Two Weapons?
Among other things, the Mastery Guide revises the rules or fighting with two weapons. The Dual Weapons Style talent from the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook now only applies to close-combat weapons, not ranged weapons. The following new talents cover other options.
Mixed Weapon Style
Prerequisite: Dexterity 2 or higher
Thanks to a combination of training and brutal experience, you can effectively use a one-handed close combat weapon in one hand, and a one-handed ranged weapon in the other. This is a signature style for highwaymen, pirates, and other figures in swashbuckling games, and might also be learned by members of elite military organizations.
Novice: You can fire a ranged weapon to make yourself harder to hit in close combat. By using a minor action, you may make an attack roll using the weapon’s appropriate Accuracy focus. This my force a reload, but does not inflict damage. Instead, a hand-to hand attacker must roll the higher of your Defense or the attack roll to hit. You may use this maneuver to react to an incoming attack even if it isn’t your turn, as long as you have a minor action left this round.
Expert: When using the Novice maneuver for this talent, you can now inflict damage with your minor-action ranged attack roll if the attacker misses you and your ranged attack roll would have hit, if it had been a standard attack.
Master: Instead of using the Novice (or Novice and Expert) degrees of this talent, you may make a standard attack with one of your weapons as a major action, then make a second attack with your other weapon as a minor action. This second attack cannot generate stunt points from doubles, and you can only add half your Perception (for ranged weapons), or Strength (for close combat weapons), rounded down, to damage.
Two Guns Style (Pulpy/Cinematic)
Prerequisite: Dexterity 2 or higher
You can effectively fire a gun in each hand. However, when making use of this talent to do so, the minimum Strength for each gun increases by 1 for a pistol, 2 for an SMG, and 3 for a longarm or assault rifle. Additionally, reloading requires an additional minor action to stow one of them, and if making one attack roll using both guns, a Capacity check that prompts a reload applies to one of the two, chosen randomly (1d6;1-3 left/4-6 right).
Novice: You’ve learned you shoot with both hands. If you use a minor action in addition to a major action to attack while holding a firearm in each hand, you may only make one attack, but do it with the best combination of both firearms damage, rate of fire, and Capacity, but the lowest range. In addition, on a successful attack, add +1 to the result of your Stunt Die. This bonus is not considered when checking for doubles on your roll.
Expert: Squeezing both triggers, you can fill an area with bullets. If you use the Novice degree of this talent with a single shot firearm in each hand, you now gain the Stunt Die bonus to damage and access to stunts that are normally reserved for semiautomatic weapons. If one of the weapons is already semiautomatic or fully automatic, roll the Stunt Die again after a successful attack, and take the result you prefer to score extra damage from the weapon’s Stunt Die damage bonus, get doubles, or both.
Master: You shoot both guns with speed and precision. Instead of using the Novice (or Novice and Expert) degrees of this talent, you may make a standard attack with one firearm as a major action, then make a second attack with your other gun as a minor action. This second attack cannot generate stunt points from doubles, and you can only add half your Perception (rounded down) to damage.
After writing and designing games as a freelancer from 2000 on, Malcolm Sheppard is pleased to join Green Ronin as developer at large: the one who works on any number of games, from the Adventure Gaming Engine to Ork! Malcolm’s experience before Green Ronin includes Exalted, Mage: The Ascension, Onyx Path’s Chronicles of Darkness and Scion lines, as well as Shadowrun and Eclipse Phase. Outside game design, Malcolm’s worked in community development and education, and as a professional historical re-enactor, where he gave large metal swords to children. (They were blunt!) Malcolm lives in semi-rural Ontario, Canada.