Modern AGE, Four Years On: The Creative Core

Modern AGE is four years old! It was released back in June 2018, ahead of its formal debut at Gencon of that year. Building on the ideas of Fantasy AGE, Modern AGE was designed to work within the 200+ year span of the “modern era,” up to the near future. This was a bigger challenge than you might think. Especially in gaming, the fantasy genre has a lot of standard conventions and default assumptions. But there’s no “modern genre,” but several, from urban fantasy, and pulp adventure, to Noir, and espionage thrillers.

The core of Modern AGE includes several rulebooks to customize your games

The multiplicity of possible games shaped Modern AGE into the most customizable manifestation of the Adventure Game Engine, where we provide the most options to adjust fundamentals. Once you understand Modern AGE is this kind of creative platform, it should, I hope, make you feel bold enough to tweak it until it’s just right for your table—but if you want a more straightforward experience, we don’t demand you do it. Don’t worry, it still works straight from the store.

These features have driven the line’s development ever since. We can roughly split Modern AGE into “core” releases, designed as creative toolkits, and supplements that provide a more specific play experience in the form of settings and adventures. This time around, let’s talk about core Modern AGE.

Core Modern AGE

Modern AGE Basic Rulebook: This is the essential rulebook for the game and despite being in the “core” category, doesn’t require anything else except for your campaign ideas.

Modern AGE Game Master’s Kit: Screen and reference materials to accompany the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook

Modern AGE Companion: Expanded tools and options covering new character options, custom systems for numerous situations such as inventions and duels, campaign events, extraordinary powers—this should be your first pick when you want to tailor Modern AGE into a bespoke rules set. “Sibling” of the Modern AGE Mastery Guide.

Modern AGE Enemies & Allies: Friends and foes separated by genre, along with genre supporting systems, for modern fantasy, horror, action and espionage, crime dramas, and near future science fiction.

Modern AGE Mastery Guide: A guide for Game Masters and players, too, featuring advice for both sides of the GM’s screen before presenting a host of new rules options as a “sibling” to the Modern AGE Companion. This includes updates to rules from the Modern AGE Basic Rulebook that we developed after a few years of additional play.

Modern AGE Cyberpunk Slice: A distillation of reworked and new rules covering numerous aspects of the cyberpunk genre, from classic 80s stories to the latest takes on it. Artificial life, cybernetic enhancements, AI, automation, corporate branding, drones, powered armor—it’s here, in a compact, settingless rules supplement.

Modern AGE Powers cover!

Did you see this preview of the upcoming Modern AGE Powers cover!?

UPCOMING—Modern AGE Powers: This book has been written, and it is currently waiting its turn for release. While the Modern AGE Companion provides new options for extraordinary powers, Modern AGE Powers collects and expands that previous material, and adds new options for magic, psychic disciplines, inherent extraordinary powers, rituals, gifts from unusual ancestries, freeform thaumaturgy, and an enormous catalog of extraordinary items with supernatural, scientific, or just plain weird origins.

Beyond the Core

Next time, we’ll talk about the setting and adventure focused releases for Modern AGE, covering two settings and multiple adventures. But while we’re still talking about the core, let me ask you this: What would you like to see released as the next creative toolkit? A new genre done in the style of Cyberpunk Slice? A full-fledged hardcover on how to design a modern city to play in? I keep an eye on social media and will read what you have to say. For now, though, I hope you’re getting inspired and playing. Cheers!

Author

  • 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.