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Evolution of 2d20

Now that 2d20 has gone through several games since MC. What new inovations in 2d20 do people think are better. What might one steal from later games. And are there anythings in MC that you might regret/leave out?

Several interesting happened during the evolution from the first 2d20 game, Mutant Chronicles, to the latest one published, John Carter of Mars (since Acthung! Cthulhu is not published so we do not know its ruleset).

Mutant Chronicles and Corvus Belli Infinity are the only two now that have just the D6 Combat Dice that only has the 6-face as only an effect, and just the 1-face and 2-face as damage.

Other systems like Conan and Star Trek Adventures have expended that range to include both the 5-face and the 6-face, and also to have both the 5-face and 6-face count both as points of damage plus effect.

Star Trek also streamlined the Attributes to fit more closely with the themes of Star Fleet, which is a nice change to see 2d20 keep those attributes flexible and adjusted for each system, unlike in the days of the WoTC d20 glut, when every genre kept the same STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA.

Another change is the use of the Chronicle Points/Fortune Points/Determination Points, those special tokens that allow big narrative effects or guarantee a d20 is rolled at the perfect 1-face. Star Trek Adventures, in particular, is a bit stingy with these Determination points, and forces you to think carefully, of your character’s values to use this powerful effect.

Then Momentum costs have also adjusted, from easily buying extra d20 dice per Momentum spend in Mutant Chronicles, to an increasing cost in Star Trek Adventures, with the first extra d20 only costing 1 Momentum, the next one costing 2 Momentum, and the last 3 Momentum.

Of course, character combat charts too have evolved, from the detailed hit locations on the body in Mutant Chronicles tracking damage separately to each important body part, to the more streamlined hit locations in Conan having damage to these hit locations all tracked in just one wounds track, to Star Trek ignoring hit locations completely.

All in all, I like each of the individual iterations, and they seem to play well enough for the various genres. For example, I absolutely enjoy the hacking options in Corvus Belli Infinity that can be used in combat instead of a directly weapons attack, and of course the Geist being another persona.

John Carter of Mars even went radical and got rid of all skills completely, and just two combinations of attributes serve in any place you would normally use skills.

One thing, that I never liked in Mutant Chronicles was the Expertise and Focus being distinct tracks. Of course, this offers more granularity, but it would have been easier to just have Expertise alone.


Which damage system do you prefer?

I’ve only played conan, so not used any localised damage. But have used localised armour.

Hey, I’m sorry to necro this thread but something here really confused me and I cannot seem to post a new thread to ask this question, so here goes:

This response says you could buy d20s with momentum, but as far as I am aware that was not an option in the MC version of the 2d20 system. As far as I was aware it was added (as well as the 5d20 limit) in later versions, with MC using other options to add momentum. I double check edthrough the MC book and I cannot find anything that says you can spend momentum to get more 2d20s. However, I could have missed something, so if I am incorrect, I would be grateful if someone could point me in the right direction.

Sidenote: I make mention of the 5d20 limit found in later editions, and the only reason I mention it is that while there are limits to how much d20s you can have on a roll, the limit is for each resource, so you can reach higher numbers by spending various resources.


I can’t find such a reference either, which is weird, because MC was my first 2d20 game, and I remember the idea of spending momentum for extra dice dating back to that time. At least, I feel like that idea has always been there, and I don’t remember an “aha” moment seeing that rule introduced in a subsequent game.

There is the “assisting others” rule under Gaining and Spending Momentum, which basically lets you turn Momentum into extra dice for another player to make the same check.

Finally, regarding your last comment there, I don’t think that’s right. If buying dice with threat is limited to 5d20, and buying them with Momentum is also limited to 5d20, then you axiomatically can’t buy up to 5d20 with threat and THEN add 3 more dice using momentum. I.e., the limit isn’t “+3 dice,” it’s a hard cap at dice. Do I know where that rule is written out hard and fast? I do not. But again, that’s the impression I’ve always gotten from all the 2d20 games.

Under momentum on page 29 of the MC core book, you could spend for an automatic 1 on an extra die generating all accompanying benefits.

That automatic 1 on an extra die is for spending Chronicle Points only, not for Momentum.

In MC3 the later introduced opportunity to buy extra dice for Momentum instead of by adding to the Dark Symmetry Pool is not part of the core rules as written (but of course you could use it as a house rule).
Taking a look at the the Talents there are quite a few which give 2 additional dice for adding 1 Dark Symmetry Point. Those Talents are quite powerful in a “resource economy” which only allows for buyng additional dice for Dark Symmetry Points.

If you add the opportunity of spending Momentum for additional dice, some of those MC3 Talents become less valuable.

And consider: in MC3 there is NO limit of additional d20 to add to your pool (by various Talents and weapon features for example). The only limit is, that you can only add 3d20 by generating Dark Symmetry Points. But there are some Talents that give you several additional d20 depending on the rank your character has in this Talent. So you can end up with quite a large pool of d20s.

A major issue in the more recent 2d20 games where buying d20 for Momentum is allowed, is the case of Bonus Momentum.
Many Talents and some items (in Infinity for example Expert Systems) add Bonus Momentum to your test. That results in an (over-)abundance of Momentum in some cases of player characters with those Talents at maximum rank.
Having an everful group Momentum pool makes it harder to challenge the player characters.

We use a house rule that you cannot put Bonus Momentum into the group pool, only the Momentum generated by your roll in the respective test. That fixes that problem for our games.