Overall, The Red Star Campaign Setting does a superb job of translating the rich world of the comics unto the gaming table.
d20 Modern as a system base is already an excellent fit for this specific task, and the changes, adjustments and additions – from the changed ability increases to the custom FX systems – make it close to perfect in my mind.
Still, the devil is down in the details as they say, a few of which prove irksome even here.
One of those involves the treatment of armor in The Red Star, and speaking of armor in a game does bring up the question of shields as well.
Armor Proficiency Houserule
The current rules for armor in The Red Star are paradoxical to a degree.
Contrary to the handling of armor in regular d20 Modern games, armor The Red Star does grant a certain amount of Damage Reduction to the wearer instead of increasing Defense.
At the same time, they use the normal d20 Modern armor proficiencies and associated rules for non-proficiency (i.e. non-proficient wearers gain a special non-proficiency bonus to Defense, depending on the basic type of armor (light, medium or heavy)).
This leads to a situation where a proficient wearer benefits from Damage Reduction (which can be overcome via the setting’s ample supply of armor piercing weapons) but has normal Defense, while a non-proficient wearer does not gain any Damage Reduction but has an increased Defense (and accordingly a reduced chance of being damaged at all).
Fortunately, there is a simple way to solve this issue:
Using the armor proficiency rules from the SRD/D&D 3.x instead of those from d20 Modern, while still replacing the AC (Defense) bonus of armor with Damage Reduction.
In this way, both proficient and non-proficient wearers will gain the same Damage Reduction and Defense. As compensation, only non-proficient wearers will have to apply the regular armor check penalty to attack rolls and all skill checks which involve moving.
Shields, other than sorcerous energy fields to protect military vehicles and personnel (the so called Defensive Shield Protocols and Autoshields), do not feature in the rules provided in The Red Star Campaign Setting.
In the latter comics, though, we actually catch glimpses of small decorative shields (or rather shield shaped shoulder guards), apparantely held in place via telekinesis, as part of the parade uniforms of Red Fleet soldiers.
This opens the possibility of adding telekinetically wielded combat shields to the game.
A first step is to add in the Shield Proficiency feat from the SRD/D&D 3.x (to go along with the new Armor Proficiencies lifted from there, as above) as well as the shields from the equipment section of the Modern SRD/Urban Arcana.
Other than armor, shields do provide a bonus to Defense in The Red Star. They do not provide or increase Damage Reduction. For non-proficient wielders, their bonus to Defense is limited to the non-proficiency bonus.
And after that comes:
Telekinetic Shield Proficiency
Prerequisites: Shield proficiency, telekinesis 1 rank
Benefit: You have learned to telekinetically control basic and reinforced telekinetic shields. If you employ a telekinetic shield of either type, you gain its shield bonus to Defense up to your ranks in telekinesis. Because you do not need to physically carry it, both your hands remain free while using a telekinetic shield.
Normal: You may move a telekinetic shield via telekinesis, but you do not gain any of its benefits if you do so.
Basic Telekinetic Shield
This small plate of protocol-treated steel is telekinetically neutral. It can come in different shapes and decorated versions are sometimes used as part of parade uniforms.
A basic telekinetic shield provides a +1 shield bonus to Defense to a proficient user with at least 1 rank in telekinesis. It weights 0.5 kg and has a Purchase DC of 15.
Reinforced Telekinetic Shield
Made from heavy protocol-enhanced armor plate, treated to be telekinetically neutral, this large rectangular shield can cover a soldier from head to toe.
A reinforced telekinetic shield provides a +4 shield bonus to Defense to a proficient user with the necessary ranks in telekinesis. Instead, it can also be used to grant total cover to its wielder, who must give up all attacks in any round he does so.
It weights 15 kg and has a Purchase DC of 19 (Restricted +2).
Weaponized Telekinetic Shield
Both basic and reinforced telekinetic shields can also be modified to be usable as ranged telekinetic weapons.
A weaponized basic telekinetic shield has sharpened edges or spikes added to provide striking surfaces. It deals 1d6 of slashing damage.
A weaponized reinforced telekinetic shield bears further structural reinforcements to its front to assist in dealing blunt force trauma. It deals 1d10 of bludgeoning damage.
Weaponized basic and reinforced telekinetic shields require separate exotic weapon proficiencies to use effectively.
Such modification increases the Purchase DC of a telekinetic shield by +1.
The artwork is taken from The Red Star: The Battle of Kar Dathra’s Gate and was used with kind permission of Christian Gossett.
The Red Star and all related characters are ™ and © Christian Gossett. Used with kind permission.
The Red Star Campaign Setting is © Green Ronin Publishing, LLC.
Die Grafik stammt aus The Red Star: The Battle of Kar Dathra’s Gate und wurde mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Christian Gossett verwendet.
The Red Star und alle verwandten Charaktere sind ™ und © Christian Gossett. Verwendet mit freundlicher Genehmigung.
The Red Star Campaign Setting ist © Green Ronin Publishing, LLC.