The Black Vegetable wrote:
I don't (yet) have Grim Tales of D20 Modern, so excuse my ignorance: why is the Strong Hero/Charismatic Hero thing more preferable than traditional PC classes or no classes at all?
The d20 Modern archetypes are preferable to traditional PC classes because they are flexible. All Paladins, Rangers, and Rogues are cookie-cutter made, with about 10% flexibility, while the Modern Archetypes are a lot more flexible.
You could for example, have a Smart Rogue or a Strong Rogue or a Charismatic Rogue. Each of these examples shows a rogue who solves problems differently, by being an expert, by being a thug, or by being a dashing leader of a band of merry men. The classes are more evocative; to me anyway; YMMV. In D&D every Rogue is an expert with sneak attack, the d20 Modern Rogue is not necessarily so.
I would like to extend these examples further, if it is possible. I'd like to see Tough or Charismatic Knights. Strong or Dedicated Shek P'var. Fast or Dedicated Priests. This is why I prefer most of d20 Modern to Grim Tales.
Finally, d20 Players expect to be able to sit down at a game, and with a few broad strokes, be able to define a character within a game. In my experience, this has always lead to more fruitful exploration of a setting's depth. While I've managed to play some rather long HarnMaster campaigns, it was only because my players trusted me that I was able to give them so much homework in order to understand the setting. I firmly believe that Harn can be just as rich, vibrant, consistent, and enjoyable for those players that want to experience it from a more heroic perspective. I just wouldn't be able to justify the work of a d20 conversion if I didn't think it was possible, because no matter how hard you try, there are some fundamental design premises in every ruleset that cannot be removed. Heroism is ingrained in d20.
I don't particulary believe that classes are preferable to no classes, I'm just presenting some ideas within the confines of my mission statement, which is to accept as many mainstream mechanics from d20 as possible. I may find that my goal is impossible, but I'm willing to explore the possibility of failure, and believe for the moment that I can succeed.