Rappy’s RPG Reviews: Spellbooks and Bullets

06 Mar

Surprise! A d20 Modern review out of nowhere to cleanse my palette after the D&D finale. Why? Because some of my players were awesome enough to get me some GM’s Day presents. Today, I will be reviewing Spellbooks and Bullets by Emerald Press.


The first section of this book is, surprise, advanced classes! Let’s dig right in.

Arcanist: The Arcanist is a spellcasting soldier, but does have a separate form and function compared to the Magic Grunt from Modern Magic. While the Magic Grunt focuses on balancing warfare and magic, the Arcanist is a pure spellcaster with a flavor of combat. It gains spells from 1st level rather than waiting like the Magic Grunt, but has the detriment of not gaining any armored casting abilities. It does, however, get combat casting, spells without somatic components, and improved counterspell abilities.

Field Officer: Deary me, this is quite different from the d20 Future Field Officer. First off, this Field Officer is based on the Strong Hero rather than the d20 Future Field Officer’s basis around the Charismatic Hero. Second, it gains a whopping 1d10 hit die. Third, the S&B Field Officer has various differing abilities, ranging from a Leadership quality to gather a “band of brothers”, coordinated attacks, bonuses against fear effects, and various other morale bonus effects. It’s good if you want a Field Officer who is more focused on actual front line combat…and has health to spare if you get struck.

Operator: The Operator has a supernatural bond with vehicles. If a guy who can magically soup up a tank isn’t the scariest thing on the battlefield, I don’t know what is. The Operator’s abilities focus on powering vehicles beyond its normal potential, in both combat and movement performance, as well as holding vehicles together and gaining bonuses against armored attackers.

Radiant Medic: The Radiant Medic’s entire shtick is based around auras. While it has no spellcasting ability, its innate magical auras can produce various effects. These range from the typical healing aura to defense against damage; the Radiant Medic also gains some mundane medical skills similar to the Field Medic advanced class.

Skills and Feats

There is only one skill note here, but it’s interesting. There is a rewrite of Computer Use as “Radio Use” for campaigns that take place before the Cold War. This is a pretty cool thing to utilize if you have an older campaign. In addition to adding Airships as a type of aircraft you can take with the Aircraft Operation feat, there are some interesting new feats within this book. These feats range from general feats such as Assumed Name and feats that give bonuses to requisition or aid another abilities to country-based feats such as Nationalism (which grants bonuses with other members of your country of birth) and Party Member (which gives you bonuses within a communist or socialist party). There’s also a feat called Radiant, which must be taken as 1st level and gives you a natural minor aura.


There are a few pieces of black and white art, but they are a bit plain and average.

Final Thoughts

This is a great book, albeit a very short one (at 25 pages counting the OGL). It can fit in well with nearly any magical Earth idea, from Wizards and Wiseguys to Urban Arcana. 8/10.

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Posted by on March 6, 2009 in RPG Reviews


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