“No, not my one weakness!”
Disadvantages. To anyone that’s read Mutants and Masterminds, the stuff here should seem familiar (although that’s certainly not a bad thing). These range from the expected (such as needing an alter ego that manifests itself at certain times or at will to produce your powers, such as Captain Marvel, or having a secret identity like..erm…just pick a hero, they’re probably an example) to the surprisingly mundane (having a drug addiction or disability) to the downright bizarre (for instance, you are so ugly that people try to actively avoid you, or you have inconveniences happen to you all the time, even if they aren’t a major hindrance). Oh, and for that header? Yeah, there is a Vulnerability disadvantage if you really want to have your own Kryptonite.
Similar to disadvantages are power limitations. These are little flavor pieces that I’ve discussed here and there in the power listings due to power-specific limitations; here, however, there are more general limitations. Such limitations include a power exhausting you when you use it, actively harming you when you use it, or taking a fair dose of concentration to control.
Your Everyday Heroes
Finally, we have the Gamemastering chapter to send us on home. First off, you’ll note that the writer has given us some things superheroes can do that aren’t combat-involved, such as saving innocents and protecting people and things from harm. There are also rules for Knockback presented, which I am glad to see implemented here. What is Knockback? Well, you know those scenes in comic books and movies where the hero/villain is sent hurtling across the battlefield by the villain/hero, possibly dealing damage to themselves and their surroundings in the process? Yeah, that’s Knockback. You also get a fun little set of collateral damage charts and stats. These are good if you enjoy the feeling of knowing that you just threw Captain Sinister face-first into a fire hydrant or Commander Evil McVillainguy was smacked through the wall by your Brick, or are just a GM that wants to show the heroes that there will be hell to pay if they aren’t careful…or hell, just a GM that likes having environmental props. You also have rules for superhuman feats of lifting and strength, which are always a plus, and epic-level rules. The epic-level rules are…what you’d most likely expect if you’ve owned any “d20 Epic” supplement. I’m probably one of the few people who feels that d20 Modern epic should be what Wizards of the Coast put in a few of their online PDFs; simply adding advanced and prestige class levels beyond 20.
Finally, we have our campaign models. These show the different supers levels, which are:
Gritty: You start out as a level 1, fresh-off-the-street newbie to your superpowers. Crime is rampant, things are dark, and you have to be stealthy and choose your fights carefully or you might get a bullet through your head by a ganster…or a vigilante-hating police officer, for that matter.
Street Level: Similar to Gritty, but you start out at 5th level and are likely to already be fighting your first supers. Sure, they may just be thugs with powers or low-rank crime bosses, but they have powers just like you, and that makes them dangerous.
Four Color: The “halfway there, start out at 10th-level” standard supers game. You have heroes and villains fighting it out in any number of environments, ranging from Silver Age-style science and silliness to Iron Age “I, BloodGore GoreBlood, shall fight you, Captain SkullSmasher, in the lobby or Iron Spike Industries…TONIGHT!!” over-the-top attempts at “grim action”.
Cosmic: The 15th level+ “supers in spaaace!” epic stories. Think Superman’s mythos turned up to an 11.
Blood and Vigilance is one of my favorite purchases I’ve ever made for d20 Modern, right up there with Modern Magic and the Book of Templates. So you’d think it’d be a 10, right? Well…not quite. The biggest problem with Blood and Vigilance is that it gives a framework that makes you thirst for more, but there’s just not enough out there to quench your thirst. While there are expansions such as Mystic Arts and some Modern Dispatches (which will be covered later) that add new powers, new origins, new heroes and villains, and a handy list of class powers for Urban Arcana, I can’t help but think of what else you could do. I’m tempted to put up some class powers for other d20 Modern titles to mesh with this book, but I don’t want to overstep any boundaries as a fan or anything…meh, I guess that’s up to y’all if you want to see such support from me for a product I just reviewed. On the other hand, the thirst production means that this product has awakened an idea, which is always a good seal of approval. Blood and Vigilance…you win a 9/10.