Well, there’s been more than one side-trek on the way, but I’ve returned to the Future Player’s Companion series to give my look at the third and last of the three books in the series: Tomorrow’s Evolution.
An Advanced and Prestigious Future
Oh yes, there are advanced and prestige classes here. Surely you didn’t expect otherwise. The rundown of these are:
Corporate Agent: Corporate Agents gain bonuses when working with others of a corporation, and other Charisma-linked skills and talents. They aren’t exactly the kind of people you want to work with, but they’re better to have on your side than on your enemy’s. Presumably it’s meant to mostly be in megacorp cyberpunk, but could be utilized in any campaign, futuristic or modern, with companies involved.
Cyborg Adept: An advanced class that focuses on allowing more cybernetic attachments than usual and augmenting existing cybernetic attachments. Obviously meant for cybernetics-heavy campaigns.
Evolved Mutant: Pretty much the Cyborg Adept, but with mutations. This advanced class would be good for a campaign like GeneTech, and possibly in a post-apocalyptic campaign. In the latter case, though, I imagine it would be limited to either more fantastic examples such as Gamma World or limited to an antagonist role.
Geneshifter: This is a rather novel advanced class. Geneshifters can temporarily replicate gene therapy templates and gain increased control over their body and mind. It would be another good choice for a GeneTech campaign; indeed, I can’t see many other places where it would fit well.
Pharmer: Pharmers can overdose on drugs and get the benefits with less than standard chances of risks! Tada! …Yeah. Not sure what to say about this one.
Robot Avatar: The first of our prestige classes, the Robot Avatar is a robot prestige class that allows a robot to upload its AI into other bodies, as well as alter and even control other robots as “thralls”. It reminds me of IG-88 from the Star Wars universe.
Robot Hunter: An advance class that can be summed up as a 10-level variant of the Technosavant’s anti-robot abilities. Unless the campaign has a lot of robots running around, I can’t see this coming into much play.
Shockmonk: The Shockmonk prestige class is a bit wider in range, gaining access to both psionics and several anti-electronics abilities. They’re more or less a walking psychic EMP.
Tech-Knight: The Tech-Knight prestige class gains a special robotic familiar called a living blade. That’s…pretty much it, really.
Some new cybernetics are presented in chapter 2. These include a telescopic eye, a “cerebral mine” that ensures loyalty through fear, metallic claw implants, and skin-based camouflage (AKA “the poor cyborg’s cloaking device”), amongst other things. There are also “obsolete cybernetics”, which are examples of standard d20 Future cybertech in its early development stages. These are rather interesting in that they allow you to either have prototype systems in your game, “antique” cyborgs, or introduce certain pieces of cybernetic tech before their Progress Level. The most interesting new feature is total cybernetic replacement, allowing a character to emplace themselves in a “chassis” a la the “Shells” of Ghost in the Shell or Star Wars‘s General Grievous. While there aren’t many presented, it’s a great rule to have if you want to replicate such a system. Oh, and there’s this page on a variant rule for “Cybernetic Fixation Disorder”, but I don’t really care for it much, so eh.
Gadgets and Gear
While this section starts on some costs and crafting for modifying items to hold gadgets, I won’t dwell on that, so let’s get right into the meat. First off, I will note that there are now price-decreasing gadgets, including Fragile and (created from) Hazardous Materials for general items, Overheat and Slow Shot for weapons, and…erm…none for armor, oddly enough. No clue why there are no defect gadgets for armor. What armor does get, however, are a lot of power-armor themed items such as Ability Boosting, Increased Lifting Capacity, and Speed Boosting, as well as a few more universal ones such as Radiation Shielding (no clue why that one wasn’t in d20 Future proper) and Armor Barbs. After the gadget gallery, we have some new items, so let’s run those down next.
Firearms (10): Antimatter cannon, gamma ray gun, gravity gun (insert Half-Life joke here), pneumatic pistol and rifle, razorsling, seeker grenade, sonic disruptor (we put your sonic beam in your disruptor rifle so you can sonic while you disrupt), and wave pistol and rifle.
Melee Weapons (3): Gravcutter, gravhammer, and wrist blades.
Verdict: There’s a lot of good weapons here, including some sci-fi staples such as the gun that shoots radiation with the gamma ray gun, the gravity gun, and the homing grenade with the seeker. While there aren’t that many melee weapons, those that are present are at least novel and interesting. I should note, however, that they accidentally forgot the stats of the wave rifle, so we can only guess their stats via the wave pistol and comparing it to other pistol-rifle combos from d20 Future and the FPC.
Light Armor (2): Force buckler (shield) and mag-gauntlets.
Power Armor (7): Demolition suit, energy armor, gadget suit, patrol suit, scout armor, urban assault armor, and zero-g battle armor.
Verdict: Well…apparently the Future Player’s Companion authors agreed with me when I said there wasn’t enough power armor in d20 Future. I also like that they didn’t forget the existence of shields, either. Oh, and a nice note is that they outfitted all their power armors with free slots for gadgets built into them, which is a good differentiating factor for power armor as opposed to other armors.
Equipment: Antimatter cutting torch, chronometric compass, chronometric tracker, codex galactica, cryo-stasis pod (small, medium, and large), cybernetic surge, dimensional barometer, emergency medical shelter, gene therapy kit, gravity lift, locks (gravity and magnetic), protective goggles, remote retinal scanner, sensor (nanocomp), and utility belt.
Verdict: Hey, cryo-stasis pods, there’s something that wasn’t present in standard d20 Future for some reason. Overall, this fills in the gaps well enough.
“It was the drugs, man!”
The final chapter of the final book of the Future Player’s Companion trilogy is dedicated to rules for creating drugs, both pharmaceutical and illicit in nature. There are a lot of systems like that for d20 Modern out there, but I’d say this is the most refined of such systems I’ve seen. You decide potency, beneficial effects, onset time and duration, drawbacks and side-effects, and the method of use. Also presented are rules for addiction, withdrawal, and overdoses to add to your drugs.
A Case of Appendix-itis
A brief note is that there is an appendix, collecting feats from the Future Player’s Companion series that are relevant to the rules and classes in this specific book. It’s a nice little touch for those that like a clean collection.
Of the Future Player’s Companion series, Tomorrow’s Evolution is the last, but not the least. While it is short and most of the advanced and prestige classes have a narrow niche, slightly bringing down its final score, the drug creation rules are clean-cut, useful, and widely-applicable, and the new gadgets and equipment are very nice indeed. I give Future Player’s Companion: Tomorrow’s Evolution a 9/10.