Superior Synergy: Modern and Future

Misfit Studios

Author: Steven Trustrum

Page count: (landscape) 26 plus OGL; (portrait) 21 plus cover and OGL

Price: $3.00 at RPGNow or DriveThru RPG


D&D uses the concept of skill synergy bonuses: if you have 5 ranks in certain skills, you gain a bonus to other skills. In D&D, the synergy bonuses provided by each skill are clearly laid out. Superior Synergy: Fantasy is a product that expands on that idea.


However, in d20 Modern, skill synergy is not cleanly explained or detailed. In fact, skill synergy in d20 Modern is a matter of GM judgment. Superior Synergy: Modern and Future addresses this lack by clearly laying out synergy bonuses for skills. In addition, as with Superior Synergy: Fantasy, it details additional bonuses at increased skill ranks.


Superior Synergy: Modern and Future increases the utility of skills by providing expanding bonuses based on skill rank. In some cases, the synergy bonuses simply increase. Take Handle Animal for example:

In other cases, not only does the synergy bonus increase, but the skill provides expanded usage or benefits. For example, look at the benefits of 5 ranks in Bluff:

Compare this with 20 ranks in Bluff:

Superior Synergy: Modern and Future also adds and addresses the concept of feat synergy. For example, if a character has Acrobatic, Defensive Martial Arts, Dodge, Improved Grapple, and Mobility, he can gain the following:

If a character has Advanced Firearms Proficiency, Focused, Personal Firearms Proficiency, Strafe, and Weapon Focus, he can gain the following benefits:

Considering the number of feats available to d20 Modern characters, the possibilities are quite interesting.


Layout and Style

Superior Synergy: Modern and Future (landscape) follows a typical two-column format, with a small, easy-to-read font. As with its cousin, Superior Synergy: Fantasy, and numerous other d20 products, it includes a thick border around each page. In this case, the border is black and yellow stripes bordering brown. I believe it is supposed to provide the impression of a door or portal of some sort, with warning colors. 


Headings are black, outlined in bright yellow. This actually makes it easy to read the headings, and find them quickly.  Unfortunately, the black text is on a grey background. It is a light grey background, unlike some game books, but still, black text, grey background. It just doesn't work.


Even worse, the few tables use alternating light and dark grey rows, with thick, black, bold text. This is a terrible design decision.


The portrait file lacks the grey background, making the text much easier to read. The yellow, black, and brown border is gone as well. Unfortunately, the tables use alternating white and dark grey rows, still with the thick, black text.



Superior Synergy: Modern and Future has several small pieces of black and white art. The quality of these pieces is average.


Open Gaming

Superior Synergy: Modern and Future is full of open content.


File Utility

Superior Synergy: Modern and Future includes two files: one landscape with graphics and color for screen reading, and a portrait version minus graphics and color for printing. Superior Synergy: Modern and Future is an unlocked document, allowing for copying and pasting, and page extracting. Open pdf files are good things. Both the landscape and portrait files have full bookmarks, allowing you to quickly jump to any particular entry.



Superior Synergy: Modern and Future is a solid product. Skills are very useful in the d20 Modern line, with feats arguably more so. Superior Synergy: Modern and Future increases the utility of a character's abilities by a vast degree. It does suffer from stylistic problems, but not enough to devalue the product.