When I think about "d20" I sometimes get a snippet of the old lyric "its all been done before" running in my head. This is not out of some snide put down of my fellow publishers but out of the humbling revelation that there simply are so many different ways of doing any given tasks in the d20 system. I have to admit whenever I sit down thinking of rules patches I really have to ask myself, can I do better? And to be honest, while I can do as well I can't really do better. Its a sobering thought.
Lets take rapier fencing, this is not a large part of most D&D games yet despite that in addition to the decent enough rules in D&D 3 and Pathfinder I can find 4 separate 3rd party supplements with fairly extensive rules, most focused around feat and prestige class combos.
There are of course more than this, probably hundreds of feats and prestige classes scattered in dozens of books, most all of which are balanced and playable. If any publishers want to pimp a related product in the comments or feel left out, feel free to chime in.
The big 4 I founder are/were
#1 D20 7th Sea which had dozens of sword school prestige classes and a ton of feats
#2 Skull and Bones which has a very good flexible prestige class systems and feats
#3 Codex Martialis which is basically realistic authentic D20 Medieval and Renaissance Combat written by a martial artist
and lastly #4 En Ferreus Veritas which was a pure rapier source book I have not read (can't find a copy)
What does this all mean?
Well first it means choices have to be made before you run a game
Second, all of us would be publishers ought to think before they write. Of course I suppose its been that way all along. Or since 2002 anyway ;)
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