As I pour more energy into the 5E Hardcore rules and see how the rules roll out in action I keep coming back to the idea that these rules might solve the homebrew holy grail for the 5E rules: Updated D20 Modern rules.
The Dungeon Master’s Guide has a whole chapter devoted to converting some aspects of the game to a modern setting, and even had a brief Unearthed Arcana article for Modern Magic. But that was way back in 2014 and as far as my Google Fu can find hasn’t been circled back to again. Many homebrewers have attempted to tackle the project in their own way to bring back the ideas brought up in the 3.5 D20 Modern core book with varying results. Some with good ideas and some that forgot to trim the fat.
But I think 5E Hardcore solves the fundamental problems that DMs and players have argued about for years: How do you make firearms deadly and how do you not make magic overpowered in a modern setting? With the reduced hit points for both players and enemies it solved the firearms problem by making all weapons more deadly but now makes an automatic projectile weapon deadly in even a CR 1/4 enemy’s hands. By making mages roll to see if they successfully cast their spells you put a barrier between instant death and game breaking crunch to figure out how to fight a hedge mage. Spell slots are out the window, the number of spells a character can cast diminished, but all without sacrificing the near gonzo power they wield.
The Dresden Files comes to mind with how it all fits into a setting. With backgrounds, ideals, bonds, and flaws you have enough built-in rules to make a character make sense for a modern world with magic and monsters tucked somewhere int he cracks.
But let me hear what you all think. If you were to use the 5E Hardcore D&D rules for a modern setting instead of a medieval fantasy world how would you do that? What speedbumps do you see to making it work?