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Converting 5e campaigns to BRP


GothmogIV

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So, here's the issue: I just finished a year-long D&D 5e campaign with my group, and we found that the players are just too powerful. They are fucking superheroes by level 5. It's silly. BUT, the campaign material itself is top-notch, it really is. The stories are good, the encounters are good, the maps are beautiful, blah blah blah. I have always, since the late 80s, preferred Chaosium's BRP system to TSR/Wizards.  I wonder if anyone has had any experience, or can suggest any resources, for skinning D&D materials for use in BRP. The hardest conversion is the magic system, but other than that...any thoughts? 

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one idea is to use ClassicFantasy for magic.. which has the desire to emulate D&D... ad also go to the download section for the monster compendium

other than that I am working on a magic system.. quite similar to DD with some tweak that enable more liberal use of elemental damage spells (without making Wizard OP) and eventual spamming of spells... (and urban castion) and with about 100 spells.... give it a wekk and I can send to you...
The gist is more skill need to be used to do magic (i.e slower progression), use general HP (this way 3D6 fireball doesn't mean automatic death), and all some occasional item cost reduction... (and also urban magic tech ideas and spells)

That said.. my magic item list is pretty pathetic compared to D&D...

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I have been working with the idea that each MP expended is a point of effect, like you cast a fireball--it costs 1MP to initiate, then each MP spent is a point of damage and increased radius. So a wizard with 18 MP could blast off a fireball that does 17 HP of damage in the area of effect. Same with sleep: 1 MP to cast, 17 MP of sleepy-sleepy to go around, beginning with the wizard's target, or an area of effect. Or something. Magic is hard. 

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Direct conversion/emulation is difficult. Classic Fantasy is probably your best option there as it is designed to try and emulate D&D. 

But if you don't need to covert directly, you can try to adapt things. Use the same maps, and locations buy adjust the NPC and monster stats to better fit BRP. I've done that a lot, in no small part because most of the games I run are not as well supported as D&D. Often I grab a particular type/style of adventure and then see how much of it I want to use and how much I want/need to change to make it work for my campaign.  I don't rate D&D campaign material as highly as you do, though. I find it to be all over the place, as there are so many people producing content, but there is certainly some good stuff out there. Still, it's a lot easier to take the basic framework and important stuff and fine tune the NPC stats to something that is both functional and yet keeps the spirit of the original adventure.

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Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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well.. if you must know my tweaks now.... (fireball being dear to me ^_^)

new skills:
Arcane Knowledge: maximum MP spend per cast= MIN(this skill/10%, INT/2), at 100% and each 10% beyond can learn one new spell
Mystic Power: +1MP / 10%.. (simply increase MP, I don't like staff and familiar)
Ritual Casting: can cast any spell with this skill, but powering 1MP/round, so no combat casting.. also can spend up to Arcane Knowledge/10%, not just INT/2. Also can cast with other wizard for much higher MP limit.

Spell Skill >= 100% bonus: -1MP cost reduction (min 1) at 100% and every10% there after. Cost reduction unlock most powerful spell since MP cost is the limit, instead of level

Spell can be combined, simply add up each spell cost and use lowest skill!

I got  "rid" of level, maximise MP per cast.. it won't change anything in most case.. but occasionally it will be different

 

Now: for fireballs!

Firebolt (change): Activation: 1+2MP/D6 (so limited to 4 initially), Range 30/100 (i.e. at 100m, you can miss but the spell still trigger, maybe hit something else)

Ball (new): Activation 3MP, combine with other spell and make it affect multiple target (in 3m Radius). Incidentally make long range (100m) elemental bolt normal instead of hard. 
One can also do mass change with that! ^_^ 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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CF is nice but...

It has classes... 😕 
(it makes sense, because magic is OP, as if, if I am a lord and it's the same cost to have a warrior or a wizard, better take a wizard!, or if I am a new character, for the same starting experience, I'll do better as a wizard)

Fireball has the same "problems" (my personal feelings inserted just there) that a default BRP implementation would have...
Also the spell cost reduction goes way to high too fast... unnecessary for most, like "change" for instance, but needed due to crazy price of fire(ball) spells.
Meanwhile the Sharpen/WeaponDamage bonus completely outshine fireball for a much more modest cost

 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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8 hours ago, Lloyd Dupont said:

CF is nice but...

It has classes... 😕 

It "has" classes, specifically because it's emulating D&D.  But it's skill-driven & skill-advancing, not class-limiting.

Your "Fighter" can freely take loads of thiefy skills.  They only advance in the Fighter class if they advance their specific Fighter skills; if instead they advance their thiefy skills, then they advance in THAT class, instead.

And even if the OP doesn't want to run CF as-written... it's worth getting, IMHO, just to pillage for already-complete & playtested systems and subsystems.


 

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1 hour ago, GothmogIV said:

This is all super helpful. My take away is to use BRP for the crunch and just skin the D&D stuff for maps and encounters. I usually just make shit up anyway. This will be no different. 

That's the best approach, IMO. But then I never understood the reason for Classic Fantasy. I figure if someone wants to play a game like D&D, then they should just play D&D as nothing else is more like D&D than D&D. 

 

 

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44 minutes ago, Atgxtg said:

That's the best approach, IMO. But then I never understood the reason for Classic Fantasy. I figure if someone wants to play a game like D&D, then they should just play D&D as nothing else is more like D&D than D&D.

I understand...

I guess while we are all different, my personal feeling is l don't like D&D because I feel constrained by classed and I find the humongous HPs one gains as level increase intolerable...
On the other hand, I like the fantasy that D&D settings have! :)

Although, of late, I become also a little over the typical D&D fantasy of lots stupid retarded farmers and some sparse godly adventurer here and there, and in my soon to be shared little magic overhaul I will emphasize urban magic applications!
I guess I am adopting the magic punk fantasy! :P 

Edited by Lloyd Dupont
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19 hours ago, GothmogIV said:

I wonder if anyone has had any experience, or can suggest any resources, for skinning D&D materials for use in BRP.

Converting to Classic Fantasy is probably the easiest way to do it.

19 hours ago, GothmogIV said:

The hardest conversion is the magic system, but other than that...any thoughts? 

I converted a 3-scenario  module once, the White Palm Oasis, Basically, I took the plot elements and the maps, but completely redid all the NPCs. It worked really well.

After all, a good scenario is a good scenario whatever the system.

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14 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

That's the best approach, IMO. But then I never understood the reason for Classic Fantasy. I figure if someone wants to play a game like D&D, then they should just play D&D as nothing else is more like D&D than D&D. 

I agree.

I do think using Mythras, OpenQuest, Magic World or even just the Big Gold Book would work fine for the kind of campaign the OP wants.

 

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For direct conversion, I'd use:

https://www.chaosium.com/classic-fantasy-pdf/

And the big gold book: https://www.chaosium.com/basic-roleplaying-softcover/

Or you can go the Mythras way: http://thedesignmechanism.com/Classic-Fantasy.php

 

My preferred option, however, would be adapting the campaign to a BRP fantasy ruleset that I like. And you have a lot of choice:

Magic World: https://www.chaosium.com/magic-world/ (softcover on sale at 10 dollars!)

Toxandria: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/321297/Toxandria (very good third party fantasy BRP ruleset)

Classic RQ: https://www.chaosium.com/runequest-classic-softcover-pod/

And you should definitely get the Gateway Bestiary with it: https://www.chaosium.com/gateway-bestiary-softcover-pod/

Or, why not? Use the current RQ ruleset: https://www.chaosium.com/runequest-roleplaying-in-glorantha-hardcover/

I know, I know. It's for Glorantha. But I don't think Jeff will come to your place to arrest you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 10/21/2020 at 12:47 PM, Lloyd Dupont said:

I understand...

I guess while we are all different, my personal feeling is l don't like D&D because I feel constrained by classed and I find the humongous HPs one gains as level increase intolerable...

Yup. I moved away from D&D becuase I felt that skill based games were less restrictive, and did most things better. Wounds were actually a concern, and even a master swordsman could still be killed by a single hit. I never got into CF becuase to me it was taking a step backwards, to the style of gaming I consciously moved away from. But apparently some people were looking for something halfway between D&D and BRP. 

On 10/21/2020 at 12:47 PM, Lloyd Dupont said:


On the other hand, I like the fantasy that D&D settings have! :)

LOL!:lol:. I didn't. Most D&D settings tend to be knockoff of Middle Earth with modern socio-political beliefs somehow shoehorned in. Or, the modern wester world without the tech, but with swords & sorcery. There are some exceptions to this, but the generic D&D settings are too generic for me. 

On 10/21/2020 at 12:47 PM, Lloyd Dupont said:

Although, of late, I become also a little over the typical D&D fantasy of lots stupid retarded farmers and some sparse godly adventurer here and there, and in my soon to be shared little magic overhaul I will emphasize urban magic applications!
I guess I am adopting the magic punk fantasy! :P 

GO for it, it will be a nice shake up. One of D&D strength is that just about anybody can make a D&D supplement, so we can get an almost infinite number of takes and views on things. On of it drawback though is that just about anybody can make a D&D supplement, so we can get an almost infinite number of takes and views on things.

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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16 minutes ago, GothmogIV said:

Toxandria is a let down: 70 pages of repeating the rules I already have in Magic World and the big gold book. Hopefully the 30 pages of original world building are worth the $7.95! 

I think the point is that it's MEANT to be a core-BRP game, not a bunch of new rules.  If you were expecting a bunch of brand-new rules & variants, I'm (a) not surprised you're disappointed, & (b) not quite sure WHY you were expecting that.

Other reviews say it's a nice clean rendition of the rules, very clear & usable; better (in that regard) than MW itself.  But which is "better" or "more clear" is going to vary person to person, as a matter of preference/taste/opinion.
 

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 I guess I thought I was getting a campaign, or a source book for a world. Some of what's in there is original world-building. I was just surprised that so much of the book was a repeat of the rules. I get it, though: you can have that one book and play without anything else. I'm happy to give those guys my money! It is a tremendous amount of work. 

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1 hour ago, GothmogIV said:

 I guess I thought I was getting a campaign, or a source book for a world. Some of what's in there is original world-building. I was just surprised that so much of the book was a repeat of the rules. I get it, though: you can have that one book and play without anything else. I'm happy to give those guys my money! It is a tremendous amount of work. 

I expect virtually *everything* coming out under the BRP-OGL will be this way. -- it will have the gamesystem & any setting under one cover.  If BRP gets its own (non-Glorantha, non-CoC) Community Content program, we may see some efforts to do "partial" products -- races, settings, etc; with only as much BRP-crunch as is needed to represent those.

FWIW -- Chaosium has stated, repeatedly, that their sales numbers say this is what sells.  BGB-style toolkits don't.  All-in-one rules+setting do.  (I'm not sure how often a pure-setting book, with minimal core mechanics, has even been offered in BRP (other than as a supplement to an all-in-one core)).

[  FWIW... I *DO* note Mythras, which is toolkit-y... but I only really read RQ6 cover-to-cover, so I'm unclear on how much of Anathaym's Saga is in Mythras.  I'm not sure how other people read it, but to me Mythras was almost exactly as evocative with its implied setting as RQ2/RQClassic was, and eminently runnable (in a Your-Anathaym-May-Vary way) as RQ2 was.  ]

 

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When I'm playing D&D/D20 stuff in my RQ games, I use a rule of thumb of Modifier ×5 equals skill percentage. So if an opponent has +12 to hit, that's 60%. It's not perfect, obviously, but it gets the point across and helps me fly by the seat of my pants from the book.

Magic's a lot harder, because the approach to magic in D&D and in RQ/BRP is pretty different. The biggest difference is HP pools. This seems especially true in 5E, where basic scenario design seems to be about HP attrition and how players respond to it. Plus, depending on your edition, there may be a greater variety of spell effects provided for in D&D/Pathfinder than in BRP. Sometimes they just don't map one-to-one.

My preference is to mostly re-write NPCs like Simon shared, if I've got the time for it. I often need to re-write magic items, too, but not always. Remember that while some folks might poo-poo it, a +1 bracers of armor or similar simple, generic magic items are plenty useful and welcome in BRP games. That sort of constant Protection effect is the sort of magic item my group actively desires. I was very excited when I finally got my first +1-equivalent sword in RQ. I would recommend making those items more rare than they're treated in most D&D editions, though. BRP's typical scarcity of magic items makes them more desirable, but a simple, generic magic item is perfectly useful.

Another useful rule of thumb is to use an effect's DC as part of a resistance table roll, compared to a characteristic. Or, to use DC×5 and a characteristic× in a Mythras-style opposed roll.

For experiences, most of the RQ I've done as a player was old AD&D modules my friend ran for RQ (I think he used a monster generator for characteristics and just swapped what was in the module for something comparable). Of those, I'd definitely recommend trying out The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. It's pretty much a straight-up dungeon-crawl, but in a more lethal game like RQ/BRP it's really hard. Really fun, too. GMing RQG, I've mostly run my own stuff, but I have also run a few things using D20 in RQG (an adventure excerpted from the Wheel of Time D20 campaign, and The Spire of Iron & Crystal for Pathfinder, by Frog God Games).

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11 hours ago, g33k said:

I expect virtually *everything* coming out under the BRP-OGL will be this way. -- it will have the gamesystem & any setting under one cover. 

Yeah, that was pretty much the model for RPGs back in the days when Chasoium was a major RPG company. Stand alone games that used a variation of the RuneQuest/BRP ruleset customized to work for that setting.

11 hours ago, g33k said:

FWIW -- Chaosium has stated, repeatedly, that their sales numbers say this is what sells.  BGB-style toolkits don't.  All-in-one rules+setting do.  (I'm not sure how often a pure-setting book, with minimal core mechanics, has even been offered in BRP (other than as a supplement to an all-in-one core)).

Exactly. THE BGB is a nice toolkit, but is really for people who already have BRP games and just want to collect various options. Most GMs seem to want some sort of established setting worked out for them, rather than a host of options.

14 hours ago, GothmogIV said:

 I guess I thought I was getting a campaign, or a source book for a world. Some of what's in there is original world-building. I was just surprised that so much of the book was a repeat of the rules. I get it, though: you can have that one book and play without anything else. I'm happy to give those guys my money! It is a tremendous amount of work. 

For that sort of stuff, you might want to look at some of the RQ2/RQ3 campaign packs, such as Borderlands. IMO, that is some of the best campaign sourcebook material ever written. You get an well fleshed out setting, with NPCs, over a half dozen adventures, lots of story ideas for further adventures, and a book full of encounters and stats. 

Chaos stalks my world, but she's a big girl and can take of herself.

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Thanks for the convo, friends. It's helpful.

On the RuneQuest issue...bought the giant boxed set of two books and the GMs screen. That is, literally, the most beautifully produced game I have ever owned in my life. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. But: it's a lot to take in. Is there a simpler overview of Glorantha? I get a bit turned around with RuneQuest, Mythras, QuestWorlds, etc. What's a good resource for the world of Glorantha without so much of the rules? 

 

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3 minutes ago, GothmogIV said:

<snipped> What's a good resource for the world of Glorantha without so much of the rules? 

Heya,

That would be The Glorantha Sourcebook.

https://www.chaosium.com/the-glorantha-sourcebook-hardcover/

It's a condensed summary of things Glorantha in a single book. And yes, there is a lot to Glorantha. The GM Screen Pack has an Adventure Guide in it that looks at a slice of Sartar, so that's a good starting point gamewise.

There is a RuneQuest Starter in the pipeline, but that's still a work in progress. But something to look out for also.

Hope this helps!

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