Sunday, March 16, 2014

Converting NPCs from Classic D&D to GURPS

Let’s face it. We like to use D&D material for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy games. That’s some of the point behind Dungeon Fantasy: running a D&D-esque game with our favorite game system.

Now, often, we make NPCs with the idea of having them do something in the background or as part of a story, and those are easy. Other times, our characters are down in the dungeon and we roll on a table from an old D&D book (the old Fiend Folio, in my case) or some retroclone and up comes “NPC party.” We wince at this line, since what does it mean in GURPS that the murder-hoboes now meet a third-level cleric, a fifth-level fighting man, a fourth-level thief and a second-level magic-user?

This guide is for that time.

There already is some help for this built into GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, albeit in an unlikely book: GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 1: Mirror of the Fire Demon. From pages 42 to 45, there are 11 NPCs that we can turn into others down in the dungeon, and we are going to do that. For spellcasters, we also shall turn to GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 8: Treasure Tables, where there are tables on which we can roll for spells for magic-users. Cleric and druids will get their spells from the lists in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers and GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 3: The Next Level

Fighters, Thieves, Dwarves, Halflings

We’ll deal with these classes first. I do my rolling on the D30 DM Companion, which takes most of its cues from the Moldvay Basic D&D and Cook Expert D&D sets, so I’m handling dwarves and halflings as those books have them, which is as classes unto themselves. The original Dungeons & Dragons game, the Holmes Basic D&D set, and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons and its offspring to nowadays have races and classes as two unalike things. You can handle this by mixing and matching racial templates.

The basic ideas behind all of this are:

  • The templates in Mirror of the Fire Demon are first-level characters.
  • For higher level characters, divide level by two, round down, and add that to all skills.
  • For every four levels, rounded down, raise each attribute that is higher than 10 on the template by one. Do not raise skills to show this.
  • For every eight levels, rounded down, raise each attribute that is not higher than 10 on the template by one. Do not raise skills to show this.
  • Tweak his skills to let him use whatever equipment you roll that he has if you do not want to use the equipment in the Mirror of the Fire Demon NPCs.

Now, class-by-class:

  • A fighter is a Basic Warrior. You can have him be a Basic Barbarian or a Basic Archer if that fits your needs better.
  • A thief is a Basic Thief.
  • A dwarf is a Basic Dwarf Warrior.
  • A halfling is a Basic Warrior, but add the halfling template and give him Camouflage at IQ, Sling at DX+2 (this has his Halfling Marksmanship talent), and Stealth at DX. And even though they do not have ST better than 10, we still raise their ST by 1 for every four levels they have.

Let’s do some rolling and make the character. Level 3 of the dungeon, rolling twice on the table in the D30 DM Companion gives 21 and 6, which 1d2 champions: 7th level fighters. (Level titles, oh yeah, what a way to make things so clear!) I roll a 1 on 1d2, so we only have one of them, but that doesn’t matter as they would be the same unless we chose two templates to handle them. Since he’s 7th level, we add 3 to all his skills, and 1 to his ST, DX, HT and secondary characteristics that come from them.

For his equipment, I’ll roll on the Quick Character Inventory on p. 9 first, getting a 23 on a d30, which is the die I’m rolling unless I say otherwise. That means he has a broadsword, no shield, and wears plate armor. (I’ll call that “mail and plate” from GURPS Low-Tech: Instant Armor, and make its stats threefold the Torso armor to handle a whole suit.) To see if he has a second weapon, I get nothing (he has a 50/50 chance, and I roll 92 on d%), so I’ll move to the tables on p. 21 to see if he has more. He has a 5% chance for each level he has to own a magic item, which is 15% since I’m rolling on the 3rd level table, and I roll an 11 on d%, so he does. I roll a 26 the magic item and get 1d3+3 lightning javelins (I roll and get 5 of them), which I treat as a crackling javelin (see Adventurers, p. 30), which means they do a follow-up 2 electrical damage as well as their normal damage.

So, a 7th level fighter:

ST: 14 HP: 14 Speed: 6.75
DX: 14 Will: 10 Move: 4
IQ: 10 Per: 10 SM: 0
HT: 13 HP: 13 DR: 5/4
Dodge: 8 Parry: 13 Block: 12

Broadsword (18): 2d+1 cutting or 1d+1 crushing. Reach 1.
Javelin (16): 1d+1 impaling. Range 21/35. Their crackling javelins do a follow-up 2 electrical damage.
Punch (17): 1d crushing. Reach C.

Traits: Combat Reflexes; High Pain Threshold.
Skills: Brawling-17; Broadsword-18; Shield-17; Thrown Weapon (Spear)-16.
Class: Mundane.
Notes: DR against crushing is 4. He has the Shield skill, but can’t Block unless he picks up a shield. Notable gear includes:
  • Broadsword, $500, 3 lbs.
  • Crackling Javelin (5), $15,330, 2 lbs.
  • Mail and Plates Suit (covering all locations except the face), $3,000, 60 lbs.

Yeah, he’s boring, but you can come up with a name and personality yourself. Deem that beyond the scope of all this.

Clerics, Elves, Magic-Users

These guys have the same basic ideas as the others, but have spells. Class-by-class:

  • Clerics are Support Clerics with True Faith (Turning) if they’re Lawful or Neutral, or Terror if they’re Chaotic. They also have the skill Diagnosis at IQ. See below for Power Investiture.
  • Magic-Users are Artillery Mages. See below for Energy Reserve and Magery.
  • Elves are Basic Archers with the Wood Elf racial template. Even though they do not have IQ better than 10, we still raise their IQ by 1 for every four levels they have.

For Energy Reserve, Magery, and Power Investiture, we’re going to handle this a little different than on the templates. A first-level cleric has Power Investiture 1; a first-level magic-user has Magery 1; a first-level elf has Magery 0. These go up like attributes, so at 4th level, they get another level of Power Investiture or Magery. Magic-users get Energy Reserve (Magical) 1 at 1st level, which goes up like a skill.

Now, we have spells. Clerics get two spells for each level they have. Roll them at random, which might be odd since you have something like 32 spells of Power Investiture 1 or other such spell tallies. Roll at the highest level of Power Investiture he would have at the level of experience, so a 9th level cleric has six rolls on Power Investiture 1, eight rolls on Power Investiture 2, and four rolls on Power Investiture 3. Always give him Minor Healing for free. He will have the the spell at a skill of IQ+Power Investiture-2 (or -3 if it is Very Hard), but if you roll the same spell more than once, add one to his skill each time.

Magic-users and elves get one roll on the Enchantment Type Table in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 8: Treasure Tables for each level he has. From there, roll on the table it gives, and reroll results that give a spell not on the Wizard spell list from Pyramid #3/60: Dungeon Fantasy III and for which he lacks the Magery. Give him all the prerequisites spells for each spell he has. If you’re in a hurry, don’t worry about the prerequisites unless he needs one to blast his foes. He will have the spell at a skill of IQ+Magery-2 (or -3 if it is Very Hard), but if you roll the same spell more than once, add one to his skill each time. Magic-users should also get Lend Energy and Recover Energy.

Alternately, you can pick from the spell lists in Mirror of the Fire Demon, but you need to keep the Magery prerequisites in mind, since these templates have Magery 3 or so by default.

So, also on the 3rd level of the dungeon, I roll a 16 and an 11, which is 2d6 elves. Elves, like dwarves and halflings, don’t go up in level as you go down further in the dungeon, but we’ll call this 1d4+1 5th level elves to make them like the evil curates (5th level clerics) to make this more interesting. I’ll write for a lone elf to be clear.

Since they’re 5th level, we raise all his attributes and their secondary characteristics by 1, his Magery by 1, and his skills by 2. We have five rolls for spells. I get Clouds, which isn’t on the list, so it doesn’t count, Shape Water, Wall of Light, Charm, Shade, Rotting Death, which doesn’t count since he doesn’t have Magery 2, Power, which doesn’t count, and Destroy Water. I’ll put the prerequisites in the list too.

Rolling for equipment is a 14, which is a shortsword, mail armor, no shield. Since they’re elves, they have a 50/50 chance at a missile weapon, which we’ll give them anyways since GURPS elves are archery munchkins, calling a crossbow a regular bow since I rolled a 24. They have no magic items and no leader.

Our 5th level elf:

ST: 12 HP: 12 Speed: 6.00
DX: 15 Will: 11 Move: 4
IQ: 11 Per: 11 SM: 0
HT: 12 HP: 12 DR: 4/2*
Dodge: 8 Parry: 11 Block: 11

Punch (16): 1d-1 crushing. Reach C.
Regular Bow (20): 1d+1 impaling. Range 195/260. Bodkin arrows do 1d+1(2) piercing instead.
Shortsword (17): 2d-1 cutting. Reach 1.

Traits: Acute Vision 2; Appearance (Attractive); Forest Guardian 2; Magery 0; Night Vision 2; Sense of Duty (Nature); Striking ST 1 (ST 13).
Skills: Bow-20; Brawling-16; Fast-Draw (Arrow)-19; Shield-17; Shortsword-17.
Spells: Alertness-9; Bravery-10; Charm-10; Continual Light-10; Create Water-10; Destroy Water-10; Dull Hearing-10; Dull Vision-10; Fear-10; Light-10; Loyalty-10; Keen Hearing-10; Keen Vision-10; Purify Water-10; Seek Water-10; Sense Emotion-10; Sense Foes-10; Shape Water-10; Wall of Light-10.
Class: Mundane.
Notes: DR against crushing is 2. He has the Shield skill, but can't Block unless he picks up a shield. Notable gear includes:
  • Fine Mail Armor (covering all locations except the face), $2,700, 45 lbs.
  • Regular Bow, $100, 2 lbs.
  • Shortsword, $400, 2 lbs.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Blankets and Tents

Going through the equipment lists, I see no special reason why anyone would bother to buy a bedroll or a tent, since they do nothing. However, a blanket is part of the basic loadout, and tents are offered as an upgrade, so they should do something. So, this is me thinking out loud about how to handle them.


This is easier to rule. If you have no blanket or sleeping fur, your sleep is not as good and therefore some of your sleep time is lost. I can't find anything online about how much this is worth, so I crack open the Wilderness Survival Guide (which was among the first AD&D books I owned, by the way, though I lost my copy over the years and bought it on PDF again last year) and look on page 65. And the first thing that strikes me is how kind AD&D was to missing sleep: you only had to have five hours of sleep each night. Anyways, getting beyond that, it lists "Lying on bare ground (no bedding or padding)" as docking an hour off one's sleep, so we'll go with that. That will be two hours in weather below 35°F, but the blanket knocks that down to one hour, and the sleeping fur means no loss.

The other lines on this table bring up good issues. Plate armor knocks off four hours, which sounds about right; call all rigid armor knocking off half its DR in hours, rounded down. No loss for flexible armor; I think it's now a moot point that you can sleep in mail without much problem. Being below 0°F (or 35°F lower than your character's own low temperature threshold, for anyone with Temperature Tolerance) takes off another hour, while being above 90°F (or whatever your Temperature Tolerance gives you) takes off two hours.

Now, if you're hex crawling, missing sleep would have its normal effects, which means you're down FP. If you want to sleep a little longer, that will cut your travel time, so each extra hour cuts off 10% of travel, since I assume 10-12 hours of actual travel to make Move = 5-to-6-mile hexes. If you're using the slewing way of travel (hey, remember slewing in Microsoft Flight Simulator?) in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons, rule that not having a blanket means you get to wherever 10% slower, while not having a sleeping fur in winter or arctic weather means you get there 20% slower, or 10% slower with a normal blanket.


Some other lines in this table from the Wilderness Survival Guide lead us to tents. If the wind speed is 20 m.p.h. or greater and you have no tent, it says to dock two hours. If there is light or moderate precipitation and you have no tent, it says to dock three hours. (Those in plate armor don't take this loss, so if the weather is bad and you know it will be, it might be better to sleep in your plate.) And, in the graf below the table, it says that you can't sleep outside a tent in "extreme weather conditions," listing a lightning storm, a hailstorm and a sandstorm as examples. All of this I am going to use as-is for my hex crawl. For travel without detail, give a bonus of +1 to the Weather Sense roll to lower travel time if there are enough tents for everyone.

Group Basics

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers and the Basic Set both call this "[b]asic equipment for Cooking and Survival for a group," which sounds well and good until you realize that there's no special group Cooking or Survival rules anywhere. So, we'll handle this like the tent: having Group Basics means that you get a +1 to foraging rolls since the gear lets you better skin and prep the food to make it last longer and get more off the bone.

(Note to my players: wow, I hadn't looked at the Survival skill in ages. You all will hate those daily rolls.)

Throwing This Open

Anyone have any ideas?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Game log for 2 March 2014


Mayhem, 125-point dwa-er, human male barbarian (Chris)
Yémos, 125-point human male cleric of Dōsaútōr, goddess of magic and wisdom (Eric)


Anêr, 125-point human male swashbuckler (Rett)


Caleb, 125-point human male wizard (Nate, run for this session as an NPC)

Notes about the above: Nate quit the game, so I ran Caleb as an NPC until we get a chance to drop him off somewhere. Or he dies, I suppose.

The game starts on 12 Žnēâns 2852, right after the death of the manticore. In a flashback to the 9th, Mayhem woke up in the tavern. Praidīvós realized he forgot to give Yémos the letter of introduction to get the blood from Dībités Rock, so he hired Mayhem to do bring that letter, with a payment of 10 gold pieces, payable when Praidīvós gets his demon blood. Mayhem makes it to hex 2216, and hears the gang fight the manticore. He comes up to the others and and they talk about slicing apart the manticore. Anêr tried cutting off the stinger, but stings himself, which crippled his left hand. Yémos casts Minor Healing gives Anêr back most of what he lost. They choose to move on.

No Emerson, Lake and Palmer springs to mind.
A mile or so eastward, they hear some whimpering coming from a cave, and see some tracks nearby. They try to sneak up to the cave, and they hear a howl. Mayhem fails his Fright Check, taking going ashen and and stunned for 3 seconds. An elf-like feline (a caterwaul) comes out of its cave and charges Caleb, but doesn't hit him. Anêr gets near the caterwaul but doesn't swing; Yémos casts Shield 2 on Anêr. Caleb takes a step back to ready Fireball. Anêr makes a mighty swing, but the caterwaul dodges. The caterwaul tries to claw the wizard again, but the wizard dodges, but loses his spell. Yémos then whacks the caterwaul with its staff, but the great cat stays and fights. Anêr swings again at the caterwaul, but the it swats away his claws. The caterwaul steps back tries to put those claws in Anêr, but the Shield spell helps Anêr shun the blow. Yémos takes a swing, and the caterwaul doesn't dodge. The caterwaul parries Anêr again, then starts to withdraw, running towards its cave. Yémos steps in front of the wizard, who tries to cast Fireball, but he misses. Anêr moves back to defend as well. The caterwaul gets into its cave when Mayhem awakes from his stun.

The gang chose to go eastward and leave the poor cat alone. After some more travel, they hear growls, which Yémos identifies as wolves. Since the wolves are not bothering them, and looking for prey, the gang instead goes onward.

Add a little more snivel, and some self-soiling.
About an hour later, they see a cave, to which they go and see four goblins cooking a rat. Our gang sneak up on the goblins, and Mayhem shoots the nearest one with an arrow. The goblin pulls out his bow and ducks behind another goblin, who gather their wits to fight the gang. Caleb tries to cast Fireball, but fails. Anêr waits, Mayhem moves nearer, and one goblin steps towards Mayhem and draws his axe. The one with his bow takes a shot at Mayhem, who does not dodge, but his armor stops it. The other goblins draw their bows. Yémos and Anêr near, and Caleb gets Fireball ready. Mayhem, sword out, takes a swing, and the goblin falls to the ground, groaning in pain  The other goblins run off. 

The gang ties the goblin, named Kuflaug, who had six copper farthings on him. They ask him what's in the cave, and after a bit, he asks if they will kill the wizard and his "red man." He doesn't want to go into the cave, so Yémos wants to take him inside, and Anêr leads him in at sword point.

A little bigger and much more badass than a goblin.
They go into a big round room, about 50 foot diameter, and see the rotten tapestries on the walls, and listen at the door at the far end. They hear nothing. They push it open and go down the hall into a smaller round room, with four doors as well as the short hallway going into the room. They ask Kuflaug about traps in the rooms beyond the door to their right, and he says he doesn't know. They listen at the door and hear nothing. They walk inside, and see five orcs in a big barracks, which scares hell out of Kuflaug. The orcs ask what the goblin is doing inside the caves with the men, since the goblins are paying them to kill the wizard. As they parley about how much money the orcs should get (all of it, as they say), a black pudding seeps into the room from under the door through which they had just come. Man, orc and goblin all run to the one other door on the other side of the room, and find the door is locked. The orcs start to hack at the door, while the gang talks about what to do about the black pudding. After some mishaps, Caleb gets the Fireball spell going, and singes it. The orcs spot an opening, and run around the pudding instead of going through the door, which they have now hacked open.

Black Pudding
Not for eating.

The gang goes into the room beyond the broken door. The room has fewer beds, and bigger, with a big statue of a humanoid with an oversized head. Mayhem goes first, behind the trap finder, and spots the loose tile, but the goblin wasn't so quick and stepped on the tile anyways and died from the bolt that shot out of the statue's mouth. Caleb and Anêr both took a shot, while Mayhem and Yémos get out of the way of two more shots. Everyone looks back, and see the pudding trying feebly to chase after the orcs. All choose to look through the room and go into the next one. After pushing in the stuck door, they go into the room, which is even smaller than the last one, and has oily rags and empty tin vials are in a corner. A lone big workbench, missing a leg, is against the far wall, which has some phosphorescent fungus on it. Random broken tools lie scattered on the bench. Caleb advises against shutting both doors after smelling the trap that comes out of a bottle in the middle of the room. They go to the other door and find the old prison, with rusted manacles and chains and some bits of little bones.

And we break here. The two characters whose players were there, Mayhem and Yémos, each got two points.

Notes: We gamed in Chris's apartment. Chris, can you clean up the place a bit if you're going to offer? And maybe show off some of the four decades of gaming material that you've accumulated? I know your foot is bum. Hopefully, the weather will let us do better in two weeks, either make your trek to Universe Games easier, or make it easier to get your excess stuff out.

I think I have the random encounters down, at least when they should happen. Now to worry about lead in for those.

Our barbarian is lacking in wilderness skills. Those will help the gang to get through the woods. Namely, a guide should have Hiking, Navigation (Land) and Weather Sense and some Survival (in these lands, mostly Plains, Swampland and Woodlands). The other characters can soak up whatever Survival skills the guide does not have.

Speaking of Mayhem, he lived up to his name by shooting a goblin before I could even get in a Reaction roll. Who knows how they would have handled someone talking to them? The orcs didn't take it too badly.