Converting to D20 (part 2)
Continuing from this post...
STEP # 2 - Class & Level
The difficulty in converting Risus cliché levels to D20 class levels is that D20 class levels do not fall neatly into the "putz->professional->master" progression. Any conversion to D20 will involve making assumptions about the meaning of a class level. This assumption will vary from campaign to campaign, even for the same GM.
For an upcoming D20 version of Dragonspire, a fairly typical heroic fantasy game, I am making the assumption that a 1st level character represents professional competency (assuming 4 ranks in the relevant professional skills). This makes designing a conversion formula a bit tricky, given that only 4 cliché levels need to be spread among 20 class levels. Since I'd like a fairly linear progression, I arrive at 5 class levels for each cliché level from 3 to 6. A Cliché (1) would convert to a 0-level character, while a Cliché (2) would be 1st-level character with fewer than 4 skill ranks in their chosen profession.
Once a cliché level to class level formula is defined (and there are many more possibiltiies than the one I suggested for Dragonspire), the next step is actually converting characters.
Begin with a character's most important (and usually highest) cliché. Convert the cliché dice to a number of class levels (usually at the low end of a range of possible levels). Then assign these levels to one or more classes that seem appropriate for the cliché. Pay special attention to the things the character can actually do, increasing levels in certain classes to make sure the character still retains those abilities.
A character with more than one cliché can then add additional class levels, but generally not enough to put the character outside of the range of levels available to their primary cliché. Once again, pay attention to the abilities granted by the secondary clichés.
An alternative approach would be to convert all clichés equally with a less generous formula... perhaps one cliché level to one class level. Superficially, this would seem like a better approach. However, it fails to account for the stacking multi-classing mechanics of D20.
Next Up: Feats & Skills