Saturday, April 08, 2006

Converting to D20 (part 3)

Continuing from this post...

I'm going to step back for a second and stress that my goal in the conversion process is only to produce enough information to actually use the character in a D20 game. I do not intend to create complete characters. With that in mind, the very nature of Risus affords us with a handy shorthand.

STEP # 3 - Skills
The most time consuming aspect of creating D20 characters is assigning their skills. I could post suggestions on how to translate cliché values into ranks for the standard list of D20 skills. But this doesn't take advantage of the power of the cliché system. Instead, why not keep the character's clichés and translate the cliché level into a D20 bonus? The cliché "Social Butterfly with a Natural Sense for Fashion and Culture (4)" implies proficiency in Appraise, Bluff, Diplomacy, Gather Information, and Knowledge (various). Thus, the cliché becomes a shorthand for all those skills.

So when using the cliché in D20, what should the bonus be? One approach would be to convert the cliché dice to D20 rank. One suggested conversion: cliché (1) = 1 rank, cliché (2) = 2-3 ranks, cliché (3) = 4-8 ranks, cliché (4) = 9-13 ranks, cliché (5) = 14-18 ranks, and cliché (6) = 19+ ranks. This is a relatively precise way to go, and has the advantage(?) of closely mirroring the original cliché values.

But an even easier way to handle it would be to discard the D20 rank entirely. We've already derived the character's level from the her cliché ranks. That means we could simple list the clichés with no level (which might be called "backgrounds" instead). Any task that relates to a cliché would be given ranks based on the character's total level. If, in the example above, the character with the "Social Butterfly" background is a 4th-level character then she might be assumed to have 7 ranks [level+3] in skills that relate directly to that background, perhaps 4 ranks [(level+3)/2] in skills of secondary importance, and 2 ranks in tertiary abilities [(level+3)/4].

This approach has the benefit of producing really abbreviated npc cards.

STEP # 4 - Feats
Simply select whatever feats seem appropriate. The important thing to remember is that these are significant feats - feats that let the character do cool stuff. Feats that simply give bonuses should not usually be specified, as bonuses are usually factored in elsewhere (and bonuses are boring).

As a rough rule of thumb, I select up to one feat for each die of any cliche (and try to pick feats that work for that cliché). Don't worry if you violate D20 standard here... these are NPCs, after all.

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Created: 2 December 2005 / Last modified: 5 Feb 2010
Risus: The Anything RPG ©1993-2010 by S. John Ross.
Risus Monkey ©2005-2010 by Tim Ballew.

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