The esteemed Berin Kinsman (Risus Domnio
), Vincent Diakuw (Dungeonautica
), and Lord Zamiel (Fantastic Fantasy Adventures in Risusland via the Risusiverse)
are only three prominent members of our community who have discussed using Risus
to play classic Dungeon Fantasy in the spirit of Old School D&D
. Given the popularity of the genre, I'm sure most Risus
GM's have dabbled in Dungeon Fantasy at one time or another. My own Dragonspire
drew heavily on the genre and I have run face-to-face and solo (via Mythic
) Dungeon Fantasy games as well.
It is my experiments with Mythic
that led me to the conclusion that I wanted a consistent conversion from any version of D&D/D20
. It is easy enough to do conversions on an ad hoc basis... An orc? No problem, he's an Orc Warrior (3). But for a long-running game that truly captures the "level" progression/power curve of the old school D&D
experience, some guidelines to maintain a reasonable level of internal consistency seemed neccessary.CHARACTERSD&D/D20
characters are amazingly easy to translate to Risus
once a suitable level-to-cliché dice conversion factor can be agreed upon. Coming up with that conversions factor is largely a matter of interpreting how the Putz->Professional->Master level descriptors map to D&D
levels. Personally, I interpret them as follows:D&D/D20 Class Level to Risus Cliché Dice
Level 0 = 1 die
Level 1-2 = 2 dice
Level 3-5 = 3 dice
Level 6-8 = 4 dice
Level 9-11 = 5 dice
Level 12-14 = 6 dice
Level 15-17 = 7 dice (NPC) or 5d8
level 18-20 = 8 dice (NPC) or 6d8
This is because I assume that a level 0 character is an apprentice, a level 1-2 character is a journeyman, and a level 3-5 character is really just hitting their stride in their class. "Masters" (5 dice) would be those characters who used to attract followers and go off to build fortresses. Anything higher and you're talking legendary capability and thus Funky Dice are totally justified.
So, according to the above table, a 5th level Fighter has a Fighter (3) cliché or something similar (I'm all in favor of sexing up cliché names). A character with multiple classes simply has multiple cliches.
Now, given that standard Risus
characters begin with 10 dice (with no cliché having more than 4 dice), you can see a little disconnect. Most characters will have too few dice and high level characters will exceed the 4 dice limit for single clichés.
It's all good, though. These clichés that are arrived upon by converting classes do not have to completely define a character. They are the character's "adventuring" clichés; the clichés that are typically used in "fantasy combat". Even "low-level" characters are likely to have a bunch of non-adventuring clichés that can be derived from the character's background. In later versions of D&D/D2
0, a character's Feats or Skills may give clues to what these other clichés might be.
Also, there is nothing to say that a given class can't be translated into a double-pumped cliché (very appropriate for Vancian spell-casters) or split into similar clichés (of the same level) to produce more combat endurance. Thus, that 5th-Level Fighter might have Knight (3) and Mercenary Captain (3). A 7th-level wizard could be a Wizard .
Higher-level characters are little more problematic. Either the 4-dice cap needs to be waived or the character can take a roughly equivalent number of Funky Dice for a given class: a 10th level Thief might become a Thief (4d8).
Race is easy. Simply append a racial (and/or cultural) descriptor to one of the character's clichés. That cliché can then be used for "racial stuff" (like a dwarf's resistance to poison or an elf's ability to notice secret doors).
Ability scores almost don't matter. If a character has unusually high or low ability scores for their class, then these can be noted with an appropriate descriptor on the cliché. If an ability is sufficiently exceptional, it can worked into its own cliché that does not map to the character's class clichés (i.e. Hulking Brute (4) for a character with 18/00 strength). A terrible ability score can even be a Hook.
Spells are handled abstractly but the source material (typically D&D
spell lists) should be referred to when describing effects. As a rule of thumb, a character is still limited to spells of a spell level appropriate to their cliché dice (as translated back to D&D
). Target Numbers can be set according to the rules for Dramatic Effects in magic (as described in the Risus Companion
) or simply defined as 3 plus the D&D
spell-level multiplied by 3. A failed roll to cast a spell typically means the spell was not prepared and cannot be attempted again until the character has time to rest and study or pray.
Gear is typically just tools of the trade. Experienced D&D
characters most likely have magical items, though. These can be built using the rules for Sidekicks & Shieldmates
(for items that team with the character), Questing Dice
(for charged items), or a Bonus Die items (trading 1 die for 1 bonus die directly). My rule of thumb is that a +1 in D20/D&D
translates to a +1pip bonus dice item (or 1 die cliché for teaming). A +3 item grants a full bonus die (or a 3 dice cliché for teaming). Other items must be converted on an ad hoc basis.
Followers, as individuals or grunt squads, can be purchased using the rules for Sidekicks & Shieldmates
Monsters convert much as characters, though earlier editions of D&D
use Hit Dice rather than levels. Hit Dice don't precisely map to character level when evaluating the threat their pose to player characters. Thus, a slightly revised conversion table is used:D&D Hit Dice to Risus Cliché Dice
Up to 1-1 = 1 die
1-1 to 1 = 1 to 2 dice (8 to 10 Funky Dice)
1+1 to 2 = 2 dice (12 Funky Dice)
2+1 to 3 = 2 dice (14 Funky Dice)
3+1 to 4 = 2-3 dice (16 Funky Dice)
4+1 to 5 = 3 dice (18 Funky Dice)
Most monsters have a single cliché . Thus a 4HD Ogre could be an Ogre (2d8). Additional clichés can be added to improve combat endurance and make the encounter more challenging.
For grunt squads, my rule of thumb is that 3 creatures add +=1 dice, 10 creatures add +2 dice, 30 creatures add +3, etc. This can vary tremendously with the situation.Note:
The above conversions guidelines differ from my Risus to D20 conversion
that I posted back in 2006. The needs of the conversion work differently when going in the other direction and I've had a lot time to evolve my thinking on the matter.
Labels: Conversions, Fantasy