Sunday, February 24, 2019

Second Thoughts, and Minor Perks

So the other day, I posted about converting the West Marches game to BECMI/Labyrinth Lord. And I may lose 3 players over it. Maybe only one. We'll see.

But it did get me thinking about something that might help me lure in the 5E fans to classic D&D.

First of all, when we convert the characters, I'm going to try to twist the rules as much as possible to keep the characters similar to their 5E versions by giving them some minor perks.

For example, one player not sure about the conversion is playing a Human War Cleric, and he has a flaming longsword (won from Warduke no less). As a War Cleric in 5E (for those unfamiliar), he can use any weapon, gets to make bonus attacks X times per day equal to his Wis modifier, and instead of using Turn Undead he can give himself a +10 bonus to one attack.

So first of all, ignoring the Cleric weapon restrictions for this character is easy. Just let him keep using the sword.

Second, I'm considering giving him a minor perk to go along with it, possibly in the form of a custom magic item. The minor perk would allow him to either keep the bonus attacks thing or the +10 to hit once per day thing. I'll let him decide which. Probably in the form of an enchanted holy symbol.

His daughter, who would also obviously be leaving the game if he did, is playing an Elf Fighter Battlemaster archer. I've already got a house rule for Fighters that would allow her to be a better archer if she chooses it (adding Dex bonus to damage as an 'archery style' Fighter). But I'm sure she'll miss the Battlemaster's Superiority Dice system where she can do extra damage and inflict various conditions/penalties on opponents with her strikes. So again, a minor perk for her might be that her enchanted bow allows her to replicate one of her 5E maneuvers 3 times per day or something.

Alternately, I could have her use the Elf class, and try to get her a spellbook that would somewhat replicate her maneuvers through spells (meaning cause fear, normally a Cleric spell, might be in her MU spellbook since one of her maneuvers makes opponents save or run/cower in fear). 

The third player is playing a Tiefling Sorcerer. I've again got a homebrewed "changeling" race that could be used (letting some of these converting characters have race and class separate). And instead of the Sorcerer spellcasting system, he'd need to use the Magic-User (Wizard) spellcasting system, but as a minor perk I'd let him use Prestidigitation effects and maybe a d4 damage at will magic beam attack since without that he'd just be buying and throwing daggers anyway.

We'll see if this can entice them to stick with the campaign. If it doesn't, I'm going to seriously reconsider sticking with 5E, and just starting up a new Classic D&D campaign on the side.


  1. How about an Elf that casts all their spells through bow & arrows (even a shimmering fantastical bow & arrow).

    I can see Magic Missile... An arrow bursting into a spray of sand for Sleep... An arrow acting like a compass in her hand to Detect Evil... You can re-skin anything with a little imagination...

  2. @ Dennis:

    Huh. I thought your intention to convert to LL was something about "getting back to basics?"
    ; )

    When I wrote my post (back in December) on how to introduce players to B/X, one thing I wasn't considering was conversion of existing characters/campaigns to a simpler system; that's a whole 'nother can of worms! I'd like to offer some helpful suggestions, but can you clarify a couple things?

    1) You say you might lose one, and possibly three players over a conversion. Have your players actually expressed disdain for the conversion and a desire to "not play?"

    2) Assuming they have is it based solely on their inability to continue playing the race-class combo they desire?

    3) If not, is the desire to convert these strange classes ("battle archers," tieflings, etc.) simply YOU wanting to keep a certain continuity to your campaign, or are you just trying to head off anticipated problems before they arise.

    4) Finally, what is the current experience level of the player characters in your 5E game? That makes a difference for any conversion attempt!

    Regardless of the answers to these questions (and any possible follow-up on my part), one thing to consider is this: if your have experienced players...i.e. players who have experience playing early edition D& may be that they WANT to play 5E, for its extra bells and whistles. They might not want to convert at all! I know DMs who prefer LL/BX but who run 5E play who simply prune the extra "dross" from their campaigns, and that might actually be an easier way to get to the simpler game you least, if your players are unwilling to budge.

    1. Thinking about this, and there's a lot to break down so I'll give some answers in a new post later today.

  3. 5ed lite. I.e. adding character build mechanics (feats, multitude of class features, etc) to old style games. Is just a shitty game. It is not enough 5ed to be cool/fun to people who like that and it is just enough cruft to ruin the fun of old style.

    New and old are not the same games. Don't try to sell them as such. The players who don't like old style, just let them go. Or, convince them to give old style a honest try.