Thursday, February 26, 2015

Converting My Campaign To D&D 5E: Character Conversion

Character conversion is the part my players were most concerned.  I only played in the Lost Mine of Phandelver, and had no other 5th edition experience.  I read through at least once the Player's Handbook, Monster Manual, and the Dungeon Master's Guide.  I did not take me long to come to the conclusion there was no pragmatic way to convert characters.  Instead, we would rebuild characters.

Rebuilding has the added benefit of the players reading through the rules enough to make decisions about their character.  Based on feedback so far, this is working as intended.  There are lots of questions.  Not just rules questions, but questions about how it matches up with how their characters were meant to be played.

Characters will be based on the default array - 15, 14, 13, 12, 20, 8.  This is primarily due to my limited experience with 5th edition and my suspicion that taking the original rolls from the other game (4d6 drop lowest, arrange as desired - reroll if you get a loser) would be over powered and make it challenging for me to design encounters.  Also this has the benefit of making the players think hard on the decision to up ability scores versus taking a feat.

The basic instructions was this: Rebuild your character from first level attempting as best you can to model it after your character, as initially intended, from the earlier game.  Therefore, I am not worried if they were a multiclass and whether or not the class split was the same.  Does you character feel similar enough to make you happy?  Let us avoid having to retcon how you managed to do all sorts of things previously that you cannot seem to do now.

If backgrounds in the Player's Handbook do not fit the character concept, I have told them it is easy enough for us to create another back ground.  As I read them, they are fairly easy to develop and keep within the limits of fairness.

There are a few places where the rebuild is a little more challenging.

  • Clerics: previously they had two domains, and now they will have only one.  We are just going to have to suck this one up.  The single domains are too powerful for me to be handing out additional domain powers.  Most NPC clerics really focused on one domain over the other - so the feel should not suffer much.  I only had one player character cleric, and she may not be coming back, so the character impact may be low/none.
  • Paladin/Sorcerer multi-class character: one player used this build focusing on the Sorcerer buffs to his Paladin.  With the concentration mechanic, that is significantly different.  I think it still will be a viable character, however I gave the player the out to have an 'accident' happend to his character.  He has decided to stick with the character so we will see how it works out.
  • Sorcerer blood line fluff:  neither I nor the player liked the sorcerer dragon blood line bit about scales, or the AC with no armor feature.  It was easy enough to house rule some variation.  I replaced AC feature with draconic senses - proficiency in perception, or expertise in perception if proficiency already existed.
  • Some spells are missing: I will be creating some new 5th edition spells to give them the same capability.  That should not be too hard.
  • Magic & Masterwork item inventory:  There are just too many items in their possession to work as the 5th edition game is designed.  Masterwork items become 'nice' items worth money but having no mechanical benefit in combat.  I am going over each magic item in their possession and making rulings.  They are 8th level, so they will have some items.  All weapons with a plus greater than 1 are now +1 weapons.  Same for armor.  Other items where I feel they are overpowered will be turned into items with charges that do something similar, but not the same.  This will include every item which gives an ability bonus.  If there is interest, I would post about the magic items conversions.
Whatever money they had, they can have.  I don't see too little or too much money giving me a headache in the new edition.  I had some custom armors in the game that I will have to dial back.  I see it as important to not get carried away with high AC values or the bounded accuracy will break.  They can have their custom armor, it will just have some other benefits related to small amount of damage reduction or other useful properties.

Lastly, even those these are experienced characters with lots of role playing behind them (they are 8th level), I have asked them to fill out the character description section: traits, ideals, bonds, flaws.  I think it is good to get in the spirit of 5th edition, plus summarizing those points will help them get back into role player as we have had a several year hiatus on this game.

That is it.  I have made it sound way more simple that it was to get to this point.  So far I have one player completed his character rebuild, and others in various places in the process.  I hope to have a rebuild & restart session to get everyone up to speed soon.

The dice never lie.

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