Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Converting My Home Brew World/Campaign To 5E D&D

Our exercising of the D&D 5E rules via the Lost Mine of Phandelver adventure turned out as a success.  The success we were interested in was not whether we triumphed in the challenges of the module, but did we enjoy and want to use the new 5E D&D rules going forward as our default game system.  The team concensus was yes - this was the D&D we wanted to play.

I was interested in restarting a campaign that left off four years ago, and four of the six players have so far expressed interest in returning.  There were a number of life-gets-in-the-way reasons for the DM and players to put that game on hiatus, which I am sure is a struggle for most long term games.  For me as a DM, there was another reason.  The players had reached 8th level and I was not enjoying the math complications of 3.5E.  Although we have not played that level yet with 5E, I have enough game experience to read the rules and project that 5E will be more fun to run at mid level than 3.5E could be for us.

Before I restart the campaign, I need to update the critical areas of the world, house rules, and campaign for 5E.  My intent is to share my experience doing so here on the blog.  Please feel free to comment along the way, it may help me resolved issues or use new good ideas.

This home brew world is an ongoing creation activity for 35 years.  This campaign alone is 80 sessions long. The world began in 1E, was converted for 3/3.5E, and will now be updated for 5E.  Although it seems like a gargantuan task, I do not believe it will be that bad.  The world was initiated using 1E, so I think the 1E DNA which is evident in 5E will make it somewhat easier to convert.  I will use the same philosophy regarding world conversion as I did with world building; it will not be built unless they are likely to encounter it soon.  So no, I will not be automatically converting every NPC in print.

There are some logistics I need to resolve.  We previously used Yahoo Groups for communication, file sharing and other campaign management.  However, some changes in Yahoo Groups over time and more importantly the lack of changes has pushed me to create a new site.  So I am going to use Google tools - Google Sites, Calendar, and Groups.  I am using groups for communcation and permission for the Calendar & Site.  Calendar is for game scheduling, and the Site will be an interactive place for campaign info, adventure logs, in and our of character posts, and all other sorts of files.  I find Google groups weak, and for some Calendar is confusing, but the capability in Sites is outstanding.  I will share some of that in the future.

The items on the top of my list for conversion include:

  • Character conversion
  • Races allowed
  • House rule conversions/eliminations
  • 5E rule 'patching'
  • Clerical Domains Missing
  • Changes to spell effects/results which may impact the world

My guiding principles in the conversion will be:
  1. Keep the game fun, do not overwhelm with rules or required details.
  2. World over rules.  There will be no retcon to force the world to conform to the rules.
  3. History over rules.  See above.  If necessary, there will be a minimally invasive explantaion regarding anything in the rules which makes history inconsistant.
  4. Minimize house rules vs 5E RAW.
  5. The guiding principles are in order of priority.

Sharing to commence soon.  The dice never lie.

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