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Old 12-30-2017, 01:59 PM   #11
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: Converting D&D/Other Adventures to DFRPG

Keep on the borderlands was written for D&D 1st edition, and charging into the kobold main room with first level characters would get you killed.
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Old 12-31-2017, 01:57 PM   #12
Join Date: Dec 2017
Default Re: Converting D&D/Other Adventures to DFRPG

It's slightly more complicated than that, even: The Keep on the Borderlands was for Basic Dungeons & Dragons, which is even lower-power than 1st edition.
The big points are that there's no "cleave", that Fighters have one less hit point per level, and that 1st-level Clerics don't have spells yet.
The kobold caves are also generally intended for 1st-level characters, so the Magic-User only has a single Sleep spell that will affect 2d8 kobolds.

So yes, charging into a room with forty kobolds is likely to get everyone killed.

There's some mitigating factors, though, some of which are worth keeping in mind if adapting to GURPS.
  • Basic relied heavily on reaction checks, which were fairly generous and unlikely to lead to outright combat. 5- on a 2d6 table, with modifiers generally being +-1. At most 41.67% without DM fiat or the players taking actions into their own hands, in other words, and down to 16.67% if the player character speaking to them is charismatic and knows the Kobold language.
    In DFRPG they react at -5, and will therefore attack on a roll of 14 or less (90.74%). Cultural Adaptivity [10] (Bard) makes this 62.5%, and Bards in general are good for this when Charisma applies.
    However, do note that while Basic D&D gave the majority of its experience points from treasure, Dungeon Fantasy gives a fair amount for defeating enemies. Also, of course, combat is a lot more fun in Dungeon Fantasy than it was in Basic D&D - chances are that the players want to fight!
  • Basic had morale rules, and Kobolds are particularly cowardly: with just 6 morale, Kobolds have a 58.33% chance of fleeing after one of them has been slain, with a second check after half of them have been downed.
    For DF I highly recommend using "And Stay Down!" (Exploits p.86), and you'll want to play up their cowardice as well. (Perhaps as the disadvantage, but not necessarily.)
  • As was the fashion of the time, Keep on the Borderlands assumes a rather large party of six to nine player characters. In other words, you can maybe assume four to seven kobolds a person rather than ten.
    This won't necessarily hold true for Dungeon Fantasy, so beware. However, a Dungeon Fantasy character also has many advantages that a first-level D&D character lacks: among all the obvious ones, I should probably note that a Basic D&D character dies when they reach 0 hit points!
  • Basic D&D has surprisingly involved rules for fleeing encounters, and "kobold losses will not be replaced".
    See also "Running Away!" (Exploits p.22) Sometimes discretion is the better part of valor! Also, of course, it's a lot easier to fight the horde in the 3yd corridor than the 17yd x 13yd common room.
  • The individual Kobolds are very weak - their hit points are small enough that you're almost guaranteed to kill one with each hit, their armor is bad enough that you're somewhat likely to hit (leather), and they do half the damage a typical monster does. They're threatening due to their numbers, but only because the players are also low enough level to be killed by two hits.
    Dungeon Fantasy increases the power of everyone involved here, but probably more to the players advantage. The individual kobolds will inevitably be sturdier than their 1d4hp precursors, but the mere fact that the Wizard can cast more than one spell or the players able to attack more than once in a turn is probably enough to make a difference.
  • An optional rule in The Keep on the Borderlands talks about how the organized monsters might try to take the players ransom rather than kill them and negotiate for their release in exchange for coin or a magic item - and gaining additional recruits in the process, perhaps making up for whatever dent the players might have made.
    If things suddenly seem very dire in your converted adventure as a room you thought was easy turned into a deathtrap, this seems like a useful option. They don't kill you, they humiliate you instead. (And are prepared for the next time.)
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Old 01-01-2018, 01:49 AM   #13
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Default Re: Converting D&D/Other Adventures to DFRPG

There's also the question of "What is a kobold?"

Kobolds aren't defined in the DFRPG as yet. They could be quite wimpy, with all attributes at 8, no improved secondary characteristics, and no skills above attribute level . . . Even from behind, they'll only grab someone or land a blow ~26% of the time – and grapples will be ST 8, while blows won't be accurate enough to aim at vital areas, will do 1d-3 or 1d-2 damage, and often won't punch through even DR 1-2. The kobolds will dodge at 7, and an injury of just 5 HP (easily managed by even a ST 10 wizard with a staff: 1d+2 crushing) is more than HP/2 and thus a major wound, and at HT 8, that's going to put a kobold on the ground ~74% of the time. And kobolds are both cowardly (so no All-Out Attacks to boost accuracy or damage) and poorly equipped (forget about armor, or weapons heavier than shortswords).

This is a specific example of the general, which is that stats can be adjusted to make any creature wimpier or scarier. You could even have a brain-damaged mindwarper or lich who botched the transformation and ended up weaker than in life, if you wanted that . . . The point being that if the adventure you're converting is for a few low-level characters, you're going to want to nerf a lot of creatures to be sensible matches for such heroes. The idea of monsters being highly standardized is commonplace today, but back in the days of early D&D modules, creatures were given full stats that weren't always the same everywhere.
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Old 01-01-2018, 08:19 PM   #14
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Default Re: Converting D&D/Other Adventures to DFRPG

Dinomen seem very similar to kobolds . . . . Little wimpy lizard guys
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:35 AM   #15
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Default Re: Converting D&D/Other Adventures to DFRPG

Originally Posted by Kalzazz View Post
Dinomen seem very similar to kobolds . . . . Little wimpy lizard guys
Hmm, go figure. I'm sure it's a coincidence. :)
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