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Old 06-15-2010, 03:26 AM   #1
Johnny Angel
 
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Default Keep On The Banestorm?

I suppose you might say I plan to run a D&D 4E inspired game when it's my turn to DM for one of the groups I play with. As a little bit of an experiment, I want to convert Keep On The Shadowfell, an adventure written for D&D 4th Edition, into GURPS. It will be the group's first experience with a fantasy game under the system, so I'm starting with a few familiar elements.

If you're unfamiliar with Keep On The Shadowfell, some information about the adventure can be found here: http://www.wizards.com/DnD/Product.a...dacc/217187400
The brief description of the adventure found at that link reads as follows:

The town of Winterhaven stands watch over a ruined keep that was once a bastion of good in the realm. This keep overlooks the Shadow Rift, a dark scar in the world that was once a gateway to the Shadowfell but has been dormant for many years. Now, an evil cleric of Orcus, Demon Lord of the Undead, seeks to re-open the gate, and the only thing standing in his way is a small yet determined band of heroes.

At the moment, I'm contemplating using the adventure as a way to swoop a few D&D elements (including the PCs) into a Banestorm campaign. I imagine it won't be too hard to tweak Keep On The Shadowfell into something involving a Banestorm. The adventure itself involves a portal to the Shadowfell (an alternate plane in the D&D cosmology,) so it shouldn't be difficult to switch things up and have it be an old portal leading to a different world. I'm still undecided though; I'm trying to put some thought into how this would play out - knowing what I know of the Banestorm setting.

The first consideration on my mind is trying to get an idea of how the current residents of Banestorm would react to new races suddenly plopping into the setting. I imagine that D&D Elves and Dwarves would mostly fit right in without too much hassle. Eladrin could probably pass as Elves, but they have abilities and a cultural outlook which are quite different. Likewise, while Dragonborn may appear similar to Lizardfolk, they are actually quite different. I suspect the way that Tieflings appear would carry something of a social stigma in the world of Banestorm.

Thinking of Tieflings brings me to a concern I have about doing this. I don't want to spring some sort of 'gotcha!' moment onto the players by subjecting a Tiefling character to a potentially dangerous social stigma without them being aware of it at the beginning of the campaign. Likewise, I'm a little unsure how to handle Clerics and Paladins of D&D gods. I wouldn't want to suddenly rob them of power and cripple them. Granted, the world hop is something of a suprise, and a little bit of a 'gotcha!,' but I view that differently than I view the type of 'gotcha!' moment which suddenly cripples a PC based on false character building assumptions that may have be provided by this idea.

One idea I have for how to handle divine power is by saying the belief and piousness of such a character might allow for their god's divine spark to exist in this new world (Banestorm.) However, I might also strongly hint that their actions could possibly determine if this spark grows or fades. This would give them time to either spread the word of their faith or to potentially convert; I find the first option more interesting, but I'd allow them to keep their power by converting simply as a way to give them more ways to avoid being boned by their character choices. This idea leads me back to my first consideration somewhat. I'm not sure how receptive the residents of Banestorm would be to new religions.

Overall, I'm looking for some opinions on what other people feel the impact of new elements (race & religion) would have on the Banestorm setting. Would the new elements draw notice at all? If so, would different areas and peoples of Banestorm have different reactions? I'm also trying to get a feel for if this is a good idea for a campaign or not. One on hand I feel like it would be an interesting way to blend familiar elements into new elements, but, on the other hand, I'm not sure if it will be too much of a jarring shift to the players.

I realize that some of these questions can be answered with "well, you're the GM, so the residents of Banestorm will react however you want." That's not really what I'm looking for though. Aside from trying to flesh out my own idea, I think it would also be interesting to discuss what impact bringing new elements into the setting would have on the existing elements. The genius of the Banestorm setting suddenly struck me today, and I realized that Banestorms need not only be limited to bringing in elements of Earth nor limited to the elements of GURPS.
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:28 AM   #2
William
 
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Default Re: Keep On The Banestorm?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Angel View Post
Thinking of Tieflings brings me to a concern I have about doing this. I don't want to spring some sort of 'gotcha!' moment onto the players by subjecting a Tiefling character to a potentially dangerous social stigma without them being aware of it at the beginning of the campaign.
Tieflings are used to being discriminated against, even by fairly canny planewalkers. When you have obvious fiendish blood, in a world where bloodlines can affect someone's thinking and powers, the notion of the sins of the father tainting the son isn't so irrational.

If you're springing the Banestorm on your players, what you should probably reveal is that you're proposing to toss them into a setting it will be hard to leave. Mention in the context of this that the inhabitants may not be familiar with tieflings, so that the tiefling's player knows basically what will be up.

Quote:
One idea I have for how to handle divine power is by saying the belief and piousness of such a character might allow for their god's divine spark to exist in this new world (Banestorm.) However, I might also strongly hint that their actions could possibly determine if this spark grows or fades.
Power Investiture isn't much known on Yrth; "divine" abilities are generally statted as advantages that arise from mysticism (see p. 26 of Banestorm; basically, powers rather than spells, with the Pact limitation and Disciplines of Faith for his tradition). Talk to your spellslinger about how much of a change in his spellcasting system he'd be okay with. Writing up abilities that can be used a few times a day will match his current spellcasting fairly well.

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I'm not sure how receptive the residents of Banestorm would be to new religions.
They would probably treat the D&D pantheon as some other world's "pagan" religion. The public at large knows that nonhumans exist and have their own religions, so one more will likely be treated the same way any other nonhuman religion would be in whatever region where they find themselves. Some regions are more open to outsiders and nonhumans than others.

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Overall, I'm looking for some opinions on what other people feel the impact of new elements (race & religion) would have on the Banestorm setting. Would the new elements draw notice at all? If so, would different areas and peoples of Banestorm have different reactions?
Tieflings start at a bit of a disadvantage cosmetically, but since Yrth already knows most of the standard fantasy races -- elves, dwarves, centaurs, etc. -- and knows that multiple other worlds exist, it's unlikely that yet another species coming from a different world and worshiping strange gods will shock anyone. Yrth is meant to be a "typical fantasy" setting for GURPS; in other words, your standard D&D party should fit in fairly well.

A modron, now, a modron might have trouble. The Ministry of Serendipity -- and lots of none-too-ethical wizards -- could be very interested in a mechanical being. :^)
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:47 AM   #3
Johnny Angel
 
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Default Re: Keep On The Banestorm?

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A modron, now, a modron might have trouble. The Ministry of Serendipity -- and lots of none-too-ethical wizards -- could be very interested in a mechanical being. :^)
This brings up an interesting point... Warforged are a race of sentient constructs and have become somewhat popular in the newer editions of D&D. hmm
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Old 06-15-2010, 03:24 PM   #4
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Keep On The Banestorm?

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This brings up an interesting point... Warforged are a race of sentient constructs and have become somewhat popular in the newer editions of D&D. hmm
Warforged are obviously magical rather than mechanical. At least from anyone who had ever seen a Gurps Golem it'd amount to "Boy, your golem sure talks a lot. He doesn't seem to follow orders very well either.".

In other words, just a variant form of a familiar thing. Like the elves/eladrin or the dragonbourne/reptile men.
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Old 06-15-2010, 07:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Keep On The Banestorm?

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Originally Posted by Johnny Angel View Post

The first consideration on my mind is trying to get an idea of how the current residents of Banestorm would react to new races suddenly plopping into the setting. I imagine that D&D Elves and Dwarves would mostly fit right in without too much hassle. Eladrin could probably pass as Elves, but they have abilities and a cultural outlook which are quite different. Likewise, while Dragonborn may appear similar to Lizardfolk, they are actually quite different. I suspect the way that Tieflings appear would carry something of a social stigma in the world of Banestorm.
I suspect the way that Tieflings appear should carry something of a social stigma in a D&D universe as well. So just go ahead and give them a stigma on the template.

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Likewise, I'm a little unsure how to handle Clerics and Paladins of D&D gods. I wouldn't want to suddenly rob them of power and cripple them. Granted, the world hop is something of a suprise, and a little bit of a 'gotcha!,' but I view that differently than I view the type of 'gotcha!' moment which suddenly cripples a PC based on false character building assumptions that may have be provided by this idea.
The easiest way for a Cleric in unconverted territory to retain his powers is to carry a Relic, which is essentially a Gadget with the Sanctity Enhancer Advantage (Just like Mana Enhancer only holier). Relics are extremely valuable for any Cleric who wants to go into a temple consecrated to an opposing deity which are even worse than lands which merely have never heard of your god.

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Overall, I'm looking for some opinions on what other people feel the impact of new elements (race & religion) would have on the Banestorm setting. Would the new elements draw notice at all? If so, would different areas and peoples of Banestorm have different reactions?
The Christian and Islamic lands would not welcome proselytising pagans. But at least in the Christian lands, you can dub your god a "saint" and move on. Actually a bunch of saints were purged as late as the 20th century for actually being pagan gods. Diana for example. And that's another very real option. A cleric could arrive there and find the god he serves is already there as part of the panoply of saints perhaps under the same name or another.
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:18 AM   #6
blacksmith
 
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Default Re: Keep On The Banestorm?

With divine powers, you have to decide what setting you want to be more dominant. Do you want Yrth to be the dominant setting, then their powers are magical and they are tied to some powerful magical being. So no separate sanctity or what have you.

OF course sanctity levels and mana levels would be foreign to a DND party as well. When you mix settings like that you have to pick whos assumptions you use.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:08 AM   #7
Johnny Angel
 
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Default Re: Keep On The Banestorm?

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With divine powers, you have to decide what setting you want to be more dominant. Do you want Yrth to be the dominant setting, then their powers are magical and they are tied to some powerful magical being. So no separate sanctity or what have you.

OF course sanctity levels and mana levels would be foreign to a DND party as well. When you mix settings like that you have to pick whos assumptions you use.
Yrth would be the dominant setting once they take they hop into the world. However, I was considering the possibility that part of the D&D deity's divine spark might make it through along with the divine character. This would mean that most of the world would have low sanctity for the character, but there'd be a possibility of raising the sanctity level. Part of my idea was to give the character a small window of time in which their powers would function normally, but I'd start to strongly hint that wherever it was that they ended up by going through the portal (Yrth) is far enough way from their deity that they can actually feel the abssence of the presence of their deity.

I suppose what it really comes down to is the question of how powerful the power of a deity is. Can cosmic power transcend worlds?

I think my best bet may be to simply warn the players that what I have in mind for the path the campaign story will take might make playing a divine character or a tiefling somewhat more difficult than other options. Though I'm sure this will lead to someone at least considering playing something like a tiefling cleric.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:34 AM   #8
blacksmith
 
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Yrth would be the dominant setting once they take they hop into the world. However, I was considering the possibility that part of the D&D deity's divine spark might make it through along with the divine character. This would mean that most of the world would have low sanctity for the character, but there'd be a possibility of raising the sanctity level.
The thing is that sanctity level as a concept is alien to DND.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:52 AM   #9
Johnny Angel
 
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The thing is that sanctity level as a concept is alien to DND.
true, but the D&D elements would be GURPS versions of them... a lot of things are alien to D&D (especially the more 'streamlined' 4th Edition) simply due to the mechanical structure of the game; in many D&D novels, the concept of sanctity exists and there are many instances when a cleric's power is boosted or hindered due to being in a holy or unholy place.


edit: For the purpose of this discussion and for the powered by GURPS version of D&D 4E I'd be running, the concepts of mana level and sanctity would be used. Yrth does not have sanctity because holy 'magic' works differently there, but my curiosity is whether or not sanctity can be carried from one world to another.

A few things do change in translation. One example is that the choice of a poison breath weapon for a D&D 4E dragonborn is usually one of the weaker options compared to the other choices, but a GURPS version of that same dragonborn ends up with a very good ability. Also, since GURPS doesn't have 'encounters' in the sense that D&D 4E does, many racial encounter powers don't have the once per encounter restriction and instead would have usage limits which fit more with how GURPS works.

Last edited by Johnny Angel; 06-17-2010 at 08:07 AM. Reason: edit
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Old 06-17-2010, 09:19 AM   #10
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Default Re: Keep On The Banestorm?

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The thing is that sanctity level as a concept is alien to DND.
Not Really, Planescape had planes where a clerics access to power varied based on where they where.

Krynn had variable Mana Levels based on the phases of the moons, and Sanctity levels varied based on period ( Low Scanity for Clerics between Cytalizsm and the War of the Lance for instance)

Fearun had wild Magic Zones.
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