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Old 07-11-2023, 10:23 AM   #1
namada
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Default Experiences with running "level 1 to level 20" campaigns, using DFRPG

I would assume that you'd use either Doug's Delvers to Grow or Gurpsland's Dungeon Fantasy on the Cheap to start such, otherwise, use Henchmen maybe...?

If you have, what's your experience?

I'm particularly interested in the following campaigns (but I'm open to others): Warlord of the Accordlands, The Drow War, War of the Burning Sky, and The Enemy Within. If that helps you focus on one thing in such an open-ended question.

The key points are that:
I've not played D&D-ish fantasy since the mid-90s

I've essentially run campaigns that mirrored whatever literature I happened to be reading at that time

I've never run pre-written campaigns before, but I figure I can combine the lack of experience with D&D-ish fantasy & my lack of understanding what people enjoy in it, with pre-written campaigns & hopefully have a successful experience with DFRPG...idk...maybe...
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Old 07-11-2023, 11:04 AM   #2
mehrkat
 
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Default Re: Experiences with running "level 1 to level 20" campaigns, using DFRPG

I've never run a 1 to 20 campaign specifically but I've run DnDesk games with low starting power level and pulled out DnD modules to use in the game.

General advice:
1. Remember that DnD abilities and GURPS abilities are different GURPS is way more flexible so situations that would be hard in DnD will be easy in GURPS and some of the combat encounters may be much more deadly in GURPS than DnD and in some cases less so.
2. Look at each situation and think about the capabilities of your specific characters when looking at challenges
3. I always use the adventures and challenges as an inspiration instead of just taking it as is.
2. Use Delver's to Go -- Character creation will be much easier
3. Advancement will be very different. While not an exact theory I've found that a first level character in DnD 5th is around 50 to 75 points in GURPS (due to GURPS flexibility this can be very off) the beginning Dungeon Fantasy Character is probably 4th or 5th. I've seen theories that most levels are around 50 points of improvement. That seems close to correct.
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Old 07-11-2023, 07:44 PM   #3
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Default Re: Experiences with running "level 1 to level 20" campaigns, using DFRPG

I ran a DF-inspired campaign that started with the PCs being exceptional 200 point peasants with wooden weapons and leather armor and ended with them being 500+ point literal demi-gods loaded with magical equipment while ruling three countries and turning down a marriage alliance to rule a fourth. Admittedly, there was more of a focus on politics and armies than is normal in DF, but it was a kind of level 1 to 20 campaign.

I've also run 3-4 other DFRPG campaigns that ramped from 250 CP to 350+ CP, which isn't quite the range of a conventional level 1-20 campaign but is still a substantial amount of growth. So I think I have some relevant experience.

The general rule for DFRPG is to use as much of the Monsters book as possible - swashbucklers and scouts are very effective against mundane humanoids such as orcs and goblins, but can struggle against stone golems, toxifiers, sword-armor golems, eyes of death, and spheres of madness. You probably don't want to throw out hordes of weird stuff against 125 CP beginners, but they need to appear regularly by the time the characters are hitting 200-250 CP. You also want to throw out a lot of non-combat challenges: puzzles, riddles, movement challenges, curses, traps, and all that other stuff. That forces players to spend their CP on things other than improving their primary combat skills.

To more fully mimic the level 1 to level 20 feel, you may want to limit maximum skill levels. I'd suggest a maximum of 17+ one-half the "level" you're aiming for, so 17 or 18 at the start and hitting 27 at the end of the campaign.

mehrkat's recommendations are generally good. If you're converting DnD3e/Pathfinder adventures, they tend to have a lot of encounters that each have very few foes. GURPS works better with fewer encounters that each have more foes, so have all the monsters in an area work together and reinforce each other. It's also easier to avoid overwhelming the PCs if they fight 20 goblins in 4 waves of 5 each than 20 all at once since you can just cancel a wave or two if things are going poorly. It's also a more interesting fight if groups of goblins come swarming in different directions and the PCs have to maneuver.
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Old 07-11-2023, 10:44 PM   #4
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Default Re: Experiences with running "level 1 to level 20" campaigns, using DFRPG

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Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
It's also easier to avoid overwhelming the PCs if they fight 20 goblins in 4 waves of 5 each than 20 all at once since you can just cancel a wave or two if things are going poorly. It's also a more interesting fight if groups of goblins come swarming in different directions and the PCs have to maneuver.
Even if you don't cancel any waves, having the monsters come in waves can make it easier for players to tell if they're outmatched because they'll start falling behind. If 3 more doomchildren enter through the tiny golden doorway every third round until all 24 doomchildren are there, then either:

(1) Players kill all the doomchildren in a given wave before the next wave starts and even get a second or two to recover/reload/reposition. This shows that they're ahead of the curve and likely going to win this fight pretty easily. As GM you can use this as a signal that they're ready to enter whatever dungeon level lies beyond the doomchildren. (Assuming you guessed right when writing the adventure about how dangerous 8 waves of 3 doomchildren are relative to the rest of the dungeon.)

(2) Players are just barely keeping up with the doomchildren. There's always at least one doomchild attacking them, but at least the number of active doomchildren never goes above four or five. As GM you can use this to signal that caution is needed if they continue ahead. Players may choose to win the fight but then leave.

(3) Players start getting overwhelmed. First there's 3 doomchildren, then they kill two so there's only 1, then the second wave arrives and more there's 4, then 2, then 5... they can't kill the reinforcements fast enough! This is the important case, because escaping from 5 or 6 doomchildren is much easier than surviving 24 of them at once. (And they can still probably kill the 5 or 6 as long as they are separated from the reinforcements.)

Breaking the monsters apart into timed waves lets you show the players if they're not ready to explore this dungeon yet, without necessarily TPKing them. It's also not unrealistic because the monsters probably aren't all starting in exactly the same place when they hear the alarm or whatever brings them running.

Last edited by sjmdw45; 07-11-2023 at 10:54 PM.
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Old 07-12-2023, 04:07 AM   #5
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Experiences with running "level 1 to level 20" campaigns, using DFRPG

Note that the advancement assumed in published D&D adventures is going to be much faster than the rate recommended in Exploits. If you run a module for 1st level characters it typically, depending on edition, ends with them at level 2-4. DFRPG characters might get 10-20 points at the most in the same dungeon.
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Old 07-12-2023, 05:37 AM   #6
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Default Re: Experiences with running "level 1 to level 20" campaigns, using DFRPG

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Originally Posted by sir_pudding View Post
Note that the advancement assumed in published D&D adventures is going to be much faster than the rate recommended in Exploits. If you run a module for 1st level characters it typically, depending on edition, ends with them at level 2-4. DFRPG characters might get 10-20 points at the most in the same dungeon.
Honestly, going from 250 to 270 points is probably equivalent to gaining at least one level. That's almost enough to afford Extra Attack [25]! In AD&D you don't gain a second attack until level 13 as a fighter; D&D 5E speeds this up to level 5; in GURPS you can start off as a powerfully built half ogre swashbuckler with two attacks and Striking ST 17 and yet STILL have a third attack by 275 points.

20 points in a single adventure like I Smell A Rat is quite fast. Of course it also depends on how many real-time table hours a single adventure takes. I try to keep it to one or at most two game sessions per adventure--we did I Smell A Rat in three to five hours I think.
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Old 07-15-2023, 02:46 PM   #7
namada
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Default Re: Experiences with running "level 1 to level 20" campaigns, using DFRPG

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Originally Posted by namada View Post
I'm particularly interested in the following campaigns (but I'm open to others): Warlord of the Accordlands, The Drow War, War of the Burning Sky, and The Enemy Within.
Again...I'm really interested in this sort of thing.
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Old 07-15-2023, 08:35 PM   #8
mlangsdorf
 
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Default Re: Experiences with running "level 1 to level 20" campaigns, using DFRPG

You got 7 responses from 4 different people. I don't think it's reasonable to expect you'll get detailed responses on converting 4 different adventure paths that are literally hundreds of different encounters over a range of levels. People gave you general responses because that's what they had to offer. You might want to try engaging with that.

You said you were open to other adventure paths. I adapted a couple of parts of the Savage Tide adventure path for my F2F group, and wrote some about my decisions and the actual play of the sessions here: https://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.co...Savage%20Tides
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Old 07-16-2023, 03:14 AM   #9
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Default Re: Experiences with running "level 1 to level 20" campaigns, using DFRPG

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Originally Posted by namada View Post
Again...I'm really interested in this sort of thing.
In what way are you interested?

Do you want someone else to do all the work of "converting" them to GURPS? Cause that's not likely to happen.

Do you want to hear about someone's experiences running those campaigns for GURPS? That's likelier, but not from me as I've never even heard of some of them or read the others.
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Old 07-23-2023, 06:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: Experiences with running "level 1 to level 20" campaigns, using DFRPG

Quote:
Originally Posted by namada View Post
I would assume that you'd use either Doug's Delvers to Grow or Gurpsland's Dungeon Fantasy on the Cheap to start such, otherwise, use Henchmen maybe...?

If you have, what's your experience?

I'm particularly interested in the following campaigns (but I'm open to others): Warlord of the Accordlands, The Drow War, War of the Burning Sky, and The Enemy Within. If that helps you focus on one thing in such an open-ended question.

The key points are that:
I've not played D&D-ish fantasy since the mid-90s

I've essentially run campaigns that mirrored whatever literature I happened to be reading at that time

I've never run pre-written campaigns before, but I figure I can combine the lack of experience with D&D-ish fantasy & my lack of understanding what people enjoy in it, with pre-written campaigns & hopefully have a successful experience with DFRPG...idk...maybe...
I've run WotBS in dnd4e and Zeitgeist using DF/Steampunk starting at 150 ish points. Starting W at 62 points should work. They're pretty optimized and are something of glass cannons. I would focus on the feel of the campaign rather than exact conversions. Given the harsh penalties for teleporting, the lack of same in DF should not be a problem. You'll probably still want a more generous advancement. I would suggest roughly 25 per module, that will get to full DF characters at the end. Possibly 50 per at the end if you want to allow really high end stuff from dnd if you feel up to it. 400 might do the last module reasonably well but it will require a lot of work to challenge them.

Feel free to ask if you have specific questions.
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