Announcing a return to Middle Earth

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Announcing a return to Middle Earth

Post by Casey on Mon Sep 22, 2014 6:10 pm

I am planning a shortish campaign based in Middle Earth. This will be a high power campaign, and I would like to bring back the characters from my "classic" Middle Earth game: Birdy, Deorwine, Milamber, Rundy (ok, maybe not Rundy...). New players (e.g. Jeff) would be welcome to play, and would create characters roughly equal to the others.

This will be a GURPS 4th Edition game, so the characters created and gamed with the 3rd edition rules will need to be converted. Keep the attributes and skill levels the same. Yes this will change point level somewhat but that's beside the point. I would prefer a "holistic" conversion: create a "best fit" 4th edition character, taking advantage of some of the differences between 3rd and 4th editions, e.g. the mental disadvantage modifications, the various combat Styles, perks (both combat and non-combat), etc.

I plan on a more or less straight 4th ed. game. In particular, many of the old house rules will no longer be in effect: e.g. no more extra parry at skill 16 (replaced by the 4th edition active defense rules – although I’m still likely to change this) and extra attack at skill 20 (replaced by 4th edition rapid strike rules), etc. I will be keeping some of the world specific rules, like the healing rules. Rules contained in advantages or disadvantages (e.g. Elf Friend, Bound to Song, Enemy disadvantage from Magery, etc), will be retained. I will NOT be retaining the Tactics house rule. That said, with so many characters having so many points put into that skill, and because that makes the skill significantly less useful, I'll allow (and encourage) some reallocation of points put into the Tactics skill, as with other combat skills, to create a “best fit” for the character.

More to follow…
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Re: Announcing a return to Middle Earth

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:41 pm

I would rate that as a very good first post. I can't wait for the...

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Re: Announcing a return to Middle Earth

Post by Casey on Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:11 am

To convert a 3rd Edition character to a 4th Edition character, first simply transcribe the numbers of the scores from one sheet to another – keep skills, skill levels, attributes, etc. the same. Some computed things (e.g. encumbrance, scores for active defenses, etc) will end up being different. That’s fine. Don’t try to force the numbers to fit the previous scores. Recompute the costs for these characteristics. The costs for attributes may go up or down, mental skills at a high level will cost more in 4th, while physical skills cost less. Some attributes (e.g. Will) have a changed cost in 4th Edition, so be aware of those. If there are special cases of something, ask me (e.g. Eidetic Memory is much less useful in 4th Edition, and skill levels for Mental skills will drop tremendously – sorry Vanimo.)

Once you’re done with that, you may if you wish keep your character like this if you wish. However, if you wish to modify your character as I alluded to above, feel free to do so. In particular, the Tactics skill is going to be much less useful in this game than the with the house rules I created for the 3rd Edition game, where many of the characters had the Tactics skill at 20+. Because this skill had the effect of making a character much more potent in melee combat, the character should be modified to reallocate those points into those combat skills that are directly related.

To reconfigure points (for Tactics or for anything else), do the following: figure out the level at which that the character should have that skill. Let’s use Tactics for our example. Let’s say that Vanimo has the Tactics skill at level 22 (for which he spent 16 points in 3rd Edition and 28 points in 4th Edition), and I wish to drop it to 16 (most of the PCs still should be decent or even brilliant tacticians). That skill level is 4 points in either edition. This would create a point difference of 12 (in 3rd Edition) or 24 (in 4th Edition). When modifying skills like this for a conversion, use the LESSER* of the points gained, so Vanimo would have 12 points to spend in related areas. Because we are trying to emulate the benefits of combat effectiveness provided by my house rule that are no longer in effect, I will now get something else with those points for 4th Edition that will make up for the loss. E.g. I could increase his Basic Speed to show that he’s faster in combat than average, try to get some more points to get the Trained by a Master advantage or Weapon Master advantage to try to replicate better his parrying ability in 3rd Edition, increase his Broadsword skill, define a combat style and put some points into some Techniques or Perks to increase his combat effectiveness, and so on.

This same thing could be done for a number of skills, allowing a fine tuning of the character to better represent how he could have been constructed if the 4th Edition rules had been used.

Yes, this is a bit complicated. Again, if you have questions, please ask me.


*I’m not trying to be a douchebag GM (that will come when the game starts   Smile  ), I’m just trying to keep everything equal and prevent mathematical abuses.
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Re: Announcing a return to Middle Earth

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:04 pm

I’m not trying to be a douchebag GM (that will come when the game starts ), I’m just trying to keep everything equal and prevent mathematical abuses.

Well, there goes my plan for making a mistake and transcribing a Champions superhero to GURPS 4th edition instead of Deorwine.
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Re: Announcing a return to Middle Earth

Post by Casey on Thu Sep 25, 2014 12:04 am

Alpha Centauri wrote:
I’m not trying to be a douchebag GM (that will come when the game starts     ), I’m just trying to keep everything equal and prevent mathematical abuses.

Well, there goes my plan for making a mistake and transcribing a Champions superhero to GURPS 4th edition instead of Deorwine.

Alright, but if you give me a character sheet with the name Ogre crossed out and Deorwine written above it I'll probably be taking a hard look at it. Wink
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Re: Announcing a return to Middle Earth

Post by Agent Tash on Sun Sep 28, 2014 10:38 pm

This is good news. I think we are all looking forward to walking Middle Earth again, even if it for just a little while.
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Re: Announcing a return to Middle Earth

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:44 pm

I think we are all looking forward to walking Middle Earth again

I know I'm looking forward to walking all over Middle Earth. Through Gondor, Rohan, the Dunlands, Rivendale, the Troll Shaws, the Dunlands, the Shire, the Dunlands, the Gray Havens, the Dunlands, the Dunlands, the Dunlands, the Misty Mountains, Esgaroth, The Dunlands, the Dunlands, Dunland, Dunland, Dunland, Dunland, Dunland, Minas Morgal, Dunlands, Dunlands...

Okay, I'll admit at this point, the Dunlands repeat another 34 times before we reach any other locations.
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Re: Announcing a return to Middle Earth

Post by Casey on Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:30 pm

Alpha Centauri wrote:The Dunlands, the Dunlands, Dunland, Dunland, Dunland, Dunland, Dunland, ....  Dunlands, Dunlands...

Okay, I'll admit at this point, the Dunlands repeat another 34 times before we reach any other locations.  


Spoiler alert:


Unless the players deliberately stray from the plot line in this game, you will not be going to the Dunlands.



Ok, with this group that probably means one thing: you are going to the Dunlands.

Smile
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Re: Announcing a return to Middle Earth

Post by Better Quell Jorel on Sat Oct 04, 2014 11:54 pm

Unless the players deliberately stray from the plot line in this game, you will not be going to the Dunlands.



Ok, with this group that probably means one thing: you are going to the Dunlands.

Thanks for setting the record straight. drunken drunken

The Dunlands are the Hotel California of Middle Earth, after all. You can check out any time you want to. But you can never leave.
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Re: Announcing a return to Middle Earth

Post by Casey on Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:33 pm

Here’s a little bit of background to this campaign. In 1996 my friend Makani Mason left for his mission to Russia. He left with me a trove (actually a very large cardboard box) of mostly D&D related material that he decided not to take with him (moron). That box sat in my room for those two years, and when he returned, Makani told me that the material was a gift, and that he didn’t want them back.

So I started to look through it. Most of it was what I had come to expect of Dungeons and Dragons (i.e. I didn’t have a very high opinion on it). Other things were, frankly, amazing. I’ll never forget the short story entitled Palimpsest from an old Dragon Magazine. Other works, even if they were D&D, had good ideas, and I stole liberally from them to create my Middle Earth game.

There were several old D&D adventures. Most were dungeon crawls, as one might expect. However one of them – the one that we’ll be playing – especially attracted my attention. It was creatively written, is not a dungeon crawl, and has fully named NPC allies and enemies with their own motivations, personalities, etc., and had opportunity for actual role playing beyond wandering monster encounters.

This is the game that I will be running for this short campaign. I’ve been planning on running it since at least 1998, when I would read the booklet as I sat in my guardshack when I worked security. I wanted to run it then, but even though the adventure is designed for a group of 5 – 8 players with 2nd to 4th level characters, I felt that if I dropped GURPS characters into it they would not have a good chance of surviving the game. So I decided to wait until the party became powerful enough to fight multiple dangerous enemies.

Thus it was that in time I went on my mission, got married, and the adventure was lost amongst my possessions. However, it was not forgotten. When we finished our basement last year, I found that booklet and its maps again. As the power characters of my previous game should be able to handle this adventure, I decided that it was time to run it.

So yes, this game is going to be a Dungeons and Dragons adventure, converted to GURPS, played in my Middle Earth campaign. It sounds like a bizarre idea, and maybe it is, but I’m going to try to use as little force as necessary to shoe horn it into my game. The history of the adventure is not difficult to place, nor is the geography. I still need to convert the NPCs and monsters into GURPS, and this might not be an easy task. So will the party be fighting things like Gelatinous Cubes, Rust Monsters, and Carrion Crawlers? Ha! Maybe. Why not?

So, because this is an old D&D module, there a couple of things to keep in mind. First, there will be lots of combat. I plan on eliminating some of the planned fighting encounters from the module, and will not do much “wandering monsters” and “random encounters” that the adventure has in it. I’ll still do the occasional random encounter, if for no other reason to keep the players from knowing what is random and what is not. But still, there will be plenty of other combat. I’m going to try to gently wrest the focus of the adventure from (almost – it seems) pure combat with a little role playing thrown in to a more even balance.

Second thing: this is a published D&D game. I wouldn’t be surprised if one or more of the players in this group either owns this game, has played it, or has even GMed it. So, please do not metagame this adventure! From the context of this module, this setting seems to be the common one in the old D&D games. I don’t plan on changing any of the names of NPCs or places, so anyone familiar with the locale will figure it out within a few minutes. So again, if you know this adventure, please don’t metagame it. If you don’t know it, please don’t rush out and buy it!

As far as time line on when this game will start, I plan on sometime next year. If I can get my stuff together quick enough it will be at the beginning of the year. Or if I have to use the “father of two!” excuse, it might be a bit later than that.
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