So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...

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So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« on: September 19, 2012, 10:26:09 PM »
Hi.

My name is Zac and I've been playing and running P&P RPGs for about 20 years, mostly D&D and its variants, but all the other usual suspects as well (WoD, d20, WHFRPG, GURPS, Rifts, etc.). Lately I've been smitten with Dungeon World, and decided to undertake the crazy experiment of converting an established high-level Pathfinder campaign to the system. I will record its epic success or failure in this thread.

Here I will attempt new spells, items and moves willy-nilly.

My aim is not to reproduce Pathfinder in Dungeon World (what would be the point?) but to preserve what's iconic about these characters my players have come to know and love, keeping as much in the spirit of Dungeon World as possible.

All forms of feedback, jeers, golf-claps, sad shaking-of-heads and back-away-slowly-with-hands-up are welcomed.

Here we go.


Step 1: Preserving what makes their characters special

I've been talking DW up to my players ever since I got back from PAX, and told them after last session that the campaign would be switching systems. I have 5 players in the party. Two are completely new to RPGs. Two are D&D / PFRPG vets I've been playing with for years, and one is in the middle, having been introduced to RPGs via Pathfinder two years ago. They all trust me with this decision, apparently.

Our first session in DW is this Saturday.

Our fighter has a sword of life stealing he's particularly fond of and he doesn't want to lose it. Here's what I came up with for him:

Blade of Eyes          Close, 2 Weight
This black sword was forged by the Crown of Eyes herself, for employ by her warped disciples. How it fell into your hands is a tale for another time.
When you hack and slash with this blade and the dice come up 11 or 12, your target's soul is sucked into the sword and trapped there until you decide to release it, and you heal 4 HP. The sword holds any number of souls and you may speak with them.
If you ever roll two ones with the sword, your own soul is at risk of being trapped in the blade... Your GM will tell you what to do.

This seems like it should be a pile of fun. We'll see how it does in play.

Next up, new spells! The party's sorcerer is an evoker, and isn't concerned as much with becoming a Wizard as he is with losing access to his most-beloved spells.

I see that there aren't a lot of direct-damage spells in DW and I appreciate why. Magic is supposed to be mysterious, elusive and powerful, not just another way of rolling damage dice. Additionally, the lower HP threshold of everything in DW tells me I should be careful about dishing out too much damage.

With that in mind, here are my attempts at Cone of Cold and Chain Lightning, which are probably ridiculously overpowered. We'll see. I'll bet they'll be fun, though:

Cone of Cold          Level 5, Evocation
You send a powerful blast of frigid air and ice from your fingertips. Choose one effect:
  • Every surface in the immediate area is coated with thick, slippery ice.
  • 1d4 creatures of the GM's choice are frozen solid.
  • Deal 2d6 damage to everyone nearby except yourself.

Chain Lightning          Level 7, Evocation
With a peal of thunder, lightning erupts from your mouth and strikes as many enemies as you can see within range of a bow-shot, arcing between them for 4d6 damage. Anyone in melee with your targets takes half damage, splitting it with the target.

Done and done.

On to the Ninja's Ghost Step ability.

This is the thing I'm least sure of and could really use some feedback on. The first thing I noticed is that the Thief in Dungeon World has nothing approaching a supernatural or magical ability, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to add one. Here's what I came up with, having based it obviously and shamelessly on the Escape Route advanced move:

Like a Ghost
It's like you can walk through walls. When you try to get past a solid obstacle, roll +DEX.
  • On a 10+ you're past whatever you needed to pass.
  • On a 7-9 you still get through, but it costs you: leave something behind (GM's choice) or take 1d6 damage, your call.

I feel this one needs work and I'd really welcome some feedback on it. I'll be back with more later.

Thanks for reading my wall of text!
« Last Edit: September 19, 2012, 10:38:30 PM by Rakshasa »

Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2012, 12:42:25 AM »
Interesting, i'm coming from a pathfinder background too so i'd like to see how you translate some peculiar things about the way classes can be portrayed in PF. Are there any odd-classes in your group? Oracle, Witch, Alchemist, etc?

Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2012, 02:26:44 AM »
Quote
Cone of Cold          Level 5, Evocation
You send a powerful blast of frigid air and ice from your fingertips. Choose one effect:

    Every surface in the immediate area is coated with thick, slippery ice.
    1d4 creatures of the GM's choice are frozen solid.
    Deal 2d6 damage to everyone nearby except yourself.
As it is CONE of cold, I'd suggest "In front of yourself" instead.

Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2012, 06:12:31 AM »
blade of eyes: merge it with the fighter's signature weapon! Also, if you want to add extra success on a move, the best way to do it is to follow the already existent pattern, making the "critical hit" a roll that produces a 12+ (including the attribute modifier); in the same logic, there's no need to limitate the risk of losing one's soul just on a snake eys... Remember that on a 6- the GM can do a move as hard as he likes, and this includes saying that the sword is trying to trap your own soul (with the character reacting with a Defying Danger to prevent it!). Obviously, it's something you want to do only in the most critical, painful moment of the adventure! :D

cone of cold: why not all the three? :D also, you may want the damage to ignore armor like a fireball.

chain lightning: do your players like friendly-fire? This could be the chance to get rid of it! Maybe reducing the damage to 3d6 ignores armor to every enemy on sight.

ninja: this could be a compendium class with lots of supernatural powers for dexterous characters! Like a Ghost has a cool concept and the choices are awesome to me, but, how does it work in the original system? I mean, has the thief always to roll? Or has the ability a per-day limit? (in which case you could add a third option on a 7-9: you can't do it again until you make camp) I didn't see there was a link :|

Hey, why exclude the ki pool right away?! It sounds A LOT like the Focus. Maybe you could find some inspiration: http://www.latorra.org/2012/07/10/the-battlemind/

Like, the Ninja has 3 focus, and on a 7-9, as a third option when using a ninja-focused move, he can choose to lose 1 focus.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 06:29:17 AM by (not that) adam »
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

*

noofy

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Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2012, 08:04:31 AM »
Sounds like a challenging concept Rakasha!

You have some cool ideas on translating the player's wants for the 'crossover', but I would suggest workshopping it as a group, a sort of 'first session' high level character generation. Its fine asking our opinions on what you've come up with, but I think the player's thoughts are far more important to facilitating the 'translation' smoothly.

DW is a collaborative storygame; sure the GM has a rather defined, somewhat traditional role, but the primary focus is to follow the principles and to be a fan of the characters by filling their lives full of adventure and never pre-planning a storyline.

The player's choices through their initial playbooks, bonds with other characters and subsequent advanced moves as they respond to the unfolding narrative. These 'flags' are what you are identifying from your player's pathfinder character's niche powers and items, which is good for such an ambitious transfer of systems! However, I think it would be helpful to look at the reward cycle and spend some time (as a group) translating the character's previous play history into current bonds that can be antagonised in the narrative.

I would also take advantage of the steadings rules, develop what is already known of the world (through past play). Heck, I would do this as a group too! Practice asking questions and building on the answers and draw it up on the map. Leave blanks and questions, these can develop into stakes as you start translating your factions, dangers and inpending dooms.

Anyways, keep us posted, it sounds intriguing, and I'm sure the gang will have a blast on Saturday :)

Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2012, 10:49:32 AM »
Wow, great feedback guys! Thanks!

@Krokus.Kraken:
I had an Oracle, but her RL job took her away from the table. The current PF party is: Sorcerer, Druid, Bard, Fighter / Horizon Walker, Ninja.

@Guns_n_Droids:
I originally had CoC that way and then thought it was underpowered, for some reason. Now that someone else brings it up it seems obvious that it should be in front. :P

@(not that) adam:
Sword of Eyes
Most definitely merging this with the fighter's signature weapon! I went through a couple of drafts before I arrived at the 11-12 result, and here's why: I started with 12+, but it felt to me like the ability would go off an awful lot. I'm a fan of the characters, but I also want this to feel special. Here are a couple ideas I'm floating:

  • on a 13+, your target's soul is sucked into the sword.
  • on a 12+, hold 1. You may have up to 3 hold. Spend 3 hold to suck the soul of a nearby enemy into the sword.

I think you're right about the 6-. I had already planned to have him defy danger to avoid it, I just wanted some language in there to let him know the possibility was there. No reason the fiction can't handle this.

Cone of Cold
All three seems a little powerful to me, but I think there's really no way a player is ever going to pick option 1 when she could go for 2 or 3. I'd prefer to raise the damage on this rather than ignore armor, since I'm doing that with Chain Lightning and Fireball already does it. Here's what I'm thinking instead:

Cone of Cold          Level 5, Evocation
You send a powerful blast of frigid air and ice from your fingertips in a cone in front of you. Every surface in the affected area is coated with thick, slippery ice. In addition, Choose one effect:
  • 1d4 creatures of the GM's choice in the affected area are frozen solid.
  • Deal 3d6 damage to everyone in the affected area.

Chain Lightning
You know, it's funny. My players actually do seem to like friendly fire. They're always dropping AoEs on each other and inviting other players to do so. I included this because 4d6 damage / ignores armor is pretty awesomely powerful. The trade-off is that it invites interesting tactical choices, which the grognards in my party relish. I think this spell is good as-is, but only playtesting will tell.

Ninja
I had a chat with my Ninja player last night, and we agreed that attempting to shoehorn him into thief with some extra moves just wouldn't pass muster. I'm going to read the Battlemind and take a crack at developing a new class.

@noofy
For sure! The collaborative nature of DW is one of the best things about the game, and I've been workshopping these rules with my players from day one in an ongoing email thread and separate conversations. When we get together this weekend we'll generate all the characters together and go through it.

You're bang-on— the players already have a ton of well-established bonds with each other and NPCs, families, friends and enemies, and long-term goals.

One of the things that drew me to DW is that it seems to match my style of DMing pretty well. I've always enjoyed throwing out questions to the players I don't know the answers to, and draw "inside out" maps and adventures with lots of blanks and opportunities to improvise. I think DW will be a good fit for this campaign, and I'll keep everyone posted here.

Again, thanks for the really excellent feedback everyone!

Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 10:46:33 PM »
All right, here's my crack at the Ninja. This is sort of a Thief alternate class that ditches dealing with traps and sociability for pure killiness and mystical abilities. It is heavily cribbed from the Battlemind and of course, Paizo's Ninja in PFRPG. Let me know what you think!

The Ninja

Basic Moves

Ki Focus
When you have time and tranquility to center your mind and body lose any Ki you had and gain 3 Ki. You cannot have more than 3 Ki at any time.

Ki Tricks
When you take a moment to attune your body to your surroundings, spend 1 Ki and pick one from the following. Unless otherwise stated, the effect persists until you choose another trick or next regain Ki.
  • Shadow Eyes: You can see normally in complete darkness.
  • Feather Fall: Whenever you fall and land on normal ground, you land safely. This effect ends when it's been used once.
  • No Trace: Your moves are as silent as a soft breeze. You leave no trail or evidence of your passing and cannot be tracked by mundane means.
  • Hidden weapons: weapons you hide on your body are never detected by mundane means.

Vanishing Act
When you concentrate on making yourself unseen spend 1 Ki. You're totally invisible, just like the spell.

Backstab
As Thief.

Poisoner
As Thief.

Advanced Moves
When you gain a level from 2-5, choose from these moves.

Smoke Bomb
When you throw smoke bombs, roll +DEX.
On a 10+, pick two.
On a 7-9, pick one.
  • You drop a cloud of obscuring smoke at your feet. Take +2 forward to Escape Route.
  • A ball of smoke envelops your target and everyone around them. They take -1 ongoing until they leave the cloud.
  • You bean a single target right in the face. They can do nothing but choke and sputter on the smoke for the next few seconds.

Shadow Clone
When you take a moment to become one with the shadows, spend 1 Ki.
You create an illusory image of yourself. The next attack against you effects the illusory image, not you. The image then dissipates.

Unbound Steps
When you concentrate on movement and speed you may spend 1 Ki to defy gravity: for a few moments, so long as you keep moving, you may do one of the following:
  • Run up and across any vertical surface.
  • Run across water, lava, or even the thinnest tree branches.
  • Run as fast as a jungle cat and be able to catch up to or cut off just about anyone or anything that's fleeing you.

Like a Ghost:
It's like you can walk through walls. When you try to get past a solid obstacle, spend 1 Ki and roll +DEX.
On a 10+ you're past whatever you needed to pass.
On a 7-9 you still get through, but pick one:
  • It costs you: leave something behind (GM's choice) or take 1d6 damage, your call.
  • Spend 1 Ki.
  • You're spent. You can't use this move again until you make camp.

Cheap Shot
As Thief.

Shoot First
As Thief.

Poison Master
As Thief.

Envenom
As Thief.

When you gain a level from 6-10, choose from these moves or the level 2-5 moves.

Dirty Fighter
As Thief.

Assassinate
Requires: Dirty Fighter
When your target is completely unaware of your presence and you move in for the kill, spend 2 Ki and roll +DEX.
On a 10+, bam, they're dead as a doornail.
On a 7-9, choose one.
  • You deal horrendous damage, but they're not automatically dead. Treat the result as though you had rolled 10+ on Backstab and describe the debility you inflict on your target. They take -1 ongoing and remember you well if they survive.
  • You kill them, but they have powerful allies who will swear vengeance on you and everyone you know.

Expanded Ki
When you use Ki Focus, gain 4 Ki. You cannot have more than 4 Ki at any time.

Invisible Blade
When you use Vanishing Trick and spend 1 additional Ki, take +1 forward to Backstab or Assassinate, but not both.

Poison Smoke Bomb
Requires: Smoke Bomb
Whenever you throw a smoke bomb, you can decide to include a dose of any poison you possess and could apply to a weapon. This poison affects all creatures in the smoke.

Evasion
As Thief.

Escape Route
As Thief.

Disguise
As Thief.

Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2012, 11:46:57 AM »
Wow, has it already been 3 weeks? Three weeks and three DW sessions. My players are loving it. In no particular order, here are some thoughts:

  • First, a question about combat: We've just been running it round-robin, but that means my players get to do five things in between enemy actions (if they're facing a single foe— things can get complicated with multiple opponents). Is there a better way to handle this?
  • DW revealed how little my current group of players (save one) actually care about loot/magic items outside of what incredible things they can do in the fiction, which suits me just fine.
  • The Bard didn't care about losing his spells, but the Druid did, particularly healing. We decided to use the Ranger's God Amidst the Wastes as a Druid move and everything was peachy.
  • We're still feeling out the Ninja, but everyone at the table agrees Like a Ghost is awesome.
  • My players are loving DW, and one of the most consistent pieces of feedback I'm getting is "everything feels dangerous." They were surprised when I used a golden opportunity afforded me by a miss on the casting of Shadow Walk to make a pretty hard move, sucking two of the players into the plane of shadow and replacing them with a monster for the rest of the party to fight. After a series of abysmal rolls in the shadow plane, the stuck PCs ended up making bargains with extra-planar entities to escape, both of which are feeding the fiction in a rad way.
  • Conversely, my players are also surprised when they don't have to make moves, like when they were able to climb over a palace wall using ropes without rolling.

More updates as I think of em.
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 12:06:49 PM by Rakshasa »

Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2012, 01:12:22 PM »
combat: whatever suits your group is just fine. Actually, as has been previously said, DW has a more cinematic approach, for which whoever has a cool idea is the one to go.

druid: actually the druid CAN take God Amidst the Wastes, via the Hunter's Brother move, while the Bard can cast spells taking Multiclass Dabbler (see the same move on the fighter's sheet to know how it actually works with spellcasting).

shadow walk: that's cool dude!
Oh, the things we tell ourselves to feel better about the long, dark nights.

Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2012, 01:33:49 PM »
Hilarious. First move on the Druid sheet and I gloss right over it. I'll continue to tinker with combat order.

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Scrape

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Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2012, 03:53:39 PM »
This is really important: in DW, your monsters don't get a "turn" where they do stuff. They should be threatening and reacting to each player as each player does their action.

 It's not like, "now it's the goblin's turn, he's stabbing you," it's more like, "the goblin is lunging at you, Bill, what do you do? You rolled an 8 Hack&Slash? Okay, you slice the goblin but he stabs you as well. He staggers a bit but then lurches to bite your leg. Susy, what are you doing while this is happening, you're fighting the bugbear, yeah? Okay, with your 10 Hack&Slash you evade his swipe and cut his swordarm. He's getting ready to slam his shield into you. Back to you, Bill, the goblin is trying to chew your leg, what are you doing?"

Your monster actions are simultaneous and inseparable from the PC "turns," they work together like that. You can definitely go round-robin with the PCs, but the monsters act in tandem with them. They set up threats each "turn" and the character deals with them. Does that make sense?

Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2012, 04:00:53 PM »
@Scrape - That's exactly what I was looking for, thanks for clarifying!

...Is there somewhere in the rules that you're pulling this from, or is there another source for this wisdom?
« Last Edit: October 08, 2012, 04:08:34 PM by Rakshasa »

Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2012, 06:53:51 PM »
Is a combination of common wisdom and the text from the book:

Pg 164

"When to Make a Move
You make a move:
• When everyone looks to you to find out what happens
 • When the players give you a golden opportunity
• When they roll a 6-"

So, your monster turns (your opportunity to make a move on their behalf) is at these junctures. At the beginning of the combat, as such,  you'll have made at least one soft move setting things up, occasionally a hard move as dictated by the fiction. Ask the players what they will do. After you've resolved the things they do, recap what happened and what's about to happen so they have context to respond to when you say "okay, what next?"

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Scrape

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Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2012, 07:04:58 PM »
@Scrape - That's exactly what I was looking for, thanks for clarifying!

...Is there somewhere in the rules that you're pulling this from, or is there another source for this wisdom?

It's in the book but it's not really spelled out clearly enough for some people. I'm actually writing a guide for new DW GMs and I'll post a link here when it's done. In the meantime, check out this link for some in-depth explanation and tips for running DW combat. A lot of people found it helpful and it inspired me to write the guide.



Re: So I decided to convert my 12th-level Pathfinder campaign to DW...
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2012, 07:28:02 PM »
Yeah. I actually started searching around and found Scrape's SA post, it's good stuff. It does make sense to run combat that way when you really think about how moves work.

The trouble people like me and a lot of other D&D vets have, I think, is that in DW there is no separation between combat and the rest of the game. I know it basically says that right on the tin, but my players and I are so used to it that we really need to be beaten over the head with it before it really sinks in.

That and the issues of "fairness," e.g. some players will make more moves than others, the squeaky wheel and all that jazz.