May 4, 2012

Converting Pathfinder/D&D 3.5 PCs to HackMaster

D&D 3.5 to HackMaster Player's Handbook
It is an odd day today since we stayed up to 3 AM watching the new Avengers movie and today is an overcast and rainy day.  I've been on the KenzerCo forums off and on and saw an interesting post regarding converting Pathfinder player characters (PCs) over to the new HackMaster game.

The problem is that there really isn't going to be a straight conversion "formula" for converting between disparate game systems.  There is a lot of variation between almost any two systems.  Pathfinder is close enough to D&D 3.5 that you could go back and forth between them much more easily, but that is because they have the same basic foundation.

Converting over a 3.5 or Pathfinder PC to HackMaster can be done, but it wouldn't be without difficulty.  Most GMs would say "screw it" and make the players start over.  There is nothing wrong from converting PCs over from one system to another, assuming the players are willing to make that switch.  As a GM I'd allow the group to be converted, but future PCs in the campaign would need to be created by-the-book.  While there is nothing wrong with house-rules and GMs running whatever game works for them, I prefer to keep things by-the-book because it generally makes my life easier.

This is how I would start the process:

Overall I would be thinking that it might be necessary to "roll back" the PC to an earlier level, but we'd want to look at the character overall and get the "essence" of the character moved over.  It would be much easier to work off of an example, so here is one of my 3.5 PCs:

Saja D&D 3.5 PC Sheet 1
You might find it much easier to simply download the character sheet to follow along.  Clicking on the pictures will bring up a full sized sheet.

Saja Miamar was a 3.5 Halfling Rogue/Sorceror with the following stats:
STR 7
DEX 17
CON 11
INT 12
WIS 12
CHA 10

Her saving throws were Fortitude +2, Reflex +11, and Will +5.  She spoke four languages and only had 3 feats: Nimble Fingers, Skill Focus Disable Device and Skill Focus Open Lock.
Saja D&D 3.5 PC Sheet 2

HackMaster has a Thief/Mage and Halflings, so the choice is pretty clear as far as what race and class to pick.  Right now we can go ahead and just keep her stats as they seem to be pretty much in a "normal" range.  For the sake of simplicity I'd make her Looks to be equal to her Charisma, a 10.

Saja was a 5th level Rogue and a 1st level Sorceror, which is a 6th level PC, but looking at her spell selection I can see that all her spells are supporting spells for her thief work, and she isn't that great of a Mage.  This works with her stats and I'd choose to make her a level 4 HackMaster Thief/Mage.  This puts her thief skills a bit higher than her mage abilities.

Saja D&D 3.5 PC Sheet 3
While I'm looking at it I'll choose her spell list: Apprentice (Aura of Innocence, Repair, Repel), Journeyman (Sense Magical Aura, Freeze Water, Bar Portal), 1st Level (Bash Door, Shrink, Wall Walk), 2nd level (Perspicillum).

Skills are going to be the challenging thing with this PC.  Saja's D&D skill set is pretty good as she has the following skills:
Concentration (6)
Decipher Scrip (6)
Disable Device (9*)
Escape Artist (4)
Gather Information (7)
Hide (6*)
Knowledge Arcana (2)
Listen (2)
Open Lock (9)
Profession Butcher (2)
Search (9)
Spellcraft (3)
Swim (9)
Use Magic Device (2)
Use Rope (8)

Now some of these are basic skills for a Thief/Mage.  Starting off they get to pick four out of eight skills to roll for.  After that she would get to pick I'll assume that some of the highest skills she has she gets to pick two of those to advance in.  I'll just assume that there is a direct correlation between some of these skills she gets to choose in.

The initial few skills are easy to figure out:
Disable Device = Disarm Trap (4 rolls)
Open Lock = Lock Picking (3 rolls)
Search = Identify trap (4 rolls)

Things get sticky from here on out.  Saja really didn't have relative high skill in all the base HackMaster thief skills.  Her next highest skills from 3.5 are Use Rope, Gather Information, and Swim.  Hide in 3.5 was both hiding and sneaking, so I'll just alternate between the two.  That would give her 2 rolls in hiding and 1 roll in sneaking.  Due to her Skill Focus in Open locks and Disable Device I'll let her have an additional roll in each.

Going down the list of 3.5 skills I'll make the following adjudications which factor in the Build Point (BP) cost of skills in HackMaster:

Concentration (6) = Scrutiny
Decipher Scrip (6) = Read Language (2 rolls in each known language)
Escape Artist (4) = Escape Artist (4 rolls)
Gather Information (7) = Glean Information (6 rolls)
Knowledge Arcana (2) = Arcane Lore (1 roll)
Listen (2) = Listen (2 rolls)
Profession Butcher (2) = Craft: Butcher (2 rolls)
Spellcraft (3) = Arcane Roll (1/2 roll)
Swim (9) = Swim (10 rolls)
Use Magic Device (2) = Arcane Lore (1/2 roll)
Use Rope (8) = Rope Use (10 rolls)

At this point I'd list out all her Hackmaster skills with the base ability according to her stats and I'd also increase her Hide and Sneak rolls by one for being a Halfling.  When it came to rolling I wouldn't roll, instead I'd just give her the average for the appropriate die and add any modifiers.  For example, the Arcane Lore skill.  Saja has normal INT, so her base Arcane Lore skill would be a 12.  She would get a free roll for being a Thief/Mage and has two more rolls coming due to the earlier adjudications.  She gets a +1 to each roll for her INT and a +3 at the end for her levels 2-4 bonus (equal to her INT bonus).  Saja gets the average of each die (which is 1/2 of the die type +1 due to possible penetration).  The comes out like this:
  12 (relevant ability score)
Saja D&D 3.5 PC Sheet 4
  7 (average of a d12p)
+1 (INT bonus)
20% for first purchase

  20 (1st purchase)
  7 (average of a d12p)
+1 (INT bonus)
28% at second purchase

  28 (2nd purchase)
   5 (average of a d8p)
+1 (INT Bonus)
34% at third purchase
+3 (leveling points)
37% Final skill in Arcane Lore

I'd go through the skills one by one until I had them done.  Don't forget to add any language skills.  Since she came in knowing 4 languages I'd have her know four languages and try to have her speaking be at least a category higher than her reading, except for her native tongue.

The next step would be to pick Saja's talents, & proficiencies.  Since her focus is on skills I'd just make her proficient with her chosen weapons and call it good.  She doesn't really have any combat bonuses so I might not even give her any weapon specialization.

The next to last step would be to hand-pick Saja's quirks and flaws.  This would rely heavily on her background and how she was played.  Since none of you are privy to her use in play we'll have to rely on background and factor in her other BP expenditures.  Since Saja's stats are pretty normal and her class wasn't expensive, I'd guess that she might have been a more optimal build and had some bonus BP.  Between the bonus BP and no purchases for specialization or  proficiencies I thin she had plenty of BP from leveling to account for the extra rolls on the expensive thief skills that we gave her for those Skill Focus swap outs.

Basically we don't "need" any quirks or flaws, but the quirk Chatterbox fits from her description.

All that we have to do now is equip Saja and she should be good to go.  I'd give her 3 special items for levels 1-3 and put her having just leveled to 4th.

Maybe I'll try a harder PC next time, but I don't have many beyond 1st level.




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