Blog article I wrote about converting races

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Mancario
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Blog article I wrote about converting races

#1 Postby Mancario » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:44 am

hello people,

I've been lurking on the boards here for a while. I've decided to start a blog about gaming, dealing mostly with Savage Worlds to start with. My first entry is about converting races to Savage Worlds with two examples from Dark Sun.

Comments and feedback (about the blog or the article) would be appreciated.

cheers!

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#2 Postby Zadmar » Fri Sep 07, 2012 5:54 am

I've been converting races myself recently (from Eberron) and would be interested to read your approach. Could you provide a link to your blog?

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oops!

#3 Postby Mancario » Fri Sep 07, 2012 6:08 am

Sorry about that hhahaaha :P

http://mancario.blogspot.de/

I was paying too much attention to the writing and forgot the most important part :P

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#4 Postby Zadmar » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:25 am

Good post, in particular:

"What you want to do is capture the spirit or essence of the race. You do not want to convert every small things directly."

That's something a lot of people forget, and it can turn the process into a real chore.

I noticed you balanced your races at +2, which is the common approach, but personally I find it easier to balance all the races at +4 if some of them are quite complex (such as your Thri-Kreen example). I think this is worth considering in situations where you're struggling to get the race down to +2.

I also find it can be worth looking through other setting books to see if there are similar races. For example Evernight has a race of four-armed insect-like creatures, and their four arms are effectively handled as a trapping for Frenzy, Improved Frenzy and Block. I've heard of other people using Sweep to represent multiple limbs, and some people take it a step further still, using the Super Powers Companion as a sort of advanced race creation tool.

The trapping approach can also be used to offset certain costs. For example I would be inclined to make +1 armour "free" due to the limitation of them being unable to wear any other armour. Combining pros and cons into a single ability can help streamline the races.

I also noticed you listed the natural weapon damage as "Str+1", so I presume you're using an older version of the rules? In SWEX/SWD that would probably be Str+d6.

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#5 Postby Sitting Duck » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:38 am

Zadmar wrote:I also noticed you listed the natural weapon damage as "Str+1", so I presume you're using an older version of the rules? In SWEX/SWD that would probably be Str+d6.


Actually, it should be Str+d4. Str+2 becomes Str+d6, and so on.
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#6 Postby Zadmar » Fri Sep 07, 2012 7:45 am

Sitting Duck wrote:
Zadmar wrote:I also noticed you listed the natural weapon damage as "Str+1", so I presume you're using an older version of the rules? In SWEX/SWD that would probably be Str+d6.


Actually, it should be Str+d4. Str+2 becomes Str+d6, and so on.

Right, but the "Natural Weapons" +1 racial ability in SWD (and the FC for that matter) gives Str+d6 damage, and his Thri-Kreen race balances out with the natural weapons valued at +1.

EDIT: Although SWEX treats them as Str+d4. I wonder why that was changed for SWD...

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#7 Postby kronovan » Fri Sep 07, 2012 11:55 am

Zadmar wrote:
Sitting Duck wrote:
Zadmar wrote:I also noticed you listed the natural weapon damage as "Str+1", so I presume you're using an older version of the rules? In SWEX/SWD that would probably be Str+d6.


Actually, it should be Str+d4. Str+2 becomes Str+d6, and so on.

Right, but the "Natural Weapons" +1 racial ability in SWD (and the FC for that matter) gives Str+d6 damage, and his Thri-Kreen race balances out with the natural weapons valued at +1.

The formula for coverting the legacy weapon bonus to the new secondary dice is: (Original Weapon Bonus + 1) x 2. And yes Natural Weapons grants a damage of STR+d6.

EDIT: Although SWEX treats them as Str+d4. I wonder why that was changed for SWD...

I don't know of any natural weapon value in SWEX. As well, most beasts in the SWEX beastiary with the exception of those with a -1 size or less, have natural weapons that grant STR+d6 or better. Were you perhaps meaning the Fantasy Companion?

I haven't read the blog yet, but will do when I get a chance.

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#8 Postby Zadmar » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:05 pm

kronovan wrote:I don't know of any natural weapon value in SWEX.

Page 135. Races get one major ability (described as being comparable with an edge) or two minor abilities, and these are nearly identical to +2 and +1 racial abilities in SWD. One of the minor abilities is "natural weapons (Str+d4)".

kronovan wrote:As well, most beasts in the SWEX beastiary with the exception of those with a -1 size or less, have natural weapons that grant STR+d6 or better.

Natural weapons for animals seem to be based on their size. As far as I can tell, it seems to go like this for the more aggressive animals:

Size -2 (or lower): Str
Size -1: Str+d4
Medium: Str+d6
Large+: Str+d8

The warhorse is one die step behind for its size, perhaps its aggression has to be trained? Regular horses, and mules, inflict only Str damage. Snakes also inflict only Str damage when they bite, perhaps because the bite itself isn't supposed to kill?

Difficult to say for sure, I suspect much of it was based on gut instinct, but (at least for the more aggressive animal types) there's a definite pattern.

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#9 Postby Clint » Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:09 pm

Zadmar wrote:Actually, it should be Str+d4. Str+2 becomes Str+d6, and so on.

Right, but the "Natural Weapons" +1 racial ability in SWD (and the FC for that matter) gives Str+d6 damage, and his Thri-Kreen race balances out with the natural weapons valued at +1.[/quote]

SWD grants natural weapons that do Str+d6 like claws, but that's still limited to two attacks a round. Look at the Saurian example in SWD and you'll see they have Str+d4 natural weapons, but can attack with claws, bite, and a tail slap.

Str+d4 sounds right for Thri-Kreen since they start with 3 attacks as listed in that conversion with up to 5.

Plus, setting matters as in Dark Sun where weapons are more limited so natural weapons would be a better advantage to a race.
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Re: oops!

#10 Postby Kristian Serrano » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:26 pm

Mancario wrote:Sorry about that hhahaaha :P

http://mancario.blogspot.de/

I was paying too much attention to the writing and forgot the most important part :P


Added to the Savage Bloggers Network. :)

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#11 Postby kronovan » Fri Sep 07, 2012 3:47 pm

Zadmar wrote:
kronovan wrote:I don't know of any natural weapon value in SWEX.

Page 135. Races get one major ability (described as being comparable with an edge) or two minor abilities, and these are nearly identical to +2 and +1 racial abilities in SWD. One of the minor abilities is "natural weapons (Str+d4)".

Seriously, I've had mutliple copies of SWEX all this time and never noticed that section in the back - doh. I stand corrected and I'll have to check that out next time I have my SWEX in hand.

kronovan wrote:As well, most beasts in the SWEX beastiary with the exception of those with a -1 size or less, have natural weapons that grant STR+d6 or better.

Natural weapons for animals seem to be based on their size. As far as I can tell, it seems to go like this for the more aggressive animals:

Size -2 (or lower): Str
Size -1: Str+d4
Medium: Str+d6
Large+: Str+d8


Yep, that's sort of the trend I've noticed, athough IIRC there were a few exceptions like large beasts that had only STR+d6.

Clint wrote:SWD grants natural weapons that do Str+d6 like claws, but that's still limited to two attacks a round. Look at the Saurian example in SWD and you'll see they have Str+d4 natural weapons, but can attack with claws, bite, and a tail slap.

But the Saurian still gets a MAP on using more than 1 of those - correct?

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#12 Postby ValhallaGH » Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:08 pm

kronovan wrote:
Clint wrote:SWD grants natural weapons that do Str+d6 like claws, but that's still limited to two attacks a round. Look at the Saurian example in SWD and you'll see they have Str+d4 natural weapons, but can attack with claws, bite, and a tail slap.

But the Saurian still gets a MAP on using more than 1 of those - correct?

And off-hand penalties. :cool:
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thanks!

#13 Postby Mancario » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:16 am

I was off the internet for the weekend so I'm catching up now :)

I try to balance the races at +2 so that they’re compatible with other standard races in case someone wants to use them in other settings of their own. For example the Thri-Kreen was also in Spelljammer. Also I took inspiration from the "evolution" edges for the Drakins in Sundered Skies and the racial paragon classes in DnD 4th edition. That's why I added more edges so that they could have a way to "recover" those abilities.

For the armor, I think that it should still count as a +1 even if they can't wear anything else. In Dark Sun armor was rare because it was too hot to wear so almost no one wore them except people on guard duty in the shade or fighting temporarily in the arena, etc.

Making a race at +4 does give me an idea though. It could be a level adjustment like in DnD 3.0/3.5. In SW it would be called Advancement adjustment though. Every +2 is equal to an edge or stat increase so it equals 5 experience points basically. In that sense, if I make a Thri-Kreen at +4 in racial bonuses I would add +5 experience points to the Athasian dwarves and the humans for example.

Thanks for spotting the Str+1 for the claws and bite. Indeed, it should be Str. +d4. I had the Fantasy Companion, Slipstream and Savage Worlds Deluxe opened so I wasn’t paying attention enough. As Clint mentioned, it’s only Str + d4 because they have more than one natural weapon.

For the four armed part, I didn’t think about that insect from Evernight even though I do mention to look at existing materials in the article… oops :P Also a good idea to use the Supers Companion for very complex races. Although not a race itself I did something similar for cyborgs using the Supers rules from Necessary Evil. The character took an edge to become a Construct then he could take more edges to gain points with which to buy augmentations. Although in this case, I’ll stick with extra-arms racial ability instead. You'll also notice that adding Frenzy (a seasoned edge) is a +3 ability which would make the race even more difficult to balance :)

I’ll redo the conversion and post the revision in the comments section of that blog entry. I’ll also add an addendum about races in the next post/article that I write concerning level adjustment and the other ways to convert races that you proposed (with credit of course :) ). Thanks to everyone for input and the discussion.

Also thanks Amaril, I’ll need to check the other blogs too and I’ll add a link to Savage Blogger’s network on to my blog. Is there a banner or something (“part of the Savage Bloggers”), I could add it in a corner on the main page.
http://mancario.blogspot.de/ (Game blog updated once in a while :P)

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Re: thanks!

#14 Postby Kristian Serrano » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:24 am

Mancario wrote:Also thanks Amaril, I’ll need to check the other blogs too and I’ll add a link to Savage Blogger’s network on to my blog. Is there a banner or something (“part of the Savage Bloggers”), I could add it in a corner on the main page.
There's no need to link back to the site. It's just something I set up as a service for Savages who want to read, hear, or see what other Savages are doing as well as keeping a finger on the pulse of what's happening in the Savage Worlds community and market in general. It's not perfect; not every publisher or blog has a feed on their site, or a feed dedicated to Savage Worlds, but the latest news seems to get covered regardless. Most bloggers just include it in their blog rolls.

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#15 Postby JackMann » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:10 am

Zadmar wrote:I noticed you balanced your races at +2, which is the common approach, but personally I find it easier to balance all the races at +4 if some of them are quite complex (such as your Thri-Kreen example). I think this is worth considering in situations where you're struggling to get the race down to +2.


Out of curiosity, how do you bump up humans in such settings?

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#16 Postby Lord Inar » Mon Sep 10, 2012 11:35 am

JackMann wrote:
Zadmar wrote:I noticed you balanced your races at +2, which is the common approach, but personally I find it easier to balance all the races at +4 if some of them are quite complex (such as your Thri-Kreen example). I think this is worth considering in situations where you're struggling to get the race down to +2.


Out of curiosity, how do you bump up humans in such settings?


I usually split the difference and start at +3 and give the humans a free d6 skill.

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#17 Postby Zadmar » Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:53 pm

JackMann wrote:Out of curiosity, how do you bump up humans in such settings?

The easy option is just to give them another edge, but personally I prefer to emphasise their flexibility by giving them a choice between:

1) Two Novice edges (+4 racial ability), or:

2) One Seasoned edge (+3 racial ability) and one skill at d6 (+1 racial ability).

I like the second option because it doesn't feel like a bum deal for longer running campaigns; it costs one advance to purchase a Seasoned edge after creation, but it also costs one advance for two skill raises (below their linked attribute)*, so it balances out nicely.

* Technically it costs an advance to purchase a new skill at d4, but I've dropped that rule.

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New post

#18 Postby Mancario » Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:09 am

I added another post/article, this time talking about classes from d20 and how to adapt them to Savage Worlds.

cheers!
http://mancario.blogspot.de/ (Game blog updated once in a while :P)

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#19 Postby Thunderforge » Sun Sep 16, 2012 6:37 pm

JackMann wrote:
Zadmar wrote:I noticed you balanced your races at +2, which is the common approach, but personally I find it easier to balance all the races at +4 if some of them are quite complex (such as your Thri-Kreen example). I think this is worth considering in situations where you're struggling to get the race down to +2.

Out of curiosity, how do you bump up humans in such settings?

In my Stargate conversion, I gave all humans a net +2 ability based on their homeworld or their career in addition to the free Edge. For instance, SGC soldiers got a d6 in Shooting and Survival and a d4 in Fighting, Piloting, Swimming, and Throwing, but also a Vow (Major) to follow the chain of command in the military. Civilians on the other hand receive a free d6 in any two skills linked to Smarts and no chain of command. Humans from other planets got other benefits.
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