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Fildrigar's Quick And Dirty Monster Conversion Guide

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  • Fildrigar's Quick And Dirty Monster Conversion Guide

    Greetings.

    On June 29th, a Ronin Round Table was posted, talking about the differences between the Dragon Age system and the Fantasy Age system.

    Originally posted by Fantasy AGE What's Different from Dragon Age?
    So you can see that in Fantasy AGE two abilities were added (Accuracy and Fighting), one was removed (Magic), and one simply had its name changed (Cunning to Intelligence). The latter is the easiest to explain. I simply thought Intelligence was a better name for the ability and conveyed its nature more clearly than Cunning. But why the other changes?

    In Dragon Age Dexterity and Strength both do a couple of things. Dexterity adds to your Defense (making your harder to hit) and adds to your attack rolls with light melee weapons and missile weapons. Strength adds to your attack rolls with heavy melee weapons and damage to all melee and thrown weapons. All this has certain implications. First, it makes big monsters that hit hard but strike inaccurately harder to model. A + 8 Strength, for example, means +8 on the attack roll and damage. Fantasy AGE breaks this out into separate abilities: Fighting and Strength. Now it’s easier to represent something like an ogre, who might have a Fighting 3 and Strength 7. Second, Dexterity in Dragon Age is something of a superstat for rogues. In Fantasy AGE I thus decided to break it out into Accuracy and Dexterity. Now it’s Accuracy that adds to your attack rolls with light melee and missile weapons and Dexterity that adds to your Defense. The net result these changes means you have some real choices to make when you level up and get to increase an ability. As a warrior, do you want to hit harder or more often? As a rogue do you want to dodge more often or hit enemies more frequently?

    As for the Magic ability, I cut it for a couple of reasons. First, to keep the overall number of abilities down. Second, because I felt everything it did could be modeled with other abilities: namely, Intelligence and Willpower. In Fantasy AGE your casting roll is based on Intelligence but your Spellpower is based on Willpower. In Dragon Age both of these are based on your Magic ability.
    So, to convert a monster ( or character ) from Dragon Age to Fantasy Age, you have to switch around a few abilities and make some new ones. This is more of an art than a science, and it really shouldn't hurt your game if you get a conversion wrong. ( YMMV )

    The first change to make, is to replace Cunning with Intelligence. Easy peasy.

    The second change is only needed if a creature has any Magic to use. As an example, the Genlock Emissary in Dragon Age has Cunning:1, Willpower:2, and Magic:4. First, we simply replace the word Cunning with the word Intelligence. Since Magic is just getting dropped, he should have some of the points he has in Magic reassigned to the other stats. I would be really easy to just add two to each of the other stats while dropping Magic, so I'd change his Intelligence to 3 and his Willpower to 4. Sometimes you may want to adjust that. ( Actually, as I'm taking a quick look through his spell list, I'm realizing that those numbers probably should be swapped to increase his ability to successfully get a spell cast. So he ends up at Intelligence 4, Willpower 3. )

    The third and fourth changes are probably the trickiest. Accuracy and Fighting. I'll discuss these together, as they basically perform the same function. ( Adding to your attack roll for different types of weapons. ) You basically need to determine what the function of a monster is, and whether it should be more accurate ( and hit less hard, ) more damaging ( and less accurate, ) or balanced.

    * Looking at the lowly Genlock, it has a Strength of 3. It's pretty much a basic monster that's likely to show up in numbers. We probably want it to be relatively balanced. Let's just add a Fighting of 2. ( Don't want it hitting with every swing. ) It also has a throwing axe, so lets also add an Accuracy of 1, to match it's Dexterity.

    * Now let's examine the Brigand Stalker. He's pretty focused on using his bow to attack with. ( Though he does have a dagger, too. ) He has a Dexterity of 3. It would make sense to simply copy that 3 over to Accuracy. He's supposed to be a decent archer. Additionally, lets just make his Fighting a 1. That matches his Strength, and that's about where we want it. He's going to use his bow if at all possible, anyway.

    * On to the Ogre. ( Note that Fantasy Age has an Ogre of it's own. If I'm going to convert and use a Dragon Age Ogre, I'm likely to rebrand it as some other big, bad monster. Maybe an Ogre warped by Chaos magic, or a big, hard hitting underground terror. ) It has a Strength of 9 and a Dexterity of 1. Here is where the art comes in. I want to model the Ogre as less accurate, but when he hits, wow does it hurt. The Ogre is pretty much going to be a big guy on the other side of the battle, and we want him to be attention getting. You're generally not going to face one until you have a few levels under your belt and can hopefully take a bit of damage before falling to the floor, mortally wounded. I'm going to assign him a Fighting of 3. This still gives him a chance to hit, but not as much as his Dragon Age incarnation. He also has a thrown rock on his profile, so will need an Accuracy. His Dexterity is only a 1, and so I'm just going to copy that over.

    * Taking a quick look through the monsters present in Fantasy Age, here are some observations. Most of the foes with lower stats have relative balance in their Accuracy/Fighting vs damaging stats. The larger ones, the Dragons, Giants, etc have Accuracy/Fighting stats from a fourth to a half of their damaging stats. ( Dragon is 4/8, Giant is 2/9, Golem is 2/6 )

    That's mostly all there is to it. Use your judgement, and just make a call. And above all, have fun.


    Fildrigar
    Note: This is just a Quick and Dirty guide. This is not official in any way, shape, or form. If Green Ronin posts a full on conversion guide, I'll replace this post.

    Edit: As per Jack's post below, be very careful with Fighting. Try to avoid going above 4, unless it's for a very specific reason.
    Last edited by Fildrigar; 08-07-2015, 10:02 AM.
    ALL HAIL THE SPAM-O-MATIC!

  • #2
    Re: Fildrigar's Quick And Dirty Monster Conversion Guide

    Going by the creatures in the Basic Rulebook, I think it would probably be wise to be quite conservative with Accuracy and Fighting. The standard orc has only a 2 in both scores but also a focus for various weapons. And even the giant has only a 2 in Fighting. I think a score of 3 is not just decent, but actually pretty good. It seems like a score for creatures that are unusually good at fighting and standing clearly above the common rabble.
    Though I don't know how much playtesting has been done on the monsters and I've only done very little myself. So it might turn out that 3 + Focus isn't actually much of a threat in practice. But since your Defense is really only depending on your Dexterity score and any shield, I think an enemy with +4 to attack is quite threatening and +5 a really considerable chance to hit.
    “Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet.”


    Working on the Ancient Lands campaign setting for Fantasy Age.
    Spriggans Den - RPGs and Sword & Sorcery

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    • #3
      Re: Fildrigar's Quick And Dirty Monster Conversion Guide

      Originally posted by Yora View Post
      Going by the creatures in the Basic Rulebook, I think it would probably be wise to be quite conservative with Accuracy and Fighting. The standard orc has only a 2 in both scores but also a focus for various weapons. And even the giant has only a 2 in Fighting. I think a score of 3 is not just decent, but actually pretty good. It seems like a score for creatures that are unusually good at fighting and standing clearly above the common rabble.
      Though I don't know how much playtesting has been done on the monsters and I've only done very little myself. So it might turn out that 3 + Focus isn't actually much of a threat in practice. But since your Defense is really only depending on your Dexterity score and any shield, I think an enemy with +4 to attack is quite threatening and +5 a really considerable chance to hit.
      You've got the right of it. Big scary creatures who are kinda slow or not great fighters are designed to HURT when they hit (and keep in mind these monsters can be upgraded to more advanced forms). But if doesn't take that much to hit a lot of PCs. After all, a STR 8 monster even using a relatively low damage weapon doing around 1d6+3 or so is still doing 12 damage minimum every hit (minus armor, stunts, and such)

      For example, a Mage with 12 Defense (Dex 2 and nothing else really) isn't going to get out of the way of most Giant or Ogre hits, though at least now they've got a better chance. Which means when they get hit its going to hurt a lot and it will happen fairly frequently. But if the warrior with his heavy armor and shield gets in the way and takes those hits? He'll manage to soak some damage for their squishy Mage pal. But even there, its probably going to hurt some. This also makes stuff like giants and such often a multi PC v. one monster encounter.

      Fighting at 3 is solid, Fighting/Accuracy at 4 or above is quite good. Especially with a focus. For ex, a werewolf or other fast, nasty attacker might have a high fighting or accuracy because they are a flurry of teeth and claws. And they'd be pretty strong, but not as strong as a one of slower heavy monsters. The balancer there is they're using relatively low damage weapons (no greataxes and such). But much like getting into a knife fight, you are going to get cut unless you're armored up. By contrast, a giant is like fighting a skilled but not overwhelming adept bruiser who will paste you with every hit.

      So the big questions are "how often should they hit" and "how bad does it hurt"? And then finding a balance between the two.

      Also, look to SF media for inspiration. Do giants hit heroes all the time? Or is there a lot of dodging, near misses, glancing blows, and then "ow, that really hurt!". Are small fast creatures really missing all that much, or is it that armor and the somewhat abstract nature of health in rpgs means they aren't doing much damage but are connecting a fair amount (at least if they're a threat)
      Last edited by Jack; 08-07-2015, 09:58 AM.

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      • #4
        Re: Fildrigar's Quick And Dirty Monster Conversion Guide

        I'd like some guidelines on whether or not to give critters a focus with their primary (or secondary) weapon groups/attacks. It seems reasonable that most critters should have them, but I'm already seeing an issue with attack vs defence.

        My first "test" battle with the system pitted some orcs vs three lvl 2 heroes. With Fighting (Heavy Blades) focuses, the orcs were attacking at +4 (and +5 for their leader) and hitting my newbie heroes pretty much every attack. The heroes rarely missed either. The results were drastic enough (especially given that these were all low-level characters and critters) that I'm wondering if base 10 Defence is going to cut it in this system. With pretty much every comptetent fighting character or monster having a focus, it seems that attack is always going to have a +2 headstart over defence.

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        • #5
          Re: Fildrigar's Quick And Dirty Monster Conversion Guide

          Originally posted by Jack View Post
          So the big questions are "how often should they hit" and "how bad does it hurt"? And then finding a balance between the two.
          Something that I generally like, but I think makes it a bit difficult to judge the threat of a creature attack, is the very significant difference that armor makes. An Armor Rating of 10 from heavy plate is huge! Enemies like walking dead or goblins can only hurt you when they are using stunts like Pierce Armor or Lethal Blow and even then they could roll so low they still don't deal any damage. This allows you to potentially take on dozens of them at the same time with almost no risk to yourself. But the very same character without any armor can easily be torn to pieces by much smaller groups.
          However, that is something that is entirely in the hands of the players which the GM can influence only very little (and the game designer not at all). When looking at both the damage and the hit bonus, this is something that needs to be kept in mind. Someone with low damage but a high hit chance is much more dangerous to an unarmored character than an armored one. The higher up you go in damage, the less difference any armor will make. When you get bit by a dragon who rolls high on a Lethal Blow stunt, taking 30 damage or 30-10 is not a very big difference.
          “Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandaled feet.”


          Working on the Ancient Lands campaign setting for Fantasy Age.
          Spriggans Den - RPGs and Sword & Sorcery

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Fildrigar's Quick And Dirty Monster Conversion Guide

            Originally posted by Yora View Post
            Something that I generally like, but I think makes it a bit difficult to judge the threat of a creature attack, is the very significant difference that armor makes. An Armor Rating of 10 from heavy plate is huge! Enemies like walking dead or goblins can only hurt you when they are using stunts like Pierce Armor or Lethal Blow and even then they could roll so low they still don't deal any damage. This allows you to potentially take on dozens of them at the same time with almost no risk to yourself. But the very same character without any armor can easily be torn to pieces by much smaller groups.
            However, that is something that is entirely in the hands of the players which the GM can influence only very little (and the game designer not at all). When looking at both the damage and the hit bonus, this is something that needs to be kept in mind. Someone with low damage but a high hit chance is much more dangerous to an unarmored character than an armored one. The higher up you go in damage, the less difference any armor will make. When you get bit by a dragon who rolls high on a Lethal Blow stunt, taking 30 damage or 30-10 is not a very big difference.
            One thing I'm considering for different flavors of FA when/if we tackle them is how to treat armor that's...not technically armor. Which might mean downplaying actual armor in those genres.

            For ex, if we had a Star Wars style sci-fi game, then being an awesome hero or mystic warrior seems to afford some default level of armor...but actual armor is kinda just okay. But on the other hand, a Mass Effect style sci-fi game clearly recognizes the utility of armor.

            All optional/genre specific stuff, but its on my mind.

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            • #7
              Re: Fildrigar's Quick And Dirty Monster Conversion Guide

              Good discussion, folks. One of the things I had to address when I did my houserules for DA was that as-written, it was actually pretty hard to get by on hard-to-hit, because accuracy racked as fast or faster (because Focus adds to the attack end, but unless you were a shield user, there was no assurance you had anything similar on the defense end) and the Ogre problem was what it is (and its not limited to the Ogre, he's just the poster boy for it).

              That said, my observation is that armor is actually weaker in DA (and presumably F-AGE) than most games that use absorption style armor, because its so easy for Pierce Armor to come up as an available stunt; unless my math is screwy, if you need it you can do Pierce Armor somewhere around a third of all attacks that actually land.

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