Conversions d20 Lankhmar (for anyone who's interested): A Work in Progress




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    d20 Lankhmar (for anyone who's interested): A Work in Progress

    Well, with the release of Unearthed Arcana, I've (slowly) began work on creating a D&D/d20 rule set for playing & running a Lankhmar-based campaign. There is soem other versions on the Yahoo! Lankhmar group, but I'm going to take a somewhat different approach.

    Here's what I have so far:

    Races:
    With some exceptions (& DM permission), the only race (typically) available in Nehwon is human.

    I'm not providing different stat sets for the different human cultures. Instead, I'm using the regional feats system introduced in the Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (tailored for Nehwon, of course). The regions I intend to create/develop are:
    • Lankhmar
    • Cold Wastes
    • Steppes
    • Great Forest
    • Quarmall
    • Rime Isle
    • Horborixen
    • Ilthmar
    • Tovilyis
    • Klesh
    • Tisilinilit
    • Eevanmarensee
    • Great Marsh
    • Lakes of Pleea
    • Kokgnab
    • Easterner
    • Coastal
    • Stardock
    • Nehwon Ghouls
    • Ice Cap
    • Lankhmar Below
    • Sarheenmar


    In addition to this, I will provide stats for a few human variants (like Quarmallian humans), as well as for classic Nehwon races like the Invisibles of Stardock, the crystal-fleshed Ghouls, Ice Gnomes, Simorgyans, and Rat-folk (the Rats of Lankhmar Below, using the shapechanging rat hengeyokai from Oriental Adventures as the basis instead of wererats).

    I'm also going to provide a few creative addtions, for any less-canonical Lankhmar games: Winter Elves (based off of the winter elf entry from Lankhmar random encounter charts in the 1st ed. Deities & Demigods), Half-Winter Elves, Half-Ogres, Half-Orcs (to represent a magically-engineered race, ala Saruman & his Uruk-Hai), Planetouched (for example, Air Genasi could work for inhabitants of Arilia), Feytouched, & possibly a few others as well.

    Classes:
    Instead of modifying the PHB classes, I'm going to use the 3 generic classes from UA: warrior, expert, & spellcaster. Warriors & experts will be used as is, while the spellcaster will be slightly modified:

    In Nehwon all spellcasters are treated as arcane spellcasters (subject to arcane spell failure while wearing armor). There are 3 different types of spellcasters in Nehwon: black mages, elemental mages, and white mages.

    A black mage casts arcane spells, and uses his/her Intelligence stat for determining his/her abilities as a spellcaster.

    A black mage cannot begin play with an Alliegiance to good. A black mage gathers Taint points from using his/her spells--after obtaining a certain # of Taint points (&/or after gaining access to 3rd-level spells), a black mage must have an Alliegiance to evil.

    A black mage can select any spell from the Players’ Handbook except for those spells with the good descriptor (e.g., protection from evil, detect evil, etc.). Also, at least half (rounded up) of the black mage's spells must come from the sorcerer/wizard list.

    An elemental mage casts arcane spells, and uses his/her Charisma stat for determining his/her abilities as a spellcaster.

    An elemental mage can select any spell from the Players’ Handbook. However, at least half of the elemental mage’s known spells (rounding up) should relate to the mage’s chosen element.

    A white mage casts arcane spells, and uses his/her Wisdom stat for determining his/her abilities as a spellcaster.

    A white mage must begin play with an Alliegiance to good. A white mage can select any spell from the Players’ Handbook except for those spells with the evil descriptor (e.g., protection from good, detect good, etc.). Also, at least half (rounded up) of the white mage's spells must come from the druid list.

    Despite what type of mage a spellcaster is, the number of bonus spells gained from a high attribute applies to both the spellcaster's spells/day & the spellcaster's total # of spells known.

    In addition to this, I'll develop some Lankhmar-based prestige classes (or use/adapt existing ones). Some PrCs will include Lankhmar Guild Thieves, Northerner Berserkers, Priests of (A Certain Deity), Gladiators, Northerner Skalds, Ice Witches, Eastern Fire Sorcerers, and others.

    Character Money & Equipment:
    For ease of use in game, here's the coins & their values for d20 Lankhmar:
    Lankhmar coin = D&D coin
    Iron tik = Copper piece
    Bronze agol = Silver piece
    Silver smerduk = Gold piece
    Gold rilk = Platinum piece
    Diamond-in-amber gluditch = 1,000 gold pieces

    As for equipment, there'll be a few basic changes:
    • Only a few certain exotic weapons (like the bastard sword, whip, dwarven waraxe, & other somewhat-more-realistic weapons) will be available to PCs. Very exotic weapons (like the double-bladed sword, repeating crossbow, orc double-axe, & others) will only be available much later in game, or available to certain character concepts/kinds (like gladiators, who are more likely to be given such weird weapons in order to enhance their "entertainment value").
    • The cost of all heavy armors will be tripled (since heavy armor is rarer in Lankhmar).
    • Very few, if any, special materials for weapons & armor.
    • Magic items will be much rarer.


    Setting/Game Rules:
    Here are some optional rules that will be standard fare for d20 Lankhmar:
    • Use of Action Points (ala d20 Modern), from UA;
    • Use of Alliegiances from d20 Modern instead of Alignment;
    • Use of Contacts, from UA;
    • Use of Reputation score, from UA;
    • Use of a class-based Defense Bonus (not the 1 listed in UA, but rather something different that stacks with Armor Bonuses); OR use the Defense Roll mentioned on p. 25 of the DMG;
    • Use of Incantations for certain types of spells, from UA;
    • Use of Taint & Taint Points (in regards to using black magic spells/incantations), from UA; &
    • Character Traits & Flaws, from UA.


    Other things I might consider (or at least list as options for the game):
    • Class-Based Defense, from UA, along with Armor as Damage Resistance;
    • Use of VP/WP instead of HP, from UA;
    • Spell points, from UA;
    • Psionics (for Quarmallian characters);
    • Additional (rare) Races for PCs/NPCs; &
    • Use of Gunpowder in Nehwon.



    I also intend to work on a list of feasible monsters to encounter while adventuring in Nehwon (including any modifications due to the low-magic setting), notable NPC stats (like the Twain, their mentors, key allies & foes, & others), the Gods & Powers of Nehwon, & other useful info.

    FYI--I've started work on the Twain. Here's some basic info:

    Fafhrd
    Male human expert/warrior
    Alligiances: Grey Mouser, Good, (current lover, whether it's Vlana, Afreyt, or another); may include others such as Ningauble, Lankhmar, &/or Rime Isle
    Starting (1st-level character) stats:
    S 18; D 17; C 18; I 15; W 10; Ch 17

    Notable gear: Masterwork bastard sword (Graywand); dagger; battle axe; mighty composite longbow; masterwork leather (or studded leather) armor; mountain climbing gear.

    Grey Mouser
    Male human expert/black mage/warrior
    Alliegiances: Fafhrd, (current lover, whether it's Ivrian, Cif, or another); may include others such as Sheelba, Lankhmar, &/or Rime Isle
    Starting (1st-level character) stats:
    S 15; D 18; C 17; I 16; W 10; Ch 17

    Notable gear: Masterwork rapier (Scalpel); masterwork dagger (Cat's Claw); sling; masterwork leather (or studded leather) armor; masterwork thieves' tools.


    Well, what do you think so far? Any comments/ideas/criticisms/etc.?

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    I like where you're going with this and I'd love to see what you come up with on the regional feats and such. Keep up the good work.
    "You can be the cookie, or you can be the cutter."

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by AFGNCAAP
    Well, what do you think so far? Any comments/ideas/criticisms/etc.?
    I think you should probably include a "Mingol Mariner" prestige class, work up a Hedge Mage variant (for Glavas Rho), and create a Barbarian-ish non-prestige class for Fafhrd and his kin. Also, a pirate class would fit in well. I guess all of these could be done from the generic 3 pretty easily enough.


    I like what you got so far. I've had several false starts on converting Lankhmar to d20. I'll dig up what I have and compare to what you have here. Lately, I've been thinking about taking the OGL Conan game and massaging it for Lankhmar.


    I also own *everything* TSR produced for Lankhmar. Let me know if you need me to look up anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by francisca
    I think you should probably include a "Mingol Mariner" prestige class, work up a Hedge Mage variant (for Glavas Rho), and create a Barbarian-ish non-prestige class for Fafhrd and his kin. Also, a pirate class would fit in well. I guess all of these could be done from the generic 3 pretty easily enough.
    D'oh! Totally forgot about the Sea Mingols from Swords and Ice Magic. Thanks for the reminder! The Hedge Mage sounds like a good idea, as well.

    I was thinking about writing up "starting character templates" for the generic classes, in case a player wants to use a particular theme or idea for their character. For example, a pirate PC would need to select Swim, Profession (sailor), plus a few other skills as class skills, as well as some certain feats--as well as which generic classes would be feasible.

    A few of the "beginning templates" that I had in mind are:
    • Pirate (warrior or expert)
    • Gladiator (warrior)
    • City guardsman (warrior)
    • Soldier (warrior)
    • Thief (expert)
    • Mercenary (warrior)
    • Marine (warrior)
    • Cavalryman (warrior)
    • Scout (warrior or expert)
    • Barbarian (warrior)
    • Bard/Minstrel (expert)
    • Courtesan (expert)
    • Bravo/Swashbuckler (warrior or expert)
    • Elemental mages focused on a particular element (elemental mage)
    • Healer (white mage)


    Quote Originally Posted by francisca
    I like what you got so far. I've had several false starts on converting Lankhmar to d20. I'll dig up what I have and compare to what you have here. Lately, I've been thinking about taking the OGL Conan game and massaging it for Lankhmar.
    So have I. The generic classes in UA seem so much easier to use & adapt than trying to shoehorn the setting into some mangled version of D&D. Had a heck of a time debating if Fafhrd was a barbarian, non-spellcasting ranger, or fighter, or some mix thereof; not to mention figuring what class-based abilties he really wouldn't use at all.

    Quote Originally Posted by francisca
    I also own *everything* TSR produced for Lankhmar. Let me know if you need me to look up anything.
    I have the 1st & 2nd ed. AD&D rulebooks for Lankhmar, plus the Wonders of Lankhmar supplement, & a couple of 1st ed. adventures. Also have a full set of the Fafhrd & Grey Mouser tales (the hardbacks from White Wolf). I appreciate the offer, though. I know there were a few concepts/character ideas sprinkled throughout the supplements that I'd like to reuse in this conversion--I'd appreciatre any help you could provide. Thanks!

    BTW, who were the pre-generated heroes from the 2nd ed. Lankhmar adventures? I think 1 was a Northerner-like fighter, another was a thief from Lankhmar, then there was a Mingol fighter (I think), & the female character was a white wizard (IIRC). Is that about right?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by AFGNCAAP
    BTW, who were the pre-generated heroes from the 2nd ed. Lankhmar adventures? I think 1 was a Northerner-like fighter, another was a thief from Lankhmar, then there was a Mingol fighter (I think), & the female character was a white wizard (IIRC). Is that about right?
    You mean the boxed set? Mmmmmmmmm......can't recall right now.

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    I don't believe they were in the boxed set---they were listed originally on the covers of some 2nd. ed. modules (maybe "Nehwon" or "Tales of Lankhmar" or something like that--I know they're not listed in Wonders of Lankhmar--still have that book).

    I think Terry Dykstra did the art for the little pre-gen info cards in the modules. Oh--some of them are depicted in black & white art in the 2nd ed. Lankhmar, City of Adventure sourcebook--p. 123; the northerner, mingol, & thief are fighting rat bravos.

    I was considering using these guys (plus the pre-gens from the 1st ed. Lankhmar modules) as sort of the "iconics" for this conversion.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by AFGNCAAP
    I don't believe they were in the boxed set---they were listed originally on the covers of some 2nd. ed. modules (maybe "Nehwon" or "Tales of Lankhmar" or something like that--I know they're not listed in Wonders of Lankhmar--still have that book).

    I think Terry Dykstra did the art for the little pre-gen info cards in the modules. Oh--some of them are depicted in black & white art in the 2nd ed. Lankhmar, City of Adventure sourcebook--p. 123; the northerner, mingol, & thief are fighting rat bravos.

    I was considering using these guys (plus the pre-gens from the 1st ed. Lankhmar modules) as sort of the "iconics" for this conversion.
    I'll have to have a look when I get home.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by AFGNCAAP
    BTW, who were the pre-generated heroes from the 2nd ed. Lankhmar adventures? I think 1 was a Northerner-like fighter, another was a thief from Lankhmar, then there was a Mingol fighter (I think), & the female character was a white wizard (IIRC). Is that about right?
    Found 'em!

    They are in Tales of Lankhmar.

    Derya Level 7 White Wizard
    Quilph Level 5 Fighter (the Mingol)
    Jarvo Dav Level 8 Fighter
    Krolys Level 6 Thief

    Man, the stuff by Anthony Pryor is so much better than the stuff from "Slade" Henson....

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    Thanks! Just the info I was looking for. I'll probably bump them down to 1st-level PCs (for use as iconics). May create an iconic or 2 to represent other character concepts (like elemental mages & whatnot).

    But they won't be alone--in fact, they'll have some 1st ed. company:

    • Erwan Darho, CG male human white mage (Lankhmar region; though a bit younger than the original).
    • Leftie Smeeall, LN female human expert (Lankhmar region; freelance thief--text made a mistake allowing her to be a Guild Thief, since the Lankhmar Guild forbids any female members).
    • Sgt. Bain Treece, LN male human warrior (Lankhmar region; maybe a lower-rankede version, though)
    • Hresstan, NG male human warrior (Cold Wastes region)
    • Rey Gorra, N male human warrior (Lankhmar region)


    Then again, all of these iconics won't be as loaded down with magic gear as their originals.

  10. #10
    This looks very interesting AFGNCAAP! Some quick thoughts:

    1. In terms of game balance, the Expert class is very weak in comparison to the Warrior and Spellcaster classes. I would recommend giving Experts a d8 HD and/or 8 skill points/level.

    2. Regarding Nehwon spellcasters, I can see the Black Mages, especially with Incantations (they seem to fit Nin and Sheelba, and the others), but where are the other kinds of spellcasters in Leiber's stories? (This is not a criticism -- I am just curious.)

    3. Priests in Nehwon should just be a "standard" profession (i.e., as a PrC there does not appear to be any warrant for giving them spells, etc.).

    4. I would advise against using Psionics for the Quarmallian sorcerers -- there is no real indication in Leiber's story that their power is any different from that of other mages (and in fact, IIRC, the Gray Mouser has a scroll/spell that disrupts their spellcasting at one point).

    These are just some things that came into my mind as I read your outline.

    So far, it looks very cool!

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