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D&D 5E [+] Converting WFRP to 5e

Retreater

Legend
I'm presently running the WFRP Starter Set for my group just to try out the system before committing to running The Enemy Within.
We usually do 2 hour sessions, and we've had five. Only one combat. We're all actively avoiding using the combat rules, trying to do everything we can with skills, etc. Of course combat is dangerous, but I think the biggest detriment is the system itself.
I can't even get the wizard character to try a spell just so he can learn the mechanic. It's like he's afraid of losing sanity in real life.
But after this trial game, I'll have given it a fair test and if I want to convert the system, I'll have some more background to do it more accurately.
For me, I think I'd run it with an OSR system: just use the lingering injuries as flavor text for slow healing mechanics, corruption just as something in the background, the colleges of magic would dictate the spells in a magic user's book, etc.
Fighting against the 4e system isn't good when you are also keeping up with a very intricate plot, a flavorful setting, etc.
It's just ... I hate to say it ... It's not a great system. I want to love it, but I don't.
 

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GuyBoy

Adventurer
Probably not right for me. Part of the attraction is the 5e ruleset itself and not having to learn a whole new rule set. Otherwise as others have said, I’d just play WFRP 4e, which may end up happening anyway.
How about using Level Up?
the greater depth of options might allow more Warhammer-ish adaptation?
 



TheSword

Legend
There's a few rules that would be great for a Warhammer feel in 5e:

1) Slow Healing (or Gritty Realism, but I prefer the former)
2) Survivors from VRGtR + Background for 3 levels BEFORE reaching the 1st level of a class.
3) Honor and Sanity score rules from the DMG.
4) Use the Scroll Mishap from the DMG for any spell cast. The DC to cast a spell without Mishap if 10 + spell level.

5) (optional) Use only the Sidekicks classes as playable class, have the various archetypes bolt unto the closest sidekick class (ie: Expert Thief, Warrior Berserker). If an archetypes requires a specific class features that's no longer present in the Sidekick class, replace one feature of the sidekick class with the one required from the original class) ala 2e kits.
6) (optional) Have the Mage class learn Disciplines from the old UA Mystic instead of the usual spell list. If said rules is applied, the Mishap table is instead a DC of 10+ nb of points used to cast the spells.

7) Use the Fear rules from VGtR. Sanity score may be used in these case instead of Wis.
8) System Shock, Lingering wounds and Morale could be added for hardcore mode.
9) Downtime rules and Lifestyle expenses should be applied.

10) Do not use feat, but give the ''racial feat'' from XGtE of each race at either character creation or at 6th-ish level.
11) Use the improved critical add-on from the feats of Tasha's has a base.

NB: the Feat for Races and Feat for Skills from UA could be given at each X levels instead archetypes features.
Those are some awesome ideas. I have VRGtR but haven’t read the rules side of it. I’ll check it out, sound like a great idea.

Also scroll mishaps would definitely balance out the extra choice.
 

TheSword

Legend
I like 5E and play it a lot. But having played SotDL, too, I would argue that it's easier to learn than a modded version of 5E.
Probably not if you already know and play 5e. I don’t really see what is to learn? Most of things would be dealt with as they come up in the game. Draw a critical card or role on an injury table.
 

GuyBoy

Adventurer
A big chunk of the success depends on player buy-in of course; Warhammer doesn’t meld with power among too well, in that sometimes making deliberately sub-optimal choices is key to creating “feel” for the setting. In my view, this would be part of the “social contract” ( no, not that one Jean-Jacques!) between players and DM at the start, where the players pay back the DM for their hard working in designing the game.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Combat in WFRP can be deadly in a surprising way. 5e isn’t really designed to have that unpredictable risk of death or dismemberment.
This is because D&D is designed for adventures where you routinely use violence to solve your problems. In fact, combat is designed to be fun and exciting - in D&D, combat is a reward.

WFRP, on the other hand, is designed from the stand-point where combat results from failure to avoid combat. Choose the violent path too often, and the RNG gods will send you to an early grave. It is a completely different philosophy.

Not sure if this really fits the "plus" tag of the thread, but the fundamental aspect of WFRP combat is that you can only ever soak a single solid hit before you risk taking criticals.

That is, weapons deal pretty much the same amount of damage in WFRP as low-level D&D. Yet characters never gain more than maybe 20 hit points or so (depending on edition). So pretty much everybody can escape grievous harm from a sword... once. That's it.

Sure, you can play WFRP in a slightly more heroic and mass combat:y way by wearing heavy armor, and you can go over the top by adding Dwarf Toughness to that, but many groups prefer playing "civilians" that settle for conquistador armor (breastplate over leather, plus metal helmet) tops, and you never become fundamentally impervious to the attacks of regular orcs and goblins, bandits and such.

The point is: adventures are written with this in mind. Add D&D fighters and wizards, and much of the point is lost. You really need to be fully aware these adventures are written without the standard D&D expectation ("if we encounter a monster and aren't given heavy clues to run, we can defeat it") in mind.

I guess the simplest way to model this is to restrict play to only the lowest five levels or so. (This gives you only a single level of true superiority to low-level threats. And at first level, D&D heroes are arguably even more fragile than WFRP heroes!)

More generally, about the only way to represent WFRP combat in D&D is to skip getting extra hit point from levels. Or rather, make the Hit Die a "1" for every character. That is, wizards and warriors alike gain 1 point per level, plus your CON bonus. (The expectation is that physically fit young men and women are those picking up swords and clubs, while less impressive specimens resort to their brains, their agility or their charisma That is, warriors gain more hit points than wizards, thieves and troubadours not because they have a larger hit die, but simply because they tend to have a higher Constitution!)

I'm not sure this really is constructive enough for your plus tag, so let's end on a positive note: I'm sure you can have great fun playing D&D in the Old World, but let's not pretend it doesn't make for a fundamentally different and decidedly more heroic game experience :)
 

Aldarc

Legend
Probably not right for me. Part of the attraction is the 5e ruleset itself and not having to learn a whole new rule set. Otherwise as others have said, I’d just play WFRP 4e, which may end up happening anyway.
I like 5E and play it a lot. But having played SotDL, too, I would argue that it's easier to learn than a modded version of 5E.
This. @TheSword, I would point out that Rob Schwalb worked on the D&D Next team, and Schwalb said himself that SotDL is a love-letter to WFRP and 5e D&D, particularly using some of his own proposals for the system. So one, for example, can see Schwalb's take on Advantage/Disadvantage (i.e., banes and boons) as well as Bounded Accuracy (d20 + Attribute vs. DC 10). IME, SotDL is honestly easier and quicker to learn than 5e D&D, and that's especially true if one is already familiar with 5e D&D.

You can still convert WFRP to 5e D&D, if that's what you want. But I would nevertheless advise looking at SotDL for inspiration since that's basically what SotDL is, plus some of Schwalb's own touches. It's also oriented around adventure play as players level up by completing an adventure, and you will have plenty of pre-written adventures to run for the game.
 

TheSword

Legend
This. @TheSword, I would point out that Rob Schwalb worked on the D&D Next team, and Schwalb said himself that SotDL is a love-letter to WFRP and 5e D&D, particularly using some of his own proposals for the system. So one, for example, can see Schwalb's take on Advantage/Disadvantage (i.e., banes and boons) as well as Bounded Accuracy (d20 + Attribute vs. DC 10). IME, SotDL is honestly easier and quicker to learn than 5e D&D, and that's especially true if one is already familiar with 5e D&D.

You can still convert WFRP to 5e D&D, if that's what you want. But I would nevertheless advise looking at SotDL for inspiration since that's basically what SotDL is, plus some of Schwalb's own touches. It's also oriented around adventure play as players level up by completing an adventure, and you will have plenty of pre-written adventures to run for the game.
I don’t really want to go down this rabbit hole as it’s kinda undermining the premise of the thread, which is to look after 5e players who want to play 5e exclusively. I think cribbing one system is probably enough, rather trying to mash up 3.

You realize you’ve just said SoTDL is quicker and easier to learn than 5e, particularly if you are already familiar with 5e. If you’re already familiar with 5e then you don’t need to learn 5e. It is prêt à manger.
 

TheSword

Legend
This is because D&D is designed for adventures where you routinely use violence to solve your problems. In fact, combat is designed to be fun and exciting - in D&D, combat is a reward.

WFRP, on the other hand, is designed from the stand-point where combat results from failure to avoid combat. Choose the violent path too often, and the RNG gods will send you to an early grave. It is a completely different philosophy.

Not sure if this really fits the "plus" tag of the thread, but the fundamental aspect of WFRP combat is that you can only ever soak a single solid hit before you risk taking criticals.

That is, weapons deal pretty much the same amount of damage in WFRP as low-level D&D. Yet characters never gain more than maybe 20 hit points or so (depending on edition). So pretty much everybody can escape grievous harm from a sword... once. That's it.

Sure, you can play WFRP in a slightly more heroic and mass combat:y way by wearing heavy armor, and you can go over the top by adding Dwarf Toughness to that, but many groups prefer playing "civilians" that settle for conquistador armor (breastplate over leather, plus metal helmet) tops, and you never become fundamentally impervious to the attacks of regular orcs and goblins, bandits and such.

The point is: adventures are written with this in mind. Add D&D fighters and wizards, and much of the point is lost. You really need to be fully aware these adventures are written without the standard D&D expectation ("if we encounter a monster and aren't given heavy clues to run, we can defeat it") in mind.

I guess the simplest way to model this is to restrict play to only the lowest five levels or so. (This gives you only a single level of true superiority to low-level threats. And at first level, D&D heroes are arguably even more fragile than WFRP heroes!)

More generally, about the only way to represent WFRP combat in D&D is to skip getting extra hit point from levels. Or rather, make the Hit Die a "1" for every character. That is, wizards and warriors alike gain 1 point per level, plus your CON bonus. (The expectation is that physically fit young men and women are those picking up swords and clubs, while less impressive specimens resort to their brains, their agility or their charisma That is, warriors gain more hit points than wizards, thieves and troubadours not because they have a larger hit die, but simply because they tend to have a higher Constitution!)

I'm not sure this really is constructive enough for your plus tag, so let's end on a positive note: I'm sure you can have great fun playing D&D in the Old World, but let's not pretend it doesn't make for a fundamentally different and decidedly more heroic game experience :)
It is really tempting, similar to the Epic 6 approach mentioned earlier. My concern is that by limiting the level you take some of the fun out of the play. It preserves the feel of WFRP the best I agree at the cost of stagnation. As someone who is 2/3 of the way through Ghosts of Tsushima and has all the skills I know how demotivating that is. Slower progression and freezing HP might work.

Maybe that fragility will just have to be sacrificed and the random chance of having your arm chopped off when down to 0 hp is the half-measure. I think @BookTenTiger ’s escalating combat where when things get bloody all damage is doubled could functionally be the same as reducing hp.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I don’t really want to go down this rabbit hole as it’s kinda undermining the premise of the thread, which is to look after 5e players who want to play 5e exclusively. I think cribbing one system is probably enough, rather trying to mash up 3.

You realize you’ve just said SoTDL is quicker and easier to learn than 5e, particularly if you are already familiar with 5e. If you’re already familiar with 5e then you don’t need to learn 5e. It is prêt à manger.
Please take it for the friendly recommendation that it was. I even had your love for adventure-based games in mind when I made it. And I said that it's fine for you to convert WFRP to 5e, but looking at SotDL may help in your endeavor since it's WFRP-inspired fantasy game built on quasi-5e d20 architecture. I think it would in some ways be easier to translate SotDL concepts to the d20 system, since that's partially its raison d'etre, than WFRP to 5e. An intermediate stage already exists. But please trust me when I say that I think that you might enjoy it. Maybe not for this particular endeavor, but possibly for your future gaming.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
My concern is that by limiting the level you take some of the fun out of the play.
Yep - because I know this is a common reaction I made a comment regarding drastically reducing hit points per level.

But that kind of hides the bigger point: WFRP is fundamentally different from D&D.

So I would ask myself the question: What are you trying to accomplish here?

When I bring up the changes necessary for D&D to properly resemble the WFRP experience, I am not really suggesting you start making those changes. Instead I bring them up to illustrate the vast differences - I'm trying to make you see how little would remain of what makes D&D D&D.

I would encourage you to look at what I sincerely see as the only two good choices: Either run D&D with its core combat engine pretty much unchanged, and settle for a game that will always remain D&D at its core. Or use a game system that's already calibrated for the very different approach of WFRP scenarios. :)

Since that just about wraps everything I have to say on this subject keeping to your "plus" tag, I will simply wish you good luck and leave you to it.

Regards,
Zapp
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
I am quite familiar with the Warhammer frpg system (specifically, 2nd edition) and I have run many campaigns in it - both in the Warhammer world, and in a "pseudo-earth with some fantasy" creation of mine as well.

I echo the concerns of others about the wide gulf between the 2 systems. I think it could be done with a D&D system, but not 5e. I would recommend the GLOG, which is a great "low power" version of D&D, and with extremely easily customizable classes. It also has a magical system that is quite innovative and will match Warhammer magic more closely.

Here is one of the many rule sets out there: OSR: GLOG-based Homebrew v.2: Many Rats on Sticks Edition
 

Retreater

Legend
You can still convert WFRP to 5e D&D, if that's what you want. But I would nevertheless advise looking at SotDL for inspiration since that's basically what SotDL is, plus some of Schwalb's own touches. It's also oriented around adventure play as players level up by completing an adventure, and you will have plenty of pre-written adventures to run for the game.
I picked up SotDL and found the feel of it just didn't work for me - playing as goblins, robots, etc. I was instantly turned off and have never given it a consideration for play.
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Another system that would work to do Warhammer is Troika!* - but that's more different from 5e than the GLOG is.

Lastly, 5 Torches Deep might be the way to go?

*Troika! 's tone is completely wrong for warhammer, but the system itself isn't. It has magical failure, combat is dangerous, very easily made classes... you would have to re-create the careers, but it's not going to be too hard.
 

TheSword

Legend
I picked up SotDL and found the feel of it just didn't work for me - playing as goblins, robots, etc. I was instantly turned off and have never given it a consideration for play.
What was it about Level Up that made you think it felt less like like Warhammer? Spell-less rangers, more dangerous crits, fatigue when dropping to 0hp, better choices for marital characters, spells as treasure, decent psychological damage system. I thought these were all quite good for the tone? Was there anything they added that stood out?
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Better choices for marital characters is always good.

Other than that; Level Up remains a game with classes and levels: it's not going to come closer to recreating WFRP than any other such game.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
Just a mention:

Warlock! is a game trying for WFRP, together with Fighting Fantasy and Maelstrom.

Not very relevant for the attempt to use 5E... But still, worth a shout-out.
 

Retreater

Legend
What was it about Level Up that made you think it felt less like like Warhammer? Spell-less rangers, more dangerous crits, fatigue when dropping to 0hp, better choices for marital characters, spells as treasure, decent psychological damage system. I thought these were all quite good for the tone? Was there anything they added that stood out?
You had quoted my response about the "feel" being off (with playable constructs and goblins) was referring to Shadow of the Demon Lord - just to clarify. But I'll try to address my other comment about Level Up feeling less like Warhammer.
First, I want to say I haven't read the whole thing yet. There's a lot of content in LU.
Second, I want to say that I'm not disparaging LU. It seems like a pretty solid version of 5e - just for me, not a replacement for Warhammer Fantasy. (And yes, I'm aware that to maintain compatibility with 5e, LU can't depart too much from those rules.)
  • Hit Points are still way too high to capture the grim and perilous feel. In fact, in many cases, they seem higher than 5e.
  • Healing is still quick and easy. I can't remember the exact name, but you can spend maneuver points to heal in combat. Even quicker and easier.
  • Ancestry paragon abilities give you supernatural abilities that aren't keeping with the feel of the Old World - such as limitless darkvision for elves.
 

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