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Dungeons and Discworlds !?!

Kae'Yoss

First Post
I'm astounded that his has not been done by any big d20 publishers.

Before you groan and think "another humour campaign setting", consider it for a while:

I think that the Discworld would be the perfect campaign setting for humorous roleplaying!

The thing about the Discworld stories is, once you take the puns and real-world references out, you have mostly good, thought-provoking fantasy there. And most of the fun is mainly funny for the reader, not necessarily for those actually within the stories.


The puns would mainly populate the flavour text (and the footnotes - this rulebook/campaign setting would have to have footnotes!) and in my opinion, the whole "comical and logical evolution" thing going on on the discworld would be a very good basis for an RPG: humorous, yes, but even without the humour, there's enough there to play into the strenghts of D&D.

You could play it without any humour (though that would be a waste), or you could play it as a mostly serious campaign with humorous elements.

I know that this would be perfect for me, and probably for our gaming group, too. I'm making humorous references and puns all the time, anyway.


The book would have to come with a map - with mostly blank spaces (you can't map humour) and "there be dragons" everywhere. The map would need some built-in comments ("There be dragons" - "I think this one's a lie")


And, of course, players would not have to stop when their character died: They'd first have to have smalltalk with Death.
 

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DarkKestral

First Post
Kae: Discworld's already a licensed RPG. It's already in print, even. It's just not d20. It's GURPS. And... AFAIK, Pratchett is not likely to authorize a d20 version of the Discworld as a setting.

So, as much as you might like it, it's not likely at all to happen.

However, it's got most of what you've already described. So you may wanna check it out, if you play GURPS.
 

Stone Dog

Explorer
Not only does it have its own wonderfully illustrated (some original pieces, just for the game) hardback, but it also has a supplement (diskworld also) to go with it. Even if you don't play GURPS at all the book is an excelent resource for gaming on the Disk and pokes fun at roleplaying in general with the same dry wit as the books poke fun at anything else.

The part that leaps to mind is when it describes "Guerilla Mimes" as a character concept. I don't have the book on me, but the jab at Vampire gamers is good humored fun.

And there is also a map of the Disk sold seperately. A full map of the whole Disk with little numbers that point out key places. It is a fine little item if you can get your hands on it. Extremely well made. it even has a small dotted outline where Leshp goes.

Damn, I'm going to have to dig my Diskworld RPG out when I get home now.

Link for the curious... http://www.sjgames.com/discworld/
 
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Huw

First Post
White Dwarf 82 had an article about Discworld for AD&D. I believe Pratchett had a hand in it - he might even have written it, but I don't have the issue handy.
 

Kae'Yoss

First Post
I forgot about the GURPS incarnation.

Too bad, really. I think a d20 version would sell like C.M.O.T. Dibbler's sausages in a bun. I'm sure I'm not the only one who doesn't want to learn GURPS, and d20 is probably the most popular system.
 

JustKim

First Post
Kae'Yoss said:
I think a d20 version would sell like C.M.O.T. Dibbler's sausages in a bun.
That is, only once and with great trepidation?

I don't know how to play GURPS, but I've bought a few of the setting books, including Discworld, because they're rules light and well researched. I don't understand the notion of Pratchett not wanting to authorize a d20 Discworld, though. Discworld is a very merchandized property over in England. There's even an Unseen University paper model book.
http://www.artificer.co.uk/
http://www.paulkidby.com/
 

Kae'Yoss

First Post
JustKim said:
That is, only once and with great trepidation?

Hey, they buy them with enthusiasm. It's only later that you realize what you have done to your stomach. And once is all everyone has to buy the book.

I didn't say that it should be of the same quality as Cut-Me-Own-Throat's merchandise, just that it should sell like it.
 

DarkKestral

First Post
I believe Pratchett's pretty much said the Discworld RPG that's out there will be the ONLY Discworld RPG that's official, save perhaps editions updated to the newer versions of GURPS.

That said, GURPS books have long been used for setting mining purposes by D&D players haven't had any intention of using the rules. Why can't you do the same and roll your own version?
 

Kae'Yoss

First Post
DarkKestral said:
I believe Pratchett's pretty much said the Discworld RPG that's out there will be the ONLY Discworld RPG that's official, save perhaps editions updated to the newer versions of GURPS.

That said, GURPS books have long been used for setting mining purposes by D&D players haven't had any intention of using the rules. Why can't you do the same and roll your own version?

Why indeed? I think I might just do that. I'll just have to hunt down that book.
 

Psychotic Jim

First Post
I ran a very successful Discworld game for 2E very long ago using the GURPS book as a reference, so I can attest to its usefulness. Might have some notes floating around somewhere if it might help anybody in their endeavors.
 

Jürgen Hubert

First Post
GURPS 4e can do Discworld far better than pretty much any incarnation of d20 you could dare to name, with the possible exception of Mutants & Masterminds.

Really, the Discworld is just so full of characters with very strange backgrounds and abilities, and standard d20 is bad at those without a lot of houseruling - while GURPS can do all these things with ease.
 

Kae'Yoss

First Post
Jürgen Hubert said:
GURPS 4e can do Discworld far better than pretty much any incarnation of d20 you could dare to name, with the possible exception of Mutants & Masterminds.

Really, the Discworld is just so full of characters with very strange backgrounds and abilities, and standard d20 is bad at those without a lot of houseruling - while GURPS can do all these things with ease.

I still don't want to do GURPS.

Plus, You could pack this book so full of self-irony! D&D is the biggest game around, and the Discworld novels not only parody fantasy in general, there's actually some stuff that is aimed directly at D&D. Like the part about wizards having to memorize spells. There was that part about Rincewind ranting about magic, how you'd have to spend years poring over old tomes and eldritch fumes to learn the spell to summon nude virgins to your bechamber that after that you wouldn't know what to do with them any more. And the part about the many gods - I always thought that was a jab at the Realms, with their hundreds of gods.

Plus, D&D is still able to accomodate a lot of types of characters, it should be able to handle the Discworld.
 

GQuail

Explorer
Kae'Yoss said:
I still don't want to do GURPS.

Speaking as a D&D 3.X DM who is taking time off for some one-offs, including GURPS Discworld - would it really hurt to give it a shot? When there's a fully written-up set of mechanics right now for Discworld, it seems that someone has done most of the work for you: even if they did it for GURPS instead of D20. (And the map is more filled in than you'd like... :) ) :)

Although as others say, GURPS books are oft considered good background books by non-GURPS groups. And although it'll now be a bit "out of date", it covers most of the basics pretty well IMHO.

Kae'Yoss said:
Plus, You could pack this book so full of self-irony! D&D is the biggest game around, and the Discworld novels not only parody fantasy in general, there's actually some stuff that is aimed directly at D&D. Like the part about wizards having to memorize spells....

Another thing already taken care of, sort of: the GURPS Magic rules are used by default but that Wizards are mentioned as memorising spells (albeit as an obvious D&D parody) is mentioned, and I think Discworld Also provides variant rules for it.

Kae'Yoss said:
Plus, D&D is still able to accomodate a lot of types of characters, it should be able to handle the Discworld.

There are several things I think you'd have problems with when it comes to a D20 Discworld. For one, magic is just not a straight port, and I dunno if the standard Cleric or Druid class would be appropriate. No-one in their right mind would try and cast Cure Light Wounds, and arguably Witches use their skills far more than their spells. Magic items are possibly more WFRP than D&D: they exist, but are by no means common, and you can't just wander into Ankh-Morpork with 8K and walk out with a +2 Sword.

For another, the many races are not all gonna be LA +0, so people who want to play the trademark Discworld Trolls are gonna find life real awkward if they can't do that in thier 1st level game. And the ECL for Gaspode could probably start a few arguments. ;-)

To be honest, if I wasn't going to use the GURPS rules, I'd probably use WFRP before I'd use D20: which might across as a bit bloody, but then, Discworld isn't exactly a world where you can stab a man and have him "only" take 1d4 hp. For all that I know D20, I just don't think it would gel easilly. Of course, if anyone came up with some "patches", I'd be all ears...
 

Jürgen Hubert

First Post
Kae'Yoss said:
I still don't want to do GURPS.

Plus, You could pack this book so full of self-irony! D&D is the biggest game around, and the Discworld novels not only parody fantasy in general, there's actually some stuff that is aimed directly at D&D. Like the part about wizards having to memorize spells. There was that part about Rincewind ranting about magic, how you'd have to spend years poring over old tomes and eldritch fumes to learn the spell to summon nude virgins to your bechamber that after that you wouldn't know what to do with them any more. And the part about the many gods - I always thought that was a jab at the Realms, with their hundreds of gods.

Pantheons with myriads of gods have been around for far, far longer than the Forgotten Realms. And the Discworld novel might have started out as a parody of fantasy tropes, but they have now become literature of their own right - too vast and complex to be seen merely through the lens of D&D references.

Frankly, if there's any RPG writer whose style reminds me of Terry Pratchett, then it's Ken Hite - and he predominantly writes for Steve Jackson Games. Take a look at his "Suppressed Transmissions" essays, and you will see what I mean - like Pratchett, he is well versed in the breadth of human existence and history.

Plus, D&D is still able to accomodate a lot of types of characters, it should be able to handle the Discworld.

D&D might be able to handle the standard humans and dwarves and trolls, but what about tooth faeries, bogeymen, umpteenth varieties of vampires and werewolves (all of which seem to have different abilities), Small Gods and Susan Sto Helit? The array of different character backgrounds evident in the novels is staggering. If you wanted to create a d20 Discworld sourcebook that made playing all of these possible, you'd probably spend at least half of the book on describing all sorts of racial templates. With GURPS, it's ridiculously easy to custom-build the precise abilities of a character - that's what that game is for.

And then there are the characters who have learned how to use supernatural powers. How do you handle the fact that even the most powerful wizards hardly ever seem to do any magic? How do you describe the mental powers of witches shown in the series?

I could go on and on and on. But the point is that as written, D&D works best for games with strong archetypes represented by its character races and classes. But the characters in the Discworld novels hardly ever fit those archetypes at all. Thus, if you are serious about running an authentic Discworld game, it's better to use a system where character creation already is extremely flexible, such as GURPS. With D&D, you'd first have to basically rewrite much of the rule system - and once you have done that, you would have little space left over for describing the world.
 

JustKim

First Post
Jürgen Hubert said:
Small Gods and Susan Sto Helit
I've always liked the idea of small gods, and I've used both a Dragon article on the subject and a very good dedicated chapter in FFG's Path of Faith to incorporate them into D&D.

Susan Sto Helit would be a human with the half-death template, obviously.
 

Kae'Yoss

First Post
GQuail said:
Speaking as a D&D 3.X DM who is taking time off for some one-offs, including GURPS Discworld - would it really hurt to give it a shot?

I don't know about hurt.

It would still mean learning a new system (and buying new core rules, unless GURPS is available for free, too), and getting the rest of the party to learn another set of rules.

I'd like to stick to the three systems I know now.

But I'll look into it, see if I can get it somewhere, I think.


Another thing already taken care of, sort of:

But only sort of: It isn't self-irony if it isn't directed at oneself, after all. :p

There are several things I think you'd have problems with when it comes to a D20 Discworld. For one, magic is just not a straight port, and I dunno if the standard Cleric or Druid class would be appropriate. No-one in their right mind would try and cast Cure Light Wounds, and arguably Witches use their skills far more than their spells. Magic items are possibly more WFRP than D&D: they exist, but are by no means common, and you can't just wander into Ankh-Morpork with 8K and walk out with a +2 Sword.

I see these as obstacles that would not be that impossible to overcome:

Okay, the classes would have to be discworldified, but that's not exactly new. Several campaign settings introduce new classes. Let's just look at Rokugan and Midnight (two of my favourite campaign settings).

Clerics might have to be demartialized, but that's easy with something like cloistered cleric.
Druids would need a new skill: Programming (for obelisks)
Witches and their headology could be seen as a skill user and/or get some extraordinary (or even supernatural) abilities.

Magic items could be changed as well - not the first time this was done, either. But I think magic swords aren't uncommon on the discworld. It's always said how every hero and their henchmen have some of those - but that a kitchen knive is always better than any magical sword ;)

Anyway, look at the D&D novels: Few novel heroes have the kind of magical item collection your average D&D character has.

For another, the many races are not all gonna be LA +0, so people who want to play the trademark Discworld Trolls are gonna find life real awkward if they can't do that in thier 1st level game. And the ECL for Gaspode could probably start a few arguments. ;-)

The Gaspode clones would be a problem, I grant you that. ;)

Jürgen Hubert said:
Pantheons with myriads of gods have been around for far, far longer than the Forgotten Realms.

Right now, I can't think of a mythology where there are that many deities. The Realms have more than a hundred (and that's only for the main PC races)

And the Discworld novel might have started out as a parody of fantasy tropes, but they have now become literature of their own right - too vast and complex to be seen merely through the lens of D&D references.

Hey, you don't have to tell me. I've read all discworld novels. I love them.

And, as I said: It would not just be humour and parody - Discworld is beyond that. It would be that, too (and not just a parody to D&D, but to Fantasy in general, and, of course, our world.)

D&D might be able to handle the standard humans and dwarves and trolls, but what about tooth faeries, bogeymen, umpteenth varieties of vampires and werewolves (all of which seem to have different abilities), Small Gods and Susan Sto Helit?

Races, Templates, Prestige Classes
 

Stone Dog

Explorer
Kae'Yoss said:
Clerics might have to be demartialized, but that's easy with something like cloistered cleric.
Druids would need a new skill: Programming (for obelisks)
As well as removing all spellcasting ability, turn/rebuke (except for the possibility of some traditionally minded vampires) and shapechanging ability. And it would be profession, Stone Circle Programmer.
 

Jürgen Hubert

First Post
Kae'Yoss said:
Right now, I can't think of a mythology where there are that many deities. The Realms have more than a hundred (and that's only for the main PC races)

Hinduism. They have what, several millions of deities? The same goes for any religion with strong animistic tendencies.

Races, Templates, Prestige Classes

By the time you wrote them all up in D&D terms, you'd have spend most of the book on such matters, with litte left for the world description.

Look, I'm not saying that writing up Discworld for D&D is impossible. It's just that D&D as written has a fairly rigid set of assumptions about the characters, and the characters of the Discworld series deviate strongly from these assumptions, thus requiring very lengthy rewrites.

In GURPS, on the other hand, the purely mechanical aspects of a racial template could be done in a single paragraph - two paragraphs in the case of the more varied races (such as vampires and werewolves). Similarly, the mechanics for either witchcraft or wizardry could be described in half a page with GURPS 4e (though I must admit that that was one of the weaker points of GURPS 3e, which tried to fit magic into the "standard" spell system and is somewhat klunky. GURPS 4e would be much better in that regard).

Furthermore, it is very easy to custom-build characters with very strange abilities in GURPS, while the same thing is rather hard in D&D. A d20 Discworld product might barely be able to cover all varieties of character types as seen in the books (though I am doubtful), but it would be hard pressed to deal with character concepts not described in the book but which nevertheless fit right into the world.



Here is a challenge to all who read it: Come up with the most outrageous character concepts imaginable which nevertheless fit into the Discworld, and describe their powers. I will then try to put them into GURPS. Others can feel free to describe them in d20 terms.

We will see which one is more complicated.
 

Kae'Yoss

First Post
Jürgen Hubert said:
Hinduism. They have what, several millions of deities? The same goes for any religion with strong animistic tendencies.

Animistic spirits aren't really what I'd call deities, at least not in the D&D sense. And I also think that the Discworld doesn't think of them as such.

The hundreds of deities on the discworld are more like the deities D&D knows: They have a certain portfolio - Mass Sacrifice, Things Stuck in Drawers, Hangover - or are national deities.

There's also the belief (or knowledge) that more or less everything has a mind/spirit, expecially in the stories about the Witches. Granny listening to the Unseen Universtiy building, Magrat convincing a dungeon door to grow, Granny communing with the Spirit of Lancre itself.

By the time you wrote them all up in D&D terms, you'd have spend most of the book on such matters, with litte left for the world description.

Not really. You'd have one section for "characters", like Midnight (for example), another for monsters. You wouldn't even have to write them all up. Just the major critters. Would not need too much space, I'd think. Oriental Adventures/Rokugan also has a chapter about Critters.

Look, I'm not saying that writing up Discworld for D&D is impossible.

Right. It might be a bit more work, but it can certainly be done, and I think that it would not be more difficult than some of the other settings we have there.

And it has one big advantage: It's D&D. A lot of people know D&D. A lot of people know discworld. I'd guess that a lot would play a Discworld game if they didn't have to learn a new RPG for it.

It's just that D&D as written has a fairly rigid set of assumptions about the characters, and the characters of the Discworld series deviate strongly from these assumptions, thus requiring very lengthy rewrites.

I'm not even so sure about that. I think it might be not too hard. They could use the generic classes from UA (Warrior, Expert, Spellcaster) or variations thereof.

They could go the way d20Modern goes - basic classes and advanced classes.

A d20 Discworld product might barely be able to cover all varieties of character types as seen in the books (though I am doubtful), but it would be hard pressed to deal with character concepts not described in the book but which nevertheless fit right into the world.

It would not necessarily have to cover them all in one book (provided they didn't manage to pull it off with ease and elegance using something like generic classes or base classes).

Here is a challenge to all who read it: Come up with the most outrageous character concepts imaginable which nevertheless fit into the Discworld, and describe their powers. I will then try to put them into GURPS. Others can feel free to describe them in d20 terms.

We will see which one is more complicated.

I don't know about outrageous, but let's just throw about some of the weirder things out there.

Hydrophobe
Tooth Fairy
Sourcerer
Gnome
Elf
Susan Sto Helit
Druid
Barbarian Hairdresser (Conina)
Evil Harry Dread.
Diamond Troll.
Assassin.

My D&D/d20 thought son those:

Hydrophobe: This cries for a PrC. Prerequisites something like "Must suffer from hydrophobia, must have never drunk wet water" and something about spellcasting maybe. Benefits would mainly be "repell water" and maybe some blight or horrid-wilting like powers

Tooth Fairy: It's just a job. Maybe go as far as a Guild/Organisation write-up including the benefits, as described in PHB2

Sourcerer: Inherited Template. Automatically applied to everyone who's the 8th son of an 8th son of an 8th son. CR/LA - something dreadfully high. Three powers: 1st: More or less every spell as spell-like ability at will. 2nd: Wizards spellcaster key ability is 20 higher for determining bonus spells and DCs. This applies to the whole disk. 3rd: Will cause the end of the world in 2d% days ;)

Gnome: Tiny humanoid (or maybe fey). Standard monster write-up, with PC rating.

Elf: I'd have to get into a whole other gear of evil than I'm in right now to properly write those up. Alignment: always CE. Charming aura, aura of induce inferiority complex. Iron weakness.

Susan: Something like Expert / Smart Hero with the Schoolteacher PrC. Give her special powers because she's the granddaughter of death (you woudln't even have to write up the template, this sort of thing appears all the time in d20 material)

Druid: Instead of Spellcraft and (Knowledge Nature), this class would have Programming. They'd get what would mechanically work out as spells, but they'd need a stone circle (or at least parts of stone circles) as focus. Spells like levitate stone, and of course divination (usually weather prediction and the like). The spells would be of several schools, like concentric stone circle and so on.

Barbarian Hairdresser (Conina): Human (with high krisma) barbarian/rogue with profession (hairdresser)

Evil Harry Dread: I'd say dark lord PrC, mainly because every respectable campaign setting should have one of those. Has a code of concuct (like "always employ stupid jailmen")

Diamond Troll: Inherited template for trolls. Something like Paragon.

Assassin: PrC (not the PrC from the DMG). Lots of skill prerequisites (assassins need to be highly educated), maybe Sneak attack, and they must survive the final exam. Also code of conduct (never kill someone without being paid for it)
 

Stone Dog

Explorer
This post written at work. Please forgive rambling.

The Disc may have hundreds of gods, but most of them don't really matter as they are either small gods with at most one pile of rocks somewhere in a remote area or are simply different outfits the same god wears. Blind Io is a prime example of this.

You probably have as many gods on earth right now as the Disc has in general, but only about 10% of them get somewhere around 90% of the press.

And none of them are dieties in D&D terms. Not one. They don't grant spells or do much to aid their worshippers. The most common miracle they grant to the world is smiting somebody who talks smack about them and that isn't really something that you can ask them to do. The D&D trope of "put faith in, get spells out" sort of clerics would be met with a "who the hell did he think he was" sketched out in the scorch marks of the lightning bolt.

They are gods in more of the greek or norse sense. They run supernatural protection rackets where you worship them and maybe they help and maybe they don't, but if you don't pay up on time or disrespect them they are certain to notice and draw your attention to the fact.

One of the main differences between D&D and the Disc is this. There is no distiction between arcane and divine magic. The gods have their own supernatural abilities that they may or may not manifest, but are very jealous about and wouldn't give to a mortal to wield directly without dramatic nessecity. Even Brutha didn't actually preform any real miracles, but was briefly the only one Om could speak with and so recieved a few benifits, but only because Om's survival was at stake. Most gods are in no personal danger and only seem to act out of frustration or as the next move in their great chess game on Dunmanifestin.

Druids don't really seem to even be priests. They seem to be specialized wizards with a fanatic streak about how the world works and the setting on fire of anybody getting in the way. Not so much worshipers of nature so much as bloody minded mechanics who think that the gears of seasons are greased with blood and fire.

The idea of putting magic into your own body or into anything that you care about is INSANE. Magic to make you stronger might warp your muscles till your bones crack and magic to make your crops grow might turn them into triffids or something. Healing magic is the talk of crazy people. The only example close to healing is Granny moving the moment of injury forward in time till it was more convinient to deal with.

I'm not saying that a D20 or OGL Discworld isn't a good idea, but Discworld as a D&D setting is terrible. Discworld is a parody of fantasy in general with a hint of D&D since D&D is part of general fantasy. Raw D&D is far far to specific for the Disc as a whole, but something very appropriate could be done with True20 or D20 modern.
 

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