Thursday, January 12, 2012

If you don't want to suck in older edition D&D then...

Start at 5th level.

Why fifth level? Because from long years playing both older D&D and GURPS a 5th level character feels roughly as capable as a 150 pt GURPS Character (100 pts in 3rd edition GURPS). And starting GURPS Character feel about what starting characters feel like in other skill based games like BRP, Hero System, etc.

In D&D, GURPS, etc this represents basically a character who lived a little and now is coming into the prime of his adventuring career. 

While I was running GURPS 3rd my rule of thumb conversion rule was 20 pt per level/HD. With 4th edition I use the same formula but add 50pts to the total.

8 comments:

Timothy Brannan said...

I have been using the same logic now for a while. In fact if you look at a 1st level D&D4 character their power is roughly that of a 5th level AD&D/Basic D&D character.

I think it works out well for more experienced characters.

Tim Shorts said...

That was the level I considered starting the out with. 5th level just has a good range of being more competent and not over powering.

mikemonaco said...

Good point. Saw the discussion that lead to this post...it fascinating and bizarre that people get so put out by how other people play.

Anyway I also like the 20pts/HD conversion idea. We converted an AD&D camapign to GURPS once and it did not last long after that but I have no idea how the GM calculated things...

Chris Wellings said...

In a strange coincidence, I came to the same conclusion as Tim the other day regarding 1st level 4e D&D PCs being equivalent to 5th level in prior editions.

faoladh said...

Interesting. My rule of thumb conversion between (A)D&D and GURPS (mainly for purposes of the GURPS Greyhawk conversion I've been working on) has been 50pts + 25pts per level. We're in the same ballpark, at least.

Melan said...

I have been starting campaigns at the 3rd level for a while. Characters are still fragile, but they have three levels words of hit dice, slightly better saves and attack values, and spellcasters have a small repertoire of spells.

What I don't compromise on is that no matter how high level, your character will always enter play with one weapon, class-required equipment (spellbook, holy symbol or lockpicks), and 2d6*10 gp worth of other stuff. Maybe some interesting magic items, family heirloom or something else as an extra - but for the basics, its within the 20-120 gp limit.

phil719 said...

I dimly recall other DMs starting players off at levels 3 and above.

Would an alternative solution be to have very fast advancement through the first few levels?

Lord Kilgore said...

3rd level here, pretty much with the same reasoning that Melan uses. 5th level gives access to 3rd-level spells, which I'd like PCs to earn the old fashioned way. And you still have to adventure to make it to "hero" level.

@Phil719: I don't really think so. The problem (at least for us) isn't that it takes so long to reach 3rd level, it's that one bad die roll kills your PC and you have to start all over at 0.

Most PCs that make it to 2nd and especially 3rd can get by. But cutting XP requirements to get there doesn't help if each encounter has 50% kills.