Saturday, October 12, 2013

Converting NPC races to PC characters: First Attempt

The AFF manual includes guidelines for converting any NPC to a playable race. A few days ago, I converted Orcs. I do not have the "Out Of the Pit" suppliment, so I'm doing this based on the basic entry in the AFF Manual for Orcs and my general understanding of orcs based on fantasy literature and my experience with Role Playing Games in general.

So I began with the entry for Orc. Skill 6, Stamina 5. subtract 3 points from Skill. That is the base skill for this race. Then divide the stamina by two, and add that to the base skill. This becomes a base value for the race.

So we get Skill 3 + Stamina 2 = 5. If this total is less than 8 (and it is, obviously), note the difference and add it as points in the next phase. If the total exceeds 8, then deduct the difference from the default Luck value of 8.

The next phase I determine any racial stats that apply to Orcs. You normally get 6 points to buy talents, stat bonuses, or skills. Here is where it gets tricky. Each race should have a bonus to one characteristic or another. So thats Skill, Luck, Stamina or Magic.

I picked Stamina, because Orcs are hardy. So I spend 2 points from the (6+3=9) 9 points to give +2 to to Stamina (2 points to get +1 to a characteristic, and +1 to Stamina gives 2 points).

Combat Talents cost 4 points, non-combat cost 2.

Orcs have Darkvision in OSR games, so I gave them Darkvisions here. A 2 point Talent. I have 5 points left to spend. They're divided as follows:

Any Weapon 1
Brawling 1
Strength 1
Underground Lore 1
Any Movement 1

Language skills are not included. So I gave the Orc:

Orcish 4
Common 2

The player then has 8 Characteristic points to spend on Skill, Luck, Magic and Stamina per the standard character building rules, and 12 points to customize the character's Special Skills. Lastly, pick one additional Talent at no extra charge.

I am not entirely happy with this build, because the default starting Stamina exceeds the stamina of the NPC Orc. So I must either conclude that I should put the bonus in another stat (like Luck), or that a PC adventurer will tend to have a little more Stamina than your run-of-the-mill Orc.

So my final Orc (for now):

SK 3, LK 8, ST 7, MG 0, Darkvision, Weapon 1, Brawling 1, Strength 1, Underground Lore 1, Any Movement skill 1, Orcish 4, Common 2

After finish the Orc, I picked something a little more challenging. Here is my Ogre PC.

Ogres NPCs have SKILL 8 and STAMINA 10.

Subtract 3 from SKILL (SK = 5).

Add half of Stamina (5) to SKILL to get base value (10).

10 Exceeds default LUCK of 8 by 2 points, so LUCK is reduced to 6.

The NPC Ogre gets 2 attacks per round, and +1 to damage rolls. I see no reason to deny this to a PC Ogre. So these are two combat talents. Only 6 points are allowed at this phase, so 4 points are spent on 2-attacks and 4 points are spent on +1 to damage, resulting in a balance of -2. If you're going to give the Ogre a bonus to a Characteristic, then that's another 2 points. Let's say they get 2 extra points to stamina (2 points, Resulting in a balance of -4. If you skip buying a Characteristic bonus to SK, LK, or ST, then the balance is -2. I'm going to skip the Stamina bonus.

This negative balance is deducted from the special skill points allowed for the player to customize the Ogre. So the Ogre gets 8 (or 10) points for Special Skills instead of 12.

I'll give it language skills of:
Ogreish (if it exists) 4
Common 2

Would there even be such thing as Ogreish language skill of 4? It all depends on what AFF Ogres are supposed to be like. I imagine their tongue to be crude, so even the most eloquent speakers might be a skill of 3. But I will, for now, assume a possible fluency rating of 4.

So we're left with base Ogre PC stats of:

SK 5, LK 6, STA 10, MG 0, 2 Attacks/Round, +1 Damage rolls, 8 (or 10) build points for Special Skills

The manual gives the Ogre Light Monster Armor. I don't know if this is due to tough skin or just the scraps of animal hide that it might wear for armor. Without "Out of the Pit", I can't say whether a proper ogre should have naturally tough skin and what the cost would be.

The reason I'm unsure about the cost of Light Monster Armor, is that the sample Rhinoman has medium Monster Armor because of it's Rhinoceros skin, and the cost is 4 points for that. So would Light Monster Armor also cost 4 because it's a combat Talent? Or would it cost 3, perhaps, and Heavy Monster Armor would be 5 or 6, or even 8?

The Ogres I'm familiar with aren't especially bright or talented, so going into the player build phase with only 10 points makes sense to me. There's no generic racial special skills because it was all blown on fighting talents. I don't think they need tough skin, so I'm going to assume their armor is just leather hides or scraps of metal sewn together.

After I acquire Out Of the Pit, I look forward to creating more playable races.


  1. What bothers me about starting an Ogre at SKILL 5 for a base is that they're naturally more talented than humans, elves and dwarves. While I'm not against one species or another being naturally better, the Fighting Fantasy SKILL stat is usually used for combat when dealing with monsters, and doesn't necessarily reflect prowess in other skills. So an Ogre NPC with SKILL 8 is certainly good at fighting, but is it equally good at picking locks, awareness checks, swimming?

    The only thing I can think to counterbalance that, if counterbalance is needed, is to make the 2-attacks per round more expensive. Rather than just 4 points, perhaps it's worth 6 or 8. In that way, the natural physical advantages of being an ogre are counterbalanced with a lack of specialized learning. Which fits ogres as I envision them (dull witted, violent, carnivorous). Of course, if they're ogres like Shrek, they're as intelligent and capable as any human, just large and ugly. If that's the case, I shouldn't sweat a 1 point advantage in SKILL as they have crappy LUCK to compensate. They're putting their foot in it, literally, whenever traps or misfortune come their way. I can't forget about LUCK related events when we play.

    1. I'm also up way past my bedtime, drinking camomile, trying to forget the stresses of the day and go to sleep. I'll see things fresh in the morning, no doubt.