Lonewolf conversions

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Lonewolf conversions

Postby phantomdoodler » Wed Aug 10, 2005 12:44 pm

I have to admit, i have been a fan of the gamebooks for years, but i really am not keen on the d20 game. I know LWRP uses an adapted system, but I just find the classess way too restrictive for my tastes. I used to use the old warhammer rules in an early(and slightly dodgy ) conversion, and I am seriously thinking of converting the system to the new warhammer rules. I just wonder if anyone ever did their own conversion. I really like the idea of being able to play various combinations of characters, not simply a dwarf gunner etc, but more like a Noodnic Thief, or a Kloon scholar, without having separate classes for all the permutations.
I will base this on some of the information in the current rulebook, but a lot on the actual books. To me, I never felt the gamebooks were as high fantasy as the current game is becoming- I think having everyone as high powered characters seems to distance them from the very believable world Joe created.
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Postby DuskFox » Wed Aug 10, 2005 2:45 pm

I don't have any (good) conversions, but I'm glad at least one other person isn't totally enchanted with the character classes. They just don't do it for me, either.
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Postby phantomdoodler » Wed Aug 10, 2005 4:01 pm

The main problem I had was that Kai Lords were just too damn powerful. its the reason why now all the lwrpg classes have had to be boosted,just to compete, but doing so, that also has created problems. Now all classess have to be uber powerful by the time they hit later levels, meaning its just not possible to play lowly thieves,rangers or academics. Everyone has to use powerful magic like abilities. Take the Lyris Sage. In the books, they were portrayed as prophetic and mystical, but now they seem to have aquired advanced squashbuckling skills. Sommlending Knights, who just seemed to be standard noble warriors, are now blessed with powerful disciplines.Buckaneers were just pirates- now they have mystical abilities that really should be just highly skilled in what they do.
Whats next- Redeemer monks with the ability to silently kill?
In my game I am going to keep Kai lords as powerful as the disciplines are described in the books, but weaker than the rpg, and tone down the other classes as well. Players will be able to play all manner of normal types,including peasants and thieves and rangers, much like the Magnamund companion board game(where you could play a merchant or even an Innkeeper). The Kai Lord may be a bit unbalanced , but they have far more restrictions imposed by their order. They may even be off limits in certain campaigns.
I am also going to allow Kloons,Ogrons,Noodnics, and Szalls as player races.
Basically I want to play the game i have had in my head since 1984, rather than what the current game has become.
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Postby Guest » Thu Aug 11, 2005 11:53 pm

I attribute this to the dreaded spectre of game balance. I suppose issues like that never really phaze me. My background was in super hero Role Play. So I am used to someone playing Superman and someone playing Batman. Or Thor and Captain America. Game balance is just a headache to me when it dictates every class must be the equivalent of every other class. The disclaimer attached to the Shianti mage made me grin wide. Kai lords are supposed to be a cut, or two cute even, above the standard class. It doesn't mean the other classes have no use however. Just as a Batman player isn't off getting his cape pressed everytime Superman shows up. It just requires a little more work on the part of the DM to challenge everyone. But of course that is just my opinion :)
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Postby phantomdoodler » Fri Aug 12, 2005 8:25 am

Theres a line from a film I cant remember now(i think its The Incredibles) :

"When everyones special, no ones special."

So where as once I felt that Kai lords were unique and powerful, now they seem just another of the super powerfuil archetypes that are knocking around Magnamund. Much like Superheroes in fact.

It also leads to some ridiculous pairings. Now I can believe a Kai Lord would enlist the help of a decent warior, maybe a cunning rogue, a conjurer etc, but a Shadakine Buccaneer? Or a Shianti Wizard? or a Telchos Warrior- or worse- a Kundi shapeshifting Mystic? These would truly be a very unique bunch of people who just happened to be together and for the Gm, i would not have to create elaborate plots to bring everyone together. Other than "so your on this Shadaking pirate ship , thats just sailed around the coast of Telchos, via Azanam and Sommerlund

Theres nothing wrong with epic plots and adventures- its just not my bag. I am sure many people like playing heroic charactes. Personally i find ordinary characters far more interesting to roleplay-
Xex

Postby Xex » Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:10 pm

If Mongoose(or anyone to behonest) had the option of either using the OGL system, which is free, or paying gamesworkshop a lot of money in order to lease the wrfrp system, if that were possible, I'm pretty sure its easy to guess which route to take.

Th eother classes are not as powerful as you think phantomdoodler; I am not sure if you have played the game yet, but if you do you will realize there is a lot of difference. The buccaneer only gets elemtalism:water abilityat level 17. Thats a long way away y'know.

The knight has the option of recieveing one psuedo-supernaturak ability at level 20. Thats even higher.

Kailords at those levels will dominate all other classes (except the shianti sorceror, brotherhood magi, and herbalish to some extent and perhaps the dessi magii and vakeros), though the last two are debatable; and this is only in combat potential, not even touching upon the other things the kai can do. But then again these other classes are not only mages, but they have been shown in the lone wolf gamebooks written by Dever to be at least lone wolfs equal. (rimoah, banedon, paido, grey star).

Once we have might of magnamund there will be a greater variety of non magic using warrior classes, which will most probably be weaker than the kai class, just like the buccaneer, knight, telchos warrior, cener druid, sage of lyris, agent and dark cultist are right now.

As a side note your wfrp idea does have merit, (I own both v1 and v2 of wfrp). There is a certain charm to playing lonewolf in a career based system. Unfortunately the flaw with the career system is that as soon as characters hit their second careers they all become extremely similar, with the exception of sorcerors (magisters). Even then its only their magic style that is differrent, stat wise they will remain similar.

Another thing to keep in mind is the progression: It will not be possible to mimic the books progression of kai disciplines using wfrp system, unless some heavy changes are made.
Xex

Postby Xex » Fri Aug 12, 2005 2:12 pm

Oha nd I agree with the guest poster, the shianti note about game balance made me smile as well. It gets very tiring to play a game where every single class is completely balanced against the other, where a warrior swinging a sword does the same damage as a mage casting a fireball.
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Postby Balgin Stondraeg » Fri Aug 12, 2005 6:16 pm

The Kai Lord in the Lone Wolf RPG is not as powerful as he may seem. I have spotted one major weakness in the class (if you want to go on about strengths and weaknesses) and that is the lack of armour proficiency. If a Kia Lord wears armour he's likely to lose efficiency in many of his skills. Now, being restricted to light armour only this means that he takes damage very quickly when compared to most other combat related classes. This is because the Kai Lord is not a combat heavy class. It serves many purposes. Whilst the Kai Lord is capable of doing some very power stuff he cannot do so with his guts spilling out all over the floor (whilst the Knight of the Realm would be standing firm by his side).

Just a few thoughts.
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Postby phantomdoodler » Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:22 pm

I suppose I have spent 20 odd years gming Warhammer, and I love the system. I know lonewolf came out of the dnd campaigns, but I just dont like the system at all.

My main problem with the current game is that the choice of characters is very small. Its also very difficult for Gms to create their own classes since everything has to be so balanced. And its tough to play unheroic characters, which quite frankly, are much more fun to play than doogooders.Using warhammer rules, it took me an hour to stat out starting races for dwarves ,kloons,ogrons,noodnics,humans and Szalls. Since there are over 50 generic fantasy starting careers in warhammer, that means I could run a game tommorrow and players could choose to be countless combinations of characters. Want to play an Ogron Mercenary- you got it. A Noodnic Thief! its done. So it may take me a little time to create the iconic careers(kai lords are almost done) but other than those , Magnamund is ready to explore, whether your a humble shopkeeper, fighting the corrupt Ragadornian secret police, or a Stornlands mercenary fighting in the rain and muck of a Deldenian battlefield
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Postby phantomdoodler » Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:22 pm

I suppose I have spent 20 odd years gming Warhammer, and I love the system. I know lonewolf came out of the dnd campaigns, but I just dont like the system at all.

My main problem with the current game is that the choice of characters is very small. Its also very difficult for Gms to create their own classes since everything has to be so balanced. And its tough to play unheroic characters, which quite frankly, are much more fun to play than doogooders.Using warhammer rules, it took me an hour to stat out starting races for dwarves ,kloons,ogrons,noodnics,humans and Szalls. Since there are over 50 generic fantasy starting careers in warhammer, that means I could run a game tommorrow and players could choose to be countless combinations of characters. Want to play an Ogron Mercenary- you got it. A Noodnic Thief! its done. So it may take me a little time to create the iconic careers(kai lords are almost done) but other than those , Magnamund is ready to explore, whether your a humble shopkeeper, fighting the corrupt Ragadornian secret police, or a Stornlands mercenary fighting in the rain and muck of a Deldenian battlefield
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Postby Balgin Stondraeg » Fri Aug 12, 2005 9:24 pm

Yep, that's why I considered doing it with WFRP or RuneQuest before finding out that Mongoose had already done a d20 version (which I can then tweak to suit my tastes).
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Postby Silent Wolf » Thu Sep 01, 2005 11:28 pm

Theres nothing wrong with epic plots and adventures- its just not my bag. I am sure many people like playing heroic charactes. Personally i find ordinary characters far more interesting to roleplay-[/quote]


Now see I LIKE epic. Epic is what makes it fun for me, as opposed to every day life which I not so curiously live every day. Ordinary to me is just not that compelling. It fails to hold my interest. Though I know many people that enjoy ordinary folks in out of the ordinary situations, thats just not my thing.

Ideally a game system can and should appeal to both though. Even with superhero fair (I was the guest as an aside, forgot to sign in at my sister's heh) you have Batman in Gotham and Superman in Metropolis. Both super heroes, but one born ordinary that through circumstances was raised to extraordinary. The other, well just the opening line says it all. "Rocketed from the dying planet Krypton." That rather removes any trace of ordinary there ;) I'm a Superman guy. I like large scale epic plots to stop countries from plunging into wars and throw rings into mountains and the like. The current classes available really do not allow that. But more importantly in trying to balance everything so much it has really diminished the mystique of the classes that are supposed to be a cut above.

There was a reason why the Kai lead the armies of Magnamund in times of war, they were better prepared and able to do so. With Somlending Knights about one almost wonders why the Kai bothered to get up out of bed. Yes there is a level system in place that might suggest that the Kai leading were just higher level. But in the books when dirty beat up scruffy initiate Lone Wolf finally made it into the King's throne room it was like salvation arrived. I don't see that happening in the context of the RPG because all the classes are near the equivalent of the Kai. Sorta like Star Wars if Han, Chewie, Leia, Lando and heck...don't forget the droids...all were jedi too. Or a Justice League where everyone was Superman. Weaker system wise doesn't mean useless in a good storyline, be it epic or otherwise. A good campaign that is not just hack and slash allows for ordinary and extraordinary to mingle easier. Lone Wolf had plenty of help along the way after all, and everything depended on two little hobbits that seemed to run into the most extraordinary folks along the way to a volcano...
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Postby Balgin Stondraeg » Fri Sep 02, 2005 6:00 am

Silent Wolf wrote:Now see I LIKE epic. Epic is what makes it fun for me, as opposed to every day life which I not so curiously live every day. Ordinary to me is just not that compelling. It fails to hold my interest. Though I know many people that enjoy ordinary folks in out of the ordinary situations, thats just not my thing.
Spot the Sam Gamgee hater :p. Seriously 'though, it's horses for courses and we all like different things (although we all enjoy the Magnamund setting in different ways as well and that is a shared blessing).
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Postby Skyman » Fri Sep 02, 2005 7:02 pm

But in the books when dirty beat up scruffy initiate Lone Wolf finally made it into the King's throne room it was like salvation arrived.
I'm pretty sure that's because only a Kai could wield the Sommerswerd, and only the Sommerswerd could beat the Darklords. Lone Wolf as of the first book is a good combatant, but there are plenty of characters from the later books who could have beaten him at that time. I'd say the RPG take on him as a 5th level character is pretty accurate.

On the topic of using other systems for Lone Wolf, I am strongly considering converting to Malhavoc Press's Iron Heroes rules. They are much more tactical and have way more character creation options (more than core DnD even). The magic-using classes and the Kai would have to be converted, but I don't think that'd be too hard. I'd probably also tone down the magic items somewhat as IH is balanced for no magic equipment, but since most groups aren't gonna have items like Lone Wolf did that shouldn't be a huge issue.

All in all, I really do like Mongoose's LW and have had fun playing it, but it doesn't fit my enjoyment of tactics and customization. If I do convert to Iron Heroes, the book will still be quite useful as a setting reference and for converting mages and Kai.
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Postby Alasi » Sat Sep 03, 2005 12:25 am

In KaiLord's game our single Kai Lord (well actually there are two now) has come close to death more often than another character playing the game. My character has saved his butt countless time with Heal checks that stun even the GM. :roll:

For all their powers they definately have their weaknesses.
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Postby Silent Wolf » Sat Sep 03, 2005 2:30 am

<<I'm pretty sure that's because only a Kai could wield the Sommerswerd, and only the Sommerswerd could beat the Darklords. Lone Wolf as of the first book is a good combatant, but there are plenty of characters from the later books who could have beaten him at that time. I'd say the RPG take on him as a 5th level character is pretty accurate.>>

Oh I'm not saying it wasn't accurate, and yes a lot of the Oh thank goodness effect was over the Sommerswerd now being able to come into play again. I also admit that there were other characters throughout the entire series that were as capable as Lone Wolf at even his most accomplished and formidable. I just feel that is a phenomenon that will be more frequently demonstrated in the RPG then in the original game books.

Basically I am just against the notion that every class has to be, system wise, balanced against every other class. Thats why, as I stated before, I really enjoyed the "disclaimer" on the Shianti Mage class. I would expect something similar with a Grandmaster class as well.

Basically, to my mind the final balance in any game doesn't occur with the system, but with the stories told within that system. Long Long ago in my Palladium Games Rifts days we managed to have Wilderness Scouts playing alongside Cosmo-Knights, because of the story. The Kai Lords were supposed to be a cut above. Most other man at arm type classes anyway, at the least. That is not to say that a superior member of one of those classes won't be a match for them, particularly in a level based system. But over all having a plethora of super classes just seems against the spirit of the books on which the game is based. Part of the reason why I actually find playing with a group filled with D&D classes more entertaining. Oh...and for the record I do not hate Samwise...I'd just sooner pal around with Legolas, Aragorn and such :wink: :lol:
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Postby Skyman » Sat Sep 03, 2005 5:49 am

Hmm, I think we might have different takes on the world. One of the things that I loved about the gamebooks was how often he met people who were matches for Kai - Brotherhood mages, Vakeros, Drakkarim, and even sellswords. Lone Wolf is probably far better than most Kai (he did become the great Grand Master, got abilities his masters never got, etc.) and he still met plenty of matches. It gave the world some versimilitude that I feel a lot of other settings lack.

Sure, the Kai are a cut above, but I'd say that's simply represented by the fact that all of their members belong to a PC class, while most soldiers are likely warriors, most casters are likely adepts, etc. In a PC group, I'd like the soldier characters to be just as good as the Kai - they're heroes too, after all.

I'm not obsessed with system balance. If things can't be balanced without compromising the story, that's fine. I like Coda's take on elves, for example, even though they're simply better than humans in many ways, as you coudn't reflect Tolkien otherwise. But classes are much easier to balance when staying true to the stories. Aragorn was likely the best because he was higher level and had better ability scores, not because he had a better class than other LotR characters. The Kai go through rigorous training and all face tough challenges, the equivelant of gaining levels, so I don't think it's false to make the class equal to all others.
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Postby Silent Wolf » Sat Sep 03, 2005 10:02 am

Skyman wrote:Hmm, I think we might have different takes on the world. One of the things that I loved about the gamebooks was how often he met people who were matches for Kai - Brotherhood mages, Vakeros, Drakkarim, and even sellswords. Lone Wolf is probably far better than most Kai (he did become the great Grand Master, got abilities his masters never got, etc.) and he still met plenty of matches. It gave the world some versimilitude that I feel a lot of other settings lack.

Sure, the Kai are a cut above, but I'd say that's simply represented by the fact that all of their members belong to a PC class, while most soldiers are likely warriors, most casters are likely adepts, etc. In a PC group, I'd like the soldier characters to be just as good as the Kai - they're heroes too, after all.

I'm not obsessed with system balance. If things can't be balanced without compromising the story, that's fine. I like Coda's take on elves, for example, even though they're simply better than humans in many ways, as you coudn't reflect Tolkien otherwise. But classes are much easier to balance when staying true to the stories. Aragorn was likely the best because he was higher level and had better ability scores, not because he had a better class than other LotR characters. The Kai go through rigorous training and all face tough challenges, the equivelant of gaining levels, so I don't think it's false to make the class equal to all others.


Hmmm yes we definately were looking at the books differently. I attribute certain people appearing in the stories equivalent to Lone Wolf's capability largely a result of the defining abilities being far different (Banedon or Lord Rimoah for example) Or just above average members of a class. Naturally there were villains and individuals in the stories equivalent to him, or more powerful still, but it was hardly a common phenomenon in any of the books. But that was always my take. Looking at the Kai as a PC class and many others were not is just returning it to a system issue again, which is why I avoided doing so in the first place. Likewise just saying they are higher level then other PCs doesn't help in a typical game when everyone starts at 1st level.

Right now in a RP I am in my Kai character is adventuring with a Ranger, Barbarian, Shianti Wizard, Cleric, and Paladin. Recently we lost two players through unfortunate circumstances, a Bard and a Wizard. No prestige classes as yet. I've run several sessions, and been a player in several so far. At no point did any of the other characters feel useless, despite the signifigantly greater abilities of the Kai Lord and Shianti Mage. This was achieved through story, not system. The character classes are hardly balanced, and nor should they be.

Many of the classes in the Lone Wolf RPG just feel forced. As if they had to be juiced up to keep up with the Kai. It reminds me of an interview with the old creative forced behind Mayfair Games DC heroes RPG. Where characters were given levels of ability based soley on how Superman was statted. They decided this is what Superman can do, and then just trickled down from there. I just don't feel the trickling down really occured enough in this instance.
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Postby Balgin Stondraeg » Sun Sep 04, 2005 5:56 pm

Silent Wolf wrote:Many of the classes in the Lone Wolf RPG just feel forced. As if they had to be juiced up to keep up with the Kai.
I got that impression as well.
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Postby Guest » Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:41 am

Naturally there were villains and individuals in the stories equivalent to him, or more powerful still, but it was hardly a common phenomenon in any of the books. But that was always my take. Looking at the Kai as a PC class and many others were not is just returning it to a system issue again, which is why I avoided doing so in the first place. Likewise just saying they are higher level then other PCs doesn't help in a typical game when everyone starts at 1st level.
Oh, I totally agree that Kai are generally better than others, and the people Lone Wolf meets are probably above average - but he is also above average. Very few Kai achieve anything close to his level of mastery. In a 1st level game though, I fail to see why the Kai should be any better than the Sommerlund Knight of the Realm. The Kai is a novice who's barely tapped into his supernatural potential, while the Knight is likely a squire who's been training in combat as a youth, though not faced much real danger. I see no problem with the Knight being a better combatant, while the Kai has more varied abilities.
Right now in a RP I am in my Kai character is adventuring with a Ranger, Barbarian, Shianti Wizard, Cleric, and Paladin. Recently we lost two players through unfortunate circumstances, a Bard and a Wizard. No prestige classes as yet. I've run several sessions, and been a player in several so far. At no point did any of the other characters feel useless, despite the signifigantly greater abilities of the Kai Lord and Shianti Mage. This was achieved through story, not system. The character classes are hardly balanced, and nor should they be.
It's interesting that you mention the significantly greater abilities of the Kai Lord and Shianti mage. In my mind the cleric is more powerful than either of those classes. The barbarian is also a very useful combatant - likely stronger than any of those in the LW d20 book. But that's not really the point. You're right, story is the most important thing. But I actually feel that having the Kai be even with the other classes aids the story. It's far more interesting to have roleplay between a knight and a Kai Lord, for example, when they're matches for each other. The game's not supposed to be about the Kai Lord leading a bunch of characters on a quest, it's about all of those characters. Finally, I think that the Kai not being inherently stronger fits with the world. Their training is intense, and they don't become masters overnight. There are probably many more high-level Kai Lords than Sommerlund Knights, but that's because every Kai Lord is an inherently exceptional person, while only some of the knights (including the PCs) are, and a knight isn't going to face the constant danger except in times of war. Lone Wolf is very young and is level 5, probably higher than most Knights ever reach, so I don't see why the class itself should be boosted up.

Okay, I'm rambling a bit. But I've always felt that it was a little weird that people think mechanically balanced games ruin the story of a setting. I think balance and story work together, and in general complement each other. Sometimes balance can't be achieved, but when it can I don't see the problem with it.

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