Monday, March 24, 2014

Pathfinder Staples Converted

This is going to be part advice column and part exercise for myself in converting a bunch of Pathfinder staples to GURPS to see how much hard/easy/etc it is to make the transition from a Pathfinder character/mindset to a GURPS one. 

Combat Style

Combat style is a stupid feature of the Ranger class. Ranger is a stupid class. 

This includes animal companions, cohorts, eidolons, thralls, and so on. Use the allies advantage with the appropriate modifiers. Minion for thralls and familiars, summonable for Eidolons, etc. 

Interesting note: Eidolons, the outsiders summoned by Summoners from other planes that evolve over time as the Summoner grows more powerful, are Extraordinary abilities in Pathfinder. Things anyone can learn to do. Just like the subtle psionic pulse of the Thrallherd that goes out into the wide world and turns weak willed individuals into fanatics devoted to them, and Armor Training. All three are Extraordinary abilities. That makes sense. 

Intuitive Casters
Magic in GURPS is learned, you buy spells like skills after buying the Magery advantage. There's also a mana concept I need to review at some point. The concept of the intuitive caster that can cast because of bloodline or leadership qualities or undead lifeforce has existed in DnD for a while now. To recreate this, you buy advantages like Innate Attack and Affliction and various other defensive or offensive advantages with the magic modifier for -10%, Sorcery 0, and add a fatigue point cost to each of them, which applies to your energy threshold and such, rather than actual FP. All magic is prone to misfire in Hekinoe, not just spells. 

Mind Blades

Soulknives use a sort of mental construct of idealized will called a mind blade. It just erupts from their hands and so forth and takes the form of a blade or whatever. There are many varieties of mind blade, some deal fire damage, some emulate specific weapons, some are thrown or shot like a bow. This is pretty easy to recreate in GURPS. You buy levels of Innate Attack up to a sufficient damage level, and appropriate type of damage, and apply modifiers limiting it to close combat instead of range (if you want) then apply the psychokinetic modifier. A variable mind blade can be achieved by using the alternative attack option like I did with Donovan's mind acid, fire, and lightning. 


This one is odd because there's no real carry over other than progressively higher points. Which is something, but not exactly what we think of when we say mythic or epic. I think the way I would do this would be to create an advantage called Mythic or Epic or something. I like Mythic more though. It would be 30 points or so. I would incorporate like +5 hit points into it and maybe a level or two of Hard to Kill and Hard to Subdue and I'd also say it counts as a special background and Weapon Master or some such for the purposes of advantages, skills, and techniques, and such. 

In GURPS, some special skills like Throwing Art or advantages like Weapon Master require you to have some form of training or special background, you can't just up and take them. Additionally, supernatural advantages can't be taken by normal people ever. So your 500 point human sword swinger (or epitome of human physical fitness/shield chucker) can't just up and take Damage Resistance, Regeneration, Supernatural Durability, or Unkillable because he can afford them. This Mythic advantage would allow him to do so with GM fiat. Obviously, you couldn't take this advantage until I OKed it. 

I kind of went over this with Donovan on the blog, but the gist is that you buy various advantages and apply psionic modifiers to the advantage, then apply a FP cost or use per day limitation to it. Then you burn down the campaign universe.

Psychic Reformation

Psychic reformation is this real neat power that lets a Psion delve back into his brain to rearrange skills and feats. The further you go back, the more penalties you accrue for doing so (equivalent to 1 negative level per level back you go). You can augment the power to reduce the duration of the penalties though (Donovan can currently afford to only suffer them until he gets a chance to rest for 8 hours, in four levels he'll be able to ignore them though). The best way to recreate this is with the Modular Abilities advantage in GURPS. Basically, this lets you "buy" a set of character points that can be changed up when you deem it appropriate. These variable points are limited to skills and spells though. The most appropriate method of doing it is the Super-Memorization option, which has a base cost of 5 points, plus 3 points per point of Modular Abilities points you have. It also requires that you spend time memorizing what you are changing on your character, so you need reference materials. It's not as quick as the Pathfinder Version, but it works quite well I think. To reduce the cost, you can limit it to a 1/day ability and of course add the telepathy modifier and charge an FP cost for use. 


These abilities are more or less the same thing for all intents and purposes. They differ slightly in that the Alchemist mutagen is more versatile and is a alchemical concoction, rather than just something he does. For rage, I'd buy ST, then add the link modifier to link it to Hard to Subdue and Hard to Kill and add a Fatigue Point Cost then add the limitation Temporary Disadvantage to it coupled with the Bloodlust or Berserk disadvantages. With the mutagen, I'd buy ST, DX, HT, or whatever characteristic you wanted to improve temporarily and link it with Damage Resistance (along with whatever other special effects you want, there are lots of special mutagens, Gob had an invisibility one) to simulate the natural armor, then apply some gadget based limitations or the limited uses per day limitation. In Hekinoe, you'd give the mutagen the sorcery (i.e. magic) limitation and it would incur a misfire chance and cost FP that would be applied to your threshold.

The spells can be handled with Magery with a limitation limiting it to darkness, or with a one school limitation stating it only applies to the illusion college of spells. The walking through shadows is easily achieved with Warp and limiting its accessibility to shadows or darkness and a limited range and uses per day. The shadow companion is bought with Ally and giving the ally Shadow Form and an Affliction that damages ST. The hide in plain sight is achieved with Invisibility enhanced with switchable and an accessibility modifier limiting it to when near shadows. 

Sneak Attack
Sneak attack is a staple of rogue and assassin types. It's actually pretty easy to do, and there are two options. The first is to buy techniques to reduce or eliminate the penalties for attacking vital areas of the body like eyes, neck, or vitals. The other option for melee characters to take is to buy Striking ST, which increases your ST only when calculating how hard you hit for 5 points per point of effective ST when hitting someone. Then you apply the surprise only modifier for -60% to the cost. Ranged weapons will have to be satisfied with targeting specific spots on the body for increased damage and additional effects and buying techniques to offset that. But ranged weapons also have an aim characteristic, which increases their effective skill level by a set amount when they spend a round aiming, which also serves to offset the penalty for targeting the head or eyes or neck. 

Spell Combat

Magi have this neat ability that lets them use two-weapon fighting with a weapon in one hand while casting a spell in the other. Fuck. I don't know how to do that off the top of my head. Hrm. Got it! Compartmentalized Mind lets you perform an extra mental maneuver during your round of combat, so in theory, you could use a concentrate maneuver to cast spells while using a physical maneuver to attack. I think I'd apply the normal -4 penalty to DX while doing things with both hands if the spell had a gesture based component though, so Ambidexterity would still be necessary. Boom! I'm sure I could cut down on the cost of compartmentalized mind by applying some sort of accessibility modifier limiting the mental maneuver to spellcasting only. 

Karl casts his spells through his gun. GURPS already incorporates rules for magic staffs that extend your reach and stuff. So we can attach a gadget limitation to a character's sorcery and we can perhaps use an advantage like Alternative To Magic Staff for like 10 points or so. It was a pretty rough idea when I was making Karl's rough draft, and it still is, but it can be done. 

Edit After The Fact: The magic staff concept is actually an enchantment spell designed to invest a staff with power. I see no reason you couldn't do the same with any weapon or object, so this doesn't really require a specific advantage or anything. 

Buy Acute Senses but with an accessibility modifier tied to traps only, limiting when it applies. You could also incorporate the Detect advantage with an accessibility modifier limited to magic traps. Or you could buy the Detect ability and modify as special trap detection. 

So those are some things. Anyone have any other stuff they can think of that they'd be interested in seeing converted or think would be challenging to convert?

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