Tonight's #ICRPG game: the PCs learned of an ambush & turned it around on much deserving enemies; demons down tiger pits, warlock ritual sites rigged to explode, & javelineers finding their cliffside undermined. A clash with giants from the underworld nearly led to a #tpk #ttrpg
Harley asked my about the level of the characters, and that got me thinking. It is hard to fully translate ICRPG to D&D because it is effectively levelless and classless, except in a vestigal manner. So, how do I offer a comparison?
It's a slightly dead-end to the thought process, but I considered for awhile whether it might be better to discuss the challenges and monsters the PCs face. Would it be helpful to stat the monster (with equivalent mathematical probabilities) between several different systems so that people had a point of reference?
I am not sure. It has problems, conceptually. For example, in my campaign, the PCs are fighting horrors called N'druni. One N'druni attacked a party of 3 major chatacters an 5 loyal henchmen, and in 3 rounds, crushed 3 heavy fighters, killing one, and leaving two others dying. So, you could look at an OSR translation of the N'druni and ask,what sort of party could the OSR N'druni do that to, and get an equivalent... But that is not as useful a measure as I would like.
But it did sound fun.
So here I have created the N'druni for three D&D based systems with an eye to the Math. Done in the presentation style of that game.
ICRPG: The Original Version
|The Monster's design is very loosely inspired
by "Burger" or "The Memory Eater", a boss
monster from the 2002 video game Dark Cloud 2
a.ka. Dark Chronicle 2. Concept art image
© 2002 Level-5 Game Studio
The N'druni are giants that first appeared in the Bush of Ghosts. They began as spirits trapped in the Warp too long while waiting for their unfinished business to be resolved. They found a way to be reborn as flesh and blood things that embodied their insane hunger. Now they breed and grow across Northern Kharré. Each time one is born, a mad ghost is reincarnated with all of its hateful feelings intact. They devour anyone they encounter out of spite.
Berserk: Each time a N'druni drops someone to 0 HEARTS with a melee attack, they may make another attack.
Regeneration: At the end if each of its turns, a N'druni may make a recovery roll unless it has been harmed by fire or used its berserk power in the last turn.
OSR (BD&D) Version
Monster Type: Giant (Very Rare)
N'druni Grazers are purple-fleshed giants with a tapir-like and tusked face that sports a second, shark-like maw on their neck. They stand 17' tall and have stout, Dwarven proportions. Their skin is thick, like a pachyderm and patchy with bone deposits and tufts of quills.
The reincarnation of mad spectre, N'druni Grazers attack and eat humans alive out of spite. They destroy homes and mangle animals whenever the whim strikes them, and will eat until sick if the flesh is available. They have no compunction against eating their own fallen.
The N'druni Grazers are bloodthirsty, once they have downed an enemy, they go berserk: Each time they reduce a target to 0hp, they get an additional attack against a different target. Their morale raises to 11 for 1 round after using this power.
N'druni have the power of regeneration, the ability to grow back together when damaged. Each round, roll 1d6, on a result of 1 or 2, they regain 3hp. However, the N'druni cannot regenerate from fire, on a round when they have been damaged with fire their Morale is reduced to 8, and no regeneration roll is made on the next round. They also do not roll on a round after they have used their berserk power.
Terrain: Lost World, Open
Dungeon Crawl Classics RPGN'druni Grazer: Init -2; Atk slam +5 melee (3d6); AC 16; HD 5d8 +5; MV 30'; Act: 1d24; SP: Berserk, Regeneration: crit on 20-24 1d10/G; SV Fort +2 Ref -1 Will -1: AL C.
The N'druni are squat Tapir-headed brutes the size of hill giants. They are mad, hungry ghosts escaped from the Warp and made flesh. They are interested only in tormenting, killing, and eating fleshy life.
N'druni go Berserk when they sense a meal is near. Each time they reduce a target to 0hp,, they gain an additional d20 action die that can be used to attack a new target. A single kill-crazed N'druni can hear through a squadron of foes in minute if they ride the wave of madness long enough.
The N'druni regenerate 1d4 hit points at the end of each of their turns so long as they have at least 1hp left. This healing doesn't work if the N'druni had used its berserk power that round, or if it has been hit by fire since its last turn.
What Did We Learn?If I were a glutton for punishment, I could probably do a D&D5e stat block as well, but that would take me as long as the other three combined...
As is, I can see how similar these games still are under the hood a lot more easily by statting them out. In older D&D and OSR games Hit Dice really were an estimate of how many solid hits a character or monster could take. With the easily tweaked damage output of a PC in ICRPG, a heart is about the equivalent of rolling a d8 for hit points. Things like AC (once you get over ascending vs. descending) are pretty equivalent as well, and have a similar level of bounded accuracy. The underlying math for these systems is close enough for easy translation.
You can get a feel for at least what a character can handle by seeing what they are facing... to some degree.
Honestly, though, it depends on your definition of "handling." Even when they were fresh and rested, just three of these things killed a PC, crushed two henchmen, and critically wounded another. So, at best, I can tell you that an ICRPG party of 4 PCs + henchmen can barely handle a TPL 36 in BD&D's (janky AF) encounter balancing system. I would say somewhere between the equivalent 3rd and 4th is about right, although we are talking about veterans of 15 adventures, here, who would easily be at the endgame of a typical, modern D&D campaign. ICRPG, like many OSR games is focused on generating perpetual low-level play. Campaigns can last a hell of a lot longer because of it.
Of course, my players are obsessive about stacking advantages and choosing their battles. There is no such thing as a straight-up fight in my campaigns. Cunning makes up for lack of mechanical levels any day.
Bonus: Into the Odd
N'druni Grazer20 HP 18 STR 9 DEX 11 WIL
>Always hungry, meat-eating giant with the face of a tusked tapir. Maims and kills for fun.
>Crushing blow: 3d6 damage
>Berserking: If it deals critical damage, the N'druni may attack a secondary target.
>Regenerates: Regains 3 HP at the end of each round unless it berserked or taken damage from fire.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. By Brian C. Rideout. And is done under the Open Game License 1.0a.