Tuesday, February 22, 2005

DC Hero Conversions

DC Comic Book Character Conversions: A Conversation

As a fan of Clint Black's recent foray into the realm of 4-color comics, I have begun planning a series of DC Comics character conversions. I am not the only person to have an interest in this subject, "therealtony" on the Pinnacle Forums has done a wonderful job. But being that there can be no correct conversion of any given character, I will more than likely be repeating some of the same characters he selects from the hat.

I will be using a couple of resources, other than the comics themselves, for assistance in my conversions.

The DC Comics Encyclopedia

Comics Between the Panels by Dark Horse Publications

The All Star Companion edited by Roy Thomas (If you don't own this you are not a "real JSA fan).

The DC Heroes RPG 3rd Edition (my favorite Superhero system)

The DC Universe RPG by West End Games using their excellent d6 system.

The first and the last of these books will be used to help with "background" information, it is much easier to look to a single source than to delve into the issues. The second will be used with regards to conversions of abilities and statistics.

Given any media to game, or game to game, conversion you have to have certain guiding principles; here are mine.

1) I must come up with "benchmarks" for each system. Where such benchmarks are provided, I will follow them as close as possible. An example can be seen in the "Carrying Capacity/lift" chart in Necessary Evil.

2) When converting from one system to another, ensure that you take into consideration the "core mechanic" of each. i.e. d20 vs. Hero have different base systems. What those differences are should effect conversion.

Okay...so let's start with the second principle.

In Savage Worlds the "average" difficulty for any given task, under normal conditions, is 4. A d6 roll averages 3.5 (open ended 4) so d6 is the baseline for task resolution of 50% of a standard task. One could argue that this means d4 is actual human average since people don't tend to succeed 50% of the time on tasks which require (in RPG terms) a "roll," but that is a separate discussion. In this case, d6 will be considered average for ability scores and skills.

In Savage Worlds combat difficulties when attacking the opponent are less than 50% All Things Being Equal. What do I mean by this...a fighter with a Fighting skill of d8 has a parry of 6 attacks another fighter with a Fighting skill of d8 has a 37.5% chance of success (excluding wild card bonus die). The odds become 50% at the d12+2 level of skill. So "on average" the PCs have a slightly worse than 50%. In DC Heroes, they are exactly 50%. All things being equal, the character will need to roll 11 on an open ended on doubles (excepting double ones) 2d10 roll.

What this means is that d8 vs d8 isn't the same as 8 vs 8 in the DC system. To reconcile this small difference, I will "bump up" some characters and "bump down" other characters who are borderline within their areas of expertise. Is Batman a d12+2 type? Is Blue Beetle a d10 or d8 fighting? These questions will be asked after the application of broad benchmarks.

Now for the benchmarks:

DC has Nine Statistics and Savage has Five covering the same elements.

To convert one must decide whether, in the case of a "combined" statistic, to take the highest or the average. I tend to use averages, but review on a case by case basis.

DC to SW Attribute Correlation
Savage WorldsAgilitySmartsSpiritStrengthVigor
DC HeroesDexterityIntelligenceAverage of Will and Mind or Aura and SpiritStrengthBody


therealtony said...

Great stuff!!

You know with your example about in Savage Worlds with a d8 skill vs a d8 skill..The main difference would be in what edges the characters possess.. I was having a disscussion with a friend about where Batman's fighting skill is vs. Nightwing's fighting skill. I think they both should be ranked at a d12. But Batman would have more "improved" combat edges and a higher "attack melee power". I think edges in Savage Worlds is where you get your "granularity" in character types.

I sent you an e-mail and PM'd about your latest blog.

john said...

Looks like you haven't updated this blog in a long time. Did you ever post any specific DC Hero characters? (like you did with Firefly)

I'd particularly like to see the various Green Lanterns, Batman, and the Cyborg-Superman. Maybe the Manhunters as well (not Jon Jonns, but the machines that were predecessors of the Green Lantern Corps).

It might be interesting to see the recent variant Lantern Corps as well (Blue (hope), Yellow (fear), Red (rage), Orange (greed), Black (death), etc.). Many of them (Green, Orange, Yellow) would be done via the Super Sorcery power, but the others have powers that don't line up with that (ex: Blue (hope) has the flight, life-support, and language translation abilities of the Greens, but not the other features ... but, it has the ability to drain some other color rings of power, and to re-charge (and keep charged) Green rings). So, not all of the rings have Super Sorcery.

But, even for those that do, the failure cases aren't the same as what's printed for Super Sorcery. A Green Lantern that fails has probably given in to fear, or tried to use their ring on something yellow without having overcome their fears.

Anyway ... just wondering.

Christian Lindke said...

I'll have to get back to posting regularly. I might just merge this blog with my other blog, which I do update regularly, in order to "keep the fire under my foot."

I promise I'll have at least one update soon.