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I got a... difficult situation on my hands.

I currently have three groups - a classic Vampire: The Masquerade game, a Pathfinder game, using a Eberron-like setting, and a Warcraft 2nd Ed. /D&D 3.5 game.

All of the players know each other and all of us are good friends. We are ten people in total, and, except by me (the GM of those three games), no player plays in more than one game.

One of the Pathfinder players will be going away, to study in another country. He used to play characters in the other two games a time ago.

Since the ten of us are good friends, and our pal is going away, it was put on my hands the task of creating a special game, with everyone, to say goodbye to him.

The original idea is to group everyone (from those different games) by means of planar magic, and drop all of them in a single dungeon. There, they must act together to destroy the big bad evil guy. Ok, cliché, but hey, it's a goodbye game!

While gluing together D&D and Pathfinder is not exactly an issue, putting together Vampires from WoD (which have completely different mechanics) is a bit of a challenge.

My original plan was to translate those V:tM character sheets to Pathfinder Character Sheets, but I have no clue where to start. I would gladly accept other suggestions.

I need to be able to conduct a few battles with everyone fighting side by side, so any answer should take that into account.

This will be the during our vacations, next month. We are going to a house on the beach, and we will use the nights to play. So, I expect at least seven game sessions.

Anyone had similar experiences on how to make this work?


Some feedback:

I picked up some of those suggestions and ran a brief simulation with a friend. @lisardggY and @Jessa worked alright, but Brian's solution gave our brief game a gigantic amount of laughs. Yeah, it is a hell of a overload of work to put everything together to work that way, but is is worth it! For short, special games like this one, it can give wonderful results.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Normally, I'd say this sort of thing is a fairly bad idea (because of systemic incompatibilities), but as a one-shot with pre-established characters for a special occasion, this sounds pretty awesome. \$\endgroup\$ – KRyan Oct 27 '14 at 20:27
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    \$\begingroup\$ I just want to say how much I would love to be in your group of friends! This sounds like a really, really fun evening coming up. :) \$\endgroup\$ – L0j1k Oct 27 '14 at 22:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ That feedback sounds like an answer, mate. Perhaps you can elaborate on what worked and what didn't? \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Oct 31 '14 at 10:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BrianBallsun-Stanton Hm... I don't really follow. How should the feedback be an answer? I'm trying to say that in the end I will be using your answer, and why. How shoul I do this? \$\endgroup\$ – T. Sar - Reinstate Monica Oct 31 '14 at 10:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ Well, if you're using my answer, you just accept it. But it sounds like you actually did some testing. Presenting that evidence to us is an answer, even if you choose to keep mine the accepted one as indication of "most useful to you". \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Oct 31 '14 at 10:17
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Thinking of this as a one-off interdimensional travel lead me to think about a (remarkably equivalent) conceit being the center of Harry Potter and the Natural 20. In short, it tells the hilariously funny fiction of a genre-aware 3.5 wizard dropping into Hogwarts and steadfastly maintains the truth behind each universe. The imported little Munchkin, Milo, indeed works to 3.5 mechanics in the "real world."

For your thing, therefore, don't try to "merge" them. Layer the systems. Each character comes with their own system and imparts those effects on the world. Preferably as literally as possible. Treat readings of abilities as "true" rather than as mechanical abstractions designed to represent a world. Of course, use the exact same rules for the enemies. You'll want to think through the abstractions from a system specific point of view: "What does 3.5 damage mean in context of WoD, treating things literally" and so on and so forth. While this would be tedious to pull off in any kind of sustained campaign, the incongruous juxtaposition of systems could be a hilarious and fun farewell to arms.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ I really like this idea, but I suspect it might not be practical for an actual game. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Oct 28 '14 at 5:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ It'd require brainstorming ahead of time, but since the DM knows the "modes of play" of any given character, most common interactions can be paradigmised. Then, presuming good will and good improv, stuff should work "well enough." This is not something to try on a group you don't know. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Ballsun-Stanton Oct 28 '14 at 5:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Fair enough. I already upvoted because this is just such an awesome idea, I just thought I'd mention that it sounds very difficult to pull off. \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Oct 28 '14 at 5:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Reading through the question, this is more or less the idea that came to me. Everyone gets to play the character they've been playing for so long, and the DM just has to interpret the effects of one system to another in a literal, yet generally believable way during the course of play. \$\endgroup\$ – Ellesedil Oct 28 '14 at 15:04
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I don't know if the V:tM players are familiar with D&D/PF, but if they're not, it would be a bit annoying for them to have to learn the rules, and it would put them at a disadvantage (enjoyment-wise) by the other players.

What I think would be best for a one-shot game aimed more at creating nostalgia and memories is to use a system that none of the three games use. Preferably a very simple one, perhaps even a very loose almost-freeform game. This will allow the apparent power disparity between them to be easily eliminated and explained away.

A while ago we played a game using a similarly loose freeform mechanic using only d12s. The premise was that the characters came from different genres and settings, and were all whisked away a second before their death by an extra-dimensional agency who recruited them to jump between universes and perform tasks. So we had a modern-day gadgeteer, a fantasy necromancer and a wild-west voodoo sharpshooter in the party, and we jumped to 18th century France, a cyberpunk-esque future and, umm, some other places.

The use of a single mechanic for all of us helped eliminate that power disparity and create a common baseline. If all three of your parties are imported into an alternate universe, everyone's powers and abilities are equally unstable and perform unexpectedly.

And as an aside, I'll say that I think it's a very cool sendoff, and will probably generate a lot of fun memories.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hrm...would the Accelerated Edition of FATE fit the bill for this job? \$\endgroup\$ – Shalvenay Oct 27 '14 at 23:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ Simplest system I aver DMed was: if you can look like you believe what you say, say it with straight face, it works. Sometimes we were using % probability, and that's all. Was pretty OK with a group of people who knows and trusts each other. \$\endgroup\$ – Mołot Oct 28 '14 at 11:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ www222.pair.com/sjohn/risus.htm -- a cliche based RPG, different than any of the games. Should fit everyone. \$\endgroup\$ – Yakk Oct 28 '14 at 15:49
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One key to making this work is getting everyone to accept that it's experimental, just a one-time thing, and there will be hiccups. The players and GM need to work as a team to make the game run, so set aside DM vs. PC antagonism if anyone is used to playing in that style.

If your game wasn't going to involve system-driven combat encounters, I'd suggest running the game in a semi-freeform fashion with each character on their own system. The Vampire makes his rolls against the normal Storyteller System, and the D&D characters operate side-by-side rolling in 3.5. For basic roleplaying with a few skill checks thrown in, this works surprisingly well. I played in a Dresden/GURPS one-off run this way and it worked pretty well.

Running multiple combat encounters (I'm assuming you want to roll for each action, D&D style, rather than resolve the whole fight with narrative hand-waving) is going to require people be at least roughly on the same system. Tracking damage/health and handling contested actions will be much easier this way.

Since Pathfinder/D&D 3.5 is your most common system for the existing characters, you probably do want to translate the Vampire into it, and mostly run a 3.5 game.

Give the vampire a character class that best fits his existing skill set. Rather than try to work out leveling him up or buying XP, just start translating applicable stats. For each major stat on the 3.5 sheet, figure out what corresponds in Storyteller.

Example: Both systems have Charisma. WoD is on a 1 to 5 scale, and D&D a 1 to 20 scale. Multiply the WoD stat by 4 to get a D&D equivalent.

For things like Disciplines, I'd just translate the mechanical effects of the powers directly. Don't worry about making him a spellcaster, or making his character possible to generate through normal means.

Have him track Blood points normally, but scale up how much damage he can heal to 3.5's hitpoint system. He can temporarily buff Str, Dex & Con at a rate of 1bp = +4 to the stat. The maximum he can raise stats to as a scene-long effect is 24.

For Frenzy, Virtues and Humanity, you may just want to have him use the Storyteller system unmodified. If he's hungry and surrounded by blood (likely given the combat-oriented story), he'll just roll his normal Self-Control stat using d10s. This works because it is a system that doesn't need to mesh directly with other characters or world elements.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I like this, but the WoD stats should be shifted upwards by, say, +4: this gives a range from 8 to 24, which will match better against D&D - once you remember that stat bonuses and magical equipment is a major component of D&D (depending on level!). A character who really cares about a specific stat will have it much higher than 20. \$\endgroup\$ – PotatoEngineer Oct 28 '14 at 1:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think Paul's suggestion is good. Stats at the bottom end of wod (1s and 2s) will probably come out far too low otherwise. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Oct 29 '14 at 11:34
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Some advice on transferring characters across systems:

Describe the characters in plain text - what they're like, compared to normal humans, what they're good at/bad at, how they act and so on, with appropriate adjectives. [I tend to use a 7-point ordinal scale of adjectives for attributes - such as Minimal, Inferior, Low, Average, High, Superior, Excellent, and another for skill-like quantities - FUDGE's Terrible, Poor, Mediocre, Fair, Good, Great, Superb work well for that. If you'd prefer to describe some attribute as "weak" instead of "inferior" or a some ability as "typical" instead of "fair", go right ahead.]

Then in the other game system, implement that described character. Some things will carry over directly as having a mechanical equivalent, but some stats might become skills or vice versa. Some things might become spell-like abilities, or have effects like some particular item, and some things may just become description. The aim isn't to get a rock-solid set of mechanics for translating between systems, but first to transfer the feel of a character and second to try to implement the way that character is played (so the particular parts of what the character tends to do most often can still be done).

You'll probably want to tweak the character a bit after you're done - especially if you want to make the characters not-too-different in power levels.

[It may be worth transferring all characters to a simple flexible system that's a bit rules-light (to focus on the fun rather than worry much about mechanics), but failing that, use the system that will most easily accommodate outside characters.]

One nice thing about the way you set it up is you can explain some of the inevitable differences in the way the character functions by the effects of that planar shift that brought them together.

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Monte Cook released a supplement known as "Monte Cook's World of Darkness" which brings the games into the d20 system 'with a twist'. There's about a million other ways to do this, but if you want to stick with a known system, I'd suggest using this. I believe the supplement was for oWoD, as well, but I can't say definitively.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ It wasn't, I'm afraid — MCWoD was a New World of Darkness riff. \$\endgroup\$ – Jadasc Oct 28 '14 at 3:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh. I didn't recall Demon being part of nWoD. Well, its probably still close enough. I seem to recall running across some other conversion documents. \$\endgroup\$ – Wesley Obenshain Oct 28 '14 at 5:05
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I don't have anything really original to say, other than it sounds like you may want one of the systems recommended here: ...RPG with less bookkeeping, namely Fate Accelerated Edition.

I've got a little experience with the Dresden Files RPG, and the way it works with the characters' special abilities all being just short descriptions should make it easy to bring in characters from multiple systems. You just describe what they can do and off you go.

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protected by Brian Ballsun-Stanton Oct 27 '14 at 23:34

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