I'm considering running a campaign in the Urban Arcana D20 Modern setting. Instead of taking the usual approach by creating new characters for the D20 Modern system, I want to make the "modern" part a surprise for the players. I plan to have them create characters from D&D and then convert the sheets to D20 Modern myself when I throw them into the new setting. For this, I need some guide or resource for converting the characters. The Urban Arcana rulebook had surprisingly little information on that subject, so instead I am asking here.
Classically Modern is a homebrew attempt to make d20 Modern and 3.5 D&D compatible. He has conversions for the D&D classes. It's pretty complex, but it might be what you're looking for.
As some here, I am of the opinion that you should not bother converting, as many classes lose too much in the conversion. but if you really must... here are the guidelines to a "naive" approach of the problem.
d20 Modern has its own way of classifying characters you can use for reference when converting, depending on the main stat of your character :
- Fighters are by far the easiest and translate almost litterally to a Strong Hero.
- Barbarians somehow correspond more to Tough Hero (if you focus on the d12 vitality), losing their rage in the process.
- Though Fast Hero seems to fit the Rogue as a Dex-based class, they would lose a great deal of skill points, so I suggest Smart Hero instead (possibly a mix of both ?)
- Ranger, on the other hand, makes a decent transition to Fast Hero.
As commented in the question, the whole thing starts to fall apart when Magic enters the equation. Monks, Paladins, Bards, Wizards, Clerics and Druids don't have anything close to an equivalent. Magic use is introduced later with prestige classes. As such, your characters must meet the specific conditions of said class. Psions fare just a little bit better, as the Wild Talent required feat finds some use even before the characters actually "classes in".
On a purely roleplay/setting note: if you intend to effectively "throw" them into the setting of Urban Arcana, remember that this makes them Shadowkind, and as such unable to be resurrected past a few brief hours when they're reclaimed by Shadow (and that's because they're heroic characters, Shadowkind "extras" don't even have such luxury).
As has been stated there are problems doing a direct port across but with an understanding of what the players are looking to get out of their characters, you could give them interesting "alternates" to play in your D20 Modern game.
I would be porting them this way :
- Fighters, barbarians: combination of Strong and Tough
- Rogue, Scout, Swashbuckler: combination of Fast and Smart
- Cleric, Druid, Favoured Soul: combination of Dedicated and Charismatic
- Warlock, Sorcerer: Combination of Smart and Charismatic
- Wizard: Smart
- Bard: Charismatic
- Monk: combination of Fast and Dedicated
- Paladin: combination of Strong and Dedicated
- Warmage: combination of Fast and Smart (ranged) or Strong and Smart(melee)
- Hexblade: combination of Fast and Charismatic
- Marshall: combination of Strong and Charismatic
- Ranger: combination of Fast and Dedicated(ranged) of Strong and Dedicated(melee)
For characters with spellcasting, look closley at what the Mage and Acolyte Advanced classes require as pre req's and make sure that the characters will qualify as soon as possible. I would delay your move from Fantasy to Modern until around level 5 so that the characters will be able to qualify for the Advanced classes to still be able to cast some spells even if at a diminished power level.
Then it is all about selling the concept to the players. With the right players you will have them really getting into the change. You could also offer them the opportunity to make changes to the characters you give them after a few sessions through an interaction with a "magic pool/item/shadow encounter" that lets them change some things(skills or possibly classes etc) to get the character the way they would have liked to do it if they'd had the chance.
If you can find it you want Grim Tales, it was fantasy done using the d20 Modern rules.
Well, this is a tall order, but I'll take a stab at it.
In the True20 system there is an 84 page conversion PDF you can download for moving D&D 3.5 to True 20 game system. I know that True20 and D20 are similar enough that you might just get what you need.
Considering what I have read about the two system this may be your best shot.
Okay, the big question you need to answer is what do you mean by conversion?
If you mean what needs to be done to a 3.5 character to get them to work in D20 modern, then I think there is virtually nothing needed, but I'd personally hesitate to do this unless you don't mind them wiping the floor with much of the opposition given their greater access to magic.
On the other hand, if you want to try to stat up as similar characters as you can given the D20 modern ruleset, then you should probably just use the advice Nigralbus gave. I might also be tempted to figure out the most important aspects of the 3.5 characters your converting, and then try to build D20 modern characters who have that.
Either way, your going to need to make some decisions about how powerful compared to the locals and compared to the characters they gave you the final characters should be, about how easy access to spell levels should be, and how prevalent magic items are.
So, like a 10th Kingdom thing, where fantasy characters are running around a modern setting? Or more of a Top Cow Lady Pendragon thing, where fantasy characters are reincarnated in a modern setting?
Assuming the former, since they're both d20 system, I wouldn't bother with an explicit convert for the PCs. Have the PCs continue playing with standard issue DnD3.5 rules; convert the environment instead. For example, you might want to increase the damage on firearms.
The only thing you may need to convert for the characters themselves is how to give the players a "wealth bonus" since the DnD gold standard doesn't really work in a modern setting.
(Community Wiki as @C.Ross kind of said this first, in comment form)