Pratchett's Discworld


Conversions


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hello,

Has anyone had any luck transferring Pratchett's discworld races/classes/gods into Pathfinder?

I have decided I want to run such a campaign, but I haven't had a chance to start looking at the transference.

Thanks

Frog God Games

Sleep-Walker wrote:

hello,

Has anyone had any luck transferring Pratchett's discworld races/classes/gods into Pathfinder?

I have decided I want to run such a campaign, but I haven't had a chance to start looking at the transference.

Thanks

I never have, but one of the sticking points for me was the flavor of the word itself and some basic concepts that get washed away using 3.x or PFRPG rules.

Like Morphic Fields, the entire system of magic....

Steve Jackson Games did do a big GURPS version of the setting a ways back as well.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

The GURPS books are a good place to start, if only to get a good overview of Discworld as it relates to gaming.

Beyond that, trying to run a Discworld-based game is going to mostly be a matter of creating atmosphere, and will require the cooperation of your players.

Magic is going to be your biggest issue, as any non-University campaign shouldn't have much magic at all.


do something easy to start like mapping domains to gods.

Heres, Possibilities:
Offler: Scalykind, Sun, Fire
Blind Io: Weather, Air,(Storms), Trickery, Knowledge
Fate: Law, Luck(Fate), Void
The Lady: Luck, Trickery, Chaos
Anoia: Trickery, Chaos, Liberation

Small Gods: anyone who worships a concept. Seriously, just let them pick two domains and a name and go crazy.


The witches are for the most part Hedge Witches, and a good witch uses little or no magic in the everyday life... more, their magic works mostly on living beings.


use normal Pathfinder with the exception of magic: full spellcasting becomes ranger progression and spell failure is no longer arcane alone, plus it starts with 40 without armor.

oh and rule of cool is a major force of nature. If a sword is so non-magical is looks cool, it might be better than your average end-game magic sword.

end characters should progress way slower than usual, let them stay at lvl 1 veeeery long and failing is just another way to have fun.

Grand Lodge

Choose another system. FATE would work quite well.


Richard Leonhart wrote:


oh and rule of cool is a major force of nature. If a sword is so non-magical is looks cool, it might be better than your average end-game magic sword.

Contrarywise: a REAL magic sword looks always ordinary, a false crown is much more brilliant-and-polished than the real thing, etc. Real things don't need to appear, they ARE.

Oh, and one in a million happens nine times on ten, if you believe enough in something it will turn real, and too much magic will open a rift in space and let all fall to Chtulhu...


Son of the Veterinarian wrote:

The GURPS books are a good place to start, if only to get a good overview of Discworld as it relates to gaming.

Beyond that, trying to run a Discworld-based game is going to mostly be a matter of creating atmosphere, and will require the cooperation of your players.

Magic is going to be your biggest issue, as any non-University campaign shouldn't have much magic at all.

I disagree. There will be all sorts of "magical things" but very little in the way of spellcasting. In fact I believe most "wizards" in Pratchett's world only cast really really really big spells or minor ones to make their lives more comfortable.


If you want to look into GURPS books you could wait a bit before buying anything - Discworld for GURSPS 4th edition will be released soon (ok, maybe not so soon but it is in edition or postedition phase, IIRC).


Hahaha.

The brain-hurting paradim shifting types of play on the Discworld are not what worries me, although I appreciate the suggestions. Its the making Trolls and the Nac Mac Feegle into playable characters.

I have been being told that the new Discworld book is coming since 2006, I am fed up waiting for it. I have ordered the old Discworld Gurps book and if I like it I will buy the sequel.

Terry Pratchett works very hard to keep his characters out of the usual adventure mold. I think if one of the wizards were confronted by a horde of undead he would have no problem blasting them.

I am mainly sticking to Pratchett fans for my players.


As for Gods in the discworld, don't forget the great and mighty Om.

And for an exhaustive view of Pratchett mythos may I suggest referring to the Folklore of the discworld who give an apprehensive look of is world as for why elves are evils and some details on orcs.


Sleep-Walker wrote:
I have been being told that the new Discworld book is coming since 2006, I am fed up waiting for it. I have ordered the old Discworld Gurps book and if I like it I will buy the sequel.

Some note about new Discworld Roleplaying Game: playtests should end soon. It will be revison of materials from both older Discwrold books with some new things added. I guess it will be powered with Gurps Lite so the book probably will be independent of core books like many other things published by SJG.


Sleep-Walker wrote:

Hahaha.

The brain-hurting paradim shifting types of play on the Discworld are not what worries me, although I appreciate the suggestions. Its the making Trolls and the Nac Mac Feegle into playable characters.

I have been being told that the new Discworld book is coming since 2006, I am fed up waiting for it. I have ordered the old Discworld Gurps book and if I like it I will buy the sequel.

Terry Pratchett works very hard to keep his characters out of the usual adventure mold. I think if one of the wizards were confronted by a horde of undead he would have no problem blasting them.

Well, they have no trouble blasting animate shopping trolleys, but undead are just people that don't happen to be technically alive anymore. I'm pretty sure they have rules about using magic on them.


Atarlost wrote:
Sleep-Walker wrote:
Terry Pratchett works very hard to keep his characters out of the usual adventure mold. I think if one of the wizards were confronted by a horde of undead he would have no problem blasting them.
Well, they have no trouble blasting animate shopping trolleys, but undead are just people that don't happen to be technically alive anymore. I'm pretty sure they have rules about using magic on them.

I am pretty sure they have lawyers to enforce those rules. And I think there was a wizard that was similarly life-impaired somewhere in the series and he would have a word or two with his colleagues who tried to blast him with magic.


Drejk wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Sleep-Walker wrote:
Terry Pratchett works very hard to keep his characters out of the usual adventure mold. I think if one of the wizards were confronted by a horde of undead he would have no problem blasting them.
Well, they have no trouble blasting animate shopping trolleys, but undead are just people that don't happen to be technically alive anymore. I'm pretty sure they have rules about using magic on them.
I am pretty sure they have lawyers to enforce those rules. And I think there was a wizard that was similarly life-impaired somewhere in the series and he would have a word or two with his colleagues who tried to blast him with magic.

AFAIK the only undead wizard is Windle Poons in Reaper Man and he's only undead for one book. They did set upon him with holy symbols and garlic and buried him at a crossroads, but they were relatively polite about it. Obviously they skimped on Knowledge (religion) and couldn't tell the difference between a zombie and a vampire.

Hmm. Was the head of the necromancy department in Unseen Academicals undead? I thought he cropped up alive for a meal in one of the other books, but I could be mistaken.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Atarlost wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Sleep-Walker wrote:
Terry Pratchett works very hard to keep his characters out of the usual adventure mold. I think if one of the wizards were confronted by a horde of undead he would have no problem blasting them.
Well, they have no trouble blasting animate shopping trolleys, but undead are just people that don't happen to be technically alive anymore. I'm pretty sure they have rules about using magic on them.
I am pretty sure they have lawyers to enforce those rules. And I think there was a wizard that was similarly life-impaired somewhere in the series and he would have a word or two with his colleagues who tried to blast him with magic.

AFAIK the only undead wizard is Windle Poons in Reaper Man and he's only undead for one book. They did set upon him with holy symbols and garlic and buried him at a crossroads, but they were relatively polite about it. Obviously they skimped on Knowledge (religion) and couldn't tell the difference between a zombie and a vampire.

Hmm. Was the head of the necromancy department in Unseen Academicals undead? I thought he cropped up alive for a meal in one of the other books, but I could be mistaken.

AHEM! Necromancy is illegal, here at Unseen University we have a Department of Post-Mortem Communications.

Grand Lodge

Seriously, check out the FATE system as it works under the dresden files rpg.

The game mechanics work on stuff going south and building it into the narrative but then giving a related bonus to the characters because they took the hit.

That more or less characterises Pratchetts work. Stuff goes Pearshapped but then story narrative with headology, one in a million chances that just might work etc saves the day (or at least let the person live)


I'd rework how knowledge checks work completely. The PC has to make up how something is meant to work. Then they make a knowledge check to see if they are right. Either way their character believes they are right.

Are you going to let Time Monks be playable?

Grand Lodge

LovesTha wrote:
I'd rework how knowledge checks work completely. The PC has to make up how something is meant to work. Then they make a knowledge check to see if they are right. Either way their character believes they are right.

I like this!


I really want to use Pathfinder.

I was referring to non-sentient undead. The lurchers that Reg refers to as letting the side down.

Time monks would be interesting, but probably not unless everyone was playing one.

Frog God Games

Son of the Veterinarian wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Drejk wrote:
Atarlost wrote:
Sleep-Walker wrote:
Terry Pratchett works very hard to keep his characters out of the usual adventure mold. I think if one of the wizards were confronted by a horde of undead he would have no problem blasting them.
Well, they have no trouble blasting animate shopping trolleys, but undead are just people that don't happen to be technically alive anymore. I'm pretty sure they have rules about using magic on them.
I am pretty sure they have lawyers to enforce those rules. And I think there was a wizard that was similarly life-impaired somewhere in the series and he would have a word or two with his colleagues who tried to blast him with magic.

AFAIK the only undead wizard is Windle Poons in Reaper Man and he's only undead for one book. They did set upon him with holy symbols and garlic and buried him at a crossroads, but they were relatively polite about it. Obviously they skimped on Knowledge (religion) and couldn't tell the difference between a zombie and a vampire.

Hmm. Was the head of the necromancy department in Unseen Academicals undead? I thought he cropped up alive for a meal in one of the other books, but I could be mistaken.

AHEM! Necromancy is illegal, here at Unseen University we have a Department of Post-Mortem Communications.

The Professor of Post-Mortem Communications is quite alive. But only evil by job description.


Chuck Wright wrote:
Quote:
AHEM! Necromancy is illegal, here at Unseen University we have a Department of Post-Mortem Communications.
The Professor of Post-Mortem Communications is quite alive. But only evil by job description.

I think that previous professor of Post-Mortem Communications appeared after vacating the post when current professor of PMC communicated with him, IIRC. And I am not sure if the professor emeritus was "just" a ghost or something else.


Drejk wrote:
Chuck Wright wrote:
Quote:
AHEM! Necromancy is illegal, here at Unseen University we have a Department of Post-Mortem Communications.
The Professor of Post-Mortem Communications is quite alive. But only evil by job description.
I think that previous professor of Post-Mortem Communications appeared after vacating the post when current professor of PMC communicated with him, IIRC. And I am not sure if the professor emeritus was "just" a ghost or something else.

Ah, that's what I was remembering. Did the professor emeritus by any chance refer to the department having been named necromancy when he headed it or did I just slap the dead necromancer label on him in my head?I'm afraid I don't have that book to check myself.


Atarlost wrote:
Ah, that's what I was remembering. Did the professor emeritus by any chance refer to the department having been named necromancy when he headed it or did I just slap the dead necromancer label on him in my head?I'm afraid I don't have that book to check myself.

I have a vague memory of professor-emeritus discussing that with current professor. I think that he was criticizing the modern naming convention but I might be mixing characters, scenes and books.


Drejk wrote:
I might be mixing characters, scenes and books.

That is the only issue with Discworld novels. So many scenes can switch place in your head, leaving you with even odder recollections of the story lines.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Sleep-Walker wrote:

I really want to use Pathfinder.

Then use Pathfinder, stop trying to change Pathfinder to fit Discworld, it won't work. Instead, change Discworld to fit Pathfinder.

Use Witches as Witches, Wizards as Wizards. Re-skinned Half-Ogres should make fairly decent Trolls, and Pratchett introduced Orcs recently, so there's your Half-Orcs. There's even a shapeshifting race in the 3.5 Oriental Adventures book that could make decent werewolves.

Have your campaign be about everyone on Discworld waking up one day and discovering that they're now living under Pathfinder rules and the point of the PC's quest is to return everything to "normal".

The most important thing in a Discworld based game is going to be the delivery, that uniquely kind of deadpan delivery that is so quintessentially British, not the specific rules you're playing under. Have your important NPC's be genre savvy, subvert every trope, the rule of cool should abound.

And anyone found trying to take things to seriously SHOULD BE REMINDED THEY'RE NOT GETTING OUT OF LIFE ALIVE.

SQUEEK!

Grand Lodge

LovesTha wrote:
That is the only issue with Discworld novels. So many scenes can switch place in your head, leaving you with even odder recollections of the story lines.

The other issue is that new books seem to come out quarterly which makes it difficult to establish a firm campaign environment.


Sorcerers should be very rare and powerful, what with having to be the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son.


The campaign basis is actually designed to make it more DnD like and more Pathfinder suitable.

The Evil Emperor has been released from his phylactery and is attempting to reform the Evil Empire. Those forward thinking races who have been enjoying life in the Century of the Fruitbat will be struggling to put the liche back in his box.

Wizards as Wizards is fine, Witches as Witches is fine, Dwarves as Dwarves is good,

Trolls, I am not sure on.


And elves are EVIL.

Grand Lodge

Bardess wrote:
And elves are EVIL.

And use the 'Fey' template/type - change Cold Iron to ALL iron for them.


Current Plans: Wizards are fine. Sorcerers are simply variant wizards who manifested powers at birth rather than learning them academically [I want players to still have the ability to choose between spontaneous and prepared casting]. However, I will rename them to differentiate them from Sourcerers. [8th son etc etc]

Witches are Witches. Maybe add a few new Hexs. Although Borrowing is already a Hex.

All other classes are fine.

Races: The below need writing and maybe some tweaking.
Death's Grandchild:
Troll:
MacMacfeegle
Werewolf:
Vampire:
Golems:
Gargoyles:
Uber Orks.

True Elves are not available for play.

Elves become Elf Blooded. Half Elves are slightly Elf blooded. Humans, Dwarves, Half-Orcs, Goblins, Gnolls, are all fine.

Gnomes, Halflings are both out

The Exchange

Seriously: the amount of work you'll put yourself through, and the immense stupidity of the rules arguments you'll have, mean that you're better off not attempting this conversion. This is coming from a guy who has thought "this would make a cool campaign" several times, only to discover that my players' interpretation of whichever books I was lifting from is too different for them to really enjoy themselves in the campaign.

Ignore me if you wish: just get ready to explain why disbelieving a substition* doesn't work.

*Opposite of a superstition: it's true and yet nobody believes it.


Thanks. I am fairly sure I can handle this with the group I have it planned for.

A modified hero point system may solve some of the issues. Let them use hero points to pull off the truly ridiculous stuff. The 1 in a million kind of stuff.


If you really want to go with this, I recommend heavily altering the magic system. Discworld's wizard magic is loosely based on D&D in some ways. It has equivalents of 8 spell levels and 8 schools, prepared spells and fireballs, but that's where the similarity ends.

Divine magic doesn't fit. Discworld clergy are not spellcasters. Miracle happen, but when they do, they are genuine and direct acts of the gods themselves.

Witches are wisdom based and they mostly use eve nless magic than the wizards.

Throw out alignment. It has no place and will flatten a lot of discworldy themes.

Discworld has high level characters, but not very many. The few who are truly powerful are mostly people like the silver hoard. They aren't usually protagonists. Pathfinder is a difficult fit for the tone of modern discworld, because it's a world that has passed out of the age of fantasy heroism.

The important thing to remember, I think, is that your "heroes" shouldn't be fantasy heroes. They should be normal people, or possibly inept loons. Discworld's most iconic wizard can't do magic. The wizards who are big players in discworld act like the university faculty they are and their true purpose is to keep anybody from using their incredible powers.
Cohen and the silver horde are technically fantasy heroes, but there's never normally any question of them losing. Encounters aren't decided by their skill with their swords, because the horde win instantly and automatically. Their battles don't normally even happen on screen. Their real adventures have to do with thoughts and words; philosophy, introspection and civilised conduct. When they take centre stage, their abilities are sub-normal.
The rest of the protagonists are very ordinary indeed by pathfinder standards. Detritus is probably only a warrior, not a fighter and William de Worde is a newspaper editor.

EDIT: Strongly disagree about races.

Gnolls are not right. Their nature in discworld cannon is a bit hazy, since their completely different in Equal Rites to their presentation in other books, but they're never been much like huge hyena barbarians.

Feegles are far, far more powerful than the other races. They are too small to hit, they can knock a man out in a single blow, they can teleport between worlds, including the land of the dead and people's dreams, they can move quicker than the eye, they're almost indestructible, they fear almost nothing, and finally they can repair shattered objects senselessly by lining up the atoms and crushing them together very, very hard. With their hands. With ease. When they go to war with humans they send no more than one feegle for every 8 men, because any more and they'd "outnumber them". These are the monsters that the other monsters fear.

Golems are significantly more powerful than trolls. They're all but invincible.

Grand Lodge

Ooook!


Just thought this might be a good setting for alchemists. I might suggest a "Discworld Alchemist" archetype that trades poison use and resistance for things like uncanny dodge, or fast movement.


Brambleman wrote:
Just thought this might be a good setting for alchemists. I might suggest a "Discworld Alchemist" archetype that trades poison use and resistance for things like uncanny dodge, or fast movement.

Need to add a fairly likely chance of blowing themselves up!


Of course! Why else do you think they need uncanny dodge and fast movement?


There are two major types of alchemy in discworld. Dwarf alchemy (which works) and the other alchemy, as practices by the guild of alchemists (which can turn gold into less gold, but otherwise does nothing or backfires hideously).

Dwarf alchemy probably shouldn't effect a person's biology much and it certainly shouldn't do anything remotely magical. It's just chemistry, but in a world where chemicals follow a different set of rules; the way it gets results may be radically different, but those results are roughly the same.
Some kind of alchemist archetype might work for it, but you'd probably be better off making something like a rogue with bombs, the ability to take bomb discoveries as rogue talents and a bonus to crafting in place of trap sense and trap finding.

You want rules for the other alchemy? Pay 20 gold for ingredients, work for an hour and roll a d100. On a 1, blow up the building. On a 100, you invent celluloid and demons crawl through the first TV and eat the whole world. Do not explain this rule to the players, because hope is a wonderful thing.


Being as this is splitting the difference between Pathfinder playability and Discworld flavor, im going to say that that would not be a fun ruleset.

I would think that to add flavor, some modifications might be in order:
Possibly trading out Mutagens
Increase the power/failure rate of bombs, possibly a bump to d8 but if you roll a nat 1, the bomb detonates in your square. Reflex save for half.
Selective bombs no longer exist
No Vivisectionists


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mortuum wrote:

There are two major types of alchemy in discworld. Dwarf alchemy (which works) and the other alchemy, as practices by the guild of alchemists (which can turn gold into less gold, but otherwise does nothing or backfires hideously).

You're forgetting Igors, they're certainly Alchemists. Most likely either Chirurgeon or Internal Alchemist archetypes.


Good point Son of the Veterinarian! I'd say that your average Igor is a vivisectionist. Most, at least, do not depend on bombs or explosives, but all understand anatomy well enough to switch it off in worryingly efficient ways. It also fits well because they have no scientific ethics, only professional ethics as servants and a dislike for waste.

Brambleman, I didn't mean that hideous backfire rule as a serious idea.
Guild alchemists wouldn't make a good player class because their kind of alchemy expressly does not work and is mostly a joke. Anything useful or interesting they produce is the result of a million to one chance.
If anybody wants to be a member of the guild, I think they should probably just take craft alchemy and try not to get too good at it.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Mortuum wrote:

Good point Son of the Veterinarian! I'd say that your average Igor is a vivisectionist. Most, at least, do not depend on bombs or explosives, but all understand anatomy well enough to switch it off in worryingly efficient ways. It also fits well because they have no scientific ethics, only professional ethics as servants and a dislike for waste.

Brambleman, I didn't mean that hideous backfire rule as a serious idea.
Guild alchemists wouldn't make a good player class because their kind of alchemy expressly does not work and is mostly a joke. Anything useful or interesting they produce is the result of a million to one chance.
If anybody wants to be a member of the guild, I think they should probably just take craft alchemy and try not to get too good at it.

I considered Vivisectionist, but that archetype seems to be mostly about creating pets while Igors are more about self-improvement. They work for Vivisectionists, but that isn't their personal focus.


If a Alchemist class was allowed, they would represent a surprisingly skilled alchemist. And would be very different from the usual guild alchemist. I still hold that there would be great fun in an archetype based around creating ridiculous explosions and miraculously surviving.
Also, Dex mutagen lowers wisdom, giving you both the willingness to create the explosion, and the means to escape it.


You make a good point Brambleman. Not sure a guild alchemist should get mutagen though. They're not really about biology and drugs.

Son of the Veterinarian, I'd still say vivisectionist is the best fit. Igors have been making pets since they first appeared. They're also reanimators, of course, and probably internal alchemists. The self improvement aspect is pretty well covered by internal alchemy and discoveries. While reanimator and vivisectionist don't technicaly combine, reducing sneak attack to d4s and skipping new dice whenever you would skip them for bombs is a fairly intuitive, obvious houserule which I'm sure most GMs would allow.


Pathfinder and D&D in general is a really bad fit for Discworld. Something like Savage Worlds would work SOOOO much better.


Not sure of savage worlds, but I still agree one could do better than pathfinder. Hell, new world of darkness probably fits better than pathfinder.


treat it like paranoia. maybe those old rules would work well too.

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