Hey guys, has there been any concerted attempt to make a high fantasy hack for 2d20? Currently aiming to make one myself, lifepath, races, and magic included but would appreciate some inspiration!
I haven’t tried it myself, but really any system could be plopped down into any setting, at least as far as I’m concerned.
You could easily use Conan, change the setting (or not), dtop the oenalties for sorcery, add more spells and weaker magic items that occur more commonly and viola, you have a 2d20 high fantasy game.
I appreciate that sentiment, but the magic in Conan is absolutely not the kind of stuff you’d find in a high fantasy setting. I’ll probably reflavor the abilities from Mutant Chronicles’ art powers instead, Conan was what I was planning to use as the framework. It’s just integrating races in a meaningful way in char gen that’s proving to be a road bump so far, to get the D&D feel I was thinking talent trees for each of the classes
[T]he magic in Conan is absolutely not the kind of stuff you’d find in a high fantasy setting.
Not in a bog-standard D&D setting, I agree, although if you want to recreate D&D… it seems sensible to play D&D.
A lot of it would very much fit in as “arts of the enemy” in Middle Earth or many other notionally high fantasy settings. (I actually disagree that Middle Earth really is “high fantasy”.) I bet that Conan could be adapted to run something like First Age or Second Age Middle Earth nicely.
Just focusing on Middle Earth in the First and Second Ages, magic is around, but it’s not really at all like D&D magic, or even the Vancian magic D&D’s spell system is modeled on. It’s much more subtle overall, for one (although Gandalf does a lot of blasting off-camera), is clearly quite tiring for its casters, and, generally speaking, slow. I think it would do Eternal Champion very well, too, certainly much better than any other game system I’ve ever seen that attempted to handle the way magic works in Moorcock’s multiverse.
For all its flaws and inability to model genre, D&D magic has one really big virtue—it allows sorcery on the battlefield in a way that most fictional versions do not. Looking at an old favorite duology that is worth digging out, Brian Daley’s Coramonde novels feature magic, which sometimes breaches to the battlefield, but in general battle magic is difficult and chancy. Two of the three casters in the stories that appear in a substantial way carry weapons and the supporting character casters often have a bevy of soldiers around them.
So it depends a lot on what you intend the role of magic to be and, of course if you add things to the game, for instance some kind of “light magic” option, with “dark magic” that involves sacrifice and pacts with eldritch entities always being a constant temptation.
I did add something like Momentum and Threat to replace Inspiration, which I think is just grafted onto 5E with very little thought on the part of the designers.
Good and Ill Fortune
The party starts each session with three Good Fortune dice, which can be used by a PC to alter any ability, attack, or saving throw made for that PC by adding +D6 to the roll after seeing the result of the D20 but before the result is adjudicated.
You can spend one Good Fortune die in this way. However, you can choose to “Press Your Luck” and add a second die to the roll after seeing the result of the first roll, or if the Good Fortune pool is empty to roll as if it was Good Fortune. However, by doing so, you build up the Ill Fortune pool. These dice are spent by the GM to reduce a PC’s roll or counteract a Good Fortune die some time later.
Ill Fortune decreases by one at the end of the session but Good Fortune resets to three at the next session (don’t hoard them).
I award Good Fortune for cool RP or a heroic action of some sort, or having a good idea that advances the plot—this lets me signal to keep going in that direction. It would make sense to also allow a roll of a natural 20 to, instead of scoring a critical hit, to build Good Fortune and, similarly, a natural 1 to build Ill Fortune. I haven’t done this, but it is a pretty logical extension. If I were to play with this more, I could easily see adding feats that make this better.
I worked out a trial Momentum hack for DnD 5e, but have yet to try it with players. My group didn’t want to play 5e, and so we danced around the system, playing other things, before settling on Conan - which we’re loving.
Anyway, I wrote this draft last year - feel free to use it or comment on it.
Any bets there will end up being a Skyrim 2D20 system in 2021- 2022?
I’ve considered this and MC3e definetly has the better magic system for Dnd than conan
It also covers a lot of spells
Strangely it looks really easy to port the gensys magic rules into 2d20. They also have a max difficulty of 5 so it lines up quite well. Damage is also similar. Its just the rolls that are different.
and you can swap momentum/successes for advantages. Not really for Dnd - but works for other fantasy games
Two thing I don’t love about D and D that I think a ‘High Fantasy’ 2d20 should AVOID are ‘disposable’ magic that is too available and healing ‘on tap’. They are the main reasons I play Conan instead of D and D. They reduce jeopardy and therefore tension (and therfore ‘fun’).
The need for Patrons in BRILLIANT and I’d want to keep it. The best fantasy keeps magic limited for a reason - it steals the show, mainly from the player, and short cuts all the problem-solving that could happen. Healing is even worse. So many stories can revolve around saving a wounded comrade/civilian/stranger. But not in D and D!
A good 2d20 High Fantasy should focus on races, maybe make magic a tiny bit more accessible and a really original, intriguing setting. That’s what I’m hoping to Homebrew anyway.
I’ve been thinking about how to handle magic under 2d20 outside of what has been put forth in Conan, something to give it a slightly different flavor - less grim, dark, and borderline insane to pursue. I kind of like the idea of setting up spells similar to Star Wars saga force powers but maintain the Resolve cost to cost the spells. Spells would be set up to be cast as in an order of magnitude format from 1 to 5, with higher the magnitude the greater the complexity to cast, spell effect, and resolve to cast.
I could see using something like Stress as a way to limit magic casting, especially more limited short-term casting. It’s dangerous in the context of a particular encounter but recovers fairly quickly after the encounter ends. Bigger or longer term effects can cost more consequential personal resources. This can really work nicely with multiple Stress tracks, with different spells drawing on different Stress tracks.