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2015-10-07

GURPS Lost Mine of Phandelver

So, awhile back I decided to run the Lost Mine of Phandelver (the D&D 5th edition starter box adventure) using GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. Why GURPS? I've covered that before. So, I just wanted to go over the general experience of running a 5e adventure with DF.



Since this adventure was for "first level" adventurers, I decided to use the Dungeon Fantasy on the Cheap with a slight modification. I gave the players 150 points for the 100-point templates than told them to ignore the Disadvantages. After they created these characters, they could then buy disadvantages that fit the character and use the extra points to improve other stats. I found taking this approach created characters with fewer and more interesting disadvantages.

Previously I had been a player in a group that ran the LMoP, and what impressed me the most was how much the actual play of the adventure went exactly the same. The first few sessions played out with only minor differences. The "combat balance" felt about the same, and the player dealt with the enemies at the same speed.

The player's choices did diverge quite a bit, especially as the game went on, but the play "felt" the same. In some cases, enemies were defeated much faster than in the 5e game due to GURPS's rules such as major wounds, and -HP.

Here might be a good time to mention that I found converting 5e monsters to GURPS very easy. I had difficulty in the past converting D&D 3.5 monsters, but not this time. I don't know why that was exactly, but it may have had more to do with the lower level of the monsters (and fewer special cases and abilities) than the edition. Still, I found converting Str directly to ST, and the other attributes' modifiers as straight add/subtraction from 10 for the corresponding GURPS stat, to be very quick in converting stats.

Things went very well and the game had some interesting actions by the players (they basically sold the Cragmaw Castle to the Dragon...). But as we neared the end, I knew that the difficulty was about to ramp up.

The adventure seems to have 3 level ranges it deals with: ~1 for the hideout and town, then ~2-3 most everything else, and level 5 for the mine. Even though the players did many of the optional side adventures, and gained a good amount of CP, I had a feeling that the final mine was going to be a bit much for them.

I was almost wrong. The players took the shortest path to the "end" and might have been able to take out the big bad, but after the jelly attacked their goblin pal, and a few bugbears fled into the darkness, they got worried about a flank attack. So, they backtracked to the beginning got a bit worn down by some minor pests, then found themselves in a big dark room filled with ghouls.

Paralytic Attacks = dead PCs.

I treated the paralyzing attack as a stun, and gave the players a HT roll to recover, but the attacks kept coming. The Orc bard held out the longest, but eventually fell.

Overall, the game went very well. While it didn't end "successful", I think it was a success. It played very well and was probably the most fun I had running DF. Maybe in the future I'll revisit some of the published adventures for 5e.