Magic System Conversion,
D&D 3.5 to GURPS

Introduction to the Daniverse Magic System

Wizards and Clerics and Bards…oh, my!

I never really took to the GURPS magic system…I couldn’t say why. When I first started work on the Outlanders campaign, I decided I wanted to use the D&D magic system for several reasons, including the facts that it is well known and understood by the involved Players, it is already well-defined and documented, and that I generally like the "flavor" of it (though for my tastes, it would need a little tweaking). However, with the Daniverse revolving around the World of Darkness setting, I couldn’t very well ignore the MTA mechanics. Therefore, I began working on this system to marry the two in a functional and (hopefully) easy-to-digest manner. This incarnation of the Daniverse magic rules includes many improvements on the original concept (as used in Outlanders), as well as an update to D&D 3.5e standards (as the original was created using 2e), and is intended for use with GURPS 4e, including elements from GURPS Magic, Powers, Thaumatology, and Thaumatology Magical Styles. In the Daniverse, these rules replace the standard GURPS magic systems described in the Basic Set and GURPS Magic, and any GURPS interpretation of WoD Sorceror mechanics (which I have yet to discover).

Execution

This system is intended to be used in concert with the existing D&D source material. You will still need access to the appropriate D&D rulebooks, for reference purposes, as I will not go into great detail on the descriptions of the various D&D-related elements here. That being said, it would be virtually impossible to exactly recreate the D&D system in GURPS, so I have tried, instead, to recreate the "look and feel," while maintaining the ability to use existing D&D source material with as little conversion or number-crunching as possible. Ultimately, no Casting Class will be point-balanced with the others once converted to GURPS—you'll just have to live with it. I have also concentrated on the spellcasting aspects of the conversion, and will not go into detail about other Class-related abilities unless it is necessary to do so. Furthermore, D&D Magic will be herein referred to as "Lesser Magic" (as opposed to MTA Spheres, which I will refer to as "True Magick").

Part I: D&D 3.5e Magic System Conversion to GURPS 4e

Primary Attribute and Attribute Bonus:

Although both D&D and GURPS are based around a 10=average/20=max (mostly) Attribute range, the average Attribute for both is not the same—D&D stats, especially where PCs are concerned, tend to be much higher, especially for a Caster's Primary Attribute. This means that an equivalent GURPS character (to the extent that such a thing could exist)would be "less powerful" than his D&D counterpart, requiring a little "boost" to prevent a bunch of IQ:18 wizards running around in a GURPS game. Therefore, the Primary Attribute for a given Caster Type should be converted as follows:
  • Intelligence=IQ ± "Intelligence Trait Modifiers."
  • Wisdom=IQ ± "Wisdom Trait Modifiers."
  • Charisma=Base 10 ± "Charisma Trait Modifiers."
Some Traits could be seen as enhancements to one's casting ability. I won't try to work out all the possibilities for Traits that might be considered for these purposes, since they would not only be open to interpretation, but will eventually change with later additions or changes to GURPS. Some example attribute modifiers can include ±1 for the following, at the GM's approval:
  • Eidetic Memory or Mathematical Ability for Intelligence.
  • Common Sense or Intuition for Wisdom.
  • Appearance or Charisma for Charisma.
Once the Primary Attribute has been computed, make a note of the Attribute Bonus, following the standard D&D progression. This Bonus will be used to determine Bonus Spells, as normal for D&D, and as a skill bonus for some spell effects (specifically for attack rolls).

Converted, New, and Revised Traits:

D&D Skill Conversions:
  • Concentration -> Will (Limitation: Concentration only)
  • Knowledge(Arcana) -> Thaumatology
  • Knowledge(Religion) -> Theology
  • Spellcraft -> Thaumaturgy or Theurgy; see below.
  • Use Magic Device -> Thaumaturgy or Theurgy check at a penalty equal to the Spell's Level, x2 for non-casters.
  • Check DCs (roughly based on a comparison of difficulty descriptions from both systems):
      DC5 -> +4 or +5
    DC10 -> +0
    DC15 -> -2 or -3
    DC20 -> -4 or -5
    DC25 -> -6 or -7
    DC30 -> -8 or -9
    DC40 -> -10
  • Armor Check Penalty: GURPS Encumbrance counts as a penalty to Spell skill checks (Th28)
  • Turn Undead class ability requires the True Faith Advantage, effects based on Caster Levels per D&D.
New and Revised Traits:
New Advantage:
Lesser Spellcasting
(Traditional, Source)
2pts +Spell's Level/Slot

This advantage is essentially the Super-Memorization variant of Modular Abilities (B71); cost includes the following modifications: Limited, Spells Only (-20%); Limited Use, Once Per Day (-40%); Preparation Required, 15min (-30%); Source is Arcane or Divine (-10%; see Magical, Po27); Level-Based Spell Effects (±?). Source (Arcane or Divine) must be specified at purchase, and are not mutually compatible (w/ex); differing Sources are considered separate Traits. Caster Type must be specified at purchase, and are not mutually compatible (w/ex), and must be appropriate to the Caster Type of the associated Caster Level Talent; differing Caster Types are considered separate Traits. Prerequisite for maximum Spell Level and number of per-Level Spell Slots available based on Caster Level and Primary Attribute Bonus, per D&D.
Special Enhancements
Lesser Spellcasting (Spontaneous, Source): Spontaneous casters need not specify a spell for any slot until it is being cast. This is worth +25%.
Specialized (School): Traditional Arcane only. Grants one extra Slot for a Spell of the specified School only, and restricts the Schools the Caster can practice, per D&D. Also grants +2 to checks to learn new Spells of the specified School. This is worth +5pts.
New Advantage:
Spontaneous Spell
(Spell/Type)
TBD

Allows replacing pre-slotted spell with specified spell type or same spell with specified modification at casting.
New Advantage:
Spell Immunity
(Spell/Type)
4pts or 8pts

Example: Elves' immunity to Sleep. Immunity to a single spell is worth 4 points, and immunity to a class/type of spell is worth 8 points.
New Perks:
Known/Transcribed Spells (Level#)
Respectively, Spontaneous and Traditional, but essentially the same. Cost is per set of spells per Level, as indicated for D&D. Since Traditional Divine casters (i.e. Clerics) have access to all spells per their available Spell Levels, they use "Known" instead at double the cost. Additional Perks might be required for changing or adding to the list for a particular Level, @GMD.
New Perks:
Metamagic Feats
Allows the caster to learn "modified" versions of existing spells—for those D&D Feats that don't have an obvious GURPS counterpart already.
Lesser Magic
Sources: Arcane or Divine.
Focus: D&D spellcasting and Class abilities.
This Power exists solely to allow casting of converted D&D spells, and to recreate D&D spellcasting character classes.
Caster Level (Type)
5pts +5/Level

AKA Lesser Magic Talent. Caster Type must be specified at purchase, and is not mutually compatible with others (w/ex); differing Caster Types are considered separate Traits. Determines availability of Lesser Spellcasting Slot number and types, bonuses applied to "Caster Level" checks, and some Spell or Ability effects. No 0-Level available. Purchase of Traits associated with the new Caster Level, such as improved Abilities, Skills, or Perks, may be required before purchasing the new Caster Level.
Lesser Magic Abilities
Lesser Spellcasting; True Faith; Morph; Ally (Familiar).
Power Modifier: Lesser Magic. The advantage belongs to the Lesser Magic power. This modifier is most often Divine (-10%) or Arcane (-10%).
New Skills:
Thaumaturgy/Theurgy
IQ/Average

Defaults: Other type-4.
Replaces D&D Spellcraft skill. Respectively, an arcane or divine interpretation of the same concepts; one defaults to the other at -4. Spells are Techniques deriving from this skill (by type). This skill is also checked in situations where D&D would call for a Spellcraft check, such as identification of spells being cast or fine control of spell effects. Normally only taught to would-be casters.
New Techniques:
Spell (Spell Name)
Average

Defaults: Thaumaturgy/Theurgy+Spell Level+Attribute Bonus; cannot be improved. Prerequisites: By Caster Level only.
Spells for higher Caster Levels may be purchased, but not cast until the Caster Level prerequisite has been met.

Other D&D Class Abilities:
Most will be purchased as normal through GURPS Powers/Advantages, modified as needed to fit their D&D descriptions. The most efficient way to handle "Leveling" these abilities is to recalculate the cost for successive Caster Levels and pay the difference; I'll leave whether it is required to purchase the next Caster Level or not to the GM's discretion.

Spellcaster Styles:

In this conversion, a caster will purchase a Spellcaster Style (see GURPS Thaumaturgy: Magical Styles), which is subject to all the normal Style mechanics. I have not included every caster type available in D&D, but only the basics—all others should be a logical variation on those presented here. Since Spell-Techniques cannot be improved beyond the default, there is no Style cost associated with them directly; however, in order to learn a Spell, it must be transcribed or known, requiring an expenditure for the associated Perks (an exception to the normal "10 points" rule for Style Perks). If using GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy, you could also require an appropriate "Class" Template as a prerequisite to a given Spellcaster Style ("caster" Templates would likely need to be modified to incorporate these Styles)—especially appropriate for Classes (like Ranger or Paladin) that don't gain spellcasting ability until later Levels. In D&D, a character would gain experience that would then grant access to a new Class Level; here, the Character must purchase all abilities associated with the new Caster Level with earned CPs before "unlocking" its new effects (some of these abilities might be able to be used at the current Caster Level before the purchase of the new Caster Level is complete, @GMD).
Wizard
23 points

Style Prerequisites: Caster Level (Wizard); Lesser Spellcasting (Traditional, Arcane), all Slots appropriate to Magery Level; literacy.
Required Skills: Thaumaturgy.
Required Spells: By Caster Level.
Perks: Transcribed Spells; Metamagic Feats.
Optional Traits
Advantages: Ally (Animal Familiar); Signature Gear (Spellbook); improved Caster Level; extra Lesser Spellcasting slots.
Disadvantages: Intolerance (Sorcerors).
Skills: Savoir-Faire(Wizard), Thaumatology.

Sorceror
39 points

Style Prerequisites: Magery (Sorceror); Lesser Spellcasting (Spontaneous, Arcane), all Slots appropriate to Caster Level.
Required Skills: Thaumaturgy.
Required Spells: By Caster Level.
Perks: Known Spells; Metamagic Feats.
Optional Traits
Advantages: Ally (Animal Familiar); improved Caster Level; extra Lesser Spellcasting slots.
Disadvantages: Social Stigma (Sorceror).
Skills: Thaumatology.

Cleric
26 points

Style Prerequisites: Caster Level (Cleric); Lesser Spellcasting (Traditional, Divine), all Slots appropriate to Caster Level; literacy (unless an oral tradition).
Required Skills: Theurgy.
Required Spells: By Caster Level.
Perks: Known Spells; Metamagic Feats.
Optional Traits
Advantages: True Faith (modified as above); Signature Gear (Religious texts); improved Caster Level (Cleric); extra Lesser Spellcasting slots; Signature Gear (Focus).
Disadvantages: Disciplines of Faith (per Order); Intolerance (Opposing Clerics).
Skills: Deity's weapon skill; Savoir-Faire (Order); Theology.

Favored Soul
39 points

Style Prerequisites: Caster Level (Favored Soul); Lesser Spellcasting (Spontaneous, Divine), all Slots appropriate to Caster Level.
Required Skills: Theurgy.
Required Spells: By Caster Level.
Perks: Known Spells; Metamagic Feats.
Optional Traits
Advantages: improved Caster Level; extra Lesser Spellcasting slots; Signature Gear (Focus).
Disadvantages: Disciplines of Faith (per Order); Intolerance (Opposing Clerics).
Skills: Theology.
Druid
23 points

Style Prerequisites: Caster Level (Druid); Lesser Spellcasting (Traditional, Divine), all Slots appropriate to Caster Level; Language: Druid.
Required Skills: Theurgy; Naturalist.
Required Spells: By Caster Level.
Perks: Known Spells; Metamagic Feats.
Optional Traits
Advantages: Ally (Animal Companion); Signature Gear (Focus); improved Caster Level; extra Lesser Spellcasting slots; Morph (modified for Druid Class).
Disadvantages: Vow: Never Wear Metal Armor; Disciplines of Faith (Druid).
Skills: Savoir-Faire (Druid); Theology; Physician.

Bard
30 points

Style Prerequisites: Caster Level (Bard); Lesser Spellcasting (Spontaneous, Arcane), all Slots appropriate to Caster Level.
Required Skills: Thaumaturgy; "Perform Skill" (Primary)—Spell checks/levels based on the lower of Thaumaturgy or "Perform Skill."
Required Spells: By Caster Level.
Perks: Known Spells; Metamagic Feats
Optional Traits
Advantages: Signature Gear (Instrument); improved Caster Level; extra Lesser Spellcasting slots; "Bard Abilities."
Disadvantages: ?.
Skills: Thaumatology; other performance-related Skills; Thief/Spy Skills.

Paladin
15 points

Style Prerequisites: Caster Level (Paladin); Lesser Spellcasting (Traditional, Divine), all Slots appropriate to Caster Level.
Required Skills: Theurgy.
Required Spells: By Caster Level.
Perks: Known Spells.
Optional Traits
Advantages: improved Caster Level; extra Lesser Spellcasting slots; "Paladin Abilities."
Disadvantages: ?.
Skills: Theology.

Ranger
15 points

Style Prerequisites: Caster Level (Ranger); Lesser Spellcasting (Traditional, Divine), all Slots appropriate to Caster Level.
Required Skills: Theurgy.
Required Spells: By Caster Level.
Perks: Known Spells.
Optional Traits
Advantages: improved Caster Level; extra Lesser Spellcasting slots.
Disadvantages: ?.
Skills: Theology.

Spell Conversion Guidelines:

Most spell effects in D&D will require little conversion. Some conversion guidelines:
  • General Time: (D&D) Round = 6sec.
  • Casting Time: Full-Round = 6sec, Standard = 3sec, Swift = 1sec, Free = Instantaneous. Normal GURPS rules for "time taken" should be employed.
  • Range: Figure normally, as per D&D, converting feet to yards (round down).
  • Area: Convert feet to yards (round down); angles for cones should require no translation.
  • Duration: Convert Rounds to seconds.
  • Saves: Defenders should use normal situational GURPS mechanics for defending against spells. Some examples:
    Fortitude Save=HT.
    Reflex Save=Active Defense (or sometimes DX).
    Will Save=Will.
    Alternative Saves: PR vs Illusions.
    Defense would then be treated as for a normal attack/defense, or as a Quick Contest of the Spell's check versus the target's appropriate defense. Effects of successful/unsuccessful defense can remain as stated in D&D spell descriptions, for simplicity, or be adapted to the situation for better GURPS compliance.
  • The most difficult D&D concept to convert is that of Hit Points, Hit Dice and Damage. Hit Dice should be based on the CP value of a particular character or creature—the only measure of "power" in GURPS. However, since the CP value isn't listed for each creature in GURPS, the easiest solution, is to keep the D&D Monster Manual(s) handy and note the D&D Hit Dice as a reference. In the case of D&D Class Levels, you should be able to use the GURPS CP value; a good rule of thumb might be 1HD @ 100CP, ±1HD per ±25CP thereafter—this is a totally arbitrary amount, as there really is no easy comparison between "power levels" in the two systems.
    Damage conversion for these purposes is based on a comparison of "killing power" between the two systems. As such, damage for Spells could be converted as follows: Convert the base die-type to GURPS d6s as follows:
    d3=1d6-3.
    d4=1d6-2.
    d6=1d6.
    d8=1d6+2.
    d10=2d6-2.
    d12=2d6.
    Add ±3 points (~½die) per additional die of damage. Add ±½ points per additional point of damage. Minimum of 1 point. Convert bonus damage points to "dice" if using that rule.

Other Systems:

D&D Spell Resistance (SR) is replaced by Magic Resistance, which inflicts a skill penalty on the caster—use the GURPS mechanic in place of the "Caster Level Check" of D&D. In this conversion, Spells do not require FP expenditure or any other sort of "power source"—game limitations are based on Caster Level and related Slot limitations (which, I suppose, could be considered an "energy" requirement). There is mention in D&D rules of a "fatiguing" effect after casting, which would, at least, justify a FG expenditure as for combat or other strenuous activity, under the same conditions.

Part II: Using Mage: the Ascension+GURPS+D&D

This section assumes the "unofficial" GURPS MTA 2e rules are in effect. See MTA section for more details.

Side by Side:

True Magick, in MTA is not so incompatible with D&D as it might seem on the surface; they can exist side-by-side without much fuss. One only has to bear in mind that they are two completely different approaches to manipulating the same universe. Lesser Magic/Spell Resistance, and True Magick/Sphere Resistance are separate Traits; though True Magick counts toward both True and Lesser, Lesser Magic Resistance has no effect on True Magick. Using True Magick versus Lesser Magic, the Awakened Magus would counter with "appropriate" Spheres to the effects being cast, as agreed upon by the GM, without any sort of bonus—the Magus' strength is in his flexibility, and not necessarily "power level"—as if the effect were naturally occurring. The fact that it is "magic" is irrelevant to the Awakened—just another "natural" law. D&D Magic, if used as described here, should replace interpretations of WoD:Sorceror, and probably Changeling:The Dreaming as well; the "magic abilities" of the other WoD templates could certainly be included as Lesser Magic as well—it's just a different means to the same end.

In Concert:

An individual Character using both Lesser Spellcasting and True Magick can exist, though he will inevitably forget one at the expense of the other (most likely, in favor of True Magick). Use Arete (Power) and Spheres in place of Caster Level and Lesser Spellcasting; Spheres will have to be at a minimum of Level 3 to "naturally" produce most D&D effects, so you might need some Limitations on those Abilities to bring the cost down ("Only Spell-Like Effects" might be a justifiable Accessibility Limitation, in the case of a "converted" Wizard). Individual Spells would become Rotes, based on the appropriate Spheres/Arete skill (although Thamaturgy/Theurgy may continue to be used for only those Rote-Spells if those skills still exceed Arete). A Magus may still cast a Spell-Rote whose effects lie outside his available Sphere capabilities, if he possesses the body of knowledge that would have allowed it normally; for these purposes, his Caster Level is based on his Arete (Power) level on a point-for-point conversion, and Spell-Techniques on the better of Arete-6 or Thaumaturgy/Theurgy. A Magus is not restricted to Spell Slots, his effects instead being fueled by his own Awakened Avatar, but is subject to far more dire consequences for failure—a Magus is always subject to Paradox, even when casting "normal" Spells. A Spellcaster in the process of converting to True Magick can use the same "quest" that allows him to increase his Arete to "forget the old ways," converting CPs spent in D&D magic-related Traits to MTA-related ones at the GM's discretion.

Other Considerations:

Lesser Magic, using this system, should benefit from the same bonuses and penalties associated with the casting of True Magick, IAW MTA, such as the spending of Quintessence, prior study of the target, etc. (See the appropriate ruleset for the specifics.) A Spellcaster may draw Quintessence from Tass, Chantries or other sources, but without an Awakened Avatar, he may not acquire or use it without Tass (nor does he fully understand it's properties).

Part III: Magic in the Daniverse

See Outlanders for details on the interpretation of these guidelines in use in the Daniverse .