Brave New World Character Conversion

Character Conversion: Brave New World to Deadlands

The following is an attempt to come up with a means to convert characters generated in Brave New World over to the Deadlands system for a possible crossover, the exact rationale varying depending on the setting. Basically, there was a clearance sale, and I got my hands on a "Guide's Screen" and the so-called "Players' Guide" (which is hardly a "Players' Guide" and more a bit of source information and a narrative by Patriot, plus a few more Power Packages and Archetypes beyond those in the basic rulesbook), but I haven't yet picked up the rulesbook itself.

(I'm in the middle of running a Deadlands campaign, and the "Covenant" power package looked interesting as a possible substitute for the "Blessed". The Blessed are interesting, but their healing ability is heavily handicapped. If you're trying to save some guy's arm that has been half blown off, and you don't pass your Faith roll (and I'm not talking a Botch here), you end up taking the same damage to your guts. He was going to lose his limb ... but now you are going to die for your well-meaning-but-ill-fated attempt at saving his arm! What a bum deal.)

Some of these steps are different, based on whether you just want to port over some existing BNW characters into the Deadlands setting, or whether you're using BNW's character generation rules expressly to create characters for a Deadlands campaign. In the latter case, some different expenditures may be required for certain Quirks for the sake of play balance. If the Guide/Marshal isn't terribly concerned about play balance, however, (for instance, all the PCs in the group are superheroes) then the former case can be assumed.

Brave New World blends several Traits used in Deadlands into a smaller number of more-encompassing Traits. Converting a BNW character to Deadlands means putting the Aptitudes under those Traits in their proper places as they would work under Deadlands, and determining values for Deadlands Traits based on the comparable ones in BNW. BNW only uses six-sided dice, so all die types will be d6.

  • Set Spirit and Cognition to be equal to the BNW "Spirit" Trait.
  • Set Nimbleness, Deftness and Quickness to be equal to the BNW "Speed" Trait.
  • Set Strength and Vigor to be equal to the BNW "Strength" Trait.
  • Set Smarts, Mien and Knowledge to be equal to the BNW "Smarts" Trait.
  • Make Size and Pace equal to their BNW equivalents. Due to the six-sided die system, Wind will always be equal to 12.
  • Divide up Aptitudes into their appropriate Traits as under Deadlands.
  • Write down Quirks as Hindrances and Edges.
  • Translate equipment into Deadlands equivalents, if need be. Weapons are almost compatible, except that damage in BNW is rolled the same way as Aptitudes and Trait checks in Deadlands, with flat bonuses on top of the highest roll. The best bet is to find the closest Deadlands equivalent.

  • Sample Skill / Aptitude Equivalents:

    Some of the skills in BNW don't have exact Deadlands equivalents, largely thanks to Deadlands' "colorful" naming scheme. Aside from the largely cosmetic difference between "Fighting" and "fightin'", here are some other translations:

  • Bravery is equal to guts.
  • Persuasion concentrations are broken up into Bluff, Ridicule, etc. as separate Aptitudes, but keep the same levels in each.
  • Covenant Martial Arts is a new Aptitude, which goes under Spirit. Treat it as fightin': brawlin', except that it uses the character's dice in Spirit. Since BNW only uses six-sided dice, this is no big deal initially, but the character could always put Bounty Points into raising the Spirit die type later.
  • Concentrations in a given skill should be transported over at the same level, even if the Concentrations only have level 1 or level 2 in them. Deadlands may not support Concentrations of different levels, but it's not really all that difficult to handle. (It's just a bit tough to explain in print.)

    The trick is, if the PC wants to later improve an Aptitude with divided Concentrations like this, he will first have to spend the difference for each Concentration to bring it up to the 3 points required for each Concentration in Deadlands. In other words, if he has academia: occult at 2 points, and academia: history at 2 points as well, and we assume that academia: occult is the primarily Concentration, he'll need to spend another point on academia: history to meet the cost of 3 points for a Concentration ... and then he can spend another 3 points to raise academia in all Concentrations up to level 3.

    Please note that in Brave New World, individual skills aren't treated quite the same way as Aptitudes in Deadlands. In BNW, you roll the dice for your Trait, then add the level of the individual skill to that total as a bonus. In Deadlands, you roll a number of dice equal to your skill level. However, despite the different import of the numbers, the end result is close enough that we can pretend that it's a direct translation, for the sake of simplicity.

    BNW Archetypes as Arcane Backgrounds:

    If the intention here is to generate a new type of player character with super powers, but geared for the Deadlands setting, it might be best to generate the character under the Deadlands rules, but giving access to the power packages of BNW, with some minor translation required.

    For instance, damage in BNW is rolled in the same way Traits and Aptitudes are in Deadlands -- the dice are not totaled together, but rather the highest value is taken. For consistency's sake, damage caused by super powers from one of the "power packages" of BNW should be rolled in this way.

    Any required Quirks for the power package should be paid for, plus the "Arcane Background" Edge should be purchased, based on the power package. (e.g., "Arcane Background: Covenant", "Arcane Background: Shrinker")

    Game Setting Justification:

    One thing to be considered is just why Brave New World characters would be popping up in a Deadlands campaign. Here are a few ideas:

  • The Brave New World Earth is an "alternate history". The supernatural still exists in BNW, and so do the Reckoners, but the supernatural has manifested itself in a different way in this timeline. However, due to some sort of weirdness in the Hunting Grounds, one or more of these Deltas from this alternate timeline have ended up in either the Weird West or the Wasted West. It could be part of a new plot by the Reckoners to bring more mayhem into the Wasted West by porting in some supervillains (and some superheroes happened to get caught in the effect, or dashed on in, in hot pursuit), or perhaps the result of a Mad Scientist's physics-defying invention.
  • The Brave New World Earth is part of the Deadlands timeline, after the Weird West and before the Wasted West. This is a lot harder to pull off, since there's no indication in BNW that the U.S. has been divided into North and South, or that the "Weird West" ever happened. It would require a bit of patchwork on the history presented in either setting. Perhaps, for this period of history, the CSA and USA overcame their differences, and the States were indeed United once more ... but as a result of the fallout of JFK's administration, the States fragmented again after the BNW timeline, and just in time for the events of Deadlands: Hell on Earth -- and almost nobody happens to really believe all of that strangeness that was supposed to have happened during the time of the Weird West. Either that, or the U.S. was still split, and the events of BNW took place in the USA, with Crescent City being in the North. (There are bound to be crucial events in the BNW timeline that took place in the South ... but the basic premise of BNW might still hold.)
  • The BNW setting doesn't exist, but superheroes do. Basically, the BNW rules are being used just to justify some new character archetypes with cool powers, but without the extensive rules required by Templars, Doomsayers, Blessed, Shamans, Hucksters and so forth. This way, you can allow PCs in the group who each have one or two really cool things they can do, but without the need to grab a whole new sourcebook for each of these new arcane professions. (You'd just need to get the appropriate Brave New World supplement for a whole bunch of them to choose from.)

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