Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Freeport Iconics in D&D 5th Edition, Part 1: Thorgrim

My regular gaming group has just completed our first experience with D&D 5th Edition, in which Tim the Younger ran Lost Mine of Phandelver for us. (We triumphed, huzzah!) Tim plans to run more for us (probably Hoard of the Dragon Queen) when he's safely done with his oral exams this spring and his brain cells have had a chance to regenerate. I'm looking forward to it, but will miss playing my spooky tiefling warlock when we start over with new 1st-level characters. Of course, given the average lifespan of low-level characters, and the fact that Tim has admitted that Hoard is a bit of a meat grinder, Scharonn may very well see play as a replacement character partway through the new campaign.

Learning 5E coincided with migrating my Freeport errata pages to a new site, so naturally, I gave some thought to how to the new rules would work with that setting. And after my conversion of the "Freeport iconics" to Pathfinder and Fate, doing the same with 5E was the obvious next step.  Over the next few columns, I will be describing the process I used to recreate Thorgrim, Rollo, Malevir, and Alaina as 5th Edition player characters.

As with the Pathfinder conversions, the first issue to address with these pregenerated heroes is their exceptionally good ability scores. Using 5E's point-buy system, no PC can start with a score higher than a 15 before racial modifiers, so these four heroes' scores will need some dramatic adjustments. However, 5E also reins in the trend towards ever-higher ability scores that 3E was known for, so more modest scores will certainly not cripple the characters in any way.

We'll start with Thorgrim, because he appears first in the book, and because his ability scores are more easily modified than his companions'. Death in Freeport gave him the following scores: Str 14, Dex 10, Con 17, Int 12, Wis 15, Cha 10. As a cleric, Wisdom should probably be his best ability score, so when I bought his scores for 5E, I spent more points on Wis than Con: Str 14, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 11, Wis 15, Cha 10. I chose the hill dwarf subrace, which raised his Con to 14 and Wis to 16, and gave him an additional hit point per level to offset his slightly lower Con compared to 3E.

In the original module, Thorgrim was described as a cleric of the God of Dwarves, but that was changed in the v.3.5 revision to the God of Valor. (Among other reasons, this allowed him to be proficient with the longsword listed on his character sheet.) One of his 3E domains was War, and that's the most logical choice of domain for him in 5E because it gives him proficiency with all martial weapons and armor, as well as appropriately flavored domain spells.

The Freeport iconics have been given no personal history, so I chose backgrounds for them based more on what skills the converted characters needed than any specific idea of their origins. The obvious default for a cleric is the Acolyte, and that package easily meshed with Thorgrim's established abilities. The Shelter of the Faithful feature gives him a way to connect to his god's local temple--which, granted, is not a large one in Freeport, but any help is better than none. (If your campaign doesn't specify who the God of Valor is, good choices from Appendix B of the Player's Handbook include Torm, Heironeous, Kiri-Jolith, and Tyr.)

For skills, Thorgrim needs Medicine and Religion, and gets Insight from his background. I chose History for his fourth skill because none of the other PCs are trained in it, and they have Malevir (who I'll address in a future column) for their Persuasion needs. One of the languages Thorgrim gains from Acolyte should be Celestial. Giant is an appropriate choice for the other (plus his buddy Rollo will lose that language in 5E).

For equipment, I used the default equipment for his class and background, giving him chainmail and a shield (AC 18), a warhammer, a thrown hammer (giving him a ranged attack, which he lacked in 3E), and an explorer's pack. He ends up with two holy symbols this way, so make one of them an amulet and one an emblem on his shield. Spend his 15 gp on a longsword, his god's weapon of choice.

Guidance, light, and sacred flame make good choices for his starting cantrips. He may prepare any 1st-level cleric spells, but bane, command, cure wounds, and protection from evil and good best match the list given in Death in Freeport.

To summarize, Thorgrim gains the following stats:

Hill Dwarf, Cleric 1 (Acolyte)
Str 14 (+2), Dex 10 (+0), Con 14 (+2), Int 11 (+0) (+2 History/+4 stonecunning, +2 Religion), Wis 16 (+3) (+5 saves, Insight, Medicine), Cha 10 (+0) (+2 saves).
AC 18, Speed 25, HP 11, HD 1d8.
Longsword +4 (1d8+2 or 1d10+2), warhammer +4 (1d8+2 or 1d10+2), light hammer +4 (1d4+2).
Spell save DC 13, spell attack bonus +5.
Cantrips known: guidance, light, sacred flame.
1st-level spells prepared (2 slots): bane, command, cure wounds, divine favor*, protection from evil and good, shield of faith*.

Next time, I will convert the gnome fighter Rollo to 5th Edition. The most difficult part of his stats will be his signature weapon, the gnome hooked hammer, which does not appear in the 5E Player's Handbook.

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