Thursday, February 12, 2015

The Freeport Iconics in D&D 5th Edition, Part 2: Rollo

In my last column, I converted Thorgrim, the pregenerated dwarf cleric from Death in Freeport, to the D&D 5th Edition rules. This time, we turn to the next member of the party, the gnome fighter Rollo.

This warrior is largely defined by his exceptional physical scores and his signature double weapon, but first I want to touch on his race. The 5E Player's Handbook states that most gnomes are rock gnomes, but the forest gnome is the subrace with the minor illusion magic and ability to speak with animals that match Rollo's 3E racial traits.

 Death in Freeport gives Rollo the following ability scores: Str 16, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 10. When you take into account that he would have needed to start with an 18 before the -2 racial penalty, this is one insanely tough little bastard! In 5th Edition, no character can start with higher than a 15 before racial modifiers, and there's no way Rollo can buy three of those without dropping all of his mental scores to 8. While this is certainly a valid character-building strategy, it's boring to play, and it guts the common sense and clever tactics implied by the above-average Int and Wis he was given in 3E. Instead, I bought the following scores: Str 14, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 10. His race and subrace raise the Dex to 14 and Int to 12. Buying a 15 would not have given him any benefit over a 14 unless it was in Dex, and medium and heavy armor will limit his Dex bonus to AC.

Another consideration in the decision about Rollo's Dexterity score was the fact that the 5E Player's Handbook includes no exotic weapons or double weapons. This means that the gnomish hooked hammer is not available, rending Rollo's Two-Weapon Fighting schtick from 3E moot. This weapon was essentially a combination pick and hammer. His character portrait shows the hammer head, so I decided to replace it with a warhammer. In 5E, the warhammer is a versatile weapon, meaning it uses a larger damage die when wielded in two hands. Give him the Great Weapon Fighting style, and he has a new signature weapon that isn't completely divorced from the flavor of the original.

Of all the sample characters, Rollo's background was the hardest to choose. Death in Freeport assumes that the party is fresh off the boat, so the Soldier's Military Rank feature would be useless here in Freeport, where Continental ranks hold little authority. I finally settled on Folk Hero, with its Rustic Hospitality feature. A compulsive do-gooder like Rollo will need the aid of the common folk to survive in a city like Freeport, but even that help will have limits when his new fame draws down trouble from the authorities later in the Freeport Trilogy.

Folk Hero gives him the Animal Handling and Survival skills. Add Athletics and Perception to those. Rollo will lose the bonus languages he had in 3E, but I've already given one of them (Giant) to Thorgrim, and Draconic sees little use in Freeport.

As with Thorgrim, I used the default equipment for Rollo's class and background, and will do the same with Malevir and Alaina. I gave him chainmail (AC 16), a warhammer, a short bow, two handaxes, and a dungeoneer's pack. (As a side note, I preserved the weapons depicted in Thorgrim and Rollo's portraits as best I could, but they both ended up with better armor than the scalemail they received in 3E.)

To summarize, Rollo gets the following stats:

Forest Gnome, Fighter 1 (Folk Hero).
Str 14 (+2) (+4 saves, Athletics), Dex 14 (+2), Con 14 (+2) (+4 saves), Int 12 (+1), Wis 12 (+1) (+3 Animal Handling, Perception, Survival), Cha 10 (+0).
AC 18, Speed 25, HP 12, HD 1d10.
Warhammer +4 (1d8+2 or 1d10+2), short bow +4 (1d6+2), handaxe +4 (1d6+2).
Racial cantrip: minor illusion (spell save DC 11).
Great Weapon Fighting, Second Wind.

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