Buffy the Vampire Slayer in Original D&D

"Why is he doing this?" you ask. "Buffy? With OD&D? That's insane. Why would you even bother?"

Truthfully? Why not? I've done Star Wars and Conan rules. Why not tackle the Buffy crew using the OD&D rules? And when you think about it, the OD&D rules are so broad and open that it's not insane, and they actually work quite well. Yes, it's a modern game, but most modern technology doesn't need different rules to use, and the character classes present mirror the roles pretty well.

Honestly, Tim Brannan over at The Other Side does things like this all the time, and I am kind of stealing a concept from him just for fun.

So the rules for statting characters are pretty basic. I'm going to try and maintain the spirit of the characters from Buffy, while sticking strictly to the OD&D rules and paradigm. That means no new character classes, though I am opening the doors to supplements and The Strategic Review. Given that Buffy takes place in the modern day, some characters won't have all the elements of their classes--they won't wear armor, for example. It also means that because of the way spell lists work, some characters won't have access to spells they used in the series.

There is one exception to this: the character of Anya is a special case, but still generally fits within the rules, and is explained below.

In general, I'll be using examples from the way heroes are presented in Gods, Demi-Gods, and Heroes for these writeups, but a bit more expansive in defining abilities. But here we go. Let's have a good time!

Running a Buffyverse Game with OD&D: Rules Adjustments

Slayers

When running a Buffy game using OD&D, only Slayers have access to the Monk class. Monks also gain one additional ability: their attacks, whether armed or unarmed, are always treated as magical for the purposes of striking creatures that can only be struck by magical weapons.

Most Slayers have a few levels of Fighting (Wo)Man, representing the period before they were formally trained by their Watcher, after which they change to the Monk class. For this reason, most Slayers will be required to have a Wisdom score of at least 16 (for humans to change class, a minimum of 16 is required in the Prime Requisite of the new class).

Thieves

Thieves work well to model most regular people who get drawn into the world of the undead--the back attack and thieving abilties well represent skills that those forced to survive in the face of a world full of vampires and demons must learn. In general, thieves in a Buffyverse game may be lawful, so long as they apply their skills largely against creatures of the night.

Thieves, as well, get a special ability. Whenever they successfully back attack, that attack is treated as magical for purposes of striking creatures that can only be hit by magical attacks. 

Spellcasting Classes

Spells and magic present an interesting conundrum, and not because of the Vancian Magic system. Vancian magic works in practice for a Buffy game, because we don't see witches using the same spell over and over, so it works that they are forced to build a litany of spells they mix and match.

That being said, a DM running a Buffy game would have to make allowances for access to spells--One recommendation is simply that all spell casting classes have access to all spells. This would make Magic Users less attractive than classes like clerics and druids, who have other powers as well as spellcasting, but it fits the general way magic works in the Buffyverse.

Alternately, the restriction against multi-classing between cleric and magic-user could be lifted.

In truth, the Strategic Review (Vol 2, issue 1) Bard works much better for Buffyverse magic than the standard magic-user does, and it's recommended that most spell casters in a Buffy game are clerics, druids, bards, or illusionists (The Strategic Review, Vol. 1, Issue 4).

In any case, the Bard class is in almost every way the archetypal Watcher.

In addition, there are two additional add-ons that need to be made for spellcasters:

1. All spellcasters gain the Telekinesis ability, which functions exactly as the psionic power on page 17 of Eldritch Wizardry. This power is usable once per day. A spell caster may sacrifice spell slots to use it additional times. Each spell "dismissed" from their daily complement allows an additional use of telekinesis.

2. A new second-level spell is needed:
Telepathic Projection: This spell allows the user to send thoughts to another willing subject. Non-willing subjects can be targeted by this spell, but are entitled to a saving throw vs. spells to resist. Duration: 12 turns. Range: 6".

Dealing with AC

One of the biggest hurdles faced is that in a modern era game like this, most people don't wear armor, so almost everyone is going to have an AC of 9. Optionally, If the DM wishes to make characters more survivable, Dexterity can be used to improve AC as follows:

Dexterity 13-15: Lower AC by 1
Dexterity 16-17: Lower AC by 2
Dexterity 18: Lower AC by 3

Under no circumstances can AC be reduced below 2.

Guns

The Buffy crew uses guns maybe three times in the entire history of the show, so no special rules are required for them. They're brutal in the context of the world and setting, so unless used against vampires and monsters (against whom they're largely useless anyway), guns can only be used by chaotic characters. 

When used, guns can be handled in one of two ways. First, they can deal 5d10 damage. Alternately, anyone shot with a gun needs to make a save vs. death ray, or die. Those who make their save are incapacitated and can only recover with hospitalization and a successful system shock check. In the Buffyverse, getting shot is serious business. 

Which Classes to Use?

Just about any character class can be allowed, but for the most part, to cover all your bases in a Buffyverse game, the following classes will suffice:

From Men & Magic:
Fighting-Man (or woman)
Cleric
Magic-User

From Greyhawk:
Monk

From Eldritch Wizardry: 
Druid

From The Strategic Review:
Illusionist (Vol. 1, Issue 2)
Bard (Vol. 2, Issue 1)

Languages in the Buffyverse

Characters in the Buffyverse speak (or at least read) multiple languages (mostly dead and demonic tongues). Characters in a Buffyverse game do not need to define the specific languages they speak at the beginning of play; rather, any time a new language is encountered, a character that still has available language "slots" can declare they speak it. Tara, for example, is a bard with a 15 intelligence, meaning she speaks 15 languages. If she encounters a text in ancient Sumerian, her character can say, "I speak that!" and she now has 14 language "slots" left to fill.

Magical Attacks

Aside from Monks and Thieves, whenever a character rolls a 20 or better in combat (modified or natural), their attack will strike a creature that is normally only struck by magical attacks. This is to account for the fact that there aren't a lot of magical weapons lying around in a Buffy game. 

Destroying a Vampire

In a Buffyverse game, unless there's a very good story reason otherwise (the character fighting doesn't have access to the means to deliver a fatal blow, for example), when a vampire or other demonic creature is reduced to 0 hp, it is staked, beheaded, immolated, or otherwise dusted or destroyed. 

Buffy Anne Summers

The Slayer: Fighting-Woman 2 / Monk 7 

“In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the slayer.”

AC: 4
Attacks: As Monk: 2/1 (2-16 open hand damage; treat all attacks as magical weapons)
Hit points: 47 (7d4+2d8+18)
Alignment: Lawful

Str 18/75 Dex 17 Con 17 Int 10 Wis 16 Cha 14

Fire missiles at +1
Resurrection Survival 98%

Fighting-Man Abilities: +3 hit/+3 damage, +600 weight, Open doors 1-5, 7 attacks vs. man-types, opponents -3 to hit (for high dexterity)

Monk Abilities: +3 damage with all weapons; stun/auto-kill opponents, surprised only on 1 in 10, open locks 65%, remove traps 65%, hear noise 1-4, simulate death, speak with animals*, resistance to ESP, regenerate 2-7 damage per day, save as cleric, dodge missiles on save vs. death ray/poison, suffer no damage on successful saves for half damage

Equipment: Battle axe, long sword, wooden stake (treat as dagger)


Alexander "Xander" Harris 

The One Who Sees Things: Thief 5
"We're doin' crime, here! You don't sneak up on someone when they're doin' crime!

AC: 9
Attack: As Thief
Hit Points: 13 (5d4)
Alignment: Lawful

Str 12 Dex 13 Con 14 Int 10 Wis 16 Cha 9

Thief Abilities: Open locks 40%, Remove Traps 35%, Pick Pockets 40%, Move Silently 40%, Hide in Shadows 35%, Hear noise 1-3, Back attack +4/3x damage

Equipment: Wooden stake, pocket knife, carpenter's tools



Willow Rosenberg

Uber-Witch: Druid 9

Buffy: No actual witches in your witch group?

Willow: No. Bunch of wanna blessed be’s. Nowadays every girl with a henna tattoo and a spice rack thinks she’s a sister to the dark ones.

AC: 9
Attack: As Cleric
Hit Points: 26 (7d6+1)
Alignment: Neutral with Lawful leanings (temporarily Chaotic during "Dark Willow" period)

Str 8 Dex 14 Con 12 Int 17 Wis 17 Cha 13

Druid Abilities: Speak Druidic, Pixie, Nixie, Dryad; Obligation to protect nature, Telekinesis (see new rules, above)

Spellcasting:
1st-level (4) - Predict Weather, Detect Magic, Locate Animals, Faerie Fire
2nd-level (2) - Produce Flame, Telepathic Projection
3rd-level (2) - Pyrotechnics, Hold Animal
4th-level (2) - Produce Fire, Dispel Magic
5th-level (2) - Commune with Nature, Control Winds

Equipment: Wooden stake, grimoire, ritual implements, Star of David

Daniel "Oz" Osbourne

Werewolf guitarist: Werewolf Bard 1 
WILLOW: "You can still play the guitar OK?"
OZ: "Well, not well. But, I mean, not worse."

AC: 5
Attack (wolf) Bite (2d4)
Attack (human) as Fighting-Man 4
Hit Points: (4d8 + 1d6)
Alignment: Neutral with lawful leanings (chaotic in wolf form)

Str 10 Dex 14 Con 12 Int 17 Wis 15 Cha 14

Bard abilities: charm 10%, lore 10%, speak 17 languages (including ancient and dead languages, Latin, Tibetan)

Werewolf abilities: can only be killed by silver, changes to a wolf 3 nights every month under the full moon; as wolf can see in absolute darkness; transmit lycanthropy (anyone that takes 50% hp damage from bites becomes a lycanthrope). Even in human form, attacks as a 4th-level fighting-man. 

Equipment: Baseball bat, guitar, lyric book

Rupert Giles

The Watcher: Fighting-Man 1, Bard 7

“Demons after money. Whatever happened to the still beating heart of a virgin. No one has any standards any more.”

AC: 9
Attack: As Cleric
Hit Points: 29 (1d8 + 7d6)
Alignment: Lawful (with neutral leanings)

Str 10 Dex 15 Con 15 Int 16 Wis 17 Cha 15

Fighting-Man Abilities: 5 attacks vs. man-types, Opponents -1 to hit (high dexterity)

Bard Abilities: Charm 70% (7/day); Lore 70%; Telekinesis (1/day; see above). 

Thief Abilities (from Bard): Open Locks 20%, Remove Traps 20%, Pick Pockets 30%, Hide in Shadows 30%, Move Silently 25%, Hear Noise 1-2

Spellcasting:
1-level (4) - Detect Magic, Read Magic, Read Languages, Magic Missile
2-level (4) - Locate Object, Wizard Lock, Detect Evil, Strength
3-level (1) - Dispel Magic

Equipment: Wooden Stake, Sword, Hvy. Crossbow, Access to Occult Library

Cordelia Chase

Vapid Mean Girl: Thief 3*

"Oh please. I don't mean to interrupt your downward mobility, but I just wanted to tell you that you won't be meeting Coach Foster, the woman with the chest hair, because gym was cancelled due to the extreme dead guy in the locker." 

AC: 9
Attack: as Thief
Hit Points: 8
Alignment: Neutral

Str 8 Dex 11 Con 9 Int 10 Wis 16 Cha 15

Thief Abilities: Open Locks 25%, Remove Traps 20%, Pick Pocket 30%, Move Silently 30%, Hide in Shadows 20%, Hear Noise 1-3, Back Attack +4/Double damage

Later on, particularly after she leaves Sunnydale to join Angel, Cordelia becomes a significantly different character and begins to add levels of Bard. 

Tara Maclay

Good Witch: Bard 6

You learn her source, and, uh, we'll introduce her to her insect reflection. Um ... that, that was funny if you, um, studied Taglarin mythic rites... and are a complete dork.

AC: 9
Attack: as Cleric, but can use any weapon
Hit Points: 21 (6d6)
Alignment: Lawful*

Str 8 Dex 12 Con 11 Int 15 Wis 17 Cha 13

Bard abilities: Charm 60% (6/day), Lore 60%; Speaks 15 languages (mostly dead and demonic languages) *As a Lawful bard, Tara does not have theiving abilities. Telekinesis (see "new rules," above)

Spellcasting:**
1-level (3): Hold Portal, Read Magic, Protection from Evil
2-level (3): Phantasmal Forces, Locate Object, Telepathic Projection
3-level (1): Hold Person
**The bard spellcasting progression in The Strategic Review seems to be afflicted with a typo, wherein first-level spell slots disappear after a few levels. I have attempted to extrapolate how many first-level spells the bard would have. 

Anyanka "Anya Jenkins"

Former Vengeance Demon: Thief 5 / Sage 

“I don't understand how this all happens. How we go through this. I mean, I knew her, and then she's, there's just a body, and I don't understand why she just can't get back in it and not be dead anymore! It's stupid! It's mortal and stupid! And, and Xander's crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well Joyce will never have any more fruit punch, ever, and she'll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why.”

AC: 9
Attack: As thief
Hit Points: 13 (5d4)
Alignment: Neutral

Str 8 Dex 15 Con 13 Int 18 Wis 8 Cha 9

Thief Abilities: Open locks 40%, Remove Traps 35%, Pick Pockets 45%, Move Silently 45%, Hide in Shadows 35%, Hear noise 1-3, Back attack +4/3x damage

Sage (Special): Anyanka is over 1,000 years old, and has been highly active in the demon community for all that time. Becoming human has not robbed her of the knowledge she has accumulated. As such, she can use Lore as a bard of twice her level (currently 100%; see The Strategic Review, Vol. 2, Issue 1). 

Dawn Summers

Former Key; Watcher-in-Training: Thief 5/Bard 2 

"No one has an older sister who's a Slayer. People wouldn't be so crazy about her if they had to live in the same house with her every single day. Everybody cares what she thinks, just 'cause she can do backflips and stuff. Like that's such a crucial job skill in the real world!" 

AC: 9
Attack: as Thief, but can use all weapons
Hit Points: 20 (5d4 + 2d6)
Alignment: Neutral with lawful leanings

Str 8 Dex 16 Con 15 Int 15 Wis 10 Cha 12

Thief Abilities: Open locks 40%, Remove Traps 35%, Pick Pockets 45%, Move Silently 45%, Hide in Shadows 35%, Hear noise 1-3, Back attack +4/3x damage

Bard abilities: charm 20%, lore 20%, speak 15 languages, Telekinesis (1/day; see new rules, above)

Spellcasting: 
1-level (1): Read magic

Angel

500-year-old ensouled vampire: Vampire (8 HD)

"Things used to be pretty simple. Hundred years, just hanging out, feeling guilty, really honed my brooding skills. Then she comes along. Yeah, I get jealous." 

AC: 2
Attack: as Fighting-Man 8 (unarmed--1d10 plus energy drain)
Hit Points: 36 (8d8)
Alignment: Lawful (formerly chaotic)

Vampire Weaknesses: Sunlight, fire, running water, crosses. Angel is not required to sleep in a coffin in his home dirt as are standard D&D vampires, nor does he have an aversion to garlic.

Vampire Abilities: Immune to nonmagical weapons (but can be damaged by monks wielding any weapons, or by other supernatural creatures). Angel does not have the standard shapeshifting, summoning, or charm abilities of a D&D vampire.

Spike (William the Bloody, William Pratt)

300-year-old chipped/ensouled vampire: Vampire (7 HD)

"I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it."

AC: 2
Attack: As Fighting-Man 7 (unarmed--1d10 plus energy drain)
Hit Points: 25 (7d8)
Alignment: Neutral (formerly chaotic)

Vampire Weaknesses: Sunlight, fire, running water, crosses. Spike is not required to sleep in a coffin in his home dirt as are standard D&D vampires, nor does he have an aversion ot garlic. 

Vampire Abilities: Immune to nonmagical weapons (but can be damaged by monks wielding any weapons, or by other supernatural creatures). Spike does not have the standard shapeshifting, summoning, or charm abilities of a D&D vampire. 

Final Thoughts

There you have it! The cast of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, along with the very minor rules adjustments you need to run a game in that universe. It's likely to be pretty deadly, given that nobody wears armor, but I think it could be a lot of fun. What do you think?

Comments

  1. I like it and thanks for the shout out!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellent work! I never thought I'd see a Buffy OD&D conversion, but you made it work!

    I might even work on some OD&D adaptations of my own for World of Darkness, George A. Romero's Living Dead Trilogy, and a Mortal Kombat/Street Fighter crossover setting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! WoD would be HARD, adapting all the disciplines, generations, blood points, etc., all of which are really necessary for the feel of the game.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Lembas - Elvish Waybread: a real-world recipe

D&D Monster Cards from Gale Force 9: Don't Bother

Psionics in Dungeons & Dragons Part I: Original D&D