Skinning My First 4e Party: Converting DnD characters to PDQ#

I apologize that this has been a while coming, but here are some sample 4e D&D characters converted into PDQ# format and ready for story-rich, rules-light adventuring. If you like airships and especially if you like Eberron, Swashbucklers of the Seven Skies (a swashbuckling setting for PDQ#) would work beautifully, pretty much straight out of the box. Just add Fortes for nationalities, Eberron-tech, and dragonmarked affiliations and jump right into a delicious web of intrigue.

As is arguably standard for 4e, most of these characters are prime for dungeon delving, but lack advanced social capability. For social actions, I suppose most of these characters would roll their Race Forte unless something else fit better (Background, Motivation, etc). I think this is a good arrangement, since it would encourage players to narrate interactions with an eye to how their character’s personality and race affect their approach and style.

Other classes or builds would certainly allow more social prowess (Warlocks, Sorcerers, Artful Dodger Rogues, Bards, etc), but for now, I drew inspiration from actual play. Most of these characters are actually close conversions of my players’ first 4e characters back when PHB1 was first released. These characters adventured successfully through a good handful of adventures in the official Scales of War adventure path beginning at Level 1.

The Samples

This first one is a classic 8-bit wizard posted in the comments of my previous post by Eldritch Fire. Thanks! Following the wizard are additional classic D&D character archetypes, mostly sticking to the PHB1 classes and races, unintentionally. If you like this exercise, leave a comment and if people show interest, I may explore other characters from PHB2, PHB3, and beyond.

What other characters would you like to see, or variations on builds? Everything is very subjective depending on whatever you want to emphasize, so I’d love to play with further options, or higher level characters.

Classic Wizard

Classic War Wizard designed by EldritchFire -

Classic Elven Cleric

Classic Elven Cleric

Drow Archer Ranger

Drow Archer Ranger

Dragonborn Cleric

Dragonborn Battle Cleric

Leveled Up

The following characters have 3 extra Fortes, signifying some adventuring experience and “leveling up.” I’m not sure there is an approximate 4e level +3 Fortes would represent, but since none have advanced signature powers, distinct magical items, or Paragon Paths, I’d guess these would be equivalent to  Level 4-6 characters in 4e. I’m curious to level some characters up even further to see how PDQ# handles 4e’s Paragon and Epic tiers.

Haunted Minotaur Barbarian

Haunted Minotaur Barbarian

Halfling Rogue

Warforged Hybrid Fighter/Barbarian

Warforged Hybrid Fighter/Barbarian

Depending on what you like about the 4e Fighter, the marking and OA ability from Combat Challenge could also be represented instead by Techniques such as “Vs. People avoiding or ignoring me”.

What do you think of these? What else would you like to see about using PDQ# with D&D 4e’s skin?

About Adam

Adam is a husband, an explorer of the inexhaustible, and a hunter for unexpected synergies and collaborative potentials. His explorations into RPGs began with DMing D&D, though lately he enjoys mining the potentials of diverse systems, especially Cortex Plus.
This entry was posted in 4e DnD, Gaming and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Skinning My First 4e Party: Converting DnD characters to PDQ#

  1. Pingback: DnD Light, Story rich with PDQ# | Exploring Infinity

  2. Jon says:

    Just my opinion but I noticed that many of your characters qualities are quite specific. In PDQ a quality has a penumbra which allows the quality to be applied to many things. For example with the Heroic Forte of “Brutal Scoundrel Rogue” many things would fall under its penumbra, like the sneak attack and thievery. Everything that you would normally associate with a rogue or scoundrel falls inside the penumbra.

    This allows the character to choose vastly different qualities to be useful in more situations. The PDQ rules basically say that if a quality is relevant throw it on the stack. That would mean for a sneak attack that character would use: Past quality, Heroic Forte quality and all other qualities for a total of +16!

    In a PDQ game you will not have nearly as many qualities as you would lets say skills in other rpg’s. Trying to bring DnD abilities on a skill/feat/spell basis to a single quality is not doing PDQ justice. A single quality can almost sum up everything a DnD character can do if you think about it.

    Also if you’re familiar with Fate RPG the way they use “aspects” can be used on PDQ qualities as well. This combined with a mechanic like fortune points can be used in conjunction with PDQ to make really awesome “role playing actions”.

    • Adam says:

      You’re definitely right Jon on many counts. I tried to choose elements that were iconic to bring in as qualities/fortes rather than all possible options. I was thinking the areas of overlap would be those where someone truly excels, so they should stack, but I’ll admit I don’t have as much experience actually running or playing PDQ# as I’d like. You’re definitely right that +16 is excessive, even if backstabbing assassinations are a characters main schtick. D&D’s emphasis on combat ability doesn’t lend itself to broadened qualities that don’t overlap, but yes, I should have gone more that direction.

      I hadn’t thought of making the fortes aspect-like with fortune points. How would that differ from the standard use of drama dice, at least in PDQ#. To be fair, I’ve only played PDQ#, but not PDQ non-#.

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