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Quick & Dirty BoL to Labyrinth Lord Conversion

strangestones.com/quick-dirty-bol-to-labyrinth-lord-conversion/

the venomous pao

21/3/2011

Weve been over this before, but it never hurts to say it. I love Barbarians of Lemuria. Its a great little system that
inspires me and I find it painless to write stuff for it. Of course, great as it is it has a limited player base, especially
when compared to a certain well-known 800 lb. gorilla of the RPG scene. So here are some notes Ive knocked
together for converting BoL characters to Labyrinth Lord and other games in that big ol extended family. Use or
ignore as you see fit.

Attributes
First up, the ever important Attributes. Just like in my Quick & Dirty BoL to BRP Conversion post, attribute values
can be derived by taking the BoL value, doubling it and then adding 10 to it. So a BoL merchant with a Strength of 1
would have STR 12 in LL while a mighty thewed-barbarian with a Strength of 4 in BoL would rock an 18 STR in LL.
And so on. Hooray for that 3-18 scale thats so popular with a certain era of games!
Of course, we need to map the BoL stats to LL stats. Heres what I propose:
BoL Might = LL Str, Con
BoL Agility = LL Dex
BoL Mind = LL Int, Wis
BoL Appeal = LL Charisma
As with the BoL-to-BRP conversion, one could surely devise more detailed and realistic formulas for this sort of
thing. But for most purposes, the above should work. That said, if you really need a character to be high INT/low
WIS (or low STR/high CON, etc.), just adjust as needed.

Careers To Levels & Classes


Probably the biggest issue in this conversion is dealing with taking a non-class/non-level system like BoL and
rendering class- and level-based characters out of it. There are probably a million different takes on this, but my
suggestion is just to make the LL characters level equal to the sum of the BoL characters career ranks . So
your typical starting BoL character would come over to LL as a 4th level character, while the average BoL NPC (per
the examples in the Legendary Edition) would wind up as a 2nd level character. This power level in LL might not
quite match up with BoL, but it seems to give the characters a reasonable leg up while leaving room to grow as well.
And hey, the original title for a 4th level Fighter was Hero and a 4th level Magic-User is called a Magician in those
lovely light blue rules designed for experts*, so Im happy with this.
As far as classes go, I feel the best thing to do is just pick the class that seems to fit the character best multiclassing where needed, but preferably as little as possible. A character whose capabilities in BoL would require two
classes in LL are really the only ones who should multi-class (e.g., characters with rank in both Soldier and
Magician). If it is at all possible to stick with one class, though, thats what I recommend. But what about my
Magician 2 / Merchant 1 / Sailor 1 / Torturer 0 character? Shouldnt she be a F-M/U? I hear you ask. And the
answer is no. Being a merchant and a sailor even skilled ones doesnt make you a Fighter in LL terms. But dont
worry, youre not screwed. Read on for more
Since classes are normally generalized while careers can be a bit more specific, I also suggest looking at the

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characters career ranks and giving them +2 per rank in a career on Ability Checks related to the careers (but not to
combat or thieving abilities or anything else that specifically mechanical in LL those things come with level, not
career rank). So that BoL character with 2 ranks in Merchant would get +4 on attribute checks relating to the buying
& selling of goods, knowledge of caravan routes, and so on. Oh, and while having a Zero in a career rank wont get
you a bonus to checks, just like in BoL it could very well make checks possible that a normal person wouldnt be
able to make (por exemplo, the classic Thief 0 allowing you to know about the local thieves guild in ways that
someone with no rank at all wouldnt).

Combat Abilities
BoLs combat attributes dont translate all that well, since fighting skill is a defined function of classes in LL. You can
either ignore these entirely (advised for most NPCs and Mooks) or bring them over where each rank provides a +1
bonus to the appropriate kind of attacks (for Brawl, Melee, Missile) or 1 to AC for each rank in Defense. Doing this
for PCs and significant NPCs will further help with the perceived power level difference between BoL characters and
their LL analogues. [editorial aside: This is one of the reasons I really adore BoL. Your combat skills arent based on
whether youre a fighter or a thief or whatever. Theyre based on whether youre good at combat or not. And that
means you can have badass sword-swinging wizard or a fancy cant hit me lightly-armored fighter without throwing
a monkeywrench into the rules. End of editorializing.]

Boons & Flaws


BoLs Boons & Flaws also dont translate directly to LL. But, just like with Careers I suggest granting PCs and
important NPCs a bonus (+2 or so, but maybe higher or lower depending on your needs) on Ability Checks (or
Saving Throws) that relate to a boon that the BoL version of the character possessed. Similarly, imposing a penalty
of 2 (or so) on rolls relating to a Flaw found in the BoL iteration of the character should get the job done just fine.
In the case of Boons & Flaws that dont modify dice rolls, a little improvisation will be necessary. But the author of
this quick & dirty guide trusts that his readers can handle those situations on their own and in the ways that will best
suit their own needs.

Weapons & Armor & Such


Obviously BoL handles armor in a completely different fashion than Labyrinth Lord does. The easiest thing to do is
just assign an Armor Class based on the overall armor level found on the BoL character. Translate as follows:
BoL No Armor LL AC 9 (unarmored)
BoL Very Light Armor LL AC 8 (roughly, Leather armor)
BoL Light Armor LL AC 6 (roughly, Leather armor & Shield or Scale alone)
BoL Medium Armor LL AC 4 (roughly, Chainmail alone or Studded Leather & Shield)
BoL Heavy Armor LL AC 2 (roughly, Chain & Shield, Plate alone)
BoL Very Heavy Armor LL AC 1 (roughly, Plate & Shield)
The examples given above are, as indicated, rough equivalents. I can do the math and know that Chain & a shield
actually equals AC 4 and not AC 2. Remember, though, that BoL is much more fluid in its definitions of what armor
levels equate to. If you want to be more precise, then by all means be more precise.

Magic
Oy, heres a challenge. BoLs magic system so completely doesnt mesh with the Vancian fire-and-forget stuff that
Labyrinth Lord and its relatives use. I suppose you could just say Well, youre a 4th level magic-user, so act like

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one and be done with it if you want to keep it simple. I also suggest having BoL characters with Priest career ranks
but no Magician ranks not be treated as Clerics, since BoL Priests dont really work magic in the spellcasting
sense. Ignore that suggestion if being a Cleric is really key to the conception of the character as it is crossing the
line between these two world.
One other idea that occurred to me is that the Vancian stuff could work as a reasonable model of BoLs Alchemy.
Instead of having X number of spells per day per level, though, youd get X number of alchemical preparations
(which you define with Labyrinth Lord spells) per adventure. Just use the M/U spell tables to determine what X is
and youre set. So Id class BoL characters who were Alchemists as M/Us in LL-land but restrict their usage of spells
as noted above. To offset that, I figure youd need to give them better HD or something. But again, thats beyond the
scope of this post.

Monsters!
The above stuff works for characters who display a full range of stats, but normal BoL monster listings are a bit more
abstract. Ultimately, though, what you need for a Labyrinth Lord monster is an Armor Class, a number of Hit Dice,
and a concept of how they attack & what damage they do. So heres how Im breaking these numbers out from a
BoL listing:
LL HD = (Lifeblood/5)
LL Attacks = BoL attacks (i.e., claw/claw/bite or whatever, with the bonuses to hit listed), with damage as
follows:
1 LB = 1 HP
d2 LB = 1d2 HP
d3 LB = 1d3 HP
d6-1 LB = 1d4 HP
d6 LB = 1d6 HP
d6+2 LB = 1d8 HP
2d6-1 LB = d10 HP
2d6 LB = 1d12 HP
2d6+2 LB = 2d8 HP
3d6 LB = 3d6 HP
3d6+2 LB = 2d10 HP
4d6 LB = 2d12 HP
LL AC = 9 (Defense + Average Protection/Armor Value)
But what about Movement? As I see it LL Movement varies quite a bit independent of creature size, while in BoLs
Base Move is entirely based on creature size. Im too lazy to come up with a specific approach here, so Id
suggest just defaulting everything to LLs 90/30 unless being fast or slow is part of the creatures schtick. In that
case, adjust accordingly.
For monsters attributes, just use the same translation method as for PCs ([BoL Att*2]+10) if you need to know them.
But since LL doesnt often reference creatures attributes, this shouldnt matter too often.

Examples
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A couple of examples are probably in order. So first, lets look at a character. How about good ol Captain Ertegun
Vaul? Based on his listing in the linked post, heres how I would render him as a Labyrinth Lord character:
Ertegun Vaul / Human Magic-User 4 Chaotic Good
STR 12 INT 12 WIS 12 DEX 10 CON 12 CHR 14
HP 13 AC 7 Gold 40
Scimitar, +1 Dagger, Leather Armor
MU Spells: Charm Person, Comprehend Languages, ESP, Phantasmal Force
Non-Combat Bonuses & Penalties: +6 to mariner rolls (+4 from careers, +2 from boon); +2 to merchant rolls; +2 to
religion rolls; +2 to carousing rolls; 2 to resisting greed
Note that even though he had a rank of 0 in Sorcerer as a BoL character I went ahead and made him into a 100%
Magic-User in LL. Even rank zero qualifies you to cast some scary stuff in BoL, so having that should at a
minimum result in a 2/2 split with another class. More often, though, it should override all the other possible class
considerations (in my opinion). Or you can, of course, build the character without magic at all. Thats an entirely
reasonable approach as well. Mostly I think it depends on your conception of the character in question and the level
of magic in the campaign youre working with.
Now, lets convert a monster just for fun. In this case, lets use the Ilthoth-eg of Nogoloth.

Ilthoth-eg
No. Enc.: 2d4 (2d4)
Alignment: Chaotic (Neutral)
Movement: 120 (40)
Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 1-1
Attacks: 1 (bite)
Damage: 1d4
Save: F1
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: VI
XP: 7
Small, grey-furred cat-like beasts that inhabit the caves deep within the northern mountains of
Nogoloth, Ilthoth-eg are set apart from the normal wildcats of the region by their abundance of eyes.
A typical Ilthoth-eg possesses somewhere between 7 and 11 eyes arrayed across their bodies.
Though not truly intelligent, these animals chitter and whisper their previous victims words as they
stalk their prey through the darkness of the caves.
Due to their abundance of eyes, Ilthoth-eg are only surprised on a 1-in-6. Further, these creatures are
incredibly difficult for thieves to backstab. A thief attempting to perform this maneuver against an
Ilthoth-eg suffers a 25% penalty to the move silently and hide in shadows rolls necessary for a
successful backstab.

Following my suggestion of tweaking the movement rate for a converted creature beyond 90/30, I upped these guys
slightly based on their wildcat-esque nature. I improvised on the No. Encountered, Morale and Hoard Class for
these guys. The Save As and XP Value were calculated per the LL rules.

In Conclusion
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So thats my ideas for converting Barbarians of Lemuria characters and monsters to Labyrinth Lord. I think theyll get
the job done well enough for most purposes. These should also allow you to take BoL resources and use them in
any other game from the same gene pool as LL. Those games are, after all, pretty much the same game with some
minor changes here and there.
Im open to any thoughts you, my readers and friends, might have on how to handle things. So go nuts in the
comments if you like. Your input is, as always, invaluable to me.
* Other iterations of the source material refer to a 4th level MU as a Theurgist. You cant win em all.

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