Numenera & DnD5 conversion


my Group of experienced DnD Players and me started a new Numenera campaign using DnD5 ruleset. As we believe that the DnD5 rules are currently the best on the market and nobody wanted to learn a new rule set, we decided to convert. For me as a DM it was very easy to just Need the source material but leverage the DD rules.

Here is our Approach and a few findings:

1. Character Creation

We used Standard DD classes. As Numenera is basically human-ruled, all PCs were human or - in the case of a half-elf, a Mutant. I ruled that elves, half-elves & dwarves are mutants that breed true. Some racial specifcs were removes (like darkvision) but basically all aspect remain.

All PCs were created using the Standard DD rules with the following tweaks:

- Numenera Character Type are basically completely replaced with DD class statistics but contribute to DD Background personality, flaws etc

- Every PC choses a Numenera Descriptor whose benefits and flaws were translated into proficiencies or disadvantages in Dnd. Easily done.

- Every PC choses one Numenera Focus. This gave the character an interesting aspect, make him unique and more powerful. Benefits are gained following the Feat-Rule of DnD so every 4 or so Levels the PC choses either ability improvement, feat or descriptor benefit.

2. Game Rules

Numenera Needs the weird. For PCs that have fought every goblin on every plane it is the most challenging that they do not know anything about the world. So every Exploration is fairly new and strange - bringing a lot of uncertainty and fear back to the table.

Numenera Needs to be deadly. As DnD is not deadly, we tweaked like this:

- DnD hitpoints are more Exhaustion Points. If you are at or below 0 you are knocked out. Standard DnD rules are used to recover conciousness and hps beside there is no death saving throw. Instead, the following rule Counts: Once you are below 0 and recover, the next time you got hit, you loos hps AND gain one death Level indicating that you are now wounded. you have 3 death Levels (like the 3 death saving throws of DnD). If you gained 3 death Levels - your so dead! Each death Level brings penalties that cannot be healed through skill or Magic but Needs longterm medical Treatment. This makes adventuring extremly dangerous as Folks tend to crawl around wounded or crippled. Death Level 1: -4 Penalty on all checks. Level 2: disadvantage on all checks; Level 3: no Actions possible; next hit = DEAD. Despite this brutality, the Players like it a lot because it really drives Tension.

- critical rolls and Focus benefits: we like the idea to make combat faster and more effectful. So Players (and foes) score criticals on natural 17-20. 17 brings +1 damage, 18: +2 etc. Alternativly, Player can Chose to use their Focus benefits instead of additional damage on 18, 19 or 20. Combats become very cool as one hit might cause the Monster to flee or Triggers a Special Focus effect.

- Monster: I truly like the weirdness of Numenera Monsters. I did not find it difficult to convert to DD using the following principles: first I try to find a Monster from the MM that Looks likewise or brings likewise Features. Than I add the Special Numenera Features and make it a Special attack or effect on a good roll. Example: We are laying the "Seedship" adventure from the core book. The steel Spiders are Phase Spiders from the MM but they inject steel instead of poison on a successful  hit. The dangerous webs do not caus HP damage but each contact directly provides a death Level. Of course I gave the Players some good chances to detect the webs but it took them 2 hours to deal with them - and then the Spiders attack...

- Magic: it does not Need much Explanation how Magic works. Definitly there is a reason for Magic but the Players do not know from the beginning. I do not have to Change anything so far to use DD spells in game.


So far, the Players had a lot of fun - if you like, I will share mor of our experiences over time.



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