Converting the Basic D&D sample characters from the Moldvay set so far seems to be succesful.
Silverleaf in D&D is an elf. But D&D elves are unlike the tall, proud Tolkien elves who live long, prosper and die for tragic love only. D&D elves are more like playful, short stature humans with a longer life span. In Dark Dungeon they would be more like Elflings than Elves.
Elflings, according to template on page 5 of the Lite Dark Dungeon rules, are no taller than human children of ten to twelve, playful and always looking for adventure. Sounds like a perfect Silverleaf to me. So let's give him his 55 points. 50 plus 5 for being level 2 instead of 1.
Silverleaf, male elfling
Dexterity 5, very nimble and agile for optimum Legolas effect
Intelligence 3, observant and sly
Appearance 1, above average in everything even if it's just a bit
As you may have noticed by now, Dark Dungeon lets you assign aility points by yourself. I actually like that, as most of my players playing D&D kept rerolling their scores until they were either satisfied, or until their arms fell off. But if you prefer to let the dice decide, let me know, and I'll cook up a table someday.
Back to Silverleaf, he has 12 times 2 skill points in abilities, or 24. Leaving 31 for the rest. For new characters I prefer this rate of about 40% of points in abilities and the rest in skills. But as a player you're free to do your own thing. As long as the points add up.
Short Bow 6, an excellent shot as would befit an annoying elf(ling)
Short Sword 4
Buckler Shield 4
Fourteen points in combat seemed more than all right to me, with an emphasis on long distance fighting. That's where the one skill above five (at six, indeed) goes. That leaves 17 points for the rest.
Excellent Hearing 3
Night Vision 3
Stealth and Sneaking 5
Actually I think I could have put some more points in assorted skills, but I suspect a D&D converted adventure may be a little combat heavy. Unlike Silverleaf in D&D, this Silverleaf will not be able to use magick. I would have had to make him an elf for that. Which would also have been a possibility. Only just thought of that. Oh well. However, I think the elven strain in the character is easy to discern.
I'll get some equipment from the template, and dream up a bit of background.
Green clothes, Leather Jacket, Helmet and Boots (armour class 1 all over)
Short Bow with a dozen arrows in quiver (weapon class 2)
Short Sword (weapon class 2)
Buckler (small shield)
Dagger (weapon class 1, but no proficiency)
Backpack with food and a flask of water
And 50 silvers in assorted coin
Silverleaf is an elfling, and I figure elflings would live longer than humans. He is not clear about his age, but he might be in his late thirties. But he is young at heart, and may be annoying in his optimism and aloofness to others. I figure he looks like a human of twelve with pointy ears, silverish hair, and a lot of freckles. One of his favorite playmates was the twelve year old sister of Sister Rebecca, who we will name Sophia now. Sophia was kidnapped by goblins, and Silverleaf readily joins the company to free her. And shoot some goblin in the mean time.
Silverleaf also knows Fredrik the dwarf, who is one of his better friends, as he is even smaller than Silverleaf himself. Which gives the elf ample opportunity to make fun of the dwarf.
Let's have a look at Fredrik too. You should know the drill by now, so I'll pick the abilities and skills from the template. Just one difference with his friends: poor Fredrik is quite young for a dwarf (only sixty-five perhaps) and he is only level one in D&D. So he'll have 50 points and no skills above 5.
Fredrik Forgemaster, male dwarf,
Str 5, Dex 1, Con 3, Int 1, Wil 2, App 0 (totals 24 skill points)
Fred is very strong, and sturdy. I'd first opted to give him a 5 on Constitution too, but then I remembered he had only 6 hit points before he got killed in the Basic D&D example. Poor Fred.
So I scaled down a bit. Or should I protect him and give him more sturdiness?
Battle Axe 5, Shield 5, Brawling 3, Throw Dagger 3 (totals 16 skill points)
Just decided to make Fred a pure combat machine.
Night Vision 3, Mining and Tunneling 1, Jewelsmithing 3, Weaponsmith 3 (the other 10)
Fred is a fine craftsman, with a specialty in making and repairing axes.
Full Helmet (armor class 3), Chain Hauberk (armor class 2), Battle Axe (weapon class 3),
Shield, Sturdy Clothes and boots, Six throwing daggers, Backpack with food and a keg of beer,
50 silver coins
Fred is a good yet short friend of Silverleaf, who joins the party to rescue Sophia and slay some goblins. He is fond of making jewels and finding the same, and he is also a fine weaponsmith – though he could be better one day. Like his uncle Fili Forgemaster. Or a dwarf he deals with humans fairly often, and he even has a fondness for some of them.
Rebuilding the sketchy characters from the D&D examples, I already notice that I start to give them more depth in DD. Of course, they are only very, very sketchy in the Basic set. But even then I can now see that killing off one of the DD variant characters will be harder. It will be harder because they have more chances of survival to begin with, with combat skills at 5 and 6. But they also feel more real to me already. Which makes them harder to lose.
Intriguing to notice the difference.
Next I'll have a look at Black Dougal. And then we go to the Haunted Keep itself.
The cool dwarf snippet artwork is by Bill Willingham, gratefully borrowed.