Tuesday, February 26, 2019


A while back, I wrote up a new class for The Nightmares Underneath that was heavily inspired by the Abomination class from Darkest Dungeon. It was actually a conversion of a class that I initially wrote up for use with For Coin and Blood (a neat Swords and Wizardry derivative that I recommend checking out).

The original For Coin and Blood write-up of the class, along with another class and some house rules, can be found here if you are particularly curious.

The idea behind the class is that it can transform between two states--one a defensive mode, with high AC but less HP and combat power, and the other an aggressive mode, with more combat power but more vulnerability. In many ways, it is really just an alternative take on a barbarian/berserker style class.

I recently cleaned it up, incorporating some feedback from others--including Johnstone--for inclusion in The Long Bright Dark. The revisions to the rules are fairly minor but I have re-conceptualised it as a daemon-host. The full class is presented below:

Imbrued Due to the time that it spent lost in Tartarus, the walls between real-space and the space-between are weakened in many places across Gaea. Most daemons cannot manage more than a liminal manifestation, but there are a small few with the potency to slip into this world and take command of the will of man or beast. Fewer in number still are those victims with the force of will, religious conviction or canny bargaining ability to seize back control of their bodies, and bind the power of the daemon within themselves. Terrifying to behold, but physically and spiritually potent, the so-called Imbrued can make a powerful companion. Hit Die: 1d4 Primary Attributes: Ferocity and Willpower

Restrictions: You may use any weapons and armour, but if you manifest your daemon-form while wearing armour (other than a shield), the armour is destroyed. When you are in your daemon-form, you may only speak in the language of daemons, but most people won’t talk to you anyway. You come from the Daemon-Touched background. Skills: Imbrued come from many walks of life, and may have a variety of skills. Work with your GM to determine one or two areas of skill from your old life. In addition, the daemon bound to you will have certain knowledge, and will manifest certain physical changes. Work with your GM to determine an area of knowledge known to your daemon, and two or so physical changes that take place when you manifest your daemon-form. When you use one of your skills in a risky manner (you must be in your daemon-form to take advantage of its physical manifestations) you must roll equal to or lower than one of your attribute scores on a d20 to successfully perform the task. The GM will tell you which attribute score to use. Special abilities:
  • In order to control your daemon, you are covered in tattoos, amulets or ritual scars, when you are in your normal form and are not wearing armour (other than a shield) you have psychic armour (1d4), treat your armour rating as 15, and may abjure daemons and spirits as a Faithful.
  • At any time, you may relinquish some control to your daemon and manifest your daemon-form (it is up to you to describe what the transformation looks like), or return to human form.
  • You automatically revert to your normal form if you fall asleep or unconscious.
  • When you manifest your daemon-form, you lose all psychic armour, re-roll your disposition with a 1d8 Hit Dice and all of your allies that are present must roll equal to or lower than their willpower or lose disposition equal to your twice your level.
  • When you are in your daemon-form, you attack as a fighter and your Hit Dice becomes 1d8, but when you attack with anything other than the natural weapons of your daemon-form your Hit Dice is treated as 1d4 for dealing damage.
  • When you return to your normal form, if your disposition is higher than it was before you transformed it reverts to the old disposition, and you may re-roll your psychic armour.
The original version for The Nightmares Underneath is below, if you are interested.

Click here for bigger

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


As I mentioned in my post about converting creatures from Though Ultan’s Door to 5E Dungeons & Dragons, it is not my favourite edition of D&D. And its certainly not my favourite game for doing fantasy adventure.

For a bit of fun, I decided to try my hand at converting the Ravens of Perjury to a few other systems. I found the results interesting, and they shed some new light on the differences between the games and the philosophies behind their monster design.

The original stat line, which I won’t share here, is very simple in the classic D&D style. I don’t think the stat line was created with much eye towards mechanical balance, but presumably with the intention that it would be part of an adventure for lower-level characters. It has relatively few HP and doesn’t do a very large amount of damage. Its AC is decent, presumably to reflect that it can evade attacks by flying. It has a fairly basic ranged attack, and one more powerful single-use, single-target, Sleep effect.

One notable consideration about these sort of classic D&D style stats is that the numbers are reasonably straightforward to come up with because HD give a rough guide to how many attacks it takes to kill, and AC is on a fixed scale. As a result, “eye-balling” the strength of a monster is not too hard.

The first conversion I did was to 13th Age:

Ravens of Perjury
2nd level caster [BEAST]
Initiative: +4

R: Murderous Glare +7 vs MD -- 7 psychic damage

C: Sleep Beam +7 vs PD -- 5 psychic damage, and if the target has less than 15 hit points the target falls unconscious (hard save ends, 16+; it also ends if the target takes damage)
Limited use: 1/battle.

AC 19
PD16               HP 28

There are a few things that I think are worth noting. Firstly, I love 13th Age stat blocks—they tell me exactly what I need to know to run a monster in that game; however, they don’t really tell you much about a monster out of combat. That’s not really something I’m looking for in most games, and definitely not something I need in 13th Age.
13th Age’s monster design is based on a fairly strict mathematical formula, which the books reduce to a table, for what kind of HP, defences and attacks a monster of a given level should have. I did this conversion as a level 2 creature, because four level 2 creatures should be a medium challenge for four level PCs, and the stat blocks I made for 5E were also premised on the assumption that four Ravens would be a medium challenge for a party of four  PCs.
Of all of these conversions, 13th Age is definitely the system with clearest and most robust underlying math, so the creation of stats was very straightforward. I reduced the HP a little and boosted the AC to reflect a monster that is not very tough but is hard to hit. That is the same reason I chose to make PD (physical defense) higher than MD (mental defense).
Another thing that I think is interesting as a comparison is the way that 13th Age’s level system effects all of the stats. In 13th Age, pretty much all numbers increase with level—including damage dice for PC’s attacks (monsters do static damage that increases with level). Unlike the classic D&D version of this monster, AC is not bounded within a particular range for either the monster itself or the PCs. That means that the mathematical formula behind the stats is, at least in my view, far more important and necessary for gauging how challenging this monster will be.
The final note that I would make is that if I were to use this in a 13th Age game, I would have to either design a second variation or pair it with a different monster for encounters. Fighting four of the same enemy in 13th Age is quite boring. The combination of fixed damage, fixed HP and repetitive attacks means that an encounter is much more interesting with a combination of different monsters that target different defences and deal different amounts of damage/inflict different conditions. 13th Age also uses the concept of “mooks”, simple monsters with a very small amount of HP that effectively take damage as a group. A simple approach might be to make a mook version of the Raven’s whose Sleep Beam causes a different effect or that attacks physically rather than magically.
The next conversion was to Dungeon World:
Ravens of Perjury                                                     Group, Devious, Small
Murderous Gaze (1d6 damage, ignores armor)                      5 HP, 0 Armor
Close, Near, Far
·         Flit swiftly but erratically.
·         Glare balefully, like cutting knives.
·         Render unconscious with a gaze when threatened.

This was probably the simplest conversion, and—truth be told—if I ran the module in Dungeon World I would probably just convert monsters on the fly. For the purposes of this experiment I have followed the procedure in the rule book. Assigning stats in Dungeon World is extremely straightforward. There is no change in accuracy based on level, and damage, HP and armor only scale very slightly based on how dangerous the monster is. A lot of the power level of a monster resides in the way its moves are described, the fictional positioning and the hardness of moves the GM chooses to make with it.
The Sleep Beam is described only by refence to a monster move, and there is no limit on how often it can be used. How effective it is, and how often is comes into play, will rely a lot GM judgement. Due to the difficulty of a fight being much more in the hands of the GM than in the stats of the monsters in Dungeon World, there isn’t an awful lot to the mechanical design process here. The major task is coming up with right monster moves.; fortunately, Ben’s writeup in the module gives some pretty clear hints about what appropriate moves are.
The final conversion was to Torchbearer:
Ravens of Perjury
Might: 1                                             Nature: 3
Descriptors: Flying, Spying, Rends minds with a glare
Conflict Dispositions
Conflict Weapons
Kill: 7
Kill Weapons
Attack: +1D,  bypasses armor, Murderous Glare
Defend: +1D, Erratic Flight
Maneuver: +1D, +1s, bypasses armor, Sleep Beam
Drive Off: 3
Drive Off Weapons
Attack: +1D, bypasses armor, Murderous Glare
Defend: +1D, Erratic Flight
Flee: 5
Flee Weapons
Attack: +1D, Erratic Flight
Instinct: Turns its violent gaze upon things from an animal curiosity.
Special: Ravens of perjury can see in the dark. Any character knocked out by a raven of perjury in a Kill or Drive Off conflict gains the exhausted condition.

This design was probably the biggest challenge. Firstly, because I haven’t created a monster for Torchbearer before and, secondly, because the rules-object of a monster in Torchbearer is so different from your average D&D style game. The descriptors and instincts are all ripped pretty much from Ben’s description in the module but capturing the Raven’s special abilities and modes of attack was much more of a challenge.
Conflicts, including combat, in Torchbearer use a relatively abstract resolution system that the underlying fiction sometimes hangs on a bit loosely, so representing the key thematic aspects of the Raven mechanically took a bit of thinking about. I decided that since the Sleep Beam is a limited use ability in D&D, in Torchbearer it should be saved for Kill conflicts where the Raven is fighting for its life. I also decided that Ravens should be most difficult to confront in Kill conflicts because that is when they would pull out all the stops. By contrast, I made them be relatively weak in Drive Off conflicts, as I took the view that they probably weren’t interested in a protracted fight if they had the option to leave.
This is probably the stat block I am least satisfied with because Torchbearer is the system I am least familiar with out of these three (I haven’t really got to play Torchbearer—although I have played a bit of Mouse Guard—whereas I have played both 13th Age and Dungeon World quite often). On the other hand, it also the conversion I am most interested in testing the results of, because I would like to know how well it works.
In the end, I found this whole conversion process quite interesting, and I think there is something to be learned by comparing how different systems treat their monsters mechanically and what that means for those games. Hopefully it was at least somewhat interesting to read about too.

Friday, February 15, 2019


I'm moving some of the major stuff that I have posted on my Google+ profile over to here, so that it is easy to find and link to.

The Long Bright Dark is my dark science-fiction/gothic science-fantasy hack for The Nightmares Underneath by Johnstone Metzger. I really like TNU, it's one my favourite OSR things, because it fuses a lot of the good ideas from the OSR with some nice modern design ideas from games like Dungeon World and Torchbearer. I'm not planning to review the game, but I recommend Ben L's review on his blog.

 Click here to access the Google Doc

The Long Bright Dark is heavily inspired by, and something of a pastiche of, various elements of Warhammer 40,000. In particular, it is inspired by Necromunda and the concept, if not the actual gaming products, of space hulks.

Other influence include John Scalzi's novella The God Engines, the Metabarons, the art of Degenesis Rebirth and the eccentric computer game E.Y.E.: Divine Cybermancy.

I prefer to keep my work organised in Google Docs but, as usual, I feel like it is good manners to post some content directly in the blog post. That way, even the mostly uninterested have a chance to take something away.

One of the things I like in TNU are background tables that provide details of starting equipment for characters based on their social status. I deceived to incorporate that into The Long Bright Dark, as I think it is a succinct way to include some evocative world-building without having to do the hard work of actually writing it up. Here they are:

Backgrounds and Starting Gear

All characters start with 2d6 × 10 Cyphers, a utility knife (Disadvantage on damage rolls), a bed-roll, a backpack, a torch, half a dozen batteries, and 5 days worth of food . Then roll 1d8 for your background and 1d4 for you starting equipment (maybe the DM will be nice and let you pick instead of rolling the d4). All weapons that are rolled as starting equipment come with 20 ammo.


You are pretty much the best people. You are used to living in luxury at the top of the grand spires of one of the arcologies, known as Arks. You are probably a scion of one of the Great Houses, but maybe you are trusted advisor or even a favoured servant.

1 - Tactical Neural Weaponry (as a Pistol, but you know, in your head), Light Armour, the final hope of your Great House.
2 - Mono-filament Shredder (as Long Arm, with Advantage on attack rolls but only has a range of 10’), A piece of Tartarus encased in crystal, 2d6×10 Cyphers.
3 - Digital Weapons (finger mounter laser weaponry, as a Pistol, with Disadvantage on damage rolls), Bionic Arm/Leg/Eye/Ears (choose one, you get Advantage on rolls where it is relevant), a warbanner possessed by the ghost of your ancestors.
4 - Power Armour, Long-Arm or Automatic Pistol, a mindless servo-vassal (doesn’t fight, unless you find someway to upgrade its mechano-brain).


You are a regular run-of-the-mill type, just trying to make your way on one of the habitable levels of an Ark. It’s a relatively stable life, and relatively stable, but it is usually pretty dull. Maybe that’s why you were dumb enough to leave for adventure. 

1 - A Long-Arm, Poison (3 uses), EMP Grenade (×3), a book of the true-names of daemons.
2 - A Pistol, a shard of the Bright Black Heavens, 1d6x10 Cyphers, a crushing boredom of your normal life.
3 - Arc-Wrench (can be used as a 1-Handed, Powered close combat weapon, does not require a power source but has Disadvantage on Damage rolls), Stim-Pak (re-roll your disposition, ×2), a valuable contract.
4 - Worn-Out industrial Power Armour (as Heavy Armour, but maybe you can get it refurbished), a mining laser (Automatic Long-Arm, but it only uses 1 ammo per attack, +1 encumbrance), breathing equipment.


You are the law! Or, at least, that’s what you tell the citizens under your jurisdiction. If you are unlucky you are assigned to the lowest levels of an Ark, dealing with the scum and the gangs. If you are lucky, you work a relatively safe beat in the mid-levels. If you are exteremly fuckign lucky, you are assigned to the top levels, and just take bribes from the Nobles to let them do whatever they want. You probably aren’t that lucky.

1 - Combat Shotgun, Light Armour, Combat Drugs (3 uses), cyber-hound (treat as your level, HD d4, attacks as a fighter).
2 - Combat Shotgun, Light Armour, Night-vision goggles (you can, uh, see in the dark), a network of Ark Noble contacts.
3 - Pistol, Riot Baton (1-handed close combat weapon, power weapon), Riot Shield.
4 - Power Armour, Automatic Long Arm, Fragmentation Grenades (× 3).

4 - SCUM

You dwell in the bottom levels of an Ark. Shit rolls down hill, and you end up swimming in it. You might be a member of gang fighting a proxy-war on behalf of the noble houses, or you might be an independent smuggler, drug-runner, procurer or panderer. You might not be a criminal, but everyone else will assume you are one.

1 - Pistol, Long Arm, Light Armour, Stim-Pak (2d6 disposition).
2 - Pistol, 2-Handed close combat weapon, Heavy Armour.
3 - Combat Shotgun, Pistol, Night-vision goggles (you can, uh, see in the dark).
4 - Brimstone Laser Pistol (targets damaged by Brimstone weapons must save against Health or take 1d6 burn damage at the start of their turn, uses 2 ammo per shot), Fragmentation Grenades (× 3).


You live outside the Arks, in one of the wild terra-formed zones that are known Gaea’s Gifts. You might be a farmer, hunter or craftsperson. Life is simpler out in the wild lands, but you have to make do with outdated tech, and a degree of lawlessness. Still, you get to work out in the un-Sun.  

1 - Spirit Mask, Hunting Spear (1 or 2-Handed, may be thrown), mystical tattoos (Light Armough, 0 encumbrance), strange berries (3 uses).
2 - Power Halberd (Powered, 2-Handed), Light Armour, a carving of an ancient demon/god (your choice), the weight of your family’s expectations.
3 - Bone Sword (1-Handed close combat), Psychic Helm (Helmet, grants 1d8 Psychic Armour), Heavy Armour.
4 - A 1-Handed close combat weapon or a Pistol, a large animal companion (treat as your level, HD 1d6, add its level to its attack rolls), Mystic Herbs (3 uses). 


You are a mercenary, fixer or bounty hunter of no fixed address, and no fixed morality. The Bravos represent a kind of unofficial and private law enforcement system for those that can afford it. Successful Bravos get rich--unsuccessful Bravos get dead in a ditch.

1 - Automatic Pistol, Light Armour, Combat Drugs (3 uses), psychic grenades (destroys all of a damaged target’s psychic armour in addition to damage, ×3).
2 - Chainsaw-bladed weapon (1-Handed close combat weapons, Advantage on damage rolls against living unarmored targets), Bionic Arm/Leg/Eye/Ears (choose one, you get Advantage on rolls where it is relevant), grav-boots that allow you to hover one inch from the ground.
3 - Brimstone Laser Rifle (targets damaged by Brimstone weapons must save against Health or take 1d6 burn damage at the start of their turn, uses 2 ammo per shot), Heavy Armour, a shit-eating grin.
4 - 2 Automatic Pistols, Stim-Pak (re-roll your disposition), a fragment of a God-Engine’s dream.


You live out in the dark decks of Gaea, beyond the light of the un-Sun. Maybe you are  a hermit, or an outlaw. Not many who have a choice choose to live in the dark decks, but you would be surprised what you can find out there in the dark.

1 - Power Weapon infused with Spiritus Mundi of a dead world (1-Handed, Powered close combat weapon, does not require a power source), Mystic Herbs (3 uses). 
2 - A hefty powertool (1-Handed close combat weapon, it might still work as a tool?), Fey-Mail Armour (as Light Armour, but encumbrance 0), pet of alien origin.
3 - An Automatic Long-Arm, a Star-Fey Spider Suit (as Heavy Armour, apparently Star-Fey can use them to teleport short distance--you probably don’t know how it works), the spirit of a dying machine-god.
4 - A weapon of your choice, a psionic parasite (if you let it bond with you, gain mastery over one spell--maybe it does other stuff too?).


You are travelling merchant--a member of one of the Livery Companies--or one of their staff or hangers-on. A Mercer has more freedom to travel than most, and such rights extend to those in their employ. You have a degree of access to the latest tech, and make decent money, but the Noble Houses will never accept you as one of them

1 - A single weapon, Light Armour, three bottles of fine alcohol, a secure portable storage container, an unstable DNA transfuser.
2 - Star-Fey Vampire Flechette Gun (as a Longarm, but when you kill a living creature heal d3 attribute damage), a magnificent codpiece (Grants Advantage on checks in social-situations), your father’s disapproval.
3 - An automatic Pistol, Bionic Arm/Leg/Eye/Ears (choose one, you get Advantage on rolls where it is relevant), a small and irritating robot servitor, an old shuttle (like all transport ships, it doesn’t seem to work anymore).
4 - Two weapons of your choice, Light Armour, weird floating alien spore mines (×3), a spare vat-grown limb or organ (your choice, but you’re gonna need to find a way to keep it fresh or it will go bad in a month).

Ask you GM how you can access to the backgrounds below:


You are probably a Dark-Decker, but even regular Dark-Deckers want nothing to do with you. Whether by accident, or foolish intention, your genetic make-up has been mutated or spliced with something alien. In rare circumstances you might be able to actually enter a human settlement without anyone trying to burn you at the stake--very rare circumstances.

1 - A single weapon, Patagia (skin flaps allowing limited flight), a single phial of pure darkness (absorbs light), mag-boots, a hunger for raw flesh.
2 - A Long-Arm or Heavy Close Combat Weapon, Two additional limbs (choose the configuration), chitin, scales or hard exoskeleton (as Light Armour), an unusually long coil of metal cabling.
3 - A Pistol, shredding mandibles (as a Light close-combat weapon), a book full of mandalas and other spiral designs (if anyone stares at the wrong page for too long, it might devour their mind), an ancient void-suit (some of the life-support features still work!).
4 - Two weapons of your choice, acidic saliva, a very independent mind (no really, like, your head is connected by a prehensile nerve-tentacle that can be decoupled from your torso--your head continues to function when decoupled, but your torso hibernates).


At one time in your life you were possessed by a denizen or Tartarus. Whether through exorcism, ancient rite or your own force of will, you are now free of the daemon, but it has left an indelible mark upon you--both physically and on your soul. Treated by outcasts by many, as much for your  unsettling mien as the past deeds of your possessed body.

1 - An automatic Pistol, Light or Heavy Armour, an ancient mechanical heart (to replace the one that the daemon tore from you as it fled your body), a profound hatred of man.
2 - A Long-Arm or Light Close Combat Weapon, a potent psychic scream (as a Brimstone Laser Pistol, but doesn’t require ammo but may only be used if you have lost disposition since last time you re-rolled it), the indelible memory of the face of an alien god, wards and sigils marked in scars.
3 - A second personality (it might actually be a second soul trapped inside your body), filed-sharp teeth (as a utility knife, mainly), a weapon of your choice, Light or Heavy Armour.
4 - Two close-combat weapons of your choice, a glowing inverted cross branded-on your forehead, someone who wants to capture or kill you for what the daemon did.


You are a robot, android or a cyborg that is now more machine than man. Most people consider AIs untrustworthy, even hostile.

Mechanoforms cannot cast spells.

1 -  Heavy armour (it is part of your body, and can’t be changed without some serious work), Two Long-Arms (they are your arms--you can fire either one-handed but you don’t have hands), an extremely aggressive AI core.
2 - Light Armour, a Pistol, a machine interface card, a thermonuclear power-core (you don’t need to sleep or use any kind of fuel or external power but there is a nuclear bomb device inside you--good luck with that!).
3 - Any two weapons, a stealth array/skin (you are skilled in activities requiring stealth, and always count as having the proper tools as long as you are unarmoured), a human brain (it’s up to you if it is yours or not).
4 - Six insectoid limbs or tracked wheels, a sensor array, a short rang taser (as a 1-hander power weapon, its built into your chassis), an automatic pistol (it’s built into your chassis), a desire to have your machine consciousness transferred into an anthropomorphic form.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


So, I'm not 5th edition D&D's biggest fan, but it really has--for better or worse--ended up as something of a lingua franca for traditional RPGs. As a result, I have recently started a new 5E campaign, played online over Discord and Roll20, because the players all basically understand how the rules work, and grasp the basic setting conceits without any additional work. Turns out this is important for my group, because the extra work involved with unfamiliar rules and/or an unfamiliar setting tends to drag our online sessions to a standstill (this is particularly exaggerated by our relatively short two to three hour session times).

The campaign loosely uses the Southlands part of Kobold Press' Midgard setting (albeit I'm allowing races from a bunch of sources, as I tend to prefer games where all the PCs are human, or where the combination of races is totally off-the-wall), using the adventure Cat & Mouse.

We are two sessions in, and still have at least another session to finish Cat & Mouse, but I started the campaign by dropping some hooks based on Ben L's Through Ultan's Door, and Emmy Allen's The Gardens of Ynn. In fact, the PCs were drawn into the events of Cat & Mouse substantially so that they could afford the relatively modest fee for a trip through Ultan's Door.

Anyways, this all necessitates a bit of conversion work on my part. I have been converting the denizen's of issue 1 of Through Ultan's Door here.

By way of examples, since just posting a Google Doc seems like bad form on a blog:

Equus Hounds
Medium beast, neutral 

Armor Class 12

Hit points 28
Speed 40ft.
Senses passive perception 15
Languages -
Challenge 1
Number 1d4-2
Saves Dex +4, Wis +2,  other saves +0


Tracking by scent +5.


Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +4 to hit, reach 5ft., one target. 
Hit: 8 (1d8+4) piercing  damage, and the target must suceed on a DC 12 Constitution saving throw or take 2 (1d4) poison damage and gains the poisoned condition until the end of its next turn.

Ravens of Perjury
Small beast , unaligned

Armor Class 14
Hit points 18
Speed 20ft., flying 30ft.
Senses darkvision 60ft., passive perception 15
Languages  - 
Challenge 1/2
Number 2-5
Saves Dex, Int &  Wis +3, other saves +0

Keen sight +5.

Murderous Glare. The Raven targets on creature it can see within 30 feet of it. The target creature must succeed on a DC 11 Charisma saving throw or take 5 (2d4) psychic damage.

Sleep Beam. The Raven targets on creature it can see within 30 feet of it. The target creature must succeed on a DC 12 Wisdom saving throw or fall asleep and remain unconscious for 1 minute. The target awakens if it takes damage or another creature takes an action to wake it. This ray has no effect on constructs and undead. The Raven may use this action once per day.

The monster creation rules in the 5E DMG are basically hot dog-shit (much like the encounter building rules), so these have been created using the "Monster Manual on a Business Card" approach from Blog of Holding*.

In designing these monsters I have pretty much ignored ability scores, as I don't think they add much to a 5E stat block. I have incorporated some notional bonuses into skills and saves, usually as a +2 or +3 if I think they would have a higher than average relevant ability score.

The approach to skills is based on Fate Accelerated's NPC stat blocks that simply provide a bonus (or penalty) to broad descriptors of activity, rather than messing around with individual skills.

I will be updating the Goolge Doc periodically as I find time to work on it.

*As an alternative, the rules from Song of the Blade are also good, although slightly more of a departure from 5E's underlying design (which isn't necessarily bad)--I have previously used them to convert some monsters from 4E's Dark Sun material.