Pulp Krieg: Masterbook Conversion
$Revision: 1.3 $


This page describes guidelines to convert characters and other items from Masterbook (the system used by West End Games for their first few Indiana Jones books) to the Silhouette rules.

The two systems are based on very different assumptions, so the conversion, as it is often the case with these endeavors, is fair from flawless.

This page explains how to convert stats, skills, damage and difficulty rolls. This should cover the majority of the values and stats given in the adventures and sourcebooks.
The original system included cards that the players could put in play to trigger specific effects and turns of the story, and a specific subsystem for adjudicating non-combat confrontation (e.g. Intimidation, for example). This and other finer points, like magic, are beyond the scope of these notes.


Masterbook characters are defined by AGILITY, DEXTERITY, ENDURANCE, STRENGTH, TOUGHNESS, INTELLECT, MIND, CONFIDENCE, CHARISMA. Here is how to proceed to convert a Masterbook (MB from now on) character in Silhouette. For our example we will use the description of Indiana Jones given in the sourcebook. The stats refer to Indy in 1936. I will not detail all the skills included in his description, but I'll limit this to combat and other skills which may easily crop up in play.
MB uses Agility for "whole body movement" like Martial Arts, and Dexterity for "finer" coordination (like Lock Picking or Fire Combat). Silhouette does not distinguish this two factors, so take the average of the two MB stats, round up any decimal and consult the table.
Indiana Jones has Dexterity 9 and Agility 10. The average is 9.5, round it up to 10, consult the right-hand table and convert to an AGI value of +1.
Charisma is the best approximation of this. There is no explicit "Comeliness" in MB, either as Stat or Advantage (the equivalent of Perks in this system). Therefore determining the actual value of APP is something that may require gleaning at the actual physical description of the character.
With a Charisma of 9, Indy gets a 0 in Silhouette. Considering who played him in the movies, the long string of romances he had and the effect he seemed to have on his female students, I'd go for a +1, personally...
Build, per se, does not exist in MB. You may use physical descriptions (i.e. height and weight) for NPCs, but they are rarely listed in the sourcebook, so the best bet is to use the Strength value.
With a Strength of 9, BUI is 0.
Intellect seems to be the best bet for mapping to Creativity.
Professor Jones sports a respectable 11 in Intellect, so he will get a CRE of +2.
Endurance+Toughness is the most logical choice for this conversion.
Endurance 11 and Toughness of 10 result in a +2 to FIT (just like we saw for AGI, round up the average).
This characteristic does not exist, per se, in MB. Re-use the Charisma value, as for Appearance, but do not add anything extra for physical beauty.
INF is 0.
In this case, Mind seems to be the appropriate characteristic, considering how it governs learned "intellectual" skills like languages.
Mind 10 gives a KNO of +1
Perception is a skill, in MB... probably analogue to Silhouette "Notice". It's governed by Intellect, and so we re-use it for determining PER value.
With Intellect 11, PER goes to +2.
This is pretty tricky... there is no equivalent to PSY, in MB. Magic-related skills exist, but they are divided through different characteristics... and even then, the lack of an official magic system in Silhouette makes difficult to decide if PSY is linked to magic or not.
To make matters worse, MB has no skill which can be equated to Human Perception. My choice is to use the average of Intellect and Confidence.
Intellect 11, Confidence 11. Psy is a solid +2.
Confidence is an obvious choice for this one.
Confidence 11 = WIL +2.
The three derived values may be calculated as usual. There is a Toughened Skin advantage which may be equated to the Thick-Skinned perk.
STR is +1, HEA is +2, STA is 40.
These last two values depend on combat skills, so they must be calculated after the skill definition.
UD=4+Hand-to-Hand, AD=4+Melee


The Indiana Jones version of MB lists 78 skills (a few others were added later in the supplements). In most cases, the "meaning" of the skill is pretty self- explanatory, and the name should be enough to "translate" a skill in its Silhouette counterpart (e.g. Beast Riding, First Aid, Dance).
So, instead of trying to provide actual "mapping" from one system to the other, I'll just give a method to convert values from MB to Silhouette, and provide guidance for converting the few skills (like the combat related ones) which actually require a little more precision.

Each skill in MB is linked to a specific attribute. For example Swimming is related to Agility. The usual format for describing a character or creature is to list each characteristic followed by the relevant skills.
Example: Standard Gestapo Officer
Dodge 10, Melee Combat 10, Stealth 11, Unarmed Combat 10
Fire Combat 11, Vehicle Piloting: Wheeled 10
Espionage 11, Radio Ops 11, Trick 12
Con 11, Interrogation 13, Intimidation 12, Willpower 12
Persuasion 9, Taunt 10
To determine the value of a skill in Silhouette terms, just subtract the characteristic value from the skill. So our Officer in the example would have, for example, Interrogation 3, Small Arms 2 and Drive 1.
The value of a skill should always be higher than the governing attribute. In case this was not the case, still allow a minimum of 1 for any skill listed in an NPC profile.
MB has the concept of skill "foci", which is more or less equivalent to Specialization in Silhouette, but in some cases it also helps to define broad skills like Language.
The skills requiring a focus are: Beast Riding, Flight, Martial Arts, Gunnery, Heavy Weapons, Apportation, Divination, Science, Teaching, Vehicle Mechanic, Artist, Language, Medicine, Scholar, Faith, Survival.
These skills are usually listed as Skill:focus, like "Faith:Buddhism" or "Language:French".

As we have seen from the example, most skills should probably left "untouched". Silhouette has no "Taunt", for example, but you can easily drop skills who do not have significant impact in the game or invent some use for them ("Taunt" could work as a form of "Intimidation", provoking action not by fear but by manipulating your opponent pride, for example).

The only skill we actually need to "translate" are the ones used in combat and other broadly applicable skills like Notice.
Combat Sense
No equivalent exists in MB; the system has "Combat Sense" as an advantage, but it is not modeled as a skill. Use the lowest-rated combat skill of the original character. Note that by "lowest-rated" I mean the one with the lower delta between its value and the one of its governing characteristic.
If the character lists "Combat Sense" as an advantage, increase the Silhouette skill by one after having determined it.
Indy "deltas" in the relevant skills are:
Dodge +4, Melee Combat +4, Melee Parry +3, Unarmed Combat +4, Unarmed parry +3, Fire Combat +4.
We therefore assign him a Combat Sense of 3.
Dodge is a skill in MB. Proceed as usual.
With a Dodge of 14 and Agility of 10, Indiana Jones has Dodge +4 in Silhouette.
Hand to hand
MB separates offensive and defensive skills. It also defines "Martial Arts" as a separate skill, with focus in one of various styles (e.g.:Martial Arts:Aikido).
Take the lower between Unarmed Combat and Unarmed Parry as a basis for the Hand to Hand. Add specializations for focuses in the MB;
"Typical" Ninjas are listed as having Agility 11, Martial Arts:Ninjutsu 13. Model them as Hand-to-Hand 1, Specialization in Ninjutsu.
Indiana Jones has Unarmed Combat 14, Unarmed Parry 13 and Agility 10. In Silhouette he gets Hand-to-Hand +3 and an extra +1 in Unarmed Attacks to account for the disparity between defensive and offensive value.
The situation is fairly similar to the one described for Hand to Hand (including the availability of specific styles and specialization in weapons).
Indiana Jones has Melee Combat 14 (Bullwhip 16), Melee Parry 13, Agility 10.
Silhouette values should be: Melee +3, Specialization Bullwhip. Note that you should also apply Weapon Familiarity for special weapons.
MB has a generic "Perception" skill, linked to Intellect
Professor Jones is listed as Intellect 11, Perception 15 (find 17).
Grant him Notice:+4, Specialization: find hidden things.
Small Arms
Again, pretty standard. There is no "defensive version" of the Fire Combat skill, so just use it and keep track of focuses.
With Dexterity 9, Fire Combat 13 (Pistol 14) Indiana Jones gets Small Arms:4, Specialization: Pistols.

Damage from Weapons

Melee Weapons
"Muscle-powered" weapons add a given bonus to Strength, and they are always listed as Bonus and maximum value. The numbers are more or less adequate for Silhouette, too.
A Machete in MB is listed as providing +7/(Max 22) damage. So it would work out as AD+7 in Silhouette.
The best way to "translate" them would probably be to look up the weapon in Silhouette terms... the Indiana Jones world uses mostly historical weapons, so instead of complex procedures to convert damage just look for "Webley Mark IV" or "Heavy Revolver". In the rare case you get some strange/unknown/weird weapon, calculate base damage as 4/3 of the listed MB value (round down) in case of rifles or larger weapons, and leave it untouched for pistol-size weapons.
A Lee Enfield rifle in MB is listed at 21 for damage. Multiply this by 4/3 to get a value of 28, close enough to the other rifles in Silhouette.

Armor Value

Armors add to Toughness, with a specific maximum, just like we have seen for the Melee Weapons. The Armor value is usually quite similar to the values used in Silhouette. Just add 1 to the listed value.
Hard Leather is listed as providing +4/19 protection. The +4 becomes +5 in Silhouette.

Difficulty Levels

MB was already a decent task difficulty system, so it is not too hard to quantify the difficulties in Silhouette terms. In a pinch, just divide the MB difficulty by 2 to get the Silhouette value, otherwise use the provided table.



The World Of Indiana Jones
by B.S. Perry, published by West End Games in 1994