Conversions AD&D to D&D: How to




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    AD&D to D&D: How to

    How do you guys go about converting an AD&D adventure for use with d20?

    The basis for starting my campaign was several higher-level AD&D adventures that inspired me. As my group creeps toward the proper level using the current system, I find myself staring at the seemingly-daunting task of converting four or more adventures.

    Any guidance would be helpful to me.

    Thanks.

 

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Potter
    How do you guys go about converting an AD&D adventure for use with d20?

    The basis for starting my campaign was several higher-level AD&D adventures that inspired me. As my group creeps toward the proper level using the current system, I find myself staring at the seemingly-daunting task of converting four or more adventures.

    Any guidance would be helpful to me.

    Thanks.
    First off - remember that you only need to be one adventure ahead on the conversion curve which should buy you some time.

    Secondly - Figure out what tools you want to use. eTools and PCGen both can create characters and monsters in a Stat-block like manner. There are many others - look at the electronic downloads here on ENWorld, or check out the computer forum... There's quite a few of them out there. Also, WOTC published a Conversion Manual for 2e to 3e back in August of 2000. I don't see it on a quick glance, but it may just be hidden up there. If I find it in my archives I'll send it your way.

    Third, figure out how you want to approach the conversion -
    Do you want to run a faithful conversion, keeping all monsters, treasures, and traps the same?
    Do you want a conversion that is more 3e compatible that allows for easier management?

    I'm running a Night Below game [plug]see sig[/plug] that is more or less a faithful conversion of the module. The number of monsters and the treasure levels are the same - which will play hob with my world a bit, but I wanted to see what would happen.
    The downside to this conversion method is that encounter levels vary widely and depending on your players some encounters could be too easy or instant death. Still, I've had fun doing it this way.

    The second method requires a lot more work on your part. You'll have to determine what level you want to run the module at and adjust each encounter and treasure value for something that is more reasonable. For example, in D1-2 for example, the lair of the troglodytes with about 30+ trogs is not a reasonable 3e conversion - For 14th level characters the trogs are individually too weak to be a challenge at all and aren't worth any experience points - worse there's too many of them and it makes it hard to judge just how dangerous they are (DMG recommends no more than 13 creatures per encounter I believe).

    Generally speaking I would do a true/faithful conversion of any module I wanted to run. I would stat all the creatures, traps, and magics as faithfully as I could and then tweak afterwards to match the party strength (or make sure they had the opportunity to find out if they were wildly overmatched).
    It's easiest to start at the front of the module and work your way through each statted encounter.

    For Monsters:
    Find the equivalent monster in the MM or SRD or any other monster book you might own (Tome of Horrors has quite a few original 2nd editon monsters).

    For Traps:
    Try to find the equivalent trap listed in the DMG. You probably won't find the exact trap, but you'll find something close. Poison traps that cause death should be converted to one of the Con draining poisons. I've found that frequently the 2nd edition traps usually top out at CR3 or CR4 traps.

    For Magic:
    Find the equivalent magic item or spell. For custom items/spells you can either play as is or try to find a reasonable substitute.

    Out of curiousity, which adventures are you going to convert? They may have already been converted - You can check the downloads for them, but someone may have a conversion they're willing to share.
    Last edited by Seravin; Friday, 23rd April, 2004 at 01:48 AM.
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    Thanks, Seravin. That is exactly the kind of help I was hoping for.

    Unfortunately, I can't make use of the programs you mention since I'm strictly a Mac user. This marks the first time, I've ever wished I had a Windows machine.

    Anyway, I think I'll shoot for adjusting the adventure to fit rather than doing a faithful conversion. I'm more interested in following the spirit rather than the letter of the adventures in question.

    They're not commercial adventures, BTW. I've been laying the groundwork in my campaign for an eventual run through the "Melengar Series" of AD&D adventures by Kevin Simmons (available for free download here). Something about a villain from the dawn of civilization returning to lay the smack down on the heroes of the present appeals to me.

    Following the spirit of the adventures allows me to play with Prestige/Variant Classes to make this villain out-of-time and his all the more alien to the PCs. My ideas currently include using Malhavoc's Chaositech, Mystic Eye's Blight Magic, and Green Ronin's Unholy Warrior's Handbook - as well as a healthy dose of The book of Vile Darkness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Potter
    Thanks, Seravin. That is exactly the kind of help I was hoping for.

    Unfortunately, I can't make use of the programs you mention since I'm strictly a Mac user. This marks the first time, I've ever wished I had a Windows machine.
    Isn't PCGen Java based ? Last I look it was, so theoretically it is non-platform dependent.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guillaume
    Isn't PCGen Java based ? Last I look it was, so theoretically it is non-platform dependent.
    It is Java based - not sure how it works on a mac though.

    Jon,
    Thanks for the download link
    Check out this link.
    It's in the computer forum and there are a number of Mac users there who are giving recommendations on the tools they use.

    Also,
    If you haven't found a copy of the conversion book, I do apparently have a copy. It's 3mb though. Do you still need want a copy? If so, can your email handle it?

    enjoy.
    The best laid plans of mice and men are often acts of desperation. -bac

    There are terrible things in the Night Below. See what happens when those things come up for a visit. There have been five deaths now - who will be next?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seravin
    It is Java based - not sure how it works on a mac though.
    I'm not running OS X at home, but I'll give it a look-see when I get to work.

    It sounds like a real time saver.
    If you haven't found a copy of the conversion book, I do apparently have a copy. It's 3mb though. Do you still need want a copy? If so, can your email handle it?
    Is this the book with the close-up shot of Regdar's screaming face on the cover? If so, then I already have it. If not, then please do forward it on to me. 3 megs is no sweat for my email. The link in my member profile is accurate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Potter
    Is this the book with the close-up shot of Regdar's screaming face on the cover? If so, then I already have it. If not, then please do forward it on to me. 3 megs is no sweat for my email. The link in my member profile is accurate.
    That's the one I was talking about, so no need to clog up the email.
    For high level adventures with creatures who multi-class, I found the guidelines essential.

    Other things to consider:
    1. If the monsters are listed as tougher or elite, then give them the elite stat array (15, 14, 13, 12, 10, 8) and add racial adjustments afterwards.

    2. For multi-class monsters with spell-casting ability make sure how much of their spell casting abilities you want to preserve. Often, the conversion would make the creature's spell-casting weaker. A kuo-toan Rogue10/Priest could convert to a Rogue10/Priest3 under 3e. I usually prefer to favor the spellcasting though and would re-arrange it to be Rogue4/Priest9 so as to maintain at least the same access to spell levels. Wisdom bonuses ususally means that 3e spell casters will have more spells per level anyway.
    The best laid plans of mice and men are often acts of desperation. -bac

    There are terrible things in the Night Below. See what happens when those things come up for a visit. There have been five deaths now - who will be next?

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    One thing to keep in mind about converting 1/2e to 3e is that the levels don't really mean the same things. For instance, in 1e or 2e, you hardly ever saw mega-high level pcs. TSR's modules tended to top out at about the 12th-16th level range. I just ran Return to the Tomb of Horrors- the aforementioned high-level 2e spread of 12-16 was recommended.*

    Yet in 3e, some of the key monsters (winter-wight, demilich) are CR 23-29! Clearly, a 12th-16th level pc in 2ed or 1ed was the equivalent of an epic 3e character. The spread's different. So when you convert, say, G1 with all its giants (orignally for 8-12) figure it's more like for 12th-15th; a ton of hill giants is rough.

    Just my observation- if you're interested, I can post some of my RttToH notes. If you have the original you can compare what I did with the various bad guys and stuff.


    *Yes, I am a very mean dm. And yes, I ran this in my regular campaign- it's the Felenga story hour thread linked in my sig, if you're interested.
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    I do it all by hand. It takes some time, but I make sure that the conversion is done to what I need. For instance many creauters have gained power since the older editions and if I use them straight up for the levels of the adventure, it'll be a TPK.

    I try to keep to the theme of the module and when needed I replace creutures to get things of the appripriate CR.

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    Another option is a straight-across conversion that you then set a new level for; so, for instance, D3 would prolly translate into 3ed in a form that's well above the original 9-12 or whatever it was rated at; a city of Drow? An avatar of Lolth?? Yikes- prolly nigh-epic, if not epic, in terms of 3e.
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