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Converting First Edition Monsters


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Casimir Liber

Explorer
Right, given that solifugids haven't been converted AFAICT, have updated giant solifugid as I happen to be buffing an arid part of my campaign setting which is dominated by arthropods. In 2e, giant solifugids were immune to poison, which strikes me as a little extreme for a nonmagical beast, so I left them as Resistant (which I figure would be handy for drow using them as steeds in fights with rival drow anyway)
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
Right, given that solifugids haven't been converted AFAICT, have updated giant solifugid as I happen to be buffing an arid part of my campaign setting which is dominated by arthropods. In 2e, giant solifugids were immune to poison, which strikes me as a little extreme for a nonmagical beast, so I left them as Resistant (which I figure would be handy for drow using them as steeds in fights with rival drow anyway)

Well they haven't been converted to 5E to the best of my knowledge, but there are 3E stats for them Lost Empires of Faerûn plus unofficial 3E conversions scattered around the net (including the "Barrel Spider" in the Creature Catalogue here, if you'll excuse the plug. I vaguely recall stumbling up 4E stats for them somewhere, but can't recall where.

Oddly, the immunity to poison only appears for 2E AD&D Giant Solifugid, all the other editions from the 1E AD&D original in Queen of the Demonweb Pits (1980) onwards had no special resistance to poison.

Even more strangely, it was only the Giant Solifugid that had "Poison immunity" listed on its Special Defenses in The Drow of the Underdark, the Huge Solifugid* and Large Solifugid* had "Nil" Special Defenses meaning poison affected them normally.

This might be a printing error since the Ecology entry says "Solifugids are immune to all known poisons, and can eat poisonous creatures with impunity", which implies the other sizes should be immune to poison to. Or it might mean that the forgot to specify it's only this particular Giant Solifugid that has that immunity. The 2E Giant version is a subterranean creature, while the 1E Giant version is a desert-dweller like the other sizes, so the poison-proof one may be an Underdark-specific variant that presumably adapted to prey upon venomous and poisonous prey.

*Due to the weird legacy issues of AD&D monster naming, the Large Solifugid and Huge Solifugid are both Medium sized and the Giant Solifugid is Large sized.

Oh, and there's also a Mystara / BECMI version of a Giant Solifugid, the Rhagodessa "Spider-Kin" that first appeared in the D&D Expert Set (1981). It has an official 2E appearance in the Mystara Monstrous Compendium and 3E manifestations in Dungeon #139 and #144.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
Guess I should say something about the conversion too!

First impression is it looks slightly weedy for Challenge 2. Compare it to the following Challenge 2 Animals from the Monster Manual:

Giant Boar (Strength 17; special defense of Relentless; +5 to hit, average damage 10 or 17 on a Charge)
Polar Bear (Strength 20; Double Multiattack like the Solifugid, +7 to hit, average damage 21.5)
Hunter Shark (Strength 18; Advantage on Attacks against injured creatures; +6 to hit, average damage 13)

Currently it is:

conversion (Strength 15; +4 to hit (+7 with bite), average damage 9 [two forelegs], 12 [bite] or 21 [two forelegs and bite])

However, that might depend on how I'm supposed to interpret the wording of its Multiattack, which is a bit confusing. Does it have one forelegs attack and one bite attack? Or one forelegs attack and one attack with either forelegs or bite? Or two forelegs attacks, followed by one bite attack if it grabs a victim?

I'm guessing the second option is what you were aiming for, but I'm not sure.

It could do with being clearer. (Speaking of clarity, the bite attack has no damage type listed).

My guess is the intention was something like the following:

Option #1
Multiattack
. The solifugid makes two foreleg attacks. It then makes a bite attack if it has a target grappled in its forelegs.

Alternatively, you could follow the "2 forelegs or 1 bite" model of the original AD&D monster, like so:

Option #2
Multiattack
. The solifugid makes two foreleg attacks.

Foreleg. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: # (1d# + #) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC ##). The solifugid can grapple only target at a time.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit (+# to hit if target grappled), reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: ## (#d# + #) piercing damage.

Or adopt a "1 foreleg plus 1 bite or foreleg" model as follows:

Option #3
Multiattack
. The solifugid makes two attacks, one of which can be a bite attack against a grappled target. If it grapples a target with a foreleg attack as its first attack it can bite that target as its second attack.

Foreleg. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: # (1d# + #) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC ##). The solifugid can grapple only target at a time.

Bite. Can only attack grappled targets. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: ## (#d# + #) piercing damage.

Alternatively the Bite attack could have Advantage against an opponent grappled in its forelegs:

Option #1a or #2a Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit (with Advantage if target grappled), reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: ## (#d# + #) piercing damage.

Option #3a Bite. Can only attack grappled targets. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit (with Advantage), reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: ## (#d# + #) piercing damage.

Do you like any of those Alternative Options?

If you adopt either the #2 or #3 "two attacks" Multiattacks rather than #1 "two or three attacks" Multiattack I'd suggest increasing the creature's Strength and/or bite damage dice a bit since, it'll be fewer attacks worth of damage per round. (Option #1 does 2 forelegs OR two forelegs plus one bite, Option #2 does two forelegs OR one bite, Option #3 does two forelegs OR one foreleg plus one bite).

The listed escape DC 20 of the Forelegs seems way too high for a 5E monster of that Challenge Rating. A Giant Scorpion, for example, has Strength 15 and a higher Challenge Rating of 3 but its claw grapple is the rule-standard DC 12.

Oh, and giving it blindsight 60 ft. AND darkvision 60 ft. is a bit much, especially with tremorsense 30 ft. thrown in too boot. Maybe cut the darkvision? Real-life Solifugids have similar senses to Scorpions, and a Giant Scorpion only has blindsight 60ft. in 5E.
 

Casimir Liber

Explorer
For my conversions - I noted that large/huge/giant spider kept their hit dice from 1e to 5e (though large spider dropped the "large") so figured conserving the same dice was a good place to start. The 2e version really stresses the strength of the grip, so thought DC 20 was a good place to start, but can drop to 15 I guess.

Option #1 is what I meant and how the original 1e description reads. However, something in one of the descriptions makes me think of option #3 as if there are multiple solifugids it could bite someone grappled by another. Also having Advantage rahter than +3 to hit is very 5e. So yeah, will tweak. to 3/3a.

regarding senses, they are nocturnal whereas scorpions are more diurnal so will drop blindsight.

Also - just used CR calculator on 5e tools and spat out rating of 2....
 
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Casimir Liber

Explorer
ok updated - plus large and huge ones too...
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
For my conversions - I noted that large/huge/giant spider kept their hit dice from 1e to 5e (though large spider dropped the "large") so figured conserving the same dice was a good place to start. The 2e version really stresses the strength of the grip, so thought DC 20 was a good place to start, but can drop to 15 I guess.

DC 20 is just way too high. I'd be fine with just giving it a +3 bonus like the Bite Attack.

Option #1 is what I meant and how the original 1e description reads. However, something in one of the descriptions makes me think of option #3 as if there are multiple solifugids it could bite someone grappled by another. Also having Advantage rahter than +3 to hit is very 5e. So yeah, will tweak. to 3/3a.

If Option #1 was what you meant, why did you put Option #3 in the revised Stat Blocks?

regarding senses, they are nocturnal whereas scorpions are more diurnal.

Odd, I was pretty sure they were nocturnal. Turns to the internet…

…yup, the Museums of South Africa biodiversity website says Solifugae are "mostly nocturnal but there are diurnal species" so they are usually night creatures.

Plus, according to Wikipedia and many other sources Scorpions are "mostly nocturnal or crepuscular", not diurnal.

so will drop blindsight.

Basically, I was thinking that Scorpions are mostly nocturnal and, like Solifugids, they have awful eyesight and mostly hunt by vibrations and scent.

It just seemed simpler giving a Giant Solifugid the same blindsight 60 ft. as 5E's Giant Scorpion, since they're brother arachnids, or kindred arachnids to be gender-neutral.

A Solifugid didn't have infravision in AD&D, the precursor for darkvision - or at least there's no mention of it in the Monster Manual or Monstrous Compendium. Then again, neither did Giant Scorpions or Giant Spiders. Giving oversized arthropods darkvision as standard was a 3E invention.

Besides, Blindsight is way better than Darkvision, since it ignores invisibility effects.

There is little point giving it Tremorsense with a shorted range than Blindsight other than flavour, since Blindsight can perceive everything Tremorsense can plus objects that are not "in contact with the same ground or substance".

Also - just used CR calculator on 5e tools and spat out rating of 2....

That was mostly 'cause I wasn't sure what Multiattack you were going for.

Challenge 2 is fine if it can do damage with all three attacks in the same round with its slightly underwhelming Strength of 15, since the Average Damage is good.

If it can only damage with two forelegs or a bite in a round, especially with Strength 15, the damage eyeballed as a little low.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
ok updated - plus large and huge ones too...

This new version of the Giant Solifugid ought to have "+5 to hit" now, since it's Strength bonus has gone up by +1.

EDIT: I'll comment further on the Large and Huge versions in a later post. [ENDEDIT]

You should probably modify the names of the smaller versions, maybe Giant Solifugid, Medium for the "Huge Solifugid" and Giant Solifugid, Lesser for the "Large Solifugid"?

Later editions were sensible enough to have the size in the name match the size of the monster, as illustrated by the Medium-Sized AD&D Huge Scorpion becoming a "Medium Monstrous Scorpion" in 3E and a "Giant Scorpion, Medium" in 5E.

*AD&D also had a Large Scorpion - which obviously was Small sized! - and its Giant Scorpion was Medium sized, despite its original appearance in the 1E Monster Manual showing a scorpion at least 10 feet from the tip of its claws to the base of its tail, I'd guess it's be 15+ feet long with its tail stretched straight behind it. Making it Large would have better fitted its 5+5 Hit Dice and 1-10 claw damage, since that's more than the AD&D Giant Spider's 4+4 Hit Dice and the AD&D Giant Crab's 2-8 claw damage, both of which arthropods are Large size.

In the case of Giant Spiders, in 1E the standard versions of each "Size Name" were different types of spiders - Large Spiders were basically oversized tarantulas as big as plates, Huge Spiders were wolf spiders as big as a man, and Giant Spiders were web-spinners like black widows or orb-weavers. That's why 5E has a Tiny sized Spider, a Medium sized Giant Wolf Spider and a Large sized Giant Spider.

For my conversions - I noted that large/huge/giant spider kept their hit dice from 1e to 5e (though large spider dropped the "large") so figured conserving the same dice was a good place to start.

The Scorpions gained Hit Dice though - the Giant Scorpion went from 5d8+5 in AD&D to 7d10+14 in 5E. The Medium Giant Scorpion (which I should point out is not from a WotC product but a third-party publication) has 5d8+5 just like the AD&D Giant Scorpion, but is equivalent to the old Huge Scorpion.

Come to think of it, how does your revision compare to a 5E Giant Scorpion as per the Monstrous Manual?

Let's see…

Roughly the same Hit Points.

Armor Class is a point higher.

Str, Dex and Con are all higher - the Dex in particular seems excessive as its +3 bonus is equal to a Spider.

The "to hit" is the same but the Average Damage is noticeably less than a Giant Scorpion - 20.5 with its claws and sting plus either 11 or 22 poison with its sting's venom, while the Giant Solifugid has either 11 (two forelegs) or 18.5 (a foreleg plus a bite).

So, assuming the target isn't immune or resistant to poison, that's a potential damage of 31.5 or 42.5 versus 18.5, more than enough I have no objection to the Scorpion being a Challenge Rating higher.

Hmm, perhaps give it the same AC 15 and Con 15 (+2) as a 5E Giant Scorpion and lower the Dexterity to 15 (+2) or 13 (+1)?
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Incidentally, if I were statting up this monster I'd have given it a few more Hit Dice since the original had 6+6 to the Giant Scorpion's 5+5. Would likely have aimed for Challenge 3 like the 5E Giant Scorpion, since both Giant Scorpions and Giant Solifugids have the same XP value in AD&D. Would probably have to tweak the Strength and leg/bite damage a bit to feel appropriate for CR 3.

Oh, and I've come up with another alternative for the Multiattack:

Option #4
Multiattack
. The solifugid makes two foreleg attacks. If the first foreleg attack hits, it can makes a bite attack (without Advantage) instead of the second foreleg attack.

Foreleg. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: # (1d# + #) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC ##). The solifugid can grapple only target at a time.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit (with Advantage if target already grappled), reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: # (#d# + #) piercing damage.
 
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Cleon

Adventurer
Yet another alternative would have the forelegs cause no damage, like the original monster. If you did that I'd definitely consider increasing the Bite damage dice so it's bite damage is appropriate for a Challenge 2 or 3 opponent.

Oh, and here's yet another possibility for Multiattack with the "nonlethal legs" option.

Option #5
Multiattack
. The solifugid makes two foreleg attacks against the same target. If it hits, it can make a bite attack against the target, with Advantage if it hits with both forelegs, without Advantage if it hits with one foreleg.

Foreleg. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: No damage, but the target is grappled (escape DC ##). The solifugid can grapple only target at a time.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +# to hit (with Advantage if target already grappled), reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: # (#d# + #) piercing damage.

[EDIT] Come to think of it, should any of the previous versions also have "against the same target?" I'll leave that as an exercise for the concerned reader. [ENDEDIT]
 

Casimir Liber

Explorer
*Ok - went for option #3 as it sounded good when I read it.

*these critters are known for being fast-moving, so I like them having a higher dex to differentiate them from other arachnids.

*I went for 5+ HD initially as all the spiders had kept them - but I like the idea of buffing them, mainly to differentiate the giant ones from the smaller two, to diversify encoutners they might be used in. So will buff for biggest critter

*I'll concede on blindsight - been listening to Dungeoncast where they moan how everyone has Darkvision.

*I really like option #5 - will use
 

Cleon

Adventurer
EDIT: I'll comment further on the Large and Huge versions in a later post. [ENDEDIT]

You should probably modify the names of the smaller versions, maybe Giant Solifugid, Medium for the "Huge Solifugid" and Giant Solifugid, Lesser for the "Large Solifugid"?

Later editions were sensible enough to have the size in the name match the size of the monster, as illustrated by the Medium-Sized AD&D Huge Scorpion becoming a "Medium Monstrous Scorpion" in 3E and a "Giant Scorpion, Medium" in 5E.

The name change issues are mentioned in the above stats, so now for the stats.

Most of the general comments on the Giant Solifugid also apply to the smaller version.

The "Large Solifugid" and "Huge Solifugid" both have their Dexterity way too high at 18.

The Medium sized 5E Giant Wolf Spider has Dex 16, the same as the Large sized Giant Spider, and the Tiny sized Spider is only Dex 14.

Even if I didn't feel that Dex 16 was a bonus or two too high, I wouldn't make the smaller version even higher.

There also doesn't seem enough to distinguish between the two - which was a problem with the original AD&D version too. Maybe make one or two of them a bit weaker/stronger so there's more to distinguish them?

If, say, the "Lesser Giant Solifugid" had 3 Hit Dice like the original Large Solifugid, the "Giant Solifugid (Medium)" had 5 Hit Dice like a 5E Giant Spider (since they both have the same 4+4 HD in AD&D) and the "Giant Solifugid" had maybe 8 Hit Dice (one more than the Giant Scorpion, like the AD&D Solifugid's 6+6 vs the AD&D Scorpion's 5+5) there'd be a bit more of a step up from one strength of Solifugid to the next.
 

Cleon

Adventurer
*Ok - went for option #3 as it sounded good when I read it.

*these critters are known for being fast-moving, so I like them having a higher dex to differentiate them from other arachnids.

*I went for 5+ HD initially as all the spiders had kept them - but I like the idea of buffing them, mainly to differentiate the giant ones from the smaller two, to diversify encoutners they might be used in. So will buff for biggest critter

*I'll concede on blindsight - been listening to Dungeoncast where they moan how everyone has Darkvision.

*I really like option #5 - will use

Glad to be of help!
 


Cleon

Adventurer
*these critters are known for being fast-moving, so I like them having a higher dex to differentiate them from other arachnids.

Fast-moving yes, as in they can run quickly. I haven't heard that they're super agile.

To me that suggests either a higher speed than a Scorpion's 40 ft. rather than a better Dexterity than a Scorpion, or possibly some special trait to allow it to dash or charge at a faster speed than normal, perhaps only for a few rounds.

What kind of endurance do Solifugid's have? If they're only faster over short distances, I'd go for the latter option.

[EDIT]That said, keep the Dex at 16 if you prefer. Real-life scorpions aren't any less fast or agile than a wolf spider of similar size, so it's not that inappropriate for the Solifugid.[/EDIT]
 
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Casimir Liber

Explorer
ok "huge" now "medium" ("medium-giant" sounds lame...I can't bring myself to use two adjectives like that)
 

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Cleon

Adventurer
ok "huge" now "medium" ("medium-giant" sounds lame...I can't bring myself to use two adjectives like that)

Personally I'm fine with "Lesser Giant Solifugid", or perhaps "Giant Solifugid (Medium)", but use what you're happiest with.

Or maybe follow the precedent of the "Huge Spider" becoming a "Giant Wolf Spider" and call it a "Giant [Something] Solifugid" such as "Giant Desert Solifugid".

Then perhaps "Lesser Desert Solifugid" for the 3 HD version.

You could crib off 3E and call the 5 HD version a "Monstrous Solifugid" I suppose, in which case the 3 HD version could be the "Giant Desert Solifugid".
 

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