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Dungeon 191: Adapting "The Lich-Queen's Beloved"

Saracenus

Always In School Gamer
Rodney Thompson talks about converting the 3rd Edition Dungeon adventure The Lich-Queen's Beloved (Behind the DDI paywall).

He wanted to give his 4th Edition group some 3e encounter design sensibility and see what it would do to their play. He tried to stay true to Chris Perkins original design as much as possible (deadly traps, magical effects, and encounters built outside the standard 4e design principles).

The effects where surprising to him (probably not to a bunch of folks here) and will probably influence his design ideas for the game in the future.

His take away:

1) The overall experience was positive for both DM and Players.

2) Players relearned skills from previous editions, "such as the caution they began exercising after they started running into things they couldn’t overpower."

3) "[He] resisted the temptation to provide ways around problems. This decision ran counter to my usual style of adventure design, in which a character overcame a noncombat test by making a skill check or passing a skill challenge. As soon as the players saw that they couldn’t just make a skill check to design a spell to counter whispers of the damned, they realized that they needed to become more creative.
The way they rose to the occasion made me realize that I had underestimated them when I designed my old adventures."

4) While making encounters hard on the players made them get sneaky, some judicious use of "easy" encounters, for example, 2 to 3 monsters that the party steamrolls were just as important. In the larger context of the overall adventure the party was still chipping away at their resources which made medium and hard encounters more challenging and meaningful.

5) "[He] learned that exploration is essential to the classic Dungeons & Dragons feel, and that traps and hazards are more than set dressing—they constitute an important part of the exploration and discovery process.
The weird doors in the Palace of Whispers aren’t just obstacles; they are something to investigate—dire entryways that reinforce the alien feel of the adventure’s setting.

Included are some sample 4e monsters he converted from the original and there is a section on how to down convert it to 1e and 2e with example stats for Vlaakith (the lich-queen) in AD&D Monster Manual format.

Also included is the original Chris Perkins adventure for comparison and conversion.

Overall, an interesting read that I will keep on tap when I tackle converting The Temple of Elemental Evil this Summer for a home game.

NOTE: Rodney's D&D Encounters adventure March of the Phantom Brigade lightly adapted some elements from Ghost Tower of Inverness.
 

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Colmarr

First Post
there is a section on how to down convert it to 1e and 2e with example stats for Vlaakith (the lich-queen) in AD&D Monster Manual format.

I know the designers have been playing older editions on 'work time' lately, but producing output for older editions seems strange indeed.
 

renau1g

First Post
I thought it was a very interesting article.

Are they going to release the conversion notes as well?

They released the "philosophy" plus a few of the monsters that he had to create, Kr’y’izoth & Tl’a’ikith, not the detailed notes.
 

Dannager

First Post
I thought it was a very interesting article.

Are they going to release the conversion notes as well?

I'm pretty sure this whole thing was done for one of Thompson's personal games, and he just decided a design article discussing it might be cool. The amount of work involved in putting detailed conversion notes for an entire adventure online is substantial.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
I am really pumped that they're learning from what previous editions did right (in addition to hoping to fix what previous editions did wrong). That's one of the things I feel was absent from early 4e stuff. Thompson is a designer I am more often than not on the same page as, so it's exciting to see him (re)discovering things like the importance of LTR and of trusting the players to come up with a solution you haven't thought of.

The thing with "small, easy encounters, but lots of 'em" goes back to an idea that's been popping up every once in a while in 4e, and that's stretching out an entire encounter over the course of several individual fights. There's issues with that (it feels like a waste of time to bust out minis for something that's going to take 4 rounds), but it's exciting to see Thompson finding out that it's a great aspect of the game that isn't so prominent now.
 

Zaran

Adventurer
I loved the article but then was disappointed that the module they offered was just the 3rd edition version. Why do I have to go through the same motions that were already done by someone who gets paid to it? It seems like they want to teach us to do our own stuff instead of selling to us. Of course why sell anything when we send them money every month for advice.
 

Badwe

First Post
I loved the article but then was disappointed that the module they offered was just the 3rd edition version. Why do I have to go through the same motions that were already done by someone who gets paid to it? It seems like they want to teach us to do our own stuff instead of selling to us. Of course why sell anything when we send them money every month for advice.

Give a man a fish.... teach a man to etc. Etc.

There are a wealth of old settings and adventures. Would you rather they divert resources from new adventures and probably convert the adventures you don't care about? It makes more sense to give guidelines to let you seek out the modules most useful to you.
 

The Little Raven

First Post
Why do I have to go through the same motions that were already done by someone who gets paid to it?

Maybe it's because he didn't get paid to convert the adventure to use in his home game, and he isn't obligated to give you all the work he did in his own free time.
 

Dannager

First Post
I loved the article but then was disappointed that the module they offered was just the 3rd edition version. Why do I have to go through the same motions that were already done by someone who gets paid to it? It seems like they want to teach us to do our own stuff instead of selling to us. Of course why sell anything when we send them money every month for advice.

I thought I addressed that literally two posts above yours.
 

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