Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Converting Adventures from Newer School

So, I've been almost totally absent from the internet, other than lurking, for about a year. The reason is that since I got appointed (drafted) to be president of Necromancer Games, I've been pretty deep in writing, organizing, administrating, and doing conversions of adventures other people wrote for either Pathfinder or for 5e.

While it has been a lot of fun, it's left me with a lot of interesting thoughts about gaming, and obviously I'm one of THOSE people who are compelled to put ideas onto paper and riffle them out like cards onto the internet for other people to draw or discard. I'm an Ideadealer. New word!

One of the things I've been doing recently is putting together an idea-book for how to convert certain game-elements of a newer school game into methods that work for the suite of older-school games like Swords&Wizardry, AD&D, OD&D, B/X D&D, etc. (S&W listed first since it's the specific conversion I've been covering.

Unless laziness strikes, I'll start putting up some of these conversion elements one at a time. They are things like how to alter a Pathfinder "Climbing Challenge," "Ability Score Damage," "Big Traps," and so forth. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can stick to the plan. :)


  1. Congrats on becoming the president of Necromancer Games!

    I look forward to that idea book, since there's quite a bit of "newer-school" content that I'd like to see in "older-school" games. It's just question on getting it to work without disrupting the "old school feel" or getting bogged down in extraneous rules.

  2. Yeah, converting those 3E modules to S&W was challenging at times, mostly due to the difference in power levels. I generally tried to stick to the overall spirit of the encounter, and I tried to dig down into what the actual point of the challenge was, so that I could preserve that while sticking to the simpler rules system.

  3. If you go dig around the goodman games site, you can find a conversion I did of one of their 3.5 DCC adventures to AD&D. In it I tried to explain some of my thought process. I think John has the right of it up above: try to get a feel for the encounter, then find the challenge that matches it. Straight up conversions are nice and handy, but to me, it's more about level of challenge and tone.

  4. When did you take on this role? Wonderful news Which ones are you tackling first and do you need help :D

  5. Jay,
    We've been publishing old-school Swords & Wizardry modules alongside the Pathfinder versions of all our books. Swords & Wizardry is a retro-clone of 0e, so it's a bit less detail-rich than 1e, although it's IMO also a bit more flexible. Lost City of Barakus, Rappan Athuk, Crucible of Freya (Stoneheart Valley), there are lots of old-school translations of both the 3e and the Pathfinder books we've done. It's just not all that well known that we do it.

    1. I've purchased all the FGG conversions on principle. I was wondering if you were going to tackle the older NG modules, especially City of Brass. Those are monster modules.

  6. What I'm doing with this little handbook I'm working on is mostly a grab bag of "ways to handle something other than with a single die roll." That's why it's worth putting some of it up on the blog, because if you ignore the main subject (conversion) what you get is a list of old-school style methods for things like different climbing situations, negotiations, etc.

  7. I have almost 10 years of Paizo and Pathfinder stuff - was a day one subscriber to almost all their lines. I've invested I-Dont-Want-To-Know-How-Many thousands of dollars into these products - I usually wing it, but a conversion guide would be gold!!!

  8. The S&W hardcover of Rappan Athuk was great (and nearly seamless). Thanks for all the hard work. You are opening up a whole series of works to the old school gamers.