Adventure conversion question

Open Discussion on all things C&C from new product to general questions to the rules, the laws, and the chaos.
Post Reply
Shadowslayer
Ungern
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:00 am
Location: London Ontario Canada

Adventure conversion question

Post by Shadowslayer »

Ok so I'm going to run DCC 28 Into the Wilds as a kickoff to my campaign. I found the mod in the bargain bin at the comic book shop, flipped thru it and thought it sounded like a lot of fun, so I grabbed it. The adventure is written for 3.5.

So my question is not so much about converting monsters from one edition (or game) to another. I have a pretty good grasp on that. But my actual hands on DMing of C&C is pretty much null, and my fear is that even if I do make the changes for C&C, something might still go horribly awry.

As an example, one of the first encounters is with 3 goblin dire bat riders. The gobs are HD 1d8+1, the Dire bats are HD 4d8+12. The bats are nerfed slightly in that they cannot use their bite while harnessed, but can still use a claw atk or grapple. (text says they pretty much just grapple.)

So to make the conversion to C&C, I change the gobs to HD 1 (d6) and the Bats to straight 4 hd (d8s), so the Gobs have a +1 to hit and the Bats have a +4. The gobs can hit with a barbed javelin for 1d4 plus an additional 1d2 when they yank them out again. And I'd presume that the bats would grapple the PCs basically to hold them down for the Gobs to stab. (I have it so that the Bats will have to hit w both claws to hold the PC, and the PC will have to make a STR check at difficulty 4 to get out of it...although I'm open to criticism/suggestions on that.)

What I really want to know is, in spite of my rough C&C conversion, is that an encounter with three 4HD monsters and three 1HD ones still sounds to me like a TPK waiting to happen. I don't want to coddle these guys, but I don't wanna hose them mercilessly either.

I know that EL in C&C is something you sort of learn to eyeball and get a feel for, rather than using hard fast formulas, but man...I wish i knew going in just how much is too much when you're talking a whole adventure and not just one encounter. You don't necessarily want them to blow the whole wad on the first encounter either.

Anyway, I'm just looking for some thoughts.

Treebore
Mogrl
Posts: 20660
Joined: Mon May 01, 2006 7:00 am
Location: Arizona and St Louis

Re: Adventure conversion question

Post by Treebore »

First off, in the encounter is there environmental factors that would enable the C's to keep the Bats from flying in on and grappling them?

Secondly, I am pretty sure a grapple requires a successful hit with both "grappling" appendages, IE claws.

Third I'd need to know the size and class composition of the party. Because 1 Wizard with a Sleep spell can make this encounter considerably easier, 2 spells even easier, 2 wizards with such spells even easier.
Since its 20,000 I suggest "Captain Nemo" as his title. Beyond the obvious connection, he is one who sails on his own terms and ignores those he doesn't agree with...confident in his journey and goals.
Sounds obvious to me! -Gm Michael

Grand Knight Commander of the Society.

User avatar
Aramis
Lore Drake
Posts: 1693
Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 7:00 am

Re: Adventure conversion question

Post by Aramis »

I am not very knowledgeable about 3e conversions but the rough rule of thumb I use for encounters is a challenging encounter will be some fraction of the party's total HD. So a brisk little set to might be at 1/2 the party's HD, while a white knuckle near TPK might be at 3/4 party HD, or even 1/1 party HD. (you can sometimes get away with a single creature of higher HD since the party can defeat it with tactics, spells etc.) Remember, roughly speaking, if the party encountered themselves and had a fight (i.e. 1/1 HD ratio), their survival chance would only be roughly 50/50.

If you plan on having 3 or 4 encounters between each rest/healing period, again this would strongly indicate some fraction of party HD for most encounters

Adding in the grappling/coup de grace type combo makes this highly deadly, especially adding in the mobility advantage of the bats.

Treebore is correct that a well placed spell can even the odds in a lot of unbalanced encounters, but if that fails, I think you might be on the first train to TPK city :lol: .

It can be a bit difficult to balance encounters at low levels if you stick to the fraction of the party's HD rule, since 4 1st level PCs have so little HD to divide up. And on occasion running into an encounter that is way out of the party's league can be refreshing (adds to the verisimilitude) but in general you are probably right that this encounter is a bit beyond a 1st level party

An alternative is to make the bats 1HD, like the goblins, but keep them well separated so the PCs sleep spell cannot take them all out at once. That could be quite enough excitement, fighting off 1 HD grapples from flying creatures. In fact, your PCs may decide they would be better off opening that quiet tavern their mother recommended to them ;)

User avatar
Arduin
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 4045
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:12 pm
Location: Granite quarry

Re: Adventure conversion question

Post by Arduin »

A quick look in my VERY dusty 3.5 MM shows that the Dire Bat has a bite & grapple attack. NO claw attack. So, nix the claws.
Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill

House Rules

User avatar
Buttmonkey
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 2031
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:00 am

Re: Adventure conversion question

Post by Buttmonkey »

I am assuming you intend to start your players at first level. Balancing the encounter obviously will depend on PC levels. It sounds like a rough encounter for 1st level PCs assuming 4-6 PCs, but not a guaranteed TPK, especially if you don't run the monsters so that they fight to the death.

You may want to consider playing out the encounter by yourself to see how it goes. Running it three or four times should give you a pretty good idea how well your party will handle the encounter.
tylermo wrote:Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.

Shadowslayer
Ungern
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:00 am
Location: London Ontario Canada

Re: Adventure conversion question

Post by Shadowslayer »

Arduin wrote:A quick look in my VERY dusty 3.5 MM shows that the Dire Bat has a bite & grapple attack. NO claw attack. So, nix the claws.
You know its funny, after I made my post, I double checked the SRD (all my 3.5 books are long gone) and I didn't see a claw attack either. I thought that maybe it'd just been overlooked in the statblock in the module. That works a little better. Looks like the Bats are simply to carry the Gobs - it even states when a gob dies or gets dismounted the bat flies off. Maybe this won't be as bad as I thought.

I have to be careful: All my players, as well as first level, are absolute RPG newbies. There's one instance in the module that they encounter a vampire goblin, and it even says in the mod that the PCs aren't meant to go toe to toe with it. They're supposed to do stuff like trap him, trick him into sunlight, blow him up w goblin moonshine etc. But I'm afraid rookie players might not pick up on some of the clues. I'm thinking I'm nerfing the vampire into something else. I'm sure these players might surprise me, but I don't wanna get caught if they don't.

Thanks for the replies. :)

User avatar
Arduin
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 4045
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:12 pm
Location: Granite quarry

Re: Adventure conversion question

Post by Arduin »

Shadowslayer wrote: I have to be careful: All my players, as well as first level, are absolute RPG newbies. There's one instance in the module that they encounter a vampire goblin, and it even says in the mod that the PCs aren't meant to go toe to toe with it. They're supposed to do stuff like trap him, trick him into sunlight, blow him up w goblin moonshine etc. But I'm afraid rookie players might not pick up on some of the clues. I'm thinking I'm nerfing the vampire into something else. I'm sure these players might surprise me, but I don't wanna get caught if they don't.

Thanks for the replies. :)

One thing to remember is the PC's will have areas of MORE knowledge than the players. So a PC cleric will know more about vampires than the green person playing them...
Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill

House Rules

User avatar
Buttmonkey
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 2031
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2007 7:00 am

Re: Adventure conversion question

Post by Buttmonkey »

Arduin wrote:
Shadowslayer wrote: I have to be careful: All my players, as well as first level, are absolute RPG newbies. There's one instance in the module that they encounter a vampire goblin, and it even says in the mod that the PCs aren't meant to go toe to toe with it. They're supposed to do stuff like trap him, trick him into sunlight, blow him up w goblin moonshine etc. But I'm afraid rookie players might not pick up on some of the clues. I'm thinking I'm nerfing the vampire into something else. I'm sure these players might surprise me, but I don't wanna get caught if they don't.

Thanks for the replies. :)

One thing to remember is the PC's will have areas of MORE knowledge than the players. So a PC cleric will know more about vampires than the green person playing them...
You can also try to emphasize the danger in your description of the vampire goblin. Instead of, "Hey, you see a goblin in the chamber" you want to play it up: "You see what at first glance appears to be a goblin. But as you look more closely, you can tell there is something not right about it. Its eyes are blood red, its fangs are fangier, and it has a terrifying presence. You do not want to go into that room. In fact, every fiber in your being tells you to get the hell away from it." That may be a little stronger than necessary, but you get the idea. If the players decide to just hack away after that, they deserve whatever they get.
tylermo wrote:Your efforts are greatly appreciated, Buttmonkey. Can't believe I said that with a straight face.

User avatar
Arduin
Greater Lore Drake
Posts: 4045
Joined: Tue Sep 27, 2011 6:12 pm
Location: Granite quarry

Re: Adventure conversion question

Post by Arduin »

Buttmonkey wrote:
Arduin wrote:
Shadowslayer wrote: I have to be careful: All my players, as well as first level, are absolute RPG newbies. There's one instance in the module that they encounter a vampire goblin, and it even says in the mod that the PCs aren't meant to go toe to toe with it. They're supposed to do stuff like trap him, trick him into sunlight, blow him up w goblin moonshine etc. But I'm afraid rookie players might not pick up on some of the clues. I'm thinking I'm nerfing the vampire into something else. I'm sure these players might surprise me, but I don't wanna get caught if they don't.

Thanks for the replies. :)

One thing to remember is the PC's will have areas of MORE knowledge than the players. So a PC cleric will know more about vampires than the green person playing them...
You can also try to emphasize the danger in your description of the vampire goblin. Instead of, "Hey, you see a goblin in the chamber" you want to play it up: "You see what at first glance appears to be a goblin. But as you look more closely, you can tell there is something not right about it. Its eyes are blood red, its fangs are fangier, and it has a terrifying presence. You do not want to go into that room. In fact, every fiber in your being tells you to get the hell away from it." That may be a little stronger than necessary, but you get the idea. If the players decide to just hack away after that, they deserve whatever they get.

Good example of narration to impart info.
Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill

House Rules

Shadowslayer
Ungern
Posts: 95
Joined: Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:00 am
Location: London Ontario Canada

Re: Adventure conversion question

Post by Shadowslayer »

Thanks again for the replies. No worries letting them know that its a threat - PCs are well aware of the Goblin Vamp before they get to him. He doesn't just pop up like a jack in the box. I wouldn't do that even if the PCs were significantly higher level.

But, I don't think I'm gonna make the guy a vampire anyway. I love vampires as villains, I adventured thru I6 Ravenloft when it was new, and it had a lasting effect on my DMing. But a goblin vamp, to me, just sounds like comedy...even if he IS tough. I'm actually thinking of running him thru pseudo 3e "fiendish" template instead, and saving the vampires for an actual vampire adventure later on. (Wonder what Strahd's been up to lately anyway. Maybe my gang will meet him at some point...heh heh.)

Post Reply