Friday, May 30, 2008

Converting Classic Adventures to 4e

Todays Dragon feature is an article by Mike Mearls on converting older adventures for use in 4e games:

4th Edition's scale of 5 feet to a square can lead to cramped, tiny encounters if you directly convert maps from older editions. Before you run an adventure, sketch out each dungeon or encounter area on graph paper and see how much room is available for maneuvering. Ideally, even when the party and their foes are locked in melee there is still space for creatures to move around the battlefield and threaten either side's back rank.

Large and Huge creatures present trouble, since they usually took up less space as miniatures in older editions of the game. If you have the time, draw encounter areas on your battlemat or set up Dungeon Tiles. Place the miniatures for the encounter on the area, along with minis for the characters, and see how crowded the area is. Big creatures need a lot of room to maneuver. Try to avoid situations where a single fighter or paladin can either lock down all of the monsters or set it up so that only one Large or Huge creature can make melee attacks against him.

He also takes a look specifically at the minotaur caves from B2 - Keep on the Borderlands and the entire steading of the hill giant chief from G1. (Be sure to swing by to snag the nice map of the upper floor of the steading, if for nothing else.) You'll need to log in to read this article, but Dragon is still, for now, free to the public.

UPDATE: And now the article is gone?!? Not sure what's up with that. Er, if it comes back, I'll let y'all know. :/


Secular Transhumanist said...

I love the "about the author" section. Very nice homage to T1.

ChattyDM said...

I think the best advice of the article is the last part where he tells us to capture the tropes of the classic adventures, not their exact details.

Thanks for grabbing this and bringing it up.

trollsmyth said...

My pleasure. This is one of the best Dragon articles we've seen in a while. It's a bit short, but otherwise I hope we see more like it in the future.

- Brian

Anonymous said...

Thats interesting, when i click on the link, it says the article is not live yet and kicks me back to the D & D home page.

Hakdov said...

I didn't see the article either, but I have to question whether or not he realizes that old modules were almost always written to be 10' per square on the maps.