How to convert Dungeon Crate Adventures to Pathfinder, 4e and more

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Every month in Dungeon Crate you’ll find an adventure.

They’re designed to be run in a single session, giving you a break from your normal campaign planning. They’re designed with Dungeons & Dragons’ 5th edition in mind.

It’s the most popular tabletop RPG right now, and frankly, we like the system.

We know our customers don’t exclusively play 5e, and we want everyone to enjoy the adventures. We get it. We play 5e, Pathfinder, 2nd edition and all kinds of other stuff, too.

We created this document to help you quickly and easily convert Dungeon Crate Adventures into whatever system you prefer to run.

Some basic guidelines:

  • Focus on the most important things like monsters, encounter difficulty and encounter structure. If there’s something you don’t think the players will notice or care about, don’t worry about converting it.
  • Spells and traps should be roughly equivalent between all the editions.
  • There is purposefully less treasure in 5th edition than in previous editions. You may want to consider handing out more magic items and gold than is listed in the 5e adventure you’re converting.

Pathfinder/3.5

Though Pathfinder has loads of rules and monsters while 5e has relatively fewer, they’re pretty close systems.

Character levels are equivalent in both systems, but only up to 20th level.

As with any conversion, you’ll want to sub out 5e monster stats for Pathfinder monster stats. Be wary of the difference in challenge rating between one set of stats and another. For example, a Pathfinder goblin has a challenge of ⅓ while a 5e goblin has a challenge of ¼, making the Pathfinder goblins a little more dangerous. (Roughly 3 PF goblins are equal to 4 5e goblins.)

That leads to a general rule of thumb: Because of the way the game is designed, Pathfinder monsters, checks and other elements are more difficult than 5e. In fact, 5e’s numbers tend to be about ¾ of their Pathfinder equivalents. For example, an armor class on a monster in 5e might be 12 while its equivalent monster in Pathfinder might have an AC of 16.

If you don’t adjust, the difficulty checks and numbers of monsters listed in a 5e adventure may be a bit too easy for your Pathfinder group. Feel free to adjust them upwards just a little bit.

Also remember in Pathfinder, encounter areas are often more detailed. Feel free to add in information on parts of the area that characters might be able to interact with.

4th edition

This might be the most difficult conversion to make. The general concept behind 4e is a little bit different.

For starters, character level in 5e is ¾ what it was in 4e. So, a level 10 adventurer in 5e is roughly a level 7 in 4e. You ought to keep that in mind when thinking of encounter difficulty.

Since 4e is designed differently, we highly recommend a tool such as Power2ool to make stat blocks and figure out encounter difficulty when converting from 5e to 4e.

Remember in 4th edition, the game is intended to use maps and miniatures. Make sure the encounter can be played out the right way on a map. And recall that in 4e, encounter areas are often a lot more detailed. Feel free to add in information on parts of the map that characters could interact with.

2nd edition/AD&D

If you’re converting back to the old school, you’ll probably realize one of the biggest differences right off the bat.

Namely, there were a lot more monsters in the old editions. You can start by subbing out monsters for something that’s the same or similar.

Since there were a lot more monsters, you can probably start by multiplying the number of foes by two. In the older editions, monsters did less damage and had fewer hit points, so you can reduce their damage output and hit points by ½ to ⅓. It might take some trial and error to get this just right, so adjust on the fly if you feel like an encounter is overwhelming.