OSR Experiments #10: Dark Dungeon to D&D B/X

Last few posts I've changed around most of the Haunted Keep from Moldvay's Basic D&D into Dark Dungeon rules. And I learned a lot about the differences between the two games. Now it's time for doing the experiment the other way around. My Lite rules also have an example adventure. How would that stand up in Basic D&D?

The Baron of the Spinward Marshes

The Baron... adventure is like most Dark Dungeon adventures cut up in scenes. Not in levels or rooms, like old style D&D. But for providing statistics that doesn't really matter.

I'll have a look at the supporting cast listing in the DD Lite rules, and see what it would look like in D&D. Spot the differences, as they are.

Thargan the Black
Str 3, Con 3, Dex 3,
longsword 5, brawl 4, leader 4, stealth 3, rock climb 3, sail 5, swim 5

Thargan is a typical master enemy NPC. He is more of a fighter than a thief, even if he has skills of both classes. I decide to make him a fighter. His highest combat skill is 5, so reversing the hit dice table of two posts ago, I'd say he's level 3. He would have STR 13, CON 13 and DEX 13. Rolling hit points gives 3d8 +3 for Con. His AC is 6 for leather with Dex bonus, and damage 1d8 +1 for Str. Thargan holds up fairly well through the conversion into D&D. But many of his skills are lost in the conversion too.

Dex 4, Int 1, App 3,
Throw dagger 4, rapier 3, seduce 3, intrude 2, sleight of hand 2, history 2, r&w 3, swim 3

Pasha's highest skill is 4. So she's level 2. And she's obviously a thief, with fair charisma. Her abilities would include Dex 14, Int 11 and Cha 13. Hit dice would be 2d6. Her AC 6 (leather, with dex bonus), and damage 1-4. I'd have to write down the thief skills too. Open locks 20%. This was 40% in DD for average locks, or 9+ on d10+ skill 2. Remove traps 15%, Pick pockets 25% (was 40%), move silent 30% (forgot to give Pasha stealth skill, I see now), climb 88%, hide 15%, hear noise 1-2 on d6.
Pasha changed a bit, but she's still somewhat of a rogue. In D&D I can still kind of play the character I had in mind. I'm relieved soo far.

Donollo the Witcheyed
Dex 2, Int 4, Wil 3, App 2,
animal shapeshifting 4, r&w 3, dagger 2, telekinesis 4, clairvoyance 2, history 3, latin 3, swim 3

Donollo is a magic user of at least 2nd level. He would have ability scores Dex 12, Wis 12, Int 14 and Cha 12, and at least 2d4 hit points. But I also see he has at least three magick disciplines, or a minimum of three spells to use. In DD he'd have more. For now I'll make him 3rd level then. 3D4 hits, AC 9, 1-4 damage, and two 1st level spells and one 2nd level. Let's say these are Levitate (2nd), Charm Person and Sleep. Shapeshifting is out of reach in D&D. Donollo does feel a lot less powerful in D&D than he does in DD. And he probably is. The situation might be reversed above level 9, but now Donollo has to cower in the shadows once his one-shot spells are gone or useless.

I never really liked the lack of balance in the magic user class. And I also have a hard time to appreciate the charm of memorized spells. Little is left of the Donollo I had in mind. :-(

Pirates (4-20 in number)
Str 2, dagger 3 / axe 3, sail 3, brawl 3, swim 2

In Dark Dungeon I have to describe the pirate skills. In D&D I'd just say they are a kind of bandits. A one hit dice monster, AC 6, #AT 1, D 1-6, MV 120'. For statistics it works just as well. I have to decribe them anyway, with their dirty beards, their torn ears, bad breath, broken teeth and dirty striped shirts.

But looking at the Bandit monster I also notice they have treasure type U, or A in their lair. Treasure type. That would be a difference in the adventure too. Dark Dungeon doesn't need treasure, Magick items, yeah. But coin? Sometimes. In D&D coin translates to experience points. In DD they're just coin.

Just for fun I'll generate a little treasure in Thargan's ship, using type A. Maybe it adds to the D&D spirit.

Roll, roll. 25% chance of copper: 33%, no. 30% silver: 18%, yes, 1d6 rolls 4, 4000 silvers. 20% electrum: 83%, no. 35% gold, 47% no. 25% platinum, 01% yes, 1d2 rolls 2, 2000 platinum. 50% jewelry, 51% no. 30% any three magic items, 23% yes.

The three magic items become a sword +1, +3 vs undead, a bag of devouring, and a ring of water walking. I'd say that Thargan is using the sword, which would be of excellent use against the baron's ghost. And the ring of water walking goes to Donollo. The bag of devouring is kept with the general treasure in a couple of chests. I think the items actually add some flavour to the adventure, that's at least good. Funny to see how the games differ and are alike at the same time.

Next issue I'll deal with the rest of the creatures and NPCs from the “Baron of the Spinward Marshes”.

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