Friday, December 16, 2016

Commentary On Converting Swords & Wizardry Rpg Resources Over To The Adventurer,Conqueror, King Rpg System & A Review of The Treasure Vaults of Zadabad For Swords & Wizardry From Stormlord Publishing For Your Old School Campaigns

So it was advised on G+ that I take a look at the DCC version of the adventure 'The Treasure Vaults of Zadabad'. Well I opted for the Swords & Wizardry version  From Stormlord Publishing  instead. The reason is that number of Swords & Wizardry titles is pretty staggering & many folks opt to grab them. They look like there  might be a quick conversion to the Adventurer, Conqueror, King rpg system. So I wanted to get into the S&W version of a possibly using Swords & Wizardry with the ACK's rpg system.

Well, not so fast. Let me preference this review & commentary with the following guidelines taken directly from the ACK's forums here; Jarrod writes,"I've got a handful of S&W products as well. So far it seems like if you take a monster's ascending AC and subtract either 9 or 10 (I can't remember which) you get an ACKs AC. Other than that, hit dice are hit dice, but I think they don't list special abilities as * so you'll have to eyeball that and then give XP based on the chart in the core rulebook. As for treasure... it doesn't seem to be similar at all, so I would say just see how much XP one individual monster is worth and what size of gang they come in and try to find a monster in the ACKs core rulebook with a similar XP/gang size and use their treasure." Because of the nature of Adventurer, Conqueror, King's armor class you'll have to use the tips that Rhynn lays out;"S&W uses AC 9 as the base unarmored, and a 1st-level character needs a 10+ on d20 to hit that; so S&W AC 9 is ACKS AC 0. Thus: subtract the S&W descending AC from 9 to get the ACKS AC (9-9 = 0, 9-[-1] = 10, etc.).

9 - X = Y, where X is the descending S&W AC, Y is the ACKS AC.
You'll need to recalculate XP values, but that's not hard in ACKS.
For S&W ascending AC, AC 10 is unarmored base (and, again a 10 is needed to hit it). That's an easier conversion: subtract 10 from S&W ascending AC to get ACKS AC.
X - 10 = Y, where X is the ascending S&W AC, Y is the ACKS AC." Finally two more issues come up, the first is have an HD and a Challenge level (CL)  as well as the treasures issues which Jard lays down;"
Swords and Wizardry monsters have an HD and a Challenge level (CL). The difference between HD and CL is, by and large, the number of special abilities. thus, a 5HD creature with a 9CL would be equivalent to an HD5**** monster in ACKs.
Treasure is another issue entirely. Reading my own advice, it's somewhat incomplete. It would be easier if there were some kind of general guidelines for how much XP correlates to which kind of hoard.
For example, if I'm looking at a S&W monster that i've determined is a raider-type with 3HD, I'd probably just use whatever hoard level bugbears use, but is there a more general way to state this? Is there some relationship between either A) the XP value of a single bugbear or B) the average XP of a bugbear gang... and the average GP value of their per-warband hoard?" Alex comes in and lays out the treasure formula for Swords & Wizardry conversion as a general rule;"You can develop a treasure type using the following formula:
(average number of creatures encountered in group) x (xp / creature) x 4 = average treasure value of group Example: A gnome company has an average of (1d8 x 1d10) = (4.5 x 5.5) = 24.75 gnomes. Each gnome is worth 10xp. 24.75 x 10 = 247xp. 247 x 4 = 988gp. The Judge assigns each gnome company Treasure Type D, which has an average value of 1,000gp.
This formula does not work precisely for every monster in ACKS - for various reasons including historical legacy, reputation for treasure or lack-thereof, etc., some treasure types are skewed. But for new or converted monsters it's a very good rule of thumb."

Alright so now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's get into 'The Treasure Vaults of Zadabad' [Swords & Wizardry]From Stormlord Publishing

Basically this is sort of a homage to Isle of Dread & could with a bit of work be added into the background of an old school campaign to give another adventure to add to an island hopping campaign.
"Hot wind snaps the black sails of the Soulcatcher as an eager voice calls from the crow’s nest, “Land ho!”
Ahead lies the island of Kalmatta, your destination, home to plague colonies, marooned pirates, madmen and secrets no mortal mind was meant to uncover. It is also the location of the ruined city of Zadabad and its famed treasure vaults.
Whether fortunate or ill-fated, you have in your possession the Rod of the Crescent Moon, a relic of dead religions and forgotten kingdoms. It is also the key to unlocking the vaults. But finding the lost city is a challenge many have accepted, but none have survived. Fetid swamps, harsh jungles and unforgiving mountains hide your prize.
How far will you travel and how much will you risk to uncover the treasure vaults of Zadabad?" This is a treasure & hex crawling romp with lots of over arching dangers throughout the adventure. The cartography echoes back to Eighties Tiki bars and high seas video games, in other words I like it a lot.

The Treasure Vaults of Zadabad's islands & environs  have been trapping castaways  for a very long and the these adventure locations have their own internal Gygaxian ecology. This is one of the reasons why there are an appendixes of new monsters (30+),relics,treasures & 19 fixed encounters, including the ruins of Zadabad and its fabled vaults. Everything in the adventure is built around an internal adventure plot and consistence hex adventure logic. This isn't a bad thing, its a design conceit with a lot of room for plot and adventure hacking by the dungeon master.
It also means that this adventure can be used with a large variety of retroclones including Original Dungeons & Dragons, Swords & Wizardry, Basic Fantasy, and Lamentations of the Flame Princess. The reason that this is an option is the 'castaway' factor. That is that anyone can become trapped on the island. Heck with a bit of planning you could use this adventure with Mutant Future.
Parts of
The Treasure Vaults of Zadabad remind me of the old & Seventies Saturday morning castaway cartoons when the Bermuda Triangle hype was at a fever pitch. There is an internal consistency to the Treasure Vaults. The back story is consistent and well thought out with an overarching dovetail of the adventure's history and ideas this makes the treasures and relics a bit more easy to adapt to your home games. Given the eleven new magical treasures this might be very interesting to say the least. This makes working the Treasure vaults nice and easy for extended campaign use.
This is because the Treasure Vaults is a mini campaign within its own venue. There are lots of resources for a DM looking for a pulpy South Seas type of island hopping campaign with a plot that frames everything with a good adventuring structure. Could 'The Treasure Vaults of Zadabad' be added into the backdrop of X1 The Isle of Dread? Yes it could easily but the question becomes does the DM want this adventure to stand on its on its own? Given the way it reads I'd say that its got enough gaming legs & fire to do exactly that. All in all this is actually a mini campaign within its own right and deserves a good solid look at by a DM & players who are looking for something a bit weird and different in an island hopping campaign.

'The Treasure Vaults of Zadabad'

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