[Old School Stuff] Conversions of White Dwarf D&D Material


3.5/d20/OGL

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

I figured that the active community of old school fans and 3.5e players over here on the Paizo boards might appreciate this news.

In case you didn't know, White Dwarf magazine wasn't always just a propaganda/marketing tool for the Warhammer line. In fact, for about its first 100 issues or so (that is, most of the AD&D 1st edition era), WD was the premiere UK magazine for all RPGs, especially D&D. I'd even argue that, at some points, White Dwarf was at least as good and sometimes even better than its sister publication, The Dragon. WD was extremely influential with gamers on both sides of the Atlantic, and the 1e Fiend Folio was largely drawn from new monsters submitted to the magazine.

All that was a long time ago, and WD's contributions to D&D are largely forgotten. But I've been working hard to convert some of the more worthwhile pieces to 3.5e and posting the resulting to my website. In addition to a slew of monsters, I've done the classic adventure "The Halls of Tizun Thane" and I've just posted "The Lair of Maldred the Mighty," a nice classic dungeon that compares favorably with both White Plume Mountain and Tomb of Horrors.

The Lair of Maldred the Mighty wrote:
A thousand years ago, Maldred, an evil cleric/wizard . . . [built] an empire of evil. The Arch-Devils that Maldred worshiped were pleased with this expansion of evil and so Maldred was elevated to the level of High Priest, but, as with all such evil creatures, this was not enough for Maldred. So, even as his armies expanded his empire, Maldred would secretly depart from his palace (leaving behind a simulacrum of himself) and search the world for some means of making himself immortal and as powerful as his devilish masters.

Journey to Maldred's Lair, brave the deadly traps, illusions, and guardians placed there, and stop him before his transformation is complete!


Ah, now this takes me back - I still have some of my 'golden era' WDs. Including a best of with the Halls of TT in.

WD was of course where many of the original Fiend Folio monsters debuted too, in the Fiend Factory articles.

My all time favourite WD article, for you to redo (hint hint ;-)) would be Irilian ... now that was a memorably ahead of it's time D&D city.


Wow, that's a lot of work you've done there. Those look like some fun old-school romps; thanks so much for your efforts!

Scarab Sages

Thanks for your hard work. I remember playing "Maldred" back in 1990, when we revived our D&D campaign following a hiatus after grad school. An excellent and memorable adventure - which I hope to someday run for my 3.5/3.P campaign.


Wow, great work, really brings me back. I remember when I was younger I saved up a bunch of money from my 1st job and sent away for a pile of back issues of White Dwarf and they still sit in my collection to this day. Excellent job!

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Thanks for all the kind words! I have a lot of fun doing these conversions, but it's also nice to hear when other people are able to use them in their own games.

It was surprising how neatly Maldred converted over to 3.5e (and that's a good illustration of the continuity between the different editions). Other than needing to reduce the number of monsters in one encounter and change a couple of magic items that were too powerful, this is pretty much a direct conversion.

I was pleased to see how well the Paizo adventure format worked with an old-school dungeon. Calling out all the traps and dungeon features with stat blocks should make this complicated adventure much easier to run/

Rockheimr wrote:
My all time favourite WD article, for you to redo (hint hint ;-)) would be Irilian ... now that was a memorably ahead of it's time D&D city.

Irilian is definitely on my list -- many people cite it as the best of the many good things WD published. Though its sheer size (six separate installments!) is admittedly daunting.


You have an awesome site - great work there. I used to get WD every month (until it became dedicated to Games Workshop stuff) and cherish my old issues dearly. Wonderful to see these old classics updated. Nice one!


Ran both Halls and Maldred 'back in the day'. Kudos on your work! Definitely brings back some fond memories.


Thanks for this, don't remeber the these classics at all, wasn't my game back then, but new or old new monsters are always great to have as a resorce. Thanks for what must have been some hard work.

TTFN Dre


Garnfellow wrote:


All that was a long time ago, and WD's contributions to D&D are largely forgotten. But I've been working hard to convert some of the more worthwhile pieces to 3.5e and posting the resulting to my website. In addition to a slew of monsters, I've done the classic adventure "The Halls of Tizun Thane" and I've just posted "The Lair of Maldred the Mighty," a nice classic dungeon that compares favorably with both White Plume Mountain and Tomb of Horrors.

Cool! I actually have that issue of WD with "Tizun Thane" -- I bought it on Noble Knight for what they billed as a mini Star Trek RPG that ended up being more a ur-Star Wars Minis game more than anything else.

One question for those who have more of the WDs -- how do you decpiher the "MonsterMark" experience notation in their "Fiend Foundry" section?

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Pat Payne wrote:
One question for those who have more of the WDs -- how do you decpiher the "MonsterMark" experience notation in their "Fiend Foundry" section?

The Monstermark was an interesting and early attempt to develop a formula for assessing the power of a monster -- essentially, this was a precursor to Challenge Ratings.

The monstermark system was developed by Don Turnbull, who was WD's editor and went on to be an editor for TSR UK where he was instrumental in producing the 1e Fiend Folio. The system was first described in issue 22 of Owl & Weasel, a fanzine predecessor to WD. Turnbull then expanded this in a three part series that ran in issues 1 (Jun/Jul 1977), 2 (Aug/Sept 1977), and 3 (Oct/Nov 1977) of WD. The series was reprinted in Best of the Whit Dwarf, Volume 1. Roger Musson updated the system in "Son of Monstermark" which appear in Imagine No 26 (May 1985). (Imagine was, for a brief period, TSR UK's answer to Dragon and was edited by . . . Don Turnbull.)

The monstermark formula tallied up all the monster's vital statistics, including average damage output, assigned values to special abilities, and output a challenge rating. The monstermark was based on a scale of 1 to 12, 1 being the easiest and 12 being the hardest. For some reason this was usually denoted in roman rather than arabic numerals, maybe to distinguish from all the other uses of the word "level."

Back in the day, monsters were rated according to the dungeon level in which they would normally appear. Easier monsters were on the upper levels, while tougher monsters were down in the lower levels. Kobolds would be "Level I" while beholders would be "Level XII". (Note that AD&D would actually use a 10-point scale.)

As a very, very gross rule of thumb, a monster's "dungeon level" translates directly into Challenge Rating up to about 8. A "Level IX" might map to anything from CR 9-10, "Level X" from CR 11-13, "Level XI" from CR 14-16, and "Level XII" from CR 17+.

While the Monstermark was a noble attempt to codify monster power, it was fairly fiddly and every bit as wonky as challenge ratings, for much of the same reasons. It's very hard to codify monster abilities into a formula, and in 1e abilities were rarely standardized. Still, for the time, it was better than nothing.


Lair of Maldred the Might - man that takes me back to the halcyon days of roleplaying - great stuff :)

On a personal note I'd love to see "The Eagle Hunt" from [I believe] WD40 put on the conversion wishlist... its a great urban adventure, which has some tough encounters and some [potentially] wierd endings.

Okay off to convert my AD&D character from those days - Roach the [brutally inept/ineptly brutal] Half-Ogre Thief and raid Maldred's lair one more time...

Cheers for making an 80's gamer very happy indeed.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Black Dow wrote:
On a personal note I'd love to see "The Eagle Hunt" from [I believe] WD40 put on the conversion wishlist... its a great urban adventure, which has some tough encounters and some [potentially] wierd endings.

I'm not familiar with that one, but I've read other people give it high praise. I've also got that issue, so I'll definitely give it a look.


Cool stuff, Garnfellow - thanks for the link!


The Eagle Hunt was one of those classic adventures for me and my [then] gaming buddies - became our "urban" Keep on the Borderlands if you will :)

If your not familiar with it:

Spoiler:
The adventure concerns the recovery of a stolen magic item of great power [The Green Eagle]. The party are hired to locate a detective who has mysteriously dissappeared while searching for the aforementioned Eagle. Throw in an assortment of colourful NPC's, army deserters and the local Assassins Guild, and you have the makings of a challenging city based rescue/treasure hunt adventure [with some potentially wierd endings as the exact nature of The Green Eagle is left for the DM to determine...]

The adventure has plenty of scope of expansion too - we ended up broadening out the city district into far more depth and locales...

wonder where did I put those old notes..? :)

Again great thread and great work

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

I uploaded another 3.5e conversion of a WD adventure to my website, The Search for the Temple of the Golden Spire. It's a pretty nice, short mix of wilderness and dungeon exploration, though marred by a rather ham-fisted hook. (Personally, I'd ignore the whole opening scene and just let let the PCs discover the adventure by wandering around the map.)


I have fond memories of both the Hall of Tizun Thane and especially the Lair of Maldred the Mighty, so I'm very grateful for this opportunity.

I have actually my current PCs on their ways to the Hall of TT right now. We'll see how it plays out under Pathfinder rules.

And if I may make a wish I would love to see the Lichway redone. That was one of my absolute favorites (and one of the first adventures I ever ran. I can still feel the eerie mood.

Scarab Sages

Must check this out when I get home!

I have all the early WD issues, and remember the adventures above.

Irilian was a monster; a city setting, spread over 6 issues, with an adventure threading through it, but with plenty of unrelated locations, incidental encounters and red herrings to keep a group busy for months afterwards. I had to drop the 'Gaelic' placenames, though, as the players made such a hash of pronouncing them.

I recall a player getting Mazed by a Dream Demon (a tiny horned skeleton with butterfly wings), when he chased it up a bell tower, and falling out of the window. What is it with D&D writers and bell towers?


Snorter wrote:

Must check this out when I get home!

I have all the early WD issues, and remember the adventures above.

Irilian was a monster; a city setting, spread over 6 issues, with an adventure threading through it, but with plenty of unrelated locations, incidental encounters and red herrings to keep a group busy for months afterwards. I had to drop the 'Gaelic' placenames, though, as the players made such a hash of pronouncing them.

I recall a player getting Mazed by a Dream Demon (a tiny horned skeleton with butterfly wings), when he chased it up a bell tower, and falling out of the window. What is it with D&D writers and bell towers?

I think Irilian used Olde Enlish / Saxon place names (rather than Gaelic) iirc. Loved that city, imo it was the best series of articles ever run by WD, which is high praise.


Awesome thread. I think I have the WD's containing most of these modules in storage, and of course all the Best of WD Scenarios. This really takes me back.

I loved the "Halls of Tizan Thane" and last ran it about three years ago under 3.5e.

Thanks for taking me back.

CJ


The Pool of the Standing Stones from WD 12.

I remember this adventure vividly. It was a real favourite of mine.

The halls of Tizun Thane was the second adventure I ever read. The first was b3: Palace of the silver princess. I far preferred THoTT.

There was another WD adventure from those days that I never had the chance to finish reading. It was a short scenario against some drug farmers, who had taken over a small outpost of civilization. Can anyone remember such an adventure from those days?


I have just recently concluded DM-ing 3.5 Irilian campaign (taking the PCs from 1st to 7th). I have now ran that adventure in every edition of D&D and it remains a wonderful time. I took more than a few liberties with it (for the purposes of my home world I transplanted Irilian into a Dark Sun-esque/Mesopotamian land with sibeccai as the dominant race and Unseelie fey as the ruling classes), but kept it otherwise very close to the original.

It is true that it is huge in scope and it did detail a city and an adventure path over six issues, but in the old-school style the entire compilation would run way under 32 pages.

I blogged my campaign and you can read it at ianehewitt.blogspot.com - just look for the Genesis tag in the left-hand menu.

The Eagle Hunt was also a gem that I ran in 1e and 2e but I haven't dusted it off more recently than that. If I recall, there was a chance that the heroes might end up transplanted into Mega-City One (as a way to plug GW Judge Dredd RPG of the day, I'm sure), but I never went there... my players were too busy escaping from the dungeon they accidently flooded!

Sovereign Court

Woo-hoo !

great idea, great job !

Thank you, man !

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 8

Black Tom wrote:
And if I may make a wish I would love to see the Lichway redone. That was one of my absolute favorites (and one of the first adventures I ever ran. I can still feel the eerie mood.

I'm here for you, Black Tom: 3.5e conversion of the Lichway.

Enjoy!


Garnfellow wrote:
Black Tom wrote:
And if I may make a wish I would love to see the Lichway redone. That was one of my absolute favorites (and one of the first adventures I ever ran. I can still feel the eerie mood.

I'm here for you, Black Tom: 3.5e conversion of the Lichway.

Enjoy!

This is unspeakably cool. I can't wait to start a new campaign where I can use this. Thanks ever so much!

Sovereign Court

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Adventure, Companion, Lost Omens, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Society Subscriber

Hi everyone,

as someone later to arrive at the hobby, I am sooo excited to find information on these out of print pearls of early D&D - and even better in this perfect quality!!

Praise for spending so much effort on the conversion!
These version really feel like a "Return to ..." treatment of these classics!

Please keep this thread living - and be it for adding your past and present experiences with these classics.

Kind regards,
Günther


Man, I forgot about some of these. I still have a Best of The White Dwarf buried with my 1e/2e stuff. I might need to go dig it out.


::Excavates::

Man, even getting an idea of what was in this old stuff is difficult (outside of the Fiend Folio).


Damn, I knew I should have saved some of this stuff back then. The site seems to no longer exist.


Garnfellow wrote:
Black Tom wrote:
And if I may make a wish I would love to see the Lichway redone. That was one of my absolute favorites (and one of the first adventures I ever ran. I can still feel the eerie mood.

I'm here for you, Black Tom: 3.5e conversion of the Lichway.

Enjoy!

I got an error when I followed the link. Is this page still up?


Post monster ate my post wherein I pointed out that the site seems to no longer be in existence. Great shame.


Fabes DM wrote:
Post monster ate my post wherein I pointed out that the site seems to no longer be in existence. Great shame.

Yep. :(


Garnfellow wrote:

I figured that the active community of old school fans and 3.5e players over here on the Paizo boards might appreciate this news.

In case you didn't know, White Dwarf magazine wasn't always just a propaganda/marketing tool for the Warhammer line. In fact, for about its first 100 issues or so (that is, most of the AD&D 1st edition era), WD was the premiere UK magazine for all RPGs, especially D&D. I'd even argue that, at some points, White Dwarf was at least as good and sometimes even better than its sister publication, The Dragon. WD was extremely influential with gamers on both sides of the Atlantic, and the 1e Fiend Folio was largely drawn from new monsters submitted to the magazine.

All that was a long time ago, and WD's contributions to D&D are largely forgotten. But I've been working hard to convert some of the more worthwhile pieces to 3.5e and posting the resulting to my website. In addition to a slew of monsters, I've done the classic adventure "The Halls of Tizun Thane" and I've just posted "The Lair of Maldred the Mighty," a nice classic dungeon that compares favorably with both White Plume Mountain and Tomb of Horrors.

Thank you! I was thinking of running the Halls of Tizun Thane in my 3.5 campaign, but wasn't sure how to convert it.

I'll probably just use your conversion as a starting point because there are things I definitely want to change, but thanks for getting the work started.

The one thing that is giving me the biggest dilemma about that adventure is what to do about that slave girl. Does anybody who knows what I am talking about have any ideas?


Here are the conversions linked to above, courtesy of the wayback machine: link

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