I have a good chunk of free time and I'm going to convert Expedition to Castle Ravenloft to 4e. A lot of the encounters feature multiple enemies and interesting terrain features, so it looks like some 4e design philosophy crept in already.
Has anybody here already attempted a conversion?
One of my big concerns is where to start. Should I use the published stats for Strahd and work backwards to find an appropriate starting level? I was figuring it would fit best in paragon tier, so my other option is to pick a level based around the intro monsters and adjust the higher stuff as I get to it.
Thanks in advance for any help.
I would say that you pick your level first and go from there. 4E Strahd is epic level if I recall, and I don't think that this adventure would work that well for Epic level characters. If you really want to convey the atmosphere of horror, I would keep the characters in the heroic tier. I'd probably use a pretty comparably leveling to what is used in the 3E book, which starts at 5th level (for those doing the campaign version). Most of the first part of the adventure will work well in heroic tier (dire wolves, zombies etc...). Once they get into the Castle you'll probably want them towards levels 8 or 9 and you might want to aim to have their final confrontation with Strahd either just before hitting paragon tier or just after making 11th level. Of course that means you'll need to do some serious rebuilding to Strahd's 4E stat block.
I would say that you pick your level first and go from there. 4E Strahd is epic level if I recall, and I don't think that this adventure would work that well for Epic level characters.
Strahd's actually level 20, as built for 4e, which means he should be an approachable villain by the time the party reaches 15th or 16th level. Expedition to Castle Ravenloft is written to take characters from about 6th level to about 10th level in 3.5, which is a lot like 9th or 10th level through 15th or 16th level in 4e. While this is perhaps on the lower end of the spectrum in terms of how powerful the party should be to take on Strahd by the end of the campaign, I think it's pretty clear that this module can be adapted to focus on the first half or so of paragon tier.
I came up with a list for the first section, showing the original encounter and tentative replacements. I figure these encounters will form one level. I haven't done any xp budgets yet so I haven't done level adjustments or numbers. Just an idea of where things are going.
One thing, I'm thinking of combining the church into one two-part encounter. Post any ideas.
While I like the new encounters, what strikes me is the differing flavor they bring. In the 3.5 version, it's almost like a zombie movie. A lot of fairly weak zombie to give the feel of the town really under siege. In your version, while the encounters do seem neat, that feel is missing. There's a lot of 2 and 3 monster fights, as opposed to 9 and 10 in the original. I might consider finding ways to toss more zombies, even if they are minions, into some of the fights.
My encounter list isn't set on numbers (this is just the work I had time to put in today). When I start setting xp budgets, I will definitely try to recapture the feel of each encounter. I guess this is a basic level monster for monster first draft. There will be more of some monsters and most of the monsters will have different levels.
For example, E1 will need some heavy adjusting if I want to run it as a paragon tier encounter. I'll need to bump the monsters up in level and add multiples to get a balanced 4e encounter.
E3 is probably the closest to complete. The Entomber and the zombies are already at a relevant level. I just need to decide on how many zombies. 12 would make a balanced 11th or 12th level encounter.
How about keeping the church as a single encounter, but bring the zombies in waves? Ideally, you want the pcs to feel that they have to husband their resources as they don't know when the next attack is coming.
I've noticed when playing about with conversions, that even if the monsters cross over perfectly, the powers make a lot of difference and that's where you need to be wary. A level 4 party was perfectly capable of taking down a group of gnolls 3-4 levels above them, while a level 9 party had a lot more difficulty with monsters 2-3 levels below them. It all depended on the powers and the makeup of the party.
Looking forward to seeing your figures - this looks very interesting.
Screw it, I'll just playtest it out as a pbp, posting the conversions after. That should give me plenty of time to work on changes. Besides, the MM3 preview says some of the monsters I need will be in that, like shadows and ghasts.
So, I'll set up a thread in the Gamer Connection area, Rosey and Amelia have spots
|Jeremy Mac Donald|
|Jeremy Mac Donald|
Using my Google-Fu I found this site which has a version of Strahd done at 10th level that is very faithful to the original.
Now I'm mainly including that for interests sake. Personally I feel one of the benifits of 4E's DM fiat with guidlines monster design is that we build our monsters to fit whatever themes we want them to have and, in truth, 1st editions version of Strahd left something to be dsired. It made him into a Vampire Magic-User which was OK after a fashion but the story behind Strahd tells us that he was a warrior in life and in death he was a Necromancer and, of course, a vampire. Fireball somehow just does not really fit the theme in my way of thinking so I'll look more to get him into a theme of a vampiric warrior/necromancer.