Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bonus Post: Demon Prince of Undeath Conversion

Bonus post time: a certain someone has been poking me via email to mention the Demon Prince of Undeath conversion on Eleven Foot Pole.

I need to say this - I heartily approve of being emailed about anything and everything to do with Eleven Foot Pole. It's great to have people I've never met get so interested in what I'm writing that they send me correspondence. That ranks very highly on the scale of awesome.

With that in mind, I'm mentioning the conversion.

What is it? It's a community-driven attempt to reconcile the H series adventures into a single coherent plotline themed around Orcus, the Demon Prince of Undeath. It involves major changes to Keep on the Shadowfell, Thunderspire Labyrinth, and Pyramid of Shadows to keep them on-topic, and includes new plot hooks, skill challenges, and maps.

In short, what you're getting is a way to transform the retail modules into an honest-to-Bob campaign. And if you think it can be done better, they'd love to hear your suggestion as to how.

I know a lot of you come here at least partly to find ways of improving the published modules. So if you haven't already spotted the conversion for yourself you should go check it out over on the official Wizards forums.

Also, community member Myrhdraak is compiling it all into one Dungeon-style PDF with some really great production values. I'd advise reading the actual thread for context but if you want to jump straight to the PDF you can do so here.

Click here for the Demon Prince of Undeath conversion.


Unknown said...

O.o My god, I wish I'd heard of this a week and a half ago... would've done wonders for the end of my group's KotSF experience... T_T

Greg Tannahill said...

It's been so ubiquitous on the forums that I tend to assume everyone's heard of it already. Turns out: they haven't? In future I will be quicker to post things like this, I guess.

Unknown said...

No worries chief, I'm not much for forum dwelling (I do enough of that for my day job). Read the hell out of some blogs though, so again, big thanks for posting this.

Daveboy said...

Thanks for pointing this out. Love the blog, check it religiously. Are you going to do other adventures after H1 and H2?

GregT said...

@The Overlord - the plan is to do Pyramid of Shadows when I'm done with Thunderspire, providing I'm still enjoying myself. After that it'll depend on what I'm excited by and whether I have players actually playing through the adventures.

Maelora said...

I'm actually happy that Eleven Foot Pole offers straight critique rather than an attempt to improve things.

Disappointingly, the entire H-P-E series continues on where 'Keep' and 'Thunderspire' leave off. The Epic modules have been especially discouraging, as there's nothing 'epic' about them. The numbers go up, the backdrops get more exotic, but they're still the same uninvolving hack and slay affairs, just with bigger monsters.

One of the things I used to enjoy about BECMI is how you felt a real difference stepping up through the tiers. Basic handled dungeon bashes, which were good for a few levels while you learned your trade. Expert saw you exploring the wider world and being heroic. Companion saw you building dominions and interacting with the world's shakers and movers as equals. And Masters involved legendary adventures with the search for immortality.

I had high hopes the H/P/E tiers might replicate this progression, but all you get in 4E is more of the same, with bigger numbers. 4E seriously needs to step beyond its limited design parameters if its ever going to be an actual role-playing game.

Greg Tannahill said...

@Maelora - I'm tentatively hopeful for P3; I think the key to it is sowing the seeds of "death being forever" long before you get to the actual module. E1 is pretty okay too at least in concept if not execution - you're directly involved in the struggle between gods, you go to a place in the Shadowfell that pre-dates those gods, and you get to fight an Aspect of Orcus. I've not had a good look at E2 yet but it seems to suffer for being the middle part of a trilogy.

Zinovia said...

Thanks for mentioning this conversion. It is an impressive piece of work that really helps tie the first 3 modules together. I believe Myrhdraak did the majority of the design and writing, and used some suggestions from the community, crediting those whose work he used. His PDF's look great and I think the conversion substantially improves these modules.

Not everyone is aware that these are out there, so it's good to mention them. By the time I found out about them, I was surprised to learn that a bit of poetry I'd written for KotS had been incorporated into the first supplement (albeit in an altered version). If you want a way to more strongly link the H1-H3 series modules and infuse some more plot into them, look no further.

Todd said...

@Maelora "but all you get in 4E is more of the same, with bigger numbers."

Well, that may be all you get from published adventures. Today's previews of of AV2 include "lair items", or magic items that are only good for tricking out the adventurer's Hall of Justice. I wouldn't be surprised to find Companion level/Birthright-alike "realm building" rules in PH3 or PH4.

Remember, there were something like two dozen adventures published for the Basic and Expert tiers (roughly Heroic), then another dozen or so each for Companion (Paragon) and Master (lower Epic), plus a few for Immortal (High Epic). That's almost 50 published adventures vs nine. I'm not shocked that nine modules lack the same depth presented by 50.

Finally, while the 4e modules largely suck, the DM toolkit provided by the game makes module conversion really, really easy. I'm in the middle of running my players through my favorite module of all time, the much under-appreciated B6 - The Veiled Society. It has been a cinch to convert to a 5th level adventure, and skill challenges (with some tweaking) are a much better mechanical answer for the investigation and chases that occur during the module. I mean, calming down an unruly mob? 4e actually has a mechanic for that.

The fact that B6 is a better 4e module than any of the published 4e modules is sadly ironic, but I think it's a better 4e module than it was for Basic as well.