Any Tips For Converting Swords & Wizardry Monsters?

I realized recently that (somehow) I have a copy of The Tome of Horrors Complete for S&W.

I don’t run S&W, but I will be running ACKS pretty soon, and all those extra monster choices could help keep things interesting for myself and my players.

To my untrained eye, S&W and ACKS look pretty similar in terms of mechanics, so I wanted to check in here and ask if there are any significant differences or difficulties in conversion that I should be aware of …

Thanks to anyone who can chime on on this.


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.

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.

I’m resurecting this thread because I bought more swords and wizardry products and gained some additional insight.

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?

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.

excellent, this is exactly what I needed. thanks alex!