Monster Conversion Help

I've been trying to convert ToG 1ed monsters to ACKS, and it's going well and all (albeit, I'm running into a few snags for some esoteric-type abilities--- I want them to be as ACK-ish as possible), and I got the fundamentals down; but where I'm running into a little bit of trouble sometimes is when assigning asterisks (and some other things), in that, sometimes the monster I'm converting has a game element not listed in the core, that I'm not too sure if I should assign an asterisk for, or have a weaker version of it; and I wonder if it still warrants an asterisk. Also, I get a little confused with spells, because sometimes they're utility type spells, and sometimes they have a whole lot of spells. I needs tips on spells, in general. (For example, it seems like I should maybe take teleportation spells away if it's not a monster's schtik or vital to a monster? For example I noticed the ACKS demons don't teleport by default, while they do in ToG). I also sometimes wonder what monster type(s) a monster should be. As well as,  # encountered, given the dungeon, wilderness, lair breakdowns in th stat block. I'm also having trouble with streamlining leaders/ champions, sub-chiefains, etc., for some monsters, and 1ed does it quite different than B/X and ACKS, and I love how the latter streamlines it (for example, in this regard, I'm having a hell of time figuring out the Derro I'm converting).

I try to look at other monsters to see patterns, but sometimes a pattern is not always forthcoming.

So I thought I'd start a thread asking all my questions about various elements to convert, and to ask them on a case-by-case basis since I will become lost if I ask too many questions at once.

Here are two other questions I have:

Do you think it would be fine (balanced) to allows holy water to damage demons and devils? I saw the demons in Dwimmermount, and they are not succeptable to holy water (yet, in 1ed they are), and I always thought how holy water damages them was cool. It seems fine, no?

Is regenerating 1 HP per round worth an asterisk for a 1 HD monster? (perhaps it would depend on how many are normally encountered?).



Demons, holy water: I'm sure it would be fine. Don't have my stuff at hand, but did 1E codify the immunities/benefits of the various demon types as a group? May be worth comparing that to ACKS' undead or summed creature categories and see what the major differences are - perhaps demons as a 'type' are some conglomeration of the summoned and undead types.

Holy water is ~12x more expensive than military oil for the same effect, so another limited class of monsters being affected by it won't change much. And it's sourced from the same legendarium that holy water harming undead is, so.

Regeneration: The usual ACKS regeneration is 1d3 hp/round, with the ability to reattach limbs, but for damage by fire or acid. That's worth an asterisk. Are you including the limb reattachment and fire/acid clauses? If so, it's on average just one less HP a round, or for the "lifespan" of most encountered monsters, a stretch of really bad rolls. I think'd still be an asterisk no matter the HD of the creature (both 1st level mages and 14th level mages get two asterisks).

For the monster organization, firstly, Lairs and Encounters will have this answer for you (plus a lot of other guidelines that will help you in this project) - but, what sort of issues are you coming up against?



Yes, I'm very much looking forward to L&E, I know it will help my project immensely.

Right now, I'm working on the bearded devil, and while I'm satisfied with my ACKS conversion of the stat block, where I'm having trouble is choosing which abilities I want it to have, given the different interations of the monster. Also, for each ability I'm trying to figure out how to make them as "ACK-ish" as possible, that is, I want the effects to be similar to other mechanics and effects in ACKS as opposed to sui generis to ACKS. Here are the possible abilities I want it to have, and the mechanics of each (and different inetrations thereof, namely, from DnD 1ed and DnD 2ed), and my idea for making each one "ACK-ish."

1. The bearded devils claw, claw, beard attack routine.

(In DnD 1ed)

"Without weapons, bearded devils attack  with their wire-like beards and clawed hands. If both hand attacks succeed, beard damage is maximum, i.e., 8  points. Any creature struck for maximum beard damage must save  vs.  poison or immediately develop a burning rash which reduces dexterity by 1 point per round for  4  rounds."

My conversion idea: Damage-wise, it sounds good as is, no? But I'm unsure about the poison effect. It seems like it could lead to a lot of book-keeping. Also, it seems open-ended, as in, when does it end? As is, is this all worth an asterisk? Thus, I really don't know what I should do. I took a look at the poison in ACKS and nothing seems to quite fit. So, I derno.

In 2ed dnd instead of the beard possibly lessening your dex; instead, "when the beard hits, there is a 25% chance the victim contracts a disease from the foul attack."

The 2ed interation seems easier to adjudicate, except for the fact that I don't recall seeing any diseases listed in ACKS other than things like mummy rot, reversing cure disease, the plaugue ritual in the AC, but I could just be overlooking them.

2. a. Saw-toothed glaive that immobilizes (DnD 1ed), or b. Saw-toothed glaive that causes an infernal wound (DnD 2ed).

a. "In most cases, bearded devils carry a saw-toothed glaive equipped with a treble-hook arranged at the baseof the blade. The treblehook curves backward and is used to entangle or snag opponents closing or fleeing (+1-3 points damage plus held fast unless a die roll equal to success of opening a door is made)."

My idea of conversion: It seems simple enough. But the "held fast" part perplexes me a bit. I don't recall how it worked back in 1ed, as in, can the bearded devil freely unsnag the glaive if it hits a target?  Is the having to make the opening doors check fair?  Is it deserving of an asterisk?


b. "The barbazu attacks with a saw-toothed glaive (2d6 points of damage, and wound bleeds for 2 points of damage each round until wound is bound or victim dies). Bleeding glaive wounds are cumulative (2 points of damage per round per wound)." (DnD 2ed)

My conversion idea: Firstly, instead of 2d6 damage, reduce it to regular pole arm damage? I've always liked the Infernal Wound thing. The bleed seems comparable to ACKS damage-wise, no? I'm unsure exactly what would constitute binding the wound though. Given it's kind-of-sort of auto damage, it's worth an asterisk, no?

Also, I thought instead of maybe fiddling with snagging and the bonus damage or infernal wounds, to instead just simplify and give the bearded devil a damage bonus, say, +1 damage to it's pole arm attacks?

3. Batlle Frenzy

"Barbazu are subject to a battle frenzy. In combat a group of barbazu is 10% likely per melee round to go berserk. The roll is cumulative per melee round, so that it they are 20% likely to go berserk on the second round, 30% on the third, and so forth. They stay berserk until combat ceases. While berserk, the barbazu need not make morale checks. They attack twice as many times per round at +2 on attack rolls and damage dice. Their Armor Class, however, takes a +3 penalty." (DnD 2ed)

My conversion idea: While a bit of bookeeping, I like the cumulative percentage idea. But instead of the listed mechanics, I figured I maybe just give it the Berserkergang proficiency mechanic, yet keep the original of not having to make morale checks too. Worth an asterisk?

Or are all, or some of these mechanics quite o.k, as is? I'd like to tighten them up and make them as "ACK-ish" as possible though: one of the many, many things I love about ACKS is the lack of clunk and its elegance (and balance). The symmetry is wonderful. It's solid.

Thanks for any help. I'm sure L&E will maybe help immensely (given that all the books so far have been WAY awesome and thorough), but for some reason this is all keeping me up at night. Damn Barbazu.

Thanks again.




A lot of these should be able to be emulated with L&E powers. There's a table of special abilities, and I personally would use the following for each:

1. The damaging beard - I would adjust this to be similar to Hug (if creature hits with more than half of its attacks, it deals an additional 2d8 damage). The conditions are the same, and the average damage is similar. It's a little less powerful, because it doesn't get the beard attack separately. There's not a Dex-reducing ability, but it could be an Unusual Power.

2. The saw-toothed glaive would be a Grab*. Anything hit by it would need to save vs. Paralysis or be helpless until they succeed at such a save. A weapon for a 6+ HD creature should deal 4d4, but 2d8 is recommended for a 7+ creature, and 6+6 could be considered equivalent to 7+2, so 2d8 should be fine for glaive damage, since the barbazu is giving up its claws and (potential) beard.

3. I'd simply use Berserk* as this ability. They get +2 to all attacks, are immune to fear, and have +4 morale.

The abilities would give two stars to the barbazu, and if another unstarred ability was added (such as Resistance to two damage types or Spell-like Abilities), it would get a third star. Assuming it got the third star, appropriate XP for the creature would be between 1280 and 1700 XP, depending on whether you count it as 6+ or 7+ because of the very high bonus HP.