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Converting 1e Dungeon Mag Adventures to 4e: Lady of the Lake Part 1

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So for the hell of it, I began looking into some old Dungeon Magazine adventures for possible adventures to run in the future. One poster I remember recalled that this material is great to use when you play with younger gamers (ones not around for 1e and 2e) and who never seen or played the adventure. With Dungeon Magazine, it was usually a hit or miss in some of these adventures (at least until Pazio took over-even then...).

My first delve into this assignment was in Issue #1 of Dungeon: an adventure called Lady of the Lake by Laura Ferguson. It was basically her first appearance in Dungeon Magazine back in 1988. The concept of the adventure is the players encountering a dying woman and trying to get her to a place call Orb Lake which has healing properties. The woman is actually a Phantasm: a white deer with rainbow wings from the Ethereal Plane. It was polymorphed into a woman by a magic-user and imprisoned by bandits (for whom she escaped).

While the premise of the adventure is very interesting, the execution of it is not that great. Half the adventure is stats on the village of Gydnia two public buildings with details that don't real have anything to do with the adventure. The rest has details on how the weather and encounters are to be in the forest and the last are area in the forest that the players can visit. But since they are so spread apart, most likely they wouldn't encounter all of them unless the DM was having the players bounce around the forest. And while the players may encounter the brigands that originally captured the girl, they don't face the magic-user. Other encounters include, goblins, a Dryad grove, A graveyard with a half strength wraith a sacred Glade and a cave of weasels.

So as written, the adventure is pretty meh. A Creative DM could make it work and add quite a bit to the adventure-which is whatI decide to do with this 4e conversion.

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  1. Q-man's Avatar
    I'd like to see how you go about doing that. There's been a few adventures I've tried to update to the 4E mechanics. None so far back as 1E though, most were 3E and a couple 2E ones.

    Generally I'd try to keep the story components the same, but rewrite the encounters to use 4E monsters. Which tends to involve creating a stack brand new monsters for use in the encounter. What this scheme lacks is a method of working in skill challenges, and as a result I tend to forget about them and leave them out.
  2. wizarddog's Avatar
    Skill challenges can be troublesome at times to incorporate when just good honest roleplay and puzzle solving can do the trick. Unless you have a scenario in mind on what consequences players have if they fail to accomplish something, then a skill challenge becomes an artificial mechanic you impose. When I write adventures intended another to use, I usually give them the option of running certain encounters as skill challenges or just a skill check or roleplay it out.

    As a player, I really don't like skill challenges that are too obvious. I am more than happy to roleplay out what I want to do and make the occasional skill roll. When you start having to count success or use other skills to accomplish the same goal when one should have done it, it becomes artificial in my view.

    As you will see in part 2 I do have a very complex skill challenge prepared for the party on the quest as an option, but like you indicate, sometimes you leave them out. Skill challenges are not a necessity for a adventure despite what WOTC would want you to believe.
  3. Q-man's Avatar
    I have to agree with you, in many cases skill challenges aren't all that exciting. Its more fun to just role play the situation and let the DM decide how well you succeeded.

    The only place I have an interest in using the skill challenge mechanic is during combat. I like giving the players more things to worry about than parrying sword thrusts and ducking fireballs. I haven't seen enough modules with encounters that use them like that.

    I recall a number modules from previous D&D games that had encounters with more going on, but I'm either missing them when I convert encounters or somehow I've avoided all the modules that had that opportunity.
  4. wizarddog's Avatar
    I need to make a correction. The Adventure "Lady of the Lake" by Laura Ferguson appeared in Issue #5 of Dungeon Magazine and not Issue #1 as previously stated in error.