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Thread: World Conversion and 4e

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    World Conversion and 4e

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    I have heard often the complaint that one problem with 4e is the incompatibility with previous editions. I can fully understand it when it comes to characters: Converting characters is not an easy thing with so many differences.

    But I've also heard the complaint regarding campaign worlds. That is something I don't understand. Do people stat out every NPC the players might encounter? Is it merely because the change in core races? Why is it difficult to convert a campaign world?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom View Post
    I have heard often the complaint that one problem with 4e is the incompatibility with previous editions. I can fully understand it when it comes to characters: Converting characters is not an easy thing with so many differences.

    But I've also heard the complaint regarding campaign worlds. That is something I don't understand. Do people stat out every NPC the players might encounter? Is it merely because the change in core races? Why is it difficult to convert a campaign world?
    Part of the problem is the core races, but for me much of the problem is in classes that aren't around anymore. Simple classes like bard, monk, druid and barbarian from 3.5 are gone. This says nothing of other classes that might be allowed in that world like scouts, warlocks, etc.

    Also, while every NPC won't have full stats, a few important ones will. The Lord's chamberlain won't, but the Lord himself might for example. Many of the NPC's I use are former PCs. It's a simple matter to convert them to NPC from PC, since it's just a change in name. However, these characters can't convert to 4th Edition either, and are main characters in the world. If these NPCs are from a class that's gone...well, you're going to run into some very hard times.

    Just some of the things that have run through my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom View Post
    I have heard often the complaint that one problem with 4e is the incompatibility with previous editions. I can fully understand it when it comes to characters: Converting characters is not an easy thing with so many differences.

    But I've also heard the complaint regarding campaign worlds. That is something I don't understand. Do people stat out every NPC the players might encounter? Is it merely because the change in core races? Why is it difficult to convert a campaign world?
    keep in mind, while you're asking this question, they used the "nuclear" option to make faerun conform...

    every wizard, sorcerer, cleric, druid, hedge wizard, witch, shaman, adept, witch doctor et al in my homebrew just disappeared, for one. changing spells to "powers" isn't exactly just an annotation in the margins, after all.

    iconic magic items and relics have to be changed to fit the new system, a LOAD of npc's (including one who is a gold dragon posing as a court mage - do they even HAVE gold dragons anymore???)

    there may be three people in my whole campaign world that could be described as "tieflings" (and one is more of a cambion, actually...) and no "dragonborn"...

    and, yeah, after nearly 25 years of existence, i do have quite a few npc's stated out, magic items created (none of which conform to the new editions magic items...), spells researched, a heavy investment in specialty wizards, domain dominated clerics, multiclassed individuals, non-teleporting elves, lances, horses (do they HAVE horses in 4e? i know they do, but why pay 600+ for a warhorse with no mounted combat rules? - i know there are no lances or convenions for mounted combat, so there go all the knight orders...)

    and now, i have to tell my wallflower shy wizard (roleplayed like that, not the player) that her character is now the "controller" (or whatever), i have to tell the fighter he's just a meat shield, i dont know WHAT to tell the gnome druid, and i have to tell the rogue who isn't too great in a fight but, man, what a yegg he is, that just about anyone can fill his role now, by just taking a feat?

    yeah, they didn't make it easy to conform with their new system without just scrapping everything...
    Last edited by agoraderek; 07-15-2008 at 08:31 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by agoraderek View Post
    keep in mind, while you're asking this question, they used the "nuclear" option to make faerun conform...

    every wizard, sorcerer, cleric, druid, hedge wizard, witch, shaman, adept, witch doctor et al in my homebrew just disappeared, for one. changing spells to "powers" isn't exactly just an annotation in the margins, after all.

    iconic magic items and relics have to be changed to fit the new system, a LOAD of npc's (including one who is a gold dragon posing as a court mage - do they even HAVE gold dragons anymore???)

    there may be three people in my whole campaign world that could be described as "tieflings" (and one is more of a cambion, actually...) and no "dragonborn"...

    and, yeah, after nearly 25 years of existence, i do have quite a few npc's stated out, magic items created (none of which conform to the new editions magic items...), spells researched, a heavy investment in specialty wizards, domain dominated clerics, multiclassed individuals, non-teleporting elves, lances, horses (do they HAVE horses in 4e? i know they do, but why pay 600+ for a warhorse with no mounted combat rules? - i know there are no lances or convenions for mounted combat, so there go all the knight orders...)

    and now, i have to tell my wallflower shy wizard (roleplayed like that, not the player) that her character is now the "controller" (or whatever), i have to tell the fighter he's just a meat shield, i dont know WHAT to tell the gnome druid, and i have to tell the rogue who isn't too great in a fight but, man, what a yegg he is, that just about anyone can fill his role now, by just taking a feat?

    yeah, they didn't make it easy to conform with their new system without just scrapping everything...
    Well spoken... i must say, the hwole idea behind the new system might be good and all, but it issent DnD, it reminds me off when Diablo II got out, everyone wantet to play the babarian, and got bugget over the DnD babarian ditent works like the game Babarian, now, with the all migthy WOW Trip the hwole world is on, every one wants to play there favor Wow chacater, but with 3.5 (or any previus) it ditent work, and me (and many other DnD fan's) were glad, that our game wassent spoiled in the rage of the horde. But then WotC did this... they made DnD=WoW a fackt just like 1+1=2. and well. i hate it.

    you can easy take Fearūn and let all of 4th loss in it, but then it just issent Fearūn, the lack of classen, monsters, and even player reces just stops that, its a hwole new world... or a hwole new WoWorld...

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    Quote Originally Posted by agoraderek View Post
    and now, i have to tell my wallflower shy wizard (roleplayed like that, not the player) that her character is now the "controller" (or whatever), i have to tell the fighter he's just a meat shield, i dont know WHAT to tell the gnome druid, and i have to tell the rogue who isn't too great in a fight but, man, what a yegg he is, that just about anyone can fill his role now, by just taking a feat?
    You seem to be confusing character personality and character role. The role doesn't define a character or class, its merely a shorthand as to what they do in combat. It's been implicit in D&D from the beginning, it's not something new they've added. When you made a party you knew you needed a fighter, a magic-user, a cleric and a thief. They've just made it somewhat more explicit as something for the players to think about when creating a character. This kind of argument is either uninformed or disingenuous in the extreme.
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    I never actually needed a fighter, cleric, rogue and wizard. It may have been suggested, but I never considered it implicitly required. In defense of 4e they do not say they need them all either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan View Post
    You seem to be confusing character personality and character role. The role doesn't define a character or class, its merely a shorthand as to what they do in combat. It's been implicit in D&D from the beginning, it's not something new they've added. When you made a party you knew you needed a fighter, a magic-user, a cleric and a thief. They've just made it somewhat more explicit as something for the players to think about when creating a character. This kind of argument is either uninformed or disingenuous in the extreme.
    no, it is a DEFINITION of your character, a RULES CONVENTION, not just a "shorthand". in fact, it is IMPLICITLY stated that you take it into account when you create your character. seriously, when are the 4e fanboys going to stop with the "its uninformed or disengenuous" arguments? i've READ THE BOOKS, i've PLAYED it, i am NOT misinformed, i have a DIFFERENT OPINION. learn the difference, please.

    oh, and its a GNOME DRUID, not a cleric. he doesn't heal anyone, and he doesn't "lead" jack. and the wizard is a diviner, specialized, not exactly built to 4e "controller" specs...
    Last edited by agoraderek; 07-15-2008 at 09:50 PM.
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    I've heard mention on the boards that it was WotC's policy that people should wrap up their 3.5 campaigns and start fresh with 4e- anyone have a link to that? I know there was a conversion document, but it was more of keeping the theme of your old character rather than the abilities.

    No experience with the matter at hand, though- given the difference between the two systems, FR's solution seems to be a sensible one- keep the theme of the campaign, but start fresh with the details if you're going to be moving to 4e (Hey, I wonder if this means that Elminster is gone?)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Valdar View Post
    I've heard mention on the boards that it was WotC's policy that people should wrap up their 3.5 campaigns and start fresh with 4e- anyone have a link to that? I know there was a conversion document, but it was more of keeping the theme of your old character rather than the abilities.

    No experience with the matter at hand, though- given the difference between the two systems, FR's solution seems to be a sensible one- keep the theme of the campaign, but start fresh with the details if you're going to be moving to 4e (Hey, I wonder if this means that Elminster is gone?)
    i do agree that, to make 4e doable in FR, they pretty much had to nuke it and leap forward. of course, if you think the 3e/4e "debate" was a chore, wait until FR4e is released. Faerun fans are a rabid lot, if the candlekeep forums are any gauge...

    and, yeah, i think elminster is gone. as far as i cna tell, drizzt may be the only survivor...
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    I was converting a world today that was previously nothing but some maps and concepts (many, many ideas stolen from or unused in old settings).

    I realized I had a significant guild developed around bards (they are excellent NPC's IMO). I have an entire branch of my heirarchy committed to druids. I had used the 3.5 pantheon for many areas and a few alternates for elsewhere. That was easy since priests in 4e are expected not to give a rip and might as well be healing mages. Now half the world worships dead gods (perhaps I will rename them after all the user names of people here 4e takes a crap on). I had tribes of barbarians feared and renowned. Could I be really flexible and adjust the bards to rogues, druids to priests, barbarians to fighters? Yup, just toss all individuality in the crapper and flush. And since now all abilities match a combat role and nothing more, it does not matter if I made all the druids into fighters and the bards into priests. Class abilities have no non-encounter significance and "encounter" in 4e means combat or adapted to be just like combat.

    I already creatively fit in Eladrin, tiefling and dragonborn which are the only elements of 4e that add any value (no doubt a side effect of justifying their creation). Of course everyone is correct. 4e is anything you want it to be. Next time you go out for ice cream I hope they give you crushed ice and tell you to use your imagination.

    For all these examples 4e is completely useless and a major hindrance to character. I will get around it by just making it all up on the fly of course (like many enjoy saying I can roleplay with the information printed on a milk carton which is as useful as 4e for storytelling).

    Last edited by Engar; 07-15-2008 at 11:47 PM.
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    Digs into 4e aside (which has been discussed plenty in other threads so I'm not getting into that here), a lot of the complaints seem to be based on race/class/monster choices. In time, this will be fixed as the 4th edition library expands and old options are brought back.

    Once 4e has been out for a while, and the class/race/etc options are fleshed out to cover a broader set of 3.5e, will those that stay in 3.5e due to lack of compatibility now look more favorably on the transition?

    Other concerns are based on the different flavor 4e has from 3.5e. Unless the NPCs are used in combat a lot, this wouldn't be as big an effect in game terms, but classes which had a borderline identities (such as Bard with its rouge/wizard/healer) will definitely see some of their flavor more specialized in one direction or another. Groups based on a 3.5 class stereotype will have to bend the rules a twinge to maintain their identity.

    The exception is what they did to FR, which is an official WoTC campaign world as opposed to a homebrew. Agreed, they did take the "nuclear" option which might indicate they also realized the difficulty of campaign conversion and rather then try to get around it they rewrote it almost from scratch.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom View Post
    Digs into 4e aside (which has been discussed plenty in other threads so I'm not getting into that here), a lot of the complaints seem to be based on race/class/monster choices. In time, this will be fixed as the 4th edition library expands and old options are brought back.

    Once 4e has been out for a while, and the class/race/etc options are fleshed out to cover a broader set of 3.5e, will those that stay in 3.5e due to lack of compatibility now look more favorably on the transition?
    Personally, I don't know. It really depends on what the new classes look like. Even then, they still might not convert well. At this point, we're having to assume that all of the previous classes from 3.5 PHB will be in 4.0 more or less doing the same thing. Important NPCs might need a complete overhaul to fit within the context of 4.0 otherwise, if they are even workable.

    Other concerns are based on the different flavor 4e has from 3.5e. Unless the NPCs are used in combat a lot, this wouldn't be as big an effect in game terms, but classes which had a borderline identities (such as Bard with its rouge/wizard/healer) will definitely see some of their flavor more specialized in one direction or another. Groups based on a 3.5 class stereotype will have to bend the rules a twinge to maintain their identity.
    I like to use known NPC's as bad guys the PCs have to fight. I feel it makes the fight more important that just smashing some random stuff, so I do use them in combat a lot. Also, there are the occasional allies that come in (usually when I've screwed up and given the PCs to big of a challenge). Again, these deal with combat as well.

    As for groups having to bend the rules to maintain their identity, that is a possibility. Another possibility is that they just keep playing a game that fits their ideas better

    In regards to the bard, I've always like the bard class because it was a "jack of all trades" class. In a two man party, I've always like a bard being one of the two involved, just because he's almost a one man adventuring party. Not great at any one thing, but good at a lot of stuff. Unfortunately, I don't think that fits with 4th Edition's plans. A shame, IMHO.

    The exception is what they did to FR, which is an official WoTC campaign world as opposed to a homebrew. Agreed, they did take the "nuclear" option which might indicate they also realized the difficulty of campaign conversion and rather then try to get around it they rewrote it almost from scratch.
    Can someone post a link to something official about this? I've seen it on this thread, but I haven't seen anything about FR. Any help here would be appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom View Post
    Once 4e has been out for a while, and the class/race/etc options are fleshed out to cover a broader set of 3.5e, will those that stay in 3.5e due to lack of compatibility now look more favorably on the transition?
    No. It isn't a matter of races and classes. I have races that are not even in the offical rules, classes likewise.

    For me the entire rules change to powers is the breaker. The requirement that minis be used. I don't have the capasity right now. They nerfed the whole system to an entirly different ... something.

    My world is built around the flavor of the D&D system. The spells the magic items. I refuse the nuclear option. I'm not destroying my whole world of 32 years to conform to a system that might last 5 years. I am not in this for the short haul.

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    <sigh> What they've done to FR is god awful. Having been a person who loved that world since the day it came out, this change is just a bit too much for me. (Fortunately I've kind of died out on FR with half the insane things they did in 3.x, no offense.)

    The world we play in is generally FR, but it's also completely translated into a homebrew that my brother and I set up years and years and years ago. We're damn well not trying to remove/revamp most of our characters/races in our homebrew and I've already determined I'm just discounting anything dealing with changes in FR (a fairly regular process for me lately).

    As a side note, Elminster is going to be removed "soon." I don't have it on hand, but Ed Greenwood stated during his last 2 books that Elminster was reaching the end of his time and Ed was already thinking of the way to remove him. The introduction of 4e is too much of a change to keep him around, so I guarantee that Ed will remove him during this change.

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    One of guys I game with has had reservations about converting his characters to 4e, from other posts I see that he is not alone. This thread is about world conversions, and I can see how character conversions might get in the way of this.

    I'd like to address some of the concerns around converting 3.x to 4e, and see if we can help ease some of the stress that will occur when transitioning from 3.x to 4e. (If you're not interested in moving to 4e, then ignore the following.)

    To put a positive spin on things...

    Many of our favorite classes are not really gone; they've just not released them yet. Each old class can be or will be re-constructed. Just wait for the next book or create your own. Druids are on their way, and gnomes are already in the MM. If you're looking to create your own, there is a pattern to each class's construction, and you should be able to find something close to 3.5 version with a little tweaking of the existing classes.

    Character roles have not changed, but 4e has put words to them. The rules do talk about what role is generally expected from the classes. Page 15 in the PHB. During character creation process you don't pick a role, you pick a race and class. It very carefully states that the roles are basic functions, and that some classes can stand in for others when trying to construct a balanced classic party. It also says those roles are not required to be filled. The roles are simply a byproduct of party dynamics and character abilities. You don't have play with the roles, as there are no rules for roles.

    "Powers" is the general term for anyone's ability to do something at-will, per encounter, or daily. (Like for a modern office worker, they'd have the "power" to type or word-process.) It's always been a power. They're just now putting in print. Wizard powers are called spells, and fighter powers are called exploits. Everyone has powers; it's just another way of expressing character abilities. You can always ban the term powers and just call them spells and exploits.

    Gold dragons actually do exist, along with all the rest of those fantastic dragons. They're discussed in the section on dragons in the monster manual page 74.

    Any new race is not required to be in your campaign world. If they don't fit, then ban them or make them a new monster.

    Eladrin (formerly known as high-elves) teleport in 4e but elves do not teleport. Races follow a pattern that can be deconstructed to refit a new race.

    NPC versions of classes can be included in your game. It would take time, but NPC characters can be converted, if not in number crunching then in spirit. Some numbers can break the rules (and should) to keep NPC's consistent. NPC's do not follow the basic PC character creation guidelines. Multi-class characters are just full classed characters of another class. They’re not gone, just hard to see. Since NPC's don't follow the rules for PC characters, change what you like to make them fit into your world.

    Mounted combat is still there. Page 199 in the PHB, and on Page 46 of the DMG explains.

    I'm not sure if willow wizards will ever be an official class, but it would be nice to have a pacifist class. I have been argued down on this point, but I’d still like to see them. Characters should be able to keep most of their personality, though different powers will naturally cause some personality changes.

    Magic items seem easier to reconstruct in 4e, but I'm sure there are magic items that are too complex for the rules to handle. Some of the rules changes how portable holes fit into bags of holding. They've taken a lot of the science out and put fantasy in. Take away the numbers and see if you can capture the essence of the magic item you're trying to convert.

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