New Campaign, or the Difficulty in Adapting a Module for an OSR System to 5E

After a couple false starts and scheduling issues, we were finally able to get our 5E game off the ground. Sometimes getting players together is like herding cats! My group is particularly difficult to get to commit to a time. If you are familiar with the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), all of my players are a “P” and I am a “J”.

I had mentioned in the past that I was working within a world that one of players is creating for a novel. As a human-only world, I did not have to worry about statting up some unique race, but I have had to re-think some of the monsters that the party would face. Instead of orcs, kobolds, bugbears, etc, I have to replace them with human bandits of varying abilities and strengths. I have also had to treat the player that is writing the novel as a little bit of a co-GM to make sure that what happens in the adventure “fits” in the world.

I had been considering creating a “Keep on the Borderlands”-type scenario for the party’s first adventure. However, I never quite got around to fully fleshing it out. Then, when the ACKS Bundle of Holding came out (I mention it here), I saw the Sinister Stone of Sakkara. I am running that module, but I am adapting it to 5E in two ways:

1) The obvious way is that I am converting the monster statistics into 5E terms. Well…more accurately, I am replacing the monsters with appropriately challenging human bandits for the party. I am trying to make each group unique, so that instead of kobolds vs orcs vs gnolls, it is the Black Eyes vs the White Hands vs the Red Teeth. I like the imagery of a color and a noun to differentiate the groups.

2) I am also changing the module in the way it approaches character death. The expectation of ACKS (as well as most other OSR games) in regards to the characters dying is quite simple: Your character WILL die. Several of them, in fact. You had better roll up a few characters and bring them to each session. However, 5E expects that your character will be around for a while. Unless you do something really really really really stupid, you will generally survive. 5E even gets rid of a lot of “save-or-die” situations. Additionally, my players are more in the 5E mindset than the OSR mindset.

Luckily, in the first session, the party just got to the temple, so I have time to make sure that the various bandit groups inside are really powerful. I want to put a bit of fear into the party, so they will tread carefully or even consider allying with one group vs another group. This is a weekly game, so I hope to let you all know next week if I was successful or not.

Finally, what is wrong with my dice? My players only rolled under a 10 on the d20 ONCE during the entire session. Naturally, I rolled terrible the entire time. I was consistently rolling 3s and 4s. None of my players have their own dice, so they were borrowing my dice! How in the world were their rolls so blessed and mine so cursed?

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