Why Is Conversion Not Talked About In The OSR?

If you weren’t aware, I am adapting the Venger Satanis adventure, “Liberation of the Demon Slayer” for the Adventurer Conqueror King System. The current plan is to play it via Roll 20 on Sunday evenings at 7:00 PM Central Time. The first game is tentatively scheduled to be Sunday January 13th (assuming I can get my day job schedule nailed down).

However, the point of this post is not to advertise the game (P.S., if you are reading this, you are invited to play). I will send out communication closer to that time to officially invite people to play, including a Roll20 link.

Party

The point of this post is to talk about adapting something developed for one OSR system to another. Something that I do not think gets enough discussion in OSR circles is converting products from one system to another.

It is possible. It is fairly easy. After all, “Liberation of the Demon Slayer” was not specifically designed for ACKS. Converting it is easy, but it did take a small amount of work.

But people do not seem to want to do it.

It appears that in order for a gaming system to survive, the creators (or the community) must be cranking out new products. For example, supplemental material creating new classes for players to be, more monsters to fight, or additional adventures. It is not enough to simply create a good OSR system and expect people to do the work to convert supplemental materials to that system.

I have a few theories as to why that is:

1) Laziness
A GM uses a published adventure because they do not want to develop their own adventure. They want to pick it up and get started ASAP. Taking the time to convert it to the system the are using is not what they want to do.

2) Lack of confidence
A GM has to be willing to make rulings on the spot and adjust rules on the fly. This includes what is in the module. Adapt material for your table. Don’t force your table to adapt to the material. If you decreed that all elves in your game have purple eyes and an adventure module states that an elf has brown eyes, you don’t change your game, you change the module! If the module uses a system with ascending AC and you use descending AC, change it! Single save vs. the 5 categories of saves? Vice versa? Easy peasey to convert! The module is not a book of laws, but a guide to a good time. YOU are the GM, YOU make the rulings. Make those rulings with confidence!

Just because you are running B2, doesn’t mean you cannot do something wild and crazy. In the B2 game I am playing in, the black-robed cultists launched an assault on the keep that we assisted in repelling. As far as I am aware, that is not in the book anywhere. However, our GM improvised and made it happen.

Hear me GMs!

THOU ART NOT BOUND BY THE BOOK

3) Brand loyalty
It can feel a bit like ‘cheating’ on a preferred game system to use a a module from a different system. Now, I cannot speak for any game companies, but I am going to go out on a limb and say that they are glad you are playing their system, even if the adventure is someone else’s creation.

Why aren’t you converting adventures for use in your games? Or are you?

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7 thoughts on “Why Is Conversion Not Talked About In The OSR?

  1. Generally? I prefer making my own adventures, rather than published ones. I think I bought my first standalone adventure only a few days ago (for ACKS.) But one thing I am finding very easy to convert over to the OSR system I am familiar with (DCC) is maps. I love being able to go online, find a dungeon, and populate it with encounters and traps, and it is fun to run.
    That being said, I have converted homebrew adventures of my own to a couple of different systems, based on what my players were interested in using at the time. I agree, it does seem like it is an underutilized tradition, though from my perspective–being new to OSR–it seems better used by OSR folks than the rest of the gaming community. Or should I say “gaming” community?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That kind of creativity, of taking maps / dungeons from other sources and filling it with your own encounters, is great!

      The OSR needs more folks like you! Even if you never publish anything, you are giving your gaming table an unique and fun experience.

      Like

  2. tachyon80

    Converting from one system to another is hard for me. I don’t have a lot of experience with rule systems of fantasy rpgs. Alexander Macris of Autarch sent me conversion rules between ACKS and B/X D&D when I requested them. I’ve emailed other OSR producers and got no reply. I understand I’m supposed to just “know it” but I don’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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