Question: There are lots of monsters in this module that aren’t in the Monster Manual. How many of them should I convert?
Answer: When possible, convert only the top ‘boss’ monsters. Use the ‘treat as’ technique listed in the sample conversion guide whenever possible. The goal is to get all the conversion notes onto a two-page summary ‘cheat sheet’ like I’ve provided for the example B4 conversion.
That being said, there will likely be some exception to the above rule. In that case, provide a separate Bestiary section that is just monster stat conversions, in addition to the two-page cheat sheet.
Question: Should I balance all the encounters in the module? That seems like a lot of work, and some encounters, if left as is, are more deadly than the adventure level of module suggests.
Answer: Our thinking is this: take any key boss monsters and unique creatures and convert them, making them reasonably balanced for the top level of the adventure range. In B4 The Lost City, written for Levels 1-3 characters, the boss monster should be a tough encounter (death is possible but not assured) for Level 3 characters.
For other monsters, just list the equivalent monsters to use (or treat the monster as) from the Monster Manual, and list the CR. This lets the DM eyeball the encounter and quickly know if it is a potential TPK situation. The DM can choose to say ‘folks, you can tell this monster is so powerful you might not survive this fight’ but the players can choose their own risk.
This is how I gamemaster, and I think how Mike Mearls of WOTC does as well. Here’s what Mike said in a recent interview on Reddit (see https://goo.gl/Nnr8Yn):
Question: Do you use any house rules in your home game, that are different than the published rules? (If so, is there a reason they aren’t the official rules?)
Mearls: “I don’t track XP. I let the PCs level up after every other session or at the end of each key adventure.
I don’t use encounter XP budgets. I use CR to eyeball relative power, but otherwise I just throw stuff into the world and let the players decide if they can fight it, need to talk to it, or need to run.
Since these are mainly not using rules, they’re not something easily made official!”
Question: Can the adventure be a complete rewrite of the adventure?
Answer: These are conversion guides, not completely converted adventures. You should still need the original module to run these adventures. Completely converting an adventure (rewriting each scene) is likely not possible without further conversation or licensing from WOTC. What we’re doing is converting magic items, monsters, traps, and other key statistics, and giving some notes on running the adventure. If you have ideas about extra encounters or other changes to the adventure, put them in a separate section, maybe called “Extending the Adventures” or “Alternate Adventure Ideas’ but have the core conversion notes be such that DMs can run the adventure as it was originally written, but in the Forgotten Realms.
Question: Does it have to be set in the Forgotten Realms?
Answer: Per requirement from WOTC, we’re converting all adventures to be in the Forgotton Realms. We put the Forgotten Realms setting fluff and optional adventure ideas in their own sections and DMs are free to use or ignore that material.
Question: Can I change the maps and add visual aids?
Answer: Don’t include any edits/changes to existing art in your conversion. This would potentially infringe on WOTC intellectual property. What we’re doing is text-only conversions.
That being said, if you’re willing to create brand new art (e.g. a version of the dungeon map you made in Photoshop or something), add that as a separate resource kit product that you publish in addition to the module conversion. Call it ‘B4 The Lost Temple Resource Kit 1’ for example. Maybe later someone else comes along with ‘Resource Kit 2’ with some cool handouts or something which supplement the module even further.
Question: How do I create the interior and cover?
Answer: Use the OpenOffice/LibreOffice templates I provided with the B4 module. This will provide a consistent layout and look and feel for the module conversions. Also, use the cover template — just change the background color of the cover to be reminiscent of the color of the original module.
I figure a lot of folks can easily layout the interior using the template I provided, but if you need help modifying the cover and combining the cover PDF with the Interior PDF and embedding fonts, I will assist with that free of charge. Laying out the interior is something I need the conversion authors to do though.