Remastering from D&D to DCCRPG

Posted by on Jan 23, 2013 in 4ED, DCCRPG, Inside the Thick Skull | 0 comments

Happy 2013 Again!

Snake and Cat at the 2012 Christmas Party

Snake and Cat at the 2012 Christmas Party

So, first of all, I wanted to wish you guys again a Happy New Year. As I’ve mentioned in the previous post, I’m feeling much better from an “emotional health” perspective. It has been nice to be able to clear my mind of some of the personal issues that had clogged my brain and be able to re-focus again on my writing. Very pleasing indeed. Cat and I got a chance to hang out at a post-Christmas Christmas party which is where that lovely photo on the right was taken. See how happy we both look. Her newly married, and me freshly divorced 🙂

How to ReMaster a 4E D&D Adventure to DCC RPG

So, what’s up with the writing, you ask? First off, I’ve pretty much focused much of my writing time in the last month on the Haunting of Larvik Island DCCRPG Remaster. This process has been interesting and fun and I thought I’d give you guys a glimpse into how I’ve been going through the process and my status towards the completion of this project. Here’s the basic breakdown

    1. Write the backstory for the adventure. (Done, obviously. In fact, I’ve done this one twice as you figure, I wrote the original Larvik, wrote about 2/3rds of Larvik 2, wrote Attack of the Frawgs using backstory material that originally was supposed to happen “offscreen” in Larvik 2. Bottom line: there will be a bit of “retconning” of the Larvik 1 story now I’ve written Frawgs and most of Larvik 2)
    2. Convert all the monsters to DCC RPG format. (Done. Months ago.)
    3. Strip all the 4E Stat blocks. (Done)
    4. Strip 90% of the 4E fluff. This ended up taking up a lot of space in the  module. This is essentially a lot of the “terrain rules” (“The sand is rough terrain… the boulders provide cover…”) as well as some of the specific test about monster “tactics” and scene “illumination”. As I do like to provide background and motives for my characters, some of the “tactics” stuff from the 4E area become part of the backstory.

As an example of how simplified some of the pages become, take a look at the following two screen shots of essentially the same blurb of text from the opening pages – the first graphic is from the published D&D 4E version of Larvik, and the 2nd is an early draft of the DCC RPG style layout to compare how much tighter they become:

Crab Fiends 4E style

Crab Fiends 4E style

Crab Fiends - DCC Style

Crab Fiends – DCC Style

I know what you’re thinking:

“Dude, that’s an unfair comparison! The 4E version has one of Cat’s nice illustrations of a boat, it has fancy text and graphics for the encounter name, and it has 2 monsters, Crab Fiends and Coastal Sand Spiders in the encounter, if the DCC remaster had those things, it would look just as heavy. In fact, I think I like the look of the 4E one better! What do you have to say for yourself?”

Here’s what I have to say:

      •  The boat illustration: I’ll give you that! It’s missing in this draft, and will be coming back in. That will be re-inserted once I start doing art layout again.
      • Fancy graphics: The 4E larvik module was modeled very similar to how WotC would layout encounters in order it for it to feel familiar. I’m doing the same with DCC. Therefore, each encounter doesn’t get fancy graphics (but each section heading does), nor do you have a list of monsters at the beginning as “setup” nor a “tactics” section, per se. Consistency and keeping it familiar with the format is important to me. I want Larvik DCC to look DCC!
      • The Coastal Sand Spiders: A lot of a “well designed” 4E encounters were all about “balance”, so most encounters had different monster types. DCC (and OSR in general) doesn’t necessarily follow that. The benefit to you the DCC player: you WILL still get a chance to fight the Coastal Sand Spiders, but they will be showing up in a different (and all new!) location.

I digress… anyhow, here’s how the process continues:

  1.  (pretend this is actually step 5.. I’m not sure how to restart numbering in wordpress): Rewrite the encounter text to use DCC style checks, which in many cases, means greatly simplifying the skill checks, and adding in more flavorful text as to how a person’s background occupation may come into play.
  2. Make it creepier. This has actually been my favorite part. The original D&D Larvik had a strong location/against-the-elements story combined with a supernatural/undead villian guy that played through the story. With the DCC remaster, I’m trying to introduce new locations, monsters, and general ‘darkness’ to give it the more darker tone that I find fun in the DCC adventures. So, while the first half of the island will have that man-against-nature feel (similar to Frawgs), the 2nd half will have more of a man-against-creature-that-are-not-of-this-earth type feel. This is where writing becomes fun.

So, Larvik 1 had essentially 4 chapters. I’ve finished 2 of the chapters. I’m hoping that I can finish the other two chapters by mid-Feb (as I’m essentially using my “every-other-weekend” to do the writing and then I’ll be sending drafts out to the usual DCC RPG 3pp publishers for proofreading and playtesting.

Thanks again for being patient and I hope you guys have as much fun playing it when it comes out as I’ve had writing it.