Monday, June 29, 2009


If you are not interested in a (not-so-brief) history of my relationship with D&D and the Pathfinder products, skip this one and go on to the next post where I actually start talking about the conversion.

I started playing RPGs in 1976. Unlike most folks, my first game was not D&D, but a very exotic game called Empire of the Petal Throne. My friends and I thought EPT was the only RPG in the world, so we were very surprised when we went to our first convention (Gencon South in Jacsonhville, Florida) in 1977 and found all of these people playing this "D&D" game.

We started playing AD&D in high school, buying the books as they came out. We played from about 1978 to 1982, at which point I dropped D&D in favor of the much more "realistic" Runequest... From that point on, I basically didn't play D&D for 26 years. I played plenty of other RPGs (I worked in a game store for 10 years, and played most everything that came out with the exception of White Wolf games), but no D&D, skipping right over AD&D 2E and D&D 3E.
I did pick up a copy of the 3E PHB at Gencon the year it came out (2000?), but my friend Les Hill and I sat down with the book after the con and tried to make up a character. At the time, I played a lot of very rules light and indie style games, and the dense wall of text and reams of charts in the 3E PHB were a total turn off, so I gave up and sold the book.

Fast Forward to 2008. A nice guy (Eric Williamson) I met at the local gaming meetup invited me to sit in on his 3.5 game. I played one session, and while the group were very nice folks, the game itself left me cold, so I once again wrote off D&D as a game I would ever play again. I ignored all of the build-up to the release of 4E, but happened to drop into the local game store on the day of it's release, and idly thumbed through the PHB. I was still a little curious, so I went online and started to read reviews/rants about the new version of the game. Pretty much every complaint about 4E that I read from 3.x players actually sounded like a great improvement to me, and my curiosity increased. I broke down and ordered the 4E core books, and read through them.

I found them very inspiring. My test of a new RPG is whether I come up with multiple characters I want to play while reading the book, and in this case it was certainly true. I was sold, and convinced one of the guys in my group (Shane Ivey) to run Keep on the Shadowfell for us. We recruited a couple of new players, and ended up playing for six months last year. It was the most fun I've had playing a RPG in years. I had fun with KotS, but after looking over more of the published 4E adventures from WOTC as well as the Scale sof War adventure path in Dungeon magazine, I felt that the adventures seemed a little too focused on straight dungeon crawling, which brings us to Pathfinder.

When the first Pathfinder Adventure Path (Rise of the Runelords) came out, I loved the look of it (especially Wayne Reynolds' art). I eventually bought everything for that series including the Pathfinder setting book. I never planned to play D&D again, and planned to convert the adventures to another rule set (probably Savage Worlds). But, with the advent of 4E and my dissapointment with the WOTC adventures, I went online to see if anyone had converted any of the Pathfinder stuff to 4E.

This search led me to Scott Betts' excellent conversions of the first two parts of RotRl. Reading over Scott's work, I was very impressed, and considered running the AP for my group once our current game is over. However, Scott's work also inspired me to consider doing my own conversion of one of the othe Pathfinder APs, and so, here we are. Obviously doing this kind of conversion is a lot of work, but I think it will be a great way for me to learn the 4E rules better, and get to run a fun series of adventures with a little more dpeth than a simple dungeon crawl at the same time.

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