Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

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Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by Gecko » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:15 pm

I think many of the details of conversion are not terribly important and can be safely ignored (ie in BECMI most spellcasting dragons have clerical/Divine spellcasting while in 3e most have Arcane {Sor} spell*) or simply have the BECMI idea swaped in without change (ie alignment differences from core 3e dragons). The main sticking points as I see them are: Chance of talking, chance of spell-using, age, age categories, size, & HD/Levels.

*=Though the idea that Draconic magic is fueld by Dragon Souls adds complications.

For chance of Talking, I never cared for that, I have personally always ruled that dragons can always speak Draconic and the listed chance is the chance that they can speak the local common language.

The percentage chance of spell-using is problematic in 3e. A creature of a certaint CR is always supposed to be an encounter of the same difficulty (assuming the party level doesn't change inbetween encounters and assuming things like surprise/terrain/etc. is otherwise equal), but if there's suddenly an x percent chance of a CR Y creature having medium or high level spell use, then that one encounter against a CR Y is no longer the same as the next CR Y. In 3e the spellcasting of a dragon is a scaled power based on breed and age category, but in BECMI it is a random "on-full" or "completely non-existant". It seems the easiest here is just to go with 3e rules concerning draconic spellcasting.

To find a good system for conversion I was looking at comparing 2 points or stages of a Mystaran Dragon: both the natural point they can reach without any ceremonies of sublimination (Natural aging) and converting a full blown "Huge" BECMI dragon:

Converting solely based on the size descriptors (which are only comparative terms in OD&D/BECMI) obviously doesn't work (ie there's no "medium" nor "Colossal", and I think a BECMI "Small" would likely be a 3e Medium or Large). I would ignore BECMI size descriptors and go with 3e one's.

Using a 1:1 age exchange doesn't quite work for 3 reasons- 1) once they start undertaking Ceremonies -it's well out of whack (3e dragons advancing solely by age can't advance as fast and before that OD&D/BECMI dragons mature faster), 2) the age ranges, (even using any of the proposals for increased dragon longevity follwing successfull ceremonies), never match up with 3e norms, & 3) 3e age categories do NOT vary by breed (neither does relative power, by much...)
for example w/o any ceremonies, a BECMI dragon's natural lifespan is 66-605 years depending on breed and gender (or 6-484 using the un-errated version of Bruce's article). 1:1 age exchange gives dragons Age category 5 "Young adult" to 9 "Very Old" at max (or 2 "Very Young" to 8 "Old" if using the un-errated version) and that will vary drastically with breed (ie a White can only reach 6 "Adult" at max). Even if I was to use that there was no clear way then to connect further advancement with the other 3e age categories.

It's clear that the assigned numerical ages in 3e needs to go or be drastically changed, or have different scales for each breed, or some combination thereof- What I'm thinking is that each breed has appropriately renumbered age categories up to a certain point, then higher categories depend on # of successfull ceremonies of sublimination and degree's of success, and not on a numerical age range.

I'll mention here that core 3e dragons go up to age category 12 ("Great Wyrm") with rules for advanced dragons of even higher (unlimited) categories in SRD & Epic handbook, and those rules are repeated in the Droconomicon. Alternatively Mongoose Publishings Slayers Guide to Dragons & Book of Dragons add's a 13th category "Draco Invictus".

Trying to do a straight 1:1 HD conversion leaves Mystaran Dragons rather weak under 3e stats:
w/o any ceremonies, a typical "Small" OD&D Dragon will be "Very Young" (age category 2) in 3e terms if 1:1 conversion of HD (if counting the +/- 3HD, then range from typical "Wyrmling" {age category 1} to typical "Young" {age category 3}). At first, this sounds good, but looking on...
Large OD&D will be between age category 2-4 ("very young" to "Juvenile"), depending on Breed
Huge OD&D will be between age category 3-5 ("Young" to "Young Adult") for White/black/green, or 4-6 ("Juvenile" to "Adult") for blue/red/gold
thus there's no way to get a Mystaran dragon of age category 7 ("Mature Adult") or higher this way.

I think now the key is to do a 1:2 HD conversion...
If 1:2 then "Huge" Black's can get up to age category 11 "Wyrm", Huge White's up to 10 "ancient", Green up to 12 "Great Wyrm", Blue 13, Red 14, Gold 15.
And max from natural aging is: White 5 "Young Adult", Green/Black 6 "Adult", Blue/Red/Gold 7 "Mature Adult", which are nicely all, in some form, "Adult".

It's not a perfect match (ie you'll never have White or Black "Great Wyrm's"), but it seems like a workable compromise. Thoughts?

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Converting BECMI Dragon Breeds to 3e

Post by Gecko » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:16 pm

Looking at White Dragons (the weakest and shortest lived breed) in closer detail as an example, a typical BECMI "Small" White dragon has 6 HD and ought to reach that level at 25 years of age through natural growth (or 3 HD to 9 HD range at age 10-40 if accounting for the +/- 3 HD). So in 3e a "typical" mature White dragon who has not had any ceremonies of sublimination would be a 12 HD Dragon, putting him or her in Juvenile age category (4) in 3e terms, while giving a range of 6 HD to 18 HD (age category 2 "Very Young" to bearly reaching age category 6 "Adult") using the wider range. The maximum age for a White Dragon that never succeed's at a ceremony, (using the +10 errated version), and adding in the bonus for a female dragon is 198 years.

If we add an age category of 0 ("Hatchling" perhaps?) and combine with the BECMI aging rules from the article in Dragon 170 converting HD over 1:2 between BECMI and 3e, then we can work out the following for a Mystaran 3e White Dragon:

Code: Select all

White Dragon
Age Category	Years	corresponding HD range
0  "Hatchling?"	0-2	1-2 HD
1 Wyrmling	3-9	3-5 HD
2 Very Young	10-17	6-8 HD
3 Young		18-24	9-11 HD
4 Juvenile	25-32	12-14 HD
5 Young Adult	33-39	15-17 HD
6 Adult		40-198	18 HD
reaching higher age category (equivalents) are not dependent upon aging but upon Ceremonies of Sublimination.
thoughts?

A similar nice table results for Black Dragons:
typical BECMI "Small" Black Dragon is 7 HD at age 30, or a range from 4 HD up to 10 HD at age 15 to 45
In 3e that would work out to 14 HD (Juvenile) or a range from 8 HD (Very Young) to 20 HD (Adult)

Code: Select all

Black Dragon
Age Category	Years	corresponding HD range
0  "Hatchling?"	0-4	1-3 HD
1 Wyrmling	5-12	4-6 HD
2 Very Young	13-19	7-9 HD
3 Young		20-27	10-12 HD
4 Juvenile	28-34	13-15 HD
5 Young Adult	35-42	16-18 HD
6 Adult		43-262	19-20 HD
reaching higher age category (equivalents) are not dependent upon aging but upon Ceremonies of Sublimination.
Moving up the dragon power scale to Green's you might need another possible age category equivalent (-1?).

Code: Select all

Green Dragon
Age Category	Years	corresponding HD range
-1  "?"		<1	1 HD
0   "?"		1-7	2-4 HD
1 Wyrmling	8-14	5-7 HD
2 Very Young	15-22	8-10 HD
3 Young		23-29	11-13 HD
4 Juvenile	30-37	14-16 HD
5 Young Adult	38-44	17-19 HD
6 Adult		45-352	20-22 HD
reaching higher age category (equivalents) are not dependent upon aging but upon Ceremonies of Sublimination.
While it seems like you could easily merge that -1 with the 0 category, when you move on to toughter dragons you begin to see why you need that category:

Code: Select all

Blue Dragon
Age Category	Years	corresponding HD range
-1  "?"		0-2	1-2 HD
0   "?"		3-9	3-5 HD
1 Wyrmling	10-17	6-8 HD
2 Very Young	18-24	9-11 HD
3 Young		25-32	12-14 HD
4 Juvenile	33-39	15-17 HD
5 Young Adult	40-47	18-20 HD
6 Adult		48-54	21-23 HD
7 Mature Adult	55-416	24 HD
reaching higher age category (equivalents) are not dependent upon aging but upon Ceremonies of Sublimination.
And you'll note that by the time you get to the Blue Dragons they can (just bearly) reach age category 7 solely through natural aging.

Code: Select all

Red Dragon
Age category	Years	corresponding HD range
-1  "?"		0-4	1-3 HD
0   "?"		5-12	4-6 HD
1 Wyrmling	13-19	7-9 HD
2 Very Young	20-27	10-12 HD
3 Young		28-34	13-15 HD
4 Juvenile	35-42	16-18 HD
5 Young Adult	43-49	19-21 HD
6 Adult		50-57	22-24 HD
7 Mature Adult	58-506	25-26 HD
reaching higher age category (equivalents) are not dependent upon aging but upon Ceremonies of Sublimination.

Code: Select all

Gold Dragon
Age category	Years	corresponding HD range
-2 "Hatchling?"	<1	1 HD
-1 "Yearling?"	1-7	2-4 HD
0 "Baby?"	8-14	5-7 HD
1 Wyrmling	15-22	8-10 HD
2 Very Young	23-29	11-13 HD
3 Young		30-37	14-16 HD
4 Juvenile	38-44	17-19 HD
5 Young Adult	45-52	20-22 HD
6 Adult		53-59	23-25 HD
7 Mature Adult	60-605	26-28 HD
reaching higher age category (equivalents) are not dependent upon aging but upon Ceremonies of Sublimination.
In the case of the -2 category, I would be tempted to simply merge the -2 and -1 categories, since there aren't any tougher dragons in Mystara than Gold's, and thus that -2 category would never be expanded. Perhaps rather than using a negative category just don't use a numeral at all and simply call it "Baby" or "n/a" or somesuch for all dragon breeds.

One nice feature of this is that Gold's and Red's, the strongest breed's, are the only one's that can advance below the minimum HD for category 7 solely by natural aging.

edit-adition: Minor, nice, subtle detail that might be worth pointing out- For White, Black, and Green Dragons (the weaker dragons), converting a "Typical/Base line" BECMI "Small" dragon results in a "Juvenile" (category 4) Dragon in 3e, while for a Blue, Red, or Gold (the stronger dragons) it resluts in a "Young Adult" (category 5) Dragon in 3e. Accounting for the +/- 3 HD range in BECMI resluts in, at minimum (-3 HD in BECMI), a "Yery Young" (category 2) for White/Black/Green or a "Young" (category 3) for Blue/Red/Gold, and likewise (as pointed out above) the stronger 3 breeds (Blue/Red/Gold) are at max "Mature Adult" (category 7) through natural aging vs. just "Adult" (category 6). So there's all around a nice distinctive break between the weaker 3 and stronger 3 breeds of dragonkind.

This method is also the easy for anyone using the optional Dragon Advancement rules in Mongoose's Book of Dragons as it is fully compatible.

I think this 1:2 HD conversion seems to capture the feel the best, what do others think?. Of course it doesn't address the issue of Dragons who also have class levels in addition to racial HD (A possiblitiy in 3e), ie let's just take a look at the first dragon in the Who's Who Among Dragons article (Dragon 171) - Marudi - in my next post.

edit1: fixed typos
edit2: added a section emphasising a feature of this proposed system
Last edited by Gecko on Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Converting Marudi to 3e

Post by Gecko » Wed Feb 23, 2011 11:19 pm

Marudi BECMI stats- 14-HD Blue Dragon. "He is a master at illusions." ... "The youngest among the Known World's huge dragons, he is 98 years old and particularly skillful as a thief among humans and dragons."

Obviously he had to have succeeded in at least 2 (likely many more) Ceremonies.

In 3e should Marudi be simply a 28 HD, age category 8 equivalent, Blue Dragon? or should he also have levels in Rogue since he is said to be a skillful thief? And if so should this reduce the 28 racial HD as a dragon (and possibly the age category equivalent) or be in addition to them?
Should he have some levels of Bard or Wizard or Sorcerer to account for his affinity for illusion magic? OR can his illusion affinity by adequately explaned through feat selection and/or spell selection of the innate 9th level equivalent Sorcerours spellcasting of a 28 HD Blue?
While obviously the answers to this part might depend on the power level of the specific campaign, I think it could be handy to have some guidelines for quick and dirty base-line conversions.

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by BotWizo » Thu Feb 24, 2011 3:07 pm

I am not a 3E expert, but...

I would set him at 28 hd dragon
give him appropriate levels of rogue
give him appropriate levels of Illusion magic
give him all the other unique stuff that makes him a great character to have in your campaign

This gives you the DM a large amount of tools to work with for the encounter, but if you are overpowering your players you can back off and not have the dragon use all of his "assigned" powers during encounters. This also would allow you the DM to build this opponent once, and then vary the powers used each encounter to give the players different experiences each time the encounter the dragon. This will keep the encounters fresh and the players on their toes.

Or I could be way off.

I do like your line of thinking in the first post.
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Re: Converting Marudi to 3e

Post by eldersphinx » Fri Feb 25, 2011 1:34 am

Gecko wrote:Marudi BECMI stats- 14-HD Blue Dragon. "He is a master at illusions." ... "The youngest among the Known World's huge dragons, he is 98 years old and particularly skillful as a thief among humans and dragons."

Obviously he had to have succeeded in at least 2 (likely many more) Ceremonies.

In 3e should Marudi be simply a 28 HD, age category 8 equivalent, Blue Dragon? or should he also have levels in Rogue since he is said to be a skillful thief? And if so should this reduce the 28 racial HD as a dragon (and possibly the age category equivalent) or be in addition to them?
Should he have some levels of Bard or Wizard or Sorcerer to account for his affinity for illusion magic? OR can his illusion affinity by adequately explaned through feat selection and/or spell selection of the innate 9th level equivalent Sorcerours spellcasting of a 28 HD Blue?
While obviously the answers to this part might depend on the power level of the specific campaign, I think it could be handy to have some guidelines for quick and dirty base-line conversions.
IMHO, Marudi as a 28-HD blue dragon shouldn't need class levels to fit his fluff. He already has the skill points available to get several thieving skills at +15 (and can Bluff or Hide at +31) - adding Rogue levels would increase this only slightly. Likewise, his inherent spellcasting is already noteworthy - 'illusion mastery' is much better handled through spell selection and (Greater) Spell Focus - Illusion than by trying to add class levels. If adding class levels on was considered a must, I'd look at Arcane Trickster - improves spellcasting, provides decent extra skill points in thieving-type skills, and provides a Ranged Legerdemain ability that Marudi can use to apply sleight of hand or lockpicking in a pinch. Standard class levels are just inferior to the bonuses provided from additional dragon HD otherwise.
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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by Gecko » Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:28 am

BotWizo wrote:I am not a 3E expert, but...

I would set him at 28 hd dragon
give him appropriate levels of rogue
give him appropriate levels of Illusion magic
give him all the other unique stuff that makes him a great character to have in your campaign
any ideals (anyone?) on a guideline for what "Appropriate levels" would be? 1/2 dragon HD? 1/4? up to 2x? etc.
I do like your line of thinking in the first post.
I'm just glad it came out legibly, I was worried it wouldn't be...
eldersphinx wrote:
Gecko wrote:In 3e should Marudi be simply a 28 HD, age category 8 equivalent, Blue Dragon? or should he also have levels in Rogue since he is said to be a skillful thief? And if so should this reduce the 28 racial HD as a dragon (and possibly the age category equivalent) or be in addition to them?
Should he have some levels of Bard or Wizard or Sorcerer to account for his affinity for illusion magic? OR can his illusion affinity by adequately explaned through feat selection and/or spell selection of the innate 9th level equivalent Sorcerours spellcasting of a 28 HD Blue?
While obviously the answers to this part might depend on the power level of the specific campaign, I think it could be handy to have some guidelines for quick and dirty base-line conversions.
IMHO, Marudi as a 28-HD blue dragon shouldn't need class levels to fit his fluff. He already has the skill points available to get several thieving skills at +15 (and can Bluff or Hide at +31) - adding Rogue levels would increase this only slightly.


True, assuming the "typical" Int of 18 for an age cat. 8 blue dragon, I calculate he has 310 skill points to assign, and even after maxing out Listen, Search, & Spot like most dragons do still leaves him with 217 by my count. And Blue Dragons have Bluff & Hide as "class" skills.
Likewise, his inherent spellcasting is already noteworthy - 'illusion mastery' is much better handled through spell selection and (Greater) Spell Focus - Illusion than by trying to add class levels.
true, and he has 10 feats so getting regular and Greater Spell Focus would still leave 8 feats for other things...
If adding class levels on was considered a must, I'd look at Arcane Trickster - improves spellcasting, provides decent extra skill points in thieving-type skills, and provides a Ranged Legerdemain ability that Marudi can use to apply sleight of hand or lockpicking in a pinch.
I've never used the Arcane Trickster PrC so I hadn't thought of it, but your right, that sounds like a good fit for Marudi! It requires sneak attack +2d6 so I guess Marudi would need at least Rog-3 (or is there some other way to get sneak attack?)
Standard class levels are just inferior to the bonuses provided from additional dragon HD otherwise.
I'm not sure I'd agree about them being inferior, but Dragons are one rare example where racial HD are not inferior choices, hence my indecision as to which route to go with this (like BotWizo suggests or as you do - those are the exact same two extreme routes I've been debating between since some time before I ever posted this).

I'm also personally planing on using the Dragon Age Advancement "Progressions" from Mongoose's Book of Dragons to further customize these dragons in my game (slightly re-flavored for Mystara), but I've been leaving that part out to keep the discussion limited to Core.

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by pawsplay » Wed Mar 02, 2011 4:48 am

Keeping in mind that BECMI never went through the "dragon inflation" that AD&D did between 1e and 2e it's going to be tough to make an exact match. I'd look at it more thematically. Also, since BECMI dragons don't have lots of notable SLA, we're probably better off lowballing them.

Roughly,

Small Dragon -> Juvenile
Large Dragon -> Adult
Huge Dragon -> Old

which produces the convenient rule of thumb that a 3e dragon gets about 6 to 7 more HD than the equivalent BECMI dragon.

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by yellowdingo » Thu Mar 03, 2011 6:58 am

Frankly with each game edition, Dragons became incresingly an unintelligible beast, and not the shape shifting spell caster who could hide in plain sight. A dragon should be increasingly at the centre of a Secret Empire, not chewing up its own eggs during the lean times because it is trapped in a huge cave with ten feet wide access tunnels.

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by Gecko » Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:57 am

(I'm starting to wonder if it might be better to split the non-mystaran posts of this discussion off into the Orc's Revenge)
pawsplay wrote:Keeping in mind that BECMI never went through the "dragon inflation" that AD&D did between 1e and 2e
I'm not familiar with 1e, and it's been years since I looked at my 2e MM (and it's buried at the moment), so could you give an example of this dragon inflation you talk of?
it's going to be tough to make an exact match. I'd look at it more thematically.
There's definately advantages to a thematic approach, especially if the DM has the time to set it up for the specific campaign, but I'm hoping to come up with some more generic guidelines.
Also, since BECMI dragons don't have lots of notable SLA, we're probably better off lowballing them.

Roughly,

Small Dragon -> Juvenile
Large Dragon -> Adult
Huge Dragon -> Old

which produces the convenient rule of thumb that a 3e dragon gets about 6 to 7 more HD than the equivalent BECMI dragon.
By SLA I presume you mean "spell-like abilities", and if so I considered that. I think that is balanced by the power level of characters also being higher in 3e than in BECMI.

That + 5-7 HD works for Gold Dragons and for Small/Juvenile's of other breeds but it breaksdown for the Large/Adult & Huge/Old Chromatic's.

Overall there might be the beginings of some conversion guidelines in your idea, I'll think it over, thanks.
yellowdingo wrote:Frankly with each game edition, Dragons became incresingly an unintelligible beast, and not the shape shifting spell caster who could hide in plain sight. A dragon should be increasingly at the centre of a Secret Empire, not chewing up its own eggs during the lean times because it is trapped in a huge cave with ten feet wide access tunnels.
Frankly with each game edition, Dragons became incresingly an unintelligible beast, and not the shape shifting spell caster who could hide in plain sight. A dragon should be increasingly at the centre of a Secret Empire, not chewing up its own eggs during the lean times because it is trapped in a huge cave with ten feet wide access tunnels.
Can't say I agree with you there YD, based on my experiences I'd think that's more a matter of how the particular DM portray's them.

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by yellowdingo » Fri Mar 04, 2011 11:37 pm

Gecko wrote:(I'm starting to wonder if it might be better to split the non-mystaran posts of this discussion off into the Orc's Revenge)
pawsplay wrote:Keeping in mind that BECMI never went through the "dragon inflation" that AD&D did between 1e and 2e
I'm not familiar with 1e, and it's been years since I looked at my 2e MM (and it's buried at the moment), so could you give an example of this dragon inflation you talk of?
it's going to be tough to make an exact match. I'd look at it more thematically.
There's definately advantages to a thematic approach, especially if the DM has the time to set it up for the specific campaign, but I'm hoping to come up with some more generic guidelines.
Also, since BECMI dragons don't have lots of notable SLA, we're probably better off lowballing them.

Roughly,

Small Dragon -> Juvenile
Large Dragon -> Adult
Huge Dragon -> Old

which produces the convenient rule of thumb that a 3e dragon gets about 6 to 7 more HD than the equivalent BECMI dragon.
By SLA I presume you mean "spell-like abilities", and if so I considered that. I think that is balanced by the power level of characters also being higher in 3e than in BECMI.

That + 5-7 HD works for Gold Dragons and for Small/Juvenile's of other breeds but it breaksdown for the Large/Adult & Huge/Old Chromatic's.

Overall there might be the beginings of some conversion guidelines in your idea, I'll think it over, thanks.
yellowdingo wrote:Frankly with each game edition, Dragons became incresingly an unintelligible beast, and not the shape shifting spell caster who could hide in plain sight. A dragon should be increasingly at the centre of a Secret Empire, not chewing up its own eggs during the lean times because it is trapped in a huge cave with ten feet wide access tunnels.
Can't say I agree with you there YD, based on my experiences I'd think that's more a matter of how the particular DM portray's them.
I would have said it came down to how the rules portray Dragons...if they are prepared to reduce a superintellignet creature to animal - then it is a very different creature to a Dragon who has used its wealth and magic to become increasingly geographically invisible to the world around them while building an intelligence network of minions.

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by Gecko » Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:54 pm

yellowdingo wrote:I would have said it came down to how the rules portray Dragons...if they are prepared to reduce a superintellignet creature to animal - then it is a very different creature to a Dragon who has used its wealth and magic to become increasingly geographically invisible to the world around them while building an intelligence network of minions.
You might want to look over Mongoose's Book of dragons then. I saw rules for stuff like that in 3e and I think it was there that I saw it.

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by rabindranath72 » Sun Mar 06, 2011 11:25 am

Gecko wrote:
yellowdingo wrote:I would have said it came down to how the rules portray Dragons...if they are prepared to reduce a superintellignet creature to animal - then it is a very different creature to a Dragon who has used its wealth and magic to become increasingly geographically invisible to the world around them while building an intelligence network of minions.
You might want to look over Mongoose's Book of dragons then. I saw rules for stuff like that in 3e and I think it was there that I saw it.
It's a brilliant book, co-written by Gary Gygax himself.

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by yellowdingo » Sun Mar 06, 2011 10:23 pm

Gecko wrote:
yellowdingo wrote:I would have said it came down to how the rules portray Dragons...if they are prepared to reduce a superintellignet creature to animal - then it is a very different creature to a Dragon who has used its wealth and magic to become increasingly geographically invisible to the world around them while building an intelligence network of minions.
You might want to look over Mongoose's Book of dragons then. I saw rules for stuff like that in 3e and I think it was there that I saw it.
Except that BECMI Dragons fall in the Spider in the intelligence web category and 3E Dragons Are more Wildlife... 1:1 Conversion not possible.

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by Gecko » Mon Mar 07, 2011 11:17 pm

yellowdingo wrote:Except that BECMI Dragons fall in the Spider in the intelligence web category and 3E Dragons Are more Wildlife...
'fraid I really don't understand that sentence YD, what is an "intelligence web category"? Sounds like its from some model I'm unaware of...

:?:

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Converting Marudi to 3e - how to take human form?

Post by Gecko » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:34 pm

Coming back to this,

I've decided to make differing versions, one using just 28 Dragon racial HD (CR18 I believe) and core rules, and another, more powerful version with 13 class levels and age progressions (CR25 I think).
Marudi is likely to assume the shape of a desert prince or a rich merchant
he is ... particularly skillful as a thief among humans and dragons.
The above to me implies that he takes human form and in that form is an accomplished thief. However, unless I'm missing something, in 3e a 28HD Blue Dragon would not have any ability to take a humanoid form- no innate ability to do so, and lacks 5th level spells to gain access to polymorph. Is there another way I'm overlooking for him to take a humanoid form? In the more powerful version there are a couple of way's that could be overcome, but in the core RAW version I'm not seeing how to portray this? A magic item perhaps? Or am I missing a spell? (I first I thought Alter Self, but he couldn't get small enough with that spell)

edit: added a more specific reference to him taking a humanoid shape

edit2: Nevermind the second part, It was pointed out to me that I misread the Polymorph spell entry, it is a 4th level spell not a 5th level one.
Last edited by Gecko on Wed Jan 06, 2016 8:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e - Clerical Alignment Domains

Post by Gecko » Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:54 am

Another general aspect just occured to me:

Ie 3e some breeds also have the ability to cast clerical spells and the domain spells of 2-4 domains as arcane spells. However usually 1 or 2 of those are alignment domains. Mystaran dragon's have different alignments than normal 3e dragons [see here], so those alignment domains need to change. I'm tempted to replace them as follows:

Breed|3e Al|3e domains|Mystaran Al|Mystaran domains Black|Always CE|None|Always C, usually N|None Blue|Always LE|Air, [i]Evil[/i], [i]Law[/i]|Always N, usually TN|Air, [b]Magic[/b], [b]Trickery[/b] Gold|Always LG|[i]Law[/i], Luck, [i]Good[/i]|Always L, usually G|[b]Law[/b], Luck, [b]Magic[/b] Green|Always LE|None|Always C, often N|None Red|Always CE|[i]Chaos[/i], [i]Evil[/i], Fire|Always C, usually E|[b]Chaos[/b], [b]Magic[/b], Fire White|Always CE|None|Always N, usually TN|None

The Gold's Law and Red's Chaos seem fine to me, So I'm proposing to replace the others with Magic.

For the Blue's, neither Evil nor Law are appropriate for Mystaran Blue's, so perhaps swap them with Magic & Trickery? I suppose Earth could also work (so perhaps Air, Earth & Trickery?). Balance or Strom might also work for Blue's if you have access to one of the source books that include those (Player's Guide to Faerun or Underdark)

Thoughts?

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by genghisdon » Sun May 15, 2016 8:30 pm

what is the source for "Marudi"? you quote but never sourced

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by Gecko » Sun May 15, 2016 9:44 pm

genghisdon wrote:what is the source for "Marudi"? you quote but never sourced
bottom of my second post: "Who's Who Among Dragons" article from Dragon magazine #171

cheers

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by genghisdon » Mon May 16, 2016 1:29 am

Thnx! do you still want some 3e or 3.5e version? Any particular CR or level it's for?

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e - Marudi

Post by Gecko » Mon May 16, 2016 2:52 am

genghisdon wrote:Thnx! do you still want some 3e or 3.5e version?
I have some ideals, but haven't had time to work on this in months - been too busy with work. If you have ideals I'd be interested. 3.5, though 3.0 is easily convertable.

One thing I was planning was to give him Leadership and have his Cohort be a Noble Djinn (he works with Djinn's according the write-up) who's also a low level cleric of Zephyr (aka Odin) (though Marudi might not know that the Djinn is a cleric)
Any particular CR or level it's for?
answered above, repeated here for convience:
Gecko wrote:...I've decided to make differing versions, one using just 28 Dragon racial HD (CR18 I believe) and core rules, and another, more powerful version with 13 class levels and age progressions (CR25 I think).

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by Cthulhudrew » Sat Sep 10, 2016 9:15 pm

Sorry for the several month thread necromancy, but I only just noticed this (it seemed relevant to a recent project of mine).

One thing I noticed during the course of that project is that the BECMI dragons match up pretty well to their 2E counterparts, comparing dragons of equal HD. It isn't a precise one-to-one comparison (notably, BECMI claw damage tends to be less than a comparable HD dragon, while their spellcasting is considerably better), but it's pretty close.

2E does tend to make allowances for some of the dragons to potentially reach greater power levels than even their Huge counterparts; scaling up from the bottom, there is greater room for growth than at the top. IE, a white dragon in 2E can potentially get quite a bit physically more powerful than its BECMI counterpart, whereas a 2E great wyrm gold dragon and a BECMI huge gold dragon are not so far removed from one another.

As such, my tendency in converting the BECMI versions to 3E would be to simply use the 3E version of the monster as is, and to model the "unique" dragons (such as Marudi) accordingly from there.

(IE, I'd take the BECMI HD, figure out what age category that was roughly equivalent to in 2E, then use the age category for the 3E conversion. You will definitely not have the age range from the original Who's Who articles work out, but I think you'll get the equivalent power level about right.

For example, Huge White BECMI = 12 HD, that's age category 5 in 2e, so use the stats for age category 5 in 3E and go from there. Marudi then would be a juvenile 15 HD large dragon in 3E. To make him more unique, you might give him- as you suggest- either some Rogue levels somewhere in there, or else just an appropriate skill selection.)
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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by Cthulhudrew » Sun Sep 11, 2016 5:48 am

So, thinking about this more, because it kind of intrigues me. I did some rough equivalencies using my BECMI -> 2E ->3E idea, and came up with this in regards to the specific "Who's Who Among the Known World" dragons article:

Dragon | BECMI | 2E | 3E | CR Amanth | 19 HD Red | 19 HD Old | 28 HD Old | CR 20 Ambur | 17 HD Red | 17 HD Adult | 22 HD Adult | CR 15 Argos | 14 HD Green | 14 HD Young Adult | 17 HD Young Adult | CR 11 Attura | 16 HD Green | 16 HD Mature Adult | 23 HD Mature Adult | CR 16 Azem | 18 HD Gold | 18 HD Adult | 23 HD Adult | CR 16 Druuwmor | 11 HD White | 11 HD Juvenile | 12 HD Juvenile | CR 6 Jargnir | 12 HD Black | 12 HD Juvenile | 13 HD Juvenile | CR 7 Khanistar | 17 HD Blue | 17 HD Mature Adult | 24 HD Mature Adult | CR 16 Marudi | 14 HD Blue | 14 HD Juvenile | 15 HD Juvenile | CR 8 Thalkor | 13 HD Black | 13 HD Young Adult | 16 HD Young Adult | CR 9

Just out of curiosity, I ran the same kind of equivalency just using the ages listed in the article:

Dragon | BECMI | Age | 3E | CR Amanth | 19 HD Red | 332 | 25 HD Mature Adult | CR 18 Ambur | 17 HD Red | 152 | 22 HD Adult | CR 15 Argos | 14 HD Green | 148 | 20 HD Adult | CR 13 Attura | 16 HD Green | 202 | 23 HD Mature Adult | CR 16 Azem | 18 HD Gold | 323 | 26 HD Mature Adult | CR 19 Druuwmor | 11 HD White | 112 | 18 HD Adult | CR 10 Jargnir | 12 HD Black | 105 | 19 HD Adult | CR 11 Khanistar | 17 HD Blue | 180 | 21 HD Adult | CR 14 Marudi | 14 HD Blue | 98 | 18 HD Young Adult | CR 11 Thalkor | 13 HD Black | 118 | 19 HD Adult | CR 11

Some of the numbers are quite different going strictly by age. Two remain the same (Ambur and Attura), but otherwise the weaker dragons become relatively more powerful while the more powerful become relatively weaker.

My first instinct is to just go with the age listings, simply because they are given and I enjoy putting things into context in the Mystara timeline ("What was going on Rockhome when Ambur was young?"). On the other hand, I think going by a HD conversion gives you a much more interesting CR spread, which means that these particular unique dragons can be challenges to PCs throughout their careers.

In any event, I'd probably still want to change things up for them aside from just their HD, though I admit I'm torn whether to just do that via skill/spell selection or by adding/substituting HD for class levels as was suggested upthread.
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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by Gecko » Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:47 pm

Cthulhudrew-

Thanks, but that 2nd version (straight age conversion) doesn't take into account Ceremonies of Sublimination. Mystaran dragons who have succeded at several ceremonies can be muchstronger than their age alone would imply.

The first version you laid out (BECMI HD 1:1 2e HD then resulting 2e age category to 3e age category) makes Mystaran Dragons seem weaker after a conversion at first look, especially when you consider that players went through power growth in the same conversion (BECMI -> 3e), but I suppose it could work as a low powered conversion guideline.

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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by Cthulhudrew » Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:16 am

Gecko wrote:Thanks, but that 2nd version (straight age conversion) doesn't take into account Ceremonies of Sublimination. Mystaran dragons who have succeded at several ceremonies can be muchstronger than their age alone would imply.
True, though I suspect that Ceremonies of Sublimation as presented for BECMI is one of those things that really doesn't survive the transition between editions very well. For my part, I'd either ignore it or look into how to modify that article, as opposed to modifying the baseline dragons across the board in order to try and preserve it as is.

In any event, this is all very interesting, and I'll be coming back to this thread in the future I think, to take your conclusions into account, should my other project get finished. (Right now I'm working on revising and updating all of the BECMI creatures from all the sources to more closely match the Cyclopedia standards, and part of that involves retro-converting the Red Steel creatures to BECMI; there are two dragons in Red Steel, which is why the BECMI/2E comparisons are fresh in my mind. When I finish that, I'm hoping to get back to finishing some BECMI to Pathfinder/3E conversions that I'd started long ago but never completed.)
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Re: Converting BECMI Dragons to 3e

Post by rabindranath72 » Wed Sep 28, 2016 12:08 pm

I never really cared much for exact conversions, but what I did back in the day to keep the split between small/large/huge (and considering that there is a progression between the categories) I simply split the 12 age ranges into 3 groups; so, 1-4 is equivalent to small dragons, 5-8 is equivalent to large dragons, and 9-12 is huge.

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