Want to convert I6-Ravenloft and looking for advice

I'm going to be starting a new playtest group soon and I want to see how they fare in the legendary I6:Ravenloft module from AD&D. I'll be converting it to the latest version of D&D Next and I was wondering if anyone familiar with the module would have any tips/suggestions about ways to make the conversion as good as possible.

First of all, I'm thinking about setting the party at level 3. Is that too low? I know the original was for levels 5 to 7, but this will be this groups first experience with D&D Next and I don't want them to be too overwhelmed with character details right at the beginning.

Any and all suggestions are welcome. 
Best to do is to identify where ability checks are needed and assign a DC corresponding to the difficulty you think it should be (ex. the dexterity check to cast spell on pg. 06 due to flying bats), identify monsters types and numbers you will use for every combat encounters and then count the total XP for each. Once you did, you evaluate the level needed to go through the adventure in accordance to the Building Combat Encounters guidelines XP chart in respect with the overall difficulty. (DM Guideline PDF pg. 13)

As for magic items, either convert them straight or assign similar ones or other of your choosing from the Magic Items PDF when nothing similar exist.

Let me know if you need any help or suggestions. 

Hope that help!

Exemple
Land of Barovia  [XP 350]
Setup
5 Dire Wolf
70 Bat
Spellcasting: DC 10 Dexterity check to cast spell with components due to bats flying
 

Yan
Montréal, Canada
@Plaguescarred on twitter

Our DM converted it and we ran it as a one-shot on level 7 characters, and Stradd (predictably, I guess!) destroyed us.  We had people running off on their own, though, and no one wanted to play a paladin or a cleric, so it was sort of our own fault.  I hadn't run it since I was a kid so it was sort of like re-visiting an old nightmare.

I imagine you could convert it down to L3 without too much trouble.  As a first experience with D&D though, it's a pretty unforgiving scenario

The town, the cards, the hints... all that stuff converts directly.  Zombies and wargs are in the bestiary, I think.  Stradd himself is supposed to be +3 levels ahead, give or take (he was level 10 for us), and you should probably make him up custom.  He should be difficult to hit, should regenerate fast, and should deal waaaay too much damage.  Have fun.
Tiima's DM here.

Yeah it was a pretty easy conversion, to be honest. Most of the saves, etc I just did on the fly - that's easy in Next.

I did have to build 3 monsters tho...

  1. Strahd Zombies. Pretty easy, I just levelled up the standard Zombie and gave it turn resistance (which didn't end up mattering because noone played a Cleric or Paladin) and added an augmented grab with the appropriate "sever limb" spin. These worked well and the PCs predictably mowed them down quickly.

  2. Banshee. Which never got encountered, so moot point.

  3. Strahd himself - a levelled up standard vamp with some spells. On reflection I should have made him level 9, instead of level 10. Strahd is an utter nightmare to fight. And he still was, which was good.

For the most part I just used what was in the Next Bestiary, be it under or over original level. And that worked well.

I did go light on the random encounters, only rolling about 1/3rd as often as the module calls for. Part of the nastiness of I6 is those wanderers with their level drains. Well level drain isn't in Next so that's not such a biggie.  Given I wasn't sure of Next yet I saw the fight with Strahd as the whole point - Strahd is still a nightmare and should stay one. So he was kind of my "acid test" for the system and the reason for less randoms. It takes a party that is both lucky and skilled to beat Strahd.

I really, really wouldn't throw a group of neophytes at I6. Because one of two things will happen...

  1. You'll run it properly and it'll swallow them whole, excreting their bones somewhere later on. Thus putting them off the game.

  2. You'll water it down too much and they'll cakewalk it. Then they'll think the game's easy because they beat the dreaded I6.


I suggest playing them through a few other nights of D&D Next (Caves of Chaos, maybe) and then bringing them back to I6 later with some L5-7 characters. Honestly, I think it's the best choice.


Happy to share what I did in I6 if anyone wants it.

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Thanks for all the tips!

I'm not too worried about my group getting turned off Next if I slaughter them all. Most of them are long time D&D players who've seen a lot of gaming over the years and are well aware of I6's reputation. I've been playing with this group for over 4 years and they know that I don't pull any punches. Character death is an every present danger, and besides, I've already told them this first adventure will be a meat grinder experiment, basically a chance to push the limits of survivability in D&D Next. That is, in fact, why I chose the I6 adventure. I want to find out (and for them to know) how far they can push their characters before death becomes highly probable. This group has been playing 4e for the last 3 years and developed a very good understanding of how far they could push in a 4e adventuring day and I'd like for them to get a feel for that in D&D Next before I launch a full campaign. I've told them that I expect this adventure to be a TPK and they are okay with that (just to be clear, I'm not going to force a TPK, there should always be a chance of success or else why are they playing?)

I'm thinking about bumping the level up to 5 and then setting Strahd as a standard level 7 vampire but with all the classic Strahd spells from I6 along with all of the tricks he can do as per the module. Unless they are very lucky, by the time they get to Strahd they should be pretty roughed up and the final fight should be very tough (as it should be)

I like what you said about cutting down on the random monsters and I agree totally about the lack of level drain in Next making those encounters quite unnecessary.

How do you feel the presence of a cleric or paladin would have effected the outcome of the adventure? The guys know I like using undead so someone is certain to choose one of these classes.

edit:  This will be this groups first experience with Next, but not my own. I've DM'ed enough of it now to get a handle on the game and I'll be using I6 not just to test the character survivability in Next but also to show off the great parts of the system. Although I predict a TPK, I plan to give them a great experience and I really think the group will have fun with the new system.
Yeah if they go up to L5 and Strahd is L+2 it might be OK.  The thing is the standard L7 vamp isn't a "solo" for a group of 5xL5. It ranks as a "slightly tougher than average encounter" and isn't really designed to throw at a group of PCs on it's own.

The L10 Strahd I used was a "L10 solo", and overall I feel too tough for the L7 party.  I'd  also given him a full complement of equivalent level wizard spells. But I held back using them. In fact I didn't use many spells at all - a few utility spells in his skirmishes and a single fireball in the final fight.

If I wanted a "solo" L7 vampire for Strahd I'd add the spells, but be careful using them.  And I'd rejig the standard Vampire's stats (mainly hp, remember to allow for regeneration, & damage) using the Behir (which is a L7 "solo").  This should be a hard, but not Tough, encounter.

As to Random monsters. Well next time I run I6 on Next (hopefully at Halloween) I'll be rolling for wanderers at approximately the recommended rate. However there'll be a wanderer on a 1, not a 1 or 2. I believe this will be a good fit for Next, particularly with it's new level drain mechanic. As always tho, I'll adjust as I go based on how the PCs are doing.

How would a Cleric or Paladin affect things? Well if you run I6 as it was intended to be run and the PCs want a fighting chance they'll do well to bring Turning and radiant damage in spades... They should also have a longsword wielder.

Please do keep us updated on your progress. And if there's any way I can help just let me know.

Want to understand D&D 5e monsters?  ♦  @surfarcher  ♦  +Surf Archer  ♦  /u/surfarcher