2nd Edition is fast approaching. Should you go ahead and start that new adventure path or wait for the new edition so you don’t have to start over? Today we look at how difficult it would be to just have the best of both worlds.
Dear DovahQueen: My group is split on starting an AP in 1st edition when we know we won’t finish before second edition. How should I handle their concerns about just dropping it when the playtest or new edition is available vs. trying to deal with version conversion issues?–Random Noodles
Dear Maruchan: You’re right to be thinking about these things ahead of time rather than being broadsided by the new edition later. It’s a bit of a tough situation though; you’ve got a few different options, but none of them are going to be seamless. Before anything else, you’re gonna have to figure out, with your group, what your collective priorities are. How concerned is everyone with getting attached to a character that could potentially have to be abandoned? Is it most important to experience the rest of the story? More than likely though, the ideal situation for everyone is going to be keeping their characters, finishing the story, but also using the new system. As a group, discussing what the GM is comfortable doing and which elements are most and least able to be sacrificed can help make the transition less taxing.
If you all decide that characters are most important to you, it shouldn’t be too hard to start your AP, grow the character, and have them wander into new adventures with the new edition. Most character concepts should be easy enough to flesh out under new rules. Since we’re going from an edition with thousands of options into one with only hundreds at the start, there’s gonna be a few concepts that are less readily available, but that’s nothing a little GM-handwaving can’t fix. Now you’ve got already-beloved characters ready for a 2nd Edition soiree.
If it’s also important to everyone that you experience the AP’s story in its entirety, I don’t think you’d have any trouble running some conversions with the new system relatively easily. Obviously, if a 1st Edition AP calls for goblins, you won’t have much trouble opening a 2nd Edition book to supply them. An AP-specific undead might have to be replaced with a run-of-the-mill zombie, but there’s nothing stopping you from seasoning to taste. Likewise, skills checks shouldn’t be too difficult to use whatever the closest-relevant skill is. Items could take a little more attention but if you’ve been closely following, you can make tweaks if you find things too over or underpowered. The most important thing in figuring these out will just be getting familiar with the new rulebook and kinda just understanding the player vs monster power balance.
It’s unlikely that these conversions will be flawlessly executed right out of the gate, but it shouldn’t take too much time to get everything in a good enough working order. For a GM worth their salt, smoothing out a few bumps along the road really isn’t anything new. That’s why it all really boils down to how much time and energy do you have to do work to move everything over? Special undead replaced by regular undead is easy enough, sure, but you have to decide if you have the time and would rather invest the effort in truly stating out the old beast. The argument could be made that the rest of the group might be enlisted to help handle some of the load, but I’d discourage you from this if you want to avoid debates over how discrepancies should be handled. There’s an old adage about too many cooks and the quality of the resulting broth.
Bottomline: either the work’s gonna have to get done to convert it when 2nd drops or y’all are gonna have to pass on this AP. If it were my group, I’d start the AP and just do my best to handle the intricacies of conversion as they come. If you did your best and it doesn’t work, then it doesn’t work. You did your best and nothing more can be asked of you. The alternative was to just not play the AP and that option will still be on the table. The task at hand may seem daunting, but I’m convinced this isn’t gonna be as tough as it looks. You got this!
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