Two comments about converting monsters

I recently revisited the 1974 horror/adventure movie  Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, one of my favorite offerings from Hammer Films.  On the DVD commentary track, writer/director Brian Clemens made several inspiring remarks about how, in the film, he attempted to break away from the standard vampire cliches — vampires drain youth instead of blood, only bleed at the moment of their death, are vulnerable to blessed iron, etc.  It got me thinking about how much, as a referee, I enjoy watching how players react to unfamiliar monsters, whether it’s something entirely new or a tweaked version of a Monster Manual standard.  This has been a challenge for me when converting monsters from one system to another, most recently from D&D and BRP to BoL; sometimes I get hung up trying to accurately represent the original stats in the selected ruleset, and fail to remember that each “conversion” is an opportunity to make the monster unique to my setting.

I also confess to being somewhat lazy when it comes to prepping monsters.  I have a list of Anderavian creatures taken from various D&D and Call of Cthulhu supplements, ready to be statted up for BoL, but I usually end up doing my conversions either right before game time or on the fly mid-game.  Much as I’d love to have a steady stream of cool “new” BoL creatures flowing from this blog, I’ve decided that I’ll only post my monster conversions (even if I do them way in advance of game time) after I’ve used them in a session — I know I have at least one player who reads this blog from time to time, and I’d hate to ruin a good surprise!  At some point I’d like to do a vague bestiary that would include “rumors” about a monster that draw from Anderavian folklore about creatures that, like other rumors, may be true or false; if a PC discovers it to be one or the other, then the appropriate information will be added to the monster stats.  We’ll see…


One response

  1. norm

    People get hung up on conversions and stats. Stats are the least important part of conversion. And having direct conversion even less important than that!

    What matters is the * essence* of the monster. What make it unique and/or interesting and/or fun. Hi-light that quality in new ruleset. The rest of stats just copy from any same type/size monster available in new ruleset.

    10/15/2012 at 17:29

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