New version. The biggest change is nerfing Competence.
Conversion to FC from the Rules Cyclopedia (RC) or BECMI rules.
Converting Monsters and NPCs
This document follows a similar procedure to p.295-303. I note two things that are important for this conversion. First, THAC0 and various other abilities have a fairly static relationship to Hit Dice. Thus, a conversion that positied that every monster was equivalent for its Threat Level would give all monsters Attack V, and so forth, while Defense would vary considerably. It also means that powerful creatures may not be especially dangerous-seeming, even to low level adventures. For that reason, some of the grades will be scaled to or modified by the creature's original Hit Dice. A Formidability grade is assigned that is used to derive a number of other traits, in addition to a Conversion Threat Level, which is used to normalize some traits.
Second, BECMI monsters tend to be fairly simple, which is in keeping with FC philosophy, but do not fully harness the options available in FC. This should be seen as a benefit rather than as a hindrance. There is nothing wrong with a nice, clean monster design. Furthermore, this means there is plenty of blank canvas to apply one or two oh-so-perfect qualities, drawing from the full palette of FC options.
Also, always remember that subtracting a negative is like adding a positive.
Conversion Threat Level
The Conversion Threat Level is simply a way of mapping a creature's abilities to its general formidability. If it can cast spells like a cleric or magic-user, use its effective caster level, if higher. Otherwise, use its Hit Dice as its Conversion Threat Level.
For the purposes of this conversion, a monster gets a Formidability grade, based on its Hit Dice (disregarding extra hit points). This grade is purely a convenience to avoid repeating the same scale throughout this document.
1 HD and 1 hit point I
Less than 1 HD II
1 to 9 HD III
10 to 19 HD IV
20 to 29 HD V
30 to 36 HD VI
37+ HD VII
Step 1: Size and Type
This follows, generally, the pattern laid out on p.296 for OGL monsters. However, the RC is pretty generous with the Large size. If the description says how big something is, estimate the size based on the given height and weight. Assume that any humanoid that is (L) is actually medium if it does not uses large weapons and is not of the Giant Humanoid type.
Normal Animal, Giant Animal, Prehistoric Animal Animal
Dragon, Dragonkin Beast
Humanoid, Demihuman, Giant Humanoid Folk or Fey
Lowlife Animal, Plant or Ooze
Monster Folk, Beast, or Horror, most likely
Planar Monster Elemental or Outsider
BECMI monsters tend to be fairly untalented. Any non-Animal gets a Competence equal to its Intelligence bonus (minimum I), or a minimum of Competence II if it uses weapons or saves as something other than a Fighter or Normal Man.
Step 2: Abilities
Strength: A creature's Strength is typically 10, plus twice any bonus to damage due to strength, as described in the RC. Apply a penalty of -2 Strength per -1 to damage. Any very small creatures described as using miniature weapons should probably have a Strength of no more than twice their maximum possible damage. Use that or the larger of:
For larger creatures, Strength should be set to 10, +2 per size category more than Medium, if that would be a larger score.
Some creatures are very powerful and have natural weapons or wield weapons that do multiple dice of damage; in that case, Strength should be a minimum of 10 + (4 x number of dice of damage of the attack that does the least damage).
Dexterity: Dexterity is usually 10. Set it to 8 if the creature has penalties to attack due to poor senses or coordination. Add +2 if it is a solitary hunting Animal. Use that or:
If it saves as a rogue or halfling, has any stealth or surprise ability, some kind of initiative advantage, or is described as being particularly agile or lithe, set Dex equal to 8 + (2 x Formidability), -2 per size category larger than Medium.
Constitution: Constitution is usually 10. If it has regeneration, set it to 8 + (2 x Formidability), -2 per size category smaller than Medium. Add +2 if it saves as a dwarf. Add +2 for a creature with a listed load and barding multiplier. Add +2 if it is described as having endurance, sturdiness, or another such characteristic.
For larger creatures, Constitution should be set to 10, +2 per size category more than Medium, if that would be a larger score.
Intelligence: A creature's Intelligence is the same as its Intelligence.
Wisdom: A creature's Wisdom is usually 10. However, if it is described as unusually perceptive, cunning, or alert, or if it casts spells as a cleric, set its Wisdom equal to 8 + (2 x its Formidability), if that would yield a higher number. Add +2 if it saves as a creature of higher HD than its Conversion Threat Level.
Charisma: Charisma is usually 10, or 8 if it is an Animal. However, if it is described as alluring, charming, or deceptive, has any disguise ability, or casts spells as a cleric or magic-user, set its Charisma equal to 8 + (2 x its Formidability). If, instead, it is described as shy, inoffensive, ill-tempered, or crude, subtract 2.
For abilities higher than 10, round down to the next even number unless the NPC is an Animal.
Step 3: Grades
Initiative: Initiative is equal to Formidability. If the creature is described as particularly slow-witted, dull, or unobservant, subtract 1. If it has some kind of ability that helps it surprise foes or go first, add 1.
Attack: Equal to its Formidability grade, +1. Add +1 Attack if it gains a bonus to hit due to ferocity or strength. Add +1 if it fights as a creature of higher HD. Subtract 1 if it casts as a cleric or magic-user of higher level than its HD.
Defense: First, subtract its AC from 9 to get its Defense bonus. Now, derive its base Defense by removing any size or Dex modifiers that would result from its FC statistics (in other words, subtract the Dex bonus and any Defense modifier due to size, remembering that subtracting a negative is like adding a positive). Now find the lowest grade for its Conversion Threat Level that includes that base Defense bonus; if no grade includes the result, get gets Defense X and monstrous defense (grade equal to 1/3 the surplus).
Resilience: Equal to its Formidability, modified as follows:
Saves as anything other than a fighter or Normal Man +1 Resilience
Saves as a creature of fewer HD than it has (but not 36 HD)-1 Resilience
Health:The creature gains a Health grade equal to its Formidability. Modify as follows:
Smaller than Medium -1 Health per category
Larger than Medium +1 Health OR tough I per category (your choice)
Smaller than d8s for Hit Dice -1 Health
Step 4: Attacks and Qualities
See p. 300. These abilities may vary considerably.
For natural attacks, follow the guidelines given on p.297. Use the smallest grade of attack that includes the creature's maximum damage. If the maximum is at least halfway to the damage of a higher grade, raise the grade by 1 more (increasing the threat range by 1), unless of course the attack has no attack roll and cannot crit.
If it has exactly two natural attacks and no ability to wield weapons, either add swift attack, or both feat (Two-Hit Combo) and +1 Attack, or frenzy I, as you see fit.Adding exactly one natural attack of the same type is point bloat that does nothing.
For special attacks, use these guidelines:
Save vs. Grade
Death Ray/Poison I
Magic Wands II
Paralysis/Turn to Stone II
Breath Attack Formidability
Step 5: Skills
Creature with a Competence grade do not usually have much in the way of Signature Skills, excepting those suggested by their descriptions. Those who have some ability to detect others or avoid surprise get Notice, while those who can ambush or surprise get Sneak. Anything that climbs, grabs, or swims gets Athletics. Anything with Morale 11 or 12 gets Resolve. Creatures that are described as slaving or bullying other creatures into service should get Intimidate. The grade of Signature Skills is usually the creature's Formidability grade.
For Animals, which have no Comp, Signature Skills require a little more thought. Anything that has a listed load capacity and barding multiplier rates Athletics I, +1 for every size category larger than Medium. Some considerations:
Hunters that can track like dogs or wolves Survival IV to V,
Pursuit hunters, like lions or tigers Athletics IV to V
Ambushers Sneak IV to V
Scavengers Search IV to V
Prey animals Notice IV to V
Also, if it needs a skill to use a special attack, such as grappling ot tripping, it probably rates grade II in that skill, plus any useful qualities or attack modifiers. Beasts should gain the same skill ratings as Animals, in addition to their Competence rating.
For non-animals, if it has multiple Signature Skills, raise Competence to one grade lower than its lowest Signature Skill grade.
Step 6: Feats
For the most part, creatures need only those Feats necessary to emulate their special abilities. If a creature, particularly a Folk, is described as using a peculiar weapon with great skill, that may suggest the Basics feat for that weapon.
Step 7: Gear and Treasure
By treasure type:
B (L), (C), (M)
C (L), (M), (A)ny
D (L), (M), (A)ny
G (C), (M), (A)ny
H (C), (L), (A)ny
I (L), (C), (Any)
L (L), (C)
M (L), (C)
N (M), (T), (G)
O (M), (T), (G)
P, Q, R (C)
S, T (L), (C)
U, V (A)ny
Step 8: Remaining Entries
Speed/Mobility: Divide speed by 4 to get the equivalent in FC.
Reach: Some Large creatures or creatures with long tentacles, tails, or necks may justify additional reach.
Converting Armor Class to DR: A creature gains DR equal to ¼ its base defense bonus (maximum 10), unless it wears armor, in which case it simply gains the benefits (and penalties) of that type of armor instead. If a creature has a base Defense of +1 or better and is simply not durable at all (it's a small fey creature, for instance), do not add DR and instead just increase Defense by 1 grade; if that would increase it past Defense X, add +2 Dex instead.
Morale: Based on a creature's Morale, it gains the following qualities:
2 meek, banned action (Resolve checks)
5-9 No special qualities
10 fearless I
11 fearless I, Resolve as Signature Skill
12 fearless II, Resolve as Signature Skill
Creatures that have a lower Morale without a leader use the higher number but gain the qualities of the next category down, instead. I.e. A morale of 9 with a leader, 7 without means the creature gains meek. The leader, obviously, does not receive that penalty.
Some creatures have Morale 12 because they are crazy or have no sense of self-preservation; they may qualify for the feral quality instead of or in addition to fearless.
Step 8: Other Final Touches
If the creature normally has leader or advanced versions with the group, you can apply the Alpha template. For more run of the mill leaders, applying veteran I or veteran II is enough to make the leaders stand out from the pack. Simply converting the leaders as-is would result in the leaders having relatively lower abilities (such as Defense) which is the opposite of what is desired.
It is often worthwhile to take on a quality or two, or Signature Skill, to suggest something interesting about the monster, although this is by no means mandatory.
Creatures that deal multiple dice of damage in the RC are especially deadly. Look at the final creature's statistics. In general, most of its attacks should have a threat range at least equal to its dice of damage. This threat range could include the natural range of weapons or natural attacks, favored enemies, common feat effects, and so forth. If the creature doesn't hit the right range, consider upgrading attacks or adding feats, or adding one level of monstrous attack.
Appendix I: NPCs
When converting NPCs, it is frequently useful to simply use a Rogue that fits the archetype. However, there may be times when you want to convert an NPC similarly to the above process. The Conversion Threat Level and Formidability is based on the NPC's level. This means that unlike a normal Rogue, such a character will not simply scale to the PCs.
For characters of level 10 or higher, treat the character as having a smaller than d8 hit die for Health purposes. Do not modify Health for Small size.
If you are using Weapon Mastery rules, mastery ranks may translate into additional tricks or Feats.
Basic Normal (no bonuses)
Skilled tricky (any one corresponding trick), an appropriate Basic Combat feat, or +1 Attack
Expert the Basics feat for that weapon
Master matching Mastery feat
Grand Master matching Supremacy feat
If using the optional Skills rules, each skill may imply a particular Skill or Interest.
For spellcasters, see Appendix II for setting Spellcasting and Steps.
Conversely, a properly scaling NPC can be made using the following bare bones, which may also suggest signature skills for straight conversions:
Fighter (Medium Folk Walker – 33 xp): Str 14, Dex 10, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10; SZ M (1x1, Reach 1); Spd 30 ft. ground; Init III; Atk V; Def V; Res III; Health V; Comp I; Skills: Athletics V, Intimidate II; Qualities: feat (Armor Basics).
Cleric (Medium Folk Walker – 37 xp): Str 10, Dex 10, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 14; SZ M (1x1, Reach 1); Spd 30 ft. ground; Init III; Atk IV; Def V; Res V; Health IV; Comp II; Qualities: feat (Armor Basics), turning (undead).
Magic-User (Medium Folk Walker – 36 xp): Str 10, Dex 10, Con 10, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 14; SZ M (1x1 Reach 1); Spd 30 ft. ground; Init III; Atk III; Def IV; Res V; Health III; Comp II; Signature Skills: Investigate V, Spellcasting III; Qualities: feat (Casting Basics).
Thief (Medium Folk Walker – 34 xp): Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10; SZ M (1x1), Reach 1); Spd 30 ft. ground; Init IV; Atk IV; Def V; Res IV; Health III; Comp III; Skills: Athletics IV, Prestidigitation IV, Search IV, Sneak IV; Qualities: feat (Ambush Basics), superior climber I.
Elf (Medium Fey Walker - 44 xp): Str 10, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 14, Wis 10, Cha 10; SZ M (1x1, Reach 1); Spd 40 ft. ground; Init III; Atk V; Def V; Res V; Health IV; Comp II; Skills: Athletics IV, Spellcasting III; Qualities: attractive I, darkvision I, feat (Armor Basics, Casting Basics), improved sense (hearing, sight).
Dwarf (Medium Folk Walker – 38 xp): Str 14, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10; SZ M (1x1, Reach 1); Spd 20 ft. ground; Init III; Atk V; Def V; Res V; Health V; Comp I; Skills: Intimidate II; Qualities: feat (Armor Basics), darkvision II, improved stability.
Halfling (Small Folk Walker – 33 xp): Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 10; SZ S (1x1, Reach 1); Spd 30 ft. ground; Init III; Atk V; Def V; Res V; Health IV; Comp II; Skills: Sneak III; Qualities: feat (Armor Basics).
For higher-level characters, apply the following changes:
1-9 No changes
10-19 veteran I, add two qualities
20-29 veteran II, add four qualities
30-36 veteran III, cagey I, tough I, add four qualities
The extra qualities could be anything. Some especially good ones are fearless I, class feature, feat, and tricky. Clerics, magic-users, and elves will probably have mostly Basic Combat and Spellcasting feats as qualities.
Appendix II: Some Special Abilities
Offensive Abilities and Casting
Spells (as a magic-user): Spellcasting Signature Skill, equal to highest spell level cast, plus Formidability; if greater than Spellcasting X, turn the excess into expanded spellbook. If it casts at a higher level than its HD, add unlimited spell points. If it saves as a magic-user or elf, add feat (Casting Basics).
Spells (as a cleric): A number of grades of Devoted equal to half its cleric level; if it can cast 8th level spells, add the divine intervention class ability. Alternatively, give it Spellcasting, as if converting a magic-user, but focus on cleric-type spells. Spellcasting may be especially appropriate if it also has other frequently used magical powers.
Energy drain: Extraordinary Attack (Soul Drain) equal to its Formidability. If the creature normally dishes out two negative levels, Extraordinary Attack (Soul Drain) V is appropriate.
Natural 20s: If a creature does something horrible on a natural 20, like beheading someone or swallowing them whole, this often suggests the treacherous quality.
Rock throwing: This is Hurled Basics and Bullseye, using large-scale, massive large rocks. For really long range throwing, define an Extraordinary Attack.
Poison: This can be defined either by giving the creature a venomous attack, or as an Extraordinary Attack linked to a natural attack. If defined as an actual poison, tricky (Venom Master) is a must.
Infravision (subterranean creature): Darkvision II
Infravision (surface dweller): Darkvision I, Improved Sense (sight)
Hurt only by silver weapons (corporeal, most monsters): DR 1, increase its Health by two grades, and give it Achilles' heel (silver).
Immune to normal weapons (corporeal, most monsters): +1 DR and a +1 Defense both equal to the number of +'s required to hurt it. If that would cause it to exceed Defense X, it gains monstrous defense 1. DR beyond 10 is lost.
Immune to normal weapons (spectral): If the creature is immune to non-magical weapons because it is actually incorporeal or spectral, add DR 1, increase its Health by +1 grade, and give the creature damage defiance (subdual, lethal) in addition to the incorporeal type. Do not give a creature defiance to damage to which it is immune. If it can be harmed by silver, add Achilles' heel (silver), as well. If it can not be harmed by silver weapons, it is a good candidate for the spirit type.
Spell immunity: This is spell defense, depending on the level of spell the creature is normally immune to. Take a grade equal to half the highest spell level it is immune to, rounding up.
Appendix III: Selected Conversions
Manscorpion (Large Folk Walker – 45 xp): Str 12, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 8; SZ L (2x1, Reach 1); Spd 60 ft. ground; Init III; Atk IV; Def VI; Res III; Health IV; Comp II; Qualities: damage reduction 2, improved stability, tricky (Venom Master).
Attacks: Tail (tail slap I, venomous: paralytic poison, 1d10+1 lethal, reach +1), large-scale glaive (1d10+1, threat 19-20, error 1-2, keen 4, reach +1), longbow and barbed arrows (1d6 lethal, threat 19-20, AP 2, bleed, poisonous, 40 ft. X6)
Manscorpion Cleric (Large Folk Walker – 68 xp): Str 12, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 14; SZ L (2x1, Reach 1); Spd 60 ft. ground; Init III; Atk IV; Def VI; Res IV; Health IV; Comp II; Qualities: damage reduction 2, devoted VIII (Path of Light I, Path of Life III), improved stability, tricky (Venom Master).
Attacks: Tail (tail slap I, venomous: paralytic poison, 1d10+1 lethal, reach +1), large-scale glaive (1d10+1, threat 19-20, error 1-2, keen 4, reach +1), longbow and barbed arrows (1d6 lethal, threat 19-20, AP 2, bleed, poisonous, 40 ft. x6).
Shrew, Giant (Small Animal Walker- 48 xp): Str 10, Dex 16, Con 10, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 8; SZ S (1x1, Reach 1); Spd 40 ft. ground; Init IV; Atk IV; Def IV; Res III; Health III; Comp -; Signature Skills: Athletics IV, Notive V; Qualities: blindsight, feat (Lightning Reflexes), impaired sense (vision), swift attack I, unnerving.
Attacks: Bite I (1d6 lethal, threat 18-20).