Let's Convert! G1 - Steading of the Hill Giant Chief

Hey! We're finally doing it!

In this I will read through the module G1 (technically the PDF I have is the combined G1-2-3, so if there's differences between the two, you've been warned).

Let's start with the obvious: lot's of hill giants.  for reference, let's look at ACKs' stat block:

 

this will likely be coming in handy as we go through this.  We'll be paying special attention to AC (as we go from descending to ascending) as well as Treasure Type (N per lair).

 

Without further ado, let's check out the introductory text on page 2!

(note: to avoid running afoul of copyright, i'll try to stick to summarizing blocks)

Steading of the Hill Giant Chief

Background: giants are killing stuff.  lots of flowery prose.  nobles look bad. adventurers assemble! apparently the adventurers have all agreed to return "with your shield or on it" as it were. all pretty standard so far.  The chief is named Nosnra, and generally sounds like a giant except for liking ambushes and being sly (not very giant like).  Some boilerplate about nice equipment (as you'd expect for a module of this level) as well as some warnings about watching out for secret forces.  get to keep all the loot, etc.  look for clues about why giants are working together.

ok, it's good that i'm just converting stats because this is some wordy text that takes a long time to not say much. moving on...

Caution: level recommendations: 9 characters of average level 9, each with 2-3 magic items.  as always, similarly leveled ACKs characters are much more formiddable so I would expect 9 ACKs characters of 9th level to mop up this module. Hard to say what the right number is though.

Start: more boiler plate about getting to the start of the adventure.  a cave near the fort. giants heard but not seen. the map warns of guards but there aren't any (the first time).  The party can safely retreat back to the cave to rest if they don't make it obvious they went here.

Notes for the DM: standard rule 0 boilerplate.  a reminder that giants will set up traps and ambushes against continued forays given enough time.  A reminder to keep track of important NPCs that live and may manage to escape to the next modules.

Upper Works: a description of the fort.  out walls are log, 3' thick. inner walls are 2', doors are 1'.  inside floors are stone. ceilingers are 16' to 32'.  the area is rainy and the wood is always damp so GOOD LUCK SETTING IT ON FIRE, you cheeky adventurers. i see no reason not use the % chances per round for mundane and magical fire.  also you'll burn all the loot.

"a normal die score is required to open all doors" I'm assuming that means minimum strength 9. doors stay open if left open.  more room descriptions.  not sure if going off of these descriptions or the map would be an easier way to figure out the value of this fort, but i'll save that for later.

alright, that's about it for page 2, there's still the giant's bag contents, but that spills over to page 3.

 

Awesome! Thanks for kicking this off. As for level recommendations, I think Simon Forster's (SkyFullofDust, ACKS Judge, mapper, and supplement author extraordinaire) group tackled the Steading when the PCs were in the 5th to 7th level range (i.e. total spread of PCs in party). They seemed to manage fine based on the session reports (his entire 200+ session campaign is up on Obsidian Portal, and linked to under Actual Play here in the Forums).

Thick wood actually is pretty difficult to get burning, especially when wet. I can't imagine preventing the PCs from setting it alight, but they'd have to work at it, and likely be pretty exposed. Presumably not a bad way to lure the Hill Giants out to extinguish whatever minor "campfire" the characters manage.

The doors are another interesting point; why not just use a standard Force Door throw?

As for level recommendations, I think Simon Forster's (SkyFullofDust, ACKS Judge, mapper, and supplement author extraordinaire) group tackled the Steading when the PCs were in the 5th to 7th level range (i.e. total spread of PCs in party). They seemed to manage fine based on the session reports 


-bobloblah

I wonder if anyone has come up with some good ballparks for estimating difficulty. I tried doing "total levels" in my own campaign and got reasonable results. More research and reports are likely needed.

The doors are another interesting point; why not just use a standard Force Door throw?


-bobloblah

Yeah, if i were doing something other than a straight conversion, i would be tempted to just say opening and closing any giant-sized door is going to require a force door throw.  that's definitely going to create a challenge for the PCs to run around easily (when the giants can just manipulate the doors easily) as well as getting potential kick-in-the-door ambushes ruined by a failed check that then alerts the inhabitants of the room on the other side.

Yeah, if i were doing something other than a straight conversion, i would be tempted to just say opening and closing any giant-sized door is going to require a force door throw.  that's definitely going to create a challenge for the PCs to run around easily (when the giants can just manipulate the doors easily) as well as getting potential kick-in-the-door ambushes ruined by a failed check that then alerts the inhabitants of the room on the other side.

-Jard

True. I was thinking of simply using the throw to represent whether or not they could move a door to open it, not necessarily bashing it open, so I didn't consider the noise implication. I think I would use the throw (18+, +4 or -4 per point of Strength modifier) to represent whether or not they could move the door, but not treat it as "bashing" per se, as that would alert the inhabitants. Could potentially have a massive impact on their movement around the place, though. Would affect the orcs, bugbears (who would get a +4 to the throw), and wolves, too.

Why bother with rolling just say if a door isn't stuck or locked "The door is heavy and requires quite a bit your strength to open it" and just dispense with excess rolling. I would roll dice only if something is really in question.

Now keeping in mind this was originally a tournament module I would have the hill giants start as somewhat neutral toward any group and use a reaction roll, unless the pc's immediatlely just attack. This gives other options and allows for a greater level variance I could see a well played and smart group of lower level pc's talking or conning their way through a lot of this. 

Another interesting thing that could be done if the threat is neutralized this could be a gateway for the pc's to start establishing a domain. The hill giants could be a formidable threat to the area. 

Treasure-- I would reroll the treasure accoding the ACKS and the Heroic Fantasy handbook. Just to keep inline with baseline ACKS. Then split this up in the lair. 

The dormitory with the young giants it says they fight as ogres which is a quick and easy way to deal with it. This matches up with the method in lairs and encounters on page 121 where a child sized hill giant would have 50% 4 HD so close enough.

The elf prisoner in the dungeon make him a spellsword level 6.

Hey, quit skipping ahead!

;-P

...don't worry, we'll get there. The point of these kinds of threads is to walk through the module a section at a time and look at how the thread participants would handle the information presented. The truth is that it's trvially easy to convert most 0e content to ACKS, but that doesn't mean there isn't value in being able to see many different approaches.

Why bother with rolling just say if a door isn't stuck or locked "The door is heavy and requires quite a bit your strength to open it" and just dispense with excess rolling. I would roll dice only if something is really in question.

-bestial warlust

Because I tend to be a bit simulationist, and at 1' thick even the single doors in the steading are likely getting close to an imperial ton. I don't think it's unreasonable to require the roll. Whether or not you want your game to roll that way is up to you.

Another interesting thing that could be done if the threat is neutralized this could be a gateway for the pc's to start establishing a domain. The hill giants could be a formidable threat to the area.

-bestial warlust

I'm intending to use it as the basis for the first major threat to my player's nascent Domain, as (miraculously) none of them have ever played it.

I wonder if anyone has come up with some good ballparks for estimating difficulty. I tried doing "total levels" in my own campaign and got reasonable results. More research and reports are likely needed.


-Jard

I estimate difficulty in abstract systems by counting the XPV of the encounter, comparing the encounter's XPV to the average XPV of an encounter on various dungeon levels, and then consulting the table in ACKS Core about what party levels are appropriate for what dungeon level.

Dungeon Levels  
Level XP Range Average Encounter XP
1 1-15 90.06685
2 20-47 141.35
3 50–150 319.4417
4 175–475 627.2963
5 500–1,140 1837.196
6 1,200+ 4793.257

(Note:  This table averaged using only the monsters in ACKS Core, under the assumption that the monsters in Core and the estimated difficulty of Core were designed to work together.)

I think in general total XPV is the way to go about estimating difficulty, though it's not perfect, it'll work as a rule of thumb.

I have found that I have never been a good judge of difficulty, regardless of the system or method.  My players either are really stupid and don't do well, or are really clever and get things done. (e.g. tactically speaking my players are WAY more powerful than the appropiate challenge rating when we played 5e).

The general level of XP per encounter is as good a system as any. 

I never worry about challenge levels anymore, relying on the old-school method of my players determing the level of risk.  If it is too tough, they run and come back when they are better prepared. I think the idea of allowing the PCs to possibly sneak and talk their way through is a good one, allowing a wide range of levels to survive long enough to figure out how to win.   

I have found that I have never been a good judge of difficulty, regardless of the system or method.  My players either are really stupid and don't do well, or are really clever and get things done. (e.g. tactically speaking my players are WAY more powerful than the appropiate challenge rating when we played 5e).

The general level of XP per encounter is as good a system as any. 

I never worry about challenge levels anymore, relying on the old-school method of my players determing the level of risk.  If it is too tough, they run and come back when they are better prepared. I think the idea of allowing the PCs to possibly sneak and talk their way through is a good one, allowing a wide range of levels to survive long enough to figure out how to win.   


-jojodogboy

My style is similar. I tend to create lairs or adventures sites I don't scale anything appropriate to level. However I do apply some logic in that easier things will pop up around civilized area's. As in ACKS core hex clearing has to be done so I assume that has been done at some point and over time weaker threats will start popping back up that adventurers could handle. I would think any large and dangerous threat would be noticed by the powers that be and they would investigate. The further from civilization the stronger the threat.

One question for the original poster Would you want to keep the original connection with the drow and do you want to connect this to the other modules in the series?

One question for the original poster Would you want to keep the original connection with the drow and do you want to connect this to the other modules in the series?


-bestial warlust

Presumably keep it as an option, since it's not directly related to what it takes to run it as an ACKs adventure, but is just the underlying story.

 

 

One question for the original poster Would you want to keep the original connection with the drow and do you want to connect this to the other modules in the series?

 


-bestial warlust

 

Presumably keep it as an option, since it's not directly related to what it takes to run it as an ACKs adventure, but is just the underlying story.


-Jard

Which, of course, also implies the need for defining Drow Racial Values for the inevitable custom classes (Drow Ranger, anyone?)...

Which, of course, also implies the need for defining Drow Racial Values for the inevitable custom classes (Drow Ranger, anyone?)...


-bobloblah

a bit off topic, but I converted Duergar a while back

I'm tempted just to replace the drow with something else entierly. I'm considering using these modules myself but I'm not sure if I'll go into the D series. 

Ok, I've kept all you beautiful people waiting long enough!  On to Page 2

Giant's Bag Contents: here's a fun little table to roll on. I initially thought this was severely undervalued compared to core, but realized it was actually Ogres who, for some reason, carry absurd amounts of gold on them.

Key to the Upper Level

Wandering Monsters: everything here seems legit.  Orcs, hill giants, ogres, the other kinds of giants.  As far as I can tell all of these are available in the core rulebook, and since they aren't provided here I'll leave it to the reader to look up.  The only thing that might be missing is "young giants".  interestingly, while all the beastmen have "young X fight as Y", there's nothing for giants.  If I come upon a stat block I'll be sure to convert it.

1. The hitpoints for the sleeping giants seem legit, no need to change them. 

A. The comment about a well-planned scheme to kill them working 19 out of 20 times seems like a fair way to adjuticate, although realistically an ACKs sized party could probably bring enough damage to bear in a single round that would kill them.

B. This is our first real notable piece of treasure, worth 1400gp.  Let's take an aside to discuss method.

 

Since it's hard to say by reading inline if it all works out, I'll try to keep a running total instead, and compare that with how it stacks up to ACKs, or how it stACKs up (I'm HILARIOUS)

ok, so Giant lairs are 2d4, so average of 5 giants @ 600xp each = 3,000xp per lair (giants don't seem to have champions like beastmen do).  A lair also boasts treasure type N.  That's an average value of 9000gp.  That means we're shooting for having treasure of about 3gp:1xp, if we get nitty gritty, or the more general ~9000gp for every 5 giants.

So... currently we're at 1600gp (plus incidentals from the bags) for 3 giants.  We're a little under but I think we can reasonably assume it evens out near the back half of the module.

2. Hey, speaking of evening out.  We've got a giantess sleeping, so that brings us to 4 giants.  The loot here is a bit confusing, it seems to list the value of things you can pry out, but in parenthesis the value of the item undamaged.  If that assumption is right, then the total treasure is 300gp + 200gp + 800gp in valuable jewelry plus a chest with ~1541gp for a room total of 2841gp and a running total of 4441gp to 4 giants.

3.  12 Young giants.  We have total HP listed but nothing else with regards to stats.  the average of all their HP is 17.25 which is about half of the average of 8 HD.  This leads me to suspect that young giants might fight as 4HD ogres.  Addendum: it totally says they fight as ogres.  no loot other than the ability to disguise oneself as a young giant.

4. Barracks.  2 sleeping giants, lots of chests that will be mostly empty except for the first one with 110 platinum (!) pieces.  Ignoring the young giants for the time being, we're at 6 giants and 5541gp worth of treasure.  I suppose technically it's possible to have as many as 8 giants from 2d4, so we could still potentially get to within parameters.

5. Maid's chamber.  4 more giants though in theory 3 are easy to make noncombatents.  The matron has the largest stash of treasure yet, with bracelets totalling 13,000gp (!!!).  This bring us up to 18,541gp and 10 giants, almost perfectly average!  There are also some potions, but those are generally not included in treasure values.  the potions in question, Extra-healing, Giant Control, and poison, are all covered in the ACKs core rules, so no need for extra conversion.

 

alright with that, I've spilled into the 3rd page.  Hopefully i get to that one quicker this time!

 

I know things are a little hinky on the forums, so I'm just gonna do one (i promise only one) bumparooski

That all seems pretty straightforward.

apologies for the delay, hopefully this isn't killing anyone's interest by me going so slowly.

 

anyway, I've just realized that the page numbering started at 2, so although i said i spilled into the "third" page i'm actually on the page numbered 4. sorry for the confusion!

When we last left off, we had a good balance between challenge and XP at 10 giants and ~18,541gp.  We'll try to keep a running total to see if we go too high or too low.

Hall of the Chief

Mostly just hidden treasure amid a good deal of red herrings.  One shield on the wall is +3 (since it doesn't say I'd assume it's human rather than giant sized) and a 2,000gp gem hidden inside a skull.  We won't be counting magic items for the purpose of conversion, but let's take a quick aside about magic items.

Quick aside about magic items

Giants are treasure type N per gang, which will average about 5 giants.  Depending on if you're drawing from ACKs core or ACKs Heroic Fantasy Handbook, you'll have a different expectation of change for magic items.

ACKs Core: 50% any 4 + 1 potion + 1 scroll.

HFH: 65% 2d8 common, 50% 1d10 uncommon, 35% 1d4 rare, 25% 1 very rare, 5% 1 legendary

Without fully reproducing the treasure tables from both books, core's "any" has about a 50% chance of being potions or scrolls and a 50% chance of being something else, while the rarity system from HFH is difficult to summarize, but generally true magic items are going to be unlikely before the Rare category.  Assuming the wise Archon made the two treasure types comperable, the core value is easier to average: you'll expect to average about 1 magic item per gang, so at this moment we're a little behind, but there's time to catch up.

Chamber of the Chief's Wife

We have a cave bear, throwing off our attempt to measure things exclusively through giants.  at 6HD it's pretty close to a giant, but just to be safe we'll switch to XP vs. GP (which we're looking for about 4:1 in general, and giants are expected to average 5x600 = 3,000xp vs Treasure Type N averaging 9,000gp) so 10 giants puts us at 6,000xp to 20,541 (thanks to the gem in the chief's hall).  The bear brings us up to  6320, but the chief's wife's chamber is full of hidden treasure.  I had to re-read it at first, since it initially looked like the first gem was worth 15,000gp, but it's actually 1x 5000gp. 5k + 3k + 2k + 800 + 250 + 80 = 11,130gp. 

We're currently at 6320xp to 31671gp.

Arms Room

another room without specific inhabitants, but 5 javelins of lightning which don't appear to be in the core book.  First place I go when something isn't in the core book is the OSRIC book, which tends to have a lot of the stuff missing from core.  If that doesn't turn anything up, I'll try google.

someone else has quoted a dmg (not sure which one) in this dragonsfoot forum post that suggests lightning javelins are consumable weapons that don't provide a bonus to hit or damage, but can hit like a +2 weapon. they have what seems like extremely short range, 9", but the fact that it's expressed in inches makes me wonder if it's supposed to have a different foot equivalent. they also shoot a bolt behind the target.  I'd have to do some math to figure out what the cost of these would be in ACKs terms, but first guess is either each one is a cantrip consumable (1d6 lightning damage is in cantrip territory) or they're each equivalent to one piece of +1 ammunition.   Possibly +2, but not actually GETTING the bonuses seems like a big drawback.

aside from the javelins of not-in-the-rulebook, we've got a giant otter fur cape worth 2,000gp.  running GP total is 33,671

Small Dining Room

We've got a secret door mentioned.  Without any special instructions detailed in the room, I'd assume ACKs rules for adjucating secret doors are fine.  We've also got some description of the room and some scroll tubes described inside the secret room. nothing to convert though!

Long Hall

nothing to convert here either!

Great Hall

the chief's ballista-used-as-a-crossbow seems fine to run as-is, dealing a weird 2d9 to man sized creatures and 4d6 to larger creatures.

We've got quite a few beasties to tally up

  • Chief (as a frost giant) 850
  • chief's wife & subchief: 1200 (there are no rules for giant subchiefs so i assume he's treated as a giant)
  • cloud giant: 1200
  • 3 stone giants: 2100
  • 22 hill giants: 13,200
  • 8 ogres 1120
  • cave bear: 320

total: 19,990! with the previous 6320 we're at 26,310, but let's see what loot awaits.

looks like every giant but the subchief, chief, and his wife wears 1d4 pieces each worth 2d6x100gp  averages of that means 2.5 * 7 * 100gp * 26 giants = an average of 45,500gp.  The chief, subchief and wife are 4 each for 12 * 7 * 100gp = an average of 8,400gp.  The 8 ogres wear 1d4 pieces only worth 2d4x100gp so 8 * 2.5 * 5 * 100gp = 10,000gp on average.  That's a total of 63,900 for anyone daring enough to fight an entire hall of giants (and their servants who should be coming in and out of this room).

63,900 combined with our previous 33,671 gives us 97,571gp. We're currently at about 3.7gp to 1xp, so things are lining up quite nicely!

Arsenal Room

a room full of, i assume, giant sized equipment since it says "none of these are of use to the party".

Weapons Room

more giant-sized gear, except for a hidden war hammer +2 hidden behind a shield, and another weapon that will detect as magic due to being enchanted with magic mouth.

Main Guest Chamber

the most notable item in here is an intelligent sword +2, +4 against giants, concealed by an illusion.  The entry describes it's intelligence and ego scores, which i assume are compatible with the rules in ACKs core.  It speaks hill, stone, and frost giant, common, and alignment language of "neutral good". since ACKs doesn't use 9-pointed alignment OR alignment languages, you may need to sub that out for something setting appropriate.  it's only special power is detecting enemies.  In general, weapons that go above +3 in ACKs are rare, but they do exist when it's a specialty.  it's probably fine to run this sword as is.

Common Room

a bunch of furniture described.  Considering the author keeps describing this stuff as "of absolutely no value" i have to assume they ran games for parties that tried to loot everything not nailed down.

 

ok, that wraps up page 4!  I'll try to be faster about doing page 5!

 

Lest I forget, I'm going to share something out of place for later discussion. The Greyhawk Grognard recently posted his thoughts on the Steading's Lower Level. Great stuff! http://www.greyhawkgrognard.com/2018/06/09/g1a-steading-of-the-hill-gian...