Are you switching from Pathfinder to D&D 5e?

I have seen a lot of people jumping over to D&D 5th edition.  Really, trust me, it’s A Lot!  I got this crazy funny picture of a book stabbing another book. I also did this scientific analysis: I saw a guy wearing a Pathfinder shirt at a D&D Adventure League event, and he was playing D&D. That confirmed it.

Some will say that there were disenfranchised gamers because of D&D 4th edition, and that is why they are playing Pathfinder.  But times change, and with the new found popularity of D&D 5th Edition, some Pathfinder players are starting to test out this new D&D version. But there is a problem with that.

Here is the problem that I see happening, there is a lot of material that has been created by Paizo, and others for Pathfinder (PF).  People think if they switch, then all those adventures and monsters will go to “waste.”

Actually, I don’t think the adventures will go to waste.  Neither does everything else that was written for the past 30+ years for D&D is going to go to waste. The plan that I’ve heard is that the Dungeon Master’s Guide (DMG) will have conversion rules for all the past D&D editions. Sweet!


I actually think that the adventure modules can be taken, and then played very quickly and easily.  I could probably just run one of these adventures on the fly. But wouldn’t it be nice to actually prepare a little more as a DM, keep the flavor of the monsters and their powers, and convert some of the encounters over. Maybe I’m not going to do it 100% correctly, and the DMG will have official conversion rules.  But here is what I do to convert Pathfinder to D&D5e right now:

  • The first thing I do is read through the module, and start making a list of the monsters, I will notice as I go along that a lot of them are repeated, so a spreadsheet list makes the work easier because you can copy & paste. I like to use Excel.
  • Then I break out my Monster Manual (MM).  I go down the list and make comparisons of each monster with the MM, and jot down the page number.  Skipping ones that I can’t find.
  • Then I have to go back and start looking at all those Monsters that I skipped, and I look at the Challenge Rating (CR), and powers.  I try to find one comparable in the MM.  And call it what is listed in the PF adventure, and I make notes of the monster of exactly what I’m using from the MM.
  • If it’s an NPC, then I use the ones I can find in the MM, or the free HotDQ handout that had some extra NPCs.
  • If all that fails, and I can’t find one comparable with CR & Powers. Then I have three choices: I take one from the MM with a slightly lower CR, and similar powers/abilities, and add the specific special abilities that make the creature unique that were listed for the PF Creature.  I take a Stronger creature from the MM that is similar in theme, and make it a little weaker, lower the HD.  Or just totally change the creature to something else that makes sense.

It’s not a science, but running the adventure should not be difficult. I don’t think you should complicate these things, and create templates and mathematical formula, because a lot of times you can just wing it.  This is supposed to be fun, even for the DM, and these two systems are still D&D after all.

Have fun!


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