D&D 5ePathfinder RPGThoughts & Things

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!


Check out even more at: Facebook D&D 5th Edition Group


  • Benjamin Barling

    I won’t be changing. I will be adding. I started playing PF when there was only the Core Rule Book. I have gradually bought each hard cover since. I’ll continue picking up a new text every 3-4 months. Now I’ll be getting each of the D&D 5th books too. No need to chose only one system.

  • Doug Bailey

    Mike Mearls has actually said that the conversion guides will come out after the DMG, not be included in it. It sounds as though they’ll be free downloads, but I can’t be sure.

  • Guest

    I personally am a fairly new player of roleplaying games who jumped into dming when I couldn’t find a group who played when I was available. I’ve had a great group of players, including a few old school dms who’ve helped teach me, but I’ll definitely be sticking with pathfinder for the foreseeable future. Their production quality is great, as mentioned, and their campaign setting, Golarion, is a joy to play in and run. However the most important factor for me is that I want to learn one system inside and out before jumping into another. A lot of people who have been playing for years, may not have any problems jumping from system to system as they come out and adapting to the differences in rules, but I know for me at least, I don’t want to overdo it.

    Also, I’m pretty busy and don’t have a lot of extra time or money to spend on two systems.

    Finally, a question: I noticed scrolling down the homepage that most of the articles are on 5e stuff now. No love for PF anymore? I just found you guys a couple of weeks ago and was looking forward to the quality material for the system I play.

    • Shawn E.

      We write lots of system agnostic articles, but the specific stuff with stats right now tends to be 5e for sure. The majority of Tribality’s writers jumped into 5e from 4e or Pathfinder, but Pathfinder is still being played by a few of us and is not forgotten. I use Pathfinder Skull & Shackles material all the time for my 5e campaign even. I’ll ask the other writers to see what we can do about providing more Pathfinder specific content, but there is so much great stuff out there already. I wish the same could be said for 5e, but the official support is light and there is a big need for homebrew content and conversions.

      It can’t hurt to read the rules of other systems (5e, FATE, whatever) for ideas that might work in your Pathfinder game. I’m reading rules and listening to podcasts about FATE right now to bring new ideas to running my d20 games.

    • Michael Long

      I love all the Dee & Dees!

      The problem I have right now, is that Pathfinder is so saturated with content, it’s hard to get a voice out there that people will listen. A lot of Pathfinder DM’s only want Paizo approved/rubber stamped content. And as Shawn has said, 5th edition is a blank canvas right now.

    • With all the Paizo approved stuff (much of it SRD) across so many genres, why would you even need to look for homebrewed stuff. My first stop for content ideas for 5e is Pathfinder right now.

      When we write GM advice, we try to make that independent of system, though as writers we’ll often use examples from our current games.

      In a perfect world, I’d love to see Paizo able to publish their content with 5e stats too. Where is that darn OGL for 5e?

  • Personally Pathfinder never held much sway for me and I’m already 5 books and various accessories into D&D 5th Edition, happy to stick to the original.