So I’m finally going to adapt the old D&D module “Keep on the Borderlands”.

So I’m finally going to adapt the old D&D module “Keep on the Borderlands”.

So I’m finally going to adapt the old D&D module “Keep on the Borderlands”. Any tips from others who’ve converted modules into Dungeon World? I realize a module conversion is more railroady than the traditional way to play DW so I’ll probably play loose and fast with what the module states. I’ll also be adding the keep to our campaign world map at the actual border of an Empire in our game.

13 thoughts on “So I’m finally going to adapt the old D&D module “Keep on the Borderlands”.”

  1. I would go room by room / number by number through the encounters and then all the supporting text to get a feel for what the main sources of conflict are. Then just define those as fronts (or whatever DW calls those). Have one for each cave region, maybe a couple conflicting ones that require hard choices, leave them open for creative solutions, particularly playing them off against each other, and be sure to include some involving the NPCs.

    Then I’d go through any wandering monster tables, traps, secret doors, and other such “surprises” and make a list of those to use as Hard Moves.

    Also make a list of “hidden information” whether that’s rumors, maps hidden in the treasure, things written on walls, whatever and keep that handy for Spout Lore situations.

    If it’s for a regular group, I’d throw in a list of things from playbooks or previous adventures to reincorporate.

    Basically turn every juicy bit into either a Front or a list of Cool Stuff to draw from. If you fill more than 1/5 or 1/4 as many pages you’re probably overly tying it down.

  2. Mainly echoing Ralph, but Don’t neglect the actual keep as a potential source of Fronts or conflicts. For example – in OSR play it’s relatively common for PCs to eventually see the keep rather than the caves, as the main potential source of treasure.

  3. Whether I’m running a module for DW or something else, something I like to do if I’m feeling like doing some prep is write an interesting Discern Realities tidbit for most of the rooms. That would be a fun exercise for B2.

  4. I think significant up-front conversion work is not very useful unless you plan to publish or reuse it. If you know D&D you might as well do it on the fly, only as needed.

    The main things I’d focus on:

    (1) If fronts work for you, then identify one main front to kick off with. I’d likely start with the spies or the chapel. Think up an impending doom and some portents. It can be hard to convert a location-based exploration adventure into fronts, so I say don’t bother. It’s nice to have something to kick off with, but you can also just do it the D&D way. Fronts tend to identify themselves during play.

    (2) Monsters are pretty useful, and its annoying to have to pause to stats something up or look it up. I like to make a list of all monsters I plan to use, and put them on cheat sheet with stats or a page number where to find them. It’s not necessary, just a time saver.

    For spellcasters, they don’t need hard stats. Just treat them as having a “cast spell” move, and when they use it, pick something from their spell list. You can also make up new spells on the fly, if it seems appropriate. Spell effects are narrative, and since you already have a general idea there is no need for a formal conversion.

    (3) Dungeon world plays exactly the same from a module as fully improvised. Just treat the facts in the module — the maps, what lives where, various details — as previously established fiction. Done. Save your creativity for adding to it, rather than reinventing the wheel.

    (Some modules have too much information, so much it is painful to deal with it. In that case I’d toss it out. But the KOTB is pretty sparse, with largely empty rooms and so forth. I think you can use everything as-is and just add to it.)

    Alternately you can treat details as “schrodingers facts” and only decide if they are true when they are encountered; or use them loosely as inspiration during play.

    So… other than monsters — and that is optional — there is really no need to convert or prepare anything. Just keep the module in front of you and interpret things on the fly as you imagine them to be. Really that works better than any conversion; your imagination is always more flexible and richer and faster in play than anything written or prepared.

  5. This is the version someone did previously, available on Drive Thru RPG. – DW-B2 Chaos in the Wildlands

    However, if you’re going to release what you make for free, you might not want to look at it.

    IIRC it’s basically a single double-sided sheet with some fronts, some maps based on the original and some monster stat blocks. There may have been a custom move or two there too.

  6. A master tip from Runehammer in his last podcast about conversion:

    “No one wrote it right”

    “No one wrote a piece of RPG content with such skill and nuance that you have to make sure you capture all that detail when you convert it or play it.”

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