Back to Mystara - 3E or OD&D



Feb 15, 2004 23:47:36
After a 9month 3E campaign based in FFG's "Midnight" setting, I'm thinking our next campaign will be in Mystara. I've been really encouraged by the ESD's and the ease of getting all the gazetteers through download - much cheaper than getting all hard copies on ebay.

My thought is to finally play through X4/5 & X10, maybe even WotI and Test of the Warlords.

That all being said, which game system? 3E has come pretty far and my players love the feats. Mystara seems to work so well in OD&D with its 36 levels, integrated immortals, and war machine rules. I'm hesitant how it will convert. I'd love to do OD&D but it will be a sales-job to get the players to step back...

Just looking for some thoughts.

Also - any idea if WotI (Wrath of the Immortals) will be made into an ESD?


Feb 16, 2004 12:14:23
DM the system that you want to use. If the players have a problem with it, tell them you'd gladly let someone else DM.

3e could probably be a fine wordable system for Mystara, but the conversion would be a real pain in the behind, especially when you have a ton of products created for a perfectly good system already.

Personally, I'm too crotchety and set in my ways to ever change over to DM'ing 3e. I'll play it, but I'm not gonna DM it anytime soon.

As far as I know, there is no ESD for WotI available, and due to the discontinuation of the ESD program, there won't be one made available anytime soon. Hardcopies of WotI are neither rare nor particularly expensive. So check out Ebay and other online sources.



Feb 16, 2004 14:28:15
I'm wondering how you'd handle the differences in the way races are treated in OD&D vs. 3.0/3.5. After all, the non-human race is also the class, IIRC :D

I'd say go back in true retro fashion and do it all with OD&D. I'd spent so many years with AD&D and variants that I'd forgotten how fun (and simple) the OD&D rules were. Maybe your players would welcome a brief change of pace.


Feb 16, 2004 22:23:59
Well, like R.A. said, DM the system you want to. Though, if the players are more familiar with 3e, it might be easier to just use what they know rather than putting up with tons of questions like "why can't my halfling be a thief again?"

My last couple of Mystara games were in 3rd ed, and I didn't have any real problem with converting. The trick is to keep things loose; just use the races and classes in the PHB and don't worry about trying to replicate things like having all elves be fighter/mages, etc. Give the PCs some basic info on the starting area, grab a module with some common monsters (such as B2), and you're good to go.

It think using a familar ruleset helped get my players into the world. Let's face it, Mystara is a pretty unique setting, and not everyone will take to it right away. None of my players had even heard of it before, and now they're searching out old Gazetteers and everything. :D


Feb 17, 2004 18:40:15
Yeah, pretty good advice fellas. I actually think I'm going to DM the OD&D system for Mystara. Boy will it save a ton of time on the conversion side of things alone.

Its a shame 1st level Clerics and Magic-Users were so nerfed under the old rule set. If anything will be the source of much whining, it will be that.

But you got to admit - there is so much readily available source material. It'll be quite nostalgic returning to the Grand Duchy or Glantri with some 1st Level characters. (None of these players have played in Mystara previously).


Feb 18, 2004 6:28:49
If they feel "nerfed" just explain to them that their characters are starting somewhat earlier in their career than normal, as real novices. IMHO this is actually what is occuring, since the later rules simply assume they have acquired a small list of abilities, it is reasonable to assume that they didn't just suddenly wake up one day with all of them, but acquired each one in time. So they are just setting out a little more raw and green than they normally would. This is fine, I think, just sell it as roleplaying the early years sort of thing.


Feb 29, 2004 7:42:40
I have been running a 3.x Mystara game for over a year now, and have not really had any issues with conversion. I use the races and classes in 3rd edition as they are, with no attempt at significant modification to match the old rules set.

As far as converting the unique aspects of Mystara over, I just do it one monster/NPC/spell at a time, as I need them. The work is a lot less overwhelming that way.

Of course, there are plenty of Mystara fan sites out there where the author has already done this work and posted it online.


Mar 23, 2004 9:10:02
Didn't notice this thread untill now.

Personally I use 3.5. Though I have used OD&D, GURPS, MasterBook and DL Saga with the setting aswell. There is a Yahoo-group for discussing Mystara conversions to 3e (3.5), which plans to convert everything. OTOH, I prefer quite simple conversions, using most of the 3.5 stuff as is and leave it at that. I am also pretty conservative about how I GM my D&D campaign, sticking to the standard rules and trying not to introduce too much extra stuff. I remember the dread from the AD&D days when we were flooded by extra rules in every supplement and our DM never could decide what to use or not.