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Here’s a guide to converting the creature stat-blocks of Ghastly Affair for use in other Old School and OGL role-playing games. Obviously, you can also work the system backwards to translate into the Ghastly Affair format.
A Ghastly Affair creature:
Number Appearing: 1
Initial Impression: An enormous humanoid with grotesque facial features and a muscular, yet sickly look.
Size: Large (7 – 8′ tall)
Charisma: 8 Intelligence: 9 Wisdom: 10
Strength: 40 Dexterity: 18 Constitution: 18
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 1 (strike or weapon)
Special Abilities: Difficult to Control, Fast Learner
Weaknesses: Emotional Instability
Assets: Resistant to Cold
Preternatural Powers: None
Natural Habitat: A Mad Scientist’s lair, or any isolated place.
Reformatted for other OSR games:
Number Appearing: 1
Size: Large (7 – 8′ tall)
Alignment: Chaotic (or Chaotic Neutral)
Morale: 9 (or 11)
Move: 150′ (or 15”)
Armor Class: 4 (or 16)
Hit Dice: 5
Attacks: 1 strike or weapon
Damage: 2d8 (as a Hill Giant)
* Strong as a Hill Giant.
* 18 Dexterity.
* Attempts to Magically charm or otherwise control the creature will result in it behaving randomly.
* Learns twice as fast as an ordinary person.
* +3 on Saving Throws against Cold.
* Highly emotional, easily angered, and prone to murderous outbursts
Saves: as Fighter 5
Challenge: Four 4th Level characters.
Doing conversions, line-by-line:
Creature Class can be translated in a common-sense way where needed. It makes little mechanical difference in most OSR games, and doesn’t usually need to be indicated on the stat-block.
Number Appearing needs no translation.
Initial Impression is likewise purely descriptive.
Size is self-explanatory, and translates directly for OSR systems where weapon damage varies by the size of the opponent.
Perversity converts to “Alignment” in the following ways:
|GA Perversity||Equivalent Alignment (3 choices)|
|1 – 6||Lawful|
|7 – 12||Neutral|
|13 – 20||Chaotic|
|GA Perversity||Equivalent Alignment (5 choices)|
|1 – 6||Good|
|7 – 8||Lawful|
|9 – 12||Neutral|
|13 – 14||Chaotic|
|15 – 20||Evil|
|GA Perversity||Alignment (9 choices)|
|1 – 3||Lawful Good|
|4 – 6||Neutral Good|
|7 – 8||Lawful Neutral|
|9 – 10||Neutral|
|11 – 12||Chaotic Good|
|13 – 14||Chaotic Neutral|
|15 – 16||Lawful Evil|
|17 – 18||Neutral Evil|
|19 – 20||Chaotic Evil|
Some Ghastly Affair creatures, such as Demons and Devils, should simply be assigned their appropriate Alignment in the system being used.
Disposition can be used to assign “Morale” as follows:
|GA Disposition||Morale (range: 2 – 12)||Morale (range: 2 – 20)|
Disposition may may also interact with certain spells and abilities (such as those which target “aggressive” beings, etc.) Note: under the Ghastly Affair rules, a Morale Check is made by rolling under Charisma.
Charisma, Intelligence, Wisdom, Strength, Dexterity, and Constitution generally translate directly to most other OSR systems, when necessary. However, an Ghastly Affair Intelligence of 9 (average human) should be translated as a 10. Also, Ghastly Affair handles super-normal strength differently than most other OSR rules. Use the following table to figure the equivalent Strength for your system from the GA score:
|GA Strength||Strength in other OSR Systems|
|20||18 (00) (or equivalent to an Ogre)|
|21 – 50||19 (or equivalent to a Hill Giant)|
|51 – 100||20 (or equivalent to a Stone Giant)|
|101 – 200||21 (or equivalent to a Frost Giant)|
|201 – 300||22 (or equivalent to a Fire Giant)|
|301 – 400||23 (or equivalent to a Cloud Giant)|
|401 – 500||24 (or equivalent to a Storm Giant)|
If a GA creature’s Dexterity score is 15 or above, it can be noted in the creature’s description as a “Special” characteristic.
Speed can be converted to your system’s “Move” or “Speed” by using the following table, based on the speed of an unencumbered human being.
|GA Speed||Move (base 120” or 12”)||Speed (base 30′)|
|1 – 2||10′ or 1”||10 ft.|
|3 – 4||30′ or 3”||15 ft.|
|5 – 6||60′ or 6”||20 ft.|
|7 – 8||90′ or 9”||25 ft.|
|9||120′ or 12”||30 ft.|
|10||150′ or 15”||35 ft|
|11||180′ or 18”||40 ft|
|12||210′ or 21”||45 ft.|
|13||240′ or 24”||50 ft.|
|14||270′ or 27”||55 ft.|
|15||300′ or 30”||60 ft.|
|16||330′ or 33”||65 ft.|
|17||360′ or 36”||70 ft.|
|18||390′ or 39”||75 ft|
|19||420′ or 42”||80 ft.|
|20||450′ or 45”||85 ft.|
Armor Class is easy to translate:
- In descending AC systems, subtract the Ghastly Affair Armor Class from 10.
- In ascending AC systems, add the Ghastly Affair Armor Class value to 10.
Hit Dice work the same as in most other OSR systems, but note that Ghastly Affair creatures aren’t assigned additional Hit Points in addition to their Hit Die (for example: 1+1, or 5+5). Add such additional Hit Points where appropriate. Also, Ghastly Affair generally only uses d6 to determine Hit Points, so use the appropriate Hit Die size (d8, d12, etc.) for your chosen system.
Attacks made by creatures are handled slightly differently in Ghastly Affair than in most other OSR systems. Most Ghastly Affair creatures only roll once to represent all their attacks in a Round, doing damage equal to 1d6, + the number of their Hit Dice. If the description indicates that the creature’s attack is actually composed of several different elements (such as a bite and 2 claws), translate the separate attacks of a Small creature as inflicting 1d4 points of Damage each, those of a Human-sized creature as inflicting 1d6 points each, and those of a Large creature as inflicting 1d8 points each. The attacks of particularly large creatures (over 20 feet) might do 1d10, or 1d12 each. Creatures with a humanoid shape who have Strength equal to a Giant’s can inflict the same damage per attack as the corresponding giant type.
Special Abilities will generally translate directly to the “Special”, “Special Attacks” and “Special Defenses” sections of other OSR monster stat-blocks.
Weaknesses are an important element of Ghastly Affair creatures, but don’t generally correspond to anything on the monster stat-blocks of most other OSR systems. They can be indicated on the “Special” line, if present.
Assets don’t directly translate to most OSR systems, but can be interpreted as “Specials” granting +3 bonuses on related Saving Throws, skill checks, proficiency checks, or Ability checks.
Afflictions likewise don’t directly translate to most OSR systems, but can be interpreted as “Specials” inflicting -3 penalties on related Saving Throws, skill checks, proficiency checks, or Ability checks.
Preternatural Powers correspond directly to “Spell-like Abilities”, and can be indicated in the “Special” or “Special Attacks” section.
Natural Habitat is largely self-explanatory.
Level most directly translates to systems where dungeons have Levels rated from I to X. It can be used to figure how challenging an individual creature would be to the average adventuring party of four in the following way:
- An “Animal” would challenge a party whose average character Level is equal to ½ its own.
- An individual Human “Antagonist” would challenge a party whose average character Level is equal to ½ their own Level, except for Magicians and Mad Scientists, who could individually challenge a adventuring party of their own Level.
- A “Fairy” would challenge a party whose average character Level is one higher than its own.
- A “Monster” would challenge a party whose average character Level is one lower than its own.
- A “Revenant” would challenge a party whose average character Level is equal to its own.
Each additional Creature in a group past the first generally raises the Level of adventurers need to handle them by one (if Animals, Adversaries, Monsters or Revenants), or by two (if Fairies or Spirits). A single Ghastly Affair Goblin (a Fairy with Preternatural Powers) can challenge four 2nd Level OSR adventurers, but 2 GA Goblins can challenge four 4th Level OSR adventurers.
Note that a Ghastly Affair creature’s listed Level is not rated on an absolute scale, but relative to other creatures of its own Class.
Further Notes on Conversions:
In systems where Monster Savings throws can vary, a Ghastly Affair creature has the “Save As” value of a Fighter of its own Level, or else as a Magic User (if it has Preternatural Powers).
Ghastly Affair doesn’t use “Magic Resistance”. If your system does, simply assign appropriate creatures (Fairies, Angels, Devils, and Demons) 5% Magic Resistance per point of Wisdom.
Lastly, Ghastly Affair creatures have no listed XP values, because characters in Ghastly Affair do not receive Experience Points for defeating creatures. Figure the XP values in whatever method your chosen rules-set suggests.
If you play Savage Worlds, Sean Tait Bircher (of the Wine & Savages blog) has done a series converting the Adversaries from the Ghastly Affair Presenter’s manual into Savage Worlds terms. I recommend giving it (and Sean’s other work) a look.