I've decided to run the "Tower of the Stargazer" module, created for Lamentations of the Flame Princess RPG. It is a highly lethal adventure, though it has almost no combat encounters and being written for 'retroclone' systems (compatible with OSCRIC, Labyrinth Lord, Swords & Wizardry) depends largely on players skill, not that of their characters.

My players are only familiar with 5e and even though LoTFP qualifies perfectly for a pick-up game, especially for the first level characters, I think its saving throws and some other aspects would be seen as awkward and non-intuitive by people who are used to unified resolution system based on d20. So I've made a few tweaks to 5e that should cover old-school feel more or less:

  • Rolling stats 3d6, using LoTFP modifiers charts
  • Avaliable classes are fighter, cleric, rogue, wizard. Races are limited to human, dwarf, elf, halfling.
  • Starting HP is maximum, but it's tuned down a bit (d8 for fighter, d6 for cleric and rogue, d4 for wizard)
  • The only character who has skills is rogue, he can choose any three (i'm keeping the LoTFP skill list for Specialist class) and he will use proficiency bonus for them. Proficiency bonus would also be used by fighters for their attacks and by casters for casting a spell and determining a DC for saving throw. It's also applied to saving throws class is proficient with.
  • Backgrounds and races give you advantage on some checks (elves get it when they search for something, dwarves get it when they study some constructions). I don't intend to use race stat bonuses.
  • No personality traits, ideals, flaws or bonds.

My question is, would it be enough to just 'strip down' 5e to the needs of a 'retroclone' module given the fact that it is a one-shot and it isn't really much about combat, where most of the conversion confusion lies?


1 Answer 1


You also need to discuss expectations if you haven't already

If you just change the mechanics to better fit the style of play that a highly lethal old-school module is written for, you need to discuss the expectations of this style of play with your players too. If you don't talk about these expectations, all that your players will see is that you've changed the system and made them less powerful apparently for no reason. I would highly recommend having your players read a quick primer on old school play; if you can get past the bias inherent in the document, it's very helpful. Even if you don't have your players read the primer, you can still state the main points and present the reasoning behind you've changed the system. Making sure players know that build is less important, that death is frequent due to lack of caution, and that player skill is rewarded is going to be necessary to support the style of play you want here. Other than this...

Running an LotFP module with 5e is perfectly viable with some conversion work

As long as you convert the module's mechanics over, running Tower of the Stargazer should work fine. The main issues would be hit point inflation (which is sounds like you've covered); the Perception and Investigation skills (which it also sounds like you've removed), and Saving Throw DCs. I'm assuming (based on your question) that you feel comfortable making mechanical changes to both the system and the module, so I don't think this will be a problem for you. One point of caution I'd like to advise on, however, is length of time spent to make a character.

Avoid Lengthy Character Generation

The general expectation of a game like LoTFP is that characters die frequently, and thus, must be created frequently. You'll want to keep the time a player spends out of play due to a dead character as low as possible. A LoTFP character can be created somewhat more quickly than a 5E character, so I'd advise making some of your system changes reflect this. Particularly; I'd say that you should have a list of cantrips and 1st level spells available as handouts for your spellcasting characters so selection goes more quickly, that you either enforce rolled stats or use a standard array for scores to not spend a lot of time on point buy, and that you don't use feats and skills (which it sounds like you've already done). This is just a very quick and dirty method of reducing time it takes to create a new 5e character, but hopefully it will work for you.


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