Monday 10 April 2023

Conversion Crawl Classes 6: Basic D&D: Palace of the Silver Princess (2): Monster Conversions

The general idea of “Conversion Crawl Classes” is to provide some guidance towards converting various systems and adventures to Dungeon Crawl Classics. The idea is to provide some pointers and examples for each system, and then leave the actual conversion work to the reader. If doing so inspired a publisher to ask me to convert some of their material, well, I need to eat too. If doing so inspired a publisher to convert their own material, well, they need to eat as well as I do!

This installment is unusual in that I am converting a number of monsters, as well as a magic sword. Please do not take this to mean that I will be doing so in the future! This work is being done because a member of my Patreon requested that I look at Palace of the Silver Princess in this series of posts. I received a lot of interesting requests related to this series, including many systems very much removed from D&D-based or D20-based rulesets. I am, in fact, starting with various versions of D&D because that is the lowest hanging fruit – the easiest conversions to do, to teach, and to learn. But we will eventually get pretty far out there!

What follows are mostly straight conversions, using the original module text. I have done some editing where I deemed it necessary or appropriate. And, of course, I have done some editing to convert game information from the Basic D&D ruleset to Dungeon Crawl Classics. As you go through this material, keep in mind the thematic components of the adventure described in Part 1.

Monster Conversions

Archer Bush: Init +0; Atk barrage of needles +3 ranged (1d4 and irritant thorns); AC 11; HD 1d8; MV 0’; Act 1d20; SP plant, barrage attack, irritant thorns, immune to mind-affecting; SV Fort +3, Ref -8, Will +0; AL N; Crit M/1d6.

Archer bushes are wild plants which kill most other things growing near them (Jupiter blood suckers are an exception; see below). They defend themselves by shooting small thorns at whatever disturbs them by coming within 30’; their barrage attack targets all creatures within this area.

Archer bushes grow thousands of thorns along their branches. When struck by a barrage of thorns, each point of damage taken indicates approximately 10 thorns hit the target. Victims must succeed in a Fort save (DC 10 + damage taken) or the small thorns work their way into the skin, causing swelling and infections 1d24 hours later (-2 penalty to all attack rolls, skill checks, and spell checks until neutralized as a poison or 2d5 days pass).

Some peasants or men of the woods occasionally hide treasures in the midst of many archer bushes. They simply shield themselves from the thorns by hiding behind a large makeshift shield, piece of wood or a clump or rocks, casting a handful of rocks at the bushes, entering the growth, hiding their valuables and then leaving the bushes before they have time to grow new thorns (2d10 minutes). Sometimes these bushes are used to hide openings in caves or other types of entranceways.


Baric: Init +2; Atk claw +1 melee (1d3) or bite +1 melee (1d6); AC 13; HD 3d6; MV 30’; Act 3d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +2; AL N; Crit M/1d8.

This rat-like creature has 6 legs, black fur, and eyes that glow white just before it attacks. Instead of a normal rat-like face, the baric has a duck-like bill filled with many rows of small, needle sharp teeth. Although primarily scavengers, barics are excellent hunters. Although they do not form family units, barics do form packs (similar to those of wolves) in wild woods not frequented by humans or human-kind. They are sometimes used for hunting or for pursuing escaped prisoners or slaves, but due to their unpredictable nature, training these creatures is very dangerous. Many barics have turned on their trainers and killed them before they could be saved.

An average baric is approximately 3 feet long and weighs about 40 to 50 pounds. Some males have been known to reach a length of 7 feet and weigh nearly 150 pounds. Females usually give birth to 1d4+1 pups two or three times a year. Twenty percent of these do not live to adulthood as the males tend to eat them when the females are not around to protect the young.


Bubbles: Init +0; Atk touch +5 melee (1d4 plus paralysis and engulf); AC 11; HD 1d4; MV 20’ or swim 20’; Act 1d16; SP paralysis (Fort DC 14; 1d8 minutes), engulf, suffocate, reform; SV Fort +0, Ref +1, Will +2; AL C; Crit n/a.

Created through the intermingling of potions and alchemical ingredients discarded into relatively still waters, these strange beings consist of air pockets large enough to contain a human, surrounded by a thin film of soap-like magical substance which shimmers like oil.

The touch of a bubble is both caustic and paralyzing. Any victim failing their DC 14 Fort save is paralyzed for 1d8 minutes. If near water, a paralyzed victim must succeed in a Luck check or fall in. A paralyzed victim which is already in, or falls into, the water containing the bubble is quickly engulfed and dragged down to the bottom of the pool, lake, or fen, where they suffocate in 1d4+1 rounds unless rescued by reducing the bubble to 0 hp.

(Bubbles don’t consume their victims, instead expelling any suffocated corpse, which rises to the surface if not weighted down with armor or similar. Bubbles have both life and an evil intelligence, seemingly slaying their victims for the sheer joy of doing so.)

Once reduced to 0 hp, a bubble seemingly bursts and is destroyed. Instead, the filmy material reforms into two new bubbles after 1d24 turns. Bubbles can only be permanently destroyed if the water they inhabit is completely drained and dried up.


Decapus: Init +2; Atk tentacle +3 melee (1d6); AC 15; HD 3d12; MV 5’ or climb 10’; Act 9d20; SP infravision 60’, keen hearing, ventriloquism and illusions, -2d penalty to attack rolls on floor; SV Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +7; AL C; Crit M/1d8.

This clever monster has the innate ability to use both ventriloquism and illusions to appear as a helpless, beautiful woman, usually hanging from the ceiling and being taunted by nine ugly men. In its true form it has ten long tentacles extending from various parts of its body. These tentacles have many 3 inch diameter suction cups which it uses to grab its victims as well as to climb walls and ceilings.

It only uses 9 of its tentacles to fight with and can use no more than three on a single opponent. The tenth tentacle is used to suspend itself from the ceiling. On the floor the decapus is practically helpless, only being able to move short distances in a slow and uncoordinated fashion.

The decapus has superior hearing and other senses, so that it can detect any party within 120, and have a 1-2 chance on 1d3 of hearing even the stealthiest of thieves. This allows it to use illusions to disguise itself, automatically gaining a surprise round unless the illusions are disbelieved (Will DC 15 if an intent to disbelieve is stated, or the illusions interacted with). The decapus can disguise itself as other creatures, or as part of a wall, but its favorite illusion is that of the helpless woman.

The most common color of a decapus is green, although some purple or yellow ones may be found. A decapus has patches of hair growing about its body (usually brown, but sometimes black). They have no iris in their eyes, only dark pupils. The mouth of a decapus is a horrible thing to behold – very wide with long yellow teeth and a terribly foul breath. The decapus is incapable of human speech, but is an expert at mimicking a high pitched scream. It can also make guttural noises which are understood by others of its kind, but which are extremely unpleasant for humans to hear. The only sound that can be understood (without magic) in a decapus’ language is the hideous laughter it emits when it has killed a victim.

Decapuses usually live alone, preferring to hunt by themselves, only gathering during their mating season, when many of them can be seen hanging from ceilings, making strange ugly sounds. A female decapus will give birth to only one offspring, and if she is hungry or confused she may eat it. Uneaten offspring do not need the care of their mothers, and are quick to claim their own territory before they can be consumed by their elders.

The Decapuses’ favorite food is human beings, but they enjoy elves and halflings too. They will not eat dwarves unless starving, although they will eat other humanoids and consider mule to be a delicacy. A decapods has been known to follow the scent of a mule for weeks until they catch it, or grow weary of the chase. Fortunately for mules, these creatures are exceedingly slow.


Diger: Init +1; Atk touch +0 melee (paralysis); AC 11; HD 2d8; MV 5’ or fly 20’ or swim 30’; Act 1d20; SP paralysis (Fort DC 10 negates, 2d12 minutes), slow digestion; SV Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +5; AL C; Crit M/1d8.

This unique creature can only be found in remote abandoned ruins where it seeks stone areas in order to disguise itself as a marble pool. It secretes a paralyzing liquid (Fort DC 10 or paralyzed for 2d12 minutes) which affects those hit by its attacks or who otherwise come into contact with it. Once a paralyzed person has fallen into the diger’s liquid, they take 1d12 damage per minute of immersion, and all belongings (including metal objects) are digested in 2d12 turns.

The diger is capable of flying short distances by expanding its rubbery body with natural helium. It expels the helium in short puffs from one of four openings on its body. When swimming, the diger simply expels the helium as with flying, but glides farther with each exhalation. Moving in this way, digers need to rest for 1 turn after every 8 turns flying or 20 turns swimming. Their favorite mode of travel is to enter a large river or stream, glide out to a strong current and float along the surface. When moving in this fashion, the diger need not rest except to sleep.                 


Ghost: See core rulebook, pages 413-414.


Giant Marble Snake: Init +3; Atk bite +1 melee (1d6); AC 12; HD 3d8; MV 40’ or climb 40’ or burrow 20’; Act 1d20; SP charming whistle (500’ range, Will DC 13); SV Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +4; AL N; Crit M/1d8.

These creatures are lazy, and use a charming whistling sound to draw potential victims to them rather than hunting for themselves. This whistling is effective to a range of 500’, and those hearing it are charmed and drawn towards the serpent unless they succeed in a DC 13 Will save). This charming effect is broken for each victim once the snake successfully strikes them.

These giant milk-white snakes have gold facial hair around theirs heads much like a lion’s mane. Their eyes are multi-faceted, and in bright light colors seem to swirl in tiny pools of each facet. Their skin is transparent in some places, allowing thin blood veins to show through, granting them the name marble snake.

These reptiles prefer high, sunny places, and may search for weeks for a suitable place to nest. Often they elect to live in a ruined fortress or similar structure, the females burrowing through loose stones and dirt, laying 1d10 eggs in the resultant tunnel. When not in her nest, female snakes seek higher ground or ledges where they can observe without themselves being seen; this is the common haunt of male snakes as well..

If two or more snakes are found together, they are probably a temporary family unit, until the female snake lays her eggs in solitude. Giant marble snakes often leave the eggs after they hatch, though (rarely) when some females find a suitable place to make their lair and they may decide to stay.


Giant Marmoset: Init +3; Atk claw +3 melee (1d4) or bite +1 melee (1d6) or tail spike +2 melee (1d4) or thrown stone +3 ranged (1d3); AC 15; HD 3d6; MV 40’ or climb 40’; Act 3d20; SV Fort +2, Ref +4, Will +0; AL N; Crit M/1d8.

These ferocious monkeys roam the jungles freely and unopposed, for they are fierce and cunning fighters. Though their natural weapons cause a great deal of damage, they often prefer to throw large stones from the side of a cliff down onto their prey. If fighting on the ground, they use their claws and furry tail spike, but if in the trees, they will hang from their tails and use their bite and claws instead.

Giant marmosets travel in large family groups; the males outnumber the females and every female will have at least 1 young with her. If a young marmoset monkey can be caught and trained, it will make an excellent guard. Some monkeys grow large enough for a halfling to comfortably ride, and some halflings living in jungles have been seen riding them into battle.



Jupiter Blood Sucker: Init +0; Atk leaves +1 melee (hold plus smother plus blood drain); AC 15; HD 3d10; MV 5’; Act 1d20; SP plant, hold (Reflex DC 15 avoids, Strength DC 20 or Mighty Deed 4+ to escape), smother (Reflex DC 10 or 1d4 temporary Stamina), blood drain (1d3 Stamina), stealth +6, immune to mind-affecting, hard to kill, fire vulnerability; SV Fort +4, Ref -4, Will +0; AL N; Crit M/1d8.

The Jupiter blood sucker, or vampire plant, is a horrible weed with large leaves have small small hollow thorns on their underside. Its leaves can sense blood, and the plant is capable of silent, stealthy motion to attack from surprise.

A successful attack has three effects:

(1)  The Jupiter blood sucker wraps its giant leaves around its victim, holding its victim in place and allowing the plant to make further attacks with a +4 bonus to hit. A DC 15 Reflex save negates this effect, which can also be ended by a DC 20 Strength check or a Mighty Deed result of 4+ used to free the victim.

(2) The plant uses one or more leaves to smother its victim, doing 1d4 points of temporary Stamina damage, which heals with 10 minutes of rest. The victim may avoid this damage with a DC 10 Reflex save.

(3) Finally, the plant drains blood through the hollow spines on its leaves, doing 1d3 points of Stamina damage.

The Jupiter blood sucker fears fire, and will move away from it if possible. Attacks using fire (magical or otherwise) do +2 damage per die to the plant. Even if reduced to 0 hp, Jupiter blood suckers will usually grow again from their roots. The only way to permanently destroy this horrid plant is to bum it completely to the ground and then pull or dig up the roots and burn them also.

The leaves of this plant are dark green with red veins, the stems are transparent, and the blood drained from its feeding can be seen flowing down the stem.


Poltergeist: See this blog post.


Protector: Init +4; Atk by weapon +4 melee (by weapon); AC 18; HD 7d6; MV fly 50’; Act 1d20; SP detect alignment 120’, telepathy 120’; SV Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +12; AL L; Crit IV/1d12.

These translucent green beings prefer to live as a gentle folk, protecting all lawful creatures that may enter the places they are guarding. They wear long flowing robes that appear to move in the breeze even though there may be no air movements at all. Most Protectors are bald men, though some may appear as women with long flowing hair. Their bodies are slender, giving them the appearance of being much taller than they are, and they float 6 to 10 inches above the ground.

Protectors never speak aloud, communicating instead through telepathy, and they instantly know the alignment of any being within 120’. Chaotic creatures and objects are immediately attacked in an attempt to drive them off or destroy them. Natural animals and peaceful neutral creatures may be tolerated, based on their actions, but protectors never attack a lawful creature, even if it is attacking them. The Protectors know that lawful beings would not attack them if they understood the Protectors’ purpose.

As superior beings, they overlook the mistakes of other lawful creatures and help them gain a better understanding of how to live properly. To them this means protecting lawful things and eliminating chaotic things to make a better world.


Purple Moss: This moss emits a heavy sweet smell that causes those within 30’ of it to succeed in a DC 20 Will save or fall into a deep, but natural, sleep. The moss quickly grows over sleeping victims, covering the body and suffocating sleepers for 1d3 temporary Stamina per round. Once a victim is dead, the moss consumes all soft material on the body (organs, skin, clothes, etc.) in 1d6 turns.

Those who resist the moss’s narcotic slumber may attempt to awaken sleeping victims (granting them a new save), but a new save is required every round that a creature remains within 30’ of the purple moss. This substance can be destroyed at the rate of one 5’ x 5’ patch per 8 hp of fire damage done (smaller patches may be destroyed with less fire damage), but the moss is immune or resistant to most other attempts to destroy it (judge’s discretion).


Ubue: Init +3; Atk by weapon +1 melee (by weapon); AC 13; HD 3d6; MV 20’; Act 2d20 + 1d16; SP bickering among heads, weaker arm; SV Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +3; AL C; Crit III/1d8.

Ubues have pale flesh, and in all features vaguely resemble humans, but have three heads, three arms and three legs. The middle head always has the opposite gender of the other two, with the outer heads determining the normative gender of the creature. Due to this division of heads, the creatures are often conflicted. There is a great deal of argument between the heads from time to time. Sometimes these arguments are untimely, and there is a 1 in 12 chance that an ubue will fail to act on its turn in combat because of this. They can wield weapons with all three hands, but one is always weaker and used 1d16 for its action die. They wear animal skins, and use bones as hair decorations and jewelry.

The social system of the ubues is simple. The strongest male ubue is the tribal chief. A male ubue can at any time challenge the chief for the right to be the new ruler. If the challenger loses, he is forced to leave the tribe for a period of 4 seasons. His family, if he has one, is often exiled with him. If the chief loses, he simply becomes one of the village elders and will always have voice in the council.

Female ubues generally give birth to only one child at a time. If more than one babe is born, the tribe’s shaman will kill one of the babies. If one of the babes is female and the other male, it will be the female that dies, otherwise the shaman cast sticks onto the floor searching for signs from the gods as to which child to slay.

The tribal chief may have up to 5 Hit Dice, and the tribal shaman can cast spells as a (roll 1d3) (1-2) 1st or (3) 2nd level cleric.

Magic Items

The Sword of Spartusia, +1 Lawful long sword

Intelligence: 6

Communication: Simple urges

Special Purpose 1: Seek out and be wielded by a female descendent of Spartusia

Special Purpose 2: Be wielded by a female warrior

Power 1: When wielded by a female descendent of Spartusia, this sword acts as a +2 weapon and the critical range of its wielder is increased by 1 (for example, 18-20 for a level 1 warrior).

Power 2: Curse. When used by a male, this sword increases the wielder’s fumble range to 1-3.

Power 3: Curse. When wielded by anyone other than a female descendent of Spartusia, the wielder suffers a -3 penalty to Luck. Worse, strange coincidences may occur to increase the likelihood of the wielder dying in some embarrassing manner.

Power 4: Curse. This sword cannot be sold cannot be sold — it must be given away (or thrown away). If a character attempts to sell the weapon (no matter how carefully or in how roundabout a manner), the sword will find its way back to the character, and the selling price will be lost. There will also probably be an irate would-be buyer seeking vengeance!

This wondrous, ruby-bladed magic sword once belonged to the legendary female warrior Spartusia Ericsdottir. The blade of this sword was crafted from a single flawless ruby. Tales speak of a race of ancient dragon worshippers creating this sword for Spartusia because she saved their queen dragon from vengeful knights of other lands. The sword was given a trim appearance, with beauty to match the beauty of Spartusia and a bite that was deep to match her courage and strength.

What little history is known about the sword tells of Spartusia being swallowed up by the earth. The sword resurfaced many years later while a group of nomads were burying their old chief; the new chief claimed that it was a gift from their gods to him. However, three years later his wife murdered him and his mistress with the sword and then threw the sword and herself off a cliff into the raging sea. The sword turned up about 100 years later in a fishing village. The whole village was burned to the ground by a horde of barbarians not long afterwards.

The sword has had many owners, most of whom died horrible or embarrassing deaths. Recently there have been stories of the sword reemerging from unknown depths, and it is now in the hands of the female werebear, Aleigha, who is a true descendant of Spartusia.

Next: AD&D: White Plume Mountain!

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