A reader reached out to me and ask how converted monsters for White Box. We had a brief conversation over IM and I thought that it would make a pretty good post.
Sure there are a ton of old-school monster books out there. And many are pretty danged awesome. But in general, most are designed for BX and later. Remember, variable damage and multiple monster attacks didn’t come around until Greyhawk: Supplement 1.
Most of the conversion is pretty simple. Armor Class, Saves, and Attack Bonus remain the same. For Hit Points, roll d6’s rather than d8’s. However, damage and number of attacks is where it takes just a bit of gut instinct.
I really don’t make much of an effort to mathematically convert things like this. It’s more important that the monster has the same feel. Normally for White Box, I like to keep to one attack per round. Mainly for speed of play. If multiple attacks are a key feature or the most noteworthy thing about a monster, then I’ll do multiple attacks but divide the creature’s Attack Bonus as evenly as possible.
As for damage, well that’ s a bit of instinct too. As a rule of thumb, I equate a d4 to d6-1, d8 to d6+1. And just kind of go from there. If a monster does 2d8 damage then for White Box, I’d do 2d6+2. And just kind do what feels “right”.
Yeah, I know this isn’t specific. It’s more about converting the feel and abilities of monster rather than the math. Could get it wrong? Sure. Just maybe the party found an exceptionally weak or strong individual. Change it up next time.
So have fun out there!