Recently I had what felt like a revelation in one of the games I run. Let me share.

I've been running a 5e Forgotten Realms game for almost 3 years. It's fun and experimental, the players were all new to RPGs when we started so there aren't a lot of sacred cows. I wanted to experiment with running classic modules in a 5e game and circumstances converged such that it would be appropriate to run classic 1e Ravenloft. Very exciting for me! (cont.)

So as I'm reacquainting myself with the old module via pdf and doing some work to insert it into our campaign, I look around to see what kinds of updated resources I can find for this classic module.

BTW I know Curse of Strahd exists, but I didn't need a whole campaign setting, just a creepy town with a gothic castle and the classic pdf is $5!


5e is close enough to 1e/2e that conversion is generally straightforward so I wasn't really looking specifically for a 5e *conversion*, but more like some additional clarification and fan-suggested tweaks, etc.

However I did find a 5e conversion of the module from before CoS was published. This isn't that big of a deal by itself, the text was mostly copied from the module, but I could tell this pdf was exported from MS Word (cont.)

As such it was pretty simple to convert it back to a Word document. A bunch of the formatting was off so it took a little while to fix the styles and formatting, but when I was done, I had a 95%-complete, *editable* version of this module.

And let me tell you, it was a revelation. I always make tweaks to modules, my hard-copies have post-its and notes in the margins and pages stuck in; my pdfs have lots of annotations and highlighting. (cont.)


But it was totally game-changing to just... change the text of the module. No longer was there a separation between the "authoritative" text and my annotations, as soon as I saved my changes they were indistinguishable, on equal footing.

As I prepped and ran the module, the document grew in some sections and shrank in others as I added notes, changed encounters, even deleted whole chunks that didn't fit what I was doing.

Dear readers, it was exhilarating. (cont.)

Now I'm not saying that all modules should also release the source text, and I recognize the gray ethics of using this unauthorized reproduction of the module text. But it was striking to me how different this experience felt and I wanted to share.

I acknowledge that there is something to preserving and presenting the authoritative version of a module so that players from different games, even different eras, can have a shared experience.

But there's no denying the thrill I found here. (fin)

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