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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Conversions>D&D>D&D 3rd Edition>DM to GM
Conversion Resource
FROM: D&D 3e
TO: HERO System 5th Edition
Converting your campaign from D&D to the HERO System is a big undertaking, but speaking as someone that has done it (on multiple occasions) it can be a very worthwhile one.
Considering the many things that have to be translated between the two game systems can be daunting. The purpose of this resource is to provide you with some advice and tools to ease the work load and help you get started without taking weeks of prep time.
  • CONVERSION STYLE: This document briefly discusses and helps you consider what approach you would like to take with your conversion; particularly regarding how closely you want to adhere to the source material.
  • CAMPAIGN PARADIGMS: Fantasy is a very broad genre, with many different variations and nuances. This document discusses the idea in detail and provides "Paradigm" documents highlighting some of the common features of particular sorts of Fantasy. Most D&D campaigns are solidly in the High Fantasy Paradigm, but some settings like Ravenloft are more Dark Fantasy, while other settings like Kalamar can take more of an Epic or Sword & Sorcery approach. It will probably be useful for you to identify what Paradigm your campaign is most like, or use the provided work sheet to write up your own custom Paradigm, highlighting the elements that are important to your game. This can give you a more concrete starting point for your conversion efforts.
    • PARADIGM WORKSHEET: This document is a blank worksheet intended to be printed out and filled in by GM's that want to define a custom Paradigm specifically for their campaign.
  • ALIGNMENT CONSIDERATIONS: Alignment is a very important concept in D&D but has no counterpart in the HERO System. This document discusses some options and things to consider, ranging from ignoring it altogether to doing a pretty exact conversion via a collection of Disadvantages and a few steps in between.
  • EIGHT CONVERSION STEPS: You should probably familiarize yourself with the conversion information presented in the Eight Conversion Steps, as there is both important information contained there in that is not repeated elsewhere, and so that you are aware of what your players are doing if you are using these resources.
  • RACE PACKAGE DEAL DESIGN NOTES: This document discusses the tact taken by this web site for designing Race Package Deals, which is a little non-standard in its approach. It also discusses some considerations for making Race Packages of your own.
  • PROFESSION PACKAGE DEAL DESIGN NOTES: This document discusses the logic behind the modular approach to Profession Packages taken by this web site, and gives tips for how to make Profession Packages of your own.
  • SKILL CONVERSIONS: General advice for converting D&D Skills into HERO System Skills. Note that obvious conversions (such as Open Lock = Lockpicking) are not detailed; only Skills that don't line up clearly are discussed.
  • FEAT CONVERSIONS: This document provides conversions for (almost) all of the core D&D 3e Feats except Metamagic Feats.
    • METAMAGIC CONVERSIONS: This document provides conversions for (almost) all of the core D&D 3e Metamagic Feats.
  • D&D 3e MAGIC SYSTEM CONVERSIONS: This document collects links to highly detailed Conversion documents for each of the D&D types of Magic.
    • MAGIC SPELL CONVERSIONS: This document provides filters to sort through a couple thousand converted and new Spells.
    • HOW TO USE LIMITATIONS TO MODEL MAGIC SPELLS: The HERO System is extremely open ended, and the Powers rules in particular allow for a staggering breadth of effects. It's not always clear how best to model a Power Construct and make it "feel" like a Magic Spell. This document discusses in detail how to use Power Limitations to achieve the right result.
    • MAGIC HOUSE RULES: This document describes some house rules used by Killer Shrike in his own Fantasy HERO Campaigns, but which are not essential to adopt if using this conversion resource.
    • MAGIC SYSTEM DESIGN THEORY: This document discusses things to keep in mind if you want to create your own Magic System(s) from scratch.
    • MAGIC SYSTEM ADVISOR: While this conversion resource provides fairly close conversions of all of the D&D Magic Systems (Arcane Prepared, Arcane Spontaneous, Divine Domain, Divine Druid, Divine Range, Divine Paladin), the High Fantasy HERO site also presents a couple dozen other Magic Systems as well which you might consider as interesting new alternatives. This document compares all of the various Magic Systems to one another and gives an overview of their traits.
      • NOTE: The D&D style Magic Systems are referred to on this list as "Vancian" Magic.
  • MAGIC ITEM DEFINITION AND MONETARY COSTS: This document describes the guidelines that this conversion resource assumes are in effect for the categorization of Magic Items, and gives formula for determine the monetary costs of Magic Items..
    • MAGIC ITEM CREATION: This document describes the guidelines that this conversion resource assumes are in effect for the creation and mechanical design of Magic Items.
    • MAGIC ITEM POINTS AND "LEVELS": This document is only meaningful if you intend to continue to enforce the artificial concept of "Character Levels" in the HERO System by using the Level to Points chart as a measuring stick (which is not recommended).
  • WEAPONS AND DEFENSES: The HERO System offers many options for both offense and defense, and its easy to get overwhelmed by them all. This document discusses methods of handling such details including several variant methods, discusses the idea of capping the number of levels of Combat Luck and Deadly Blow characters can have by Character Points, and ideas for how to control defense stacking.
    • SHRIKE ARMS AND ARMOR VARIANT: This document describes a variant weapon and armor system that Killer Shrike uses in his Fantasy campaigns. It is decidedly non-standard, and might be a little complicated for players new to the HERO System, but its provided for those who might find it adds flavor to their games.
  • NEW CHARACTER CREATION GUIDELINES: While the process of converting existing D&D 3e Characters into the HERO System is converted in the 8 Conversion Steps resource, this document discusses how to make a new Fantasy HERO Character in the HERO System from scratch. This will come in handy after you've converted the existing PC's and someone needs to make a new character after play begins, or if you decide to start a fresh new campaign in the HERO System.
  • PSIONIC SYSTEM: In D&D Psionicists were not part of the core rules, but were available via expansion books. This document presents a version of Psionics which is basically a mlange of AD&D 2e and D&D 3e style Psionics, plus some guidelines that are intended to fit them cleanly within HERO System mechanics.
  • OPPOSITION DIFFERENCES: This document points out some significant difference between D&D and the HERO System in how opposition are designed, scaled, and employed against PC's. It is highly recommended that GM's that are new to the HERO System read this document.
    • MONSTER CONVERSION: This document describes a method for converting D&D Monsters into HERO System write-ups.
NOTE: Many of these links point into the High Fantasy HERO portion of this web site which contains copious amounts of general Fantasy HERO content and resources. The intent of this conversion document is to point you into those documents which are relevant to your undertaking rather than redundantly repackage the same information within the context of the D&D 3e Conversion subsection, so if you follow a "HOME" link and end up on the High Fantasy HERO main page, don't be alarmed.