I took a long break from Pickled Punks to focus on work, family, and my insatiable gaming habit. Let’s get back to our discussion of converting Pathfinder to Swords & Wizardry!
Armor Class (AC) in Pathfinder is really complex. There is a regular AC, touch AC, and flat-footed AC. Pathfinder takes into consideration size, toughness, speed, stealth, body material, and method of locomotion in three statistics related to a player character’s ability to land a blow. Swords & Wizardry, on the other hand, comes from an older, less-specific point of view. One thing I ran into was the fact that small monsters in Pathfinder are harder to hit than big ones. They take the “broad side of a barn door” philosophy when considering hitting targets. In Swords & Wizardry, little things are “squishy.” Big things are tough.
I ran all of the numbers. I’ve tried correlating PF AC to SW AC, PF touch AC to SW AC, PF flat-footed AC to SW AC, averaged PF AC to SW AC, averaged touch/flat-footed PF AC to SW AC, PF speed to SW AC, and size to SW AC. I’ve looked at Reflex, Dex, and Speed. The strongest correlation of these was averaging all three PF AC stats and using this number as the SW AC, r = .667. You could just take the Pathfinder AC values, estimate an average between them, and slap that AC on the Swords& Wizardry version of the monster.
Honestly, though, that’s not what I do. I read the description of the Pathfinder monster and then build my Swords & Wizardry AC based on its characteristics. I use this table:
Is this perfect? No. But it allows me to consider a lot of factors in retaining the flavor of the Pathfinder monster while making sure my Swords & Wizardry players can hit their target when I intend for it to happen.
Next, we’ll take a look at one that I thought would be straightforward but isn’t: SPEED.