Campaign Diary: Ark, the Eternal Refuge – Conversion.

by NPC Aaron

Hello again and welcome to my campaign diary that I post every week here on  Last week we talked about making your campaigns epic from the ground up and this week I would have loved to talk about my campaign further but last week real life got in the way and we had to go a week without playing.  During that time though, something amazing happened: I got my copy of 13th Age.


Now I am not here to say that 13th Age is a better game than Pathfinder.  Some people like things about game systems that I think are flaws and vice versa, but I have been excited to get my physical copy of 13th Age for some time and I like the game system better.  Unfortunately I also REALLY like the plot of our Pathfinder game so far.  This left me with a dilemma, but I quickly realized that both were medieval Fantasy games and that I could just port over the characters and we could play the same campaign in a new system.

Character Conversions Can Be Messy

When you are doing this type of conversion, you are going to find that things aren’t going to port over exactly.  In the Pathfinder campaign, one of the characters is a Witch, and another is an Oracle.  These are two classes that don’t even exist in 13th Age.  Many of the characters are races that I don’t have stats for.


When you start to look at this, the process starts to look a lot harder than anticipated, but you just need to remember two main things.  The first is that reskinning is your friend.  It is true that goblins aren’t playable in 13th Age, but Halflings are, and with a little bit of kludging you can make them work great as goblins.  That Witch can be built as a Wizard pretty easily, and the Oracle can either be a Sorcerer or Cleric depending on how you want to play it.  If you want the conversions for characters to go fast, have a method in mind.  If you go into the session with some ideas of how to make that character in the new system, you give your players a good starting point.


The second thing to remember is that players appreciate new powers, so if your changes don’t replicate their capabilities exactly, it is probably not a huge deal.  They might appreciate a change of pace and it might reinvigorate their interest in the character.  As long as the idea of their character still works, they will probably be fine with some changes.


Don’t Be Afraid To Leave Stuff Out

Sometimes pieces of the new game aren’t going to fit outside of the box.  In my case, the Icon system doesn’t just work in my campaign world straight out of the box.  I don’t have an Emperor, or an Elf Queen in my campaign world.  I could easily make new icons, but that will take more time than I will have at first.


When you come up against an obstacle like this, don’t stress out.  Instead you can leave the new system out for now and introduce it to the campaign later, when you’ve made the necessary adjustments.  Your players might even appreciate being able to learn this new system a bit more gradually.  

That’s all for this week.  I have to go pack for Gencon now.  If you have had to convert a campaign to a different system, let us hear about it! You can either email us at or hit us up on our facebook page at or even tweet at me at Thanks for reading!


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