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Skip Navigation LinksHigh Fantasy HERO>Conversions>D&D>AD&D 2nd Edition
Conversion Resource
FROM: AD&D 2nd Edition
TO: HERO System 5th Edition
The following conversion has been play tested for 4+ years in multiple campaigns run by multiple GMs to much fun and acclaim. I hope others may derive some use from it as well.
NOTE: Some rudimentary knowledge of the HERO System rules is necessary to understand this conversion document.
The intention of this Conversion Document is to allow the easy conversion of AD&D 2nd Edition characters into the HERO System.
The most direct use of this document is to convert existing Characters from AD&D into the HERO System. An 8 Step procedure is detailed below on how to do this.
All of the guidelines given in each of the Race and Class sections below should also be used in the creation of new Characters following the normal procedures for creating a HERO System Character. The Package Deals, Magic Systems, and Psionic System described herein are simply applied as part of the Character creation process. To create new characters use the Character Creation Guidelines instead of this Conversion Document.
In the pursuit of bringing characters from AD&D into the more open-ended and flexible HERO System the focus of the Class Conversion Documents (below) is on options rather than didactic "hard" mappings between the two Game Systems.
Remember that one of the key concepts behind any point based role playing game is that each cost paid also has an opportunity cost associated with it. If you spend too much on ability A, you might not have enough points to get ability B. Exercise frugality when buying Character abilities and remember that in a point based system it is generally better to start off mediocre at a broad range of things than it is to start off a past-master at 1 thing but be otherwise useless due to Character Point shortfalls.

STEP 1: Determine Character Points Available
This conversion assumes that an AD&D "1st Level" starting character has the equivalent of up to 125 starting Character Points in the HERO System. The below chart illustrates this.
Starting Guidelines
50 Base Points 75 Points (Not including Race Package Deal)
Starting "1st Level" Characters have up to 125 total points
All points over and above 125 Character Points are Experience
For higher level AD&D Characters refer to the AD&D Level to HERO System Points Chart. Methods for calculating the Character Points of Multi-classed and Dual-classed characters are given below.

STEP 2: Converting Characteristics
When converting an AD&D Character into the HERO System compare each AD&D Statistic to Chart 2.1 and Chart 2.2; this will indicate which AD&D Statistic maps to which HERO System Characteristic and at what value. Determine the appropriate value for each HERO System Primary Characteristic using Chart 2.2 and then calculate Figured Characteristics normally. You may spend up to 10 Character Points rounding out and customizing Figured Characteristics at this time. With the exception of BODY, each characteristic is accomplished by the expedient of adding +2 to the relevant AD&D statistic. Strength percentile is ignored in the interests of simplicity.
Chart 3.1: AD&D Statistics to HERO System Characteristics
AD&D Statistic HERO Characteristic
Strength Strength
Dexterity Dexterity
Constitution Constitution
Intelligence Intelligence
Wisdom Ego
Charisma Presence
Comeliness Comeliness
Hit Points Body
Chart 3.2: Statistics to Primary Characteristics Conversion
AD&D Statistic 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18/% 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
HERO Characteristic 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Exception: BODY: Hit Points / 10 + 8 Example: 120 Hit Points [(120/10) +8]= 20 Body
NOTE: Remove any Race modifiers to AD&D Statistics before converting them; otherwise the character will get a double raise when adding their Race Package Deal below.
EXAMPLE: In AD&D 2nd Edition Forgazi the Elf Wizard has Strength: 12 Dexterity: 19 Constitution: 11 Intelligence: 16 Wisdom: 9 Charisma: 11 Comeliness: 16. Elves benefit from a +1 Dexterity, -1 Constitution in AD&D, so remove these modifiers, adjusting Dexterity to 18 and Constitution to 12 before converting.
In the HERO System Forgazi has STR: 14 DEX: 20 CON: 14 INT: 18 EGO: 11 PRE: 13 COM: 18; if Forgazi had 4 Hit Points then his BODY: 9 for a total cost of 57 Character Points. Forgazi's Figured Characteristics work out to PD: 3 ED: 3 SPD: 3 REC: 6 END: 28 STUN: 23.
You may want to adjust a few Figured Characteristics at this point, but you should wait until after you have added a Race Package and any Profession Packages to the character.
It is left to GM's discretion whether an exact conversion of Statistics to Characteristic is required without variance or if the resulting HERO System Characteristics can be tweaked.
Another option available with GM permission is to flush a character's AD&D stats altogether, and start the character at the normal HERO System "Base 10" for all Base Characteristics. Many of the Profession Packages (detailed below) give Characteristic bonuses appropriate to that particular profession. By not spending points on Characteristics now you will have more points to spend on these Profession Packages later, many of which will give the character Characteristic increases.
When you are finished, calculate the Total Characteristics Cost in the HERO System and move on to Step 3.

STEP 3: Select Race Package Deal
Each character must have one (and only one) Race Package Deal, which may or may not modify the character's Characteristic Maxima, and contains any race-specific benefits that all members of a certain race enjoy.
Some of the Race Package Deals have Option lists of skills or talents or similar. You may extend your character's Race Package with selections from the Options list; each ability may only be taken once unless marked with an asterix (*). A Race Package cannot be modified directly; all abilities listed in the Package must be taken unless an Option is explicitly given to exclude them. No Race Package may cost less than 0 points.
Half-breeds and other special cases should have a single Race Package Deal combining elements from other Package Deals as appropriate. Thus a Half-Elf does not take the Human and the Elf Package Deals, but rather takes the Half-Elf Package Deal which comprises elements from both.
If your character was a member of an non-standard Race that is not provided for below, ask your GM to provide you with an appropriate Race Package.
Race Package Deals are treated as a closed purchase at the listed Total Cost. The Disadvantages within the Package are not counted as part of the Character's Disadvantage Total, they are subtracted directly from the cost of the Package Deal. This is covered in more detail in the Race Package Deals section.
NOTE: This is a specific variation from the HERO System rules. If your GM is uncomfortable with this exception he will let you know how to handle the discrepancy.
EXAMPLE: A Race Package Deal with 30 points of abilities and 25 points of Disadvantages costs a Character 5 Character Points rather than 30, and the 25 points of Disadvantages do not count as part of the Character's Maximum of 75 points.
Normal Characteristic Maxima is included in each Race Package, but Characteristic modifiers from the Race Package Deal do not count against Normal Characteristic Maxima. Many Race Packages grant Characteristic modifiers and in all cases these modifiers, both bonuses and penalties, are added or subtracted from a character after Normal Characteristics Maxima is determined.
EXAMPLE: Hairfoot Halflings have a +1 Speed, +2 DEX, -5 STR, -2 BODY, -2 INT, -5 PRE  as part of their Race Package Deal. If a Hairfoot Halfling character purchases +10 DEX and +10 STR outside of their Package they do not encounter Characteristic Maxima having neither DEX or STR above 20. Then the Race Characteristic modifiers are applied, resulting in an adjusted DEX of 22 and an adjusted STR of 15.  If the Halfling wanted a final adjusted STR of 20 after the Race Penalty is applied, the Halfling must buy his base STR up to 25 paying the doubling penalty for 21 to 25 strength; after the -5 STR adjustment from the Hairfoot Halfling Race Package Deal is applied the Halfling has an adjusted STR of 20.
Make sure before adding a Race Package Deal that the character's Race modifiers to statistics from AD&D were not included in their HEROs Characteristics or else the character will get a bigger than intended bonus to their Characteristics..
EXAMPLE: Continuing the Example from Step 2, Forgazi  the Elf Wizard is a High Elf; thus the High Elf Race Package is applied to Forgazi at a Total Cost of 15 points. High Elves get -2 STR, -2 CON, -2 BODY +3 DEX, +1 SPEED, +2 INT, and +4 COM as part of their Package.
Modified by the High Elf Race Package, Forgazi has STR: 12 DEX: 23 CON: 12 BODY: 7 INT: 20 EGO: 11 PRE: 13 COM: 22; PD: 3 ED: 3 SPD: 4 REC: 6 END: 28 STUN: 23.
Between his statistics and his Race Package, Forgazi has spent 72 of his 125 possible Character Points.
After selecting the appropriate Race Package, add the Package Cost to the character's Point Total and move on to Step 4.

STEP 4: Select Profession Package Deal(s)
Consult the Class Conversion Documents provided below relevant to the one or more AD&D Character Classes your Character belonged to. If your Character has more than one Character Class see Step 4a below to determine how many Character Points your Character should have.
A Generic Profession Package exists for each of the basic AD&D Character Classes for Conversion purposes. A large variety of other Profession Package Deals are also provided.  Further, with GM permission you can either adapt an existing Package or create a custom Profession Package Deal. The GM of course always has the final say on what they will permit in their campaign. This subject is described more fully in the Profession Package section.
There are no "Multi-classing" restrictions in the HERO System unless your GM decides to enforce them. Essentially you can have any ability set you can afford and justify with your Character's training and background. Character Points serve as play balance rather than artificial restrictions on what ability sets Characters may or may not learn.
Provided below are links to Conversion Documents for each of the Class categories from AD&D 2nd Edition, covering the various Class Features of each Class and providing recommendations for representing these abilities in the HERO System. Scattered throught these Documents are links to various Profession Package Deals, provided where topically relevant.
Select and Pay for Class Package Deal(s)
Psionicist PSIONICISTS    
After selecting the appropriate Profession Package, add the Package Cost to the character's Point Total and move on to Step 5.

STEP 4a: Calculating point allocation for Characters with multiple Classes
Multi-classing was handled oddly in AD&D 2nd Edition, essentially allowing Characters that started off multi-classed to advance in 2 or more classes by splitting their gained XP points evenly between all their classes, but handling Characters that multi-classed later in their careers slightly differently. Converting these Characters into the HERO System is a bit tricky.
NOTE: Multi-classed characters will generally have more total Character Points when converted than their single Classed peers. This is because they are more powerful on average and unlike AD&D which assumes that the slower progression of Multi-classed characters balances them out, the HERO System charges Character Points for the Multi-classed character's actual abilities.
Refer to the AD&D Level to HERO System Points Chart for the Point Totals used in the below examples.
  1. Determine which class will yield the most Character Points when converted
  2. Take the highest Character Point total from each of the Character's Classes
  3. Take the lower point total(s) and subtract 125 points from each
    (because the Character is not multiple people)
  4. Add the results together to yield the total Character Points for the Character
  5. Spend points gained from secondary Classes on abilities pertaining to those Classes
Example 1: Tom the Human used to be a fighter but became a wizard; he is a Fighter 3//Wizard 4. A 3rd level fighter gets 155 Character Points, a 4th level wizard gets 170 Character Points. Tom the Human will use the Wizard class as the base (170 pts). The fighter class will yield its points minus 125 or [155-125= 30 pts]. Tom's total points will be 170+ 30= 200 Character Points, 125 of which are his Base, 45 points for his wizard abilities and 30 points for fighter abilities.
Example 2: Dick the Human used to be a thief of some skill before realizing his Psionic potential; he is a Thief 6//Psionicist 2. A 6th Level Thief yields 185 Character Points, and 2nd level Psionicist yields 140 Character Points. Therefore the Character has (185 + (140-125)), or 200 Character Points, 15 of which should be used for Psionic abilities and 60 of which should be used for thieving abilities.
Example 3: Harry the Dwarf is a Fighter/Thief 6/3. 6th level fighters get 210 Character Points, 3rd level Thieve get 135 Character Points. Therefore Harry gets (210+(135-125))= 220 Character Points, which includes 75 points for Fighting abilities  and 10 points for Thieving abilities.
  1. Determine which class will yield the most Character Points when converted
  2. Take the single highest Character Point total from each of the Character's Classes
  3. Multiply this Character Point total by the number of classes
    (if two Classes multiply by 2, if three Classes multiply by 3, etc)
  4. Subtract 125 from this total for each additional Class
    (if two Classes subtract 125 points,  if three Classes  subtract 250 points)
  5. Spend points gained from secondary Classes on abilities pertaining to those Classes
    • Multi-Class Characters should divide all Character Points in excess of 125 equally amongst all classes
Example 1: Billy the Elf is a Fighter/Mage/Thief with 250,000 XP, which makes him a F9/M10/T11 in AD&D 2nd Edition. According to the Conversion Chart, 10th level Mages, 9th level Fighters and 11th level thieves all get 255 points. So, we take the highest point value and multiply it times the number of classes [255x3= 765].
Now we've got to get rid of the extra base points (the Character obviously isn't 3 people) so we subtract the appropriate number of points to arrive at the total Character Points; in this case, since Billy has 3 classes we subtract 250 points [765-250= 515]. Billy the Elf has 515 total Character Points to spend. 50 points are from his Base, he can have up to 75 points of personal Disadvantages, and he has 130 points for each Character Class to spend on Class abilities.
Example 2: Joe the Half Elf is a Ranger/Priest with 60,000 XP, making him a R6/C7: 7th level Priests get 220 (6th Level Rangers get 215, and 60,000 is higher than the 36,000 XP needed for to reach 6th Level -- prorated it works out to about 220 points for the Ranger Levels as well). We use the higher value, so we multiply [220x2=440]. Joe has 2 classes so we subtract 125 from this [440-125= 315]. Joe has 315 total Character Points; 125 Base & 75 Disadvantage points , whit 80 Experience Points for each class to buy abilities with.
Some multi-classed characters advanced evenly in two or more classes and then later added an additional Class. This was handled by having a shared XP Total for the original Classes and a second XP total for the additional Class.
  1. Calculate the Classes that advanced equally as Type 2 above and ignoring the additional Class completely
  2. Calculate the Class that did not advance equally as Type 1 above starting at line 3
Example 3: Chad the Elf advanced equally as a Fighter and a Mage and recently started picking up Thief abilities. He is a Fighter/Mage/Thief with 35,000 XP/2,500 XP which makes him a F6/M5/T3. We will treat the Fighter/Mage portion as an equal advancement Multi-class, then tack on the extra points from the Thief Class as if it were a dual class. This gets tricky, so watch carefully.
Fighter 6/Mage 5: both Classes yield 195 Character Points. [(195 x 2)=390]; making the adjustment for the second Class [390-125=265], Chad gets 265 points for being a Fighter/Mage of those levels; 125 Character Points Base & Disadvantages, and 70 Character Points for each Class to buy Class abilities, Profession Packages, or whatever with.
Thief 3: A 3rd Level Thief gets 135 Character Points. 135-125= 10. Therefore, Chad gets another 10 points to spend on Thief abilities, making him a  275 Point Character.

STEP 5: Character Gear, Followers, and Property
Some AD&D Characters collect a lot of Magic Items in their careers. Others acquire holdings of various sizes, or attract personal armies flocking to march under their banner. Some others have special pets, servants, or companions such as a Wizard's apprentice or familiar, a Priest's acolyte, or a Knight's Paige. Fortunately the HERO System provides a multitude of ways to represent such things.
I've taken the liberty of defining how several of these things will be handled consistently and other parts of the Conversion assume that these guidelines are in place. Individual GM's may vary on how they want to resolve some or all of these issues, so check with your GM first.
This will be a subject of major concern for most converted characters of higher level. There is a good deal of coverage given to this subject in the Campaign Guidelines area, but as a general rule Magic Items are built as Power constructs via a FOCUS of some form and with either the Independent or Nonrecoverable Charges Limitation applied. All Magic Items are "separate" from characters; all Magic Items can be taken away permanently from a character, and except in occasions when a limited form of Independent (such as Usable Only by Wizards) or Required Skill Roll is used, all characters can use all Magic Items.
Note: The GM has total control over Magic Item proliferation, commonality, and design. Magic Items can have a huge impact upon the campaign setting and should be carefully watched to achieve the desired balance of power. Much more information regarding Magic Item design and creation can be found in the Magic Item section.
For the most part property, castles, wizard towers, and the like should be built using the rules for Bases.
UPDATE: August 2003:
Fantasy HERO for the HERO System 5th Edition has been released, and it includes quite a bit of coverage regarding Bases in a Fantasy context, including options for Demesnes and other genre appropriate considerations.
For the most part all such hangers-on to a PC should be built as a Follower; this will generally require additional character sheets for each follower be created, but in some cases a Bestiary reference may be sufficient for some Animal Companions. Seek your GM's approval and assistance in creating these companions.
Alternately, if the secondary character is primarily a source of problems for a Character he may instead take it as a DNPC with Useful abilities instead of as a Follower; this places the entity solidly into the GM's purview for deciding when it is helpful (rarely) and when it is trouble (more often). If the secondary character isn't so much a devoted and constant companion as they are an ally or an assistant it is possible that they may be better modeled as Contacts.
For characters that are being converted into the HERO System, Magic Items, Bases, and Followers that the character has in AD&D are not paid for in Character Points. Simply build them in the HERO System using the rules for Magic Item creation, Base construction, and Followers, calculate the their total Cost, and add them to the character.  As a rule of thumb a character with Magic Items, Strongholds and Followers which tally up with a Real Cost equal to their ((Character Level-1) *10) or less are within acceptable limits for a High Power, High Magic campaign; if they are over that a GM might want to take steps to purloin some swag. This total does not include Items like Scrolls, Potions, and other Magic Items built with Non Recoverable Charges. The GM should approve all conversions of Magic Items, Bases, and Followers to prevent abuse.
Adhere to what a character actually has when converting; these phantom points are not intended to pad a character out, they are intended to allow an as-complete-as-possible conversion without totally unbalancing the point totals of other characters that do no have as many Magic Items, Bases, and Followers.
Mundane Equipment does not cost Character Points.
If converting a character from AD&D 2nd Edition, just match the list up with equivalent items in the HERO System. Find entries for your mundane weapons and armor on whatever weapons and armor list your GM is using for Fantasy HERO and you are done.
Normal Equipment can also be bought with money, to include mundane weapons and armor. The Fantasy HERO Price list, the AD&D Price list, a custom list, or an arbitrary economy determined by the GM are all valid means of determining how much things cost. You should check with you GM to determine what kind of economy they intend to use, what Price list, and what weapons & armor chart they intend to use.
If creating a new character consult the Character Creation guidelines instead of this Conversion Document.
When finished, add any Costs to the Character's total and move on to Step 6.

STEP 6: Select Personal Disadvantages
Character Disadvantages are a concept not found in AD&D and therefore appropriate Disadvantages must be approximated from aspects of Characters that are left mechanically undefined in AD&D. The primary purpose of Disadvantages is to add flavor and context to a character, and to give the GM story hooks with which to involve your character with the setting. In many cases it's a character's quirks and flaws that make them stand out rather than their capacity to kill things, manipulate a fictional magical system, or use arbitrarily determined skills and abilities. Have fun with your character's Disadvantages rather than rotely taking them just to get more character points.
The Maximum points from Personal Disadvantages is 75 points; if the full 75 points is not taken then the Character has fewer Character Points with which to buy abilities. Thus if a starting Character only takes 50 points of Personal Disadvantages, then that Character only has 100 Character Points available to him initially (50 Base + 50 Disadvantages).
In this context "Personal Disadvantage" refers to any Disadvantage which does not stem from a Character's Race Package Deal.
Note: this is a specific exception to the HERO System rules, wherein Disadvantages from Package Deals DO count towards a Character's Disadvantage limit. If your GM is uncomfortable with this exception he will let you know how to handle the discrepancy.
In AD&D the closest thing to a mechanical representation of a Characters behavior is the Alignment system. Depending on how the GM intends to handle the concept of Alignment in the HERO System, Characters with particularly strong Alignment orientations may choose to model the codes of behavior associated with that Alignment in AD&D as Psychological Limitations and Distinctive Features in the HERO System. Alignment is addressed in the Campaign Guidelines for a GM's consideration, but as a player consult with your GM prior to converting the Character to discover how they intend to handle Alignment in their own campaign..
Consider your character's background, history, and events that have occurred in gameplay as potential sources of Disadvantages.
When finished, tally the Disadvantage Total and move on to Step 7.

STEP 7: Final Tweaking and Math Check
By this step you should have an almost finished character. Go back and review the Character and make sure you have covered everything. Once you are happy with the Character make sure that it tallies correctly, meeting the Character's Point Limit and that any Power constructs are calculated correctly. Finally, make sure that the Character is not only mathematically correct, but also well balanced and apparently fun to play.
At this point you may have a few points left over. A good place to spend them is in adjusting your character's Figured Characteristics. For example, you may want to round off your character's SPEED, bump up Recovery, fatten up Endurance, etc. However, try to avoid tweaking your character's Base Characteristics to take advantage of point recursions. If this practice is commonplace, all Fantasy HERO characters tend to polarize on a few "sweet spot" increments in various Characteristics, which robs characters of a lot of their flavor.
When you are satisfied, move on to Step 8..

STEP 8: Game Master Approval
Simply turn the Character over to your GM for final approval. If the GM has any issues with the character, address them and make any requested corrections. Once the GM is happy with the Character, you are finished with Character Creation and are ready for play.