For $1.95, I wasn't expecting much, but I was expecting more than this.
This will be a time saver when I prep then adventure, but only about 15-20 minutes, maybe.
Conversion Guide is 10 pages long:
1 page cover,
1 page credits page
2 pages of introduction, notes, summary, conversion notes for Forgotten Realms players, continuing the adventure, etc
That leaves 6 pages of actual product. Before I begin, let me state my expectation for a conversion guide. I want to use the original module and pick up the conversion guide for when I need stats. I consider it acceptable (but I will grumble about it) to have to pick up the Monster Manual, as long as the page number is given. That is it. I shouldn't have to do any math, any figuring out at all. I want it broken down by encounters so I can just see what encounter I am on and I have everything I need. Boom. Done. I am using a module to make my life easier, and I am using a conversion guide to make my life even easier still. Any amount of work to be able to use this quickly brings down my enjoyment of it and makes me wonder why I didn't just do this myself. So how does this stack up?
We start off with notable NPCs (2 pages). The first one says:
The Castellan: Treat as Knight (MM 347, CR 1 XP 200) with an effective AC of 23 due to magic items. How the PC's gain entrance to the Inner Bailey and get the opportunity to interact with the Castellan is detailed on p. 7.
Stand Alone Stat Block, no. BAD!
Page number, yes. Good!
Math needed, yes. BAD!
AC 23 on a CR 1?!?!? A first level fighter is going to need an 18 if not higher to hit this guy if they ever get in a tavern fight with him. NO! Magic items?!? What magic items does this guy have at CR 1 (and down 2 CR's from the MM)?
All the other NPCs have various issues noticible from a cursery glance, like never explaining what armor the NPC has to give them their armor class, sometimes spells are in italic, passive Perceptionis not last on the senses line, etc.
The layout is also pretty bad as well. It is difficult to see where one stat block ends and another begins. More space between stat blocks and the names should each be LARGER. Ideally, each stat block should start its own column. On top of that, the NPCs are presented alphabetically. Better then at random, but it would have been better if they were in here in the order they appeared in the module, even if reprinting in this guide is required. "Oh we're in cave B, I need these sheets." Spells are mashed into one full paragraph instead of each level starting its own line. No horizontal lines between sections of the stat blocks, like ability scores, actions, etc.
When you dive into the stats themselves, it gets even worse. Finesse is not taken into account on some weapons, meaning the hit and damage of weapons is not accurate.
Then there's my favorite error. Next to Size, the type is listed, every time. Its almost like the designer forgot to change the word size to what it should be, every single time.
At best, I cannot trust these numbers and will have to check them. At worst, I will have to redo this section myself. Conclusion for this section: useless.
Magic Item Conversion Notes is next. This will actually be of a help. Instead of X magic item, use this one, with a page number. Great! Presentation for this: terrible. Because I don't have the original module I can HOPE they are in this conversion guide the way they appear in the advneture. The ideal way for this to be presented is a table. Original Magic Item - New Magic Item - PHB/DMG Page Number. Nope, every single line here has "treat as" sentence format. Not all that helpful.
This section may will turn out to be helpful. I am not sure yet.
Spell Conversion Notes and the Traps sections may also prove to be helpful.
Monsters: Presented with with original name, treat as ... and page number. No notes as to how the encounters should be adjusted because of different editions. Worth. Less. I can look up the orc's stats myself, thanks. I still have to figure out how many to put into the encounter to make it balanced.
Now, at this point I was willing to give this 2 stars. The first two pages of stats were problematic but better than nothing. The magic items will be a help, as will the traps. The Monsters page was ... lets go with "sad." The next two pages is what broke the thin line justifying that second star. THIS IS NOTHING BUT A REPRINT OF THE LAST 4 PAGES!!!! No organizational improvement, no additions (but some subtractions), but now in a smaller font and in 3 columns. You can literally throw away these last two pages and you would have no difference in this product, what so ever.
Normally I can justify giving someone a better rating than they deserve because I know how tough this is, if I can see the creator putting in a solid amount of work. This ... was not a solid amount of work. It is a directory of page numbers. I can do a better job for my prep by searching the basic rules and copying them into a word doc for the vast majority of this. All of this, leads me to not being able justify a rating higher than 1 star. I really cannot recommend this to anyone.