I’m now in the process of puzzling out how to convert Dungeons & Dragons ability scores into Arkham Horror skills, and vice versa. One of the things that makes it difficult is the fact that investigators can “refocus” their skills from round to round. They have a range of values instead of a fixed one like adventurers.

So, the first thing I thought I’d try was the equivalent of a one-for-one conversion. An extra die in a skill check is worth an extra plus-one modifier to a die roll. This isn’t true as a mathematical expression, but it’s one place to start when looking at the skills. You see twos and threes as modifiers and think of fifteens and sixteens.

Straightforward conversion of the numbers isn’t nice and straightforward. You can’t look at your character’s ability modifiers and say, “oh, this fits here, this goes here,” because you’ll quickly realize that the stats just don’t add up the same way. Take a look at Amanda Sharpe, she would have 18, 12, 18, 12, 18, 12 for ability scores.

Alternatively, she might have 16, 14, 16, 14, 16, 14, and if you do the math for D&D’s point-buy system, there’s a difference of about twelve points — those 18s are worth a lot more when combined with 12s than the 16s and 14s. So there’s some basic disparity in the value of the scores in D&D when compared to Arkham Horror’s stats.

So what do you do? What if the modifiers incremented, like D&D’s? That way, you get a plus-one for every two movements on the slider. But then the stats don’t vary much, and you’re left wondering why you move them at all. (You basically wind up with two positions to choose from, both roughly modifier plus-one and modifier minus-one.)

The answer to this question eludes me, for now. It would be really cool to say to long-time Dungeons & Dragons players that they’re able to get that eighteen-double-aught in Strength as long as they’re willing to take the penalty somewhere else, but there’s the sense that they’ve lost the ability to roll.

What I’d like to do is find a happy medium. There should be a relatively easy way to convert a Fourth Edition adventurer to use Arkham Horror (slightly modified) stats, and use those to replace the typical rolls you need in either Arkham Horror or Dungeons & Dragons. (Or Settlers of Catan, my goodnesss that’s a lot of games.)