For my money, Kingmaker is one of the best adventure paths Paizo has released to date. The sandbox style of game play and the addition of kingdom building rules make it a fascinating and unique campaign. It was only natural, therefore, I converted it to my beloved Greyhawk.
It should come as no surprise Kingmaker—like many of Paizo’s adventure paths—with minimal work fits very nicely into the World of Greyhawk. After all, many of Paizo’s movers and shakers—Erik Mona, Lisa Simpson and Jason Bulmahn are long-term Greyhawk fans. Still, depending on your respect—or devotion—to the setting’s canon setting Kingmaker in Greyhawk is not as simple as just plonking it down on a map.
Make it Your Own
Remember, when preparing to run Kingmaker it is your campaign, and you can make any changes you deem desirable. Gary Gygax himself said (in B2 Keep on the Borderlands), “Become familiar with this module, then make whatever additions or changes you feel are necessary for your campaign…
This is as true for Kingmaker as it is for any other adventure or adventure path. The Paizo or Greyhawk police are not going to break down your door if you make small or large changes to the adventure path. Similarly, I doubt many players will storm away from your table when they realise Kingmaker isn’t a perfect fit for Greyhawk.
Remember, the goal is to have fun not slavishly follow setting canon. With that—and everyone’s fun—in mind, keep what you want, modify what you fancy and discard the rest.
Accept it’s Not a Perfect Fit
Greyhawk is not a tremendously detailed campaign world, which worked in my favour when deciding where to place it. That said, Kingmaker (and Golarion) have their own rich flavour and so a perfect fit is impossible. If you are a Greyhawk Canon Purist—I myself an recovering from that malady—you are going to have more trouble than most setting Kingmaker in the Flanaess. That said, if you are more flexible, it is a doddle!
To my mind, there are three major things you need to consider when converting Kingmaker to Greyhawk (or any other campaign world):
- Gods and Goddesses: Golarion and Greyhawk have their own sets of pantheons, which at first glance could make conversion tricky. However, luckily, most gods in the two pantheons are focused on pretty generic portfolios—for example, nature—which means they are pretty interchangeable.
- Regional Powers: Obviously, the two campaign settings have different kingdoms. This isn’t really a problem. For Kingmaker, all you need is a temperate wilderness area contested by a couple of nations. Their exact motivations—even locations—are not crucial to the plot, and as the GM you can easily change their motivations to fit your campaign. In my campaign, I decided Ratik was trying to settle the northern Bone March and that various powers—variously the humanoids of the Bone March, South Province, the pirates of Dekspoint and even the city state of Knurl—might contest their southern push.
- Geography: Accept the geography of Kingmaker is not a perfect fit for Oerth. That said, one of the genius things about Greyhawk is that it’s not hyper detailed, and it’s map is quite large-scaled. This means, it’s not too hard to find an area to set the adventure path—if you are flexible. I decided on the Ratik/Bone March border, but it could just as easily be set in the Wild Coast or even on the Sea Princes/Keoland/Yeomany border.
Along with these major considerations you’ll likely want or need to make a host of minor changes to the modules as you play through the adventure path. You might want to change NPCs’ names to better fit Greyhawk’s naming conventions, add in some setting-specific prestige classes (like the Knight Protectors) and so on to better fit your vision of Greyhawk.
Remember, as the GM, you are likely more invested (and knowledgeable) about setting canon than your players. They probably won’t care the Kingmaker map doesn’t line up exactly with the Greyhawk map or that some of the adventure path’s background doesn’t perfectly mesh with Oerth’s. The play’s the thing, and if everyone is having fun such minor concerns are irrelevant.
In My Campaign
And finally, as an aside while Kingmaker didn’t end well for us—we had two TPKs in the same location before giving up—we had tremendous fun, and it’s one I’d urge you to run.
The events in Kingmaker spawned my longest running campaign—the Borderland of Adventure and its current “side quest” the Shattered Star. NPCs that appeared in Kingmaker, have made appearances in my main campaign and the events still subtly affect current goings on.
Given that, even though everyone died (more than once) I view it as a tremendous success.
Got More Conversion Tips?
Have you run Kingmaker—or any other adventure path—in Greyhawk? If you have, let me know how it went in the comments below. Also, if I missed something, or if you have another cool tip for running adventure paths in Oerth please let me know. I’m currently running the Shattered Star and any hints or tips are gratefully received!