Advanced Search

Classic Modules Today: U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (5e)Click to magnify
Quick Preview
Full‑size Preview

Classic Modules Today: U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh (5e)


Welcome to Christmas in July! In celebration, this digital title has been marked down by up to 40%! For more of Santa's savings, visit our Christmas in July sale page.

In 1981, TSR published the module named “The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh” with the module code “U1”. It was written by Dave J. Browne and Don Turnbull, and illustrated by Dave De Leuw, Harry Quinn, and Stephen D. Sullivan. It consisted of a 32 page booklet and tri-fold cover with maps.

This conversion guide allows DMs to run the original module with 5th Edition rules and provides a reference sheet for encounters.

To use this conversion guide you will need a copy of "U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh", originally available in hard-copy and now for sale in Digital format at

"Classic Modules Today: B4 The Lost City" contains the OpenOffice/LibreOffice source files used to create this PDF. Visit for instructions on creating your own classic module conversions and selling them on the DMs Guild.

Classic Modules Today are a series of products that convert early edition Dungeons & Dragons and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure modules to the Dungeons & Dragons 5th edition rule set. They fully adhere to the rules set forth in the Community Content Agreement of the DMsGuild. The CCA states that adventure conversions must be:

"A streamlined, bare-bones conversion guide for someone who already owns the classic adventure — i.e., encounter-by-encounter conversion notes with any 5E stats needed, leaving out all other content."

For more information, download the free guide "Using Classic Modules Today Conversions".

 More from this Title's Contributors
 Customers Who Bought this Title also Purchased
Reviews (3)
Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Peter L December 25, 2018 5:47 am UTC
There are free 5e conversations of this available--what sets yours apart?
Customer avatar
Mark S December 26, 2018 4:50 am UTC
Thanks for asking Peter. The biggest standouts are:

Organization of the information in a format that's easy to understand and reference back to the original module.

Magic items list with reference to module page with changes to magic items where necessary, and custom magic items for those not present in 5e rules.

Custom created monsters and NPCs, more often than "use existing monster X with these changes".

Detailed list of tricks and traps with module page reference.

List of planned encounters with appropriately scaled ability/skill checks.

Adherence to original module design - no balancing of opposition numbers to always provide a "fair" fight.

I believe these features are worth the price, less than a bottle of soda in most cases.
Customer avatar
Peter L December 27, 2018 8:28 pm UTC
I appreciate the answer Mark. Most adaptations I see minimalist and straight-up--adjusting mechanics and (less commonly) treasure and magic items, but nothing else. Personally, when I do these for myself, I prefer story logic work--most adventures (classic or modern) contain poor organization, plotholes, unexplained assumptions, overly or under developed settings/NPCs, and sometimes just bizarre decisions/ideas. The mechanics stuff, while sometimes tedious to do, isn't particularly difficult or time consuming (except for people who want a one-for-one challenge rating between editions). I think your price point is reasonable, although I'd want the story logic and setting/NPC development to jump at it.
Customer avatar
Mark S December 28, 2018 5:30 am UTC
I understand. The biggest stricture with doing something like that for publishing here on the DM Guild is the CCA, which limits how much you can present of the original module to be converted.

"No direct, full reprints of classic adventures converted to 5E. If you want to publish something based around a classic adventure like Against the Giants or Queen of the Demonweb Pits, then you could consider options like:
-a distinctly new 5e adventure that is perhaps a prequel or sequel to the classic adventure content;
-a streamlined, bare-bones conversion guide for someone who already owns the classic adventure (i.e., encounter-by-encounter
conversion notes with any 5E stats needed, leaving out all other content, augmented with ideas for setting the adventure in the
Forgotten Realms); or
-a unique take in the spirit of the classic adventure. Yeah, Acererak’s tomb is horrific, but what about that other lich’s place?"

With those rules we -might-...See more
Customer avatar
Peter L December 28, 2018 5:38 am UTC
Without having tried putting something on here it's hard to know if what I mean is what you mean. I'll give you a very specific example to illustrate what I mean: the background chronology of Princes of the Apocalypse makes no sense--it's filled with scattered, contradictory references (the editing of that book in general is awful). It's hard to imagine that creating a sensible timeline would go against terms of service since the *intent* of the publisher was something that makes sense. I think what you're suggesting is inserting entirely new plotlines or extensions to the existing material, and that's not what I mean--I'm talking about fixing mistakes in logic, missing motivation, etc, and making suggestions for fixing them.
Customer avatar
George F August 15, 2018 5:54 pm UTC
I'm running this tomorrow night for my first ever 5e session. Looking through this, I noticed none of the NPCs have a class listed. Are all 5e products like this?
Customer avatar
Mark S August 17, 2018 4:36 pm UTC
Class isn't always explicitly stated for NPCs in 5e since NPC creation tends to be organic. You build an NPC with the abilities you want to give it, then figure out the CR from that. Spellcasters sometimes have it noted under the Spellcasting heading, although I didn't opt to do it for Sanbalet and Punketah (they're wizards with different school focuses to stay true to the original module). Most of the time reading through the stat block will give you an idea what class the NPC is based on.

I wrote up a document of NPC stat blocks by class that I use as the basis for creating NPCs.

/shameless plug
/shameless plug

Hope that helps!
Customer avatar
Ronald S February 02, 2017 5:51 am UTC
Love it, hoping to see "Danger at Dunwater" and "The Final Enemy" soon. Always wanted to do those as a campaign back in the day, but never got to. Hopefully, I will be able to do them with 5e
Browse Categories
$ to $
 Follow Your Favorites!
NotificationsSign in to get custom notifications of new products!

Product Information
Gold seller
Community Content
Rules Edition(s)
Original electronic Click for more information
Scanned image
These products were created by scanning an original printed edition. Most older books are in scanned image format because original digital layout files never existed or were no longer available from the publisher.

For PDF download editions, each page has been run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to attempt to decipher the printed text. The result of this OCR process is placed invisibly behind the picture of each scanned page, to allow for text searching. However, any text in a given book set on a graphical background or in handwritten fonts would most likely not be picked up by the OCR software, and is therefore not searchable. Also, a few larger books may be resampled to fit into the system, and may not have this searchable text background.

For printed books, we have performed high-resolution scans of an original hardcopy of the book. We essentially digitally re-master the book. Unfortunately, the resulting quality of these books is not as high. It's the problem of making a copy of a copy. The text is fine for reading, but illustration work starts to run dark, pixellating and/or losing shades of grey. Moiré patterns may develop in photos. We mark clearly which print titles come from scanned image books so that you can make an informed purchase decision about the quality of what you will receive.
Original electronic format
These ebooks were created from the original electronic layout files, and therefore are fully text searchable. Also, their file size tends to be smaller than scanned image books. Most newer books are in the original electronic format. Both download and print editions of such books should be high quality.
File Last Updated:
April 05, 2018
This title was added to our catalog on December 11, 2016.