I just wrapped up our Age of Worms campaign myself last week. Five players and we were running it in 4E. The campaign itself was excellent and we all had an awesome time, except for my monsters.
But 4E will never see the light of day at my game table again. The fight with Kyuss took over 4 hours to complete and there was only a single PC death during Kings of the Rift. I had Kyuss, a 30th level solo of my own design up against the party of 24th level PC's, and he couldn't kill a single one of them. Every time I thought a PC was dead, they had some silly power that let him come back to life again, or another PC had some item or power that would put them back into the fight on their next turn. It was pretty ridiculous, and fairly anticlimactic for me as a DM.
You really should have renamed the locations and NPC's in that case. Nothing will suck the flavour out of a game faster than a silly name. It's something I always watch for in my games as my players can become a little bit immature at times.
I'm in the process of converting the Kingmaker adventure path over to Hellfrost and placing it in the Unclaimed Lands. Some examples of that conversion are:
- Highmoor replaces Restov
and so on.
My group (despite running it in 4E) had Diplomacy and played along. They bought fancy clothes and didn't go crazy on any of the bad guys at the party. However, they also managed to piss of the prince a couple times so two of the PC's got poisoned pretty badly.
Not many influence points were gained by them either, and they thought the adventure was more odd than anything else. Still, a welcome change of pace from the normal dungeon hack fests.
I actually remove encounters from published modules when I don't feel they are necessary. Then again, I don't track experience points in 4E either. I just tell the PC's when they level since everyone will have the same amount of XP and should be the same level all the time. The game becomes a lot less structured this way as well (in a good way), and time is only spent in combat when I feel the combat is essential to the story. The rest of the time is spent roleplaying and exploring.
I also don't hand out all the treasure parcels either. Usually I have anywhere from 1-3 that are not included each level. I don't find this impacts play a lot either.
After trying out the double damage rule during one session, it did seem to speed up combat a little bit too much. The damage numbers got a bit ridiculous. So I'm attempting to try out another house rule I found while scouring the net.
All the changes for this one happen on the DM side, so the players don't even know they're happening. This tactic involves 4 steps when statting up monsters for combat.
1. Reduce monster hit points by 25%.
The net effect here is monsters do not stick around for quite as long and players get to have more of their powers succeed (i.e. hit). The monsters in turn, hit more often and do more damage with each hit.
In the end, combat speeds up by anywhere from 30% to 50% and players will begin to feel the danger of combat as their resources get diminished faster, and players will be forced to use second winds more often than relying on the healer all the time.
I think it's actually easier to just double all damage for PC's and for monsters. Basically, whenever damage is dealt or rolled, you keep everything on paper the same, and just double the result.
This will speed up fights a lot. The only downside for this house rule is that it makes healing a little bit less effective. But players will burn through healing surges faster, and the cleric's healing will be all that more important. Also powers that reduce your chances of being hit will be much more attractive.
I bought it the first day it went on sale on Studio2's website for 20 bucks for the PDF.
While most of it is similar if not the same as Explorer's Edition, there are some new edges, hindrances, and rules in it that make this worthwhile. For one, the new chase rules are excellent, and they finally included the rules for using and creating your own races.
I read an article on Wizard's website about combat length and the "grind" in 4E fights. And while there are plenty of solutions out there, the most simple and effective one I saw was...
Double all damage for all PC's, monsters, NPC's etc.
Every damage type is doubled. Ongoing, magic, melee, ranged, minion damage. Everything. You just roll stuff as usual and mutiply by two.
It speeds up combat a lot, and makes it way more risky and keeps your PC's on their toes.
So my party is still breezing through this dungeon. So far the only thing to pose much a threat to them was the eladrin and angel bodyguards. All the undead are usually blasted into oblivion by the cleric or the paladin.
I can foresee the spellweaver to pose a minor threat to the party, mostly because of his multiple spells per round, and perhaps the overworm will get to swallow one of the PC's.
The 3 undead knights, if they get to them, may also prove to be a challenge.
The worm naga sorcerer didn't take much to kill, and the wormcallers are so/so, but usually are killed quite fast as well.
My group did some snooping after killing the ulgurstasta, although they lost the final match to Auric, his mage, and the golems.
They found out Raknian would be leaving town that night, and ambushed him and Okorral in the wilds surrounding Greyhawk during the night.
It took them a few checks to figure out which gate he would be leaving through, and 1 player even went to far as to guard an opposite gate on the off chance he had a decoy.
The group took out Raknian, Okorral, and his 8 bodyguards so that part of the story kinda wrapped itself up on it's own.
I felt bad for robbing them of a victory in the actual games, so this kinda made up for it :)
Hehe, my party is doing the Spire as well. Last session they battled the two beetles and the knight, which was a tough fight. Then they encountered the angels and the eladrin, which turned out to be even tougher.
The eladrin used a prismatic spray on the party and ended up sending the cleric to the Abyss, and the barbarian to the ethereal plane!
The cleric roleplayed his way out of the abyss, encountering a fallen angel there, but the barbarian is floating around following the party as he didn't receive any random encounters. His intelligence is at a staggering 3 at the moment too so he's roleplaying this well :P
I used Curse of the Crimson Throne's storyline in a Conan campaign, running it all with Savage Worlds. It was going great until one of my players went nuts and began questioning my GM decisions in every session via internet chat (while I was at work no less).
As far as conversions go though it's pretty simple to do it as long as your have the fantasy companion. That should cover off about 80-90% of any conversion work.
Also, another great resource was this thread on converting d20 skill DC's to Savage Worlds trait check modifiers.
Oh, and one last thing. Magic items can be essentially removed from the game if you want, Savage Worlds doesn't need em! However, I would keep a few healing potions and the usual minor useful items in. Also, any really special items specific to the adventure path probably should be kept in, but again, the Fantasy Companion will help with that.
My group despised this adventure overall. They said it was the worst dungeon they have ever played in. The fake doors are just a waste of time and annoying, and the entire dungeon layout, even after I tried to explain it, made no sense to them.
I can see now why people skipped this adventure entirely. Luckily, it's over for us, and we are starting Spire of Long Shadows tonight :)
I took out the abyssal ghoul and blood amniote encounters. They are both pretty pointless and most parties won't go swimming in a blood river :) My group avoids water at all costs.
I also changed the wind warriors encounter to have them guard only the entrance to the true tomb. If the party doesn't go there first, and heads down to the star chamber first, then it works out and the encounter is avoided as the PC's should have the seal by then. Otherwise they will try to prevent PC's from ascending the stairs to the tomb.
I would do what wraithstrike is proposing. Simply convert only what needs to convert to Pathfinder, and keep the rest as 3.5. I'm currently running the Age of Worms as well using the Pathfinder RPG and I'm finding the conversions to be a breeze.
Also most of the tools and resources on d20pfsrd.com are super helpful!
I ran this encounter in Pathfinder with 5 PC's. The PC's were all 10th level and included a paladin, a rogue/sorcerer/arcane trickster, a cleric, a barbarian, and a wizard/fighter.
The group started to search around the cairn entrance and started approaching the copse of trees that Ilthane was hiding in when she sprung up to attack.
I actually had to pull some punches as my group's ranged abilities were pretty lacking. I used the Pathfinder stats for Ilthane as a mature adult black dragon (CR 12) and just gave her breath weapon the poisonous fumes ability.
She could have easily wiped the floor with the group if she flew for the entire encounter.
Yeah, my players are not quite as bloodthirsty as that. I made sure I reminded them about Greyhawk's laws and the strict punishments dealt out to criminals that break them. Plus with two lawful good characters in the group the arcane trickster generally needs to head out on his own to do any thieving. Although even he was leary about breaking and entering into the local magic shop knowing how well guarded it was, and that there was an entire magic university in the city :)
They had the good sense to follow Raknian's carriage well outside the city limits before attacking them.
I can't give my players too much leash or they'll get in over their heads and we'll have another TPK on our hands :P
We just finished Champion's Belt last night and it was hilarious.
The group was fighting against Auric's Warband, and doing a so-so job of fighting them off. One flesh golem was destroyed and of the two remaining, one had less than half hit points.
Khellek was virtually untouched and Auric was under the effects of a Moonstruck spell, and in a general state of confusion as he flailed around with his new claws and bite attack.
The group had already taken out Bozal and the Ulgurstasta btw.
The cleric had summond 3 celestial brown bears to aid in the fight, but the golems eventually took them out.
The turning point came when Khellek (upgraded to an 11th level wizard in Pathfinder) used mass suggestion to have 3 of the PC's surrender before they got badly hurt. This caused some disagreements at the table at to whether or not the suggestion was "a reasonable request". As DM I argued that the fight could go either way and that surrendering was a viable option for the group if there was any doubt whatsoever that they might not win.
Combat continued as the paladin and arcane trickster were not affected by the spell, but once the halfling was put to sleep by Khellek, the paladin surrendered.
The group wasn't too happy that they lost the final match, since they ended up losing 250 gp bet on themselves, as well as the 2500 gp side bet with Tirra, but I thought it was about time to teach them a little humility.
Later on they found out that Raknian was leaving town that night and followed him and his guards. They attacked his carriage and killed Raknian, Okoral, and 8 of his bodyguards. The lawful good paladin and cleric received a vision from Heironeous that night basically warning them that although they were evil men, and pawns of Kyuss, they should have turned them over to the authorities.
So we'll see how they react to that :p
One thing that may or may not have been discussed here (didn't read all the previous posts) is to simply state that PC's should not be taking weapons/armor/offensive items with them. This includes staves, wands, all weapons and armor, shields, and anything else that precludes one of your PC's attacking somebody.
It will be interesting to see what your PC's can come up with to hide or conceal the fact that they mean harm to Zeech.
In my group I have a paladin and cleric of Heironeous, a gnome barbarian, an elf wizard/fighter/arcane archer and a halfling rogue/sorcerer/arcane trickster. Any PC's that show up to the ball in their regular clothing or gear will be turned away at the door. They have to go out and buy some nice clothes, and dress the part.
I think my group will see Zeech as a foe, but will realize that going after him directly at this event is not the ideal solution.
Dennis Harry wrote:
The group killed the ulgurstasta on the night of Day 3 right after they took out Bozal Zahol, before the Froghemoth fight. The module says that Raknian won't know something is up until the night of the final event, on day 5. So I'm sticking with the module in that.
Raknian will watch the final match depressed and subdued, and then quickly pack his things that night and flee the city. Whether or not the PC's are waiting for him, remains to be seen. I'm hoping they trail him until he's outside the city, then take him out.
If they let him live, I definately plan to use him again later on :)
My group is almost done this adventure. They have cleared out the Temple of Kyuss level, and were victorious in all three of their gladiator fights so far. They defeated Bozal easily, mostly due to me (the DM) missing the unhallow effect in the room and allowing the cleric to summon a celestial bear inside Bozal's antilife shell.
As for the ulgurstasta, when Bozal was knocked out by the PC's, they tied him up then healed him back awake. They tried to interrogate him but the sorcerer in the group had already deafened him, so he couldn't understand what they were saying. He eventually just released the apostle of kyuss and cursed the group. The barbarian lopped off his head and then the apostle burst into the room squeezing through the 10 foot hallway. The fight lasted about 6 or 7 long rounds, but the key the group's survival was the barbarian scoring a critical hit on the thing. We use the critical hit deck and he drew the "gut slash" card which removed the apostle's swallow whole ability. Then the paladin smote it and the thing was dead a couple rounds later. Although it did crit the barbarian for 84 damage in a single bite attack.
The other epic moment came when the barbarian (again) critted the froghemoth in the 2nd or 3rd round of that fight, and severed it's spine (another crit card) dealing 17 Dex damage and crippling the thing.
I have done the same. There have been fights where I have had to limit myself to the monster's tactics as listed in the Dungeon magazine or actually modify them on the fly to ensure that an unconscious PC doesn't end up a dead PC.
It can be a headache to write in new PC's so I prefer to have them brought back from the dead, now that the spell is available to the group.
I've been running this campaign using the PF rules and we are almost done HoHR. I had one character die in the flooded room with the invisible stalkers and another almost die in the first encounter with the octopins. So I would not say the adventure path is too easy thus far.
I have 5 PC's and am running the game right out of the magazines essentially, only converting major NPC's and new monsters.
I am only allowing official PF books which so far include the core rules and the advanced player's guide.
I agree with other posters about the splatbooks though, they can be unbalanced. I would recommend that you let your players pick a couple splatbooks to use, as a group, and limit it to that. They will more than likely pick the magic item compendium and the spell compendium, but you never know :)
Weird, the wizard in my group casts too many spells! Seriously, there have been fights with just regular monsters that he has used over half of his daily allotment of spells.
Although he is getting better. I've been recommending he use some spells with longer durations, things like flaming sphere or summon monster, to give him something to do every round rather than just fireball x3, then shoot arrows.
PC name: Aelar (Elf Fighter/Cleric)
Long Description: Aelar's tendency to bite off more than he can chew was ever present in our campaign. Out of the entire group, he already had the highest unconscious count and this time he skipped the "dying" phase and went straight to "dead". The stalker was beating on him for a couple rounds but his choice to move out onto the wooden planks spelt the end of him. The stalkers beat him unconscious at which point he pitched over the side and into the water filled with old rusty weapons. His unconscious body was impaled immediately.
I've been a long-time dark sun fan, and have every single Dark Sun product out there, barring some of the old lead miniatures :)
The Creature Catalog and Campaing Guide are excellent books. Both full of great ideas for a dark sun campaign.
I don't like 4E, I don't play 4E, but I love Dark Sun and purchased both of these books from amazon.ca in a heartbeat!
I agree with some of the posters here. Honestly, the best way I can foresee dealing with class issues is as follows.
The Dungeon/Dragon articles can be used for defiling rules, and for some of the class modifications and setting rules. I would NOT allow paladins, sorcerers, or monks. Clerics should only be able to summon elementals. Bards should not get spells.
For psionics I would only allow the wilder and psion from the Expanded Psionics Handbook. That book also has rules for thri-kreen and half-giants you can port over to Pathfinderize.
Use the Exotic Weapon Master prestige class for gladiators, or just use the Fighter class and you should be all set.
You don't need a gladiator class in Pathfinder. Prestige class maybe. Any fighter is quite capable of becoming a gladiator. Just stick some ranks in Intimidate or Perform and you're all set. Complete Warrior has an exotic weapon master prestige class you can use, and it has gladiatorial match rules as well.
For defiling I am debating on using the 4E mechanic that they posted on the wizards site yesterday, albeit loosely, for a Pathfinder version of Dark Sun. I've converted it to something like this.
I like it because it is so tempting to use, but requires a lot of caution so as not to kill your buddies.
I don't particularily care for the athas.org conversions.
I just used the Conversion PDF Paizo put out to convert NPC's. Most of their stat blocks remained as is and I just did some slight modifications for the Pathfinder changes.
IMO, the amount of work to convert the NPC to follow strict Pathfinder rules is not worth the payoff, especially since you will probably not end up noticing a difference. The quick conversion method is way easier, takes less time, and you end up with something that is still fun for your players to kill.
Mind you I have 6 PC's so I'm using the scaling sidebars in the magazines to up the EL's a bit.
Plus all my work is saved in maptools so I can't really copy and paste it here. Sorry :S
I am gonna run Zyrxog as written, but fix his mind blast DC of course. I have 6 PC's and we're using the Pathfinder rules so they are a little tougher than regular 3.5 characters. In addition 4 or 5 of the 6 have good Will saves.
However, the fact that the illithid can do a blast every round is a little disturbing. So I really hope the group decides of some decent tactics after their first run in with him, or they may end up a TPK as well.
I don't go easy on my PC's anymore, it's more fun when I make things challenging :)
For the stat blocks you need the dungeon magazine, everything you need is in there, and the monster manual.
For the field around the keep there is no map, just the poster map included in the dungeon magazine issue (you don't get it with the PDF I think) that has the keep foundation and about 20 feet of grass/wooden stakes surrounding it.